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The drugstore chain's March sales declined without Express Scripts.

By Trefis Apr 11, 2012 12:01PM
Walgreen's (WAG) same-store sales dipped by 6.8% last month, mainly owing to its split with pharmacy benefits manager Express Scripts (ESRX). Prescriptions processed by Express Scripts comprised 12.6% of Walgreen's prescriptions in March 2011.

Now with Medco Health Solutions (MHS) folding into Express Scripts, there are obvious concerns about the future of Walgreen's business with Medco, although Walgreen says it hopes to honor its existing contracts. Medco represented around 125 million prescriptions for Walgreen in 2011. There are also expectations that Walgreen may try to renegotiate a deal with Express Scripts.  

The search giant's in-house Android device will likely be free of issues that plague non-Google Android tablets, but will it be more like the iPad or the Kindle Fire?

By TheWeek.com Apr 11, 2012 11:30AM
Dozens of companies make tablets powered by Google's (GOOG) Android software. One name, however, has been notably absent: Google. Now, in efforts to reduce "fragmentation" -- instances when Android glitches occur because of inconsistencies on different hardware platforms -- Google is reportedly building an in-house tablet for release later this year.

The move could conceivably be a big win for the web powerhouse, which, like Apple (AAPL), is uniting hardware and software under one roof to create a more streamlined (read: less buggy) product.

Here's what we know so far about Google's official entry into the tablet race:  

NetApp is downgraded to 'sector perform,' and retailers are initiated at UBS.

By MSN Money Partner Apr 11, 2012 11:13AM
Information provided by Theflyonthewall.com

Wednesday's noteworthy upgrades include:  
  • Banco Bilbao (BBVA) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank
  • Telefonica (TEF) upgraded to Neutral from Sell at UBS
  • Bank of America (BAC) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Guggenheim
  • MetLife (MET) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Raymond James
 

These stocks are repurchasing their own shares and are being added to a buyback-focused portfolio.

By TheStockAdvisors Apr 11, 2012 10:34AM
By David Fried, The Buyback Letter

When companies buy back their own shares, it reflects an enormous vote of confidence in the stock by those who know it best -- the company's senior executives. No one else knows more about the company's financial situation, its market share, business plans, R&D or new products.

The latest additions to our buyback portfolio are Allied World Assurance Company Holdings, Ltd. (AWH), Health Net (HNT) and the McGraw-Hill Companies (MHP). 
Tags: AWHHNTMHP

The oil colossus keeps churning, but returns have been lagging.

By InvestorPlace Apr 11, 2012 10:08AM

By James Brumley

 

Think all large-cap oil stocks are the same? Think again.

 

Exxon Mobil (XOM) might look like BP (BP), Chevron (CVX) and ConocoPhillips (COP) on the surface. When you look under the hood, though, there's something different about Exxon Mobil that might motivate you to steer clear.

 

Will the company be able to make magic in its new ventures?

By Benzinga Apr 11, 2012 9:39AM

By Katey Stapleton, Benzinga Staff Writer

 

The Walt Disney Co. (DIS), known for moving into almost every medium possible, has discovered two more ways to reach a larger demographic: social gaming and developing new animation content.

 

Just as Zynga (ZNGA) and others have found success in the popular social gaming industry, Disney is set to do the same in Japan and America. While this isn't the first crop of digital games the company has announced (Disney joined the social gaming market in 2010) it is an expansion worth noting.

 

Right now, the aluminum giant could take on the world's woes and win.

By Jim Cramer Apr 11, 2012 8:59AM

Alcoa (AA) against the world! Alcoa against 6% Spanish bond yields! Alcoa against the doubling of short-term Italian bill rates! Alcoa against Chinese inflation!

 

Can one company take on all of these forces of evil? One endlessly disappointing metals fabricator?

                

Well, kind of, yes.

 

The global gum market is poised to grow at 4.5% annual rate for the next few years.

By Trefis Apr 11, 2012 8:59AM
Kraft Foods (KFT) is leaving no stone unturned as it prepares for the spinoff. It continues to focus heavily on non-core divisions, such as beverages and infant nutrition in recent times.

In addition, with the launch of Trident's global campaign, the company looks to focus on the chewing gum market, which shows a promising growth potential.  

The aluminum giant posts a surprise profit. The travel newsletter publisher is reportedly looking for a buyer.

By TheStreet Staff Apr 11, 2012 8:20AM

By Joseph Woelfel

 

Alcoa (AA) posted a surprise quarterly profit after the close Tuesday. The first Dow component to report its first-quarter results posted first-quarter earnings from continuing operations of $94 million, or 10 cents a share, on revenue of $6.01 billion. The average analyst estimate was for a loss of 4 cents a share on revenue of $5.77 billion. The company attributed the better-than-expected results to "strong productivity improvements across all businesses, higher realized prices for aluminum, and improved volume and mix." Alcoa also reaffirmed its outlook for 7% growth in global aluminum demand in 2012.

