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Buzz Stocks: JPMorgan Chase, Darden Restaurants, Nike, Procter & Gamble


Today's stocks to watch include JPMorgan, Lexmark, Darden, Nike, Procter & Gamble, and Acme Packet.

It's Friday the 13th, and market bulls are in need of some good luck after six days spent below breakeven. Futures are pointed higher after China's gross domestic product growth matched expectations, despite slowing to its slowest pace in three years. As the week concludes, here are some stocks on our radar:
  • Earnings news: Lexmark International Inc (LXK) lowered its second-quarter sales and earnings estimates, citing weaker-than-expected demand, particularly in Europe (The Wall Street Journal); JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) said second-quarter earnings and revenue topped expectations, but also restated first-quarter results (Barron's); Retailer New York & Company (NWY) projects second-quarter results will exceed expectations and sees same-store sales moving slightly higher for the quarter. (The Street).
  • Acme Packet, Inc.'s (APKT) board has authorized a stock buyback worth up to $200 million to be completed periodically over the next 12 months. Company CEO said this "demonstrates the confidence" Acme's Board has in the company's prospects for growth. (Forbes)
  • Darden Restaurants, Inc. (DRI) is shelling out $585 million in cash for Yard House USA. Yard House, which has locations in 12 states, is a self-professed "upscale casual eatery known for great food, classic rock music, and over 130-250 taps of imported, craft, and specialty ales and lagers." So far, the Street doesn't like what Yard House is cooking; DRI is moving modestly lower in pre-market trading. (The Wall Street Journal)
  • In an effort to disassociate itself from the ever-worsening Penn State scandal, Nike Inc. (NKE) is removing Joe Paterno's name from the child-care center at the athletic apparel company's Oregon headquarters. Nike chairman Phil Knight, a Penn State graduate, was a long-time friend of the late football coach. (MarketWatch)
  • The Procter & Gamble Company (PG) may be mulling over a shift in top management. Reports indicate the board is unhappy with CEO Robert McDonald's performance, amid falling market share. The shares have slipped fractionally lower during the past 52 weeks. (The San Francisco Chronicle)
  • Finally, social news site Digg has been sold for $500,000. The bad news? Four years ago, this firm was valued at $164 million. According to Forbes, that makes this "the biggest bust of the social media era." (Forbes)
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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