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Deere in Spotlight; Macy’s Profiting from Penney Woes; Google Tops $900

Dan Berman
Hot Stock Minute

Today it looked as though there was simply no way to stop Wall Street's record-breaking rally. Markets opened lower but quickly erased their losses and moved into the green. The indexes were helped by a better-than-expected housing report, which showed confidence among homebuilders rising to its highest level in five years. Investors shrugged off falling wholesale prices which indicate weak demand in the domestic economy.

Deere & Co. (DE) didn't do well in the spotlight today. Shares fell nearly 5% even though the company easily beat expectations with quarterly earnings. The world's largest agricultural equipment maker posted profits of $2.76 a share, topping estimates by 5-cents on sales that rose 9% from a year ago to $10.91 billion. But the company lowered its full-year guidance, cutting growth estimates from 6% to 5%. Deere is citing bad weather patterns and economic uncertainty for the adjustment in its outlook.

Meanwhile Macy's (M) stock price climbed nearly 3% on earnings which came out this morning. The retailer reported profits of 55-cents a share when consensus was for 53-cents on revenue that matched estimates of $6.39 billion. The company also announced it will be increasing its dividend 25% to 25-cents a share. It is also increasing is share buyback program by $1.5 billion. Macy's appears to be benefiting from the virtual collapse of its competitor JC Penney (JCP). Both companies are still in a tug of war over Martha Stewart branded merchandise. Today's rise brings Macy's to a new 52-week high.

Google (GOOG) shares broke through $900 today with the stock climbing more than 3% on reports that the tech giant would announce a new subscription music service to compete with the likes of Spotify. The announcement was expected just as Google's annual software development conference gets underway in San Francisco. Company CEO Larry Page is also making headlines, writing on Google Plus that he has a "very rare" condition which causes paralysis of the vocal cords, but insisting there is "nothing seriously wrong." There has been speculation about Page's health since he was a no-show at the company's annual shareholders' meeting last June.

Apple (AAPL) fell more than 3% today compounding a 2.5% loss yesterday. Shares dropped on news that Julian Robertson's Tiger Management dumped the rest of its stake in the company; at the end of last year it held more than 42,000 shares. The decline yesterday was tied to reports that the Justice Department has labeled Apple the ringmaster in a conspiracy to fix the price of e-books. The dip ends a recent rally that had lifted Apple's share price from a low of under $400 back towards $500.