Wall Street This Week: New iPhones, Old Cars

Pep Boys Unveils 23 Newly Remodeled Stores in Greater Chicago
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From an iconic auto parts retailer hoping to shift into reverse after a streak of negative quarters to the world's most valuable consumer tech giant showing off its new gadgetry, here are some of the things that will help shape the week that lies ahead on Wall Street.

Monday -- Pep Rally

The new trading week kicks off with Pep Boys (PBY) reporting quarterly results. The auto-parts retailer and provider of car maintenance and repair services has 800 locations across the country.

This has historically been an all-weather niche for investors. When the economy's smoking, drivers spruce up their rides. When the economy's in the tank, drivers hold on to their cars longer, requiring more money invested in maintaining and repairing their vehicles. This doesn't mean that investors should be expecting a strong report. Analysts see flattish earnings and sales growth. Making matters worse, Pep Boys has fallen short of Wall Street's profit targets in each of the four previous quarters. The trend suggests that Pep Boys may earn less than the 17 cents a share that the pros are forecasting.

Tuesday -- The Big Apple

We will finally get our first look at the iPhone 6 on Tuesday. Apple (AAPL) has scheduled a media event for Tuesday, and this is the time of year when the world's most valuable consumer tech company refreshes its smartphone line. Everything is pointing to a larger device. Sources have been telling tech blogs that we're also looking at a scratch-resistant screen and a chip-based transaction platform.

We may get more than just a shiny new smartphone out of Apple. Some have suggested that Apple will finally make its big splash into wearable computing. Apple could also update some of its other product lines or shock the world in a good way by entering into a brand-new product category.

Wednesday -- Retailers on Parade

A handful of retail chains will be updating the market with fresh quarterly reports. Wet Seal (WTSL), Five Below (FIVE) and Men's Wearhouse (MW) are just some of the store operators checking in with new financials.

Five Below and Men's Wearhouse are expected to check in with strong double-digit sales growth, but Wet Seal is going the wrong way: Analysts see another loss on declining sales. There always seems to be winners and losers in retail. The mall apparently isn't a level playing field.

Thursday -- Makeup Exam

Vanity is still a good business. Ulta Beauty (ULTA) runs a chain of 696 namesake retail outlets that offer a broad array of beauty care products while also providing a full slate of salon services.

Ulta Beauty reports quarterly results on Thursday, and it should be another period of encouraging growth. Back in June, Ulta offered up robust guidance for the quarter. At the time, it saw net sales growing from $601 million a year earlier to as much as $717 million. Brisk expansion and a forecast for comparable-store sales to climb between 5 percent and 7 percent -- on top of the 8.4 percent comps spike a year earlier -- suggest that beauty products and treatments are beautiful to investors.

Friday -- When You're Here, You're Family

Fridays are usually quiet on the earnings front, but that won't stop Olive Garden parent Darden Restaurants (DRI) from posting its quarterly results. Darden finally sold its Red Lobster chain for $2.1 billion this summer, but it also recently delayed its annual shareholder meeting.

With Olive Garden's comparable-restaurant sales in a funk, there's pressure on Darden's other chains to carry the load despite being a lot smaller than the Italian casual-dining restaurant. With activists angling for more say in the boardroom, it will be important for the struggling restaurant operator to deliver reasonable results in its final quarter before its rescheduled annual shareholder meeting.

Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Apple, Five Below and Ulta Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrance. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple and offers a look at the company of what could be its next smart device. The Motley Fool is short Five Below. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

6 Financial Issues to Tackle in the Fall
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Wall Street This Week: New iPhones, Old Cars
For many employers, open enrollment season for some benefits happens in October. This usually sneaks up on some people, who scramble to decipher benefits and make elections last minute. Although you won't be able to see the options until the enrollment period opens, take time now to review your benefits. Are you taking advantage of any 401(k) matches? Are your fully funding your Flexible Spending Account? What about employer offered life and disability insurance? (A fun infographic from the Council for Disability Awareness shows your risks). Maximize your benefits and don't leave any money on the table.
Back-to-school time can be expensive if you're not prepared. Money is spent on clothes, books, supplies and technology -- and that's before the doors to the classroom have even opened. Before hitting the stores, do these two things:
  • Conduct an online search for "coupon code" along with the name of any store you'll be shopping at. Typically you can find some great online deals.
  • Get a list from you class or teacher of specific type of notebook, calculator, etc. required. If you can't get child's "must haves" from ahead of time, buy just the bare minimums until school starts and the list is available.
It's hard to think about the holidays when we're just making it through summer, but now is the time to build up a financial cushion. Set yourself up with an automatic transfer to a separate savings account and participate in the Holiday Fund Money Challenge to build up a savings of $450. How much do you need for the gifts, travel, parties, entertaining, food and other holiday activities you anticipate? Planning will help to ease the stress that comes around the holidays.
In lieu of scrambling at the end of the year to make contributions to retirement accounts by Dec. 31, double-check your contributions now and determine if there's room in your cash flow to allow for an increase to possibly max out by year end.
Summer is a typically a time of transitions. There are weddings, moves to new homes, possibly a new family addition and more. If summer is the time when these events take place, fall should be the time to take stock of how they're panning out. If you're recently married and haven't already, now is the time to have the money talk with your spouse and make decisions about spending plans, merging (or not merging) accounts, beneficiary updates and more. If you've moved, check out how the new location has affected your cost of living spending in terms of activities, gas costs, groceries and more. Ultimately with any transition, you need to review your spending plan and determine what areas (if any) need to be adjusted.
If you're lucky enough to live in one of the states that actually experiences seasons, fall is the time to prep for energy savings by caulking and weatherstripping doors and windows, turning your thermostat back for a fixed period each day and insulating your attic, basement or outside walls.

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