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Buzz Stocks: Visa, Citigroup, Procter & Gamble, Comcast


Today's stocks to watch include Visa, Mastercard, JC Penney, GlaxoSmithKline, Comcast, Microsoft, and Citigroup.

After a solid finish to the week, the bears have taken the reins once again, sending US stock futures into the red. Investors appear wary to commit to the long side as corporate earnings loom at home and global worries continue to dominate the headlines. Here are some stocks on our radar today as we head into the dog days of earnings season:
  • Earnings news: Citigroup Inc. (C) reported adjusted earnings of $1 per share – $.11 better than analysts' estimates – but said revenue dropped 10%. (The New York Times); Gannett Co., Inc. (GCI), and Cintas Corporation (CTAS) will also be reporting today.
  • In other Citi news, the banking name may be exploring its first dividend hike since 2008. The company's CEO says he believes the company will have the capital to "be able to [return cash to investors] by the end of the year." (The Associated Press).
  • Visa Inc. (V) and Mastercard Inc. (MA) – along with 13 other credit-card providers – have settled what may be the largest antitrust class-action lawsuit in US legal history, all for a cool $7.25 billion. The settlement with plaintiff retailers, which puts an end to seven years of litigation, addresses collusion by the major banks on so-called swipe-fees. For the consumer, it could mean retailers begin charging a surcharge for those who use credit cards versus cash. (StarTribune)
  • The NBC division of Comcast Corporation (CMCSA) is taking full control of the domain by buying out the 50% stake held by Microsoft Corporation (MSFT), effectively ending a 16-year partnership. While the amount of the deal was not disclosed, it was rumored to be around $300 million. The peacock network has already rebranded the site (CNET )
  • GlaxoSmithKline plc (GSK) wants to put a nail in its hostile takeover of Human Genome Sciences (HGSI) and has boosted its takeover offer to $3 billion. The move, which represents a per-share price of about $14, is expected to solidify the deal. (Financial Times)
  • Ford Motor Company (F) has recalled more than 10,000 of its Escape SUVs in order to fix issues with the carpet that could impact braking. No injuries or accidents have been attributed to the problem. (USA Today)
  • The Procter & Gamble Company (PG) could be looking to unload its Duracell battery and Iams pet food divisions. Together, the two brands could fetch a combined $7 billion. (Bloomberg)
  • The news for JC Penney Company, Inc. (JCP) keeps getting worse. Late Friday, a judge ordered a temporary injunction on behalf of Macy's, Inc. (M) that will prohibit Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc. (MSO) from selling some of its branded products at the beaten-down retailer. (Reuters)
  • Flight attendants who moved from the former Continental Airlines to the newly merged United Continental Holdings Inc. (UAL) have settled a new union contract. The deal impacts roughly 9,000 employees. (CBS News)
  • Last but not least, Fiat has said its 500L model will offer a "true espresso coffee machine." As Gawker points out, this seems like a solid idea, "Aside from the fact that spilling scalding coffee is a safety hazard [and] an extra appliance is a distraction…" (

This article by Beth Gaston was originally published on Schaeffer's Investment Research.

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Twitter: @schaeffers
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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