McRib, Smurfit-Stone: Hot Trends

(Information on McDonald's McRib and Rock-Tenn's plans to buy Smurfit-Stone updated in today's Hot Trends article.)

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- "McRib" is a trending search topic after McDonald's ( MCD) reported mixed fourth-quarter results this morning.

Earnings rose 1.6% in the fourth quarter to $1.24 billion, or $1.16 per share, compared with year-earlier earnings of $1.22 billion, or $1.11 per share. Analysts' had expected McDonald's to report fourth-quarter profits of $1.23 billion, or $1.16 per share.

Improved sales results at McDonald's were attributed to the limited-time offering of the McRib sandwich, low-priced menu items, the popular Monopoly promotion and the introduction of the Caramel Mocha to the McCafe lineup of beverages.


"Smurfit-Stone" is a heavily searched topic today after Rock-Tenn ( RKT) announced its plan to buy the paperboard packaging company for about $3.5 billion.

The news comes seven months after Smurfit-Stone ( SSCC) emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Rock-Tenn will pay a total of $35 for each share of Smurfit-Stone, which represents a 27% premium to its closing stock price Friday.

Through the cash-and-stock deal, Smurfit-Stone will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Rock-Tenn. The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of this year.


"Tax preparation" is a trending search topic today as the Internal Revenue Service is offering taxpayers assistance in preparing and filing taxes.

Individuals with salaries below $49,000 can use the IRS volunteer income tax assistance program for free tax preparation, and taxpayers over the age of 60 can access free tax counseling and preparation through the IRS tax counseling for the elderly.

The IRS urges taxpayers to use e-file, an electronic tax return preparation and delivery service, in order to ensure accurate tax returns and faster refunds.

The tax filing due date has been extended to April 18 because Emancipation Day falls on the usual deadline of April 15 this year.


Halliburton ( HAL) is a hot search topic today after the oil company released better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings before the stock market opened today.

Fourth-quarter earnings came in at $605 million, or 66 cents a share, from $243 million, or 27 cents, in the same period a year ago. Analysts has expected earnings to come in at 63 cents per share.

The company reported double-digit sequential revenue and operating income growth in both North America and international operations during the quarter.


The chatter on Main Street (a.k.a. Google) is always of interest to investors on Wall Street. Thus, each day, TheStreet compiles the stories that are trending on Google, and highlights the news that could make stocks move.

-- Written by Theresa McCabe in Boston.

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Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors and reporters from holding positions in any individual stocks.

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