Which Stocks to Watch in the Coming Week

The past week was a rough one for stocks, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI  ) was no exception, falling about 2.1% on the week to mark its third straight week of losses. Now that the political landscape for the next few years is set, the markets should be able to find some solid ground moving forward. That said, several stocks are in the spotlight in the coming week, as investors look to earnings reports for future economic guidance. The Dow ended the week at 12,815. 

Home-improvement powerhouse Home Depot (NYSE: HD  ) will announce its quarterly results on Tuesday and may benefit from a brief Hurricane Sandy-related surge in home-improvement sales, as customers rush to repair damaged incurred by the massive Atlantic storm.

The longer-term question for Home Depot is whether there will be a secular recovery in the housing market. If September numbers are any reliable indication, it should be good news for the company: The U.S. Census Bureau reported a 35% jump in housing starts from the same month in 2011. 

Another Dow heavyweight reporting on Tuesday is technology titan Cisco Systems (Nasdaq: CSCO  ) . JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM  ) analysts, for one, don't think the stock is worth a second glance. On Friday, the investment-banking firm downgraded Cisco shares from "overweight" to "neutral," citing continued "macro pressures" from global weaknesses in areas such as Europe. Investors will have to judge the company's financial strength for themselves when earnings are released on Wednesday.

Worldwide big-box retailer Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT  ) will be the last of the Dow components to report for the week, revealing its earnings before the opening bell on Thursday. The report comes at a critical time for Wal-Mart shareholders, who are sure to be anxious in the wake of Amazon.com's (Nasdaq: AMZN  ) announcement that it began its "Black Friday" sales on the first day of November, which is far earlier than usual. Amazon, which dominates e-retail, has evolved into a serious Wal-Mart competitor in recent years.

Everyone knows Amazon is the big bad wolf in the retail world right now, but at its sky-high valuation, most investors are worried it's the company's share price that will get knocked down instead of those of its competitors. We'll tell you what's driving the company's growth, and how to know when to buy and sell Amazon, in our new premium report. Our report also has you covered with a full year of free analyst updates to keep you informed as the company's story changes, so click here now to read more.


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