GDP, Housing Data, Bad-Tasting General Mills, Hot Nike, and the Week in Review

While you're stocking up on charcoal and prepping your secret dry rub recipe ahead of some serious 4th of July grilling festivities, check out what sent stocks down on a tough summer week.

1. Stock market winner...
Goooooooooal!! That earnings report from Nike scored like it came off the boot of some random Latin American soccer player whose name you know now because of the World Cup. On Thursday, Nike announced to investors that its quarterly revenue jumped 13% from last year, to $7.43 billion, which was above the $7.34 billion originally projected.

Take one wild guess what's behind the solid figures. (Hint: it's probably on ESPN right now.) For the World Cup, Nike was notably able to sign on 10 of the planet's biggest name soccer players. Adidas only snagged three, and Puma was left with just one.

That's great for marketing, and those sales numbers are solid for the quarter; but why were investors happy? Because Nike is gaining momentum to upset the current lead in soccer sportswear worldwide: Adidas. Wall Streeters know that this could become the most-watched World Cup ever, and with that kind of viewership, building the Nike soccer brand outside the US could be big for market share.

2. ...and stock market loser
If you don't want to spit up your breakfast, then don't continue to read what we're writing about cereal-crushing giant General Mills . General Mills may own a variety of notable brands, from Betty Crocker to Green Giant, but its latest quarterly earnings were straight up sour: Compared to the same period last year, revenue dipped 2.9%. to $4.28 billion.

But those poor numbers aren't the main reason why General Mills was spat out by investors last week. Sales have surprisingly slowed so much that the company also used the earnings report as an opportunity to announced its $40 million cost-cutting plan. The objective is to reconfigure the company's manufacturing and distribution setup to optimize its profits.

General Mills is not the only sizable food and beverage company struggling with cost-related issues. Campbell's Soup, Kellogg's, and even Heinz have found themselves served up with a similar dish. Investors, though, are worried about General Mills' plan, because it doesn't yet involve the intense measures -- factory closings and worker layoffs -- that the other companies were inevitably forced to undergo.

3. America's GDP wasn't hot...
After two preliminary readings during the last couple months, the Commerce Department announced that U.S. GDP, the broad measure of the economy, officially shrank by 2.9% in the first quarter of 2014. That's the worst performance since the 2009 recession began with 5.9% shrinkage. Wall Street's hoping for the economy's recovery to get back on track this summer, because those multiple polar vortexes were mostly to blame for this past winter's slump.

4. ...but America's housing data was
Although that GDP news probably made you want to run home to cry to mom, at least home-related econ data was good. Sales of existing homes surged 4.9% in May to its fastest pace in 18 months, while sales of new homes rose more than 18% for its biggest monthly gain since 2011. After the brutal winter weather crushed consumers, investors had been hoping for the housing market to start its spring rebound like this.

As originally published on

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The article GDP, Housing Data, Bad-Tasting General Mills, Hot Nike, and the Week in Review originally appeared on

Jack Kramer has no position in any stocks mentioned. Nick Martell has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Nike. The Motley Fool owns shares of Nike. 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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