Earnings season is heating up, with the highly controversial Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) reporting better-than-expected earnings after the close. I’ve written negatively on the Internet subscription service for movies and TV in recent months, first on March 10 and again on April 12. I maintain the same opinion that readers should sell Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) into recent strength.
Looking to the broader earnings landscape, investors have received disappointing reports from tech giant International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM) and global economic barometer Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE:CAT) in recent days. Market indices have remained resilient in the face of lukewarm earnings reports, weakening data points on long-term unemployment, and Europe teetering on recession.
Whether the market goes higher, lower, or sideways, I’m focused on making smart investments in individual stocks based on fundamentals. Here are three stocks I recommend for the long-term that are priced attractively into upcoming earnings:
General Motors Company (NYSE:GM)
Thursday, May 2 before market open; EPS $0.54 / Revenue $36.6 billion
General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) has been climbing out of the 2008-09 recession and bankruptcy at record speed, with the U.S. government continuing to reduce its ownership position in January, February, and March 2013.
On a fundamental basis, American vehicle sales rose 6% to 245,950 in March and global sales rose 3.6% during Q1, outpacing the industry average of 1.5% by more than double. Even more encouraging are recent comments from CEO Dan Akerson stating he sees strong demand for the next 4-5 years as Americans replace an aging vehicle fleet. The average vehicle currently has an 11 year life, the longest on record as consumers spend money maintaining their current rides.
Ahead of Thursday’s upcoming earnings release, analysts at Citigroup raised their price target on GM to $38 from a previous $35. The main reason for the price hike is the valuation of OnStar, General Motors Company (NYSE:GM)’s auto security and safety system which recently received an excellence accreditation for emergency dispatch. Citigroup’s analyst believes that OnStar could be worth as much as $7 to $8 billion in market capitalization, or $2 to $3 in additional share price for GM.
An additional catalyst for General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) is the company’s plans to release its next generation of Silverado and Sierra trucks later in 2013, which haven’t seen a refresh in multiple years.
Finally, the Treasury department has stated its plans to sell its final shares of General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) in early 2014. CEO Dan Akerson recently confirmed a March 2014 date with the Wall Street Journal, stating he’s eager for a government exit in order to restore his company’s blemished image.
I recommend the purchase of General Motors into upcoming earnings and longer-term into March 2014 when the U.S. Treasury plans to fully exit the company.
On a side note, insurer American International Group Inc (NYSE:AIG), which also received a bailout from the government, has continued to perform well since the U.S. Treasury sold its final shares in the company in December 2012. This should bode well for General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) as the situation is emblematic.
LinkedIn Corp (NYSE:LNKD)
Thursday, May 2 after market close; EPS $0.30 / Revenue $317.1 million
LinkedIn Corp (NYSE:LNKD), the social media giant of professional networking, continues to gain momentum both as a company and a stock. After falling as low as $63 following its May 2011 initial public offering, LinkedIn Corp (NYSE:LNKD) has now risen nearly 100% from its opening day of trade.
Shares moved explosively to the upside following Q4 2012 earnings on Feb. 7, and a handful of Wall Street analysts raised their FY 2013 estimates in the aftermath of the better-than-expected quarter. During Q4, management reported $0.35 vs. 0.19 consensus on revenue of $303.6 million. Guidance provided on the call for Thursday’s upcoming release is $305-$310 million revenue and earnings of $0.28-$0.30.