Investing in Space: What to watch for in Q2 earnings reports

Investing in Space: What to watch for in Q2 earnings reports

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CNBC's Investing in Space newsletter offers a view into the business of space exploration and privatization, delivered straight to your inbox. CNBC's Michael Sheetz reports and curates the latest news, investor updates and exclusive interviews on the most important companies reaching new heights. Sign up to receive future editions.

As Wall Street works its way through second-quarter earnings reports, investors are getting a closer look at first-half performance from the space sector — and setting expectations for the second half of the year.

The big players – Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman – kicked things off as usual.

Despite the billions in space-related revenue they pull each quarter, the sector doesn't typically rank highest on shareholders' watch items. That said, Lockheed's and Northrop's space divisions were top performers in Q2. Boeing, meanwhile, reported another hefty charge from its delayed Starliner spacecraft, bringing that program to $1.5 billion in losses to date.

Iridium was the first of the space pure-plays to report. Wall Street continues to be jazzed about the opportunity in the direct-to-device satellite market, but Iridium cautioned that it will take time for the nascent vertical to mature. Nevertheless, Barclays slapped a buy call on Iridum's stock, calling the risk-to-reward attractive.

Most of the other space stocks will report results over the first two weeks of August (aside from Planet, which follows a fiscal year calendar, and Mynaric, Satellogic, Intuitive Machines and Sidus Space).

The macroeconomic environment remains challenging for companies that are unprofitable and have high cash burn, with the Fed recently hiking interest rates to the highest level since 2001.

As a guide for the upcoming Q2 space results, I'm roughly separating companies into two groups: No surprises wanted, and good surprises needed. Here's when they're expected to report, per FactSet, and what I'm watching for:

No surprises wanted:

Good surprises needed:

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