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Pepsi Bottling Group Raises Prices, Beats EstimatesPepsi Bottling Group( PBG) just reported a 2 cents EPS beat, as the company's price increases helped offset volume declines. Sales rose 2.3% to $3.81 billion.

Despite worldwide sales volume that fell 6% -- driven by a 9% decline in Mexico and 6% declines in the United States, Canada and Europe -- the company is raising the lower end of its yearly EPS estimates.

The company sees EPS of $2.32-$2.38 -- slightly above its prior forecast of $2.30-$2.38 per share.

The stock is trading at 13 times this year's estimates and thus is not too pricey. Despite the low valuation, we prefer shares of


(PEP) - Get Free Report

instead. PBG has a 2.42% dividend yield, based on last night's closing stock price of $28.07.

Pepsi Bottling Group is not a recommended dividend stock at this time, holding a Rating of 3.1 out of 5 stars.

Wachovia Stock Attracts Bottom-Fishers


(WB) - Get Free Report

opened for trading yesterday afternoon at $1.26 and went straight up from there. Last we saw, the stock was actually over $3 in this morning's trading.

Investors may be wondering where the value is. The new Wachovia will be made up of Evergreen Investments - the mutual fund arm -- and A.G. Edwards brokerage. It is very difficult to estimate what these two arms are truly worth in this current market environment. The low price

Lehman Brothers

( LEH) fetched for its crown jewel investment arm, Neuberger Berman, doesn't make us optimistic about Wachovia's valuation.

Investors again need to use caution in going after sub-$5 stocks, especially where long-term value is concerned. For shorter-term investors, the stock will no doubt be an attractive name to try and time for a trade. Unfortunately, recent history is full of well-known companies that have broken under $5 a share -- and ultimately perished.

Hartford Financial Services Getting Leveled

Hartford Financial Services

(HIG) - Get Free Report

is getting hit hard today, to the tune of an over 20% plus shave off its stock price.

Late Monday, Fitch Ratings lowered its outlook on Hartford's issuer-default ratings, senior debt and insurer financial strength ratings, and its primary life, property and casualty insurance subsidiaries to negative from stable.

The company had previously fallen over 10% in yesterday's trading following the bailout vote reaction.

Back in late July, we wrote that the company was beginning to get attractive, but the stock never improved much from that point, so we fortunately kept it off our "Recommended" list. We would be cautious trying to time any intra-day swings -- rather investors that are focusing on a rally today -- should look at stocks that are acting strong today.

Hartford Financial Services is not recommended at this time, holding a Rating of 3.2 out of 5 stars.

Courts Side With Huntsman in Buyout Lawsuit

Chemicals maker


(HUN) - Get Free Report

is rallying more than 50% today, as a Delaware judge has ruled that Hexion Specialty Chemicals should not be allowed to walk away from a $6.5 billion buyout offer it made for Huntsman in 2007.

Despite some recent quarterly reports that showed weakness in Huntsman's business, the judge ruled it had not suffered a material adverse effect that would excuse the parties from executing the agreement. The judge felt Hexion "knowingly and intentionally" violated several of its covenants under the agreement.

We wrote about the risk/reward in this case back in August, when we felt Huntsman stood a good chance of getting a positive verdict, but the stock price is still below where we wrote about the name back then. The financing markets are not in good shape at the moment, and this may make an appeal of the case a smart move by Hexion. Investors that bought some shares in the $8-$13 range may want to take some off the table here.

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At the time of publication, the author had no positions in stocks mentioned, although positions may change at any time.

Tom Reese and Paul Rubillo are senior editors of Visit for more dividend stock ratings, picks, news, and analysis for long-term and income-seeking investors.