5 Things to Watch This Week: Cars, Games, Hearts, and a Lot of Z's


There's never a dull moment on Wall Street, especially now that the market is hitting multi-year highs again. Let's go over some of the items that will help shape the week that lies ahead.

1. Tesla whirls: Car enthusiasts were generally impressed with last week's unveiling of Tesla Motors' (TSLA) Model X, the electric auto maker's third produce line.

If Tesla's original Roadster is too expensive and this year's Model S sedan is too small, the Model X crossover SUV may do the trick when it hits showrooms in early 2014. Did you know that the rear doors open up like falcon wings? Tesla's going to turn more than a few heads with that one.

Investors won't have to wait as long for Tesla's latest financials, thankfully. The cutting edge American automaker will report its quarterly results on Wednesday. The market knows that red ink is coming. Tesla's Model S won't hit the market until this summer, and analysts aren't banking on a profit until next year.

However, folks will still be tuning in to learn more about the upcoming Model S rollout and any nuggets of wisdom on the Model X timeline.

Plug-in electric cars haven't been taking off the way that some eco-friendly advocates would like. Whether it's "range anxiety" or the high sticker prices, Tesla's the one "cool" name behind this promising gas-free technology.

2. Investing with Friends: Zynga (ZNGA) steps up with its first quarterly report as a public company on Tuesday. If the name Zynga doesn't ring a bell, ask any of the 845 million people on Facebook if they are familiar with FarmVille, Mafia Wars 2, or Empires & Allies.

Remember when Alec Baldwin was booted off a plane because he didn't want to stop playing Words with Friends on his smartphone two months ago? Well, that Scrabble knockoff is another wildly popular Zynga game.

Shares of the social gaming giant have been moving higher since Facebook filed its paperwork to go public. Why? Well, Facebook revealed that Zynga was accounting for 12% of its revenue. If Facebook is a $100 billion company, what does that say about Zynga?

Analysts see a small profit, but it's always hard to tell with these debutantes. It's important for Zynga to earn at least the $0.03 a share that Wall Street is targeting. It won't have a second chance to make a first impression.

3. Attack of the Killer Zs: It's not just Zynga testing the end of the alphabet. Zipcar (ZIP) and Zillow (Z) will also be posting their quarterly results this week.

All three companies went public last year, which is a pretty big coincidence when you consider how few companies were able to pull off their IPOs last year.

Zynga, we've established, is the top dog in social gaming. Zipcar runs the country's most popular auto-sharing service. There are 650,000 members -- or "Zipsters" as paying members call themselves -- that take advantage of renting from Zipcar's fleet of thousands of cars located conveniently in major metropolitan areas or college campuses. Cars can be rented by the hour with gasoline and insurance included in the low hourly rates.

Zillow is the fast-growing real estate website. You don't often see "fast-growing" and "real estate" in the same sentence, but this certainly applies to Zillow. The site's free and instant access to estimates of home and rental appraisals on most of the country's homes make it a magnetic site even for homeowners that aren't interest in buying new digs.

4. Hearts will be broken: Tuesday is Valentine's Day. It's naturally a busy day for florists. Jewelers and makers of chocolates in heart-shaped boxes won't be smarting for business.

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One company that will likely be slammed with traffic is OpenTable (OPEN). There are now more than 25,000 restaurants around the world that lean on OpenTable to deliver Internet-based reservations through its namesake website and popular mobile app. If a restaurant requires reservations -- and if you don't have any for Tuesday night, you may have to settle for IHOP this year -- warming up to OpenTable is a good way to square away dining reservations without having to lose out on a table at your favorite eatery.

OpenTable can use the good news. It reported healthy fourth-quarter results last week. Revenue climbed 21% to $37.2 million, and it posted a better than expected adjusted profit of $0.37 a share. The market still dumped the stock on problematic dining trends.

5. Drove the Chevy to the levy: General Motors (GM) pulls in on Thursday with its latest financials.

Despite encouraging economic news, GM isn't revving up the way that it should in a gradual recovery. Wall Street feels that GM's revenue will inch less than 4% higher. That's not as bad as what the pros see for the automaker's bottom line. Analysts are bracing for earnings to slide 21% to $0.41 a share.

GM did have the embarrassing Chevy Volt engine fires to tackle, but the company recently took out full-page ads to let everyone know that it has remedied the problem. The bigger challenge is to get potential car buyers that have held off on big-ticket purchases of new rides to feel comfortable enough to take GM cars for a test drive.

After the government bailout of GM and its eventual bankruptcy reorganization the car giant has a cleaner balance sheet. Now it needs to pick up the pace on auto sales.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz does not owns shares in any of the stocks in this article, except for Zipcar. The Motley Fool owns shares of OpenTable and Zipcar. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Zipcar, Zillow, Tesla Motors, General Motors, and OpenTable.

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