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Hot Stock Minute: Sights On Cyprus, Homebuilder’s House on Fire

Dan Berman
Hot Stock Minute

Cyprus is at a standstill. Bailout plans are on hold and banks still closed because nobody can come up with a palatable solution for the island nation. Here's the latest: The Cypriot Parliament is playing a game of chicken with the E.C.B. over bailout funds. Yesterday lawmakers voted down a 10-billion euro bailout package because it included a tax on bank accounts. Meanwhile, Russians may come forward with their own rescue.

The house is on fire for home builder Lennar (LEN). The company says its quarterly profits have nearly tripled. Lennar posted earnings this morning. They were 26-cents per share compared to estimates of 15-cents. Lennar says home sale closings are through the roof, up 28%, and prices are up 13%. As for new orders, they're up 34% to more than 4,000 homes.

Lululemon (LULU) is now accused of stretching the truth. Its yoga-pants supplier says "All shipments to Lululemon went through a certification process which Lululemon had approved." This follows claims by Lulu yesterday that it had to yank its signature black stretch pants off store shelves because they were too sheer. Lululemon's share price fell to just over $62 at one point yesterday, but it ended the day down about 2.75%, just above 64-dollars.

FedEx (FDX) is reporting lower than expected quarterly earnings this morning. The company made $1.23 per share excluding items. Estimates were for $1.38. The company says the quarter was very challenging. FedEx stock is up 16% so far this year. The company controls almost 30% of the shipping market and is considered an economic bellwether. FedEx hit its 52-week high last week, and has performed rather well since the holidays, but is down more than 3% in premarket trading.

General Mills (GIS) is hoping to bowl people over with its earnings this morning. The cereal-maker reported it made 60-cents a share compared to estimates of 57-cents. But the company is warning that higher costs for fuel and ingredients may hurt it next quarter. By the way, much of the company's growth potential lies abroad. Sales outside the U.S. doubled in the past five years. General Mills is near its 52-week high. It has been whetting the appetites of investors with dividends, last week announcing its 14th dividend increase in a decade.

Amgen (AMGN) is surprisingly flat in premarket trading on the NASDAQ. The company announced last night that its experimental drug for late-stage treatment of melanoma met the primary goal in a clinical trial. Amgen has been hitting 52-week highs, and has climbed more than 30% since last April.

Harley-Davidson HOG has been speeding along recently, but may be about to run out of gas. An analyst at U.B.S. is not very high on HOG. She sales sales are starting to slow as baby-boomers age. Her forecast is that sales could be down 5% for the beginning of the year. Harley stopped disclosing the average age of its riders five years ago when it was around 48.