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Ticker Shock: Macy's, Best Buy Still Long-Term Buys?


Wednesday's top stories and stocks with potential to move.


It's hump day, people, so keep that chin up.

Asian stocks declined a bit overnight. The Hang Seng was off less than 1%, while the Nikkei was off a little more than 1%. Europe is showing me some red as well. Meanwhile, here in the States, we're off to a lower open. Big surprise there, right?

Prudential (PRU)
Last night after the close, the well-known insurer disseminated a press release saying that its board had "declared an annual dividend for 2008 of $0.58 per share of common stock, payable on December 19, 2008."

But that's a pretty big drop from the $1.15 a share it offered up last year.

Given the environment, I'm not saying I wouldn't consider a dividend cut, if I were on Prudential's board. But that's a pretty hefty drop, and I suspect there aren't going to be a lot of happy campers out there as a result. Furthermore, I think this could inspire some tax-loss selling before year-end.

One more thing that kind of put a bad taste in my mouth: A Goldman analyst, Chris Neczypor, "recommended selling the shares of Hartford Financial Services (HIG), Lincoln National (LNC), Prudential and Principal Financial Group (PFG)."

In case you were wondering, no - I have no intention of bellying up to this bar. Longer-term, I think it has the potential to fare well, but there are better opportunities out there right now.

Bob Evans (BOBE)
The Ohio-based restaurant chain released its second-quarter numbers after the close on Tuesday. The company put up $0.37 per share in the period (the Street was at $0.44). Meanwhile, same-store sales were off 2.5%.

But the real kicker: It's looking for $1.75 to $1.85 a share for the full year (fiscal 2009). The problem there is that it offered up guidance of $2 to $2.10 a share back in August, in conjunction with its first-quarter results. Analysts were at $1.92 a share.

Of course, that's still not horrible for a stock that trades at around $17 or so. But how do we know that even these new numbers are doable?
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