5 Things to Watch: This Week's Earnings Are Fun for All Ages


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 system finally hitting the market to a risky casino operator's earnings report, here are some of the items that will help shape the week that lies ahead on Wall Street.

Monday -- The House Always Wins: Betting on Caesars Entertainment (CZR) has been a winning wager in recent months, as shares of the casino operator have more than doubled in 2013. Beyond its popular casinos that stretch across four different continents, Caesars also owns the World Series of Poker.

If you've ever walked into a Harrah's or checked out the Paris, Rio, or Flamingo in Las Vegas, then you've been to a Caesars property. The bad news for investors is that Caesars isn't holding a very strong hand at the moment. Analysts are bracing for a steep quarterly loss on flat revenue when it reports its latest results after Monday's market close.

Tuesday -- You've Got Mail: It's not easy being in the metered mail business these days. Emails and text messages have replaced mailed letters as a form of communication, and Pitney Bowes (PBI) has been smarting. The country's leading player in metered mail is struggling in this climate, and after 30 years of consistent dividend increases, Pitney Bowes slashed its payouts earlier this year.

Pitney Bowes reports on Tuesday morning, and no one will be shocked to find it posting lower revenue and earnings than it did a year earlier. One can always mail "Get Well Soon" cards to Pitney Bowes shareholders, but isn't the point here that you can save time and money by firing up Skype or pecking out a social networking website note?

Wednesday -- Games People Play: It has been an inauspicious start for NVIDIA's (NVDA) risky attempt to make a splash in the mobile gaming market with the NVIDIA Shield. The Shield is a high-end handheld gaming device with a controller and high-def touchscreen on the outside, and the company''s raw processing power on the inside.

It was supposed to hit the market at $350 last month, but thanks to a last-minute $50 price cut and a buggy component, the Android-based device is hitting retailers on Wednesday. The rub here is that even at $300, NVIDIA may be overplaying its hand here. Gamers may be unlikely to make that kind of investment for an unproven device in an equally unproven platform.

Thursday -- Frogs Can Be Princes: Making games has been a losing game for toy makers this earnings season. Hasbro (HAS) fell after posting disappointing quarterly results this past week, weighed down by a huge drop in toys for boys. Mattel (MAT) took a hit the week before that as Barbie sales plummeted 12 percent.

Toys aren't necessarily toast. It bears pointing out that Mattel's overall sales did grow slightly during the period. Hasbro also experienced a nice gain in its board games business.

It's against this backdrop that LeapFrog Enterprises (LF) checks in on Thursday afternoon with its own financials for the same period that tripped up the larger Hasbro and Mattel. Analysts see top-line growth and bottom-line improvement at the company behind the popular electronic learning toys. This may come as a surprise, since LeapFrog's educational gadgetry is the kind of stuff that one might think is an easy target for disruption by smartphone and tablet apps. However, LeapFrog has gotten ahead of the trend by making its own gadgetry more portable, app-centric and kid-durable.

Friday -- I Want My MTV: These are interesting times to be a video content creator. On one hand, premium streaming services are giving studios and cable networks new ways to cash in on magnetic content. On the other hand, consumers are tiring of paying cable and satellite television bills that continue to inch higher, stalling growth on that front.

Viacom (VIA) knows the challenges and the opportunities. It's the media giant behind MTV, Nickelodeon, and Comedy Central. On Friday morning, Viacom will also be screening its own fiscal third-quarter results. It may also shed some light on exactly what happened two months ago when it failed to get its content licensing deal with Netflix (NFLX) renewed but came back shortly after that to strike a streaming deal with Amazon.com (AMZN).

The field of entertainment has never been this entertaining.

Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz owns shares of Netflix. The Motley Fool recommends Amazon.com, Hasbro, LeapFrog Enterprises, Mattel, Netflix, and NVIDIA. The Motley Fool owns shares of Amazon.com, Hasbro, LeapFrog Enterprises, and Netflix. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.
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