5 Dates to Circle in August

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Summer's heating up, and I'm not just talking about the weather. There are plenty of events that will shape the market in August.

Here are a few of the days that I plan to approach with eyes wide open this month.

Aug. 1
We live in a world surrounded by Kindles, Nooks, and iPads, but what about the high-profile e-reader that started it all?

Sony (NYS: SNE) isn't giving up on its e-reader, even though the Kindle and Nook have become the e-book platforms of choice these days. Sony's head of digital reading told a Bloomberg reporter two weeks ago that the company plans to refresh its line of e-readers in August.

One would think that Sony would be sidestepping the price wars that have dramatically shaved the prices -- and no doubt the margins -- of these devices, especially since Sony has lost some serious ground over the years.

Well, the new Sony e-readers aren't hitting the market today, but this will be something to watch for all month long.

Aug. 2
Sirius XM Radio
(NAS: SIRI) reports its second-quarter results tomorrow morning.

You know the drill by now. Satellite radio has never had a problem growing its subscriber count, but now the media giant is profitable, too.

However, a lot has happened since Sirius XM's last report. Pandora (NYS: P) went public. Spotify rolled out in the United States. Auto sales have also softened up.

Sirius XM should have no problem putting up solid numbers tomorrow, but the stock's ultimate direction may rest on additional insight about the Sirius XM 2.0 platform that the company plans to roll out later this year -- or on details about the nearly certain price hike that will take place next year.

Aug. 10
Cisco
(NAS: CSCO) will have some explaining to do next week. The networking gear giant recently move to nix thousands of jobs at the company, even after arguing that it would go on a hiring spree if legislation would pass that would allow it to repatriate more than $30 billion in offshore profits at a low tax rate.

Cisco has already famously scaled back its consumer-facing business -- even flipping the Flip -- but this doesn't mean that its telltale enterprise businesses is holding up any better.

Analysts see Cisco earning just $0.38 a share on flat revenue growth when it reports its quarterly results next week. It generated a profit of $0.43 a share a year earlier.

Aug. 16
Home improvement is a tough business these days, but let's see what the folks in the orange aprons have to say about it. Home Depot (NYS: HD) reports on Aug. 16 -- a day after rival Lowe's (NYS: LOW) -- and it may not be pretty.

We've seen specialists get hammered after hosing down their outlooks. Shares of the niche leader in hardwood flooring and the top dog in wood-alternative decking got slammed last month after warning of soft sales. If folks aren't building out patio decks ahead of the summer season or comfortable in installing stylish planks in their living areas, how brisk can sales be at Lowes or Home Depot?

Remodeling is reportedly on the rise, but it's hard to fathom leveraged homeowners sprucing up their digs until home prices bottom out and the foreclosure risks lessen.

Aug. 26
Tiffany
(NYS: TIF) isn't the world's largest jeweler, but it's a great bellwether for premium spending.

Tiffany's performance understandably took a hit during the darkest recessionary stretches, yet it has also bounced back in recent quarters as well-to-do consumers grow more comfortable in gifting pricey bling.

If the economy begins to slip back into a recession, weakness at Tiffany when it reports late this month will be one of its many telltale signs before economists make it official. Then again, given the buoyant value of gold as a safe haven during these past few years of economic calamity, maybe that's a theory that we will need to revisit soon.

What are you looking forward to this month? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.

At the time this article was published The Fool owns shares of and has created a bull call spread position on Cisco Systems. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Home Depot, Cisco, and Lowe's, as well as writing covered calls on Lowe's. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz wonders if there has ever been a dull month on Wall Street. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this story. He is also part of theRule Breakersnewsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.

Copyright © 1995 - 2011 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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