Ultimate Market Recap: Pandora Plummets 24%, New iPad Debut

7 Buzzing Stocks: Pandora Crashes 25%, Apple Pops 1% and Netflix Gains 4% on Cable Talks

Shares of Pandora Media Inc. (NYSE:P) dropped 25 percent in early trading. Late Tuesday, the company reported it lost $8.1 million (5 cents per share) in the most recent quarter.  In comparison, it lost $1.4 million (31 cents per share) a year earlier.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) shares climbed 1 percent higher before the opening bell.  The tech giant is expected to unveil a new iPad today at a special event in San Francisco.

Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) shares increased 4 percent this morning.  Reuters reports that chief executive Reed Hastings has met with some of the largest U.S. cable companies recently to add its streaming service to their cable offerings.

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Despite reporting weaker-than-expected revenues, Ciena Corp. (NASDAQ:CIEN) shares jumped nearly 7 percent.  The company reported an improvement in gross margin from 38.9 percent to 40.3 percent.  Operating expenses also decreased 18 percent.

American Eagle Outfitters Inc. (NYSE:AEO) shares jumped 6 percent after reporting fourth quarter results.  Net income for the retailer fell to $51.3 million (26 cents per share), compared to $87 million (44 cents per share) a year earlier.  However, revenue increased almost 14 percent to $1.04 billion.  Adjusted net income of 35 cents per share beat the mean estimate of 34 cents per share.

Nuance Communications Inc. (NASDAQ:NUAN) gained 2.6 percent in early trading. The company announced its acquisition of Transcend Services (NASDAQ:TRCR).  Nuance claims the deal will add $140 million to $150 million to fiscal year 2013 revenue.

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Pandora Media, Express, Children’s Place, Bon-Ton Attract Trading Demand Mar. 7th

Pandora Media Inc. (NYSE:P): JPMorgan continues to view Pandora as a compelling long-term play on mobile advertising and recommends taking advantage of weakness in the stock post the company’s Q4 results. JPMorgan says Pandora’s listener hour growth remains strong and has an Overweight rating on the stock with a $17 price target. Shares of Pandora Media Inc. are trading 24.11% lower today.

Express, Inc. (NYSE:EXPR): The company expects 20-23 store openings in the U.S. and 7-10 openings in Canada. The company also expects to close approximately 12 stores in the U.S., to end the year with approximately 627 locations. Shares of Express, Inc. are trading 1.52% higher today.

Children’s Place Retail Stores, Inc. (NASDAQ:PLCE): Sees “much healthier” and more profitable outlet business longer-term. Says realignment of production could dampen topline growth in 2012, particularly in 1H. Says “not in a position” to announce international franchise partners, but is in the midst of active negotiations. Sees targeted opportunities to buy additional units of product that has been resonating with customers in 2H. Comments made on the Q4 earnings conference call. Shares of Children’s Place Retail Stores, Inc. are trading 3.87% lower today.

The Bon-Ton Stores, Inc. (NASDAQ:BONT): The company sees FY12 SSS up 1%-2%. Sees FY12 EBITDA $180M-$200M. Sees FY12 gross margin 36.5%-37.1%, CapEx not to exceed $70M, tax rate 39%. Shares of The Bon-Ton Stores, Inc. are trading 28.38% higher today.

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American Eagle Outfitters (NYSE:AEO): American Eagle said, “For the year, the company is planning a modest sales increase, and margin improvement. Increased product costs will continue to pressure margins in the first half of the year and lower product costs should benefit margins in the second half. The company is also targeting lower markdowns driven by improved inventory productivity.” Shares of American Eagle Outfitters are trading 5.57% higher today.

Transcend Services, Inc. (NASDAQ:TRCR): Transcend Services downgraded to Average from Above Average at Caris. Caris downgraded Transcend Services after Nuance (NASDAQ:NUAN) acquired the company. Shares of Transcend Services, Inc. are trading 39.54% higher today.

Maidenform Brands, Inc. (NYSE:MFB): The company sees FY12 revenue growth 5%-7% excluding sales decline at specialty retailer. Shares of Maidenform Brands, Inc. are trading 0.68% higher today.

