Facebook Admits Ad Exchange Is Small Part of Ad Business and 2 Other Hot Stocks to Watch

Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB): Current price $34.67

Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg said something that has rocked her company’s world: ”One thing worth noting is that FBX which is part of that programmatic selling is actually a very small part of our business and I think sometimes people don’t understand that. So that piece is quite small.” This admission was a rude shock to the adtech world and some analysts, who had made projections that the exchange could soon be worth billions to Facebook. On the earnings call, analyst Youssef Squali at Cantor Fitzgerald asked about “programmatic” advertising on Facebook. These ads are purchased via extremely fast automated real-time bidding systems, rather than being manually placed and targeted, and constitute a big trend in the ad universe, with more money moving into the area.

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Halliburton Co. (NYSE:HAL): Current price $46.04

Halliburton has made an  agreement with the Justice Department which ends the latter’s criminal investigation of the company concerning the 2010 spill at the Macondo well in the Gulf of  Mexico. A Halliburton subsidiary will plead guilty to one misdemeanor violation linked with the deletion of records created after the  incident, pay the statutory maximum fine of $200,000, and accept a term of three years probation. For its part, the Department has agreed that it will not pursue further criminal prosecution of Halliburton or its subsidiaries for any conduct relating to, or arising out of, the Macondo well incident.

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Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. (NYSE:CLF): Current price $19.77

On Thursday, Cliffs posted a lower second quarter profit because of declines in world iron ore prices, but its earnings surpassed analysts’ expectations, and shares are up more than 7 percent in late morning trading Friday. The iron ore and metallurgical coal producer turned in weaker operating results that were partially outweighed by income tax expenses of $9 million, compared to $42 million in the 2012 period. On the downside, revenue per ton dropped across Cliffs’s business segments, and world seaborne iron ore prices dropped by 11 percent.

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