Schaeffer's Trading Floor Blog

Buzz Stocks: Yum! Brands, Zynga, Microsoft, and Blackstone

Today's hot stocks to watch in the news include YUM, ZNGA, MSFT, and BX

by 12/24/2012 8:40 AM
Stocks quoted in this article:

With fiscal-cliff uncertainty continuing into the holiday-shortened week, U.S. stock futures are indicated slightly lower ahead of the open. Meanwhile, in company news, here are a few stocks to watch today:

  • Taipei-based PC giant Acer is hoping its new lower-priced tablet will be a hit with consumers, and rival popular models from, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE:BKS) . Acer's Iconia B1 is reported to have similar specs as AMZN's Kindle Fire and BKS' Nook Color -- which are both priced around $139 -- but will be available for just $99. Said to be available sometime in early 2013, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has yet to approve the device for sale in the states. (The Wall Street Journal)

  • Windows 8 -- the latest operating system iteration from Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) -- isn't exactly on everyone's Christmas list this year. Part of this is due to slumping sales across the overall PC market. Research firm NPD noted that U.S. retail stores sold 13% fewer Windows-based devices from late October (when Windows 8 launched) through early December this year, compared to the same time period in 2011. And on Amazon's list of the 100 top-selling electronics for the holiday season, there was just one laptop running Windows 8 among the bunch. (CNBC)

  • The Chinese KFC subsidiary of Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE:YUM) is facing a recall at its restaurants in Shanghai, due to unusual levels of amantadine in its chicken. In a statement on Friday, the Shanghai Food and Drug Administration said it found suspicious amounts of the banned drug in a sample of the poultry, and imposed the recall. This news arrives after YUM was accused (and cleared) of using high levels of antibiotics and steroids in its KFC chicken. (Reuters)

  • As it continues to look for ways to cut costs, Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA) is shuttering its Japanese offices by the end of January. No reason was given for the move, but analysts expect it has something to do with sales numbers within the country. At least employees had a bit of a warning; in October, the company reduced its workforce by 5% and warned of the potential shutdown of some international operations. (TechCrunch)

  • A group of Asian investors -- including China's sovereign wealth fund -- is looking to purchase the London office campus owned by The Blackstone Group L.P. (NYSE:BX). If successful, the 800 million pounds (or $1.29 billion) paid for the 1.1-million-square-foot property would be the priciest property deal inked in the U.K. since the global financial crisis. (Financial TImes)

  • Finally American expatriates residing in France, rejoice! Burger King Worldwide Inc (NYSE:BKW) is returning to the country after 15 years of absence. The fast-food company has opened one location at Marseille airport, and it's a bold experiment after BKW closed 39 French locations in 1997 due to lack of profitability. No word on whether the menu offers the tres French item, the Croissan'Wich. (USA Today)

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