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Weekly Jobless Claims; False Report Sends Stock Up 30%; New Bid for Hulu

Dan Berman
Hot Stock Minute
Weekly Jobless Claims; False Report Sends Stock Up 30%; New Bid for Hulu

Estimates for weekly jobless claims could not have been much more accurate. The Labor Department says there were 346,000 new claims last week when estimates were for 345,000. The release comes on the heels of the ADP payroll report yesterday which showed just 135,000 new private sector jobs created in May, well below estimates. Of course tomorrow is the government's monthly jobs report. Make sure to tune in at 8:30 for special live expanded coverage right as the numbers are released.

First a pop, then a fizzle. SodaStream (SODA) leapt more than 30% this morning on word of a possible takeover. But now that report has been debunked. An Israeli website said that Pepsi (PEP) was in talks to buy the maker of home soda machines. Also, that Goldman Sachs was overseeing the talks. But Pepsi CEO Indra Nooyi says the report is completely false. SodaStream is now up just about 6% in early trading, but has previously climbed 48% year-to-date. Shares have been up nearly 98% over the past year.

Hulu may soon have yet another suitor. All Things D is reporting that AT&T (T) is in talks to buy the streaming service with the Chernin Group, which has already floated its own offer. Other existing bidders are said to include DirecTV (DTV), Time Warner Cable(TWC), and our company, Yahoo! (YHOO). Hulu is currently owned by News Corp (NWSA) , Disney (DIS), and Comcast (CMCSK).


J.M. Smucker (SJM) just reported quarterly results this morning. The company beat on earnings posting $1.29 a share when estimates were for $1.15. Revenue was right in line with the consensus at $1.34 billion. The company says overall volume for the quarter was up 2%. Net income climbed 13%, in large part because the company's Folgers improved margins as coffee prices fell. The stock hit its 52-week high back in April. It's currently up 14% this year and nearly 35% over the last year.

Next up is VeriFone (PAY) which says unchanged here but has been trading 17% lower this morning on the NYSE. The maker of credit card terminals missed estimates when it reported earnings after yesterday's closing bell. The company posted adjusted profits of 42-cents a share when estimates were for 47-cents. And the drop from last year is significant when VeriFone made 75-cents a share on about 15% more revenue. The company has also lowered its outlook, but says it hopes to turn things around by investing money to develop new products VeriFone has lost more than a quarter of its market cap this year. Shares tumbled 43% back in February when the company issued its last report.

Now we look at Vera Bradley (VRA) which has been down more than 8% lower. Trading of the company's shares actually had to be halted last night as the maker of handbags and accessories lowered its outlook for the year. The company also announced that CEO Michael Ray is retiring. He's been at the helm since 2007. Prior to the drop we're seeing this morning Vera Bradley shares have been down 6% this year.

Finally, there's Ascena Retail Group (ASNA) which has been trading 8% lower this morning. This is the parent company of chains including Lane Bryant and Dress Barn, and Justice. Its quarterly report shows net income plunging 37% even though sales were up. The company also missed estimates posting profits of 26-cents a share when consensus was for 30-cents. CEO David Jaffe is blaming the economy and poor weather, but also admits the company made some bad choices in merchandise. The losses we're seeing now erase the majority of the 12% gain the company has made year-to-date.