Stocks to Watch Today: FedEx (NYSE: FDX), Lululemon (Nasdaq: LULU), McDonald's (NYSE: MCD)

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FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX), Lululemon Athletica Inc. (Nasdaq: LULU), and McDonald's Corp. (NYSE: MCD) are among the stocks to watch today after releasing earnings reports and management changes.

Here's what investors should know:

FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) slumps, still a "Buy": FedEx Corp. released a lower-than-expected earnings outlook this morning, causing its share price to sink - but the company retained long-term buying support from The Street.

FedEx reported fiscal third-quarter earnings of $521 million, or $1.65 a share, up from 73 cents a year ago. Revenue rose 9% to $10.56 billion.

FedEx Corp. Stock Price
(Nasdaq: FDX)


For the fiscal fourth quarter, FedEx forecast earnings per share between $1.75 and $2. That's on the low end of analysts' estimates, which average $1.98 a share, according to Bloomberg News.

The company said the earnings reduction was due to lower express shipment demand as global economic growth slows down. To offset the profit losses, FedEx plans to put some of its cargo fleet in storage and reduce flight hours, as well as review domestic capacity.

Concerns surrounding the slowdown weighed on FDX stock today, but analysts reiterated their "Buy" ratings after the positive earnings report.

"FDX did a good job offsetting volume declines with higher yields as it worked to manage yields upward through pricing, fuel surcharges and package mode changes," Standard & Poor's Capital IQ analyst J. Corridore told Barron's.

Edward Jones analyst Matt Collins also recently reiterated his "Buy" rating:

"Current economic concerns have caused the stock price to pull back," wrote Collins. "When the global economy recovers, we expect rising earnings momentum. With solid long-term growth opportunities and steadily improving internal efficiency, we consider this valuation to be attractive for long-term investors."

Wall Street has a one-year price target for FDX of $104.45, 9% higher than Wednesday's closing price of $95.02. FDX shares were down more than 4% by 1:30 p.m. ET to $91.92.

Lululemon Athletica Inc. (Nasdaq: LULU) heading for a slowdown: Canadian yoga-apparel company Lululemon forecast lower earnings after a year when its income jumped more than 40%.

The company Thursday reported a 34% gain in fourth-quarter profit for the quarter ended Jan. 29. Net income rose to $73.5 million, or 51 cents a share, from $54.8 million, or 38 cents, a year earlier.

Total revenue for the quarter rose 51% to $371.5 million. Net revenue for the full-year 2011 increased 41% to hit the $1 billion mark.

But signs of slowing growth for Lululemon could spook investors away from this stock for a while.

Lululemon profit margins slimmed to 56.3% from 58.5% the year before. Higher costs for raw materials raised expenses, and discounted sales of unsold inventory lowered sales.

Plus, retailers still are nervous that cautious consumers will lead to limited sales growth through 2012.

For the next quarter Lululemon projects earnings from $0.28 to $0.29 per share, on anticipated quarterly revenues between $265 million and $270 million - a 43% drop in earnings and a 27% revenue decline.

Wall Street's one-year price target for LULU shares is $68.44, 7.6% below Wednesday's closing price of $74.07. LULU shares were up 1.3% to $75.03 by 1:30 p.m.

McDonald's Corp. (NYSE: MCD) new chief faces strong rivals: The world's leading fast-food retailer is changing management just as its competition turns up the heat.

McDonald's announced yesterday (Wednesday) that Chief Operating Officer Don Thompson will become CEO effective July 1. He'll replace retiring chief Jim Skinner, who has been in the lead role for seven years.

The leadership shift comes at a crucial time for the company. Competitors like Wendy's Co. (Nasdaq: WEN) and Yum! Brands Inc. (NYSE: YUM) have been testing new menu items like soft-serve ice cream and breakfast foods, already offered by MCD.

"Everyone today is trying to steal share from them," Peter Saleh, an analyst at Telsey Advisory Group, told Bloomberg.

Saleh said the change shouldn't hurt the company's success as long as Thompson protects McDonald's breakfast business and focuses on specialty menu items like the McCafe beverages.

"It will be a seamless transition," said Saleh. ""They're not going to skip a beat going from Jim to Don."

Thompson as COO led McDonald's store renovation efforts with such new features as double-lane drive-throughs and extended store hours. Mickey D's remodeled 2,500 stores worldwide last year and plans this year to spend $2.9 billion to open 1,300 new restaurants and remodel 2,400.

Money Morning Chief Investment Strategist Keith Fitz-Gerald called McDonald's one of his favorite wealth-building stocks, citing its global reach and increasing dividend. MCD currently yields 2.9%. [Click here to get two more companies that Fitz-Gerald considers among the best wealth builders.]

McDonald's revenue hit $27 billion in 2011. Analysts forecast revenue will increase 5.3% to $28.4 billion this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Wall Street's one-year price target for MCD stock is $107.77, an 11.4% premium to Wednesday's closing price of $96.72. Shares were down 0.53% by 1 p.m.

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