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ADP Payroll and Weekly Jobless Claims; Two New Smartwatches; McDonald’s Dumping Menu?

Hot Stock Minute

We've got a rare double-delivery of jobs data, both ahead of tomorrow's big August jobs report from the Labor Department. First, the number of weekly jobless claims has fallen to just 323,000. That's down 9,000 from a week ago and below estimates which were for about 330,000. ADP has also come out with its payroll report for August. It says there were 176,000 private sector, non-farm payroll jobs created. That was slightly below estimates which averaged about 180,000 new jobs.

There has been another computer glitch here at the NASDAQ. This one occurred between 11:35am and 11:41am yesterday, much shorter than last month's three-hour outage. In this case, securities with the ticker symbols PC to SPZ were affected. The NASDAQ says the system successfully switched over to a backup, ending the trouble.

Samsung has finally revealed what it has been hiding up its sleeve, as far as a smartwatch. The Galaxy Gear wrist computer has been officially unveiled in Berlin. Galaxy Gear will go on sale September 25th at a price of $299. It looks a bit different than prior images, which purported to be insider photos. But perhaps the biggest surprise in smartwatches came from Qualcomm (QCOM). That company also unveiled a wrist computer yesterday during a developers conference. It's called "Toq" and is also supposed to sell for about $300. Meanwhile, not to be outdone, Sony (SNE) has also unveiled two "lens-type" cameras that are attachable to phones including Apple (AAPL) and Samsung devices. They'll sell for $250 and $500.

STOCKS TO WATCH

BlackBerry (BBRY) is up 3% in early trading. The stock surged nearly 5% at the end of the trading session yesterday. The jump came on a report in the Wall Street Journal which said BlackBerry wants to auction itself off by November. The company said last month that it was quote "exploring strategic alternatives"-- a statement that implied a longer time span for a possible sale. BlackBerry is down about 8% year-to-date. But it's actually up, way up, by 65% over the past year after huge falls.

Smith & Wesson (SWHC) reports quarterly results after the closing bell. The gun maker is expected to post earnings of 36-cents a share up from 28-cents a year ago. Revenue is expected to rise 30% to more than $165-million. The company has seen sales soar on fears of stronger gun control laws. The question at this point is how much longer demand can hold at this pace. The stock is up roughly 30% so far this year.

Building products company Louisiana-Pacific (LPX) has been up 5% in early trading. LP has announced it will acquire Canada's Ainsworth Lumber for more than $1-billion. Ainsworth is controlled by Brookfield Asset Management which has approved the deal. The acquisition is expected to give Louisiana Pacific more access to business in Asia. Prior to announcement of the deal LP's shares were down 23% year-to-date.

Astex Pharmaceuticals (ASTX) is currently up 3%. Astex jumped 23% yesterday, mostly in the 1pm hour, on news that it's being acquired by Japan's Otsuka for nearly $900-million. Shares are now up 184% year-to-date. Astex has only one approved drug, which treats a blood disorder. But it currently has several other cancer treatments in the pipeline.

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