5 Things to Watch Next Week: Tablets, iPhones, Banks, Schools, and Air Beds
There's never a dull moment on Wall Street, especially when new tablets and old banks are in the way. Let's go over some of the items that will help shape the week ahead once Monday rolls around.
1. Coming Xoom: Verizon (VZ) and Motorola Mobility (MMI) have a media event scheduled for Tuesday.
The "Faster. Thinner. Smarter. Stronger." teaser leaves little doubt as to what this will be about. Motorola's Xoom -- the high-end tablet that hit the market earlier this year -- is due for an upgrade.
The one word missing in the teaser is "Cheaper" since iPad contesters have come up short in battling Apple's (AAPL) iconic tablet on specs. It would be great to give Verizon and Motorola the benefit of the doubt, but it's going to be hard for any non-iPad tablet to get the market excited if it can't beat Apple on price.
It's also quite possible that Motorola learned its lesson about taking on the iPad and that this will simply be an event to promote the Droid smartphone line. That would make too much sense, so let's just stick to the new Xoom theory.
2. An Apple a day: Speaking of the iEverything company, it's going to be a busy week for Apple. The iPhone 4S hits stores today, and that means Apple will likely issue a press release on Monday touting the chunky weekend sales metric.
Apple delivers its fiscal fourth-quarter results Tuesday, after the market close. The company will probably have a reflection or two on Steve Jobs, but then it will dig into the numbers. It should be another strong quarter for iPad and iPhone sales, and a decent one for Macs.
Don't be disheartened if there's a year-over-year dip in iPod sales. It's been that way for some time, as iPads and iPhones are the new champions of Apple's fast-growing iOS empire.
If that's still not enough Apple-centric news, AT&T (T) and Verizon -- two of the three domestic wireless carriers that began selling the iPhone today -- will have their reports later in the week. Analysts will ask them for an early read on iPhone trends.
3. You can bank on it: If you're a fan (or foe) of banking stocks, next week is going to pack more interest than your savings account. On the conventional banking front, Citigroup (C), Bank of America (BAC), Wells Fargo (WFC), BB&T (BBT), and Fifth Third Bancorp (FITB) are just some of the banking heavies reporting their quarterly results.
If investment banking is more your speed, Goldman Sachs (GS) and Morgan Stanley (MS) are slated to report.
You don't need to be a placard-holding protester at an Occupy Wall Street rally to know that banks aren't very popular these days. Whether because of the Troubled Asset Relief Program or the new wave of debit card fees, it's natural to be oozing venom. Save it; redirect it at the banks when they report next week.
4. Showtime at the Apollo: For-profit post-secondary educators seemed to be a hot sector during the early stages of the recession several years ago. Apollo Group's (APOL) University of Phoenix led the way of virtual campuses where folks could earn new college degrees on their own terms -- and for a lot less than traditional universities.
Then came the school of hard knocks: Circulation began dwindling at Apollo, and way too many deadbeat virtual scholars stopped paying their student loans.
Apollo reports Wednesday, and analysts see profitability falling 28% to $0.94 a share. It won't be a new curriculum: Apollo has posted declines in year-over-year earnings in its two most recent quarters.
5. A good night's sleep: Air-chambered mattresses may not sound very sexy, but tell that to the lucky Select Comfort (SCSS) investors who picked up shares near its $0.19 bottom three years ago. The maker of the Sleep Number bed is now trading in the teens, making it one of the market's biggest winners in that time.
To be fair, things seemed pretty gloomy back then. It didn't seem like consumers would ever be interested in paying a premium for mattresses with adjustable firmness settings. Those who nailed the pessimistic bottom are sleeping on an 80-bagger now.
Select Comfort reports Wednesday, letting well-rested shareholders know if its turnaround is still on track.
As a Sleep Number bed owner -- and former shareholder that sold too soon -- I kick myself to sleep sometimes.
Longtime Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz does not owns shares in any of the stocks in this article. The Motley Fool owns shares of Fifth Third Bancorp, Apple, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Apple and AT&T. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a bull call spread position in Apple.