Market Minute: A&P Goes 'On Sale'; Starbucks Earnings Perk Up


Another supermarket chain is going up for sale, and Starbucks continues to percolate. Those and more are what's in business news Friday.

The Dow industrials (^DJI) edged 13 points higher Thursday and the S&P 500 (^GPSC) added 4 points, while the Nasdaq (^IXIC) rose 25.

A&P sale grocery stores retail food buyouts acquisitions kroger ahold
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The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. -- better known as A&P -- is likely to put itself up for sale. The Wall Street Journal reports (subscription required) the supermarket chain could be worth a billion dollars or more.

A&P emerged from bankruptcy protection early last year. Possible buyers include rivals Kroger (KR) and Ahold NV of The Netherlands. In addition to A&P, the company also operates SuperFresh, Food Emporium and Pathmark stores.

Starbucks' quarterly earnings jumped 25 percent, beating Wall Street expectations. The coffee giant also raised its forecast for the full year. Earlier this week Starbucks (SBUX) announced an alliance to sell Dannon Greek yogurt parfaits.

But (AMZN) posted a quarterly loss, as it continued to spend heavily on expansion. Revenue growth was a bit shy of expectations.

Other online players are in for a rough day. Gaming company Zynga (ZNGA) says its quarterly sales fell 31 percent from year ago. And it's giving up on a plan for a real-money gaming business, an idea that was expected to be a big profit-maker for the company.

The online travel company Expedia (EXPE) also disappointed. Its shares are set to tumble, and that could put pressure on rivals Priceline (PCLN) and Orbitz Worldwide (OWW).

Other stocks expected to a big hit following earnings news include mattress-maker Tempur Sealy International (TPX) and the semiconductor maker KLA-Tencor (KLAC).

But Gilead Sciences (GILD) is set to rally for a second straight day. Thursday it was earnings; today, bad news for a competitor. The Food and Drug Administration placed limits on clinical trials for a hepatitis C drug made by Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX). Not surprisingly, Vertex is set to slide.

And the oil-drilling giant Halliburton (HAL) has agreed to plead guilty to destroying evidence related to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill three years ago. It will pay a relatively small fine -- $200,000 -- and make a $55 million contribution to an environmental group.

-Produced by Drew Trachtenberg.