8 Buzzing Stocks: Banks Fall, Merck Disappoints Street and Nutrisystem Plummets 10%

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McDonald’s Corp. (NYSE:MCD) shares edged .64 percent lower early Tuesday.  Equity research firm Sterne Agee increased their first quarter earnings target for the food giant from $1.22 per share to $1.26 per share.

Major banks such as J.P. Morgan (NYSE:JPM) and Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) dropped more than 2 percent before the opening bell.  Investors are nervous if Greece will complete a successful bond swap in order to write down more than 100 billion euros of Greek debt.

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Shares of Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) fell 1.4 percent in early trading.  The drug maker said it expects adjusted first quarter earnings of 95 cents to 98 cents per share, compared to the Street estimate of $1.01 per share.  The company said the earnings cut was due to currency impact.

Despite report a rise in profits, Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc. (NYSE:DKS) shares declined almost 2 percent this morning.  Profit in the fourth quarter reached $111.1 million (88 cents per share), compared to $87.5 million (71 cents per share) a year earlier.

Qualcomm Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM) shares edged lower after announcing plans to buy back $4 billion in stock.  The company is also increasing its cash dividend from 21.5 cents to 25 cents per share.  The company supplies the baseband processor for Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone 4S.

Nutrisystem Inc. (NASDAQ:NTRI) shares plummeted more than 10 percent after the opening bell.  The company announced disappointing fourth quarter results.  Earnings came in at a negative 4 cents, missing estimates by 2 cents.  Revenue also decreased 24 percent from the prior year.

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To contact the reporter on this story: Eric McWhinnie at staff.writers@wallstcheatsheet.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Damien Hoffman at editors@wallstcheatsheet.com

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