5 Dates to Circle in March


March may signal the end of the holiday-tethered earnings season, but that doesn't mean that there won't be a lot of things for investors to watch.

From a new video game to a gutsy retailing initiative, let's start looking out to some of the events that will unfold this month.

March 3
Best Buy kicked off the month by reporting financial results for its holiday quarter this morning. It wasn't pretty, with earnings taking a dive, but the superstore chain hits another interesting milestone later this weekend.

The consumer electronics retailer will begin price matching many online merchants across all categories starting on Sunday.

Best Buy experimented with some e-tail price matching over the holidays, but now it plans to expand the guarantee to 19 major online competitors on nearly all in-stock products when asked by a customer.

Best Buy is calling this the end to showrooming, but it might really be the end of profit margins as it knew it as customers get progressively smarter, armed with deal-sniffing smartphones.

March 4
One of the hottest sectors for investors last year was weight-loss drugs.

The FDA has finally cleared the way for new treatments, and several public companies have been soaring. Arena Pharmaceuticals treated investors to a 382% pop last year, and it will kick off the next trading week with its latest quarterly report on Monday.

Analysts see a sharply lower deficit out of Arena on a big increase in revenue. I guess you can call that weight loss on its bottom line.

March 12
The video game console industry has been sputtering, and PC games are also feeling the pinch.

Activision Blizzard will be hoping to make its mark with the release of Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm.

This is the first expansion pack being offered for the popular Starcraft II computer game, introducing 20 new missions to enhance the game play.

Activision Blizzard has enough games in the pipeline that it can bounce back quickly if this release doesn't pan out, but the problematic industry that has seen its sales slide for three years could use every winner that it can get.

March 21
Nike has evolved into a true fitness lifestyle brand.

It's no longer about the athletic footwear and branded apparel. Nike became the biggest player in wearable fitness monitoring when it introduced it Nike+ FuelBand early last year.

The high-tech bracelet that monitors steps and calories burned and ultimately offers its proprietary metric called Nike Fuel has been popular despite the $150 price point.

We'll get a clear snapshot of Nike's own health when it reports in three weeks. Analysts see revenue climbing 7% and profitability moving 11% higher on a per-share basis.

Nike has a good slugging percentage on the bottom line. The "just do it" giant has beaten Wall Street profit targets in six of the past seven quarters.

March 27
If it seems as if it was ages ago that BlackBerry unveiled its new mobile operating system and the two initial smartphones that will feature BlackBerry 10, it's probably because it was ages ago.

The only surprise is that BlackBerry's new phones are still not available in the U.S. with the hype starting to fade.

There was a March 27 release date reportedly leaked at one of the carriers a few weeks ago. That's unlikely to stick, but let's go with that until the company tells us otherwise.

There's plenty riding on the new phone. Android and iOS continue to corner the market, and the arrival of Windows Phone 8 late last year hasn't made much of a dent.

The chances of BlackBerry succeeding are slim, but the shares are priced so low that the stock may be one of this year's biggest gainers if the Z10 and keyboard-packing Q10 devices turn heads when they're finally available.

Give me more
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The article 5 Dates to Circle in March originally appeared on Fool.com.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Aristotle Munarriz has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Activision Blizzard and Nike. The Motley Fool owns shares of Activision Blizzard and Nike. 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.

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