What to Watch on Wall Street This Week: From Apples to Adages

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STOCK MARKET TICKER DISPLAY MANHATTAN NEW YORK CITY USA
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You can never know in advance all the news that will move the market in a given week, but some things you can see coming. From the world's largest consumer tech company posting its iEarnings to a pivotal end to the trading month, here are some of the things that will help shape the week that lies ahead on Wall Street.

Monday -- Growing Apples: Lately, Apple (AAPL) hasn't been the growth stock darling that it was through most of the past decade, but it seems to be turning the corner. Apple is expected to post growth in revenue and earnings when it reports fiscal first quarter results on Monday afternoon.

It's not likely to be much. Analysts see revenue and earnings per share climbing by no more than 5 percent over last year's holiday quarter. That may seem low given the success of the iPhone 5S and iPad Air that hit the market late last year. However, it's been hard to overcome the slide in Mac and iPod sales.

Tuesday -- Comcast Stems the Bleeding: Another company showing renewed signs of life is Comcast (CMCSK). The country's largest cable provider hasn't had a problem growing its Internet and broadband phone services, but it's been struggling since 2007 to keep its pay TV customers around.

Comcast finally surprised investors earlier this month by announcing that it closed out the fourth quarter with more subscribers than it had three months earlier. This is the first time that Comcast has posted a sequential increase in video customers after 26 quarters of declines. Comcast reports on Tuesday. Hopefully it will shed some light on this welcome development, letting us know if the cord cutter fears are in the past.

Wednesday -- Are We Friends Again: It will be Facebook (FB) hoping that the market clicks "Like" on the leading social networking website's quarterly financials on Wednesday.

Facebook had a rocky start as a public company two years ago, going public at $38 and falling into the teens several months later. However, explosive top- and bottom-line growth as Facebook was able to improve on the monetization of its voluminous traffic -- and its successful push to cash in on mobile -- have propelled the stock well above its original IPO price.

Thursday -- On the Home Front: Homebuilders have been enjoying a revival in recent years as low interest rates and an improving economy have helped push home prices higher. We'll get a great snapshot of the housing market when Pulte (PHM), Beazer Homes (BZH), and Ryland (RYL) report on Thursday.

Analysts expect all three companies to post improving earnings and revenue. That isn't a surprise. Mortgage rates may have been moving higher over the past year, but that's only pushing hopeful buyers to pull the trigger before borrowing costs head even higher. The real meat in the reports will be how new orders are trending for the three homebuilders, and if order cancellation rates have held steady in light of the changing market conditions.

Friday -- January Results and 2014's Trajectory: Friday isn't just the final trading day of the week: Friday is also the final trading day of the month. And that's a bigger deal than you may think.

"As January goes, so goes the market," is the old market axiom, and there's statistical significance to back the adage. From 1950 to 2013, a positive return in January has resulted in a positive return for the entire year a whopping 92.5 percent of the time. The statistics aren't as certain when January is negative, but it still makes January worth watching in case the market is able to hold on to a positive return for the entire month.

Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Apple and Facebook. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple and Facebook. Try any of our newsletter services free for 30 days.

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