The announcement of a last-minute bailout for Cyprus failed to have a lasting impression on traders. Stocks began the day in the green with the S&P 500 coming within a fraction of its all-time closing high of 1,565.15, before the market turned lower. The S&P closed down by 0.31% at 1,552, the DJIA fell 0.44% to 14,448, and the Nasdaq fell 0.31% to 3,235.
Dell (DELL) shares rose today 2.6% on the news of a 3-way takeover battle for the company. Dell confirmed this morning that Carl Icahn and the Blackstone Group (BX) submitted separate takeover proposals for the company. Icahn is reportedly offering $15 a share for a 58% stake in the company. Meanwhile, Blackstone has proposed paying more than $14.25 per share. Both the offers would leave some shares of the company available to the public. Michael Dell's original proposal alongside Silver Lake was for $13.65 per share worth $24.4 billion.
BlackBerry (BBRY) is getting squashed by the competition. Shares fell another 4.5% on news that the new Z10 smart phone had a weak debut. Blackberry shares also fell more than 7% on Friday when the phone first went on sale at AT&T (T) stores. BlackBerry currently controls 3.2% of the smart phone market.
Best Buy's (BBY) stock bounced almost 2% today on news that founder Richard Schulze will rejoin the beleaguered electronics retailer as chairman emeritus. Schulze left the board last year. Later, he tried but failed to take the company private. Best Buy says Schulze will also bring two of his former colleagues to the board. Barclays upped its price target for Best Buy to $28 a share on the news.
Dollar General (DG) shares rose 2% after the company reported earnings ahead of the opening bell. The discount retailer earned 97-cents a share, beating estimates by 7-cents. This time last year the company made 85-cents a share. DG is also upping its outlook for the rest of the year, saying sales growth could surpass last year's gains. The increases are expected to come from the sales of more food items and other basics. The stock hit its 52-week high of about $56 back in June. Prior to this morning it has been trading a little bit more than 10% below that.
Shares of Apollo Group (APOL) soared 7% on the company's quarterly earnings report. Apollo says its quarterly profit fell to 34-cents a share, but that was still nearly twice the estimates of 18-cents. Apollo is the parent company of the University of Phoenix. Enrollment has dropped by nearly 1/3 over the past three years. The company says it now expects to save $50 million more than previously reported from a restructuring plan. Back in October, Apollo said it would cut about 800 jobs and shut down 25 campuses. Prior to today, the stock was down 19% since the start of the year, and has lost an astounding 68% of its value since the beginning of 2012.
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