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Spotlight Stocks: eBay, Freddie Mac, Hewlett-Packard, Target

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

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Stocks to watch for Wednesday, August 20, 2008:

  • eBay (EBAY) is reportedly lowering its fees related to fixed-price items for U.S. sellers to improve the balance between buyers and seller. Reuters reported that instead of charging sellers to list each item separately, eBay will charge 35 cents to list any number of the same types of fixed-price items.

  • Freddie Mac (FRE) was forced into an offering of unusually rich terms to investors in a $3 billion auction of its debt, reported The Wall Street Journal. The belief is growing that FRE and Fannie Mae (FNM) will be bailed out by the Treasury Department, which was recently authorized to do so. Shares of Freddie and Fannie, which were down more than 20% on Monday, fell 5% and 2% on Tuesday.

  • Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) reported 3Q profit of $2.03 billion, or 80 cents a share, up 14% from $1.78 billion, or 66 cents a share a year ago. Earnings were 86 cents a share excluding one-time charges, beating analyst expectations. While the company remains atop the PC and computer world, it continues to face competition from the likes of Dell (DELL) and Apple (AAPL).

  • Target (TGT) reported 2Q earnings of 82 cents a share, which beat analyst estimates by 6 cents, but dropped 7.6% from a year ago. Revenues grew 5.6% to $14.97 billion while same-store sales declined 0.4% in the quarter. A big misstep for the company was seen in its credit-card operations, in which profits fell to $74 million, down 65% from $213 million a year ago.


Market Recap

  • Asian trading closed with the Hang Seng +2.18%, Nikkei -0.10%, Sensex +0.92%, Taiwan +0.89% and Shanghai +7.63%.

  • Glancing towards Europe, we see the CAC +0.52%, DAX +0.16%, FTSE +0.69%, ATX +1.15%, Swiss Market -0.29% and Stockholm +0.30%.

  • In commodities, crude oil is trading higher +0.21 to 114.74 and gold is also up +2.8 to 813.9 this morning.
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No positions in stocks mentioned.

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