3 Things to Watch in the Stock Market This Week

By Demitrios Kalogeropoulos Markets Fool.com

Stocks turned in flat results last week to keep both the Dow Jones Industrial Average(DJINDICES: ^DJI)and the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC)at roughly 5% gains so far in 2017.

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^DJI data by YCharts.

It's a traditionally slow period ahead of first-quarter earnings reports, but the week ahead still promises plenty of potential volatility for shareholders ofPier 1 Imports (NYSE: PIR), Apogee Enterprises (NASDAQ: APOG), and Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC). These companies are set to announce their latest business trends in the coming days, and below, we'll highlight a few key metrics for investors to keep an eye on in their reports.

Pier 1's sales momentum

Pier 1 will post earnings results for its fiscal fourth quarter on Wednesday, and investors already know a few key details about how the retailer's business performed. In early March, executives released preliminary results that showed flat comparable-store sales as customer traffic fell.

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Image source: Pier 1 Imports.

The company made up for the decline, in part, thanks to strong e-commerce sales, with that channel expanding 28%. Pier 1 took that opportunity to hike its per-share earnings outlook to between $0.31 and $0.33 from the prior guidance that ranged from $0.26 to $0.30. "We are pleased with our preliminary fourth quarter financial results," CEO Jeffrey Boyer said in a press release. "Our company comparable sales were in line with our previous guidance and reflect strong execution of our merchandising, marketing and promotional strategies," Boyer added.

This week's results will include important figures on profitability that should show how the company is dealing with sluggish industry trends. Management might also update investors on their plans to optimize their store portfolio by closing at least 14 locations in fiscal 2017.

Apogee's growth outlook

Architectural glass-product-specialist Apogee will announce its quarterly results before the market opens on Thursday. Shares are up sharply over the past year as the company takes advantage of its strong position in commercial construction markets. Sales spiked 15% in the most recent quarter, and that volume growth combined with higher prices and improved productivity to send earnings up 24%. "We again delivered on strategic initiatives to better position Apogee over a cycle," CEO Joseph Puishys said in a press release, "including growing our share of mid-size projects in architectural glass and expanding penetration in the retrofit market."

Apogee's full-year outlook predicts revenue growth of 10% and even faster earnings gains as profitability continues to improve. The prospect for sustained growth in the commercial-construction market through fiscal 2020 has management optimistic that the wind is at their backs. They plan to maximize those gains by expanding into new geographies and new markets in the coming years.

Wells Fargo's brand strength

Banking giant Wells Fargo posts its fiscal first-quarter results on Thursday morning. In addition to the core metrics of return on assets, return on equity, and net interest margin, investors will be watching for signs that the company is rebuilding trust with customers following an account scandal that severely damaged its reputation.

New CEO Tim Sloan claimed progress on that score at the bank's last quarterly outing as its review of sales practices continued and the company launched new loyalty programs. More recently, Sloan outlined six long-term goals for rebuilding trust to coincide with a national advertising campaign aimed at improving its image.

"We're making things right for our customers and our team members," Sloan said. "As we rebuild trust, we will reintroduce to our stakeholders what our Wells Fargo bankers have always been known for, and that's helping our customers to succeed financially."

Consensus estimates call for Wells Fargo to post flat revenue and a minor drop in earnings, to $0.97 per share from $0.99 per share in the prior year.

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Demitrios Kalogeropoulos has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Apogee Enterprises. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.