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Ticker Shock: Lowe's, Target Hit Targets; GM, Citigroup Are Targets


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


Asia was a bit of a mixed bag. The Hang Seng was off a fraction, while the Nikkei was up just under 1%. Europe is showing me some red.

General Motors (GM)
On Saturday, Nancy Pelosi said the House of Representatives would bail out US automakers, provided they meet new standards of fuel efficiency, produce "advanced vehicles" and restructure "to ensure their long-term economic viability."

I think government money could put a bit of a smile on shareholders' faces, and might give the stock a bit of a boost. But would I buy it, based on this news? No way. I just don't think that Congress's band-aid on this sucking chest wound would make the stock worth buying.

Citigroup (C)
Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit is reportedly planning as many as 50,000 job cuts.

Of course, this is absolutely awful news (assuming it's true) for those affected - and the company could lose additional personnel among those wondering "am I next?" That being said, I think many people have been waiting to hear some indication from Pandit that he's serious about righting this ship. And this could be it.

The well-known retailer posted its third-quarter numbers this morning.

The Minnesota-based company generated a profit of $0.49 per share; analysts were at $0.48. Its comp-store sales were also up 3.3%.

What didn't make me happy was news regarding its buybacks. CFO Doug Scovanner said: "The current environment and our financial outlook have naturally reduced our appetite for investment in our business, and we have also temporarily suspended substantially all of our share repurchase activity."

To be clear, I'd probably do the same thing if I were in Target's shoes. Better to keep some powder dry. But at the same time, it's kind of a bummer knowing they aren't going to be aggressively bottom-fishing here.

Overall, I think that Target is one of those stocks that will pop back in a big way once this economic cloud lifts. But I'm not about to climb aboard just yet.

Judging by Lowe's third-quarter numbers, I'd guess you haven't been doing any big house remodeling, have you?

The North Carolina-based company showed a more than 20% drop in profits - though, to be fair, it did earn $0.33 per share, a nickel better than expectations.

In conjunction with its numbers, the company said it's looking for a profit of $0.08 to $0.16 per share in the fourth quarter; the Street was at $0.18.

This fourth-quarter outlook isn't the end of the world - ultimately, I think both Lowe's and Home Depot (HD) will make a comeback. But given that my crystal ball is fuzzy for 2009, I'm going to remain on the sidelines.

Have a great day!

For more on Citigroup, check out Hoofy and Boo's always astute report.

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No positions in stocks mentioned.

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