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 a new video game franchise rolling out to earnings out of the world's largest retailer, here are some of the items that will help shape the week that lies ahead on Wall Street.
Monday -- Fuel for Thought: Energy-based limited partnerships have become popular investments for investors seeking high yields in a climate where traditional fixed income vehicles are returning a pittance. Northern Tier Energy (NTI) is one of those income magnets. If the downstream energy company can keep its payout at the $1.23 per unit rate it declared during the first quarter, that would equate to a yield of roughly 20 percent.
Naturally, there's no such thing as a free lunch: The higher the yield, the greater the risk. That goes without saying. Northern Tier Energy operates a refinery and a chain of convenience stores, and there will be volatility in those businesses. Northern Tier will report its quarterly results and its latest quarterly distribution after the market close on Monday.
Tuesday -- Splash Zone: Guests attending the signature killer whale show at one of the SeaWorld parks in California, Florida, and Texas know the drill. Sitting in one of the first few rows is nearly a guarantee you'll get drenched as Shamu comes splashing down.
Investors can now do the same thing. SeaWorld Entertainment (SEAS) went public four months ago, giving fans of the theme park chain (that also includes Busch Gardens and Aquatica) a way to get soaked in the company's financial fortunes.
It's worked out well so far. SeaWorld is trading well above April's IPO at $27 a share. When SeaWorld reports its quarterly results on Tuesday afternoon investors will get their first taste of how the company's doing during the seasonally potent summer. Investors better hope that the numbers are so hot that they'll need a Shamu splashdown to cool down.
Wednesday -- Don't Mix Them Up: Sysco (SYY) and Cisco (CSCO) may sound the same, but they're entirely different companies. Sysco is the country's largest foodservice company, providing restaurants, commissaries, and institutions with their edibles and supplies. Cisco is the top dog in routers and other networking equipment.
Sysco reports on Monday morning, but Cisco will be the one that bears watching when it reports on Wednesday.
Investors see modest single-digit percentage growth in revenue and earnings in its latest quarter, but Cisco isn't as boring as the slow growth would seem to suggest. It's actually been extremely volatile, culminating in a move to unload its Flip camera business and other consumer-facing endeavors.
Thursday -- What's Next, Walmart?: The world's largest retailer reports on Thursday morning.
Walmart (WMT) can be a polarizing company. Activists argue that the discount department store chain should be setting a better example by paying its employees more. Shoppers counter that Walmart's low prices give them more money to spend on other things.
Walmart claims that 60 percent of the country shops at one of its stores in any given month. But despite the allure of low prices, same-store sales slipped at Walmart in its previous quarter. Investors will want to see if discounter can bounce back or if shoppers have traded up to more traditional department store chains and supermarkets as the economy takes baby steps toward recovery.
Friday -- To Infinity and Beyond: There isn't a lot happening on the earnings front to close out the trading week, but investors will want to see how Disney's (DIS) new video game pans out. "Disney Infinity" will be released over the weekend, and unlike traditional console games, this is more than just a disc-based experience.
Disney is rolling out some of its more popular characters as figurines that plug into a port and then enter the game's virtual playground. This is exactly what Activision Blizzard (ATVI) has successfully done with "Skylanders" over the past two years, but Disney has the advantage of having widely known characters and a deep bench to keep putting out more and more playable figurines. It will be interesting to see how Disney fares, especially since its interactive division was one of the two subsidiaries to post declines for the family entertainment giant last quarter.
Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz owns shares of Walt Disney. The Motley Fool recommends Activision Blizzard, Cisco Systems, Sysco, and Walt Disney. The Motley Fool owns shares of Activision Blizzard and Walt Disney. Try any of our newsletter services free for 30 days.