5 Names To Watch In August

by: Bill Maurer

It's hard to believe, but we have already finished seven months in 2013. More than half of the year is gone, and we are mostly through earnings season again. Before you know it, fall will be here, temperatures will be cooling down, and school will be back in session. But before any of that happens, we have the month of August to deal with. While it may not be the busiest month of the year, it still can be an important one for many stocks. Today, I'll cover five names to watch in August. Some of these have upcoming earnings reports, one is in the midst of a tough buyout battle, and a final one could be looking for information on its blockbuster cancer treatment.

Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO):

Cisco makes my list because I write a lot about large cap technology names, and Cisco is the last big tech name to report. The company has a slightly different fiscal year than most, which means it usually reports earnings about a month after the official start of earnings season. This quarter's report will be on August 14th, after the bell.

When Cisco provided fiscal Q4 guidance, they stated that revenues would show 4% to 7% growth and that earnings per share would be in a range of $0.50 to $0.52. The earnings guidance was in line with the $0.51 that analysts were looking for, but the revenue guidance was a little light with expectations calling for 6.9% growth. Analysts are still looking for $0.51 in earnings per share, and they have reduced their revenue average to 6.1% growth.

Beyond the overall quarterly numbers and guidance, there are two items I am interested to hear about. First, I want to hear more about Cisco's recent acquisition of Sourcefire (NASDAQ:FIRE). This $2.7 billion acquisition should certainly help boost Cisco's revenues, but I also want to know how they plan to integrate the business, and what the bottom line impact will be. The second item I'm curious to hear about is the company's stock buyback plan. Cisco has made a promise to investors to return a lot of capital to shareholders, and they've raised the dividend tremendously in recent years. The second part of that plan is the buyback, which aims to reduce the share count, something I recently discussed as an advantage over Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT).

Cisco shares are up approximately 71.4% over the past year, and they will need a solid earnings report to justify those gains. They recently made a sizable acquisition, and everyone wants to hear more about it. I also want to know how many shares they bought back, given the above mentioned stock rally. Many large cap technology names have disappointed with their earnings reports. It will be interesting to see how Cisco does, and how the stock reacts if it goes into the report at or near its 52-week high.

Dendreon (NASDAQ:DNDN):

Dendreon makes this list on two fronts. First, the company will be reporting earnings on August 8th, and secondly, for a potential decision regarding their prostate cancer treatment Provenge. Dendreon noted during their Q1 earnings report and call that there was a delay in regards to the decision. In late June, they received a positive opinion on Provenge, and they will be waiting for a final decision in the coming months. That could come in August, but we are also waiting to hear about potential European partners for the drug. Investors are looking for some more clarity on the Provenge/Europe situation, whether it comes at the earnings report or later in the month potentially.

For Q2, analysts are looking for $75.61 million in revenues and a loss of $0.42 per share. Dendreon stated that Q2 revenues would be in the "mid $70s", but they had an absolute train wreck with Q1 results. Since then, analysts have been getting very skeptical. Dendreon needs a $100 million revenue quarter to be cash flow positive in the US, but increasing competition seems to be pushing them further away from that goal. Dendreon is expected to improve its cost structure over the next few quarters, which will reduce losses and hopefully improve cash flow.

But until they get to that key revenue mark, the balance sheet will continue to get worse. In the past two years, the current ratio (when adjusting for the long-term debt) has gone from 15.13 to 4.92, and the company now has a negative equity balance. They had a liabilities to assets ratio of 105.62% at the end of Q1, and that is expected to continue higher for the indefinite future. Dendreon is getting closer to needing additional capital, which will have to come from equity given the poor balance sheet. With a market cap of about $700 million, any equity dilution will be massive. Dendreon's Q2 results will have a lot to say about the future of this company.

Zillow (NASDAQ:Z):

The real estate website saw its shares jump after fellow site Trulia (TRLA) reported a great quarter. Zillow shares rallied about 15% on Thursday, and continued higher on Friday. Shares nearly hit $87 on Friday, and closed at another all-time high. At Friday's close, this stock was up 277% off its 52-week low of $23.00 reached last November. This name continues to be one of the best performers in 2013.

Zillow will get its chance to prove itself on Tuesday, when it reports second quarter earnings. Current estimates call for 60% revenue growth to $44.42 million, and a non-GAAP loss of $0.11 per share compared to a profit of $0.08 in the year ago period. Zillow has beaten by an average of 5.5 cents per quarter in the last four, so there is the expectation that they will beat on the bottom line.

Dell (DELL):

The battle over the computer maker continues to heat up. On Friday, Dell's special committee backed the sweetened offer from Michael Dell and Silver Lake. The new offer includes a $0.13 per share special dividend, along with a $13.75 purchase price, and guarantees the $0.08 quarterly dividend will be paid. The committee also changed the record date from August 13th to June 3rd, and changed the voting rules to ignore abstained votes. Carl Icahn has sued to prevent such changes from the voting process, so we will see what happens.

Dell shares closed up 5.6% on Friday, but were still 7 cents below the $13.75 deal price. I don't think we've heard the last from Carl Icahn, and I expect this to drag on for some time. Shares have certainly recovered from Wednesday's $12.28 low, which was the lowest share price since January. Dell is certainly a name to watch in August, as this battle continues to drag on.

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (NASDAQ:GMCR):

The highly debated coffee company will report its quarter on Wednesday, August 7th. Like Zillow and Cisco, Green Mountain is close to its 52-week high, meaning there will be some high expectations going into this report. It was after the quarterly report in August 2012 where shares hit an after-hours low near $15 a share. They are now above $78, with one of the biggest rebounds in recent market history. Remember, this stock was in triple digits before its 2011 crash.

Current estimates call for the company to report revenue growth of 13% to $981.9 million and earnings per share of $0.77. When Green Mountain issued guidance at the Q2 report, revenue guidance was well below expectations (11% to 15% growth vs. 17.4% consensus), but earnings per share guidance was well above ($0.71 to $0.78 vs. $0.65 consensus). Analysts are at the company's midpoint for revenues, but the high end for earnings per share. Green Mountain has had sizable earnings beats in the past three quarters, but revenues have been shaky at times.

Last quarter, the company surprised with two items. First, they had a tremendous jump in gross margins, and it will be interesting to see if those margins hold up this quarter. I expect that they will for the most part. The second part was an increased partnership with Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX), which hid the fact that the company issued weak revenue guidance and took down their full year revenue forecast. The good news is that the cuts were due to their declining bagged coffee business, which is not their main business right now. Investors will have high expectations given the rally, and there probably will not be a Starbucks deal this time around. This quarter for Green Mountain will all be about the results and guidance, so the company has to earn it this time around.

Final Thoughts:

All five of these names will be on the radar during the month of August. Dell is involved in a heated battle to see if the company will go private and at what price. Green Mountain, Zillow, and Cisco all head into earnings near 52-week highs. Dendreon will also report, and investors will also be listening for news out of Europe. While the dog days of summer may be still lingering, these five names will have plenty of excitement this month.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, but may initiate a short position in Z over the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

Additional disclosure: Investors are always reminded that before making any investment, you should do your own proper due diligence on any name directly or indirectly mentioned in this article. Investors should also consider seeking advice from a broker or financial adviser before making any investment decisions. Any material in this article should be considered general information, and not relied on as a formal investment recommendation.