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4 Big Stocks to Watch in March

By Rick Munarriz - Mar 2, 2020 at 10:45AM

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A couple of retailers and a digital publishing powerhouse will report financial results. Meanwhile, a media giant has some reveals planned -- and a new CEO doing the revealing.

The final week of February swallowed up all of Wall Street's year-to-date gains -- and then some. Given this level of volatility, one could argue that every stock bears watching in March. However, there are a few stocks in particular that investors should expect to make some noise in the coming weeks.  

The heart of earnings season may have passed, but a few stragglers and retailers operating on non-standard fiscal calendars will be stepping up with fresh financials for their holiday quarters. Costco (COST -0.67%), Adobe (ADBE -1.91%), and Five Below (FIVE -3.00%) are among those set to offer up their quarterly updates in the coming days. Disney (DIS -1.69%) also has a lot of things going on in March that bear watching.

An exterior shot for a Five Below store on a sunny day with a lot of shiny merchandise on display outside of the store.

Image source: Five Below.

Earnings sensations

Costco will report its earnings after the market close Thursday. The warehouse club operator is coming off a rewarding year for shareholders: The stock rose 44% in 2019. Comps rose 5% for the fiscal year that ended on Sept. 1, fueling an 8% uptick in revenue. Growth slowed in the fiscal first quarter it posted in December, but Costco's monthly updates show that sales have started to pick up through the first two months of the fiscal second quarter that it will announce this week. In short, there's good reason to expect another solid report out of the retail darling. 

Adobe will chime in with its fiscal first-quarter results next week. The publishing software giant has come through with five consecutive years of double-digit revenue growth, including top-line bursts of at least 20% in each of the last four years. Analysts are holding out for another strong showing in fiscal 2020 with revenue and earnings per share climbing 20% and 30% respectively for its fiscal first quarter a week from Thursday. The expectations may seem high for the stock that soared 46% last year -- particularly on the bottom line -- but Adobe has managed to deliver profits just ahead of Wall Street's targets in each of the past four quarters. 

Costco and Adobe hit all-time highs in February before succumbing to last week's sell-off, but that wasn't the case with Five Below. The discounter -- which, true to its name, primarily sells items priced at $5 or less -- hit a new 52-week low during last week's swoon. The chain warned in January that it would fall short of its earlier guidance after a rough holiday shopping season. Same-store sales fell 2.6% during the period, a shock considering that management had initially forecast comps growth of between 2% and 3% for the quarter. 

It all started with a mouse

There's always something new happening with Disney, but this will be a particularly busy month for the media behemoth. It has two big movies premiering: Onward opens this week, and its live-action Mulan reboot will arrive three weeks later.

On the theme park front, Disney will open its first Mickey Mouse-themed ride on Wednesday -- Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway at Disney's Hollywood Studios in Florida. With all three of the Disney-branded resorts in Asia temporarily closed due to the coronavirus outbreak -- it has minority stakes in the Chinese attractions and only collects royalties on Tokyo Disneyland -- the world's leading theme park operator can use some good news this week with a successful debut of a highly anticipated ride. 

March will also be the first full month with Bob Chapek as CEO after Bob Iger's surprisingly early departure. Onlookers will be expecting him to hit the ground running, and it will be interesting to see how he navigates the family entertainment giant through these challenging times, and what strategies he chooses to keep its shiny blue chip stock reputation intact.

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Stocks Mentioned

The Walt Disney Company Stock Quote
The Walt Disney Company
DIS
$96.13 (-1.69%) $-1.65
Costco Wholesale Corporation Stock Quote
Costco Wholesale Corporation
COST
$481.15 (-0.67%) $-3.22
Five Below, Inc. Stock Quote
Five Below, Inc.
FIVE
$124.35 (-3.00%) $-3.84
Adobe Inc. Stock Quote
Adobe Inc.
ADBE
$380.31 (-1.91%) $-7.41

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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