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3M (MMM), General Motors (GM), Starbucks (SBUX), Pandora Media (P) – Earnings Preview

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3M Co (NYSE: MMM), General Motors Company (NYSE: GM), Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ: SBUX) and Pandora Media Inc (NYSE: P) are gearing up to announce quarterly results on Thursday. Here’s what investors can expect:

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3M Co (NYSE:MMM)

3M is scheduled to report first-quarter earnings before the open of trade on Thursday. Wall Street is projecting earnings per share of $1.93, up from $1.79 in the same period last year. Sales will likely be in the region of $7.84 billion, up marginally from $7.83 billion a year ago. Although the company did not provide current quarter estimates, for full-year 2015, it expects EPS of $8 to $8.30 per share, up from $7.49 in 2014.

The recent slowdown in the U.S. economy and weakness in Europe should keep 3M Co (NYSE:MMM)’s organic sales growth at low single digits. One silver lining could be the spectacular drop in oil prices that could lower certain input costs.

However on the currency front, the strong dollar would hurt 3M Co (NYSE:MMM)’s margins. The company exports large amounts of raw materials from the U.S. to its factories around the world. As such, the strength in dollar should make those goods less competitive.

General Motors Company (NYSE:GM)

The average analysts’ estimate is for General Motors to post first-quarter earnings of 96 cents per share, which is more than triple of last year’s 29 cents per share. Sales growth is projected to be modest, largely on the strong demand for light trucks.

In the first 3 months, General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) sold almost twice as many Cadillac Escalades and Chevrolet Suburbans than it did in the corresponding period last year. But that was not enough to prevent the Detroit car maker from losing U.S. market share during the period.

In its second largest market, China, General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) is trying to boost its mix of pricier vehicles, to better cope with the fast maturing market. The first quarter numbers should provide some valuable insight into how GM is going about this strategic shift.

Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ:SBUX)

Starbucks will report its second-quarter earnings after the close of trading on Thursday. The consensus on Street is for the company to post earnings of 33 cents per share. Starbucks carried out a 2-for-1 stock split in April. Adjusted for the split, EPS should come in at 40 cents. The coffee chain had set guidance at 32 cents to 33 cents per share.

Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ:SBUX) is expected to record sales of $4.53 billion for the second quarter. That would be up from the $3.8 billion a year earlier, but $272 million less than the first quarter’s $4.80 billion. Barring last quarter, Starbucks has missed the consensus revenue estimate in 7 of the last 10 quarters. Same store sales gain should be around 5 percent. Growth in same-store sales has been flat at 5 percent over the last two quarters.

Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ:SBUX) has a healthy free cash flow. Analysts expect the company to increase its returns to shareholders in the coming few quarters. Watch out for any news on that front.

Pandora Media Inc (NYSE:P)

Analysts expect Pandora to announce earnings of $0.17 per share on revenue of $224.38 million for the quarter. Investors will also be interested in looking at Pandora’s growth in active listeners, which increased about 7 percent y-o-y to 81.5 million at the end of 2014. The company has been insisting for long that it can easily grow to at least 100 million users in the U.S., helped by the rapid penetration of Internet-connected devices.

Pandora Media Inc (NYSE:P) is expected to benefit from its gradual move into automobiles, where more than 50 percent of all radio listening occurs in the United States. Investors will also look for data on user and local ad growth.

The fourth quarter of last year saw local ad revenue soar 90 percent y-o-y to $49.9 million, but still only represented about 20 percent of Pandora Media Inc (NYSE:P)’s total revenue. Meanwhile, mobile sales jumped 43 percent last quarter, representing 78 percent of the company’s total revenue.

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