Thursday, July 7, 2011

Focus Stocks: C, V, SBUX, STX, M

Citigroup (NYSE: C) rose more than 1% in Thursay's pre-market traing on reporte that it is planning to boost its presence in China by 50 percent in 2011. The bank will add about 15 to 20 new outlets in the country, bringing the total number of outlets to 45 to 50. Citi has been making strong moves to increase its presence in the country, boosting outlets from 13 in 2006 to 37 currently. Citi China's CEO Andrew Au said Citi is looking beyond cities such as Shanghai and Beijing, moving inland to tap the "dynamism of local economies and increasing affluence of the people there." Au believes China's market is underserved when it comes to lending. 
About 1,000 employees have already been added to Citi China's roster over the last 12 months to facilitate the expansion. According to Dow Jones: "Citigroup has stakes in two mid-sized Chinese banks: a 2.7 percent stake in Shanghai Pudong Development Bank Co. and a 19.9 percent stake in Guangfa Bank Co., which is planning a $5 billion initial public offering. Citigroup also plans to set up a joint-venture securities company with Shanghai-based Orient Securities Co. to grab a share of China's capital market."

In a regulatory filing Wednesday, Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) warned that its revenue and earnings growth will slow in 2012 due to the financial impact of newly adopted Federal Reserve rules restricting debit-card fees. Revenue for 2012 is pegged to grow at a percentage rate in a range from the high single digits to the low double digits, as opposed to top-line growth of 11% to 15% forecast for this year. Visa also said earnings per share are expected to show growth of more than 20% this year, followed by growth in “the middle-to-high teens” in 2012. Visa shares dropped more than 3% in Thursday's pre-market trading. 

Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ: SBUX) dropped more than 1% in Thursday's pre-market trading after Goldman Sachs downgraded the stock to Neutral from Conviction Buy. 

Shares of Seagate Technology PLC (NYSE: STX) rallied more than 2% in Thursday's pre-market trading after JP Morgan upgraded its rating on the company to Overweight from Underweight based on HDD unit trends that appear to have bottomed and favorable pricing. The firm raised its price target to $23 from $16.

Macy's, Inc. (NYSE: M) rose more than 2% in pre-market trading after it reported total sales of $2.392 billion for the five weeks ended July 2, 2011, an increase of 7.5 percent compared with total sales of $2.226 billion in the five weeks ended July 3, 2010. On a same-store basis, Macy's, Inc. sales were up 6.7 percent in June.

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