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Apple and China Mobile strike deal; Healthcare deadline; Tiffany & Co. to pay damages

Hot Stock Minute

 Apple (AAPL) makes a big breakthrough in China. There’s more trouble for Target (TGT) after their data breach. What’s the outlook for the U.S. economy in 2014? And there’s an important deadline for Obamacare today. We have those stories and three stocks to watch on today’s Hot Stock Minute.

First, here are this morning's business headlines.

Apple has announced a deal to sell the iPhone through China Mobile (CHL), the world's largest mobile phone company. The deal will open Apple up to China Mobile's 760 million subscribers - twice the U.S. population. Apple has sold about 23 million iPhones in China in the last year, through two other carriers.

More bad news for Target. At least three class action lawsuits have been filed against the company after it revealed on Thursday a security breach that compromised 40 million credit and debit card numbers between November 27 and December 15. Federal authorities and several state attorneys general are also looking into the breach. Target's stock actually closed slightly higher than it began last week - even after the revelations came out. Shares were up about a half a percent for the week.

And if you don't have health insurance, today is the last day to sign up in order for coverage to take effect by January 1st. There are hardship exceptions for those who had trouble with the website, and some of the 14 states running their own health insurance exchanges have extended their deadlines past today. The final deadline under the new law requires people to sign up for some kind of health insurance by March 31, 2014, or face a fine.

Now a look at three hot stocks the Yahoo Finance team will be watching for you today.

First up, Facebook (FB), which sees its first day of action today as part of the S&P 500. Shares for the company are up more than 10% since the announcement the stock would be added to the index. For the year Facebook stock has just about doubled in price.

Next Apple, which as we reported, has reached a deal for China Mobile to carry the iPhone and bring Apple to millions of new customers in China. For the year, Apple stock is pretty much right where it started back in January, with shares remaining flat. But it's been on a ride during the year, rallying 36% since July.

Finally, Tiffany & Co. (TIF). The company was ordered by the Netherlands Arbitration Institute to pay $450 million in damages to Swiss watchmaker, Swatch Group, both companies said yesterday. The companies formed a 20-year alliance back in 2007 to expand Tiffany brand watches globally. The alliance ultimately failed and ended in 2011 with Swatch citing a breach of contract. Swatch claimed Tiffany moved too slowly to launch and promote the new brand formed under the alliance. Because of the ruling, Tiffany has lowered its full-year earnings outlook. The new range is $2.30 to $2.35 a share, down from previous estimates of between $3.65 and $3.75 a share. For the year, Tiffany is up close to 50%.

The head of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, predicts the U.S. economy will grow at a faster pace in 2014. We want to know what you think. Will the U.S. economy continue to improve in 2014? Cast your vote and leave a comment below.


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