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Debt Deal in the Works; Surprise Jump in Weekly Jobless Claims; Teva to Cut 5,000 Jobs

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Oh oh what a feeling! Dealing on the debt ceiling! President Obama is set to meet today with 18 House Republicans on the government shutdown and the debt limit. The get-together comes just as conservatives are warming to the idea of a short-term increase in the debt ceiling. Meanwhile, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew is in the spotlight, testifying right now in front of the Senate Finance Committee. Yahoo Finance Senior Columnist Mike Santoli has more in the video above.

Breaking news: There's been a giant spike in weekly jobless claims. The Labor Department says there were 374,000 new claims last week when expectations had been for about 310,000. Keep in mind, this is not an effect of the government shutdown because numbers from government workers are reported with an additional one-week lag. Prior to today these figures had been hovering around their lowest point since before the financial meltdown. The climb appears to be in part because of a prior delay in claims from California.

Expect jobless claims from workers at Teva Pharmaceuticals (TEVA). The Israel-based drug-maker has just announced it will be laying off 5,000 workers globally by the end of next year. That's about 10% of the company's workforce. The downsizing is part of a previously announced cost-cutting plan, which is now being accelerated. Teva shares are up about 3% on the announcement. Prior to the climb they were down 2% over the past year.

Vonage (VG) is going to have quite a bill this month. The internet phone company says it's buying privately-held Vocalocity to bolster its position in the small-to-medium size business sector. The deal is valued at $130-million. Shares of Vonage have been up 38-percent over the last year.

STOCKS TO WATCH

Citrix (CTXS) has been down as much as 13% since yesterday's closing bell. The company is lowering guidance for the quarter saying it expects to report adjusted earnings of 68 or 69-cents a share. The consensus had been for 73-cents. As for revenue, Citrix is predicting between $710 and $712-million versus analysts predictions of $737-million. Citrix CEO Mark Templeton is saying only that he's disappointed with results, but remains confident about the company's strategy. He is however promising more details when the company releases full results in about two weeks. Even prior to the drop we're seeing now, Citrix shares are down 2% year-to-date.

Ruby Tuesday (RT) has been down more than 13% since reporting for the quarter after yesterday's closing bell. The restaurant chain had painful losses of 36-cents a share, well below estimates of a 5-cent loss. Revenues were also a miss, but closer to expectations at $290-million. Moving forward, the company anticipates same-store sales for the current quarter to be down in the high single digits, with a slow pick-up after that. As of yesterday's close Ruby Tuesday shares were down 9% year-to-date. By the way, one quick note about the company's larger competitor Darden (DRI). Shares rose 7% yesterday on an activist push to split the company in two.

ARIAD Pharmaceuticals (ARIA) is currently down in early trading. Shares imploded yesterday, dropping 66%. The trouble? The company had serious side effects with a leukemia drug that's been in testing. Also, the company got a downgrade to neutral at Citi. Shares are now down 74% in the past month.

Safeway (SWY) reports its earnings after the closing bell. Consensus is for earnings of 16-cents, the same as a year ago, though on a 15% in revenues to $8.5-billion. The chain has been losing ground to upscale competitors like Whole Foods Market, so it is currently trying to introduce more natural and organic items. Optimism is certainly reflected in the stock with shares up 68% year-to-date and 89% over the past year.

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