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Hot Stock Minute: Jobs Data Released; Four Scores For Dow?

Dan Berman
Hot Stock Minute

Will it be four scores? The Dow could shatter its all-time high for a fourth day in a row. The big board read 14,329.49 at yesterday's closing bell. The monthly jobs report is likely to play a role in what happens today. It indicates 236,000 new jobs and the unemployment rate dropping to 7.7% easily beating expectations. Analysts had been calling for 165,000 new jobs, and the unemployment rate remaining steady at 7.9%.

Meanwhile, Ally Financial isn't making friends with regulators. The bank is criticizing the Fed, after the central bank said Ally failed an annual stress test. Ally was in fact the only one of the 18 banks measured to fall short of a required 5% capital buffer. Citigroup (C) did the best of the large banks with an 8.3% buffer. JP Morgan (JPM) and Morgan Stanley (MS) fell more closely to that 5% mark. Next week the Fed will announce which banks can return cash to shareholders.

Carl Icahn is now threatening years of litigation if Dell (DELL) doesn't pay out a hefty dividend. Icahn claims Michael Dell's current plan to take the company private would be cheating shareholders. Dell is offering $13.65 a share. The company is currently trading above $14. Yesterday Icahn proposed a one-time $9 dividend. So far the computer maker has not responded to him.

Google (GOOG) is laying off 1,200 people from its Motorola Mobility unit. Shares are pretty flat in premarket trading, but they're at an all-time high. The cuts represent 10% of the Motorola staff. They come on top of a 20% staff reduction that began last August. Google completed its purchase of Motorola just under a year ago. Company shares have been climbing steadily, hitting new highs on several successive days. By the way, Google now tops Apple as the most widely held stock in mutual funds.

Good things happened when Pandora (P) opened-up after the bell closing yesterday with quarterly earnings. Shares, which ended the regular trading day at $11.73, gained more than $3 in after hours trading. The stock first shot up 26% on its earnings report which said revenue rose 54% beating expectations. But those prices retreated a bit when Pandora let some other news out of the box. CEO Joe Kennedy announced he is retiring from the company. It was under his watch that Pandora grew to become the world's largest online radio service with more than 67 million listeners.

Smithfield Foods (SFD) which shot up more than 10% yesterday after releasing its earnings and is now trading near its 52-week high. Smithfield is the nation's largest pork processor and hog producer. The company's biggest shareholder is calling for Smithfield to be broken into three separate units. It also wants Smithfield to begin doling-out a dividend. They reportedly sent a letter saying as much yesterday. Smithfield has underperformed for years. Since 2006 its price is down 26% while competitor Hormel has climbed 131% and Tyson has returned 70%.

Just for kicks we take a look at Footlocker FL which is reporting its earnings this morning. The company has recently been approaching its 52-week high which it hit back in August. Analysts are looking for earnings per share of 73-cents. That would be an increase of 12%over last year. The company is expected to report nearly $1.7 billion dollars in sales.