Wal-Mart’s Online Battle, AstraZeneca Diabetes Drug Falls Through, and 3 More Hot Stocks

Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT): In its never-ending quest to save money and time, Wal-Mart has enlisted the help of its store employees to pack and ship its online retail orders. While the move represents the further integration of Wal-Mart’s brick and mortar operations with its online component, it also shows how much farther it must go to be a credible contender to Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN). The retailer’s online shipping costs come to around $5 to $7 per parcel, nearly double the $3 to $4 that Amazon is used to.

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AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN): A large scale study shows that the diabetes drug Onglyza, created as a joint effort between AstraZeneca and Bristol-Myers (NYSE:BMY), “fails to show cardiovascular benefit,” the results found. Had the results been positive, Onglyza could have generated in excess of $1 billion in peak sales. Unfortunately, patients who suffer from the Type 2 diabetes taking the medication did not experience fewer strokes, heart attacks, and other adverse events than those who took a placebo.

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FedEx (NYSE:FDX): Shares of FedEx are up slightly following the company’s Q4 results, which saw EPS of $2.13, which beat by $0.13. Revenues of $11.4 billion fell in-line with expectations. The company saw its operating margin widen during the quarter by 60 base percentage points to 9.6 percent. The FedEx Express segment experiences a revenue increase of 3 percent, to $6.98 billion, while sales at the FedEx Ground segment were up 12 percent to $2.78 billion. FedEx also added that 3,600 employees will be leaving in phases under a voluntary employee separation program, as a result of more international customers selecting lower-rate services.

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Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE:ALU): Investors are apparently pleased by Alcatel’s strategy update, as they send shares up over 5 percent. The company intends to shed 1 billion euros in costs, as well as sell a billion euros in assets in efforts to end the cycle of “perpetual” restructurings. The company, which has been hemorrhaging cash, hopes to become cash-flow positive by 2015. Alcatel-Lucent is also hiring a new COO as well, while CFO Paul Tufano is expected to leave.

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