Stocks finished near session highs Friday, lifted by upbeat economic data from Europe and after comments from St. Louis Fed President James Bullard that the central bank's aggressive easy money policy will stay for a "long time."
Larry Miller, analyst at RBC Capital, discusses Darden Restaurants' concerns about consumer spending.
A slower period for the economy may be a serious headwind for stocks.
Check out which companies are making headlines before the bell on Friday:
Eatery operator Darden Restaurants warned on Friday that its earnings and restaurant traffic would be impacted by economic headwinds, including rising gas prices and higher payroll taxes.
Shares of Darden Restaurants have been declining since last fall, and the bears apparently want to send the stock even lower.
Stocks ended off session lows but the Dow still finished in negative territory Wednesday, as investors took a pause amid a lack of significant market catalysts and after the S&P briefly hit its highest level since December 2007.
For large retail and restaurant chains the big unknown in the year ahead is how much more they'll pay for health coverage. Employers with 50 or more workers who put in 30 hours a week will be required to provide health care coverage or pay a fine, under the Affordable Care Act.
Darden Restaurants reported quarterly earnings that were in line with analysts' lowered expectations, as unsuccessful promotions led to a decline in sales.
"Mad Money" host Jim Cramer tells what you should watch this week.
McDonald's same-store sales turned positive in November, but one analyst cautioned investors against thinking that this one-month reversal necessarily represents a new trend.
Find out what Wall Street analysts had to say about Citigroup, Darden Restaurants and Zynga in this CNBC.com Stock Blog Roundup.
The brand perceptions of Papa John's, Applebee's and Denny's took beatings after company representatives said Obamacare would force them to stop building restaurants, cut worker hours and raise prices.
Darden Restaurants reported weaker sales this quarter--and the company isn't the only one, one pro says.
Darden Restaurants fears a backlash from customers angry about its efforts to convert more workers into part-time so that the chain can avoid paying for their health care.
Take a look at some of Tuesday's midday movers:
How everyone will deal with the effects of Obamacare in 2013.
Rachael Rothman, Susquehanna Financial Group analyst, shares her outlook on the restaurant operator, and explains why she downgraded the stock to "neutral" and maintains a $58 price target.
The S&P Retail Index hit an historic high yesterday. Yet retailers are weak Tuesday. Huh? According to traders, one firm, Nomura, has been cautious on Gap due to competition concerns. But there's a bigger problem for retailers.
Not having success finding holiday gifts at the mall? You may want to try the food court. Restaurants are trying to whet your appetite for gift cards to dine out, by throwing incentives your way.