Hot Stock Minute

ADP Payroll Disappoints; Apple’s Patent Predicament; Online Gambling Boom

This month's ADP payroll report is a disappointment. The report says there were 135,000 new private sector jobs created during the month. That's well below the estimates which had been for roughly 170,000 new jobs. The number from April was also revised down from 119,000 to 113,000 new jobs.

The Treasury Department is going to sell 30-million more shares of General Motors (GM). It's the latest sign of the automaker's road to recovery. The Treasury just sold 200-million shares of GM back in December. This new sale will coincide with the UAW Retiree Medical Benefits Trust selling 20-million of its shares. By the way GM is set to reenter the S&P 500 again tomorrow.

President Obama may now be Apple's (AAPL) best hope at beating a biting ruling. The U.S. International Trade Commission says the company violated a Samsung patent with older models of the iPhone and iPad. That means, unless the President overturns the ruling, or it's blocked by an appeals court, the affected devices could no longer be imported here to the U.S. The patent covers technology used to send information over wireless networks. Right now there's a 60-day review period, during which time Apple can keep selling the devices. The products in question include the iPhone 3GS and 4, and the iPad 3G, 2 3G and 3. Apple stock remains around $450 a share, down 18% this year. By the way, the company says it plans to increase the staff at its headquarters by 46% over the next 3-years.

No admission of guilt today from one of Rupert Murdoch's former top lieutenants. Rebekah Brooks has just pled not guilty in London to charges stemming from her time at Newscorp (NWSA). Brooks is accused of conspiracy to hack phones while she ran two of Newscorp's British tabloids. The scandal eventually led to her resignation. Shares of Newscorp are up 75% over the past year as the company recovers from the beating it took over the scandal.

STOCKS TO WATCH

Homebuilder Hovnanian (HOV) is reporting earnings this morning. The company is expected to post losses of 5-cents a share on about $408-million in revenue. A year ago the company made profits of 2-cents a share but on significantly less revenue. The outlook for the company is what's key here as a housing recovery starts to take hold. Shares of Hovnanian are down 13% so far in 2013. But when you look at their performance over the past year, they're up 250%.

Next up is Mattress Firm Holding Company (MFRM), which is currently up 6% in early trading. The chain beat expectations yesterday afternoon when it reported earnings of 38-cents a share excluding items. Estimates had been for 36-cents. Revenue was also higher than expected, and the company is improving its outlook. Mattress Firm says revenue from stores open at least a year was down more than 5%. But the company has been expanding rapidly through a series of acquisitions. Shares have been on a tear this year, up more than 50% prior to this morning's climb, though for the most part they're making back losses from the end of last year.

Now we look at SHFL Entertainment (SHFL), formerly known as Shuffle Master. It's seeing gains this morning which could push its market cap over $1-billion. The company sells traditional gambling supplies like slot machines and card shufflers. But it's also pushing further into live-streaming gambling against dealers. The company recorded revenue yesterday afternoon of more than $77-million. It also edged out estimates posting profits of 21-cents a share. Earnings were also significantly higher than a year ago, lifted in large part by sales of electronic gaming machines. Even before you add in this morning's gains, the company's shares are up 40% over the last year and hit a new 52-week high on Monday.

Finally there's Monster Beverage (MNST). Shares of the company made a steady climb yesterday rising more than 10% to be the best performer in the S&P. The rise came as the company held its annual shareholders meeting. Monster says sales have been improving, up 9% when you combine April and May. The company had a disappointing first quarter. Yesterday's climb put the stock above its price at the start of the year.

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