You can never know in advance all the news that will move the market in a given week, but some things you can see coming. From Taco Bell hoping to take a bigger bite out of the breakfast market to another fast-food chain pulling up with its latest quarterly results, here are some of the things that will help shape the week that lies ahead on Wall Street.
Monday -- Sonic Boom
Sonic (SONC) operates the country's largest chain of drive-in restaurants. The key word there is "drive-in," as folks pull into parking spaces with intercoms where they place their orders. If you're lucky a carhop on roller skates will roll on over with your order. There are 3,500 Sonic drive-ins across the country, serving roughly 3 million customers a day.
Sonic kicks off the final full trading week of the quarter with its latest financial report. Analyst see a profit of 6 cents a share, up slightly from last year's showing, on flat sales growth.
Tuesday -- Office Space
One of the savvier ways to check the pulse of corporate America is to see how furniture sales are holding up. If companies are hiring again, there's a fair shot that they will also be needing new task chairs, desks and other office staples.
Herman Miller (MLHR) reported its latest quarterly results this past Wednesday. On Tuesday we'll see see how its peer Steelcase (SCS) fared during the holiday quarter that's extends into early February. In other words, if companies were spending money on new furniture earlier this year, it will show up in Steelcase's numbers. Analysts see revenue climbing 7 percent in Steelcase's latest quarter.
Wednesday -- Meet Microsoft's New Boss
There's a new sheriff in town at Microsoft (MSFT) and on Wednesday CEO Satya Nadella will host his first media event since taking over at the world's largest software company.
It may be special. Some reports claim that Microsoft will announce availability of Office -- its suite of productivity programs that includes Word word processing, Excel spreadsheets, and PowerPoint presentations -- for iPad users. Microsoft has avoided making those programs available to non-Windows tablets, but this seems to be a realization that it's better to support rival mobile devices than to miss out on the revenue.
Thursday -- Breakfast in Cancun
The breakfast market has been heating up, and Yum Brands' (YUM) Taco Bell is ready to cash in with a national rollout of a breakfast menu on Thursday. %VIRTUAL-article-sponsoredlinks%We're talking about burritos with scrambled eggs and the Waffle Taco that it was testing in select markets last summer.
There's plenty at stake in the suddenly crowded market for morning commuters, but Taco Bell has typically opened early to make sure that it gets the early risers with its regular menu. We'll see if this creates a spike in its business, and it should since it would seem to be incremental.
Friday -- Doing Cardio at the Mall
On Friday morning Finish Line (FINL) will take a victory lap. The mall retailer sells athletic footwear, performance apparel and accessories through 644 stores across the country. It also manages the athletic shoes department at 651 Macy's (M) stores.
Athletic footwear retailer is normally a sleepy niche, but Finish Line appears to be sprinting these days. Analysts see sales and earnings per share climbing 20 percent and 12 percent, respectively.
Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of Microsoft.
7 Most-Missed Tax Deductions and Credits
What to Watch on Wall Street This Week: Nadella's News, Waffle Tacos
Our lives are busy, and taxpayers may forget what donations they gave last year may get them a bigger refund. If you cleaned out your bulging closet and dropped off clothing or household goods at your favorite charity, don't forget this may be deductible on your tax return.
Taxpayers taking a full course load and working toward a degree can receive education benefits through the American Opportunity Tax Credit for college expenses, but those who took even just one class to further their career may be able to take the tuition and fees deduction. With this credit, you can deduct up to $4,000 for tuition and fees, books and educational supplies for you, your spouse or dependents. This tax deduction is especially important to remember if you qualify because the offer expires after tax year 2013.
Taxpayers can deduct state income taxes, but what about people who live in states that don't have a state income tax? The state and local sales tax deduction is useful for those who don't pay state income tax because they can deduct sales tax paid on purchases. Even people who live in states that pay state income tax can benefit if they paid more sales tax due to large purchases. This is another tax that is going away after the 2013 tax year, so don't miss out on this one.
The earned income tax credit is a refundable tax credit given to filers who earn low- to moderate- income from their jobs. The credit can be worth up to $6,044, depending on income and how many dependents you have, but one in five tax filers overlook this opportunity, according to the Internal Revenue Service. You have to file your taxes in order to get it, so even if you make less than $10,000 (the IRS' minimum income filing requirement) you should still file your taxes.
If you were looking for a job last year, you may be able to deduct costs related to your job search – even if you didn't secure a new one. Job search expenses such as preparing and sending resumes, fees to placement agencies and even travel related to searching for a new job can be included.
This credit is often overlooked and seldom talked about, but if you have an income up to $29,500 ($59,000 for married filing jointly) you can save for retirement and get an tax credit worth up to $1,000 for individuals and $2,000 for couples if you contributed to a qualifying retirement plan such as an individual retirement account or 401(k). The retirement savers tax credit is a win-win situation since contributions to your IRA may also be a deduction from income.
Taxpayers who weren't so lucky gambling last year should know that their losses can be deducted if they itemize their deductions. However, your amount of losses cannot surpass your winnings, which must be reported as taxable income. For example, if you have $2,000 in winnings and $4,000 in losses, your deduction is limited to $2,000. Make sure you have documentation such as receipts, tickets and other records to support your losses.