When the market reopens Tuesday after President's Day, it promises to be a busy week. Get ready for earnings reports from casual dining chains and struggling PC makers, as well as holiday sales figures from the world's largest retailer.
Here's a preview of some of the news that will help shape the the week ahead on Wall Street.
1. On the Menu: Several restaurant chains will step up with their latest quarterly results. Bob Evans (BOBE), B.J.'s Restaurants (BJRI), Red Robin (RRGB), Texas Roadhouse (TXRH), and Outback Steakhouse parent Bloomin' Brands (BLMN) will all be reporting.
It's always welcome when a bunch of companies in the same industry report during the same week, but it won't be just a snapshot of the past that the market will be watching for here. Wall Street is curious. Paychecks got smaller in January after the end of the payroll tax stimulus, and some may wonder if folks are eating out less now that they may be taking home less money.
Pay attention to any guidance as to how the current quarters are going; a positive or negative consensus can move the market one way or the other.
2. Tough Times for PCs: Tech pros, diehard gamers, and computer-intensive professionals may need full-fledged PCs, but folks that simply want to share photos, stream videos, and interact with friends can get by perfectly fine with smaller mobile devices.
It's against this backdrop that Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) and Dell (DELL) report fresh financials this week. HP is the world's largest PC maker. Dell turned heads earlier this month when plans to take the struggling computer maker private in a $24 billion deal were revealed. Industry watchers were hoping that October's arrival of Windows 8 would breathe new life into PC sales, but that didn't happen. Analysts see HP and Dell posting revenue declines of 8 percent and 12 percent, respectively.
3. Showing Some Fizz: Investors who were left unimpressed by the meager growth at Coca-Cola (KO) and PepsiCo (PEP) last week may want to check out SodaStream (SODA) for a little more pop in their pop. SodaStream is the fast-growing Israeli company behind the namesake system that fizzes up still water that can be flavored with dozens of soda syrups.
Soft drink consumption is a sensitive subject, especially in New York City where super-sized servings were banned through some venues last year. SodaStream offers a fresher approach to making sodas that doesn't fill up landfills with bottles and cans. However, it's future will naturally be dictated by consumption trends. SodaStream reports on Wednesday.
4. Get Ready to Be Amused: Most regional amusement parks are closed this time of year, but this week will find Six Flags (SIX) and Cedar Fair (FUN) ready for their quarterly rides.
Wall Street knows that this is a seasonal industry. They see small deficits at both companies. Investors will want to pay attention to any early signs of weakness or strength in 2013. Six Flags and Cedar Fair have been selling season passes for 2013 since late last year, so there may be some insight there.
5. The House That Sam Walton Built: Walmart (WMT) is the world's largest retailer. That's not too shabby for a company that started as a five and dime store in Arkansas.
Walmart has typically been an all-weather company. As a retailer it thrives when the economy's hopping, but it also holds up well during lean times as mainstream shoppers trade down to the chain's lower prices.
Analysts see a profit of $1.57 a share when Walmart reports on Thursday, well ahead of the $1.44 a share it served up during the prior year's holiday quarter.
Motley Fool contributor Rick Aristotle Munarriz owns shares of SodaStream. The Motley Fool recommends BJ's Restaurants, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, and SodaStream. The Motley Fool owns shares of BJ's Restaurants, PepsiCo, and SodaStream. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.
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