If you think this will be an uneventful month, let me introduce you to my calendar. I see plenty of revealing days this May, particularly in the leisure-stocks sector I follow religiously. Earnings season may be winding down, but the fun is just getting started.
Here are a few of the days that I plan to approach with eyes wide open:
Changyou.com (Nasdaq: CYOU ) reports on Monday. Even if you're not familiar with the Chinese online gaming company, its performance will be a worthy measuring stick on many different levels.
- The stock has nearly doubled since going public a month ago, so it's got little room to disappoint in its first quarter as a public company.
- Only four companies have gone public this year; demand for future IPOs may hinge on how this year's debutantes pan out.
- Expectations are high, with analysts expecting profits to nearly double to $0.60 a share. If that leads you to believe that Changyou is probably priced at a rich multiple, you're wrong. It's fetching just 14 times last year's profitability, and only 10 times next year's target.
As a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers analyst team, Changyou's report is also a "must watch" performance, since I recommended Changyou parent Sohu.com (Nasdaq: SOHU ) to subscribers several months ago. Sohu maintains a majority stake in the company.
Sirius XM Radio (Nasdaq: SIRI ) reports Thursday morning. After the company closed out last year's final quarter with just 82,945 more subscribers than it started with, investors can't be blamed for getting nervous. A rate hike on secondary accounts, a soft economy, and the moribund auto market aren't exactly catalysts for new signups. Unless the company had a decent chunk of holiday buyers belatedly activate their receivers in January, this may be the first quarter in the company's history in which it actually sheds subscribers sequentially. In Sirius XM's defense, healthier-than-expected cash flow should help offset any potential weakness on the subscriber front.
Star Trek opens at a multiplex near you, which could be huge for Viacom's (NYSE: VIA ) Paramount. The franchise has faded in recent years, but now the studio is taking a novel approach to reposition the classic sci-fi series, bringing in Lost mastermind J.J. Abrams and a young cast to win over a new -- and perhaps wider -- audience. No one will confuse Viacom's vault of characters with Marvel's (Nasdaq: MVL ) fleet, but this could be the renaissance that Viacom needs on the theatrical front.
Disney's (NYSE: DIS ) Up hits theaters. It's the latest Pixar release, and a lot is riding on this animated feature. Pixar's recent releases like Wall-E and Ratatouille have been critically acclaimed winners, but their financial success has still fallen short at the box office when compared to the company's earlier hits. DreamWorks Animation (Nasdaq: DWA ) has also been stealing some of Pixar's thunder as the only stand-alone computer animation company trading on the public markets. DreamWorks posted better-than-expected quarterly results this week.
Up will also be challenged for its lack of female characters, and for banking on an elderly curmudgeon as its lead. Pixar spins moviemaking gold, but will the audiences show -- pardon the pun -- Up?
May will reveal all.
Some other reads to get you through the month: