5 Things to Watch on Wall Street This Week


Electronics Arts ShowThere's never a dull moment on Wall Street. Let's go over some of the items that will help shape the week that lies ahead.

1. Game On: We're getting to that time of year when diehard gamers have no problem setting down their game controllers and checking in on the real world.

Electronic Entertainment Expo -- or E3 as it's more commonly known -- kicks off Tuesday. The three-day conference provides a showcase for software developers to build buzz for upcoming games, but it's also the time of year when the hardware makers make headlines.

We'll probably get a lot of details on Wii U -- Nintendo's (NTDOY) new console -- that's likely to hit stores in time for this holiday season. Nintendo's two larger rivals are unlikely to introduce a new machine until 2013 at the earliest, but there's always the possibility of a surprise or two up their sleeves.

2. Hard Times at Home: We may be basking in historic low mortgage rates, but the housing market is still trying to bottom out here.

Friday's gloomy employment news -- where the fewest new jobs were created in nearly a year and the country's unemployment rate ticked up to 8.2% -- isn't going to make potential home buyers any more comfortable in their big-ticket decisions.

It's against this iffy backdrop that Hovnanian Enterprises (HOV) steps up with its quarterly report.

A loss out of the homebuilder is expected. Hovnanian has only come through with a single profitable quarter since 2007. However, analysts do see the real estate developer posting a narrower deficit this time around.

Keep an eye on near-term trends when the company reports. Compare the number of order cancellations and new home orders with how Hovnanian has done in the past. It is then -- and only then -- that you can go through with your housewarming party.

3. One Last Wintry Blast: Temperatures are heating up around the country, so snow skiing and snowboarding may be the furthest things from your mind.

However, Vail Resorts (MTN) will check in with its latest fiscal results Wednesday. It was an unseasonably warm winter through many parts of the country this year, especially in February and March. It'll be interesting to see if that had any kind of impact on the operator of several Colorado ski resorts.

Analysts see a meaty profit of $2.19 a share for the quarter, and shareholders better not take that for granted. This is obviously a seasonal business: We're now wrapping up what they call "mud season" when melting snow makes many of these resorts ghost towns until business picks back up during the summer with mountain hiking and golfing.

4. More Magic at the Multiplex: This is the time of year when big movies just keep on coming. After a disastrous 2011, movie makers have had a strong start to 2012. With plenty of the May strong releases still drawing audiences it's going to be a crowded weekend at the local multiplex.

Two likely blockbusters opening Friday are Prometheus and Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted.

Prometheus is the long-awaited sci-fi return of acclaimed director Ridley Scott, the visionary filmmaker behind Alien, Blade Runner, and Gladiator.

Younger moviegoers -- or those that are just young at heart and enjoy a good computer-rendered feature film -- can warm up to the third installment in DreamWorks Animation's (DWA) Madagascar franchise.

5. New Names on the Earnings Block: May was a quiet month for IPOs. There were just 10 companies that went public last month, and the market's uninspiring reaction to Facebook's (FB) debut will make it hard for investors to get too excited about new deals down the line.

There will be two companies that have gone public over the past year -- bedding retailer Mattress Firm (MFRM) and apparel boutique operator Francesca's Holdings (FRAN) -- reporting this week. Both retailers are expected to post healthy net income for the period. That probably won't be enough to get investors to trust the next wave of IPOs, but every little bit of confidence-building helps.

Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz does not own shares in any of the stocks in this article. The Motley Fool owns shares of Facebook. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Nintendo, DreamWorks Animation SKG, and Vail Resorts.

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