A year ago, the market began rallying in the springtime and kept going through the historically lethargic summer months. This year, Mr. Market's reverted to form, with equities largely sputtering this season. Sounds like it's time for a shot of adrenalin!
Plenty of market-shaping events will take place in September. Here are a few of the days that I plan to approach with eyes wide open this month.
It probably doesn't help that Take-Two -- the edgy publisher behind the Grand Theft Auto and Bioshock franchises -- is expected to post a loss for the period. Analysts don't foresee a return to profitability until next year.
Thankfully, Take-Two's top line is playing nicely. Earlier guidance calls for a sharp uptick, fueled by the success of the quarter's Red Dead Redemption game and carryover sales of BioShock 2 from the previous quarter.
Shanda's peers have posted lackluster organic revenue growth and contracting margins, for the most part. I've been attracted to the sector for its dirt cheap valuations, but earnings multiples in the pre-teens are no bargain if the niche is peaking. Shanda's report should be the final word in this space for a couple of months.
Good luck trying to reach diehard gamers the day that Microsoft's
The futuristic shooter will be a hit. It's the top seller at Amazon.com, and it's been on the video game best-seller list for months. Microsoft's Xbox 360 is riding a good groove lately, and Halo is its monster franchise.
Microsoft has a jam-packed fall calendar. Windows Phone 7 debuts next month, and its motion-based Kinect controller for the Xbox 360 hits the market come November. Those two events aren't slam dunks for the world's largest software company. Halo Reach's release, on the other hand, is practically guaranteed to be a blowout success.
When it comes to corporate bellwethers, FedEx
Sure, we live in the dot-com era, where email and signed and scanned PDF files make corporate communications cheaper and quicker. The digital delivery of media files is also eating into physical distribution. Nonetheless, FedEx remains a report worth watching to gauge the greater pulse.
Expect a pair of interesting quarterly reports from Adobe
Adobe's inability to break its way into iOS-powered iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch devices doesn't seem so fatal, now that the faster-growing Android platform has warmed up to Adobe's Flash video format. The iOS feud will still likely come up during the conference call's Q&A, though.
Auto-parts retailer AutoZone rocked during the recession, as cash-strapped drivers held on to their cars longer -- forcing a greater emphasis on owner maintenance. Let's see how well AutoZone can thrive now that new auto sales have been rolling for months.
Fashions come and go, but Nike's
Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps hits a multiplex near you on this day. Writer-director Oliver Stone and Michael Douglas's vilified Gordon Gekko are back. With Gekko freed from jail after paying the price for his "greed is good" philosophy, I'm interested to see how the flick parallels real-world corruption and investing fraud cases.
Stone seemed to intend his original film as a scathing critique of Wall Street, but in some regards, it helped make investing cooler instead. Let's see how the sequel plays out.
What will you be looking forward to this month? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.