 

The company is trying to compete more strongly with Home Depot, especially in Canada.

By Trefis Apr 10, 2012 4:58PM
Image: Woman Using a Spirit Level on a Sink in a Domestic Bathroom (© Alex Wilson/Digital Vision/Getty Images)Lowe's (LOW), eager to expand in Canada, has expressed an interest in acquisitions -- which brought its Canadian rival Rona into the spotlight last week as a potential take-over target.

With Rona, the home-improvement chain could better compete with Home Depot (HD), which currently has six times the number of stores in Canada that Lowe's does. However, Rona has declined any interest for sale.

Lowe's has underperformed Home Depot in the past three years, but is trying to turn that around with a new branding campaign and more focus on online sales, in-store technology and efficiency initiatives. 
Tags: HDLOW

Many fans of the photo-sharing app are dismayed that the social network acquired Instagram for $1 billion. But maybe it's not such a bad deal after all

By TheWeek.com Apr 10, 2012 4:54PM

Image: Couple with laptop (© Daly and Newton/OJO Images/Getty Images)On Monday, Facebook gobbled up photo-sharing app Instagram, which was last valued at half the $1 billion the social networking giant paid for it.


But what seemed like a coup for the photo app's founders was met with derision from Instragram devotees: A number of passionate users in the 30-million-strong community took to Twitter in outrage, with many threatening to abandon the service because they fear Facebook will "ruin" it. But Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg claims that his company is "committed to building and growing Instagram independently." 

 
Tags: FBGOOG

Powering the majority of 3G wireless devices, this tech stock is a buy for growth and for income.

By TheStockAdvisors Apr 10, 2012 4:50PM
By Chuck Carlson, DRIP Investor

While Apple's dividend has garnered a lot of attention, one tech stock that has been ahead of the curve in terms of giving shareholder dividends is Qualcomm (QCOM).

The company has paid a quarterly dividend since 2003. Reflecting strong operating performance, the company recently boosted its dividend 16% to a quarterly rate of 25 cents per share. 
Tags: QCOM

The absolutely predictable return of the crisis has caught eurozone leaders without even the beginning of a plan.

By Jim J. Jubak Apr 10, 2012 4:25PM
Image: Europe (© Photodisc/SuperStock)If the world's strongest economies -- China, Germany, and the United States -- are slowing (and that's the worry now), then the world's weaker economies -- Spain, Italy and the rest of the "austerity" economies of the eurozone -- will feel the most pain.

That's the logic Tuesday in what I'd call the second-shoe-dropping selloff after Monday's decline in U.S. stocks on Friday's weaker-than-expected jobs numbers.

In Europe the German DAX index was down 2.5%, the Spanish IBEX 35 down 3%, the French CAC 40 down 3.1%, and the Italian (Milan) FTSE MIB was down almost 5%.
 

It's OK to warm up to the new-issues pipeline.

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day Apr 10, 2012 2:26PM
By Rick Aristotle Munarriz

 

Everybody's picking on the new kids these days.

 

"A new-issues craze is always the last stage of a dangerous boom," John Rothchild once wrote in The Davis Dynasty, and that sentiment was echoed by WhopperInvestments.com yesterday in calling out the recent market enthusiasm for IPOs.

 
Tags: ZNGA

The financial services company unveils an exchange offer for two series of debt.

By Zacks.com Apr 10, 2012 2:01PM

By Zacks Equity Research
‎   
Discover Financial Services (DFS) has announced an offer to exchange its outstanding 10.25% senior notes, due 2019, and 6.45% senior notes, due 2017, with new senior notes, due 2022. The old notes have an outstanding principal of $400 million, a portion of which will be reimbursed in cash.


The new notes will be issued for a minimum aggregate principal value of $250 million. Moreover, the 10.25% senior notes will get priority during replacement. While all of the 10.25% notes will be replaced, the 6.45% notes will only be exchanged if the principal value of the new notes, issued in place of the 10.25% notes, does not exceed $250 million.

 
Tags: DFSMAV

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[BRIEFING.COM] S&P futures vs fair value: -0.60. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: -11.50. The S&P 500 futures trade less than a point below fair value.

The latest weekly initial jobless claims count totaled 304,000, which was lower than the 312,000 that had been expected by the Briefing.com consensus. Today's tally was above the revised prior week count of 302,000 (from 300,000). As for continuing claims, they fell to 2.739 million from 2.750 million. n-bo> ... More


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