Chicken wings and football go hand in hand. Buffalo Wild Wings has ridden that pairing better than anyone. Its casual-themed restaurants loaded with high-definition televisions are geared to sports fans. The concept has been a winner -- last week it reported a successful quarter and year that exceeded analysts expectations. As a result the stock jumped 5 percent the day after the company's earnings release. The fact that Buffalo Wild Wings has more than 740 restaurants in 44 states means its fortunes are not tied to sports fans' emotions for one team. But labor disputes between players and NFL owners are another issue. Stephen Anderson, an analyst for Miller Tabak & Co., wrote last week: "The potential for an NFL lockout continues to loom over the company, but we think a lockout is by no means assured, and if there is one, we suggest it would not last more than a few weeks. Given this backdrop, we still contend there is an upside to BWLD shares."

Mark Smith, who covers Buffalo Wild Wings for Minneapolis-based Feltl and Co., agrees a lockout could hurt: "We think the loss of the 2011 NFL season would negatively impact traffic and earnings at BWLD."


In 2009 the Food and Drug Administration issued a warning letter to Medtronic's cardiac rhythm division outlining problems with the company procedures for preventing and indentifying potential issues with devices. But last week the FDA gave approval to a Medtronic pacemaker safe for use in MRI machines. Tim Nelson an analyst with Nuveen Asset Management told the Star Tribune the go-ahead from the FDA "is a good sign that the warning letter will probably be lifted soon." That's also good news for other Medtronic devices in the pipeline.