How long can the S&P 500 keep 2,000?
How long can the S&P keep 2,000?

The Federal Reserve and Congressional politics threaten to rain on the market party.

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The company plans to offer alcohol and small plates at stores in Chicago and perhaps Southern California.

By Kim Peterson Jul 2, 2012 6:23PM
Starbucks (SBUX) has had success selling beer and wine at its stores in the Pacific Northwest. Stores that have started selling wine and beer at 2 p.m. report double-digit sales gains after 4 p.m., the company told The Seattle Times.

Now, Starbucks is ready to take the booze on the road. It's expanding beyond its home turf to bring alcohol to Chicago and maybe even Southern California. 
Tags: SBUX

The major US defense contractor's move to spin off some assets is seen as big boost for shareholders.

By Gene Marcial Jul 2, 2012 5:34PM

Image: Guided Missile Destroyer USS MacDonough (© The Stocktrek )Wall Street has been down on shares of defense contractors largely because of concerns about U.S. defense cuts and stiff competition, as well as worry over the projected accelerated decline in Afghanistan-related sales. So it wasn't surprising that the stock of L-3 Communications (LLL) had been falling.

  

In recent weeks, however, the stock has perked up, sparked by the scheduling of the spinoff of some parts of L-3's government services unit. The stock has climbed to $74 a share, where it traded Monday, from $71 in early June. A year ago the stock was at its peak, selling at $88 a share -- until it dived to a low of $58 on Sept. 22, 2011.

 
Tags: LLL

As the nation enjoys a rare moment of celebration, here some picks to keep the game alive.

By Benzinga Jul 2, 2012 4:51PM
By: Matthew Kanterman, Benzinga

Spain still has a serious financial crisis, but now its citizens have something to cheer about. Hundreds of thousands of fans have flooded into Madrid to welcome La Roja, the Spanish soccer team that nabbed the Euro 2012 Championship.

 

La Roja has given soccer fans worldwide plenty to talk about, and its 4-0 victory will be remembered for some time. If you still can't get enough of Euro 2012, here are a few stocks to help you savor the memories.

 

The transaction also includes a $3.4 billion payment from AstraZeneca as the big drug companies try to replace lost sales from products with generic competition.

By Minyanville Jul 2, 2012 4:25PM
Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY) is laying down $7 billion to be a bigger player in the market for diabetes treatments with its planned takeover of Amylin Pharmaceuticals (AMLN). But it will share the economic risk with a partner.

In a deal announced late Friday, Bristol-Myers will acquire Amylin and subsequently bulk up an existing collaboration with UK drug maker AstraZeneca (AZN), which will pay $3.4 billion toward the partnership. 

Investors are flocking to dividend stocks as interest rates remain low. Here are some income picks.

By Benzinga Jul 2, 2012 2:56PM
Image: Woman counting money (© Jose Luis Pelaez, Inc/Blend Images/Getty Images)By Alex Shek, Benzinga Staff Writer

A management team's commitment to dividend payments might be a viewed as a positive signal for stocks, implying that executives believe their companies will continue to generate cash.

Of course, this commitment might also be a negative signal, as it could imply that the company does not have viable investment opportunities to pursue with its cash.

 

Do the exchange-traded funds for Belgium, UK, Netherlands and Spain have any upside potential?

By Benzinga Jul 2, 2012 2:51PM

Image: Europe (© Photodisc/SuperStock)By The ETF Professor, Benzinga


Investing acronyms are all the rage these days. BRIC has been around for a while and has since become BRICS, to include South Africa. CIVETS has risen to acclaim in recent years. MIST recently joined the scene but has been trumped by CAPPT.


Those acronyms are devoted to emerging markets, but there are some developed-market acronyms worth acknowledging as well. Acknowledgment does not necessarily mean an invitation to be long, however, and that has been the case with the BUNS nations -- Belgium, the U.K., the Netherlands, and Spain -- whose exchange-traded funds (ETFs) have been candidates for shorting since the term was coined in April. 

 

Stocks dip as a key manufacturing index unexpectedly contracts for the first time in nearly 3 years.

By MSN Money Partner Jul 2, 2012 1:20PM
Information provided by Theflyonthewall.com

Shares of Amylin Pharmaceuticals (AMLN) rose almost 9% to $30.70 after Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY) agreed to acquire the company for $31 per share in cash. 

Another prominently rumored deal came to fruition as Dell (DELL) agreed to buy Quest Software (QSFT) for $28 per share in cash.
 

Barclays' rate-fixing scandal and JPMorgan's surprise trading losses suggest new rules and regulations won't fix the financial system overnight.

