5 Dates to Circle in December

December is typically a sleepy month for financial news, especially as traders and boardrooms make the most of the holiday season. The calendar never sleeps, though. Here are a few of the days that I plan to approach with eyes wide open this month.

Dec. 10
Is the third time the charm for the Narnia series? Disney (NYSE: DIS  ) threw in the towel after its second installment in 2008 generated less than half of the $291.7 million domestic box office take of the 2005 original.

News Corp.'s (Nasdaq: NWS  ) Fox stepped in to save the franchise. We'll see whether the gutsy gamble pays off when The Voyage of the Dawn Treader hits a multiplex near you a week from Friday.

As for Disney, it has its sights set on a different revival. TRON: Legacy opens a week later.

Dec. 14
Best Buy
(NYSE: BBY  ) checks in with its quarterly report on Dec. 14. Since Best Buy is the leading consumer electronics superstore chain, one doesn't have to be a shareholder to show interest in its financials.

Are tablet sales eating into its laptop business? What are the hot smartphones? Is Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) Xbox 360 still the console to watch on the video-game front, after the release of its revolutionary Kinect motion-based controller? Are appliances moving again, as an encouraging sign that homeowners are embracing big-ticket items?

Now that Circuit City has been out of the picture since early last year, Best Buy is a perfect gauge for what consumers are buying.

Dec. 16
Fans of Howard Stern have been marking this date on their calendars, since it's the last live episode under the legendary morning-show host's five-year deal with Sirius XM Radio (Nasdaq: SIRI  ) .

CEO Mel Karmazin had told investors during the company's second-quarter call that an announcement on Stern's fate would likely come before its next call, but that came and went. The next obvious window for a positive announcement would be Dec. 13, when Sirius XM hosts a Paul McCartney concert in New York to celebrate hitting 20 million subscribers.

Obviously, negotiations aren't going as easily as either party planned. Stern fans are unlikely to make long-term commitments until a deal is inked. Then again, since talks to re-sign Opie & Anthony on XM dragged into the final hours, it wouldn't be a shock if Stern and Sirius continue to volley about proposals throughout the holiday break.

Dec. 20
The undisputed champ of desktop publishing checks in just before the holidays, with Adobe (Nasdaq: ADBE  ) serving up its fiscal fourth quarter results.

Adobe leans on its high-end publishing software to drive its top line, but we also can't dismiss its freely available PDF Reader and Flash video-rendering platform as ambassadorial tools to reach the masses.

Analysts are banking on a profit of $0.52 a share, well ahead of the $0.39 a share it rang up a year earlier. Adobe has beaten Wall Street expectations in each of the five previous quarters, so even the company's seemingly ambitious target may be too low.

Dec. 21
Auto sales bounced back during the summer of 2009, but are used cars hitting any speed bumps?

CarMax (NYSE: KMX  ) reports on Dec. 21, helping to give the market a great snapshot of how the automotive resale sector is holding up. CarMax's haggle-free environment has helped clean up the stereotype of used-car salesmen. But now, amid rising sales of new cars, investors want to know whether secondhand vehicles are still hitting the road in acceptable numbers.

What will you look forward to this month? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.

Best Buy, Walt Disney, and Microsoft are Motley Fool Inside Value picks. Adobe Systems, Best Buy, and Walt Disney are Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendations. Motley Fool Options has recommended buying calls on Best Buy and diagonal call positions on Adobe Systems and Microsoft. The Fool owns shares of Best Buy and Microsoft. 

We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. 

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz wonders if he's been naughty or nice this December. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this story, except for Disney. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.


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