Stocks rose last week, with both the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI -0.31%) and the S&P 500 (^GSPC -0.23%) gaining just under 2%. The rally put the indexes closer to the record highs they set in late July, with the S&P again higher by nearly 20% so far in 2019.
Several highly anticipated earnings reports will be announced over the next few trading days, including from Kroger (KR -0.11%), GameStop (GME 0.94%), and Dave & Buster's (PLAY 1.18%). Below, we'll take a look at the key trends that might send these three stocks moving this week.
Kroger's market share
Kroger will announce its results on Thursday, Sept. 12, and investors are bracing slow sales growth at grocery-store giant. After over a decade of steady market-share gains against its main rival Walmart (WMT 0.27%), trends have shifted in the other direction. In fact, Walmart has credited its refreshed grocery segment for helping the consumer staples giant deliver some of its best growth in over a decade.
In contrast, Kroger's sales gains have been stuck at below 2%, while Walmart's has held at over 3% in each of the last five quarters. CEO Rodney McMullen said back in June that investors should start to see direct impacts from their rebound efforts, including with faster sales growth. That acceleration will need to show up in Thursday's report for the chain to avoid lowering its sales outlook for a third consecutive year.
GameStop's recovery plan
Investors have plenty of reasons to tune into GameStop's second-quarter earnings report, set for Tuesday. The specialty retailer is under new permanent management. CEO George Sherman's first major capital move involved eliminating the dividend while spending aggressively on stock repurchases following a huge decline in the share price in the past year.
We'll find out on Tuesday whether those repurchases were well-timed, but investors aren't likely to be impressed. GameStop revealed a 10% slump in comparable-store sales last quarter, as game spending continued moving online. Its pre-owned segment was sluggish, too, thanks in part to management's decision to scale back on price cuts.
That move boosted profitably last quarter and might lift GameStop's earnings outlook this week. However, investors aren't likely to buy into its rebound story until it shows a clear path back toward sales growth. That's a tall order given all the headwinds facing the physical game segment of the video game industry.
Dave & Buster's customer traffic
Much of the restaurant industry has been on an upswing lately, but Dave & Buster's hasn't joined in that rebound just yet. Evidence of that recovery will be the key factor to watch when the entertainment and dining specialist reports earnings on Tuesday afternoon.
Its last report contained a few disappointments for shareholders, including news that market share is declining even as costs increase. The chain lowered its sales and earnings outlooks and is now calling for a second-straight year of falling net income, despite a rising store base.
If there's a silver lining to these developments, it's that expectations are low heading into this week's report. In that case, even a hint of good news on Tuesday, perhaps driven by recent upgrades to the food menu and the addition of new exclusive virtual reality gaming titles, could send shares higher in the wake of the report.