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Many companies are making headlines in the stock market today as markets are up on hopes of more monetary easing from the U.S. Federal Reserve as it concludes its two-day policy meeting tomorrow.
Investors might be having a delayed reaction to Sunday's Greek elections as yesterday's trading volume was much lower than average, and not much movement occurred.
The markets are also responding well to the number of housing permits filed in May which was at its highest level since September 2008. Permits were reported at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 780,000, easily exceeding forecasts of 725,000.
For now investors wait in anticipation for the Fed to make a move, but if none is taken expect a slight downturn in the markets tomorrow afternoon.
In the meantime, here are five stocks to follow in today's trading:
J.C. Penney Company Inc. (NYSE: JCP): JCP is having a tumultuous year. It plummeted in early trading today after it announced late Monday that its president had left the company, effective immediately.
Michael Francis was hired in November from rival Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT) with expectations to lead the beleaguered store's turnaround, but in May the company announced lower-than-expected earnings and that it would discontinue its quarterly dividend.
Following the May announcement shares slid sharply, and even before Tuesday's slide J.C. Penney shares were down 31% for the year. Today the stock fell more than 10% in morning trading.
Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT): Microsoft as expected announced late yesterday that it was introducing its first-ever product with Microsoft-built hardware incorporated with its famous software. The "Surface" as the tablet is known includes a 10.6-inch screen, built-in stand, keyboard, plus front and rear cameras.
This will be a direct attack at Apple Inc.'s (Nasdaq: AAPL) tablet market share and an opportunity for Microsoft to see if its new strategy will pay off.
"Microsoft's Surface is a premium class of device, which has integrated software, hardware and services," Rob Enderle, principal analyst at Enderle Group, told CNBC on Tuesday. "It is positioned directly against Apple. This is Microsoft trying to do a better job than Apple at all three."
Microsoft stock rose more than 3.5% by noon Tuesday.
Oracle Corp. (Nasdaq: ORCL): Oracle posted an 8% gain in net income for its fiscal fourth quarter on Monday afternoon, with software licensing revenue up 5% for the period.
The results - which were a surprise to many, coming three days earlier than expected -- beat Wall Street's estimates for the period. Earnings on a non-GAAP basis were $4.1 billion, or 82 cents per share, while analysts were expecting non-GAAP earnings of 78 cents a share on revenue of $10.89 billion
Shares of Oracle were up 3% as of noon.
FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX): FedEx Tuesday morning announced its fourth-quarter and year-end earnings, reporting a better-than-expected $1.99 a share in its fiscal fourth quarter, beating analysts' EPS forecasts of $1.92 per share. Revenue rose 4% during the quarter, but the company lowered its first-quarter earnings expectations. It anticipates between $1.45 and $1.60 per share, well below Wall Street's forecast of $1.70 a share.
In a statement to shareholders CEO Fred Smith had this to say about the upcoming year: "In fiscal 2013, we will continue our focus on improving our operating efficiencies and our financial performance across all of our businesses, while simultaneously enhancing our service capabilities. We remain absolutely committed to higher earnings, margins, cash flows and returns."
Shares of FedEx were up 3% as of noon Tuesday.
Barnes & Noble Inc. (NYSE: BKS): Barnes & Noble reported sales and earnings for its fiscal fourth quarter and year ending April 28. The company reported a quarterly loss of $1.08 a share, up from the loss of $1.04 a share a year earlier. It also reported that its Nook e-reader sales fell 11% in the quarter.
Investors had speculated that Microsoft's tablet announcement would involve Barnes & Noble and it did not, another factor affecting the stock today.
Shares of Barnes & Noble were down more than 6% as of noon Tuesday following the earnings report.
The Dow Jones today had climbed 0.92% just after noon.
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