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Smithfield Foods Takeover; New Leg Up in Race for Sprint; Alibaba’s Plan

Smithfield Foods (SFD) is going to be taken over by a Chinese company. The report comes from Dow Jones newswires. It identifies the buyer as Shineway, which like Smithfield is a meat producer. The price will be between $4.5-billion and $5-billion. That represents about a 30% premium over Smithfield's price as of yesterday's close. The stock ended the session just shy of $26s, about $1.50 below its 52-week high which it set back in March. Shares have been up as much as 33% in early trading. An official announcement on a deal could come later today, though at this hour nobody from either Smithfield or Shineway is commenting.

Japan's Softbank may now have a leg up in the race to acquire Sprint (S). It's nearing a deal with the Feds to get national security clearance for its $20-billion bid. The plan includes several provisions, like having a committee of national security advisers on Sprint's board. There have been concerns about foreign ownership of U.S. telecom companies. Dish Network (DISH) has submitted a bid to compete with Softbank's.

Alibaba may be turning its back on U.S. markets. The Financial Times reports that if the Chinese e-commerce giant goes public, it may simply list in Hong Kong and skip the U-S. Alibaba is likely to hold an IPO later this year. Yahoo owns a sizeable stake in the company.

STOCKS TO WATCH

First up this Wednesday is Michael Kors (KORS) which has just reported earnings this morning, and beat big-time. The company made 50-cents a share when estimates were for 39-cents. Revenue approached $600-milion and was more than 10% above estimates. Compare the numbers now to a year ago and you can see the incredible growth in this company. Michael Kors now operates more than 300-stores, plus its merchandise is place in many other stores. The stock is up 156% since it went public back in December of 2011. It hit its all-time high back in February.

Next up is Chico's (CHS) which has just come out with earnings. The company missed on both the top and bottom lines, posting 32-cents a share on $670-million in revenue. But the performance doesn't look as bad when you compare it with figures from a year ago. Sales are up substantially in that time because the chain has added 114-new stores and increased its square footage by 9%. The company says it would have seen more of a sales gain but cool weather slowed things down. The stock is up 6% this year. It set a new 52-week high last week.

Now we look at teen retailer Wet Seal (WTSL) which posted quarterly earnings after yesterday's closing bell. It just squeaked by estimates on revenue, but posted earnings of 3-cents a share when consensus was for just one. It's a turnaround from last year when the company lost money for the quarter. Wet Seal says sales are down at its namesake stores but are rising at its "Arden B." chain. Shares have made quite a climb this year, up 60%. They're up 40% in just the past month.

Finally, there's Netflix (NFLX). The stock is the best performer in the S&P 500 this year, up 131%, but it shed more than 6% yesterday. The drop is being pegged at least in part to the new season of Arrested Development which debuted on Netflix over the holiday weekend. It got only mixed reviews. But there's probably some profit-taking going on as well. Even with these losses Netflix remains quite a comeback story with shares up nearly 500% since their low last summer.

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