CSCO, JCP, PCLN Among Hottest Stocks to Watch This Week

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Hot stocks to watch, Aug.11 – 15: August on Wall Street has often been likened to watching paint dry. Trading volumes shrivel as U.S. market participants head to the beach, Europe rewards itself with a four-week vacation, and few major corporate events are scheduled.

But the market isn't the dead zone that some think…

While not at the brisk pace we've seen over the last two weeks, earnings continue to roll in. Following are a few key earnings reports and stocks to watch this week.

8 Hot Stocks to Watch for the Week of Aug. 11

Hot Stocks to Watch No. 1CSCO earnings today  : Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaa: CSCO) reports fiscal Q4 numbers after the closing bell on Wednesday. Wall Street is looking for the IT giant to post earnings per share (EPS) of $0.53 on revenue of $11.807 billon. Whisper numbers are for $0.55. The company reported better-than-expected numbers in the previous quarter and shares jumped 7%. A number of analysts upgraded the stock following the solid Q3 report, further helping shares in the ensuing days. A common item noted by the firms commenting on Q3 was the sequential growth in both the Americas and Europe. Additionally, bulls were pleased with Cisco's improving product orders and better-than-expected product and gross margins. The general opinion remains bullish, with a number of firms giving Cisco a "Buy" rating. CSCO shares are up 11% year to date.

Hot Stocks to Watch No. 2: J. C. Penney Co. Inc. (NYSE: JCP) reports Q2 earnings after the close on Thursday. Consensus estimates are for a per-share loss of $0.99. Whisper numbers have the per-share loss a bit lighter at $0.89. The company was all but left for dead last year. But Q1 numbers showed the company's turnaround strategy is working. Shares shot up 25% after the first quarter report showed net sales of $2.80 billion compared to $2.64 billion in Q1 2013. Same-store sales increased 6.2% in Q1 and improved sequentially each month within the quarter. After a strong showing earlier in the year, JCP shares are up just 0.66% for the year.

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