Hot Stock Minute

Banner year for U.S. Markets; Google and Apple battle for your car; Twitter coming back down to Earth

It's been a banner year for stocks -- we'll look ahead to 2014. Google (GOOG) and Apple (AAPL) battle for your car. And Twitter (TWTR) could be heading back down to Earth.

Futures were mixed this morning ahead of the bell, after U.S. stocks ended slightly lower Friday. It was only a slight retreat after the Dow (^DJI) and S&P (^GSPC) added to their strings of record highs during the week. The Dow was coming off of a six-session winning streak. In the video above, Yahoo Finance Senior Columnist Michael Santoli talks about what traders are focused on this week.

An Android may be a passenger in future Audi models. The Wall Street Journal reports the German automaker and Google will announce an agreement to carry Android software in Audi cars. The announcement is expected at next week's Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas. The Android software will run on the car's own hardware, allowing drivers to access navigation, music, messages and other apps on an Android phone. Automotive is turning out to be another battleground for Google and Apple. In June, Apple announced "iOS in the Car" which allows an iPhone to control a car's dashboard system. BMW, Mercedes-Benz, General Motors (GM) and Honda (HMC) are supporting Apple's initiative.

The New Year will be a bit happier for minimum wage earners in a number of states. On January 1, 13 states will increase the minimum wage. Some are cost-of-living increases, but several states -- Connecticut, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island -- will raise their minimum wage by as much as $1. Currently, 19 states have minimum wages set above the Federal minimum wage of $7.25-an-hour. On New Year's Day, that number will increase to 21. Several localities like San Francisco and San Jose have minimum wage increases on January 1 as well.

Here are three hot stocks the Yahoo Finance team will be watching for you today:

Crocs (CROX), which announced late yesterday that Blackstone Group (BX) will be investing $200 million in the shoe company for a 13% stake and two board seats. Crocs plans to use the money to help pay for a $350 million stock repurchase it hopes to launch early next year. Crocs also announced that CEO John McCarvel is retiring in April and will also be stepping down from the board. For the year, Crocs stock is down almost 10%. The news sent the stock up more than 18% Monday morning.

Next, Apple, which is urging shareholders to reject a $50 billion share repurchase proposal from billionaire investor Carl Icahn, according to a proxy filing submitted to the SEC. Also in Apple news, CEO Tim Cook took home $4.25 million this year, which is not much different from last year's $4.2 million, according to a regulatory filing. Apple stock has had a tough year. It’s currently up 2% year-to-date.

Finally, it’s been quite a year for Twitter. The social media company has seen shares soar over 41% since it's IPO back in early November. Last week, shares rose 22% by the end of trading Thursday, for no clear reason. But then came news Friday of a downgrade by Macquarie Capital to underperform from neutral. Twitter stock then fell 13% by the end of Friday. It was down more than 5% early Monday.

It's been an impressive ride for stocks in 2013. This year, the Dow is up close to 26% and the S&P 500 is up more than 29%. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq (^IXIC) is on track for a 38% rise which would leave it at its highest level since 2000. Where do you think markets are headed from here in 2014? Up, down, and to what degree? Vote in our poll and let us know in the comment section.

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