5 Things to Watch This Week: Corporate America, GameStop, BioShock, Winnebago, BlackBerry
1. Corporate America goes in for a checkup. We'll get a somewhat decent snapshot on the state of businesses this week as Paychex (PAYX) and Steelcase (SCS) check in with fresh quarterly results.
Paychex is a leading provider of payroll services. If companies are hiring, the market will see it in Paychex's performance. Steelcase is a popular maker of office furniture. If companies are comfortable enough to invest in new desks and accessories, the market will see it in Steelcase's performance.
It will also be interesting to learn more about Steelcase's Gesture. The new chair will be introduced in the fall, providing flexible seating that's adaptable to the growing ways that employees engage with information. The popularity of tablets and smartphones have forced Steelcase into a new design as it hopes to redefine the market before somebody else takes the lead.
2. GameStop hits the brakes. It hasn't been easy selling video games these days. Sales of hardware and software have fallen sharply for three consecutive years, and 2013 is off to a lousy start. Industry tracker NPD Group recently revealed that retail sales of games dropped a stunning 27 percent last month when pitted against February of last year.
Diehard gamers are still loyal, but mainstream players are now perfectly fine with their free or nearly-free smartphone apps and social networking games.
It's against this chilly backdrop that GameStop (GME) steps up to post its financial results for the holiday quarter on Thursday.
It probably wasn't pretty. GameStop has lowered its same-store sales expectations four times over the past year. Share buybacks are helping prop up profitability, but the retailer that used to be the shining star of the strip mall has suffered as sales have sputtered.
3. BlackBerry has an uphill battle. BlackBerry (BBRY) finally released the Z10 in the U.S. this past weekend.
The new phone is the first one running the BlackBerry 10 mobile operating system that the Canadian company hopes will revitalize interest in its platform.
Investors will get a clearer snapshot of the smartphone pioneer when BlackBerry reports its quarterly results on Thursday. Wall Street's holding out for a fourth consecutive quarterly deficit. Revenue and subscribers will slip.
The market knows that the past isn't very flattering to BlackBerry. The stock will move on any indications that the company provides on how Z10 sales have fared early in its release.
4. Take-Two and call me in the morning. We've already covered the dimming prospects of the video game industry. Software sales are slumping, and last November's rollout of the Wii U that was supposed to breathe new life into the niche failed to impress enough gamers.
The silver lining for the industry is that there is still a market for marquee franchises: Hot games continue to sell millions of copies.
Take-Two Interactive (TTWO) hits the market with BioShock Infinity on Tuesday. The company is best known for its Grand Theft Auto franchise, and a new installment in that controversial series will be out later this year.
For now, the focus is on the BioShock franchise that has sold a combined 10 million copies in Take-Two's first two installments.
5. Your house is rolling. Many aspiring retirees dream of buying an RV and traveling around the country, but that's probably not a very popular dream at a time when gas prices are closing in on $4 a gallon.
Winnebago (WGO) reports on Thursday. The leading maker of RVs has struggled in the past when fuel costs spike, but it's also benefiting from an improving economy at the moment.
Wall Street's betting on the positives outweighing the pesky gas price negative. They see Winnebago posting a healthy profit, reversing a modest loss a year earlier. Analysts also see a nearly 30 percent surge in sales.
Apparently it's not just aspiring retirees carrying out their dreams of buying an RV to bring a new dimension to their road trips.
Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Paychex and Take-Two Interactive . The Motley Fool owns shares of GameStop and Winnebago Industries. Try any of our newsletter services free for 30 days.