Ultimate Market Recap: Stocks Fade During Short Trading Session

Friday Morning’s Top Stories

Japan’s (NYSE:EWJ) October core consumer-price index dropped 0.1 percent, in-line with analysts’ forecasts, but came after September’s 0.2 percent increase. October’s number indicates deflation after seeing four months of price gains and increasing skepticism about the Bank of Japan’s statements that the price environment has incurred changes.

October’ decline may be attributed to increased cigarette taxes and insurance premiums from the same month in the previous year as well as increases in gas and electricity charges.

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The euro-zone economy most likely saw a contraction in November for a second consecutive straight month, as reflected in the Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) and the Bank of Italy’s Eurocoin indicator’s 0.20 percent decline.  This estimate for quarter-on-quarter growth in gross domestic product reported a 0.13 percent drop in October, representing a sixth consecutive month of declines.

The CEPR and Bank of Italy (NYSE:EWI) responded, ”The fall reflects the further deterioration of most of the variables that are included in the indicator.”

Even AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) may be losing some faith in its $39 billion T-Mobile acquisition after announcing on Thursday that it will put aside $4 billion in the fourth quarter to cover potential costs for the fraying deal. This follows the Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski’s remarks earlier this week that he wants a trial-like hearing for the merger, extending the proposed plan with months of additional arguments.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has added Sharp Corp. (SHCAY) to make the screens for its next-generation iPad. The new tablet is expected to launch in 2012 and Sharp’s Japan plant, Kameyama No. 2, will manufacture its LCD panels. In addition, a source said that Apple will invest in Sharp’s panel manufacturing factories in Japan; however, an amount has not been disclosed.

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Friday Morning Hot Stocks

AT&T, Inc. (NYSE:T): The deal for AT&T (NYSE:T) to aquire T-mobile (DTEGY.PK) may not get regulatory approval. T shares recently traded at $27.66, up 0.4%. Its market capitalization is $163.26 billion. They have traded in a 52-week range of $27.20 to $31.94. Volume today was 85,442 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 30,656,800 shares. The company’s trailing P/E is 13.98, while trailing earnings are $1.97 per share.

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Gap Inc. (NYSE:GPS): Gap (NYSE:GPS) plans to triple its Chinese store count to 45 in fiscal 2012. GPS shares recently traded at $17.83, up 1.7%. Its market capitalization is $8.95 billion. They have traded in a 52-week range of $15.08 to $23.73. Volume today was 0 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 6,993,290 shares. The company’s trailing P/E is 10.25, while trailing earnings are $1.74 per share.

Retailers, of course. It’s Black Friday on a shortened trading day. So, if you want some action, take a look at the top retail stocks: Walmart (NYSE:WMT), Target (NYSE:TGT), Costco (NASDAQ:COST), Macy’s (NYSE:M), J.C. Penny (NYSE:JCP), Abercrombie & Fitch (NYSE:ANF), Aeropastale (NYSE:ARO), American Eagle Outfitters (NYSE:AEO), The Limited (NYSE:LTD), SPDR S&P Retail ETF (NYSEARCA:XRT), Retail HOLDRs ETF (NYSE:RTH).

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Friday’s Trending Stocks

Wall St. Watchdog reveals information about 10 hot stocks that have hit our trading screens here at Wall St. Watchdog in the morning:

