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What's happening with JPM: JP Morgan (JPM) ended 2012 on a high note. Despite all of the doomsday headlines discussing the fiscal cliff, the financial sector as a whole performed well in 2012. JPM was not the strongest-performing financial stock in 2012, but it still had a great year, appreciating 36.4 percent. The stock saw a little bit of selling pressure towards the end of the year as investors showed concerns of the looming fiscal cliff, but buyers immediately returned to the stock after a deal was reached and have pushed shares up 4% in the first 2 weeks of the year. The company will report fourth quarter results on January 16, with analysts expecting to see earnings of $1.21 a share, up from $0.90 during the same period last year.

 

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What's happening with BLK: BlackRock (BLK) has moved strongly higher since the summer, and shows no signs of slowing down. The company recently announced that it will purchase the European ETF business of Credit Suisse (CS) and while the terms of the deal have not been announced, the ETF unit has been valued in around  $15 - $17. Even before the acquisition, BlackRock had a dominant position in the European ETF market, controlling approximately 42 percent of the $331 billion market. The company will be reporting its fourth quarter results on January 17, with analysts expecting to see earnings of $3.68 per share, up from $3.06 during the same period last year.

 

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What's happening with DLTR: Dollar Tree (DLTR), along with other companies in the discount retail industry, has struggled in recent weeks as investors speculate that consumer spending will decrease due to higher taxes. Dollar Tree stock has been trending lower since the middle of the summer, with investors showing more confidence in its competitors Dollar General (DG) and Family Dollar (FDO). The weakness DLTR experienced during the latter part of 2012 has extended into the current year, with the stock already down 6% since the start of the new year.

 

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What's happening with SHLD: After holding steady for the summer and fall of 2012, Sears Holdings (SHLD) has struggled since the start of the holiday shopping season. Several retailers have reported that December sales were better than expected, but overall the holiday season was disappointing and while Sears does not report monthly sales numbers, it was expected to be one of the worst performing retailers. The company is in the midst of a major restructuring, but so far we have not seen many positive results. It also recently announced that its Chairman of the Board, Edward Lampert will assume the role of CEO as of February 2. The stock is down since the start of the year despite most securities advancing in that period.

 

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What's happening with KBH: KB Home (KBH) is coming off a strong second 2012. Despite a short period of weakness in the early part of summer, the stock was strong the rest of the year and has continued its strength in the beginning of this year, having already gained more than 4% in 2013. There have been many positive signs from the housing market lately, with home prices rising and buyers coming back into the market. Single-family home sales in November reached their highest levels in two-and-a-half years. All of the positive news has led to big stock gains for housing stocks and KB Home has been no exception.

 

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