Drug distributor McKesson (MCK) is slated to unveil results for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2017 after the market close on Thursday and Wall Street's focus will be more on the guidance that the company will put forth.
The fourth quarter is "less relevant than the guidance McKesson will set," said Credit Suisse analyst Robert Willoughby in a phone interview.
Raymond James analyst John W. Ransom made a similar comment, telling TheStreet: "It's all about the [fiscal year 2018] guidance."
For fiscal year 2018, analysts have forecast, on average, adjusted earnings per share of $11.45, according to FactSet Research Systems.
"Our guess is if it's above $11, the stock is going to be OK," Ransom said.
Willoughby, for his part, said he wouldn't be surprised to see a relief rally in McKesson's shares "if there's no evidence of a broader disaster than the one that hit Cardinal Health."
On April 18, Cardinal Health updated its guidance for fiscal 2017, saying it expects adjusted EPS for the year ending June 30, 2017 to come in at the bottom of the previous guidance range of $5.35 to $5.50, citing generic deflation, which Cardinal expects to be in the low-double digits for the full fiscal year.
If San Francisco-based McKesson provides guidance that's within the ballpark of consensus estimates and there are "no new disasters or threats to the model," it would make the drug distribution sector "more broadly investable," said Willoughby.
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