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Hot Stock Minute: JCPenney’s Big Flip, T-Mobile’s Hook, Wal-Mart vs. Amazon

Dan Berman
Hot Stock Minute

JCPenney (JCP) is now flipping back to its old pricing policy. Penney says its employees are hard at work, changing tags on store-brand merchandise. Base prices will be higher, so the chain can run more sales. Penney reported a 25% drop in fiscal year sales after trying to eliminate discounts. Shares have been tumbling, losing 1/3 of their value in the past month, and 60% of their worth over the last year. This week one analyst said the company was on track to go bankrupt.

Meanwhile, Penney competitor Wal-Mart (WMT) is trying to lock-up more sales with lockers. The world's largest retailer will start testing a system where shoppers can buy merchandise online and then retrieve it from an in-store locker-- without waiting for help. It's part of an effort to keep shoppers from buying things at online stores like Amazon. Testing will start this summer in about a dozen stores. Wal-Mart is currently trading just shy of $75 a share, which is close to its 52-week high.

Banks in Cyprus are set to reopen tomorrow. The country is currently working out a plan to prevent a run on its banks. The second biggest bank in Cyprus is being closed, with accounts under 100,000 euros being moved to the Bank of Cyprus, which is the country's biggest bank. Accounts of more than 100,000 euros will remain frozen for the time being.


Goldman Sachs (GS) is giving Warren Buffett 10-million of its shares. Buffett is taking the stake as part of a deal in which he forfeits the right to buy even more Goldman shares below their market price. The stock has made a nice climb since last May, but shares have recently pulled back from their highs. Of course having the Oracle as a vocal investor is enough to move prices higher.

BlackBerry (BBRY) is bouncing again in premarket trading. The company is getting set to report its quarterly earnings before the bell tomorrow. BlackBerry has been making non-stop headlines with the launch of its Z10 smart phone, deemed by many to be the company's last great hope. Shares of the company known until recently as Research in Motion have nearly doubled in the past six months. But they're still at just a tiny fraction of their 2008 high which was roughly $130 a share.

LogMeIn (LOGM) a provider of cloud services, is down more than 5% this morning. Trading of this company's shares had to be halted just before the end of the regular trading day yesterday. That was after shares shot up nearly 20% on word of a trial verdict in Virginia. LogMeIn was being sued by a Canadian company for allegedly violating patents with its remote access software. A federal jury in Virginia found there was no wrongdoing.

Tumi (TUMI) says it will be holding a secondary offering of more than 10-million shares. Currently the company has about 68-million shares on the market. Tumi's stock took a dip last spring, but the price has been rather flat since then, failing to rise even in this bull market.