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Hot Stock Minute: Dish On BlackBerry and Apple, Costco Climbs

Dan Berman
Hot Stock Minute

Today may end the Dow's streak of record-breakers. Futures are down right now. So we turn our attention to a Mary who might be quite contrary: Mary Jo White, President Obama's nominee to head the SEC. She'll be testifying today before the Senate Banking Committee. Here is part of her prepared testimony: "Investors and all market participants need to know that the playing field of our markets is level and that all wrongdoers -individual and institutional ... will be aggressively pursued by the SEC."

Juicy details this morning on two companies named for fruits. We're talking BlackBerry (BBRY) and Apple (AAPL). First BlackBerry, which saw its shares rise more than 14% yesterday, and is up more than 2% in premarket trading. AT&T (T) begins taking orders today on BlackBerry's new Z10 smart phone. But comments from the CEO of China's Lenovo may be behind the rise. He told a French newspaper his company might try to acquire BlackBerry.

Meanwhile, Apple may be about to give shareholders a bigger piece of its pie. The chatter on the street is that Apple could pay a one-time $30 dividend. The speculation follows a report by Bloomberg that Apple will unveil plans next month for its $137 billion cash hoard. Shares of Apple took a rare shift from red to green yesterday as the word spread.

Costco COST is out with bulked-up earnings. The company says its earnings jumped 39% in the last quarter. They also beat estimates. beat estimates in ket trading. Costco beat estimates and says its earnings jumped 39-percent. Excluding a tax benefit from a special cash dividend, Costco earned $1.10 a share. That beat the average estimate from analysts by 4-cents. Much of Costco's increase comes from a 15% jump in membership fees. Costco has also seen more people flocking to its stores as fuel prices rise.

Next we look at Yum YUM brands, which has had a tough time of it lately, but has been up more than 6%. Yum reported a 2% rise in same-store-sales throughout China in February. Expectations had been for a decline of almost 9%. Yum doesn't usually report monthly sales, but wants to signal that it's started a turnaround. The company has been near the bottom of its trading range since December when a chemical residue was found in part of its chicken supply in China.

The maker of the Roomba is cleaning-up this morning. Shares of iRobot IRBT have been up more than 10%. The company says it expects to post Q-1 earnings of 16 to 20-cents a share, beating current estimates. iRobot shares hit their 52-week high just about a year ago, but they've recently been on track to get back up there. By the way, iRobot may be best known for its crawling vacuum cleaners, but the company makes a variety of robots, many of which are used by police departments.

Craft Brew Alliance BREW has been up in premarket trading. The company is set to report its earnings after the closing bell. Craft Alliance is a company that clearly wants to hook you. It's brands include Redhook, Widmer Brothers, Kona and Omission brewing. The company reached its 52-week high back in the middle of last year's barbecue and beach season. Its segment of the beer market is small but craft beers remain increasingly popular.