By The Fiscal Times Jul 2, 2012 12:49PM
By Suzanne McGeeThe Fiscal Times

Big banks just can't seem to catch a break. While publicly griping about the costs involved with all the new regulations that have been introduced since the financial system teetered on the brink of collapse back in 2008, they seem to remain intent on reminding us just why those regulations -- or something else of the same kind -- were needed in the first place.

Making matters all the more worrying, the two banks that provided those reminders last week have until now been seen as relatively healthy institutions, and "winners" in the wake of the crisis. 

The retail giant has a big birthday this month. But should we celebrate how the company has changed American business?

By MSN Money Partner Jul 2, 2012 12:44PM
By Stacy Mitchell

Sam Walton opened the first Wal-Mart (WMT) store in Rogers, Ark., 50 years ago this month. Sprawled along a major thoroughfare outside the city's downtown, that inaugural store embodied many of the hallmarks that have since come to define the Wal-Mart way of doing business. Walton scoured the country for the cheapest merchandise and deftly exploited a loophole in federal law to pay his mostly female workforce less than minimum wage. 
Tags: FWMT

Agius takes responsibility for rate-fixing by traders and says the bank's reputation has taken a serious blow.

By Benzinga Jul 2, 2012 12:18PM

By Brett Callwood, Benzinga Staff Writer

Barclays (BCS) chairman Marcus Agius resigned Monday in the middle of the bank's rate-fixing scandal.


Agius stepped up and said, "The buck stops with me," saying the scandal has dealt a "devastating blow" to the reputation of the bank.

 

Despite economic weakness, the leading US flag maker expects a double-digit sales increase.

By Jonathan Berr Jul 2, 2012 11:56AM
Image: US currency (© Steve Allen/Brand X Pictures/Jupiterimages)Consumers, stressed out by the economy and the upcoming presidential election, are nonetheless feeling patriotic enough to buy more flags this year.

Annin & Co., which calls itself the country's oldest and largest flag maker, expects sales this year to rise about 11%, spurred by a patriotic fervor brought about by the Olympics and what many observers expect to be an extremely close race for the White House, according to Mary Repke, the head of marketing for the Roseland, N.J., company. 

Cirrus Logic is downgraded to 'perform,' and Infosys is upgraded to 'buy.'

By MSN Money Partner Jul 2, 2012 11:14AM
Information provided by Theflyonthewall.com 

Monday's noteworthy upgrades include: 
  • AB InBev (BUD) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Societe Generale 
  • Infosys (INFY) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Jefferies
  • SunTrust (STI) upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley
  • Tiffany (TIF) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Canaccord 
 

Digitizing health care data is revolutionizing the industry, and these companies are top plays on this trend.

By TheStockAdvisors Jul 2, 2012 10:17AM
By Andy Obermueller, Game-Changing Stocks

The reasoning behind converting to electronic medical records is simple: efficiency. Digital records will help end medical errors, stop unnecessary tests and eliminate the danger of improper drug interaction -- all while streamlining workloads, decreasing paperwork and lowering costs.

Computerized records can revolutionize the industry, just as they did for banking and retail. And Athenahealth (ATHN) and Allscripts (MDRX) are my favorite software plays on this market. 
Tags: ATHNMDRX

The Crown Imports deal is a major coup, but STZ still has issues.

By InvestorPlace Jul 2, 2012 9:58AM

By Charles Sizemore

 

It's not often that a stock with a $5 billion market cap soars by more than 20% in a single trading day, but such was the case Friday for Constellation Brands (STZ), the largest publicly traded wine merchant, and now the sole distributor in the United States of Corona and Grupo Modelo's (GPMCF) other Mexican beer brands.

 

Constellation was the unexpected winner in the Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD) deal to buy the controlling stake in Grupo Modelo, as Constellation was able to buy out Bud's 50% share of the companies' Crown Imports joint venture for $1.8 billion.

 

Google unveils big improvements for the next iteration of its mobile OS.

By TheWeek.com Jul 2, 2012 9:32AM
Google's (GOOG) new OS update, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, promises to offer smartphone owners some nifty enhancements when it debuts next month as an over-the-air update.

Jelly Bean upholds the Android tradition of food-related naming conventions, and is "fast, slick, and feels like what [Android 4.0] Ice Cream Sandwich" should have been when it launched half a year ago, says Armando Rodriguez at PC World.  

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[BRIEFING.COM] Equity indices are little changed at midday with the S&P 500 hovering within a point of its flat line. Small caps underperform with the Russell 2000 trading lower by 0.2%.

The first two sessions of the week produced the lightest volume totals of the year so it was not surprising to see the key indices respect narrow ranges through the first half of action today. After opening on a slightly higher note, the S&P 500 has remained within two points of its flat line. ... More


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