5 Stocks to Watch this Week

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Nokia phone
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From the new Xbox gaming console to a struggling retailer's first chance to win back defecting shoppers and shareholders, there will be plenty of news waiting to break in the coming days. Let's go over some of the items that will help shape the week that lies ahead on Wall Street.

1. Nokia May Be Finnish, but It's Not Finished: Finland's Nokia (NOK) has seen better days. It was the top dog in mobile handsets before the smartphone era raised the bar on what wireless customers can do with their devices.

Nokia has been firing back on the strength of its partnership with Microsoft (MSFT) to champion Microsoft's mobile operating system through its Lumia phone line.


Nokia introduced the Lumia 928 -- a high-end Windows Phone device that will be available exclusively through Verizon Wireless -- last week. Nokia's just getting started.

"The Nokia Lumia Story Continues," reads an invitation to a media event in London scheduled for Tuesday. Naturally the handset pioneer will be making announcements about future smartphones in the Lumia family.

Windows continues to trail iOS and Android as the operating systems of choice for wireless customers, but Nokia's naturally aspiring to be the one that raises the bar this week.

2. Cracking Open the New Xbox: Microsoft isn't just peeling back to the curtain on Lumia phones. The software giant is also unveiling the new Xbox next week.

There's a lot riding on the new gaming console. The video game industry has been in a funk for more than three years, but the Xbox 360 has been the top-selling system in this country for more than two years.

In short, if the industry has a shot at a turnaround it will probably come at the hands of Microsoft.
There has been plenty of chatter leading up to the announcement. Will Microsoft embrace Blu-ray? Will the new Xbox really have to be connected to the Internet? A rumor even recently surfaced suggesting that Microsoft will subsidize the high price of the new console for those willing to commit to long-term subscriptions.

We'll see how this all plays out this holiday season, but on Saturday industry watchers and diehard gamers will get their first good glimpse at the box that may turn the video game industry around.

3. A Penney for Your Thoughts: J.C. Penney (JCP) is in trouble. Sales fell 25 percent this past fiscal year as shoppers reacted negatively to Ron Johnson's dramatic makeover of the struggling department store chain.

Clearly things didn't pan out, and Johnson was dismissed last month. Investors are braced for another bad quarterly report when J.C. Penney reports on Thursday. Sales will fall. Losses will widen. The real reason to tune in will be to hear what the new regime plans to do to woo shoppers back.

New television commercials hit the market two weeks ago with J.C. Penney apologizing for its recent mistakes. Shoppers may forgive -- but are they fickle enough to forget?

4. Google This, Developers: Google (GOOG) has its annual developers powwow coming up this week.

Google I/O runs from Wednesday to Friday, and it won't be just coders and programmers tuning in to the event. Google has plenty of moving parts, and it doesn't have a problem peeling back the curtain to let the public know what's coming in the near term. It also doesn't have a choice. Google needs developers to publicly buy into its future.

From Android updates to a rumored cloud-based gaming platform, Google will have the tech world's attention during the latter half of this week.

5. The Cisco Kid: It may seem hard to believe these days, but there was a brief moment in time when Cisco (CSCO) was the country's most valuable company in terms of market cap. Then the dot-com bubble popped and investors were no longer willing to pay a premium for the leading provider of networking gear.

From routers to switches, Cisco is still a bellwether for the tech and networking industries. The market isn't holding out for much when Cisco reports its latest quarterly results Wednesday. Analysts see revenue growing at a mere 5 percent clip, and they see earnings growing even slower. However, at least Cisco's top and bottom lines are taking baby steps in the right direction.

Cisco may never become the country's most valuable company again, but it can certainly become more valuable than it is now.

Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Cisco Systems and Google. The Motley Fool owns shares of Google and Microsoft.


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