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Starbucks Corporation (SBUX), Cliffs Natural Resources Inc (CLF): Today’s Three Best Stocks

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The S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) ended its day as close to even as can be, with a mere 0.1% gain on a 1.4-point rise after spending most of the day climbing out of the steep hole it fell into this morning. That wasn’t enough to give it a positive week — the S&P 500 is down 0.1% for the last five trading days. This is a rare (if narrow) weekly loss in an unusually buoyant year. No S&P stock had a worse day than Expedia Inc (NASDAQ:EXPE)‘s — the online travel company lost more than 25% of its value today after announcing disappointing quarterly results.

Is this a sign of a souring economy? Investors didn’t seem to think so, as they’ve bid a number of stocks up quite a bit today to cover for Expedia Inc (NASDAQ:EXPE)’s crash. Here are the best stocks on the S&P 500 today:

Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ:SBUX)

Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ:SBUX) wowed the Street with impressive growth across all its most-important metrics. Revenue improved by double digits. Operating margins have swelled. Same-store sales knocked it out of the park. People love Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ:SBUX) right now, whether they’re buying a hot latte or a piping-hot stock. The company projects double-digit revenue and EPS growth for its upcoming fiscal year, but as several Fools have noted, Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ:SBUX)’ high valuation might be pricing it out of many value-conscious investors’ portfolios. Still, today was a very Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ:SBUX) day, as the coffee chain led all S&P 500 stocks with its 7.6% pop.

Beleaguered miner Cliffs Natural Resources Inc (NYSE:CLF) continued its summer bounce with a post-earnings pop of 7.2%. Cliffs Natural Resources Inc (NYSE:CLF) reported sales of roughly $1.49 billion, down from the year-ago quarter’s $1.58 billion on soft ore pricing, and its earnings of $0.82 per share were 55% lower than the year-ago quarter’s result. However, expectations were so low — Wall Street had modeled revenue of $1.41 billion an earnings of $0.61 per share — that Cliffs Natural Resources Inc (NYSE:CLF) investors cheered even this weak performance as evidence that the ground hasn’t yet completely given way beneath their feet. The company now projects roughly a million tons less in iron ore sales for the entire fiscal year than it had originally anticipated, but with any luck, the persistent weakness in commodities will turn around in Cliffs Natural Resources Inc (NYSE:CLF)’ favor next year.

Investment company Principal Financial Group Inc (NYSE:PFG) rounded out today’s top three S&P stocks with a 6.3% gain for the day after reporting its own set of strong earnings.

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