From a software giant's second shot at getting it right in the red-hot tablet market to the leading athletic footwear company stepping up with quarterly financials, here are some of the items that will help shape the week that lies ahead on Wall Street.
Monday -- Beneath the Surface: Microsoft (MSFT) failed to make a dent in the tablet market with last year's Surface release, but that's not going to stop the software giant from trying again. It has a media event scheduled in New York on Monday where it it will be unveiling Surface 2.
Last go-round the introduction of the Surface RT, powered by Windows RT, got a ho-hum response. The company fared slightly better with its more expensive Surface Pro that actually runs Windows 8, making it compatible with more PC programs.
In sum, Microsoft's two tablets failed to command more than 4 percent of the global market. That may not seem so bad for a rookie, but Microsoft spent a lot of money on all of those slick ads. We'll see if it's raising the bar or lowering the prices on Monday.
Tuesday -- We're All Superheroes: Disney's (DIS) Marvel acquisition has paid off with near super-speed, giving the family entertainment giant a healthy portfolio of action characters that it can use to woo older audiences that are over Mickey Mouse and Buzz Lightyear.
On Tuesday Disney will be eating its own cooking as "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." debuts on its own ABC.
Disney's Iron Man and Avengers movies have been playing up the fictional S.H.I.E.L.D. agency, a covert organization that aims to tackle threats to civilization. Marvel's first push into live-action television -- on Disney's own network -- should pay off if it can introduce Marvel characters that will eventually come to life on the big screen.
Wednesday -- Get In the Zone: Auto parts retailers have been all-weather businesses in recent years. AutoZone (AZO) and its smaller rivals thrived during the recession, as folks who couldn't afford to trade in their new cars had to maintain them to keep them on the road longer.
Now that the economy's gradually shifting out of reverse, customers have more money to spruce up their rides. AutoZone reports on Wednesday morning. Analysts see double-digit revenue and earnings growth. That's some serious revving up.
Thursday -- Just Do It: Athletic footwear giant Nike (NKE) reports on Thursday. The global brand with its signature swoosh logo has turned its success in sneakers into a fitness juggernaut.
It will be interesting to see if Nike has anything to say about the booming popularity in smart watches that may challenge its NikeFuel and Nike FuelBand businesses. Wall Street expects Nike to post a profit of $0.78 a share for the quarter, but it's okay to hold out for more. Nike has beaten estimates in each of the past four quarters.
Friday -- It's Raining Sequels: The market may not be hungry for a Surface sequel on Monday, but there at least is some demand for Sony's (SNE) "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2." The original animated feature took in nearly $125 million in domestic ticket sales during its theatrical run four years ago, nearly matching that amount overseas. Sony's sequel opens at a multiplex near you on Friday.
It will screen in both 2-D and 3-D, giving exhibitors a way to milk higher ticket prices for those willing to pay up for a more-sensory experience. If it's going to rain meatballs, you may as well have them come flying at you.
Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz owns shares of Walt Disney. The Motley Fool recommends Nike and Walt Disney. The Motley Fool owns shares of Microsoft, Nike, and Walt Disney. Try any of our newsletter services free for 30 days.
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