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What to Watch in the Stock Market This Week

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With their Friday rally, stocks have decent momentum heading into the shortened trading week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 both fell by 1% last week, and are down about 8%, year to date.

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Markets were closed Monday in observation of the Presidents Day holiday, but fourth-quarter earnings season roars on after that. Restaurant Brands , Priceline , and Wal-Mart are all stocks that could make big moves this week as they post their quarterly earnings results and provide updated outlooks for the year ahead.

Tuesday, Feb. 16 -- Restaurant Brands' fast-food fight

Restaurant Brands, the operator of Burger King and Tim Hortons restaurant chains, will post its latest earnings numbers on Tuesday morning. The stock has dramatically underperformed larger rival McDonald 's lately, as the fast-food titan just returned to strong sales growth thanks to a popular shift to all-day breakfast.

Source: Wal-Mart.

Some of that outperformance is likely driven by investors' attraction to its sturdy business -- and hefty 3% dividend payout -- during this time of market stress. But the retailer has also shown signs that its operations could be gathering momentum.

Comparable-store sales rose by 1.5% in the U.S. market in the third quarter, marking Wal-Mart's fifth straight quarter of positive comps. That boost wasn't powered by higher prices, either, as customer traffic increased by almost 2 %.

Overall profits fell significantly, though, declining 5% on a constant-currency basis, and that's a refrain that shareholders will see again as Wal-Mart spends heavily on raising wages, investing in e-commerce capabilities, and improving the in-store shopping experience.

The big-picture goal is to become the first retailer to deliver a high-quality shopping experience across traditional and digital sales channels at a huge scale. We'll know if Wal-Mart made progress in that direction if its customer traffic trends continued to improve during the highly competitive holiday quarter.

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The article What to Watch in the Stock Market This Week originally appeared on Fool.com.

Demitrios Kalogeropoulos owns shares of McDonald's. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Priceline Group. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days . We Fools may not 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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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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