NEW YORK (
-- Monday is a huge day for earnings with a swarm of companies delivering their quarterly results.
One of the most closely watched on Wall Street is sure to be
, which reports before the opening bell. The stock is widely held and valued for its steady dividend. It has performed very well during the recession because of its dollar menu. Its McCafe strategy has paid off well too. The stock topped out in December at $80 and has since pulled back. So, most investors will be looking for reasons to push the stock back to $80.
McDonald's will surely talk about increasing food costs, which the company has already suggested could be in the 1-2% range. So how long can the company afford to not pass those cost increases to the customers? Plus, how is Europe doing? A good 36% of McDonald's profits come from across the pond and the market will want to see how business is holding up. Then there's all the bad weather in the United States. Did that affect people trying to get to their hamburgers?
Oil service giant
gives its numbers on Monday as well and after seeing the phenomenal results from
, expectations are running high.
Granted Schlumberger benefited from most of its business being outside the United States, whereas Halliburton is only 50% foreign based. The stock has stalled at the $40 level after peaking at roughly $41.
just raised its target price to $59 from $50 and named Halliburton its top pick for oilfield services. Just about every energy trader is calling for oil to trend higher in 2011, so it seems certain that oil-related stocks will follow.
On the tech side,
will draw attention. The company already gave mid-quarter guidance in December when it said it was seeing softness in demand. However, it also said that soft patch should be shallow and short. Notebooks and TVs did not sell as well and customers are running to tablets. The focus will be on expansion potential for the year and any hints as to where consumers will be spending their tech dollars. The stock is recovering and nearing pre-recession highs in the low $40's.
already pre-announced results, so there's a bit less drama to be had ahead of its report after the closing bell. The company has talked about higher operating expenses with card member costs rising. Plus, there's also still uncertainty about debit interchange fees. Eighteen analysts give it a buy rating with only 7 at a hold and an average price target of $51.
There are no economic reports for Monday, but expect some chatter ahead of the start of the latest Federal Open Market Committee meeting -- a two-day affair -- on Tuesday. Also keep in mind it's slated to be a busy week for public offerings with eight companies scheduled to launch. The biggest is the highly anticipated Nielsen Holdings. It is a $1.5 billion offering scheduled for Wednesday. And finally, Wednesday is the opening of the annual World Economic Forum in Davos Switzerland.
--Written by Debra Borchardt in New York.
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