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Cook to Get Grilled, Dimon’s Title Fight, New Xbox Let Out of Box

Dan Berman
Hot Stock Minute
Cook to Get Grilled, Dimon’s Title Fight, New Xbox Let Out of Box

Correction: According to Best Buy (BBY), the company's reported Q1 revenue number of $9.38 billion does not include Europe, as it is considered a discontinued operation. On the analyst call, CEO Hubert Joly said that if European revenue was included in Q1, BBY would have about $10.8 billion in revenue. That number would beat analyst estimates. A prior version of this story said that the retailer missed on revenue with sales coming in more than $1-billion under estimates.

A Cook is about to get a grilling. We're talking Apple (AAPL) CEO Tim Cook, who will be testifying this morning in front of a Senate subcommittee. He's going to be asked about Apple's tax-avoidance tactics-- what's being characterized as the creation of a complex web of company subsidiaries spanning continents. The Senate panel has already concluded that Apple created Irish subsidiaries to pay little or no taxes on earnings. Authors of the report say they've never seen anything like this. However they have found no evidence of anything illegal.

After more build-up than a heavyweight boxing match in Vegas, today is Jamie Dimon's title fight. Dimon is trying to remain both CEO and Chairman of JPMorgan Chase (JPM). But results of a non-binding vote to separate the roles will be tallied at the company's annual meeting in Tampa. At this point insiders say it appears the majority of the vote will support Dimon's desire to keep both roles. But a number of major shareholders have been mum about which way they'll be voting. Regardless of what happens with Dimon, a board shake-up is likely. Three members had only slim majorities in early counting, and at least one says she won't return unless she has overwhelming support.

Microsoft (MSFT) is expected to give us the first peek at its new Xbox this afternoon. The game consoles have been a cash cow for the company since their introduction back in 2005. But a massive shift to mobile could make this latest update a hard sell. In fact, sales of videogame hardware and software were down 13% in the first part of the year. And Sony, the maker of the PlayStation has tried to steal Microsoft's thunder by releasing a teaser video of its newest Playstation. Microsoft stock is up 27% year-to-date and hit a new 52-week high yesterday.


Home Depot (HD) is raising the roof with shares up more than 4% on strong earnings, released at 6am. The home improvement giant says sales are rising steadily as the housing recovery kicks-in. The company posted earnings of 83-cents a share, up from 68-cents a year ago and beating estimates by 6-cents. Revenues were also considerably higher than forecasts. Now the company is increasing its outlook for the rest of the year. Shares of Home Depot have been up 21% year-to-date, and more than 61% in the past year.

Best Buy (BBY) is up 48% over the past year, but down about 4% at this hour after reporting quarterly results. The company beat on earnings, posting 32-cents a share when consensus was for 25-cents. But that's down from 72-cents a year ago. Best Buy is hoping to increase store traffic with Samsung boutique stores. It has also laid out plans to reduce the amount of floor space to sell low-margin CDs and DVDs. Excluding this morning's market move, shares of Best Buy are up 127% year-to-date.

Carnival Corporation (CCL) has been down more than 4% in early trading as well. The cruise company has lowered its full-year forecast to somewhere between $1.45 and $1.65 a share. The previous forecast was between $1.80 and $2.10. Carnival says it has been forced to lower prices in the wake of several disasters and mishaps, most notably an engine-room fire on the Triumph in February. That incident left 3,100 passengers with limited food and toilet service for several days. Prior to the losses we're seeing this morning, Carnival was down about 6% this year. So much for a rising tide lifting all ships.

Finally, there's Urban Outfitters (URBN), which we also highlighted yesterday. It has been trading more than 3% lower. The company reported earnings which you'd think would impress: earnings of 32-cents a share up from 23-cents a year ago on rising revenue. But growth was actually slower than expected with the company missing estimates on revenues. The company's Free People division showed the biggest improvements with same-store sales up 44% over last year. But that's a relatively small segment of the company. Urban Outifitters stock hit a new 52-week high yesterday ahead of the report, though it has underperformed this year, up about 9%.