Wall Street This Week: Disney Coasts, Twitter Posts
Monday -- It's a Rental
The new trading week kicks off on Groundhog Day. One of the companies serving up quarterly results will be Rent-A-Center (RCII). The chain of 3,020 stores that rent out everything from living room furniture to PCs is a good gauge for how the less affluent are faring. The poor and low-middle class that live paycheck to paycheck often lean on Rent-A-Center for appliance essentials. In a sign of the wireless times, Rent-A-Center even began offering smartphones last summer.
Rent-a-Center's core U.S. business has been sluggish lately, but it still provides an important snapshot on consumer trends.
Tuesday -- The Happiest Earnings Report on Earth
Disney (DIS) reports on Tuesday. The family entertainment giant hit an all-time high earlier this year, and naturally a strong report could help propel the stock even higher.
Disney's been hitting on all cylinders lately. Its theme parks are posting record attendance. ESPN has never been more popular. There's excitement building for upcoming Pixar, Marvel and now Lucasfilm projects. At a time when content is king, Disney continues to be the undisputed leader of family-friendly fare.
Wednesday -- GM Revs Up
Wednesday will be another busy day this earnings season, and one of the bigger names reporting is General Motors (GM). We already saw Ford (F) post quarterly reports this past Thursday, paving the way for GM's numbers. Ford came through with better-than-expected earnings despite pesky losses in its European operations.
Analysts see flat sales growth at GM, but they're holding out for healthy gains on the bottom line. Wall Street's forecasting a profit of 83 cents a share, up nicely from the 67 cents a share it posted a year earlier.
Thursday -- Home Tweet Home
We take social media for granted these days. No one even still uses the "Web 2.0" term that came to define sites that feasted on user interaction. We'll get a glimpse into that world on Thursday when Twitter (TWTR) checks in with its latest quarterly financials.
The challenge for Twitter has always been monetization. The microblog juggernaut gets plenty of traffic. That would normally lend itself to a barrage of advertising, but folks aren't ready to see a ton of ads creep into their feeds. If they're consuming brief broadcasts, how many "promoted by" sponsored tweets will they put up with sandwiched between the missives that they're following? Twitter is getting better at things, and recently it began testing a premium "buy" button for those selling products and services to stand out.
Twitter reports on Thursday, and all of its monetization efforts appear to be paying off. Wall Street sees profitability tripling, with revenue nearly doubling for the quarter.
Friday -- He Lives in a Pineapple Under the Sea
The end of the trading week is when new movies hit the silver screen. After a few weeks in which the highest-grossing films were adult-oriented fare, the top draw this weekend could be the kid-friendly "The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water."
Viacom's (VIA) popular Nickelodeon show has been the network's most popular show for a long time. The first SpongeBob theatrical release topped $85 million in domestic ticket sales 11 years ago. We'll find out soon enough if the franchise still has sea legs.
Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz owns shares of Ford and Walt Disney. The Motley Fool recommends Ford, General Motors, Twitter and Walt Disney. The Motley Fool owns shares of Ford, Twitter and Walt Disney. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. Is your portfolio ready for what the new year has to offer? Check out our free report for one great stock to buy for 2015 and beyond.