By Emily Bary
President Donald Trump bemoaned Thursday a lack of media attention for the “great earnings” coming out of Wall Street.
MarketWatch devotes a great deal of time to covering corporate earnings, and in fact kicked off a regular roundup of our extensive breaking coverage of earnings news just two days earlier. So, Mr. President, we welcome you to Earnings Watch, and want to warn you that the news isn’t all great — your tweet arrived just hours after Intel Corp. /zigman2/quotes/203649727/composite INTC +1.90% signaled an end to its cloud boom, for example.
Trump’s lament will prove inaccurate this week, because the media will certainly pay attention to the coming corporate earnings. Some of the country’s most prominent companies are scheduled to report, including the media’s favorite 2018 target besides Trump: Facebook Inc. /zigman2/quotes/205064656/composite FB +0.23% ; frequent Trump whipping boy Jeff Bezos’ Amazon.com Inc. /zigman2/quotes/210331248/composite AMZN +0.55% ; and Apple Inc. /zigman2/quotes/202934861/composite AAPL +0.25% , no longer the world’s most valuable company after revealing struggles with iPhone sales in China, which Trump is fighting with about trade.
Those large companies will not be alone. This will be the busiest week of earnings season, with 13 of the 30 Dow Jones Industrial Average /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA +1.44% components and 122 members of the S&P 500 index /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX +1.05% scheduled to report.
Here are some key themes to watch.
Executives from Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/201948298/composite BABA -0.22% will discuss how trade-war concerns and an economic slowdown in China are impacting consumer spending Wednesday morning. Later that day, Facebook will give investors a glimpse at how it’s been tackling several key challenges beyond the near-daily controversies, including waning interest in the core Facebook service, the heavy costs of improving platform health and increasing interest in ephemeral “Stories” content. Amid all its issues, Facebook is still expected to report record profit.
Read also: This Alibaba business could be its next big moneymaker
EBay Inc.’s /zigman2/quotes/204653455/composite EBAY +0.08% Tuesday report brings more intrigue than usual, after shareholder Elliott Management argued that the company should spin off its StubHub and Classifieds businesses in order to refocus on the core marketplace. EBay has obviously danced this dance before, when activist investors pushed it to spin out PayPal Holdings Inc. /zigman2/quotes/208054269/composite PYPL -2.64% , which has done well for itself (and will report earnings Wednesday afternoon).
Don’t miss: EBay shouldn’t spin out businesses, it should go private, says Baird
E-commerce giant Amazon is on Thursday afternoon’s slate, after surprisingly predicting slow growth in the holiday-shopping season in October. If Amazon manages to beat the holiday expectations that its forecast lowered, it would be rare: Amazon reported more revenue than expected in the fourth quarter of 2017, but hadn’t exceeded top-line expectations in holiday shopping for eight years before that, SunTrust Robinson Humphrey analyst Youssef Squali noted recently.
See more on the expectations for Amazon heading into its fourth-quarter report.
Apple and the smartphone landscape
The smartphone maker’s earnings are usually a big deal, but there’s less suspense in this quarter’s report given that Apple had to preannounce negative results earlier in the month. China proved an unexpected headwind during the holiday quarter, and Apple should face questions about the extent of its woes there. The coming report also marks the start of a new era, as Apple has decided to stop reporting unit-sales metrics for the iPhone and other hardware segments. It will begin giving a bit more detail about the profitability of its services business instead.
See more about the expectations for Apple in our full earnings preview.