A Bigger Yelp, a Smaller Tweet, and a New Fed Chief Lead the Week in Review

Still trying to figure out who would ever risk his or her life doing the luge at the Winter Olympics? At least it's not as dangerous as staying in a Sochi hotel. Now check out why Wall Street deserved a bronze medal last week.

1. January employment report disappoints
In its big monthly announcement, the Labor Department reported that although unemployment dipped from 6.7% to 6.6%, the U.S. added only 113,000 jobs in January -- well below economists' expectations of 200,000. Although that's the second straight disappointing month after the economy had so much jobs momentum over 2013, both November and December's jobs reports were revised upward. Some economists think absurdly cold weather may have affected hiring, but overall investors weren't too upset Friday, because a mediocre jobs report most likely means the Federal Reserve will continue its economic stimulus policies.

2. Fourth-quarter earnings winners: Yelp
Powered by a calorie-packed 47% jump in reviews and 67% rise in registered restaurants, Yelp (NYSE: YELP  ) earnings impressed investors with $70 million in revenues last quarter.
 
The big excitement for Yelp comes down to two main factors. First, the activity among its users is as busy as a five-star restaurant's kitchen. Nearly 70,000 restaurants are now listed on the site, and that's after a 69% jump over the last quarter. Plus, an epic 53 million reviews are now simmering on the site, driving a major increase in traffic.
 
For Wall Street, the question now is whether Yelp can pivot to the soon-to-be-most-hashtagged theme of 2014: mobile. Plenty of companies are solid on desktops, but now more users are accessing the review site on their iPhones than on their bulky home computers. Yelp's execs made clear in the earnings announcement that this is their priority.


3. ... and fourth-quarter earnings losers: Twitter
Twitter (NYSE: TWTR  ) shares fell from the sky by a tweet-worthy 25% after announcing a disappointing $511 million loss in its first ever earnings report.
 
Profits have never been the focus for Twitter, because it wasn't a publicly held company before last Thanksgiving and its primary business strategy was to gain users (not advertisers). Plenty of tech companies use this approach (think Facebook -- scooping up all your friends in the mid 2000s before they started cramming your news feed with local sushi restaurant promotions last year). Facebook's proved profitable now, so investors are looking for the same kind of move from Twitter.
 
The good news for Twitter is that it's enjoying some solid user growth among its 241 million users, which is about 30% more than last year. Plus, the advertising revenues of $243 million are starting to stream in.


4. The Fed's new chairwoman sworn in
After months of job interviews with Congress, Janet Yellen was finally sworn in as the first female chair of the Federal Reserve, and investors are expecting her to most likely continue with her predecessor's fun economic stimulus policies. Well-bearded outgoing Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke isn't hitting the links for retirement -- he's already signed a new position at the Brookings Institution, a D.C.-based think tank.

5. Other econ data wasn't too hot, either
If the jobs data didn't get you pumped going into the weekend, neither did the other econ data coming out of America. According to research firm ADP, U.S. manufacturing slowed for the second straight month to its lowest level since last May. And, blaming cold weather for freezing away consumers, U.S. car sales got smacked in January -- Ford (NYSE: F  ) suffered a 7% drop and General Motors (NYSE: GM  ) fell 12%. (Maybe they were just embarrassed by their mediocre Super Bowl ads.)

What MarketSnacks is checking out this week:
  • Monday -- earnings: Hasbro, Loews, Pizza Pizza
  • Tuesday -- NFIB Small Business Index; earnings: CVS Caremark, Sprint
  • Wednesday -- Fed President James Bullard speaks; earnings: Dr Pepper Snapple, Manchester United
  • Thursday -- New Fed Chairman Yellen speaks; retail report; earnings: Burger King Worldwide, PepsiCo
  • Friday -- Reuters/University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Survey; earnings: Campbell Soup, World Wrestling Entertainment

MarketSnacks Fact of the Day:  Ford Field (home of the Detroit Lions) sells the most expensive beer in the NFL at $0.67 per ounce, while Bank of America Stadium (home of the Carolina Panthers) sells the cheapest at $0.27 per ounce.

As originally published on MarketSnacks.com

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