The Labor Department says jobless claims have hit a 4-month high, up 28,000 to 385,000. The report comes on the heels of the ADP payroll report yesterday which estimated 158,000 new non-farm private sector jobs were created last month.
Today's the day Facebook (FB) is expected to get enter the smart phone fray. The social network has scheduled an event where insiders says it will introduce a device, rigged to showcase Facebook and its apps on the home screen. The phone will be made by HTC and powered by Google’s (GOOG) Android. The New York Times reports the phone delivers on two prior product announcements: a new search tool that mines information from friends to help users find things like restaurants. It's also supposed to have a news feed remade for mobile devices that leaves room for advertising.
In a related story, Samsung is thinking inside the box as it prepares to peddle the new Galaxy S4. The Wall Street Journal reports Samsung is setting up boutiques inside Best Buy (BBY) big box stores. The shops will also carry other Samsung products, but will open just as the S4 goes to market. Best Buy already has special sections just for Apple products, but the Samsung boutiques will be bigger and have their own checkout. Shares of Best Buy are trading off their recent highs, but are still almost double where they sat right after Christmas.
First on our list of stocks to watch is Lululemon (LULU) where problems with its bottoms are leading to a change near the top. The company announced after hours yesterday that its chief product officer Sheree Waterson is leaving the company. Waterson took the fall for a recall of extra sheer pants that is expected to cost the company up to $40-million. Shares are down substantially since the problem with the pants became public, but in recent days they've begun a rebound.
Next up is a company known for intentionally racy clothing: Abercrombie and Fitch (ANF). It was the S&P 500's best performer yesterday climbing almost 4% even as the Dow sustained triple digit losses. Abercrombie rose on optimism about its international expansion plans and renewed focus on boosting profitability. The company plans to open several flagship Abercrombie stores in the far east. It also wants to open about 20-more Hollister stores overseas. Abercrombie hit its 52-week high last May. Even with yesterday's rise it's still trading more than 10% below that.
Now we look at Netflix (NFLX) which was the S&P 500's best performer in the first quarter, more than doubling, but shed nearly 4% yesterday. At first the fall was being pinned on a report that Carl Icahn had sold-off shares of the company-- something which he denies. But later it appeared traders were reacting to news that Time Warner (TXW) is starting its own streaming service which will dust-off the company's vast archives. By the way, Time Warner Shares were up nearly 1% on the day posting a new 52-week high.
Finally, Disney (DIS) is closing down LucasArts, the video game maker that's part of LucasFilm. The LucasArts website still boasts that a Star Wars 1313 video games is coming soon. But all the division's employees-- at least 150 of them-- have all been laid-off. Shares of Disney dipped last October, right around the time the company purchased LucasFilm for $4-billion, but they've been climbing ever since.
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