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Budget deal; Another Bitcoin? Costco misses earnings; MasterCard stock split

Hot Stock Minute
Budget deal; Another Bitcoin? Costco misses earnings; MasterCard stock split

Congress works together to reach a budget deal. Can it really be true? MasterCard (MA) says good-bye to any thousand-dollar-stock aspirations. And Costco's (COST), offering a discount on its shares this morning.

Key members of congress have reached a bi-partisan budget deal. This would prevent another government shutdown in January, but the deal does still have to pass in the Senate and the House. It's a two year deal setting spending at just over $1 trillion a fiscal year; it replaces $63 billion in sequester cuts with other savings, and it reduces the deficit by another $23 billion. Senate Budget Chairwoman Patty Murray, who led the negotiations with House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, said this about the impact:

Because of this deal the budget process can stop lurching from crisis to crisis. By setting bi-partisan spending levels for the next two years this deal allows congressional committees to proceed under regular order and gives government agencies and the companies that do business with them the certainty they need to hire workers and make investments.

And could Bitcoin have a rival...from a big bank? The internet has been abuzz over that notion since a JP Morgan (JPM) patent application was discovered for "a computer-implemented method of providing an anonymous payment." Well, it turns out the filing is actually a renewal of a patent for a digital payment system first filed in 1999, before Bitcoin's time. Nonetheless, the Financial Times reports it spotlights the behind the scenes battles waged to get a slice of the mobile and internet payment pie. Bitcoin, for its part was trading back above $1000 yesterday for the first time in almost a week.

And Time magazine just announced their person of the year on this morning's "Today" show. The person they chose was.. Pope Francis. Time says the pontiff is "poised to transform a place that measures change by the century," Pope Francis recently critiqued capitalism saying:

Some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion...has never been confirmed by the facts.

Now a look at four hot stocks The Yahoo Finance team will be watching for you today.

First up, Costco. The company missed estimates by $0.06 reporting earnings of $.96 a share. Revenues were up 7.8% last year at $25.02 billion but that was shy of the $25.44 billion. Bloomberg reports the miss on earnings despite higher revenue was due to Costco offering greater discounts. The stock reached its 52-week high late last month. It's up over 18% so far this year.

Next, MasterCard, which saw shares rise about 2% in after hours trading yesterday. The surge can be attributed to the announcement late yesterday that it is initiating a 10-for-1 stock split as well as a new $3.5 billion share-repurchase program, and an 83% dividend hike to a $1.10 a share. Some are pointing out this morning the stock split will keep MasterCard from joining the likes of Priceline (PCLN) in the thousand-dollar stock price club. Shares for MasterCard are up almost 50% for the year.

Now, Smith and Wesson Holding (SWHC), which reported earnings of $0.28 a share after the bell yesterday beating estimates of $0.21, though profits fell from last year when the company posted $0.31. Revenues did rise 2% to $139.3 million. Even though demand for handguns has been on the rise and sales were up, the company blames the loss in profits on costs being higher. Smith & Wessen is up almost 42% year to date.

Finally, Men's Wearhouse (MW). The suit retailer is expected to post earnings later today of $0.86 a share, down from the $0.95 it posted a year ago. Revenue is expected to drop to $627.14 million from last year's close to $631 million. The company has seen its shares rise since word of a possible merger with rival Jos. A Bank (JOSB) emerged. A merger like that could help Men's Wearhouse compete with higher-end department stores like Macy's (M). Men's Wearhouse is up almost 64% for the year.

What do you think about this budget deal? It was a bi-partisan agreement that will avert a government shutdown. Are you now confident Congress can work together to get things done and not move from one manufactured fiscal crisis to another? Vote in the daily Hot Stock Minute poll and leave us a post in the comments section below.