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Ugly August Coming to Close: Vodafone Takeover Talk; Google Executive Affairs?

Hot Stock Minute

August has proven to be a summer slam for stocks. The markets are ending the month down substantially. The Dow has sunk 5% since we ended July. The S&P has lost 4%. Making matters worse, markets are likely to move lower if in fact the U.S. takes action against Syria. For more, on the month gone by and what lies ahead, watch Yahoo! Finance Senior Columnist Mike Santoli in the video above.

Vodafone (VOD) may have just turned itself into a takeover target. The speculation comes just a day after word surfaced that Vodafone is looking to unload its 45% stake in Verizon (VZ) Wireless. Bloomberg reports that would make the company prey for AT&T (T) which has been scouring Europe for acquisitions this year. By the way, Vodafone rose 8.3% yesterday. Verizon was up 3%.

GE (GE) may be looking to unload one of its more profitable units. The Wall Street Journal reports the company is preparing a spinoff of its GE Capital lending arm. The move would cut the conglomerate's exposure to banking despite the success it has enjoyed from the consumer credit boom. 55-million Americans have store credit cards issued by GE Capital.

A fight is in the works for Foursquare. Bloomberg says Microsoft (MSFT) and American Express (AXP) are among suitors for the company. So are unnamed venture capitalists. Foursquare lets users check in to show they’re visiting a place like a restaurant or a store. The company would give Microsoft a bigger role in social media and mobile. It would help American Express by tying marketing and loyalty programs to the site. Microsoft's interest comes amid CEO Steve Ballmer's impending departure. There's separate talk his replacement will be pressured to spin off the company's X-Box unit.

STOCKS TO WATCH

Cloud-computing company Salesforce.com (CRM) is going sky-high on its quarterly report, rising 8%. Earnings came in at 9-cents a share versus expectations of 7-cents. Revenue also beat by almost $20-million at $957.1-million. Salesforce has been expanding from its core business of customer-management software into marketing tools. That included the recent acquisition of ExactTarget for $2.5-billion. Prior to this morning, company shares were up just 2% in 2013, although they've been up 22% over the past year.

Krispy Kreme (KKD) has gone stale since we previewed their earnings yesterday. The stock has been down more than 13%. Here's why: earnings that came in 2-cents short at 14-cents a share excluding items. Revenue was also below expectations at $112.7-million versus $114.91-million. Sales at stores open at least a year rose 10% in the quarter, and the chain reaffirmed its full-year earnings forecast. But growth appears to be slowing.

Splunk (SPLK) has been up almost 10% in early trading. The big data software firm revealed a loss for the quarter after yesterday's close, but it was less than expected at a penny a share. Analysts had been looking for losses of 3-cents. Sales also beat expectations at $66.9-million versus estimates of $63-million. Prior to gains from the report, shares were up 67% year-to-date. When you include them, the stock is testing its 52-week high, which it set at the beginning of the month.

OmniVision Technology (OVTI) which has been moving nearly 10% lower despite a solid earnings beat. In case you're not familiar with this company, Omnivision makes image sensors used in everything from cell phones and webcams to cars and medical imaging equipment. Now, look at the numbers, released after yesterdays close: earnings of 55-cents a share, 12-cents better than estimates. The problem was the topline where sales of $373.7-million missed the mark by about $3-million due to increased competition in the phone space. Prior to the fall we're seeing now, this stock had been up 24% year-to-date.

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