Apple Rides BMO Outperform Rating Upwards and 2 Other Hot Stocks to Watch

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Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL): Current price $442.02

Apple shares were upgraded to Outperform at BMO Capital Markets on Wednesday morning subsequent to the firm’s third fiscal quarter report, which hit consensus even though earnings fell. Analyst Keith Bachman, writing in a note to investors, pointed out Apple’s gross margin guidance at between 36 and 37 percent for the current third quarter as the main factor in his upgrade, commenting, “While we still have some concerns about December quarter margins, we believe that the September-quarter gross margin guidance plausibly supports our view that the new mid-range iPhone will be in the $450 price range with approximately 38 to 40 percent gross margins.”

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Walter Energy Inc. (NYSE:WLT): Current price $12.00

Shares of Walter Energy are down almost 15 percent just before noon Eastern Time after the company sharply reduced its dividend to 1 cent per share from 12.5 cents, blaming the difficult market for metallurgical coal and an amended credit facility. In June, Walter pulled a planned credit refinancing and announced late  Tuesday that its $2.725 billion credit agreement from April of 2011 had been modified for the fifth time, suspending some covenants and adding a number of others. The firm explained that the action should afford it more financial flexibility. The amendment hikes interest rate margins by 1 percent, and also makes it easier for it to issue more unsecured debt.

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Sprint Nextel Corp. (NYSE:S): Current price $5.905

On Wednesday, Transit Wireless and Sprint reported that they finalized their contract through which to bring Sprint’s wireless voice and data service to the wireless network in the New York City subway system. Sprint will now be involved in the full scope of the project, which covers all 277 underground subway stations. Wireless customers of Sprint, Boost Mobile, and Virgin Mobile may expect to begin receiving coverage underground in the 36 stations that are already online in midtown Manhattan and Chelsea by early 2014.

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