We begin with breaking news: Numbers on the trade deficit released at 8:30. The Commerce Department says the deficit widened to $39.15-billion during July. Estimates had been for $39-billion. Last month the deficit was revised upward to $34.5-billion from $34.2-billion. That was the lowest level since the fall of 2009. Editor-in-Chief Aaron Task has more in the video above.
Bank of America (BAC) is pulling up stakes in China. BofA has just sold the last of its shares in China Construction Bank. The move marks the end of an era in which a number of Western banks bought into China's financial institutions. At the time they were trying to seize on the country's economic boom. Bank of America shares are up about 18% year-to-date.
In just a few hours, Samsung will reveal what it has up its sleeve. The South Korean powerhouse is set to unveil the Galaxy Gear smartwatch at an event in Berlin. Samsung is beating Apple (AAPL) to the punch with a wearable computer, but the Cupertino company could have a knockout of its own. Yesterday it sent out invites for an event next Tuesday. Speculation is the company will be unveiling an iPhone 5S as well as a lower end model dubbed the 5C.
STOCKS TO WATCH
Dollar General (DG) is up 4% on its quarterly earnings. The company posted adjusted profits of 77-cents a share, 3-cents better than expectations. Revenue was $4.39-billion, also higher than expectations. The chain says same store sales were up 5.1% and overall sales jumped more than 11%. What's behind the gains? Dollar General says it has been attracting more customers with brand-name products. It is also expanding grocery offerings. Prior to this morning, Dollar General was up 26% year-to-date.
Francesca's Holdings (FRAN) has been down a whopping 18% on an earnings miss. The chain of women's boutiques made 33-cents a share when expectations were for 35-cents. Revenue missed by nearly $5-million at $89.6-million. Francesca's is in fact the fastest growing retail chain, even besting Lululemon. It expects sales to nearly double in the next three years. Even prior to the plunge we're seeing now, shares lost 10% year-to date, and that's nothing compared to the 33% the stock has shed over the last year.
J.C. Penney (JCP) has been up more than 1.5% in the premarket, after gaining 2% during yesterday's regular session. The hedge fund "Glenview Capital Management" has just taken a 9-point-1 percent stake in the company and Kyle Bass's "Hayman Capital" has accumulated more than 5-percent of Penney's shares. Clearly they're hoping to avoid the same fate as Pershing Square's Bill Ackman who lost $500-million when selling his 18% stake in the company last month. Shares of the beleaguered retailer are down 39% year-to-date, and the company has shrunk to a market cap under $3-billion.
LinkedIn (LNKD) is down more than 2% since yesterday's close. The social network has filed paperwork with the SEC to sell $1-billionworth of stock in a follow-on offering. According to the filing, the company will use the cash for a variety of things including product development and investments in international expansion. Shares of LinkedIn have more than quintupled since they first went to market at $45 a share in May, 2011. They're up 118% since the start of this year, making the company worth $28-billion.