5 Things to Watch on Wall Street This Week
1. Royal Caribbean Ships its Plans: These may be hard times for the world's largest cruise line operator, but challenges at Carnival (CCL) may be creating opportunities for its rival Royal Caribbean (RCL).
Royal Caribbean is expected to reveal details about its new Quantum of the Seas on Tuesday. When the new vessel sets sail in fall 2014, the 4,100-passenger ship will give Royal Caribbean one more modern cruise ship to compete against Carnival's massive fleet.
Royal Caribbean has scheduled a press conference on Tuesday morning detailing the Quantum of the Seas' home port, initial itineraries, and actual layout of the boat. Royal Caribbean just better hope that recent mishaps at its larger rival don't get in the way of bookings for all cruise lines.
2. Netflix Goes for Fear Factor: Netflix (NFLX) is riding high these days after the February success of "House of Cards." The leading video service is now hoping to scare up an encore.
"Hemlock Grove," a gothic horror series directed by Eli Roth, begins streaming on Friday. True to Netflix's recent forays into original programming, the entire first season of the creepy series will be made available on the same day.
There has already been one scathing review by the Hollywood Reporter, but this is the same critic that two years ago panned FX's "American Horror Story," which went on to become a sleeper hit.
The good news for Netflix is that relief isn't too far away these days, even if "Hemlock Grove" falls flat. The fourth and long overdue season of "Arrested Development" will stream exclusively on Netflix next month.
3. Titans of Tech Unite: Earnings season kicked off late last week, but this is the week when the sheer volume of reports starts piling up.
It's going to be a busy week for technology. Google (GOOG) and Bing parent Microsoft (MSFT) report on Thursday, giving investors a great snapshot of the search engine market. Microsoft will also shed light on the faltering PC industry, but you won't just have Mr. Softy on that front. Intel (INTC) and Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) will also be reporting this week, and analysts see the two companies that corner the microprocessors market posting softer bottom-line results than they did a year earlier.
4. Killer Whales Make Killer IPOs: Most new issues aren't household names, but that won't be the case when Sea World Entertainment goes public later this week.
Sea World is hoping to sell 20 million shares at a price between $24 and $27 apiece. The operator of the namesake marine life theme parks – as well as a few water parks and the Busch Gardens chain – is going public at a good time. The regional amusement park operators hit fresh highs earlier this month.
The IPO is expected to price on Thursday and begin trading on Friday. A lot can happen between now and then. A volatile market or weak demand can potentially postpone the IPO. For now, let's just say that investors are planning to sit in the Splash Zone.
5. Be My Little eBay: Few dot-coms have launched as many cottage industries as eBay (EBAY). The leading online marketplace has survived Craigslist and the onslaught of countless sites offering free listings. Along the way, eBay managed to acquire PayPal, the Web-based financial transactions processor that has gone on to eclipse eBay in terms of active users.
EBay reports on Wednesday. Analysts see continuing revenue and earnings growth at the auction service, though no one will be surprised if PayPal is the faster growing of the two businesses. That's the way that things have been for years. Investors seem to like the entire package. They've been clicking the "buy it now" button on eBay shares lately, driving the stock to a new eight-year high last week.
Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz owns shares of Netflix. The Motley Fool recommends eBay, Google, Intel, and Netflix. The Motley Fool owns shares of eBay, Google, Intel, Microsoft, and Netflix. Try any of our newsletter services free for 30 days."