From a phone with revolutionary features being introduced to a home furnishings retailer hosting its annual shareholder meeting, here are some of the things that will help shape the week that lies ahead on Wall Street.
Monday -- Hire Ground
The new trading week kicks off with Korn/Ferry International (KFY) reporting quarterly results. The provider of executive recruitment, leadership development programs and other human resources offerings will post its fresh financials after the market close.
Korn/Ferry is a decent proxy for corporate America. If there's busy recruiting activity among white collar positions or companies are investing in upgrading their execs, it's a fair indicator that the economy's on the upswing. Analysts see a sharp improvement in net income on a modest uptick in revenue.
Tuesday -- Sausage Casings
Bob Evans Farms (BOBE) has made a living serving up comfort food. Whether it's through its chain of 562 casual dining restaurants or its deeper reach into supermarkets with its retail line of Southern vittles, Bob Evans fills the bellies of folks who aren't paying much attention to calorie counts.
Bob Evans reports financial results on Tuesday afternoon, and hosts its conference call the next morning. It is expected to post a drop in profitability, and it's probably not a good omen that it has fallen short in back-to-back quarters ahead of Tuesday's report.
Wednesday -- Amazon's Amazing Race
Amazon.com (AMZN) is hosting a media event on Wednesday, and the popular bet is that it will introduce a smartphone with holographic technology that delivers immersive 3-D graphics. Amazon has hinted as such: It put out a teaser video with folks tilting their heads as they eyed the mystery product. Amazon's invitation also spells out that this will be a new device, so we're not talking about merely a new twist to its Kindle Fire tablet line.
It's easy to argue that Amazon is late to this game. However, with Amazon's disruptive tendencies and penchant for selling proprietary products at or below cost in order to make it back in high-margin download sales, it's not smart to bet against CEO Jeff Bezos.
Thursday -- Black and Blue Berry
A day after Amazon hopes to wow the market with its new device, we will be visited by the Ghost of Smartphones Past when BlackBerry (BBRY) reports quarterly results. BlackBerry may have been a market darling as a smartphone pioneer, but these days it's Android and iOS dominating the market as BlackBerry's operating system and devices fade in popularity.
Wall Street's bracing for another loss, with revenue taking another plunge. It's an important lesson to the companies making the mobile gadgetry in demand these days. It's hard to regain your shine once your flagship product peaks.
Friday -- Pier Pressure
Pier 1 Imports (PIR) hosts its annual shareholder meeting on Friday. The home furnishings retailer has come a long way since the stock was teetering on bankruptcy, trading for just 10 cents a share five years ago.
%VIRTUAL-article-sponsoredlinks%The stock is in the high teens these days, so you know that it has found its footing. Pier 1 clawed its way back into popularity as the financial crisis eased and residential real estate began to bounce back.
Friday's annual meeting should be a positive event, though investors may be concerned that growth is slowing. It also doesn't help that Pier 1 is trading lower than it was a year ago.
Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Amazon.com.
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From 1945 to 1964, there was a radio or TV program called "Queen for a Day." This is similar, only it's real life, not a game show. Castlerentals.net allows you to rent castles in Ireland, France and Britain. It can be pricey –- at the time of this writing, one castle started at 7,500 euros ($10,300), with no mention of whether this is a daily, weekend or weekly rate. On one hand, if you have to ask, you probably can't afford it. On the other hand, the Chateau de Montfluery, near Vic-le-Comte, France, costs only 1,200 euros for a weekend. For 14 guests, it might not seem too steep.
This isn't buying a dress, wearing it and returning it, hoping nobody will notice the wine stain. At RenttheRunway.com, customers are encouraged to rent (for four to eight days) designer dresses and accessories, like jewelry and handbags, for a big event and then mail them back in a prepaid envelope. How much cheaper is renting than buying it? It depends on the outfit, but a Hervé Léger dress is retailing for $1,950 –- or you can rent it for $200. A dress by Shoshanna that retails for $385 can be rented for $40.
You can buy and rent islands at PrivateIslandsOnline.com. Yes, most are listed as "price upon request," meaning they're out of reach from the typical middle-class income, but you could rent an island for a night, with some listings going for less than $500.
At HighlandTitles.com, you'll discover that 29.99 pounds can buy a square foot of property in Scotland. Then, because you'll be a land owner (albeit a minor land owner), you can call yourself laird, lord or lady. All of the site's profits, according to the website, go toward protecting Scotland's green space.
No doubt about it, hiring a private jet is squarely in the realm of the rich. But the daily deals at JetSuite.com can be attractive. You'll have to hurry since the deals are for the day of, but on the day this was written, there were three flights available from various locations in California and Nevada. If you wanted, for instance, to fly from Reno, Nevada, across the state to Las Vegas, you could have the entire jet for $536. With four seats, for a family of four, that's arguably cheaper than the airlines – and if you split the cost with friends, you could fly into Vegas in style.
In six cities now (and more on the way), KitchenSurfing.com lets you hire a personal chef. Prices start at $50 per person, which seems about on par with what you might spend at a fancy restaurant -– but you're getting the personal chef in your home. For an anniversary dinner, $50 and up per person seems like a deal.
Get your own personal driver for occasional trips. Car services that send a driver to pick you up are becoming more popular. Uber is probably the best-known of the bunch.
You know how when you book some hotels, especially if you want a good rate, you're locked into paying even if something comes up and you can't go? And you know things do come up sometimes. RoomerTravel.com has created a business model around that. Travelers can buy unused hotel rooms at a discount from hapless travelers who can no longer stay there. According to the company, it's typical to get up to 40 percent off the original booking price. Sample deals at the time this was written: a room at the Hyatt Regency Chicago, which regularly goes for $196 a night, was listed at $85, and a $563 room at St. Ermin's Hotel in London was $180.
If you can't live large from a financial perspective, you could approach the concept from a literal perspective and just feel large -– by buying a tiny house. One of the smaller listings on TinyHouseListings.com is just 120 square feet, yet it has "a loft, full-sized bed, working full-sized toilet and shower." You won't feel rich, but you will feel eco-friendly, which along with the price is the selling point for living in such a tiny home (this one's in Knoxville, Tennessee). That said, you'll want to go elsewhere if there is a hurricane or tornado coming. Or maybe any strong breeze.