Schaeffer's Trading Floor Blog

Buzz Stocks: Zynga, Alcatel-Lucent, Visa, Target, and Merck

Today's stocks to watch include ZNGA, LVS, WFM, TGT, C, and ALU

by 7/26/2012 9:28 AM
Stocks quoted in this article:

It looks like another winning start for the Dow, as futures are solidly higher on reassuring comments from European Central Bank head Mario Draghi. Meanwhile, back at home, we have a slew of earnings reports to analyze as well as durable goods orders and pending home sales data. Here are some stories grabbing our attention today:

  • Earnings news: Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA - 5.08) earnings disappointed from both the profit and revenue perspective, falling short of expectations. The company also guided lower for the remainder of the year (CNET); Visa Inc (NYSE:V - 122.20) announced a 10% increase in revenue and per-share earnings (excluding items related to litigation expenses) that easily topped analysts' estimates (The Washington Post); Whole Foods Market, Inc. (NASDAQ:WFM - 84.53) earnings were two cents better than the Street projected. The upscale grocer also lifted its 2012 guidance to $2.51-$2.52 from $2.44-$2.47. (Barron's); Slowing growth in Asian markets had a pronounced impact on Las Vegas Sands Corp. (NYSE:LVS - 37.51), which posted a sharp decline in profit. Per-share earnings were significantly below analysts' estimates (Reuters); Excluding gains procured by selling off company assets, Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM - 85.24) suffered a 21.5% drop in profit for the second quarter, falling short of Wall Street's expectations (CNBC); 3M Co (NYSE:MMM - 88.75) posted a fractional gain in second-quarter earnings, exceeding estimates by a penny. Revenue, however, fell short of the mark. (FOX Business)

  • Banking analyst Meredith Whitney is firing back at former Citigroup Inc. (NYSE:C - 25.79) Chief Sandy Weill, who suggested dividing banks into investment banking and commercial operations. Ms. Whitney called the idea "Draconian" and said it would be a very expensive move. (CNBC)

  • Alcatel Lucent SA (ADR) (NYSE:ALU - 1.06) will be trimming its workforce by 6%, or 5,000 jobs. The move will result in a savings of 750 million euros ($911 million). (Bloomberg)

  • Social media catalyzed buying action in J.C. Penny Company, Inc. (NYSE:JCP - 22.00) yesterday. Around 2:00 p.m. ET, Nina Garcia -- fashion director at Marie Claire and Project Runway judge -- excitedly tweeted from the JCP headquarters that the new store prototype would be a "game changer." (The Wall Street Journal: MarketBeat)

  • Speaking of new retailing prototypes, Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT - 60.36) opened its first CityTarget stores yesterday in Chicago, Los Angeles, and Seattle. These stores are about two-thirds the size of a regular TGT store and feature "the right products for urban guests and commuters," according to the retailer's Senior VP. (CNBC)

  • The Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK - 42.62) drug Zolinza, designed to treat a rare strain of cancer, may hold a hidden benefit bringing HIV-infected cells out of hiding. This is the first step to finding and eliminating the virus from infected patients. (San Francisco Chronicle)

  • Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT - 72.08) has been accused of violating the U.S. Americans with Disabilities Act. A new federal lawsuit alleges the discount retailer has placed point-of-purchase payment machines out of the reach of disabled customers in many of its California stores. (USA Today)

  • Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT - 28.83) has said its new Office 2013 software package features a "Social Connector" feature to quickly and easily link Outlook email to LinkedIn Corporation (NYSE:LNKD - 102.19)and Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB - 29.34). (

  • Finally, in a move that is both inscrutable and unsettling, a hotel in English has swapped the Bibles in its nightstands for copy of the erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey. The hotel proprietor feels this is a more appropriate choice in our secular society, because "everybody is reading [it]." The Gideons have not yet commented. (NBC News)

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