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The company is pouring money into new investments, and investors don't mind as revenue soars. With video.
Updated at 5 p.m. ET
Salesforce.com (CRM) shares were on fire today after the company reported a first quarter that beat analyst expectations on sales and profit. Shares rose 8% to $146.61.
Don't look at the profit numbers as a reason for enthusiasm. Salesforce.com is spending like crazy, pushing profit down 97% to $530,000 for the quarter, which ended April 30. That's a huge drop from $17.7 million a year earlier. Adjusted operating margin dropped 5% to 11%. The company has made seven acquisitions in the past year and hired 1,400 new employees.
Instead, investors focused on the positives in the quarter. Billings were up 44%, a big hike from 36% just two quarters ago. And sales rose by 34% to $504 million -- higher than the $482.5 million analysts were expecting. Excluding some one-time items, profit was 28 cents a share, which beat expectations by a penny.
Post continues after this video of Jim Cramer interviewing Salesforce's chief executive:
The consumer-technology shop plans several broadsides against its rival.
By Anton Wahlman, TheStreet
Samsung on Thursday night hosted an event in Sunnyvale, Calif. -- in the heart of Silicon Valley -- with senior executives who had flown in from Korea and who laid out several of the technology broadsides the company intends to launch against Apple (AAPL) over the coming year.
Samsung entered into a more direct set of battles against Apple in 2010 (Galaxy S smartphone, Galaxy Tab), and that intensified greatly in 2011. The key areas include smartphones, tablets, laptops and even the courts, where Apple has accused Samsung of things such as "trade dress" -- i.e., making several parts of the consumer experience look just like Apple's iPhone and iPad in particular.
At Thursday night's event, Samsung's senior executives showed a bunch of slides pertaining to the technologies it intends to incorporate into its lineup over the next year to gain market share in the smartphone and tablet areas in particular. Let's go over them in turn:
IMF grapples with disgraced former boss. Research In Motion recalls its Playbook. Vikram Pandit seeks affirmation through Facebook.
Here is this week's roundup of the dumbest actions on Wall Street.
5. Dominique Strauss-Kahn: A story with no winners
To say that the actions of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the disgraced former Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund now sitting in a Rikers Island cell, are dumb is a massive insult to the word "dumb."
Could Strauss-Kahn possibly have thought, if the charges against him hold true, that sexually assaulting a woman in a $3,000 hotel room reserved and paid for in his name, leaving a DNA trail, then calling Sofitel because he might have left his phone in the room were the actions of a smart man? Or a sane one?
Some investors are more equal than others.
By Dan Freed, TheStreet
In fact, the only way a retail investor could have gotten a piece of the LinkedIn IPO at its $45 offer price would be to be a hugely profitable client for a full-service brokerage firm.
In other words, if you are willing to throw away lots of money by having a full-service broker and paying huge commissions, the broker may "reward" you by throwing you a few shares of LinkedIn. It's a bit like getting a "complimentary" dessert after you've spent $200 per person on dinner.
The company raises big bucks in its first debt offering. But why is it panhandling?
By Rick Aristotle Munarriz
There are three stages of response to Google's (GOOG) decision to raise nearly $3 billion in debt this week.
The first stage is denial. Why is Google panhandling? The company has $36.7 billion in cash, equivalents and marketable securities. It can't be hard up for cash. Google is crazy!
The second stage is acceptance. Google's stock has lost its sizzle, trading 29% below its peak in 2007. A bond offering helps grease the palms of underwriters, ideally leading to favorable coverage. A secondary offering would do the same thing, but disgruntled shareholders would only bellyache about new shares being minted at price points well below all-time highs. Even now, Google is trading closer to its 52-week low than its 52-week high.
Wall Street seems to be turning bullish on emerging markets, but the chart action for one of the primary emerging-markets ETFs shows that there’s still cause for concern.
As important as we think we are, the eurozone, oil futures and China all have a bigger impact on stocks than the US does.
There's always a routine in this business, one that's dictated by events, what's important, what will determine the day.
It used to be pretty simple -- antediluvian, even. When I first moved to the suburbs, I would get out of bed, throw some clothes on and walk to the end of the driveway to get the The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. I used to pay extra to be the first on the route, to get a jump on things. You didn't have to get in much earlier than 7 a.m. in those days, because the news wire didn't start until then.
Issues would come in and out of the first focus. Sometimes it would be taxes, sometimes terror, sometimes takeovers. But for the most part it would be company-by-company news, and if something was happening in the broader market, you examined it to figure out what you needed to sell or buy into the overall market moves.
Deere increased full-year guidance on a solid second-quarter report. So why is Wall Street disappointed?
Revamping women's clothing is the top priority for the retailer, which has watched North American sales slide.
Gap (GPS) is in a crisis, having tried unsuccessfully for years to turn business around. The company has booted its top designer and its president, and is desperate to get back on track by the holidays. Gap cut its full-year profit forecast this afternoon, and the stock has dropped nearly 13% in after-hours trading.
"I have a much higher sense of urgency," chief executive Glenn Murphy said in a rare interview. "This brand is just too damn important to not see that kind of effort being put forward," he told The Wall Street Journal.
