1. Doritos-Dusted Tacos are Big Business: How popular are Taco Bell's Doritos-flavored taco shells? Are the "I ate the bones" ads for KFC's new boneless chicken pieces paying off? Can Pizza Hut succeed in its upscale push with its new flatbread pizzas?
We may not get all of the answers to these questions on Wednesday, but at least we'll get a chance to ask them. Yum Brands (YUM) -- the company behind Taco Bell, KFC, and Pizza Hut -- reports its latest quarterly results this week.
A major component of Yum's business is its once booming KFC restaurants in China. Things have slowed for Yum in the world's most populous nation, and that's actually enough to leave analysts expecting declines in revenue and earnings when Yum reports on Wednesday.
2. Netflix Wants to Lock You Up: Netflix (NFLX) is debuting yet another original series this week.
"Orange Is the New Black" -- a prison drama from Weeds creator Jenji Kohan -- launches on Thursday. As with all of the first-run shows that Netflix has introduced since last year, every episode of the its debut season will be available on the first day, so there's no need to hang on weekly cliffhangers. Netflix says this enables the increasingly popular trend of "binge viewing," letting fans keep watching subsequent episodes right away.
The early reviews have been positive. "Smart, salty, and outrageous," raves The New Yorker.
We'll see soon enough if it's smart, salty, and outrageous enough to keep Netflix subscribers glued to their accounts.
3. Banking on Earnings: Earnings season doesn't kick into high gear until next week, but investors will get their first taste of how the "too big to fail" bankers fared on Friday morning when Wells Fargo (WFC) and JPMorgan Chase (JPM) report their second quarter results.
4. More Multiplex Movie Magic: It's been a strong year for movie theater operators. Despite this past holiday weekend's poor showing by Walt Disney's (DIS) "The Lone Ranger," it's still been an overall strong showing at the box office for the seasonally potent summer season.
Exhibitors should continue to be busy this week as "Grown Ups 2" and "Pacific Rim" open. The comedy sequel and the ambitious action flick will begin their theatrical runs with screenings on Thursday night.
The good thing for theater owners and investors is that if any particular film falls flat -- sorry, Tonto -- there always seems to be another potential blockbuster or two waiting in the wings.
5. Will Family Dollar Buck the Trend: One would think that this would be a good time for retailers that help shoppers stretch their discretionary income, but it doesn't look that way at Family Dollar (FDO). Wall Street expects to see a slight decline in profitability when the deep discounter reports this week. It gets worse: Family Dollar has missed analyst profit targets in its previous two quarters.
Providing bargains is one thing. Excelling at the art of discounting by also coming out of the process with healthy margins is something else. We'll see if Family Dollar can break out of its rut when it reports its fiscal third quarter results on Thursday.
Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz owns shares of Walt Disney and Netflix. The Motley Fool recommends Netflix, Walt Disney, and Wells Fargo. The Motley Fool owns shares of JPMorgan Chase & Co., Netflix, Walt Disney, and Wells Fargo. Try any of our newsletter services free for 30 days.