Bad-Tasting McD's Earnings, but Fun Ones From Hasbro -- Plus, Russia and Housing-Market Pain

The four things you need to know for the past week.

Apr 26, 2014 at 7:00PM
Get hungry -- Wall Street's getting into the meat and potatoes of the first-quarter earnings season. Stocks rose all week long as headline corporations dropped earnings reports like they were hot.

1. Stock winner of the week ...
Toys are fun, but toys that make money are even more fun. That's why Hasbro (NASDAQ:HAS) is our pick for stock of the week. Shares of the Rhode Island-based toy designer rose nearly 2% Monday after reporting earnings that were a treat for investors to play with. The company enjoyed $679.5 million in revenues over the first quarter of 2014, a 2% increase from the same period last year.

So what helped out Hasbro? It turns out that, in fact, "boys drool and girls rule." That's because sales of toys focused on boys (we're talking about Nerf classics) rose by just 2% over the quarter -- but for girls, toys like My Little Pony jumped by 21%. Plus, international Hasbro sales gained 5% despite a slight sales slowdown in North America.
The reason investors felt like kids on Christmas morning after Hasbro's earnings was that the toy industry hasn't been kind recently. Classic physical toys are facing serious competition from electronic ones -- plus, the unflattering holiday sales season ate away at Mattel's toy sales, according to their earnings report the week earlier. Hasbro's been going through some restructuring since 2013, and as it remakes itself, Wall Street seems happy that its 2014 is off to a mom-approved start.

2. ... And stock loser
The only thing worse than ordering a burger medium rare and getting it well done is having some poorly served earnings from McDonald's (NYSE:MCD). Last Tuesday, the fast-food giant reported an artery-packing $6.7 billion in revenues during the first quarter of the year -- but that represented only a 1% rise from the same period in 2013, which was simply in line with analysts' expectations.

Ronald McDonald may always be smiling, but he wasn't for the first three months of 2014 -- he was shivering. According to the company's earnings report, the brutal winter weather that hurt much of the U.S. economy also had an affect on its consumers, who were apparently just too cold to wait in drive-through lines nationwide. That explains their 1.7% drop in same-store sales over the quarter, 

There was a silver, good-tasting lining, though, from the McDonald's news. The company continues to see impressive numbers outside the United States. International same-store sales have maintained their steady pace -- revenues in Europe gained 1.4%, while Asia's rose by 1%. Last fall, McDonald's failed new menu options didn't gain traction with Uncle Sam's constituents, but at least its classic menu options are still appealing to foreigners.

3. Fresh Ukraine/Russia worries rattled stocks
Fridays are supposed to be casual or just plain fun, but stocks wavered at the end of the week as geopolitical tensions between the West and Russia heated up. Over the past few days, Russia's been ordering new military exercises along Ukraine's border. Now U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is warning bare-chested President Vladimir Putin to ease tensions, and the West's Group of Seven is meeting again to discuss new economic measures against Russia. Plus, Russian stocks have fallen for five straight days after S&P downgraded the country's credit rating. Ouch.

4. Housing data wasn't fun
Sales of existing homes dipped by 0.2% in March for their seventh contraction in eight months, while sales of new homes plummeted 14%. With the polar-vortex season behind us, economists had expected the improved housing market to see increased activity this spring. But as the Federal Reserve has scaled back its stimulus policies that kept interest rates low to encourage borrowing, the slight increase in interest rates this winter deterred many a mortgage-seeking homebuyer.
MarketSnacks this week:
  • Monday: Pending-home sales; first-quarter earnings reports: Buffalo Wild Wings, Caesars Entertainment, Denny's, Kate Spade
  • Tuesday: Two-day Fed meeting begins; earnings reports: Coach, eBay, Merck
  • Wednesday: U.S. GDP; earnings reports: Hyatt Hotels, MetLife, Yelp
  • Thursday: Motor-vehicle sales; earnings reports: Expedia, ExxonMobil, MasterCard
  • Friday: April jobs report; earnings reports: Chevron, CVS Caremark

As originally published on

The greatest thing Warren Buffett ever said
Warren Buffett has made billions through his investing and he wants you to be able to invest like him. Through the years, Buffett has offered up investing tips to shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway. Now you can tap into the best of Warren Buffett's wisdom in a new special report from The Motley Fool. Click here now for a free copy of this invaluable report.

Jack Kramer and Nick Martell have no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Berkshire Hathaway, eBay, and McDonald's and owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Coach, eBay, Hasbro, MasterCard, and McDonald's. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Money to your ears - A great FREE investing resource for you

The best way to get your regular dose of market and money insights is our suite of free podcasts ... what we like to think of as “binge-worthy finance.”

Feb 1, 2016 at 5:03PM

Whether we're in the midst of earnings season or riding out the market's lulls, you want to know the best strategies for your money.

And you'll want to go beyond the hype of screaming TV personalities, fear-mongering ads, and "analysis" from people who might have your email address ... but no track record of success.

In short, you want a voice of reason you can count on.

A 2015 Business Insider article titled, "11 websites to bookmark if you want to get rich," rated The Motley Fool as the #1 place online to get smarter about investing.

And one of the easiest, most enjoyable, most valuable ways to get your regular dose of market and money insights is our suite of free podcasts ... what we like to think of as "binge-worthy finance."

Whether you make it part of your daily commute or you save up and listen to a handful of episodes for your 50-mile bike rides or long soaks in a bubble bath (or both!), the podcasts make sense of your money.

And unlike so many who want to make the subjects of personal finance and investing complicated and scary, our podcasts are clear, insightful, and (yes, it's true) fun.

Our free suite of podcasts

Motley Fool Money features a team of our analysts discussing the week's top business and investing stories, interviews, and an inside look at the stocks on our radar. The show is also heard weekly on dozens of radio stations across the country.

The hosts of Motley Fool Answers challenge the conventional wisdom on life's biggest financial issues to reveal what you really need to know to make smart money moves.

David Gardner, co-founder of The Motley Fool, is among the most respected and trusted sources on investing. And he's the host of Rule Breaker Investing, in which he shares his insights into today's most innovative and disruptive companies ... and how to profit from them.

Market Foolery is our daily look at stocks in the news, as well as the top business and investing stories.

And Industry Focus offers a deeper dive into a specific industry and the stories making headlines. Healthcare, technology, energy, consumer goods, and other industries take turns in the spotlight.

They're all informative, entertaining, and eminently listenable. Rule Breaker Investing and Answers are timeless, so it's worth going back to and listening from the very start; the other three are focused more on today's events, so listen to the most recent first.

All are available for free at

If you're looking for a friendly voice ... with great advice on how to make the most of your money ... from a business with a lengthy track record of success ... in clear, compelling language ... I encourage you to give a listen to our free podcasts.

Head to, give them a spin, and you can subscribe there (at iTunes, Stitcher, or our other partners) if you want to receive them regularly.

It's money to your ears.


Compare Brokers