You can never know in advance all the news that will move the market in a given week, but some things you can see coming. From Microsoft stepping up to the earnings soapbox after a tablet price cut, to eBay offering up its latest quarterly results, here are some of the items that will help shape the week that lies ahead on Wall Street.
1. What's Next for AT&T: It wasn't a quiet weekend for AT&T (T). The company turned heads after Friday's close to announce a $1.2 billion deal to acquire smaller rival Leap Wireless (LEAP). However, AT&T already had consumer gadgetry bloggers looking in the telco giant's direction after invitations went out for a media event that will take place on Tuesday.
AT&T is promising to reveal "what's next in wireless" for the country's second largest wireless carrier. One popular theory is that AT&T is going to announce greater speed or more thorough coverage to its customers. However, it could also be new products or perhaps a pricing change to counter Sprint's (S) move last week to undercut its competition.
2. Hard Times for Microsoft: Microsoft (MSFT) also made news over the weekend, slashing the price of its poorly selling Surface RT tablets by $150. It never made sense for the software giant to charge iPad level prices on its tablets powered by its scaled-back Windows RT operating system.
Microsoft also was pretty busy last week by announcing an organizational makeover.
We'll get a closer look at the world's largest software company when it reports quarterly results on Thursday. These aren't easy times for Microsoft. PC shipments have fallen for five consecutive quarters. Microsoft isn't gaining traction against iOS and Android in the smartphone space. Its Xbox boss just left for another company. This week would be a great time for Microsoft to sell investors on its reorganization plan.
3. Bidding on eBay: Another tech giant reporting this week is eBay (EBAY). It steps up with fresh financials on Wednesday. It won't be a surprise to see its faster growing PayPal subsidiary once again be the star performer. There's nothing inherently broken with eBay's namesake auction marketplace, but it's the company's financial payment platform that has been serving as the growth driver here in recent years.
Analysts see revenue and earnings growing nearly 15 percent for the quarter. The forecasts could prove conservative, as eBay has managed to beat Wall Street's profit targets every single time over the past year.
4. Chips Ahoy: It's not just Microsoft smarting from the fifth consecutive quarter of declining PC shipments. Intel (INTC) and Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) feasted during the computer's heyday with their microprocessors.
It's a different world these days, and Intel and AMD have struggled to diversify. Intel has increased its efforts to get inside of more smartphones and tablets, the consumer electronics gadgetry that's growing at the expense of desktops and laptops. AMD set its sights on graphics, but in a major coup it will now be the company powering all three video game consoles when the Xbox One and PS4 join Wii U in the market later this year.
The two semiconductor giants aren't growing at the moment. Intel and AMD are expected to post declines in revenue and net income when they report on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively. The important takeaway in the reports will be their near-term outlooks.
5. Big G Needs to Come Up Big: This will be the busiest week of earnings season for tech giants, so naturally Google (GOOG) isn't going to be left out of the party.
The world's leading search engine and online advertising platform provider closed out last week at an all-time high. Seriously. The stock's close of $923 is actually the highest that the shares have ever been ahead of this week's trading action. Now it's going to have to earn it.
Google reports on Thursday afternoon. Don't be fooled by a big jump in revenue. Last year's Motorola Mobility acquisition is padding Google's top-line performance. The more important metric will be earnings growth, and analysts are only eyeing net income per share to climb by less than 7 percent.
Google may never be as valuable as it is today, but it has been a better grower in the past.
Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends eBay, Google, and Intel. The Motley Fool owns shares of eBay, Google, Intel, and Microsoft.