The earnings season has just kicked-off and investors are either eager or anxious to see the results from the December quarter. Last year was far from good, with stocks falling sharply, although there were some bright spots. Even after the difficult year, forecasters are still predicting 4% average earnings growth for the full year.
For the savvy retail investor, there are signals available to help locate companies that show signs of solid earnings in the making. The analyst consensus rating is one – a Strong Buy should always deserve attention. And a company’s web traffic may also indicate corporate health. The exciting companies, with potential to bring in sound earnings returns for investors, will also attract attention through web searches – and following web traffic on their sites may give some hints that will complement the other, more traditional, metrics.
We can use the Website Traffic tool at TipRanks to do just that – monitor the traffic on a company’s site, to look at data on site visits, mobile traffic, and monthly unique visitors. Data like these can give us an interesting profile when we start looking at stocks. So let’s use the website traffic, along with other data, and look at a couple of ‘Strong Buy’ stocks whose earnings releases are around the corner.
JD.com, Inc. (JD)
We’ll start in the e-commerce realm, where JD.com, based in Beijing, is a major player in China’s retail market. The company boasts that it is both the largest retailer, and largest online retailer, in China, and it has a market cap of approximately $94 billion. The company operates as B2C, and offers a wide range of products, from apparel to cosmetics to electronics to groceries. The company’s network covers 99% of the Chinese population, and even offers same-day and next-day delivery. JD’s base includes more than 588 million customers, and the company is known as a leader in e-commerce logistics.
That leading position is visible in JD’s last quarterly report, from 3Q22, which showed a top line of $34.2 billion in revenues for an 11.4% year-over-year gain. The company’s service revenues made up $6.5 billion of that total, and led the gains with a 42.2% y/y increase. Operating cash flow in the quarter reached $6.4 billion, an 11% y/y increase.
JD’s strong revenues were supported by a solid increase in annual active customer accounts. For the 12 months that ended on September 30, 2022, the company’s customer base rose year-over-year by 6.5%, to hit 588.3 million.
Looking at the firm’s website traffic, we find that site visits are on a rising trend. The last reported data, for Q3, showed 24.3 million total visits, including 15.4 million on desktop devices and 8.9 via mobile units. The overall visits were up more than 34% y/y, and have grown another 31% y/y and 9.5% sequentially in Q4 to reach a total of 26.67 million. Looking a bit farther ahead, the January data should be interesting, as will include traffic during the Chinese New Year holiday.
JD is slated to report its 4Q22 and FY2022 numbers in early March.
This stock has been reviewed by analyst Charlene Liu, of HSBC, who writes, “We expect margin improvement to continue in 2023e driven by further streamlining efforts and better operating efficiency as revenue picks up…. the degree of improvement will likely be more modest versus 2022e as the heavy lifting in cost cutting efforts are behind us and marketing expenses are set to rise to drive better growth as the economy improves. We stay constructive on JD’s commitment to deliver stable shareholder returns through share repurchases or dividends, which would provide valuation support.”
Following up from this stance, Liu gives JD shares a Buy rating, with an $82 price target to suggest a one-year upside potential of 40%. (To watch Liu’s track record, click here)
Big tech names typically get plenty of Wall Street attention, and JD.com has 14 recent analyst reviews on file. These include 13 to Buy against a single Hold, for a Strong Buy consensus rating. The shares have a trading price of $58.52 and their $81.35 average price target implies a gain of 39% for the year ahead. (See JD stock forecast at TipRanks)
Blade Air Mobility (BLDE)
Next on our list is a fascinating company, Blade Air Mobility. This company is part of the new urban air transit niche, and offers its clientele a unique air travel experience, with flexible scheduling, multimodal commuter travel options, and private lounges at key terminal locations. Blade operates helicopter and jet charter routes, with by-the-seat booking for scheduled flights in the greater NYC area, from Manhattan to JFK or Newark airports; the Pacific Northwest, connecting Vancouver and Victoria in British Columbia; and even in the south of France, between Nice and Monaco. The company also allows chartered or crowdsourced flights to locations around the world.
Current flights, as noted, are by helicopter or chartered jet – but Blade is planning for the future, when urban air travel will adopt electric vertical aircraft (EVAs). The company works with investors and partners who are involved in the development of carbon-neutral urban flight.
Blade went public in 2021 through a SPAC transaction, and since then, it has seen steadily rising revenues. The last report, from 3Q22, showed $45.7 million at the top line, a gain of 125% y/y. For the first three quarters of 2022, the company’s revenue was $108 million – up an impressive 154% from the same period in 2021.
The gains were driven by a 52% y/y increase in short distance revenue, which reflected a combination of strong demand in Europe and Canada as well as higher pricing. The company’s medical transport service, used to move organs for urgent medical necessity, showed an 801% revenue increase y/y, supported by new transplant center clients and ‘robust’ growth within the network.
As for Website traffic for Blade, it jumped sharply from October through December 2022, spiking from ~50,000 to more than 137,000. Unique visitors (UVs) totaled 270,430 in 4Q22, an 84% increase on the 146,960 seen in the same period last year.
Credit Suisse’s 5-star analyst Stephen Ju notes the company’s solid performance, and the high potential offered by a future switch to EVAs. Ju writes of Blade, “Amidst the challenging macro-economic environment, the Blade consumer remains resilient which was apparent as Seats Flown more than doubled in 3Q22 despite prices rising 25-30%. Blade’s market share remains below 1% across its NYC airport operations (27mm passengers TAM) which offers attractive growth opportunities in the coming years particularly as it reduces travel time from ~2 hours to 5 minutes.”
“While the timeline for EVA (Electric Vertical Aircraft) FAA approval remains uncertain, Blade will conduct a test flight with Beta Technologies in 1Q23 which will highlight the significantly lower noise profile compared to helicopters that are currently used. As such, the likelihood increases from here that Blade will gain regulatory approval to operate closer to the consumer which should reduce flier friction and ultimately unlock incremental users over time,” the analyst went on to add.
Ju gives Blade an Outperform (i.e. Buy) rating, and he sets his price target at $10, suggesting an impressive 139% upside potential over the next 12 months. (To watch Ju’s track record, click here)
To some extent, this cutting edge mobility firm has flown under the radar – there are only 3 recent analyst reviews on record. They are all positive, however, giving BLDE its Strong Buy consensus rating. Blade shares are selling for $4.19 and their $7.83 average price target implies that a gain of 87% lies ahead for the stock. (See BLDE stock forecast on TipRanks)
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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the featured analysts. The content is intended to be used for informational purposes only. It is very important to do your own analysis before making any investment.