Wall Street This Week: Free Burritos, Tupperware Opens Up

Free Chipotle Burrito

From a tofu-minded promotion by a rock-star burrito roller to a toy maker hoping to gets its sluggish doll sales back on track, here are some of the things that will help shape the week that lies ahead on Wall Street.

Monday — Focus on Tofu

Lines will be a bit longer than usual at Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) on Monday, as the chain is handing out vouchers for a free burrito, bowl, salad, or order of tacos to anyone ordering a Sofritas item on Monday.

Sofritas is the seasoned tofu protein that Chipotle began testing in 2013 before rolling it out nationwide last year. This move will draw attention to the meatless dining option at the fast-growing burrito roller, and it will also encourage repeat visits because the vouchers can’t be redeemed until the following day through most of February.

At a time when Chipotle is suffering from a shortage of its pork carnitas and commodity prices for meat are volatile, hooking more people on Sofritas as a salad topper or burrito ingredient sounds like a smart approach. The vouchers will be handed out all day after folks pay for their Sofritas order.

Tuesday — Purple People Eater

Yahoo (YHOO) reports on Tuesday. The dot-com pioneer has been a hot investment since Marissa Mayer came over as CEO. However, most of the stock’s gains are tied to the soaring value of its stake in China’s Alibaba (BABA); its 15 percent stake in the e-commerce giant is worth roughly $38 billion.

Yahoo!’s actual financial performance under Mayer’s watch hasn’t been very inspiring on the top line, with largely flattish growth. The Alibaba windfall could help Yahoo! in many ways, and anything it can do to pick up its stagnant online advertising business is appreciated.

Wednesday — Sealed With a Lid

Wednesday will be one of this earnings season’s busiest days, and one company hoping to stay fresh is Tupperware (TUP). The company behind the namesake containers that are staples in many kitchens has been falling out of favor lately, and that should be on display when it reports results. It’s not likely to be pretty. Analysts see a 7 percent decline in revenue from the prior year’s fourth quarter, with profits taking an even bigger hit.

This is traditionally when Tupperware has increased its dividend, but that may be a challenge this time. A few years ago it moved to reset its payouts annually, based on its financial performance. There was enough growth to merit the declaration of dividend hikes in each of the three prior fourth-quarter reports, but declining profitability in 2014 and Wall Street eyeing a flat 2015 may put an end to that streak.

Thursday — Big G on the Clock

Google (GOOG) (GOOGL) steps up with its quarterly results two days after rival Yahoo peels back the curtain. Google’s the undisputed global champ when it comes to search and online advertising. Its Android is also the planet’s most popular mobile operating system.

Despite Google’s growth, the stock took a step back, declining slightly in 2014. It hopes to start 2015 on the right foot with well-received results. Analysts see revenue climbing nearly 10 percent over the prior year, with earnings growing even faster. However, Google has missed Wall Street’s profit target in each of the past four quarters. It will have to reverse that trend this year if it wants to woo investors.

Friday — Mattel Sick

Another company that has fallen short of analyst profit forecasts in each and every quarter over the past year is Mattel (MAT), and it, too, gets a chance to end that unfortunate streak later this week.

Mattel’s been in a funk. Folks aren’t buying its iconic dolls and playthings the way that they used to. Mattel shocked the market three months ago by reporting a 21 percent plunge in worldwide sales for Barbie. Even the American Girl doll line that was holding up well against Barbie’s slump declined. And it wasn’t just dolls betraying Mattel: Its Fisher-Price line also suffered a double-digit decline. Mattel investors had better hope that the toy maker can turn things around with the seasonally potent holiday quarter. We’ll know the answer on Friday morning.

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