Stocks in the News: Whole Foods, Garmin, Procter & Gamble

The following post rounds up the companies making headlines today:

Whole Foods Market Inc. (WFMI) surged 14 percent after the seller of organic and natural groceries reported better-than-expected quarterly results. Morgan Stanley upgraded the grocery chain, which boosted its outlook for the year, to "equal weight" this morning. Shares of Kraft Foods Inc. (KFT) also are trading higher on better-than-expected earnings.Garmin Ltd. (GRMN) shares soared more than 21 percent after the maker of car navigation devices reported earnings that beat Wall Street expectations. The company warmed the hearts of investors by saying it believed the worst of its sales declines were over.

Procter & Gamble (PG) reported declines in quarterly profit fueled by cash-strapped consumers avoiding name-brand consumer goods in favor of cheaper generic alternatives. The world's largest household products maker, whose shares are trading down, offered a cautious view on the current quarter.

Worse-than-expected job loss data from ADP Employer Services, which fanned the flames of concerns about rising unemployment, has further dampened the market. According to Bloomberg News, companies cut 371,000 workers from payrolls in July, more than the average estimate of 350,000 in a Bloomberg survey of economists.

Concern also appears mounting that stocks are treading at unjustifiably rich valuations.

"Yesterday's advance pushed the valuation of the S&P 500 to about 17.5 times its companies' earnings over the past 12 months, the highest level since May 2008, according to daily data compiled by Bloomberg," the news service said. "Since reaching a 12-year low of 676.53 on March 9, the S&P 500 has rebounded 49 percent, the steepest rally since the 1930s. "

In these topsy-turvey times, it's important to remember that what the market gives, it can take away.

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