This story was written by Joseph Weisenthal.
Earnings season is here again, and while a few have come out already, tomorrow kicks things off with a very rare treat: A double dipper from Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) and Google (NSDQ: GOOG), both of which clock in after hours. Fortunately, they've scheduled their conference calls an hour apart. Google's earnings aren't being watched with the same white knuckle fear like they were last quarter, probably because everyone's learned learned about extrapolating from a few glints of data that don't paint the whole picture. Consensus estimates are for the company to do $3.87 billion in sales (42.1 percent year-on-year growth) and earnings of $4.74. Of course, this looks like one of those situations where most expect the company to beat expectations, making it hard to judge what the market actually expects.
Some comments from analysts:
Bernstein's Jeff Lindsay is calling on Google to report revenue of $4.04 billion and EPS of $4.91. His optimism is based on paid click growth, market share gains, and the belief that Google has gotten more agressive about advertising on YouTube (though how well they're doing at this remains pretty controversial). He also is calling on DoubleClick to lift revs by $120 million in the quarter. Some key questions: margins (watch that headcount number) and any insight they offer on wireless strategy, Android and YouTube.
Doug Anmuth at Lehman is also pretty bullish, citing recent SEM checks for believing the weak macro economy will not have much of a negative impact. He's estimating revenue of $3.93 billion and EPS of $4.90 billion.
Citi's Mark Mahaney comes in on the lower end, calling for revenue of $3.82 billion and EPS of $4.72 per share. He's not a negative on the company, as he still sees it benefiting from various long-term trends. He too ranks YouTube revenue and mobile among the key things to listen for. His in-line forecast is based on channel checks, a small paid click deceleration and accelerating CPC.
By Joseph Weisenthal