Wall Street This Week: Can Taser Stun, Restaurant Costs Run?

Earns Microsoft
Elaine Thompson/APMicrosoft CEO Satya Nadella demonstrates the new features of Windows 10 at the company's headquarters in Redmond, Wash., last January.
From the leading maker of stun guns expected to deliver some electrifying quarterly results to a few popular eateries seeing costs rise faster than sales, here are some of the things that will help shape the week that lies ahead on Wall Street.

Monday -- Screen Pass

This has been a big summer for the motion picture industry, and multiplex operators are getting the break that they've been longing for. Gross box office receipts in this country are 8.5 percent higher so far in 2015 than they were a year earlier. We already have three movies that have topped last year's highest-grossing release, and more blockbusters are likely.

It's against this welcome backdrop that Carmike Cinemas (CKEC) reports quarterly results come Monday afternoon. Carmike isn't one of the biggest exhibitors: Its empire consists of just 270 theaters projecting on 2,881 screens. However, analysts see big revenue and earnings growth as the film industry is coming through with its strongest summer in years. If you need more confirmation, you can wait for multiplex giants AMC Entertainment (AMC) and Regal Entertainment (RGC) to report later in the week.

Tuesday -- Check, Please

A few notable restaurants will be serving up their latest financials Tuesday. Panera Bread (PNRA), Buffalo Wild Wings (BWLD) and Bravo Brio (BBRG) are all on the plate as earnings season hits a frenzy.

Folks have been eating out, so drumming up customers hasn't been much of a challenge for the industry. The hard part of operating an eatery is controlling the rising food costs at a time when labor costs are also moving higher. We should see that dynamic Tuesday as analysts see all three chains growing sales since the prior year, but only Buffalo Wild Wings is expected to clock in with earnings growth.

Wednesday -- Windows Shopping

Microsoft (MSFT) has a lot riding on Windows 10 -- the latest incarnation of its computer operating system -- when it's officially released Wednesday. With PC sales dwindling as consumers flock to mobile computing solutions, a category where Microsoft is a distant third to Android and iOS, Microsoft needs to make this a head-turning update that will get folks back to their desktops and laptops.

So, yes, there's a lot at stake for Microsoft, and it knows that it's running out of chances. Windows 8 wasn't a game changer, and if anything it infuriated some loyalists who missed the old desktop icons that were replaced with flashier tiles made for touchscreen displays. Windows 10 promises the best of both worlds, but we'll see Wednesday if the public takes to it.

Thursday -- Don't Tase Me, Bro

A company to watch Thursday will be Taser Systems (TASR). The leading maker of stun guns has been seeing a spike in orders from police departments as fatal incidents with traditional firearms have turned them to less lethal ways to subdue suspects.

Taser also makes wearable cameras for police officers, something that has also become more popular given the wave of media reports on disputed confrontations that ended badly. The result is that Taser has been one of the market's hottest stocks, roughly tripling over the past year. That means that expectations will be high for it to justify the past year of heady stock gains when it reports quarterly results Thursday.

Friday -- Getting Taken to the Cleaners

Homejoy will shut down for keeps Friday. The provider of home cleaning services seemed to be riding the wave of sites fueling what they call the "gig economy," connecting consumers with local maids that they sent out as contractors. If you're online quite a bit, you may have even seen Homejoy ads, as well as ads for rival cleaning service Handy.

Handy is sticking around, and it's reportedly offering Homejoy cleaners a $1,000 singing bonus to go with them. Folks with dirty homes holding Homejoy vouchers may not have it as easy, now at the mercy of requesting refunds. Sometimes the gig economy can be a dud economy.

Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Buffalo Wild Wings and Panera Bread. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days and check out our free report for one great stock to buy for 2015 and beyond.
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