Hello, friends and Fortune readers.
The last week of summer is upon us and students have already returned to school in areas of the South and Southeast. With the start of the academic year comes the all-important back-to-school shopping season. This year’s purchases of notebooks, tennis shoes and backpacks looks like it may be slower than usual, which could signal a weaker holiday shopping season coming up. We’ll find out more in a couple months when third-quarter earnings start up. In the mean time, the last of the second-quarter earnings results are trickling in.
Here’s what else you need to know for the week ahead.
1. The dollar store saga
Dollar General (DG) reports its quarterly earnings on Thursday, and analysts expect profits of 83 cents a share on $4.8 billion in sales. More importantly, investors will be listening for any word from management about how they will handle Family Dollar’s (FDO) rejection of its $9.7 billion purchase offer, especially as it looks to maintain its market leadership in the dollar store arena in the face of Dollar Tree’s (DLTR) possible winning bid for Family Dollar.
Other retailer earnings to look out for this week: Best Buy (BBY) reports on Tuesday, Tiffany (TIF) on Wednesday and Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) on Thursday.
2. Housing watch continues
Look out for more strong housing data coming this week after existing-home sales climbed to their highest pace of 2014 in July.
“We are not off to the races for housing, but the recovery has not been derailed either,” said Ethan Harris, co-head of global economic research at Merrill Lynch.
New home sales, expected to be up 5.4%, will be reported on Monday followed by pending home sales, expected to be up 0.5%, on Thursday.
3. Will U.S. GDP live up to the initial hype?
Revised figures for U.S. second-quarter GDP come out on Thursday. Initial estimates saw the economy growing at 4%, a major bounce back from the first three months of the year when GDP declined 2.9% due to an unusually harsh winter. Economists expect the second-quarter number to be revised slightly lower.
Other economic data to watch out for this week: Durable goods orders come out Tuesday, which are expected to be stronger due to airplane receipts from the London Farnborough Airshow. Personal income and spending numbers will be reported on Friday.
4. And the winner is …
The summer movie season is coming to a close and movie studios will release final ticket sale totals for the traditional blockbuster season. Movie studios typically make 40% of their annual revenues in the 18 weeks between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
So far, it looks like box office receipts have fallen more than 15% this year following a record summer in 2013. Movies such as Sony’s (SNE) The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and Lions Gate Entertainment’s (LGF) The Expendables 3 failed to meet studios’ expectations.
5. CEOs crashing Burning Man
Over 50,000 free spirits (multimillionaire tech executives included) trek out to the Nevada desert this week for the annual Burning Man festival starting Monday. A 5-square-mile temporary city will be setup where participants take part in an eight-day celebration of art, music and self-expression in all its forms. Former attendees have included Facebook (FB) CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Tesla (TSLA) CEO Elon Musk, Amazon (AMZN) CEO Jeff Bezos and Google (GOOG) founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin.
Musk has pointed to Burning Man as the nexus of the tech valley’s culture. In response to HBO’s premier episode of Silicon Valley, he said, “I really feel like Mike Judge [the creator] has never been to Burning Man, which is Silicon Valley.”