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XOM, PG, KRFT Report; Weekly Jobless Claims; JCPenney Jumping; Soros Causing Stir

Hot Stock Minute

The morning begins with economic encouragement with markets. Weekly jobless claims have dropped to their lower level in nearly six years. The Labor Department says there were 326,000 new claims filed last week. Expectations had been for about 345,000 new claims.

Meanwhile, it's another big morning on the earnings front. Already reporting today Exxon Mobil (XOM) which had a big miss on earnings: $1.55 a share when expectations were for $1.90. Revenue was much closer to estimates. Proctor and Gamble (PG) beat the street, posting profits of 79-cents a share on $20.7-billion. Direct TV (DTV), however, disappointed. It posted earnings of $1.18 a share when estimates were for $1.33. Shares are now down 6%. Time Warner Cable (TWC) also had a slight miss, with earnings of $164 a share on $5.55 billion in revenue.

Sony (SNE) is up 4% in early trading on its earnings. The electronics and entertainment giant impressed, by swinging back into the black for the quarter. It was helped by the falling yen. In fact, the company's ailing television business posted a profit for the first time in three years. This morning's gains add to an 82% climb so far this year. Much of those gains came after activist investor Daniel Loeb began calling for the company to split in two.

Apple (AAPL) may be turning to its "frenemy" Samsung for the next iPad mini. The Wall Street Journal reports Samsung will manufacture high resolution screens for a new mini to be released by year's end. The report says Apple originally planned to use Sharp and LG as its sole suppliers for the screens. But it added Samsung to the list, fearing a parts shortage.

STOCKS TO WATCH

JCPenney (JCP) has jumped more than 6% in early trading. Shares plunged more than 10% yesterday afternoon on a report in the New York Post which said lender CIT was no longer giving money to Penney's clothing suppliers. This morning, however, JCP said that's simply not true. Now attention turns to Martha Stewart, where a judge could rule today in a tug of war between Penney's and Macy's (M) over who can sell home decor from the domestic diva. Shares of Penney are down 30% year-to-date. If you want a tale of two retailers, Macy's stock is up 26% in the same period.

Herbalife (HLF) is now two billionaires against one. Shares soared 9% yesterday on reports that George Soros has taken a large stake in the company. No comment from Soros himself but Herbalife is now said to be one of his top three holdings. Shares had already shot-up on Tuesday after the company reported earnings, so the gains over the past week top 15%. Of course, Soros finds himself on the same side as Carl Icahn in the billionaire battle over the supplement maker. Pershing Square's Bill Ackman has shorted the stock and says he may ask the SEC to look into Soros' trade.

Yelp (YELP) has been up more than 8% since reporting earnings after yesterday's closing bell. The company posted losses of a penny a share, but expectations had been for a loss of 4-cents. As for revenue, it was nearly 4% above consensus at $55-million. Key here: Yelp's mobile ad revenue is growing fast. It now stands at 40% of total ads, close to the number Facebook reported last week. Yelp also says it's number of monthly users is up 38%. Shares had already ascended 112% year-to-date. This morning's rise brings the stock to a new all-time high.

There's something for shareholders of Boston Beer (SAM) to toast. The maker of Sam Adams beer saw its stock rise nearly 10% yesterday. Share prices climbed on earnings. The company beat estimates by a dime posting profits of $1.45 a share. Revenue was also higher than expected thanks to an increase in advertising. Prior to the climb we're seeing at this hour, shares have been up 28% year-to-date.

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