Welcome to the dog days of summer. It's hot. Trading is beyond quiet. In fact, the S&P 500 (^GSPC) hasn't moved more than 1% since the middle of April. That's the longest stretch of nothingness since 1995.
Well, it's time to snap out of it. Right about the time the Boys from Brazil take the field against their distant relatives from Germany on Tuesday, the corporate reporting season begins in America. This matters because it's the first time we've heard from corporate America since the disastrous deep freeze of Q1. Stocks are up 8% for the year. We're eventually going to need to see some earnings growth in the next couple weeks or those gains are going to disappear faster than World Cup mania.
Most outlets are going to want to tell you about Alcoa (AA). I'm not most outlets. There are only three companies that matter this week — and none of them smelt. Here are the three best story stocks for this week.
Start with The Container Store (TCS). You might remember these guys from their IPO last Halloween, when the stock doubled on its opening trade. Despite all that enthusiasm, shares are off 40% from their peak after the company managed to miss its first two quarters. Horrendous. Of course, they blamed the weather. You care because this stock is going to move and because they compete with Bed Bath and Beyond (BBBY) as well as Target (TGT). That means this is your first look at the consumer in Q2.
Wednesday we've got WD-40 (WDFC). Yes, WD-40 is a real public company and it's spectacular. Usually. It's an institutional favorite, up by 170% over the past five years, but the company posted a rare miss in its most recent quarter. This is one of those companies you don't hear a lot about, but they get a ton of respect on Wall Street. If WD-40 says bad things about the economy, look out.
Finally we hear from Family Dollar (FDO) before the open Thursday. You probably remember that Carl Icahn made a killing buying call options on Family Dollar before pushing the company to do a deal. That plan hit a major roadblock weeks later when the CEO of Dollar General retired. Now Carl, John Paulson and Nelson Peltz are all long a ton of FDO shares without any real exit plan. Fundamentally this company is a mess. Wall Street is looking for earnings of 89 cents, down from $1.05 last year. I'm just tuning in to hear what FDO is going to do to appease its bellicose new partner.
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