5 Things to Watch This Week: Yahoo, Banks, Hotels, Google Gadgets, and Shoes
It's fairly quiet on the earnings front this week. The reports will ramp up in earnest next week, when earnings season officially starts. However, there are still some noteworthy items that will help shape the week that lies ahead.
1. Start Bleeding Purple: The annual Yahoo (YHOO) shareholder meeting takes place on Thursday.
Yahoo has a long way to go to restore its credibility with investors, but the healing process has to begin somewhere. Thursday's annual powwow seems like a good enough place to start.
There's reason to be mildly optimistic. After several flirtatious near misses, the dot-com giant finally managed to cash in on a decent-sized chunk of its lucrative Asian assets.
The CEO search also appears to be coming to an end. Jason Kilar -- CEO of streaming video darling Hulu -- announced late last week that he had "graciously declined" consideration for Yahoo's vacant top post. The announcement was lampooned by cynical financial journalists. Was Kilar merely saving face?
Either way, the move makes it more than likely that interim CEO Ross Levinsohn will strip the "interim" off his title and continue to lead the company.
2. Banking on Earnings: Few sectors have been as heavily scrutinized as financial services in recent years. Between the predatory lending practices of banks and the risky gambles made by some investment bankers, the whole "too big to fail" debate is far from over.
Earnings season for the financial heavyweights begins on Friday. JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and Wells Fargo (WFC) will report their quarterly results that morning.
Don't expect the financial performances to move in lockstep. Analysts see JPMorgan posting lower earnings than it did a year ago, while also holding out for bottom-line improvement at Wells Fargo.
The rest of the banking titans will report later this month.
3. Marriott Checks Out: Hospitality specialist Marriott (MAR) finally spun off its upscale time-sharing business late last year.
Unloading Marriott Vacations Worldwide (VAC) meant saying goodbye to the Marriott Vacation Club time-sharing unit, as well as the higher-end Ritz-Carlton Destination Club and the properties it sold outright through Ritz-Carlton Residences. These may have been promising units a few years ago, but everything changed after the real estate market imploded.
This doesn't mean that there aren't risks in the hotel business, of course. We'll get a closer look at how Marriott is doing as a stand-alone company when it reports its quarterly results on Wednesday. However, there will be more consistency and easier predictability now in assessing the lodging bellwether.
4. Bring on the Google Gadgets: It's been two weeks since Google (GOOG) turned heads by announcing that it would sell a $199 Android tablet and a $299 social media sharing device.
Nexus 7 -- a tablet with a 7-inch touchscreen -- packs some pretty impressive specs for a tablet costing less than half of what the larger (and more full-featured) iPad does. It will definitely be interesting to see if it sells well or becomes just another Android tablet that fails to gain serious market share.
Nexus Q is a more intriguing critter. The curious-looking orb allows folks with Android tablets and smartphones to create and share musical and video play lists. The $299 price will probably be a sticking point, but Google appears to be raising the bar with this bold bet.
Why are we talking about the Nexus 7 and Nexus Q now? Well, Google expects to start shipping both devices come mid-July. Later this week we'll technically be in mid-July.
5. These Boots Are Made for Walking: Next week one name to watch is Wolverine World Wide (WWW). Analysts see the maker of footwear -- in both its namesake brand as well as other monikers including Hush Puppies and Sebago -- declaring a quarterly profit of $0.44 a share on Tuesday.
Yes, this is less than the $0.48 a share it earned a year earlier. However, Wolverine World Wide has managed to beat Wall Street's profit expectations in each of the nine previous quarters.
It's a pretty impressive streak for a company that seems to always stay one step ahead of the analysts.
Longtime Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz does not owns shares in any of the stocks in this article. The Motley Fool owns shares of Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, and Google, and has created a covered strangle position in Wells Fargo. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Google and Wells Fargo.