Coming off a busy period of tax reform and spending bill action in D.C., the table is set for investors to sort out their 2018 stock picks. While it’s a slow week ahead for earnings, expect guidance updates from some major players. There’s also a comeback in the tech sector and a little phenomenon called Bitcoin to factor in.
Star Wars: The timing for Disney’s (NYSE:DIS) The Last Jedi opening on Dec. 15 is promising amid the consumer spending bounce and with the MoviePass (NASDAQ:HMNY) model generating interest with millennials. Numbers to watch include the early box office forecast for a +$200M opening weekend and the $248M mark delivered by The Force Awakens in 2015. Theater chains AMC Entertainment (NYSE:AMC), Cinemark (NYSE:CNK), Regal Entertainment (NYSE:RGC), Marcus Corporation (NYSE:MCS) and IMAX (NYSE:IMAX) aim for a strong buzz factor into the weekend, while Hasbro (NASDAQ:HAS) eyes a Star Wars toys boom.
Bitcoin watch: Looking for Bitcoin exposure without having to deal with tokens, mining and eye-popping volatility? Fundstrat says potential Bitcoin/Blockchain equity plays include Bitcoin Investment Trust (OTCQX:GBTC), MGT Capital Investments (OTCQB:MGTI), HIVE Blockchain Technologies (OTCPK:PRELF), U.S. Global Investors (NASDAQ:GROW), DigitalX (OTC:DGGXF), Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA), AMD (NASDAQ:AMD), CME Group (NASDAQ:CME), CBOE Holdings (NASDAQ:CBOE), Overstock.com (NASDAQ:OSTK), Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) and Square (NYSE:SQ).
Notable earnings reports: Salesforce.com on Dec. 11; Casey’s General Stores (NASDAQ:CASY), VeriFone (NYSE:PAY) on Dec. 12; ABM Industries (NYSE:ABM) and Nordson (NASDAQ:NDSN) on Dec. 13; Costco (NASDAQ:COST), Oracle (NYSE:ORCL), Jabil (NYSE:JBL) and Adobe (NASDAQ:ADBE) on Dec. 14. See Seeking Alpha’s Earnings Calendar for more.
Quiet period expirations: Retail upstart Stitch Fix (NASDAQ:SFIX) is up over 50% since its IPO into the quiet period expiration on Dec. 12. Other names to watch i
IPO/secondary share lockup period expirations: Athenex (NASDAQ:ATNX) and Micron Technology (NASDAQ:MU) on Dec. 11; Portola Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:PTLA) and Adomani (NASDAQ:ADOM) on Dec. 12; Boston Omaha (OTCQX:BOMN), Interspace Diagnostics (NASDAQ:IDXG), Curis (NASDAQ:CRIS) and Workhorse (NASDAQ:WKHS) on Dec. 13; Acushnet (NASDAQ:GOLF) on Dec. 14; Genpact (NYSE:G) on Dec. 15.
Annual meetings: The headliner of the week is Deckers Outdoor (NASDAQ:DECK) on Dec. 14 amid the heated proxy fight between the retailer and Marcato Capital. 1-800-Flowers.com (NASDAQ:FLWS) and Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO) on Dec. 11, as well as United Natural Foods (NASDAQ:UNFI) on Dec. 13 are also on the calendar.
Business update/Guidance calls: American Water Works (NYSE:AWK), Glencore (OTCPK:GLCNF, OTCPK:GLNCY) and Principal Financial (NYSE:PFG) on Dec. 12; Charles Schwab (NYSE:SCHW) on Dec. 13; Axalta Coating Systems (NYSE:AXTA) and Prudential (NYSE:PRU) on Dec. 14; MetLife (NYSE:MET) on Dec. 15.
M&A watch: Deals are heating up in a number of sectors. The deadline for bids on Unilever’s (UN, UL) spreads business is Monday, while an Apollo Global acquisition of Qdoba (NASDAQ:JACK) is said to be imminent. Disney (DIS) and Twenty-First Century Fox (FOX, FOXA) are a step closer to striking an asset deal which could include Hulu.
FCC watch: The commission will vote on repealing current net neutrality rules during a scheduled meeting. The usual media suspects such as Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX), Sprint (NYSE:S), AT&T (NYSE:T), Dish Network (NASDAQ:DISH) and Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) are likely to weigh in on the consequences of the vote.
Credit card delinquency reports: American Express (NYSE:AXP), Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), Citigroup (NYSE:C), Capital One (NYSE:COF), Discover Financial (NYSE:DFS), JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM) and Synchrony Financial (NYSE:SYF) are all due to post credit card chargeoff data on Dec. 15.
Cowen Networking & Cybersecurity Summit: Presenters at the gathering from Dec. 12-13 include execs from Arista Networks (NYSE:ANET), MACOM Technology (NASDAQ:MTSI), NeoPhotonics (NYSE:NPTN), Check Point Software (NASDAQ:CHKP), Cisco (CSCO) and Quatenna Communications (NASDAQ:QTNA).
Barron’s mentions: The publication cuts right to the chase to name its top picks for 2018. Alphabet (GOOG, GOOGL), Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL), Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A, BRK.B), Volkswagen (OTCPK:VLKAY), Pioneer Natural Resources (NYSE:PXD), Applied Materials (NASDAQ:AMAT), Enterprise Products Partners (NYSE:EPD), Ally Financial (NYSE:ALLY), Anthem (NYSE:ANTM) and US Foods Holding (NYSE:USFD) all make the list. There’s a less optimistic view on the off-price retail sector expressed, with Ross Stores (NASDAQ:ROST) and TJX Companies (NYSE:TJX) seen at risk for share price falls.