  1. POZEN Inc. (NASDAQ:POZN): Shares of POZEN Inc. are trading higher today. POZEN Inc. is a pharmaceutical company that develops therapeutics for diseases with unmet medical needs. The Company’s product candidates include migraine treatments as well as is exploring the development of product candidates in other pain-related therapeutic areas.
  2. Royale Energy, Inc. (NASDAQ:ROYL): Shares of Royale Energy, Inc. are trading higher today. Royale Energy, Inc. produces and sells natural gas, acquires oil and gas lease interests and proved reserves, drills both exploratory and development wells, and sells fractional working interests in wells to be drilled.
  3. Gyrodyne Company of America, Inc. (NASDAQ:GYRO): Shares of Gyrodyne Company of America, Inc. are trading higher today. Gyrodyne Company of America, Inc. leases industrial and commercial real estate to diversified entities. The Company manages its real estate operations and is an investor in other various real estate properties.
  4. Lucas Energy, Inc. (NYSEAMEX:LEI): Shares of Lucas Energy, Inc. are trading higher today. Lucas Energy, Inc. explores for oil and natural gas in the United States.
  5. Evergreen Energy Inc. (NYSEARCA:EEE): Shares of Evergreen Energy Inc. are trading higher today. Evergreen Energy Inc. develops alternative fuel products. The Company’s K-Fuel process enriches and upgrades low-grade subbituminous coal and lignite into a high Btu, low moisture, low emission product.
  6. Transcept Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:TSPT): Shares of Transcept Pharmaceuticals, Inc. are trading lower today. Transcept Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a specialty pharmaceutical company which develops and commercializes proprietary products that address therapeutic needs in the fields of psychiatry and sleep medicine. The Company’s products include sublingual low dose formulation of zolpidem developed for the treatment of insomnia.
  7. AT&T Inc (NYSE:ATT): Shares of AT&T Inc are trading flat today.
  8. SPDR S&P Retail (NYSEARCA:XRT): Shares of SPDR S&P Retail are trading flat today. SPDR S&P Retail ETF is an exchange-traded fund incorporated in the USA. The Fund’s objective is to replicate as closely as possible the performance of the S&P Retail Select Industry Index, an equal-weighted index.
  9. Piedmont Natural Gas Company Inc. (NYSE:PNY): Shares of Piedmont Natural Gas Company Inc. are trading flat today. Piedmont Natural Gas Company, Inc. is an energy and services company that primarily transports, distributes, and sells natural gas. The Company serves residential, commercial, and industrial customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. Piedmont also, through subsidiaries, markets natural gas to customers in Georgia, and distributes propane in various states.
  10. Bank of America Corporation (NYSE:BAC): Shares of Bank of America Corporation are trading higher today. Bank of America Corporation accepts deposits and offers banking, investing, asset management, and other financial and risk-management products and services. The Company has a mortgage lending subsidiary, and an investment banking and securities brokerage subsidiary.

Market Recap

Markets closed down on Wall Street today: Dow 0.23%, S&P -0.27%, Nasdaq -0.75%, Oil +0.62%, Gold -0.61%.

On the commodities front, Oil (NYSE:USO) climbed to $96.77 a barrel. Precious metals were down, with Gold (NYSE:GLD) falling to $1,688.50 an ounce while Silver (NYSE:SLV) fell 2.73% to settle at $31.09.

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Today’s markets were down because:

1) Europe. Europe’s debt crisis continued to burden investors this week after a series of lackluster debt auctions saw yields on Spanish, Italian, French, and even German debt rising. Meanwhile, Americans awoke from their tryptophan-induced comas this morning to find that Standard & Poor’s downgraded Belgium’s credit rating to double-A from double-A-plus, citing concerns about funding and market pressures, just a day after Moody’s Investors Service downgraded Hungary to junk and Fitch downgraded Portugal to junk. Black Friday indeed.

2) Tech. Internet stocks were some of the biggest decliners in today’s sell-off. Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX), LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD), and Groupon (NASDAQ:GRPN) all continued their recent downward trends. Meanwhile, Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) also moved lower, in spite of positive Thanksgiving e-commerce data. Retail stocks were in focus today as shoppers headed for the stores and braved huge crowds and the threat of trampling to get the best deals, but e-commerce sites will be back in focus on Cyber Monday.

3) Retail. With consumer spending already lagging after a stellar third quarter, retail stocks were in focus today as companies like Macy’s (NYSE:M) and Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) tried to lure in customers with huge Black Friday sales. Though both stocks slipped slightly, as did the broader markets, whether sales justify such a move remains to be seen. Fox News has cited retailers who are calling this Black Friday one of the best in history as droves of people pour into stores like Target (NYSE:TGT) and Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT). However, Reuters says that, while today may be the busiest day of the year in terms of store traffic, it does not mean that sales will soar for the season. Many people out there are taking advantage of bare-bone deals on which retailers are forfeiting a large share of profits, but may not be buying more than the essentials, or be willing to return to the stores when prices return to normal. 

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