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Ticker Shock: Wal-Mart Settles Up; Starbucks Switches To No-Match 401(k)s


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


The big man's coming down the chimney tonight. I hope you've all been good!

Getting down to business, Asian markets were in the red. The Hang Seng was off under 1% while the Nikkei was down more than 2%. Europe was showing me some red early this morning as well.

Here's what's got my eye this morning:

Micron Technology (MU)
The Idaho-based chipmaker offered up its first quarter results after the close yesterday.

Excluding items, it turned in a loss of $0.72 per share. That's not too swift, and I don't think it'll be viewed as a holiday present by the investment community given that analysts were looking for a loss of $0.45.

There was a bit of a bright spot, however, with emphasis on the word "bit." Revenue came in at roughly $1.4 billion, which was north of the roughly $1.32 billion analysts had been looking for.

That said, I view the current quarter as a disappointment and I'm sure others will as well. Frankly, I think the news could lead to some last-minute tax-loss selling. Keep in mind that the shares are trading in the lower end of their 52-week trading range.

I also want to point out that, in the low single-digits, the stock could have trouble getting attention from Wall Street analysts in the near term.

Wal-Mart (WMT)
According to a press release that came out after the close on Tuesday:

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. and attorneys for the plaintiffs jointly announced the settlement of 63 wage and hour class action lawsuits that have been pending against the company for several years.

Apparently, the final amount that will be paid out will depend on the claims submitted for a minimum of $352 million and maximum of $640 million.

My take: Those are some potentially big numbers, but the good news is the monkey's off its back. In no way does this settlement announcement lessen my opinion of Wal-Mart. Given the economy and the consumer's penchant for saving money, I continue to think that, when it comes to retail, this is the place to be right now.

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No positions in stocks mentioned.

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