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Monster gets a Coke boost; J.C. Penney jumps; Gannett gains on Icahn stake

Here is a look at some of the stocks the Yahoo Finance team is watching today.

Monster Beverage (MNST) shares got a nice boost in early trading. Coca-Cola (KO) is buying a 16.7% stake in the energy drink maker for $2.15 billion. As part of the deal, the two companies will swap some brands. Monster will acquire Coke's energy drink brands, while Coke take on Monster's non-energy drink businesses. Coke will also get two seats on Monster's board.

Retailers continue to ring in results this morning. J.C. Penney (JCP) shares were slightly higher in early trading. Investors seem optimistic that the troubled retailer's turnaround efforts are starting to work after Penney's reported a narrower-than-expected loss in the second quarter. Revenue came in roughly in line with estimates and was up more than 5% from a year earlier as sales grew for the third quarter in a row. Same-store sales rose 6%, and the company said it expects similar gains in the current quarter.

Nordstrom (JWN) shares were lower in the pre-market. The upscale retailer reported earnings that matched analysts' estimates. However, revenue missed expectation. Same-Store sales rose 2.7% but came up short of estimates. The company also said its $350 million acquisition of Trunk Club is expected to close in the third quarter.

Gannett (GCI) share were up before the bell. Billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn disclosed that he acquired a 6.6% stake in the media company. A regulatory filing revealed that Icahn planned to push Gannett to split into separate print and broadcast companies. Gannett did just that, a day after Icahn bought his stake in the company. Icahn said in the filing that he had not contacted Gannett prior to the company's announcement of the split.

Chiquita Brands (CQB) shares are lower in the pre-market. The banana producer rejected an unsolicited bid from two Brazilian firms and said it will go ahead with its plan to merge with Irish rival Fyffes. Chiquita said the $611million offer from the Cutrale Group and the Safra Group was "inadequate" and that it would not hold talks with the companies "at this time."

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