5 Dates to Circle in February

February may be the shortest month of the year, but that doesn't mean that there won't be a lot of things for investors to watch.

From new tablets rolling out to the last wave of companies reporting this earnings season, let's start looking to some of the events that will unfold this month.

Feb. 4
Earnings season is still going strong in early February, and one report to watch is Baidu's (NASDAQ: BIDU  ) .

China's leading search engine is being challenged by a new rival, and the dot-com speedster surprised investors by issuing guidance for the quarter that suggested sequential weakness.

Most of China's leading Internet companies will be reporting later this month, so Baidu will naturally set the tone for the world's most populous nation.

Feb. 5
Sirius XM Radio
(NASDAQ: SIRI  ) reports on Tuesday morning.

The satellite radio provider already told investors that it closed out 2012 with 23.9 million subscribers, tacking on a better-than-expected 2 million net subscribers along the way. The media giant also already initiated its guidance for 2013.

All of this pre-released information makes it less likely that the company will spring any positive or negative surprises on its investors. However, given the ownership change that's taking place at Sirius XM and recent board and executive shuffles, it will still be important as the company's first call without Mel Karmazin.

Feb. 9
If at first you don't succeed, try again at a higher price point.

Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT  ) introduces its Surface Pro tablet next weekend. The software giant stumbled with last year's release of its Surface running Windows RT. The scaled-back operating system lacked the true Windows operating system punch, and since it's essentially priced the same as an iPad and more expensive than entry-level Android devices, demand was tepid.

Microsoft never went public with sales data on the original Surface, but analysts have been slashing their projections.

The new Surface is powered by Windows 8 Pro to provide a full-featured computing experience in tablet form, but there may be some resistance heading into next week's launch. For starters, the cheapest option is $899. There's also the capacity problem.

The Verge is reporting that Surface Pro requires more than 40 gigs for Windows 8 Pro, pre-installed apps, and recovery tools. In other words, it's already gobbled up nearly two-thirds of the capacity on the entry-level 64-gigabyte model out of the box. Users can add capacity with the microSDXC card slot, but this only makes an expensive tablet even more costly.

Feb. 21
Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ  ) checks in three weeks from now. Buckle up!

It's not a good time to be a box maker. PC sales have been sliding for two years, and analysts see HP's revenue and profitability taking a hit this quarter.

There are plenty of moving parts here. Its largest rival is reportedly in talks to be bought out. HP is trying to broaden its reach into higher-margin enterprise software, but that often means overpaying for market darlings.

HP has shed two-thirds of its value in the past three years while most tech names have rallied. No, it isn't easy being a box maker.

Feb. 28
Best Buy
(NYSE: BBY  ) will be reporting on its first holiday quarter with CEO Hubert Joly at the helm.

Did the consumer electronics giant have a holly Joly Christmas?

Most of the attention that Best Buy has been generating lately has been about the chances of its displaced founder coming back to take the company private, but this is also a company facing a very important juncture in its history.

Can a brick-and-mortar superstore chain remain relevant in this era of online shopping and digital delivery?

Beyond February
The Motley Fool's chief investment officer has selected his No. 1 stock for the year. Find out which stock it is in our brand-new free report: "The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2013." I invite you to take a copy, free for a limited time. Just click here to access the report and find out the name of this under-the-radar company.


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