Stocks to Watch This Week: Hoop Dreams, Home Decor

General Views Of Pier 1 Imports Inc. Stores Ahead Of Earns Figures
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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 fresh financials from a home furnishings retailer that has been one of the market's hottest stocks over the past five years to a major broadcaster bracing for a spike in viewership as it hosts the biggest game of the college basketball season, here are some of the things that will help shape the week that lies ahead on Wall Street.

Monday -- March Madness Ends in April

It will be a slow day on the financial news front, but Monday night should be special for CBS (CBS). The network is a slam dunk to lead the way in ratings as it broadcasts the NCAA basketball championship game. Sports bars and online sporting websites and social media hubs should also be buzzing, but CBS -- has hosted collegiate basketball's final tournament game for 32 consecutive years -- will be the big winner.

Tuesday -- If You Don't Succeed the First 39 Times

Norm Larsen was a chemist working on a formula to prevent corrosion by displacing water in 1953. After 39 botched attempts, he succeeded on the next try. Water Displacement, 40th formula is the name he used to describe the compound in his lab book, and now we know it as the shortened WD-40.

The multi-purpose lubricant has become a staple in homes, handyman toolboxes and garages. Other products from WD-40 (WDFC) include Lava hand cleaner, X-14 mildew stain remover and 2000 Flushes automatic toilet bowl cleaner. WD-40 reports on Tuesday, shortly after the market close.

Wednesday -- Go with the Flo

As bland as the insurance industry may be, it sure finds a way to incorporate colorful concepts in its marketing campaigns. There's the Geico gecko, the AFLAC duck and Flo from Progressive.

%VIRTUAL-article-sponsoredlinks%Progressive (PGR) reports on Wednesday. It is the fourth-largest insurer in the auto industry, but it is the top dog when it comes to motorcycle insurance. It's also a major player in commercial auto insurance. Analysts see a profit of 40 cents a share when Progressive reports quarterly results on Wednesday. It posted net income of 42 cents a share during the same period a year earlier.

Thursday -- Pier Pressure

Pier 1 Imports (PIR) has been one of the market's biggest winners since bottoming out at 10 cents five years ago. The stock trades for nearly $20 now. Wall Street sees earnings declining by nearly a third to 41 cents a share on a slight sip in sales when it reports on Thursday.

Friday -- It Pays to Be the Banker

Earnings season won't begin in earnest until the following week, but two of banking's biggest names will kick things off by reporting on Friday morning. Wells Fargo (WFC) and JPMorgan Chase (JPM) will step up with fresh financials.

The "too big to fail" banks have been generally improving alongside the economy. They're no longer taking the credit risks that got them in trouble several years ago, but the industry still has a long way to go to win back the confidence of consumers.

The market's holding out for mixed results. Analysts see marginal bottom-line improvement at Wells Fargo, but they also see profitability declining at JPMorgan.

Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Progressive and Wells Fargo. The Motley Fool owns shares of JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo.

7 Tax Tips for Investors
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Stocks to Watch This Week: Hoop Dreams, Home Decor
The 1099 forms you received from brokerages and other financial institutions might not be the last ones they send. It's common for them to issue corrected versions a little later. Consider getting your tax return ready to go, then waiting until close to April 15 before submitting it. That way, you can incorporate any last-minute changes and avoid having to file an amended return.
Pay attention to when you sell any holding, because the capital gains tax rates differ for long-term and short-term holdings. Short-term capital gains are taxed at your ordinary income tax rate, which could top 30 percent. Long-term gains (those held for more than a year) get preferential rates, which are zero percent for those in low-income brackets and 15 percent for most of us.
If you own underwater stocks, consider selling them for a loss. You can use those losses to offset gains from other sales, reducing your taxes owed. You can always buy back the asset later, if you still believe in it -- just be sure to wait for 31 days to pass, to observe the "wash sale rule."
If you're planning to sell one or more holdings that will give you a really big gain, submit an amended W-4 form to increase your withholding, or send the IRS an estimated tax payment. Underpaying your taxes significantly during the year can lead to a penalty at tax time. You may be protected by a "safe harbor" provision, though, which can save you from having to jump through those hoops.
If you're planning to buy shares of a mutual fund, determine when it will distribute its dividends. Many funds do so near the end of the year, and when that happens, the fund's share price will drop by the amount of the distribution -- which is taxable to shareholders. It's better to just wait until after that payout to buy in.
Mutual funds with high turnover ratios (reflecting a lot of buying and selling in a fund) have expenses for these trades. It's worth favoring funds with low turnover ratios, especially index funds and index-tracking ETFs, which simply hold onto the mix of securities in a given index, without a lot of trading activity. (Index funds generally outperform their higher-turnover counterparts, too.)
Boost the power of your Individual Retirement Accounts by making your annual contributions early in the year, giving the funds more time to grow. Over decades, it can make a significant difference.
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