With CSX, the focus for us will be twofold: how it sees rail traffic shaping up for the current quarter and comments on fuel surcharges, both for the September quarter and the current one. The former will give us some color on the speed of the economy while the latter will help us get ready for UPS's (UPS) earnings next week.
As we can see in the chart below from the Association of American Railroads, recent 2002 weekly rail traffic (gold line) has been weaker than both 2020 and 2021. We tend to interpret lower volumes of rail traffic indicating slowing demand for goods.
With Snap's results, what the company has to say about advertising spend will be what we dig into. Spending tied to the mid-term elections has been a strong positive, but with companies increasingly tightening the purse strings, it's the second half of the quarter's advertising spend that we're looking for clarity on.
Complicating things is the fact that more companies will be targeting what is spent on advertising, including Alphabet (GOOGL) , Meta Platforms (META) , Snap, Apple (AAPL) , Disney (DIS) , and Amazon (AMZN) as well as others, with Uber (UBER) and Netflix (NFLX) joining the fray.
The risk is reduced advertising spend is spread across a greater number of players, leading to more modest revenue expectations for each company's advertising business. Given its positions with Search and YouTube, we still see Alphabet capturing a significant piece of what is spent.
The consensus forecast has Verizon earning EPS of $1.29 in the September quarter on revenue of $33.7 billion with the company guiding to EPS of $1.14-$1.27 for the current one on revenue of $35.26 billion. With competitor AT&T (T) adding 964K total subscribers in the September quarter, including 708K total postpaid phone subscribers and posting 5.6% year-over-year revenue growth at its wireless business, those will be the hurdles against which Verizon's results will be predominantly judged.
Let's remember that earlier this year, Verizon instituted a round of price increases and that could lead to a pop in its subscriber churn inside its September quarter results. The key for us will be to watch average revenue per user (ARPU) given not only those price increases but Verizon's emphasis on service bundles. We would also point out that with T shares rising today in the face of AT&T lifting its 2022 EPS to $2.50 or more, up from the prior $2.42-$2.46 but below the $2.55 consensus, the market is likely to reward guidance from Verizon that is better than feared.
As we get ready for Verizon's results, if the shares are under pressure following the report, we are inclined to use that opportunity to add to the portfolio's position, particularly if the $35 technical support holds.
When American Express reports, the comments on overall spending patterns and how it sees the holiday shopping season shaping up will be key, especially following several banks added to their loan loss reserves. Fair Isaac's (FICO) credit card data from June to August signaled a period of financial stress and worrying trends for lenders due to inconsistent consumer behavior.
We'd also note sequential increases in credit card delinquencies at JPMorgan (JPM) , Bank of America (BAC) , and Citigroup (C) . As we dig into Amex's comments, let's remember the majority of its card portfolio is charge cards, not credit or debit cards.
As it relates to our position in YOU shares, the vibrant outlooks issued by Clear Secure's partners United (UAL) and Delta Air Lines (DAL) point to more travelers weaving through airport security, a catalyst for the adoption of Clear's solutions. With Clear having entered its second year of partnership with American Express which offers rebates for Clear's annual membership, we'll be scrutinizing Amex's comments on new card metrics as well as travel and membership benefits to get a bead on new membership growth at Clear.