The biggest priority for Gap is women's shirts. Gap can't get them right, and sales have been a mess for years, writes Elizabeth Homes. Sales at the Gap's 1,000 U.S. stores have fallen 32% since 2004. Now, Gap's North American stores contribute just a quarter of overall revenue, which isn't helping fund overseas expansion enough.
Post continues after this video about Gap's issues:
Rubber-stamping excessive executive compensation ruins things for the rest of us.
By Alyce Lomax
Last year, CEOs at the biggest American companies made better money than they did in 2007, despite the intervening economic havoc. Why did executives enjoy such a cushy payday? Because their biggest shareholders did nothing to stop it.
According to executive compensation research firm Equilar, the typical CEO made $9 million in 2010, a 24% increase over last year. In 2007, before the housing bubble burst and the financial crisis hit, the median pay for CEOs was $8.4 million. Although CEO pay did clock two years of declines, major CEOs have apparently quickly regained lost ground in pay levels.
Sadly, they seem to be among the few groups of individuals who have regained much at all in the last couple of years. While some of these CEOs undoubtedly deserve pay hikes for great performance, many don't.
We’ve been following three technically sound stocks whose strong overseas operations will also benefit if the US dollar stays weak. One is still a good buy, and a fourth stock has just emerged.
Funds that tap a mix of gold, silver, platinum and palladium can be useful in a variety of investing scenarios.
By Don Dion, TheStreet
Precious metals have become a major region of interest for ETF sponsors. Since its introduction in late 2004, the physically based SPDR Gold Shares (GLD) fund has taken off in popularity, gathering over $60 billion in assets, making it the second-largest ETF in the world.
Over the ensuing years, the success of this fund has been noticed by large and small providers. Many, attempting to profit from interest in this corner of the market, have launched their own funds designed to offer investors access to these shiny resources.
While some firms, like Global X and Market Vectors, have opted to take the equity-based route with miner funds like the Global X Silver Miners ETF (SIL) and Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (GDX) respectively, others have chosen to use futures contracts or physical stockpiles to provide investors with direct access to their desired metals.
By pricing the stock more than 80% below its opening price, the social-media giant is left out while initial investors make big profits.
By Jeff Reeves, Editor, InvestorPlace.com
LinkedIn (LNKD) shares soared in their market debut Thursday, though the social-media giant made a nearly $300 million mistake with its IPO.
The company priced its long-awaited IPO at $45 a share Wednesday, but the stock opened at a stunning $83. By 11 a.m ET, shares were trading up a whopping 95% at $97.85. With 7.8 million shares up for grabs, LinkedIn made $351 million in its public offering. But had it priced the initial shares 84% higher, it would have raked in $647 million in capital instead.
In short, somebody made a fortune on this initial public offering, but it wasn't LinkedIn.
Analysts are all too eager to sound the alarm, but good stocks are good stocks -- period.
Let's see, after you've had a good run in stocks, or after stocks have reported some good news, you are usually forced to chase them, courtesy the momentum people who want in and want up.
Occasionally, though, you get your entry points from the Street, which, since the 2000-03 and 2008-09 debacles, is always anxious to downgrade at a moment's notice, just when things are starting to look up.
Take Intel (INTC). Goldman, which had been saying that Intel was going to $21 and had a "hold" rating on it, went to an outright "sell" Thursday and changed its price target to $20. I have not been a fan of Intel, preferring ARM Holdings (ARMH), because Intel is not part of the vast Apple (AAPL) ecosystem. It does not have the proper smartphone entry. And it is still very much linked to a device in decline -- the personal computer. But it now has a new chip that has lots of power and uses a lot less energy, and that might be the perfect solution to its problems.
CSCO is a recent addition that has underperformed, and the index should focus more on consumer tech than corporate tech.
By Jeff Reeves, Editor, InvestorPlace.com
Next Thursday marks 115th birthday of the much-followed -- and much maligned -- Dow Jones Industrial Average. Charles Dow created the benchmark on May 26, 1896, at a reading of 40 points, representing the dollar average of 12 stocks from leading U.S. industries.
There have been a host of changes to the index over the years, with the lineup of component stocks growing to 30 and involving 48 different formulations since its inception. Of course, some of the most recent changes include booting out victims of the financial crisis: General Motors (GM), American International Group (AIG) and Citigroup (C).
But why wait until a company goes bankrupt or gets bailed out to rejigger the index? If the Dow is so widely cited by the media and economic analysts, shouldn't it be a precise gauge of the stock market and the American economy as a whole and not just a nostalgic list of old giants that have seen better days?
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All hail the bull market, which ended the week with a big rally. But it also is starting to look a little like 1987, which suffered an epic blow-out.
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[BRIEFING.COM] The S&P 500 ended this week with a bang, roaring to a new all-time high on the back of stronger-than-expected economic data, influential leadership, and an ongoing appreciation for the Fed's monetary policy support.
The bullish bias was evident in premarket action as the S&P futures pointed to a higher start without the benefit of any definitive news catalyst. Stocks indeed benefited from a blast of buying interest at the opening bell on this ... More
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