Ciena Corporation (NASDAQ:CIEN): The company says expects it will continue to receive large-scale solutions-based projects. Ciena reported lower than expected Q1 EPS and revenue. However, the company provided in-line Q2 revenue guidance. Moreover, Ciena predicted that its operating results in 2H12 would be stronger than 1H12. Ciena is also seeing increased momentum in its switching business, Ciena CEO Gary Smith said during the company’s conference call. In late morning trading, Ciena gained 95c, or 7.07%, to $14.39. Other communications network equipment makers also climbed, with Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE:ALU) rising 3.57% to $2.32, and Juniper (NYSE:JNPR) rising 1.56% to $21.42.

Shares of Ciena Corporation are trading 7.89% higher today.

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Markets closed up on Wall Street today: Dow +0.62%, S&P +0.69%, Nasdaq +0.87%, Oil +1.46%, Gold +0.78%.

On the commodities front, Oil (NYSE:USO) rose to $106.23 a barrel. Precious metals were also up, with Gold (NYSE:GLD) climbing to $1,684.20 an ounce while Silver (NYSE:SLV) rose 1.93% to settle at $33.42.

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Today’s markets were up because:

1) Jobs. A labor market report signaling that private sector hiring picked up last month bolstered sentiment, helping stocks recover from the biggest one-day sell-off of 2012. Payrolls processor ADP (NASDAQ:ADP) reported that private employers added 216,000 jobs last month, topping economists’ expectations for a 208,000 gain. ADP’s figures in January fell far short of what the U.S. Department of Labor later reported, which has investors eagerly awaiting the official report, which tracks both public and private sector hiring, later this week.

2) Greece. Gains were modest as investors waited to see what the deal between Greece and its private creditors would look like. So far, investors holding 58 percent of all Greek bonds eligible for the nation’s debt swap have agreed to participate. Greece’s largest banks, most of the country’s pension funds, and more than 30 European banks and insurers have indicated they’ll take part, all but guaranteeing the country will successfully pull off the biggest sovereign restructuring in history. However, Greece wants at least 75 percent participation, and is hoping for more than 90 percent. The government has warned it may force bondholders into the swap, but doing so would likely trigger insurance contracts on the debt, known as credit default swaps, according to analysts.

3) Apple. Today was certainly a big day for the tech giant, which previewed a new and greatly improved iPad that will go on sale March 16. However, you wouldn’t know it by looking at Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) shares, which closed the day up just 0.33 percent. The stock was flat most of the day, but in the green in anticipation of the new iPad. But while the device came with all the features that had been expected, and then some, shares tanked after the announcement, which came at around 1:30 p.m. New York time. Bottoming at $524.79 at around 3:10 p.m., shares quickly returned to close the day at $531.99.

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Shares of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) edged slightly higher in late trading.  The tech giant unveiled its latest tablet called “The New iPad.”  The new tablet contains a retina display and will run 4G LTE from Verizon (NYSE:VZ) and AT&T (NYSE:T).

Despite closing lower during regular trading hours, Autozone Inc. (NYSE:AZO) shares edged slightly higher after the closing bell.  The company’s board approved an additional $750 million for its stock buyback plan.

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H&R Block Inc. (NYSE:HRB) shares dropped 2.6 percent in extended trading.  The tax company reported a fiscal third quarter loss of $3.3 million, compared to a $12.7 million loss a year earlier.  Revenues also declined 2.5 percent to $663.3 million, falling short of the $694 million estimated by analysts.

After closing 2.6 percent higher on Wednesday, Nuance Communications Inc. (NASDAQ:NUAN) shares edged .40 percent higher in late trading.  The company recently announced it will purchase rival Transcend Services Inc. (NASDAQ:TRCR) for about $300 million in cash.

Hot Topic Inc. (NASDAQ:HOTT) shares jumped more than 3 percent after reporting fourth quarter results.  The company reported a profit of $9 million (9 cents per share), compared to a net loss of $578,000 a year earlier.

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To contact the reporter on this story: Lindsey Grossman at staff.writers@wallstcheatsheet.com

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