From the company that made tweeting a global phenomenon reporting quarterly results to a controversial distributor of wellness products hoping to get the last laugh, here are some of the things that will help shape the week that lies ahead on Wall Street.
Monday -- Herbalife May Fight Back
There's no love lost between hedge fund manager Bill Ackman and Herbalife (HLF). Ackman shorted shares of the distributor of weight loss and nutritional products in late 2012, and he's been vocal about his reasons.
Ackman feels that Herbalife is a pyramid scheme that pays its distributors more for recruiting more distributors than for actually selling its wares. Last week, Ackman promised that he would tear Herbalife to shreds with the biggest presentation of his life. Instead, the stock soared after he made his presentation, and Herbalife will have the perfect opportunity to fire back at Ackman on Monday afternoon when it reports quarterly results.
Tuesday -- Home, Tweet Home
One of last year's most prolific initial public offerings was Twitter (TWTR). Despite the limitations of keeping posts at 140 characters or less, Twitter has quickly become an indispensable promotional tool for celebrities, brand managers and food truck owners.
Twitter reports on Tuesday, and it has plenty to prove. It was hot last November, priced at $26 for the IPO and trading at nearly $75 a few weeks later. The stock has gone on to shed roughly half of its value since its December peak. Investors are concerned about Twitter's ability to monetize its traffic without sacrificing popularity.
Wednesday -- Cry for Yelp
Yelp (YELP) went public two years ago, and while the reviews website has held up better than Twitter, it too has seen its shares under pressure since peaking a few months ago.
%VIRTUAL-article-sponsoredlinks%Yelp is often brought up as a buyout candidate, and it's easy to see the allure. Yelp is the undisputed champ in collecting local venue reviews, and that's magnetic to search giants wanting some more skin in the local online advertising.
Yelp reports on Wednesday, and while analysts see revenue soaring 59 percent they also see Yelp checking in with another quarterly deficit. Sooner or later, Yelp's strong revenue gains will have to translate into profitability that the market can sink its teeth into.
Thursday -- The Mood Is Electric
Tesla Motors (TSLA) has been one of the market's most dynamic stocks, soaring on the prospects of its high-end electric sedan. Tesla's Model S vehicle was always the envy of the automotive market, but the hype is even louder in the marketplace after seeing its stock more than quadruple last year.
There's more to Tesla than its Model S sedan. Next year it will introduce the Model X crossover, and by 2017 we should see the Model III that will be priced more aggressively. Tesla reports on Thursday.
Friday -- Rated PG
The final trading day of the week is typically quiet on the financial news front, but that's not necessarily the case during earnings season. Procter & Gamble (PG) -- the company behind Pampers diapers, Crest toothpaste, Duracell batteries and other household staples -- checks in with fresh numbers on Friday morning.
Procter & Gamble is popular with income investors. It has an impressive streak going with 58 consecutive years of dividend hikes. It will naturally have to keep growing its profitability to keep its payouts climbing, and that's just what the pros see happening on Friday.
Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Procter & Gamble, Tesla Motors, Twitter and Yelp. The Motley Fool owns shares of Tesla Motors and has the following options: long January 2016 $57 calls on Herbalife.
How I Tuned Up My Finances in 9 Simple Steps
Wall Street This Week: Earnings Abound, from Herbalife to P&G
Before launching into review our finances, I kicked off with the same Money Organizer Workbook I have my readers or clients use when reviewing their finances. It broke down steps for me to conquer and review one at a time, and allowed me to see the areas I needed to focus on and where I was good to go.
Creating a plan around your finances without having clearly defined goals in akin to getting into the car to drive somewhere without a destination in mind. There's no room for vagueness. My husband and I had to sit down and determine what we're trying to accomplish (aside from just surviving the change wave that is hitting us). We got detailed and created actionable SMART Goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely). So, instead of merely saying we'll vacation in Europe, we're now "saving $5,000 for a vacation to Europe next summer."
We all know we're supposed to spend less than we make, but are we? Building a budget is the most important part of getting financially organized. You can't create a plan to meet your goals without knowing where your money is going. Start tracking your spending by paying attention to fixed expenses, debt payments and discretionary (or what I call "fun times") expenses. Pinpoint the areas that are prime for reductions if necessary. In our house, we're willing to cut back on dining out in order to build up our travel fund.
Have you added to or reduced debt since the year began? When it comes to tackling debt, either go after accounts with the highest interest rates first (meaning extra money goes towards this balance only) or use the "snowball" method (targeting lowest balances for payoff first) to build momentum. I have clients and readers use the debt spreadsheet in the Money Organizer Workbook to document creditors, outstanding balances, terms, interest rates and minimum monthly payments and prioritize from there. While we make an effort to pay off our credit cards in full each month, knowing the balances we carry in other debt helps us to understand how much mortgage we can afford when we make the move into a house later this year.
If you didn't start on Jan. 1, there are still six months left to maximize retirement plan contributions. The max contribution for Roth and IRA accounts in 2014 is $5,500 -- $916.67 a month, for the next six months.
The max contribution for your Roth and regular 401(k)s is $17,500. That's $2,916.67 a month for the next six months.
If you haven't been paying attention to your investments, now is the time to check in on allocations and adjust or rebalance to align with your intended strategy. With the market on the move upwards, I took the chance to look at our accounts and the original intended allocation for our funds. With the growth in the market, some funds were out of balance with their intended targets, so I sold and purchased and rebalanced back to target allocations.
You may think "it won't happen to you," but in reality, it could and it might. Having the right kinds of insurance in place for home, auto, life, disability and personal liability is incredibly important. It's even more important to update these numbers as your income fluctuates, your family grows, your career changes, you make large purchases or acquire debt. Many of these numbers are being revamped this month in our household due to my husband's transition to a new job and the adjustments to benefits that we have and need.
Thinking about your death or possible disability is by no means sexy, but it's important. Having the tough conversations and creating documentation for your wishes is a gift of peace of mind for your family. (It's also a good time to tell your spouse who he or she can and can't date if you're no longer around). This is a conversation that my husband and I had a while ago during a road trip, and we have documentation in place, but with family planning on the horizon, it has recently brought up some new questions that we needed to address.
Schedule a check-in for six months from now to track the progress you've made on goals and to review the list of items you've tackled in the previous months. Celebrate your wins along the way. In our house, we have a list of the things we want to purchase (big or small) on the refrigerator. Each time our savings accounts get to a certain amount, we celebrate by allowing ourselves $100 toward one of the items we wanted to purchase. It's a small way to celebrate success and to curb impulse spending.