Wall Street This Week: Check Out Retailers, New Stats

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From dozens of retailers that will chime in with fresh quarterly results to the leading maker of PCs hoping to cash in on a surprising revival of laptops, here are some of the things that will help shape the week that lies ahead on Wall Street.

Monday -- Urban Warfare

The new trading week kicks off Urban Outfitters (URBN). The apparel retailer also runs Anthropologie, Bhldn, Free People and Terrain. Diversification is paying off at a time when comparable retail segment net sales have been slipping at Urban Outfitters locations for the past few quarters. Anthropologie experienced an 8 percent uptick in its latest quarter, and Free People turned heads with its 25 percent surge.

Investors will want to see if Urban Outfitters is any closer to turning things around at the stores that bear its name, but if that doesn't pan out, they're going to want to make sure that its smaller concepts continue to make up for the shortfall.

Tuesday -- Market Metrics Mayhem

It's going to be a busy Tuesday morning for economists as they mull over fresh data. An hour before the market exchanges open we will get monthly updates on Consumer Price Index and housing starts.

The CPI is the market's best measuring stick for inflation. If prices start rising too rapidly, the Federal Reserve won't be able to justify today's low interest rates. Housing starts, as the name implies, counts the number of new residential buildings breaking ground in any given month. It's not just about tracking the health of the homebuilders. Housing starts create jobs and demand for building materials.

Wednesday -- The DL on HP

Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) may finally be at the right place at the right time. The world's largest PC maker has been sluggish in recent years as consumers replace laptops and desktops with tablets and smartphones. It also doesn't help that we're not firing up our HP printers the way that we used to in this era of email and digital snapshot sharing.

However, analysts see HP posting just a marginal dip in sales and a slight uptick in earnings per share when it reports quarterly results on Wednesday. With tablet sales starting to slow and PC sales starting to show signs of life, HP's patience in the PC market may be about to pay off.

Thursday -- Let the Games Begin

It's not just the PC industry seemingly coming back from the dead: GameStop (GME) reports on Thursday, and the video game retailer should experience a healthy surge in sales as diehard gamers flock to the Xbox One and PS4 consoles and games that were introduced last November.

Analysts are forecasting an 18 percent spike in sales, with profitability more than doubling. A big component of GameStop's model is the resale of used games and gear that customers exchange for store credit. With the new consoles relying heavily on digital delivery, it will be crucial to see that high-margin segment hold up well for GameStop.

Friday -- At the Mall

A lot of retailers will be reporting quarterly results this week, and that includes Ann Taylor (ANN) and Foot Locker (FL) checking in on Friday morning. Ann Taylor told investors earlier this month that comparable-store sales inched higher at its namesake chain, slipping at its Loft locations. The athletic footwear specialist hasn't pre-announced performance metrics for the quarter. Wall Street sees both companies chiming in with total sales growth in the mid-single digits.

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

6 Financial Issues to Tackle in the Fall
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Wall Street This Week: Check Out Retailers, New Stats
For many employers, open enrollment season for some benefits happens in October. This usually sneaks up on some people, who scramble to decipher benefits and make elections last minute. Although you won't be able to see the options until the enrollment period opens, take time now to review your benefits. Are you taking advantage of any 401(k) matches? Are your fully funding your Flexible Spending Account? What about employer offered life and disability insurance? (A fun infographic from the Council for Disability Awareness shows your risks). Maximize your benefits and don't leave any money on the table.
Back-to-school time can be expensive if you're not prepared. Money is spent on clothes, books, supplies and technology -- and that's before the doors to the classroom have even opened. Before hitting the stores, do these two things:
  • Conduct an online search for "coupon code" along with the name of any store you'll be shopping at. Typically you can find some great online deals.
  • Get a list from you class or teacher of specific type of notebook, calculator, etc. required. If you can't get child's "must haves" from ahead of time, buy just the bare minimums until school starts and the list is available.
It's hard to think about the holidays when we're just making it through summer, but now is the time to build up a financial cushion. Set yourself up with an automatic transfer to a separate savings account and participate in the Holiday Fund Money Challenge to build up a savings of $450. How much do you need for the gifts, travel, parties, entertaining, food and other holiday activities you anticipate? Planning will help to ease the stress that comes around the holidays.
In lieu of scrambling at the end of the year to make contributions to retirement accounts by Dec. 31, double-check your contributions now and determine if there's room in your cash flow to allow for an increase to possibly max out by year end.
Summer is a typically a time of transitions. There are weddings, moves to new homes, possibly a new family addition and more. If summer is the time when these events take place, fall should be the time to take stock of how they're panning out. If you're recently married and haven't already, now is the time to have the money talk with your spouse and make decisions about spending plans, merging (or not merging) accounts, beneficiary updates and more. If you've moved, check out how the new location has affected your cost of living spending in terms of activities, gas costs, groceries and more. Ultimately with any transition, you need to review your spending plan and determine what areas (if any) need to be adjusted.
If you're lucky enough to live in one of the states that actually experiences seasons, fall is the time to prep for energy savings by caulking and weatherstripping doors and windows, turning your thermostat back for a fixed period each day and insulating your attic, basement or outside walls.
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