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The Markets Now: Herbalife Surges on Icahn Stake

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Stocks moved up on good economic news.

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Stocks moved up after the release of positive economic reports Friday. Consumer sentiment improved; it is now at 75.0 from 73.8, but remains low in comparison to low 80s levels in October and November. The Empire State Manufacturing Survey for February reported an incredible surge to 10.04 from 7.8.

In international news, the eurozone's gross domestic product fell 2.3% in the fourth quarter, which does not bode well for Europe's economic health.

The Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) gained 20 points and is now at 13993.93. The S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) moved up 0.10% to 1522.88. The Nasdaq (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) moved down 0.13% to 3202.76.

Herbalife (NYSE:HLF) surged 12.05% to $42.88 after Carl Icahn bought a nearly 13% stake in the health food maker.

Alpha Natural Resources (NYSE:ANR) posted a fourth-quarter loss of $0.58 per share. Revenue fell 25% to $1.56 billion from $2.07 billion. Shares declined 2.69% to $9.41.

Barnes & Noble (NYSE:BKS) said that its Nook e-reader business will perform worse this year than it did last year as it faces stiff competition from Amazon's (NASDAQ:AMZN) Kindle, Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Nexus tablet, and Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad Mini. Shares edged up 0.99% to $13.27.

CenturyLink (NYSE:CTL) cut its dividend by 26%, from $0.72 to $0.54. Its stock moved up 1.52% to $32.76.

After H.G. Heinz Co. (NYSE:HNZ) accepted a takeover deal from Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.A), shares fell 0.28% to $72.30.

Sketchers USA Inc. (NYSE:SKX) returned to a profit in the fourth quarter, beating analyst estimates. Its revenue increased 40% to $395 million. Its stock fell 0.18% to $21.93.

Orbitz Worldwide (NYSE:OWW) reported a fourth-quarter loss of $314 million, or $2.96 per share, from a loss of $46.5 million, or $0.44 per share, a year ago. Revenue increased to $189.7 million from $177.1 million. Shares ascended 6.67% to $3.36.

Whole Foods' (NASDAQ:WFM) fiscal fourth-quarter profit rose 24%, but the outlook for earnings per share growth was weak, citing tougher gross margin comparisons in the second and third quarters of last year. Shares rose 0.42% to $87.87.

Zillow's (NASDAQ:Z) fourth-quarter profit fell 40%, but revenue increased 73% to $34 million. Its stock moved up 2.01% to 43.15.

Kraft Foods Group (NASDAQ:KRFT) reported fourth-quarter earnings of $0.15 per share from $0.54 per share a year earlier; revenue fell 11%. Shares inched up 0.29% to $47.30.

Campbell Soup (NYSE:CPB) beat Wall Street forecasts, reporting earnings of $0.60 per share in the fiscal second quarter. Revenues moved up 10%, meeting analyst predictions. Its stock rose 1.21% to $39.19.

J.M. Smucker Co. (NYSE:SJM) shares moved up 1.36% to $93.41 after it earned $1.47 per share, easily topping analyst estimates of $1.39 per share in the fiscal third quarter. Its gross margin increased to 34% from 31.7% a year earlier due to strong sales of K-Cups and peanut butter, the company reported.

It's good to be king. Burger King Worldwide (NYSE:BKW) said fourth-quarter profit almost doubled and earnings per share increased to $0.14 from $0.07 a year earlier. Shares are up 2.35% at $16.97.

JC Penney (NYSE:JCP) fell 0.80% to $19.77 not long after it increased its credit facility to $1.85 billion.

Apache Corporation (NYSE:APA) reported a decrease in net income of 44% for the fourth quarter after a downturn in natural gas prices.

No positions in stocks mentioned.
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