Week's Winners and Losers: Hasbro Pays Off, Pier 1 Slips Off
Hasbro (HAS) -- Winner
Most toymakers had a rough holiday shopping season, but Hasbro bucked the trend by posting growth at both ends of the income statement on Monday. Revenue would have climbed 7 percent if it wasn't for currency fluctuations overseas, matching the 7 percent gain in operating profit.
The toy giant behind Transformers, My Little Pony, and Monopoly also boosted its dividend. The new payout rate of 46 cents a share pushes Hasbro's yield to 3 percent, and it's not the only way that Hasbro is returning money to its shareholders. Its board also authorized $500 million in share buybacks.
Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) -- Loser
The magnetic burrito roller is apparently also attracting hackers. Chipotle's Twitter (TWTR) account was hacked for a couple of hours on Sunday. The hacked account replaced Chipotle's corporate logo with a swastika and sent out a series of offensive tweets brimming with profanities and racial slurs.
Chipotle naturally apologized for the incident. Its brand isn't necessarily tarnished by the event, but it does remind investors that Chipotle is big and vocal enough to be a target of future hacking attempts.
McDonald's (MCD) -- Winner
No one was surprised when McDonald's posted another month of negative restaurant-level sales on Monday, but there may be hope for a turnaround closer to home. The world's largest burger chain saw comparable-restaurant sales slide 1.8 percent worldwide in January, but that was the result of major shortfalls in Asia. Comps for the U.S. and Europe actually rose 0.4 percent and 0.5 percent, respectively.
That's a pretty big deal. Stateside comps had fallen in 13 of the past 14 months before January, and even the one exception was just a flat April. This is the first month of meaningful year-over-year growth in more than a year for McDonald's, arming it with momentum as it heads into a new year with a new CEO.
Pier 1 Imports (PIR) -- Loser
Selling home furnishings would seem like a can't-miss business in this climate where low mortgage rates find potential home buyers snapping up new digs and existing home owners refinancing to invest in home improvement projects. Unfortunately for Pier 1 investors, the retailer can miss -- and it misses a lot.
Pier 1 lowered its guidance for its fiscal year that concludes at the end of this month. January sales haven't been as strong as the chain was expecting. This is actually the third time this fiscal year that Pier 1 has had to hose down its outlook. It's probably not a surprise that the CFO resigned this week, too.
Netflix (NFLX) -- Winner
In a surprising move, Netflix announced availability in Cuba. Yes, "House of Cards," "Orange Is the New Black," and other select programming can now be streamed through the premium online service.
It's easy to be cynical. Some watchdog groups claim that as little as 5 percent of the island has access to the Internet. This clearly isn't going to be a move that's going to pay off right away. However, it's a smart move for Netflix to take on the challenge of trying to open up a nation that in many ways seems lost in past. Outside of North Korea and perhaps China, is there any country that Netflix won't dare enter in its goal to entertain the global masses?
Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz owns shares of Netflix. The Motley Fool recommends Chipotle Mexican Grill, Hasbro, McDonald's, Netflix and Twitter. The Motley Fool owns shares of Chipotle Mexican Grill, Hasbro, Netflix and Twitter. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. Looking for a winner for your portfolio? Check out The Motley Fool's one great stock to buy for 2015 and beyond.