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Hot Stock Minute: Deja Vu on the Dow; Dell Dilemma

We may be in for a day of deju vu all over again on the Dow. The industrial index could be on its way to setting its third consecutive record. Expected to play a part in today's session: the weekly jobless claims which are being released right now. Also, numbers coming out on the international trade deficit. And finally, decisions by the Bank of England and the European Central Bank.

Meanwhile, the morning brings a dilemma for Michael Dell. Now Carl Icahn is opposing Dell's (DELL) plan to take the computer company private again. Icahn is calling for a one-time $9 dividend in place of the offer already on the table. Dell has responded saying it's willing to listen to the activist investor. All this is going on as The Wall Street Journal reports that Dell's largest outside investor, Southeastern Asset Management, believes the current offer price of $24.4 billion is too low, so it's contemplating a counter-bid. The Journal says Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) also considered making a play for the company. Under Dell's current proposal, investors would get $13.65 a share. The company closed yesterday at $14.32.

Time is out. Time Warner (TWX) is spinning off its magazine group into a new company. TWX had been in talks to sell most of its mags to Meredith (MDP), the female-friendly publisher of titles like Better Homes and Gardens. But suddenly the deal disintegrated yesterday. Time Warner shares were already trading at their 52-week high yesterday, and are up in premarket trading. Meredith shares hit their 52-week high shortly after word of its talks with Time Warner leaked out. The stock has shed about 15% since then.

STOCKS TO WATCH

Facebook (FB) is among our stocks to watch today as the company unveils a new look for its news feed. The company says it has two goals with the redesign. The first is to get users to stay on the site longer. The second is to integrate more advertising. Nearly 10 months have passed since Facebook's IPO. The company popped back above $30 dollars a share last month but is now trading in more familiar territory: under $28.

Next we have Apple (AAPL), which looks like it has been left by the side of the road during the recent market rally. Yesterday they dropped another 1.3%. That means Apple shares have now lost 40% since their high back in September. Why this latest fall? Analysts from Citigroup and Barclays have cut their price target on the company. They also lowered estimates for the current quarter predicting sales of the iPhone and iPad will come up short.

Now Boeing (BA): The National Transportation Safety Board will be releasing an interim report on the grounded Dreamliner 787 at 11am. Reuters is quoting sources who say test flights could begin within days. But Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood tells The Wall Street Journal he's far from convinced that the jet's problems have been fixed. Boeing has weathered this storm rather well with its shares hitting a 52-week high yesterday. The Dreamliner has been out of service since mid-January.

Finally, we look at Nordstrom (JWN). The department store chain is increasing its dividend today by 3%. Nordstrom has been faring better than most retailers. But right now its stock is trading in the middle of its 52-week range at about $54.

ONE MORE THING

Doctor Dre seems to think he's a beat cop. The mind behind the wildly successful Beats Electronics is challenging just about anyone attempting to register a trademark that includes “beat” or “beats.” That's the case even when the application has nothing to do with music. Among the proposals Dre doesn't like: Fresh Off the Beats, Urban Beatz, Nasty Beats, and Life Beats. Stay tuned to see if the beat goes on.

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