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Stocks Log First 4-Day Losing Streak of the Year

Dan Berman
Hot Stock Minute

Stocks closed negative, logging the first four-day losing streak of the year. Markets were mostly quiet as traders await Wednesday's release of Fed minutes and any possible headlines from this week's annual gathering of central bankers and economists near Jackson Hole. Indeed, markets seem jittery about the uncertainty of a tapering in the Fed's bond buying stimulus program which could start as soon as next month.

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JPMorgan (JPM) fell nearly 3% on news of yet another investigation into the investment bank. The New York Times reports the SEC is looking into the bank's hiring practices in China. At issue: whether JPM hired the children of powerful Chinese officials to get more business in the booming nation. The inquiry adds to a long list of other investigations against the bank by at least eight federal agencies. Charges stemming from the London Whale trading debacle were filed just last week. Nevertheless, prior to today, JPMorgan stock has been up 43% over the past year.

Zillow (Z) dropped 7% on news that it's planning a secondary offering of 5 million shares. The real estate website previously announced the offering, but it had been for 2.5-million shares. Zillow also reported today that it's acquiring StreetEasy for $50-million. StreetEasy provides information on sales and rental listings in New York City. The deal should be closed within the next several weeks.

Edwards Group (EVAC) climbed as much as 18% on news the company is being bought by air compressor company Atlas Copco out of Sweden. Edwards is a British industrial technology firm which makes things like vacuum pumps. The acquisition cost could be as high as $1.6-billion including the assumption of debt. The deal is likely to be finalized early next year.

Saks (SKS) was relatively quiet considering a big earnings miss. The company snuck its quarterly report under the radar, releasing earnings today when they were expected tomorrow. Saks says the quarter was a rough one, where it was forced to offer discounts on shoes and handbags. The company posted losses of 10-cents a share when analysts were expecting a loss of 8-cents a share. Revenue was also below expectations at $707-million versus $732-million. Saks is in the process of being acquired by Hudson’s Bay, the parent company of Lord & Taylor.

Intel (INTC) rose nearly 2% on an upgrade from Piper Jaffray. Analyst Auguste Gus Richard raised the stock’s rating to neutral from underweight. His report cited possible gains from both the corporate market and the coming release of Windows 8.1. Richard also noted the current dividend yield is above 4%.

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