After rallying 8% higher in October, stocks took a breather to start the new month. The S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) and the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) moved by less than 1% during a week that ended with a surprisingly strong monthly jobs report from the U.S. Department of Labor.
This coming week is light on official economic news, but heavy on earnings results: Hundreds of public companies are due to report their third-quarter profit numbers over the next five trading sessions.
Here three key announcements to mark on your calendar.
Monday, Nov. 9: Priceline aims for a record
Expectations are high for Priceline Group's (NASDAQ:BKNG) third-quarter earnings report set to publish before the market opens on Monday. Investors think the global online travel leader will report a 9% sales improvement as earnings grow at a snappy 9% pace to hit $24.22 per share.
Keep in mind that that reported sales figure is being kept artificially low thanks to huge exchange rate swings against the U.S. dollar. Gross bookings, adjusted for currency changes, soared 26% higher last quarter as the summer travel season got off to a strong start.
In August, Priceline's management forecast a comparably strong result for the third quarter: Bookings are projected to rise by as much as 20% as adjusted profits jump by as much as 26%. "We believe we are well set up to deliver the largest quarter in our company's history," CEO Darren Huston said. That optimism is at least partially reflected in a soaring share price -- Priceline is up 27% so far this year, compared to a flat overall market.
Monday, Nov. 9: Dish Network looks for subscribers
Also on tap for Monday morning is an earnings announcement from satellite TV giant Dish Network (NASDAQ:DISH). Its stock has underperformed the market this year despite hefty sales and profit gains. Through the first two quarters, revenue improved 4% and earnings spiked 74% higher.
But Dish's recent underlying operating results aren't as impressive as those headline numbers suggest. It lost 81,000 subscribers last quarter, compared to a 44,000 sub loss in the prior year. Dish's churn, or cancellation rate, also took a worrisome bounce to nearly 2%.
Sure, the company has succeeded in raising prices to counteract those negative cable trends (average monthly revenue per user is up to $88 from $84 last year). But investors will want to see evidence that Dish is navigating the slow decline of the linear TV business. And improving subscriber trends will be the best indication of that happening.
Wednesday, Nov. 11: Macy's plans for a rebound
At department store giant Macy's (NYSE:M) last earnings check in, management admitted that the team was "disappointed in our second-quarter results" overall. Worse, profitability took a huge hit on increasing markdowns: Operating margin dove to 7.1% of sales from 9.1% last year. Meanwhile, the company lowered its growth outlook for the year while leaving its earnings target in place.
Executives' plan for returning to growth involves spending heavily on e-commerce initiatives like same-day delivery, while entering new online markets like China and exploring the idea of an off-price store concept. Management thinks these and its other strategies will start bringing a turnaround as early as this quarter. "We expect an improvement in trend beginning in the second half of 2015," CEO Terry Lundgren said in August.
Investors who agree with that forecast might be attracted to Macy's stock, which trades at a two-year low P/E valuation of 12, down from 17 times earnings in July.
Demitrios Kalogeropoulos has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Priceline Group. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.