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Bernanke Talks Ahead of Minutes Release; J.C. Penney & Lowe’s Miss; Deere Darts Higher

Hot Stock Minute

It's just hours until the Fed minutes. The central bank's latest meeting notes will be released at 2pm. Outgoing chair Ben Bernanke already shared some of his thoughts in a speech last night. Bernanke reiterated that any plans for tapering the Fed's bond-buying are not on a preset course. But he also made a new revelation: that short-term interest rates could remain near zero even after unemployment falls below 6.5%. Bernanke told the crowd the job market has shown quote “meaningful improvement” since the start of quantitative easing, but called recent job reports “somewhat disappointing.”

J.C. Penney (JCP) stock has surged nearly 8% in early trading despite a dismal earnings miss. The beleaguered retailer lost $181 a share, even wider than the predicted losses of $1.72 a share. Revenues were also slightly below the consensus at $2.78-billion versus $2.80-billion.

Meanwhile home improvement chain Lowe's (LOW) missed estimates. The company made earnings of 47-cents a share for the quarter, a penny below expectations. Revenues topped the consensus at $12.957-billion compared to $12.723-billion. Home Depot had stronger results when it reported earnings yesterday.

Deere (DE) is out with record earnings. The equipment maker posted profits of $2.11 for the quarter, far surpassing estimates of $1.89. Revenues also darted part estimates at more than $9.4-billion dollars. The consensus had been for $8.68-billion. Meanwhile a big miss on earnings for Staples (SPLS): 21-cents a share when expectations were for exactly twice that. Revenues also missed but only slightly coming in at $6.11-billion versus $6.18-billion.

Now breaking news: numbers on retail sales and the consumer price index both released at 8:30, right as we started streaming live to you. First, retail sales for October showed a rise of .4% in October according to the Commerce Department. The consensus had been for them to hold flat. As for October CPI, it was also expected to remain flat. However, the Labor Department say the actual number was down .1%.

STOCKS TO WATCH

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (GMCR) will report earnings after the closing bell. The company is expected to brew up earnings of 75-cents a share, up from 64-cents a year ago. Analysts are looking for revenues of $964-million, up slightly from last year. Green Mountain stock is up 41% year-to-date and 168% in the past year. But the company is seeing heavy competition over its signature K-cups from companies like Whole Foods and Kroger.

L Brands (LTD) will also release its earnings after the closing bell today. The parent company of chains like Victoria's Secret and Bath and Body Works is expected to report earnings of 28-cents a share, up two cents from a year ago. Revenue are estimated to come in at $2.17-billion, up almost 6% from last year. L Brands has been one of the few success stories in an ongoing struggling retail environment. The company has seen its shares rise more than 35% so far this year.

La-Z-Boy (LZB) surged 8% after its earnings report was released at the closing bell yesterday. The company topped estimates by 7-cents reporting earnings of 31-cents a share. Revenues were also higher than the consensus. La-Z-Boy has seen its shares rise almost 63% since the beginning of the year.

Devon Energy (DVN) is climbing on plans to acquire privately-held shale driller GeoSouthern Energy. Devon saw its shares jump 5% yesterday afternoon on the news. The deal is for about $6-billion. The takeover could happen as soon as today. It would be one of the biggest U.S. oil and gas transactions of the year.

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