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Data Driving Markets Higher; AT&T Mulling Vodafone Bid; Athlete IPOs

Hot Stock Minute

Stocks are starting November on the right foot. Futures are climbing as we get set to kick-off the new month. The rise comes on the heels of a robust October. The S&P gained 4.5%, meaning its 2013 gains are now 23%. Yahoo Finance Editor-in-Chief Aaron Task has more in the video above.

AT&T (T) may be mulling a takeover of Vodafone (VOD). Bloomberg reports the Texas-based telecom is laying the groundwork for a bid of its British counterpart. AT&T has been setting its sights overseas as a way of expanding. The company has sorely underperformed the market this year, up just 3.5%. Vodafone, by comparison, has been up 44%.

RBS (RBS) is turning inward to deal with its biggest problems. The bank is creating a company within itself to isolate its riskiest assets. The move is meant to calm concerns within the British government and speed-up the bank's eventual privatization. The government currently owns more than 4/5 of the company. Shares of RBS are down more then 4% in the premarket, erasing the majority of this year's gains which were about 7%.

'Tis already the season for holiday shopping. WalMart (WMT) posted early-bird specials on its website this morning. They include a 42-inch screen TV for $299. A number of other retailers are also stepping up efforts to get your dollars early. Part of the reason: with Thanksgiving falling on November 28th, their are fewer days than usual between that holiday and Christmas. By the way, shares of Wal-Mart are up 11% year-to-date.

STOCKS TO WATCH

Dow component Chevron (CVX) which is reporting earnings this morning. The company is expected to make $2.71 a share up from $2.57 a year ago. That's on sales that are essentially flat at $58-billion. Chevron is currently in court trying to overturn a 19-billion dollar pollution verdict in Ecuador. That money was awarded back in 2010. Chevron goes into today's regular trading session with shares up 9% year-to-date."

Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-A) reports after the closing bell. Warren Buffett's company is expected to post profits of 4.3-billion. Prior to the quarter the company already had a cash hoard of almost $36-billion, meaning the Oracle and his cohorts are probably looking for more acquisitions. Berkshire stock is up about 24% so far this year.

Now First Solar (FSLR) which has been up more than 8% in early trading on its earnings. The company posted profits of $1.94 a share, far outshining estimates of $1.13, Revenues also rose 51% year-over-year to $1.27-billion. The consensus had been for $839-million. Shares of First Solar are up 57% year-to-date, even before this morning's climb.

Ariad Pharmaceuticals (ARIA) which is currently up about 4%. Shares plunged 44% yesterday after the company halted sales of a leukemia drug. The move came after the FDA found the medication caused life-threatening blood clots. On October 1st shares of Ariad were trading at almost $19-dollars. They've lost almost 90% since then.

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