The Fool Looks Ahead

There's never a dull week on Wall Street. Let's go over some of the news that will shape the week to come.

The new trading week kicks off with J.B. Hunt Transport reporting. It's been a busy month for analysts just getting up to speed with the trucker. BMO Capital Markets initiated coverage with an "outperform" rating, followed by Cleveland Research with a more somber "neutral" rating.

J.B. Hunt is naturally a fair proxy for the economy, giving the market a fair snapshot of shipping activity within the country. The prognosis on that front seem favorable. Analysts see double-digit percentage growth on both the top and bottom lines when J.B. Hunt reports on Monday afternoon.

Intel reports on Tuesday. The chip giant has tried to make the most of the drying-up demand drying for its flagship PC market by expanding into the gadgetry that folks are actually buying. It's a good strategy. PC shipments have posted year-over-year declines for six consecutive quarters.

Analysts see flat revenue growth on a slight dip in profitability when Intel offers its fresh financials on Tuesday afternoon.

Bank of America steps up on Wednesday morning. The "too big to fail" banks began reporting quarterly results on Friday -- and a few biggies will report earlier in the week -- so Bank of America won't be planting the flag here. The banking behemoth will probably fall in line with its peers.

Investors should still try to take in as many of big banking reports as possible. Screen the calls and see if there are any recurring trends in terms of mortgage and loan applications, asset tallies, and other themes that may have broader implications than merely for the financial services industry.

If at first you don't succeed, there's always a place to the right of the decimal. Microsoft will make Windows 8.1 available online on Thursday.

It's been a year since the software giant introduced Windows 8. The new operating system was supposed to breathe new life into the tired PC industry. Microsoft has boasted about selling a ton of Windows 8 licenses, but mixed critical reviews and declining PC shipments paint a different picture.

Microsoft hopes the update fixes some of the shortcomings of Windows 8 and offers up enhanced features. We'll see how many people are open to upgrading in what is gradually becoming an operating system-agnostic world.

The market is typically quiet on Friday, but that won't stop General Electric from reporting. Investors who remember GE as a market darling during Jack Welch's tenure will want to lower their expectations. Analysts see a profit of $0.35 a share, just shy of the $0.36 it rang up a year ago. They also see the well-known conglomerate's revenue slipping 1% to fall below $36 billion.

I'm not sure if GE still uses the "we bring good things to life" slogan these days, but it may not be such a bad idea to see if either end of its income statement has a pulse.

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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Bank of America and Intel and owns shares of Bank of America, General Electric, Intel, and Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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