Dow Hits a Record, FB Falls, Red Lobster Suffers, and Target Repents

If you're like most of Wall Street, you're off crushing last-minute gift shopping (just get us some design-your-own custom whiskey). Because just after the market's biggest performance in months, the Dow  (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) eked out only a small 11-point gain Thursday as weekly jobless claims ticked up again.

1. Facebook shares slide after Zuckerberg stock dump
Cha-ching! Mark Zuckerberg took home $2.3 billion in cash Thursday after selling a small percentage of his stock in his blue online baby, Facebook (NASDAQ: FB  ) . The company announced that $4 billion of shares would be sold in the public market, with the majority coming from the CEO himself. The stock slipped 1% because to investors, if Zuck thinks it's a good time to sell, why shouldn't they? #WhatWouldZuckDo 
 
$55/share is a good price to sell at and it's way better than $30 (fo' sho'). The company had earlier announced the stock sale in 2012, but postponed the plans due to the poor-performing stock. Remember back when FB was embarrassingly far below its $38 IPO price for months? A stock sale of this size would have been worse than mom catching glimpses of your buried "Sloppy Sophomores" photo album.
 
After a resurgence in online ad sales (particularly on mobile), investors trust FB again, boosting the stock up 105% in the past year. Zuckerberg will gain cash in exchange for losing some control of the voting shares of the company. But whether or not your sick of his hoodie, know that the future of the 'Book is firmly in his control since he will retain 62.8% of the voting power.

2. Red Lobster might get sold as sales plummet
Didn't order the bottomless uber-fried shrimp last night? Neither did most Americans. That's the problem for the owner of Red Lobster, Darden Restaurants (NYSE: DRI  ) , which dropped 3.6% Thursday after a brutal tasting earnings report. Consumer traffic at Red Lobster was down 7.7% last quarter and sales have fallen more than 20% since 2012 -- similar to Darden's other restaurants, Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse.
 
The takeaway is that since the '08 financial crisis began, Americans simply aren't dining out at chains as much for all-you-can eat binges. So Darden is essentially "sending the food back to the kitchen" -- the company announced it will spin off Red Lobster in mid-2014 and maybe even sell the 705-location chain. Investors weren't satisfied with the news.

3. Target stock drops after major security breach
The target for identity thieves was shoppers' credit cards. The place was the home of the "Miley Cyrus Baby Onesies Line," Target (NYSE: TGT  ) . And the time was 20 days between Thanksgiving and mid-December. Now 40 million angry holiday tiger-shoppers are at risk of identity fraud as their credit and debit card accounts may be affected.

How did this happen? Target has hired "top men" to get to the bottom of the security breach and try to inform customers of the potential risks. In the meantime, Target's reputation and holiday sales could see a major backlash (Target executives could use one of those Wal-Mart smiley stickers right now).
 
The stock slipped 2.2% Thursday on the breaking news. After announcing its failing Canadian invasion last earnings report (new stores up north are failing to grow fast enough), Target has had about enough of the cold weather season.

Today: 

  • The third and final estimate of third-quarter GDP

  • Kansas City Manufacturing Survey

MarketSnacks Fact of the Day: "Silent Night is the most popular Christmas song ever -- it's been professionally recorded 733 times since 1978.

As originally published on MarketSnacks.com.


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