Kroger Reports Record EPS and 3 Morning Hot Stocks Demanding Investor Attention

Gap Inc (NYSE:GPS) reported a 3% increase in sales to $1.52 billion for November 2012 compared to the same period last year. Comparable store sales were up 3% versus 5% decline in November 2011, with Gap North America higher by 5% (-2% last year), Banana Republic North America up 3% (flat), Old Navy North America up 1% (-7%) and International higher by 3% (-9%).

Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT) reported net retail sales of $6.2 billion for November 2012, a decrease of 0.1% from the same period last year. Comparable store sales were down 1% this year compared to an increase of 1.8% last year.

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The Kroger Co (NYSE:KR) reported a record EPS of $0.46 per share for the third quarter ended November 3, 2012. Including special items, EPS was $0.60 per share. Same supermarket sales growth, not counting gas, was 3.2%, marking the 36th consecutive positive growth quarter. Total sales including fuel were up 5.9% to $21.8 billion and net earnings for the quarter totalled $316.5 million. Gross margin was 20.35% of sales. The company spent $333 million repurchasing 14.5 million common shares. Return on invested capital was 13.3% versus 13.5% last year. Guidance for the full year is for EPS of $2.44-$2.46, which is improved from $2.35-$2.42 previously.

The SEC has closed an investigation of possible fraud regarding the sale of $60 billion worth of residential mortgage backed securities by Wells Fargo Company (NYSE:WFC) to various investors. The bank was informed on November 20 that the SEC did not plan to recommend any enforcement action.

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