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Hot Stock Minute: ADP Report Disappoints, Penney Pinches, Tesla Leases

Hot Stock Minute

ADP has just released its private sector payroll report. It says there were 158,000 new non-farm payroll jobs created during March. That compares with an estimate of 194,000 from our partner CNBC. The report comes just two days ahead of the Labor Department's monthly jobs report for March

The S.E.C. is liking Facebook (FB) and other social media sites. The feds have decided it's okay for companies to make business announcements on social media. The only stipulation: companies have to tell investors ahead of time, which sites they'll be using. The ruling is a result of a Facebook posting last July. Netflix (NFLX) CEO Reed Hastings wrote that the company had streamed more than a billion hours of content to customers in a month. And in a sign of the social media trend, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been sending out tweets like one teasing the company's announcement yesterday.

As for that Tesla (TSLA) announcement, the company has revealed that it will start leasing its electric cars. Here are the numbers in case you're interested: For an $80,000, if you put down 10%, then your monthly payments will be $1,199 a month out of pocket. But Tesla says when you consider things like there's no gas, or time spent gassing up, the true cost is closer to $500 a month. Tesla says it's working with U-S Bancorp and Wells Fargo to issue the leases. Website Mashable.com called the $500 figure “dubiously calculated” and Wired.com labeled it "bizarre."

Not a single cent extra for JCPenney's (JCP) CEO. A new regulatory filing shows Ron Johnson's pay for 2012 was absent any bonuses. Johnson made roughly $1.9 million, most of it in salary. But he got more than $300,000 for personal use of a corporate aircraft, and $30,000 for a home security system. In 2011, Johnson earned more than $53 million dollars for the two months he was CEO, though most of it was stock to replace what he left behind at Apple (AAPL).


Zynga (ZNGA) is up more than 10% in premarket trading. The company is launching two games in the UK today that use real money for gambling. Shares spiked after-hours yesterday when the company made the announcement. Zynga is said to be working on similar games for Facebook users. Even with the spike, Zynga shares are barely trading at a-third of where they were this time last year.

Seed company Monsanto (MON) is reporting earnings this morning. Monsanto has been trading near its 52-week high, but dropped more than 2% yesterday. Consensus is for the company to report earnings of $2.58 per share on revenue of nearly $5.3-billion. Revenues were up 21% in the last quarter. But there are repeated reports that Monsanto has been alienating many farmers.

Verizon (VZ) is denying claims that it wants to acquire or merge with Vodafone. The Financial Times reported yesterday that Verizon might team with its rival AT&T (T) in a Vodafone takeover. Verizon and Vodafone already have ties. Vodafone holds a 45% stake in Verizon Wireless US. Verizon is currently trading at its 52-week high.

Last, the oil refiner Valero (VLO) tanked during yesterday's session. Shares fell almost 6%. They moved on the news that Valero needs to begin costly upgrades to comply with new emissions regulations. But refiner stocks are known to be volatile, so analysts say shares are likely to show a bit of bounce today. Even with yesterday's losses, Valero has more than doubled since June when shares were just $20. The stock is up 24% this year.