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Wells Fargo earnings meet, revenue beats; Tobacco stocks light-up; Rent-A-Center tumbles

Hot Stock Minute

Here is a look at some of the stocks the Yahoo Finance team will be watching for you today

Wells Fargo (WFC) kicked off bank earnings reports this morning. The nation's largest mortgage lender reported profits rose 3% from a year earlier with earnings of $1.01, which was right in line with analysts' estimates thanks to a rise in loans and deposit growth. Revenue beat expectations coming in at $21.1 billion, but slipped from a year ago. 

Gap (GPS) shares were lower in early trading after the apparel retailer reported an unexpected 2% drop in same-store sales in June. However, sales at its lower-end Old Navy chain continued to be a bright spot, gaining 7% last month.

Rent-A-Center (RCII) shares fell before the bell. The largest U.S. rent-to-own operator warned second-quarter earnings and revenue will be worse than analysts' estimates. The company pointed to soft demand, saying that "macro-economic pressures continue to burden our financially constrained customers.” In an effort to boost profits, it said it is entering the smartphone market by offering cellphone rentals with no credit check, deposit or long-term contract.

We are also watching cigarette stocks, particularly Lorillard (LO) and Reynolds America (RAI) after they confirmed they're in merger talks. If Reynolds goes through with the long-rumored purchase of Lorillard, it would combine the number-two and number-three U.S. tobacco companies. British-based Imperial Tobacco Group already announced it is in talks to buy several brands from both companies to grow its share of the U.S. cigarette market, but also to head off any anti-trust concerns if a Reynolds-Lorillard merger happens.