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Is Texas Instrument's Top-Line Beat Enough?


It's been in a rut, and that may not be enough to pull it out.

I made the mistake of getting out of my nice warm bed for some water at 3 a.m., and that was it -- my eyes have been wide open since. The good news is I finished a book I'd been reading. The bad news is that my lack of Zs is just starting to hit me. I'm thinking about setting up a spot under my desk where I can get some good sack time, a la George Costanza.

Asian stocks got hammered overnight. The Hang Seng and the Nikkei were off 2.37% and 1.78%, respectively. European stocks were lower early this morning, too. And here in the US, we're currently trading higher.

Here's what I'm seeing this morning:

Texas Instruments (TXN):
Give its fourth-quarter release a gander.

It put up $0.51 before items, whereas the Street had been looking for just $0.49. It beat by a smidge on the top line, too, and it painted a decent picture for the first quarter.

My two cents:

1. It's been consistently beating Street estimates, which I like, and that will garner it lots of attention among the investment community. As I said in an article back in December, the stock remains one of my top long-term favorites.

2. The stock has been in a bit of a rut lately, and I'm not convinced that this news will be enough to get it out. This, coupled with the weak broader market, makes me think that waiting for a pullback, possibly to the high teens or low $20s, makes sense.

Apple (AAPL):
After a lackluster session on Monday, Steve Jobs and his posse certainly provided some decent chatter in after hours. The Mac maker turned in what looked like a pretty solid first quarter. Mac sales were darn strong.

I think it deserves kudos, despite the hubbub about the new accounting standards.

Some thoughts:

I have to hand it to Apple: It continues to generate a huge buzz when it releases, and it will probably dominate the news on Wednesday as well, with the tablet-style computer everyone's expecting.

2. Having more than $24 billion in flash (cash/cash equivalents/short-term marketable securities) is sweet, too.

3. But would I chase? No. As I alluded to in a previous article, with the larger market in a precarious position and the bar for Apple pretty high, I'd rather play in some other sandbox and/or bail ahead of Wednesday.

For another recent take on Apple, click here.

Walmart (WMT):
Justin Sharon points out this morning that Raymond James slapped a Strong Buy on the discount giant.

I can't help but continue to love this company and the stock. If this market does give up some ground (as I expect it will) and the economy pauses, I think a lot of people are going to clutch their billfolds with even greater vigor. That would play right into Walmart's hands. (Incidentally, I'm also excited about Target (TGT) at current levels, for similar reasons.)

American Express
Ladenburg upped the company to Neutral.

I think the business is a great one that will do well over time. It's hard to ignore the stock's performance, but I'd like to see it a bit cheaper before bellying up. It's not that I think plunking down 14.6 times this year's estimate is totally outrageous, but I'd like a bit more cushion. In the low $30s, my eyebrows would certainly perk up.

Have a great day!
No positions in stocks mentioned.

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