Money Minute: HP Fails to Disappoint; Is It In the Bag for E-Tailers?

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Will you be in line or online for the holidays?

While the usual long lines can be expected at stores Thursday night and Friday morning, Internet retailers may be the big winners this year. Forrester Research forecasts online sales in the last two months of the year will rise 15 percent from last year. The report says 167 million of us will click to buy, spending an average of $472. A lot of that spending will come at the expense of brick-and-mortar stores.

Hewlett Packard Meg Whitman
Paul Sakuma/APHewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman
Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) says its turnaround is on track. HP's quarterly sales declined for the ninth straight quarter, but the results weren't as bad as analysts had expected. The company's business has been under pressure on nearly all fronts, as HP struggles to meet the changing demands of consumers. Despite the problems, HP shares have been on a tear. They've nearly doubled over the past year, and are set to rally again today.

Apple's (AAPL) stock starts the day near its highest level in a year. It's up 34 percent since bottoming out in June, but still down for the year.

Here on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) and the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) edged just slightly higher Tuesday, while the Nasdaq composite index (^IXIC) rallied 23 points to close above the 4,000 level for the first since September 2000. The big difference is that the tech-heavy Nasdaq was on the way down back then, while it's been in rally mode this year. The Nasdaq is up more than 33 percent so far this year, easily outpacing the Dow and the S&P 500.

Lastly, Time Warner Cable (TWC) hasn't exactly said it's up for sale, but that hasn't kept many of its competitors from considering a bid. The Wall Street Journal reports (subscription required) the latest is Cox Communications, the third largest cable company behind Comcast (CMCSA) and Time Warner. Charter Communications, number four on the list, started the buyout talk by saying it was preparing a bid. Comcast is also said to be interested.

-Produced by Drew Trachtenberg.


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