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Hot Stock Minute: Tesla Tease, Mea Culpa From Cupertino

Dan Berman
Hot Stock Minute

Tesla (TSLA) is teasing us about some sort of major announcement to be made later today. It comes a day after shares of the electric car-maker closed up almost 16-percent. On Sunday Tesla said first-quarter sales of its Model S have exceeded prior estimates, though they remain under 5,000. Tesla is the brainchild of Elon Musk who also founded PayPal and Space-X. He's a frequent tweeter, but has been quiet since Sunday night when he wrote, "To be clear, Tesla is in California so it's no April fool's yet. Also, in my opinion, the Tuesday news is arguably more important." Stay tuned!

"Dear China." In an unusual and unannounced move, Apple (AAPL) CEO Tim Cook has issued an apology to the world's most populous nation. A letter from Cook posted to Apple's Chinese website reads, "We are aware that a lack of communications...led to the perception that Apple is arrogant and doesn't care or attach enough importance to consumer feedback." China's state-run media has been accusing Apple of reneging on warranties and poor customer service. Cook promises to fix the perceived problems at once. Apple stock fell another 3% yesterday, its worst day since January.

There are concerns about the cost of corn, but it might not be what you think. Corn futures tumbled 7.6% yesterday, their biggest one-day drop in nearly four years. And it came on top of a 5.4% fall last Thursday when the department of agriculture announced stockpiles were much bigger than predicted. By the way rice is now harder to come by; farmers are reportedly planting less of it because corn or soybeans command higher prices and while the costs to grow rice are climbing.


Humana (HUM) has spiked more than 11% in premarket trading. That's on top of nearly a 9% climb near the end of the day yesterday. What's behind the health insurer's jump? The feds now say they'll increase the payment rate for insurers who offer coverage through the Medicare Advantage program. That's a reversal of a prior decision. Even with the gains, Humana is trading more than $10 below its 52-week high which was a year ago today.

Next up, Pinnacle Foods (PF) has investors salivating. The newly-traded stock was up almost another 5% yesterday, and has been moving higher in premarket trading. That means, since Pinnacle's IPO last Thursday, when shares were issued at $20 a pop, they've gained about 20%. Pinnacle is the parent company of brands like Duncan Hines, Birdseye, Vlasic Pickles and Lenders Bagels. The CEO says he wants to use all the company's newly acquired cash for mergers and acquisitions.

Also on the topic of food, McCormick (MKC) spicing things up this morning with its quarterly earnings report. The company earned 57-cents a share, beating estimates by a penny. Prior to this report, McCormick had missed estimates twice in the past year. McCormick is currently trading in the low-to-mid $70 range, almost $20 higher than it was this time last year.

Finally, reporting this afternoon, G-III Apparel. The company has licensing deals with a long list of brand names including Calvin Klein, Kenneth Cole and Timberland. It also owns Wilson's Leather and the Andrew Marc label. The company opened yesterday at its 52-week high, but lost nearly 2% during the trading day. Analysts expect the company to report earnings of 40-cents a share.