NEW YORK --

Apple

(AAPL) - Get Report

CEO Tim Cook told a conference Tuesday that the iPod and iPhone maker was "incredibly interested" in wearable computers.

"It's an area where it's ripe for exploration. It could be a profound area," Cook said at a conference sponsored by the

All Things Digital

technology blog.

"It's ripe for us all getting excited about. I think there will be tons of companies playing in this," Cook said.

Rumors have circulated this year that Apple is developing and testing a "smart watch" type of device which will run on Apple's iOS software. Cook didn't say at the conference whether Apple was working on any wearable products.

Apple: Where From Here?

Sprint

(S) - Get Report

and Japan's

Softbank

reached an agreement in principle with the U.S. government on a plan designed to protect national security as the two companies seek to close their $20 billion takeover deal,

The Wall Street Journal

reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

The security agreement is likely to be finalized in coming days, the

Journal

said. The agreement would clear the biggest regulatory hurdle facing Softbank's proposed acquisition of Sprint, the No. 3 U.S. wireless carrier.

Apache

(APA) - Get Report

is exploring a sale of a stake in its shallow water Gulf of Mexico assets, attracting private-equity interest as it looks to reach a $4 billion asset sale target, several people familiar with the matter told

Reuters

.

Chico's FAS

(CHS) - Get Report

is expected by analysts to report on Wednesday first-quarter earnings of 36 cents a share on revenue of $707.8 million.

4 Stocks Spiking on Big Volume

Wall Street expects

Fresh Market

(TFM)

to report first-quarter earnings of 44 cents a share.

5 Stocks Poised to Pop on Bullish Earnings

-- Written by Joseph Woelfel

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Joseph Woelfel

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