A good chunk of the biggest earnings reports are behind us for the quarter. However, several quarterly releases and other interesting pieces of news warrant your consideration this week.
Peets Coffee And Tea (NASDAQ:PEET). Peets reports on Wednesday after the close. Like Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX), Peets stock is flirting with its 52-week high. That does not necessarily mean it has to head lower on earnings. Both Starbucks and a brand with similar loyal markets, Whole Foods (NASDAQ:WFM), both popped after their largely positive calls.
What I am more interested in is signs that Peets can continue to compete with Starbucks over the long haul. Or, more aptly, can its stock price continue to perform as well as its dominant counterpart's?
Peet owns less than 200 stores in a handful of U.S. states. Meantime, Starbucks operates or licenses thousands around the world. Bigger is not always better, but I like small companies like Peets to be lean and mean and on the cutting edge. When I think lean and mean and certainly cutting edge, I think Starbucks. When I think Peets, I think of a place where people go because they either hate Starbucks or do not have one within close proximity, which is rare. It will be interesting to see how Peets' margins hold up against Starbucks' decline.
While the iTV product remains cloaked in secrecy, sources say Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple has approached Rogers and Bell as it actively pursues partnerships with Canadian carriers.
"They're not closed to doing it with one (company) or doing it with two," said one source who is familiar with the talks. "They're looking for a partner. They're looking for someone with wireless and broadband capabilities."
Another source, also speaking on the condition of anonymity, said Rogers and Bell already have the product in their labs.
I've got lots of thoughts and possibilities running around my head on this one. I plan to cover it fully in Tuesday's issue of my stock options investing newsletter. RCI and BCE are both key parts of the long-term strategy I've outlined to subscribers.
My initial thought ... When Rogers and Bell teamed up to buy Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE), plenty of people asked how the heated telecommunications and media rivals could partner on such a massive venture. With Apple now coming into the picture, it makes quite a bit more sense.
As I have argued, Apple's move into the living room involves an obstacle that even it has had and will continue to have a hard time overcoming. While I am not sure Apple wants to make iTV such a disparate country-by-country or region-by-region venture, it's much easier to pin down the most valuable content in Canada, given the reality that two companies, Rogers and Bell, control a vast majority of it. The U.S. government would never allow AT&T or Verizon, alone or combined, to control wireline, wireless, television, Internet, tons of major media and several ultra-valuable professional sports teams.
By the sounds of it, Rogers and Bell would simply distribute iTV to their subscribers, probably in much the same way wireless companies distribute the iPhone. I would be shocked, however, if an Apple deal with Rogers and Bell did not include some sort of digital content pact that puts prime sporting events and other television programs on the iPhones, iPads and iPods of Canadians.
A deal with Apple, particularly if RCI and BCE can swing better terms than wireless carriers can for iPhone - and I think they can and will - bodes well for all three parties.
Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA). Tesla also reports after the close Wednesday. For a while, I've been bullish on the stock and company. I was especially bullish through the end of last year as the stock rose. And, while I am still bullish over the long-term, some near-term pressure could come with earnings.
It's a bit like the Sirius XM (NASDAQ:SIRI) syndrome. Only "a bit" like it. As companies, these two could not be further apart. But, they could share similar post-earnings fates, only TSLA could fall harder and faster than SIRI has.
Heading into SIRI's call last week, I said that CEO Mel Karmazin had to tell us more than we already know. He did not. The stock's down and likely headed lower. Big surprise. Tesla CEO Elon Musk finds himself in the same type of situation. Last year, Musk was able to deliver some good news - the Roadster sold out, the Model S pre-run is spoken for, even the Model X is on schedule and the company continues to work a bridge of revenue between models by selling electric vehicle components to traditional automakers.
If Musk simply reiterates what "we already know," expect the stock to take a hit. He'll need something more, like more revenue from deals with the other car companies. I don't see it coming. While I am not a fan of directional options plays ahead of earnings, I am not opposed to putting a little bit of cash you can afford to lose on TSLA March or June $31 puts.