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  • Jim Cramer’s researcher, Nicole Urken, takes a look at why it is just too tough to come into JC Penney right here.

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    Chief executives and analysts have lowered expectations by so much for earnings reporting season, stocks may continue their 2012 gains as results come in higher than expected.

  • Apple's New Target?

    Is tech giant, Apple, looking to open stores within big box retailer, Target? CNBC's Courtney Reagan has the details.

  • On speculation that Apple and Target might be looking at a store-within-a-store agreement, the “Fast Money” pros unanimously said such a deal would be better for one company.

  • In the wake of a disappointing December sales report, it is clear Target has its work cut out. The discount retail chain has tried to hit up designers such as Missoni and Jason Wu to try and reignite the fashionable image that once drove its business. It's next move may be to partner with retail's latest darling: Apple.

  • Buy, Sell or Hold?

    Jon Najarian, optionMONSTER weighs in on the trade on Goldman Sachs downgrade, RF Micro Devices, Target, and Apple.

  • Barnes and Nobles

    lowered its year forecast and is considering its options for its Nook e-reader, but Chief Executive William Lynch insisted book sales are up and said that the company is benefiting from consolidation in the industry.

  • United Technologies Research Center

    Culled from thousands of pages of 2012 outlook reports, 13 stocks are being called “The Most Recommended Stocks for 2012”, according to a new report from Birinyi Associates.

  • Stocks rebounded from earlier losses to finish narrowly mixed Thursday, with the S&P adding small gains to the New Year rally, ahead of a key government employment report. Stocks had been under pressure earlier in the session amid ongoing jitters over the European debt crisis and a decline in the euro to its lowest level since September 2010.

  • A customer purchases the Amazon.com Inc. Kindle Fire tablet computer at a Best Buy Co. store in New York, U.S., on Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2011. Amazon.com Inc.

    Most U.S. retailers turned in solid finish to the holiday season, despite bargain-hungry consumers who put off their holiday shopping until the last-minute in order to snag the very best deals, and mild temperatures, which dampened demand for winter apparel.

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    Take a look at some of Thursday morning's early movers:

  • Sauder Woodworking manufacturers much of its ready-to-assemble furniture in Ohio, even in the face of cheaper competition overseas. Perhaps more surprising, the company has been pioneering sustainable business practices since it began three generations ago.

  • Help Wanted Sign

    S&P futures popped about 5 points as the ADP Employment Change for December came in much stronger than expected, at 325,000 jobs created, well above the consensus of 175,000. This bodes well for the December nonfarm payroll report, out tomorrow.

  • Retailers are expected to report healthy sales gains in December, as a last-minute flurry of shoppers scooped up marked-down merchandise.

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    While both professionals and do-it-yourself investors try to prognosticate the new year, we're always dealt our fair share of surprises — good and bad. Here are five stocks that turned in the biggest negative surprises for investors.

  • Friendly's Restaurant

    Restaurants that have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection this year, including Friendly’s, Chevys, Sbarro and Perkins, barely bringing in enough cash to cover basic expenses. Yet they  somehow keep hanging on — leaving too many restaurants chasing after scarce dining dollars.

  • At some point, no one is a long-term holder. The long-term buy and hold investors are not as willing to buy and hold as they used to be.

  • Sears' decision to close up to 120 Kmart stores shows a retailer struggling to draw shoppers at a time of increasing competition, Credit Suisse retail analyst Gary Balter told CNBC.

  • Sears

    Sears Holdings' announcement that it will close between 100 and 120 locations should not really be a surprise. Since the combination of Sears and Kmart, management has focused on everything BUT the most important item: the customer. Stock buybacks and cost cutting have ruled while Target, Kohl's and Wal-Mart have focused on sprucing up stores and grabbing a larger share of the consumer wallet.

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    The largest U.S. specialty electronics retailer said late Wednesday that "overwhelming demand for some products from Bestbuy.com has led to a problem redeeming online orders made in November and December.