It costs less to increase a customer's loyalty than to get a new one. MasterCard has done this to gain big profits -- and an edge over rival Visa.
That is, Visa stuck to its knitting and dominated the niche, while MasterCard went into a bunch of other businesses and trailed like a puppy after a bigger dog.
Maybe my prejudice came down to regionalism. Coca-Cola is based in Atlanta, where I now live, and MasterCard, like Pepsico, is based in Purchase, N.Y., outside New York City.
It's also possible that in this case I was wrong.
Demand for network equipment is slowly improving, and the company's massive restructuring efforts continue to make it less reliant on low-margin hardware sales.
This earnings season hasn't been kind to techs stocks.
But after several companies reported subpar financial results and lowered guidance, Cisco Systems (CSCO) has emerged as a sector standout. The networking giant continues to make a case for why it is one of the best bargains in the stock market.
Cisco's fiscal-second-quarter revenue rose 5% from the same period a year earlier and were up 2% from the previous quarter. The quarterly financial results suggest that the San Jose, Calif, company is successfully navigating its transition out of its hardware business.
Cisco's core routing and switching businesses, which has struggled, continued to erode in the three months ended Jan. 26. But the company has dedicated a sizable portion of its $45 billion cash hoard to pick up companies such as Meraki, Cariden and BroadHop that can help with its diversification plans.
It's been a long time coming, but in parts of the country the cost of electricity produced by solar panels is less than the price paid for a comparable unit of power from the utility grid.
By Dana Blackenhorn
Something quite extraordinary has been happening over the last three months: Solar stocks are back.
Most survivors of the shakeout from the last few years have gained in the range of 40% to 60%, with the TAN (TAN) ETF up 58% and the KWT (KWT) ETF 66% higher. The U.S. industry's "bell cow," First Solar (FSLR), trails the field with a gain of 47%.
The leader by far is SunPower (SPWR), which has soared 230% over the last three months. After falling as low as $3.71 last summer, the company, which is majority owned by France's oil and gas giant Total (TOT), now trades at $13 per share.
A new survey shows that advertising for Windows 8 and the touch-screen Surface tablet has helped raise product awareness and brand likability.
However, Microsoft has gotten an image boost in the past year, thanks in large part to heavy promotion of its new Surface tablets.
The changing perceptions around Microsoft is reflected in a new Reuters/Ipsos poll, in which half of those between the ages of 18 and 29 said the software giant is cooler today than it was a year or two ago.
The Chinese company is the one major carrier in the world without access to Apple's smartphone. But that could be about to change.
By Chris Ciaccia
Qualcomm this week announced a new Long Term Evolution (LTE) chipset, the RF360 Front End Solution, which for the first time offers a truly global 4G LTE design for mobile devices. It can run on all seven modes, including LTE-FDD, LTE-TDD, WCDMA, EV-DO, CDMA 1x, TD-SCDMA and GSM/EDGE.
That's important, because China Mobile's 3G network is TD-SCDMA-based, though it is working on a 4G network with its own homegrown technology. Part of the reason Apple has not brought the iPhone to the world's largest carrier is that the technologies did not match up.
But the new Qualcomm chip may change that.
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[BRIEFING.COM] Equity indices closed out the month of August on a modestly higher note. The Russell 2000 (+0.6%) and Nasdaq Composite (+0.5%) finished ahead of the S&P 500 (+0.3%), which extended its August gain to 3.8%. Blue chips lagged with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (+0.1%) spending the bulk of the session in the red.
The final week of August represented one of the quietest stretches for the stock market so far this year. The first four sessions of the week produced the ... More
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