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Chipotle and Netflix Are Market Stars, While McDonald's and Yum! Have Chicken Problems

By Jack Kramer and Nick Martell – Jul 21, 2014 at 11:00PM

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The three things you need to know on July 22.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI 0.60%) dipped 48 points to start the week, as the quarterly earnings season kicks into another gear.

1. Chipotle's quarterly performance was like a huge burrito
A whole scoop of extra guac just got poured on shareholders of the Mexican-food chain Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG 1.45%). The calorie-pumping fast-casual machine reported $1.1 billion in revenue during the second quarter, a 29% jump from the same period last year, well above analysts' expectations. Shares rose 10% in after-hours trading, and the stock is up 11% so far this year.

What's so special about Chipotle? Their burritos are so good, consumers are willing to drop major pesos on them -- the company announced last quarter it was raising its food prices because of the rising cost of ingredients, yet sales at stores open at least a year still increased 17%. And Chipotle managed to open 45 new spots that probably already have absurd lines.

The takeaway is that Chipotle didn't just perfect the awkwardly fast "assembly line" of burrito ordering -- the company is also leading the new-school "fast casual" trend over old-school "fast food." Keep reading your MarketSnacks to see why McDonald's (MCD 0.93%) and Yum Brands! (YUM 0.36%) dropped big Monday while Chipotle celebrated (FYI, you should use this guide to get bigger portions).

2. Netflix adds 1.7 million to crack the 50 million subscriber mark
It's prime time for video streaming company and favorite millennial pastime Netflix (NFLX -0.22%). Second-quarter earnings reported Monday that profits more than doubled to $71 million from last year. Plus, the company scored its golden milestone: 50 million streaming video subscribers. The stock rose over 2% during the day and after-hours.

U.S. subscribers are 36 million, and Netflix scored over a million new users abroad to bring the foreign viewership to 14 million. In Latin America, so many people bought their first new TVs to watch Germany break their hearts in the World Cup, they needed a healthy dose of Grey's Anatomy, so Netflix got a boost.

Its aggressive expansion into Europe will hurt profits in the third quarter, but CEO Reed Hastings knows the business model is unstoppable, so investment in European content and marketing is worth it. The company's plans to expand into Germany, France, Austria, and three other European counties is a go.

The takeaway is that investors are excited that growth continues at home and is set to spike abroad. Netflix haters thought the $1 monthly subscription increase would stunt subscriber growth, but they underestimated the irresistibility of Orange Is the New Black.

3. McDonald's and Yum! sink on Chinese food problem
Well this is awkward. Just as competitor Chipotle satisfied Wall Street with its earnings report, McDonald's and Yum! Brands reported that they were stopping food shipments from a supplier in Shanghai on word they may have been selling old meat. Investors vomited up the stocks, sending McDonald's down 1.5% and Yum! down 4%.

The takeaway is that Wall Street has a forgiving stomach, but this has happened before to both culprits. Sales at Yum's 4,500 KFCs and 6,000 Pizza Huts in China fell last year on an avian bird flu scare, while McDonald's was investigated in 2012 for pumping its meat with illegal hormones. (If the Chinese government is coming at you for violations, we assume things must be pretty bad.)

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Jack Kramer and Nick Martell have no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Apple, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Google (A and C shares), McDonald's, and Netflix and owns shares of Apple, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Google (A and C shares), and Netflix. 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.

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