5 Dates for Savvy Investors to Circle in January

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Let's check out some of the potentially market-shaping events that will take place in the coming weeks.

Jan. 7

One of the more volatile grocery store chains reports on Wednesday morning. SuperValu (SVU) saw its stock surrender more than two-thirds of its value through 2012 as it eliminated its dividend, closed down some supermarkets and generally fell short of expectations. It went on to gain most of that back through 2013, going on to beat the market again in 2014.

Growth has stabilized at SuperValu, and we should continue to see slow yet steady improvement when it reports this week.

Jan. 14

The new earnings season kicks off next week when JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and Wells Fargo (WFC) step up with their results for the fourth quarter. The rest of the "too big to fail" banks will follow in the next few trading days.

There's plenty riding on this earnings season (given the potent nature of the holiday shopping season), the favorable headwinds in many industries (given plunging oil costs) and the gradually improving economy.

Jan. 15

SeaWorld Entertainment (SEAS) has been a disappointment, and an executive shakeup at the theme park operator kicks in next week when its chairman replaces SeaWorld's president and CEO.

It will only be an interim change. SeaWorld's board is searching for a new CEO. Lining up an outsider would help given the battering that the brand has taken since the 2013 rollout of the "Blackfish" documentary that took the chain's treatment of orcas to task.

Jan. 23

It isn't easy being McDonald's (MCD) these days. The world's largest burger chain has been struggling, particularly in its home turf, where it has suffered negative year-over-year comparable-restaurant sales in 12 of the past 13 months.

The market will get a glimpse into the chain's turnaround plans when it reports quarterly results later this month. The financials themselves aren't likely to be pretty: Analysts are holding out for a 5 percent drop in revenue and an even larger decline in profitability.

Jan. 26

Apple (AAPL) had a great holiday quarter by most accounts, and that should become clear by the end of the month, when tech's most notable bellwether reports its latest financial results.

Wall Street's holding out for a strong report. They see Apple's revenue climbing 15 percent to top $66 billion. They see earnings per share soaring 23 percent, a welcome change from where Apple was a year earlier when margins were contracting.

It's easy to see why Apple is shining these days. The iPhone 6 and the higher-margin iPhone 6 Plus have been in heavy demand since rolling out in late September. Apple has also experienced a revival in its Macs line. The wild card at Apple is the iPad. Sales of the niche-defining tablet have started to stall in recent quarters, and it remains to be seen if the latest refresh will help the product line stage a comeback. In any case, it should still be a solid report out of Apple.

Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz owns shares of SeaWorld Entertainment. The Motley Fool recommends Apple, McDonald's and Wells Fargo. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. Check out our free report on our favorite high-yielding dividend stocks.
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