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Warren Buffett's company could have been out millions of dollars if France had won.
Was Warren Buffett watching when France lost to South Africa in the World Cup this week? His company had $30 million riding on the game.
Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B) sold insurance to a client that would have required it to pay big money if France won the tournament, Bloomberg reports. France was the 1998 tournament champion.
"I think we're going to lose 30 million bucks or something like that" if France wins, Buffett told CNBC in March. He didn't say who the soccer-loving mystery client was.
The stock looks like a reasonable, if speculative, trade as the oil company works to contain the spill and negative publicity.
By Daniel Dicker, TheStreet
I'm uncomfortable about it, but I bought BP (BP) shares Monday for less than $30 and sold some higher calls against it.
It's tough to admit to, because the company has perpetrated the worst environmental disaster we've ever seen in our oceans, one that will certainly reverberate for decades.
But I'm a trader. And the question you have to ask a trader is: Are we here to find ways to make money or not? Answer: We're here to find ways to make money.
Will the move pay off? Or will the retailer just be stuck with more bad debt and smaller margins?
Earlier in the year, Target (TGT) broke ties with Visa (V) over its store-branded credit cards (see related Top Stocks post here). Rather than let the credit card giant take a cut, the big-box retailer decided it would process the payments itself.
Now that Target has taken the reins of its credit card business, it's looking to pump up sales with a huge promotion -- 5% discounts on any purchase within the store that's charged to your Target credit card!
The move seems too good to be true for cash-strapped consumers. But is that actually good for the retailer, considering that bad debt and credit card delinquencies have been a problem recently for Target?
The oil company's situation resembles that of the asbestos companies that were flooded with claims and forced into bankruptcy.
By Jim Cramer, TheStreet
Is it time to start thinking about BP's (BP) bankruptcy? There is an incredible belief that somehow the company's cash flow of almost $7 billion a quarter is enough to get it through this.
I am beginning to think that this thing will swallow the company, just swallow it. And the claims are unfathomable as long as the spill continues. If we get a storm, a big storm, it's pretty much "game over" for the company, and I doubt anyone can argue against that.
I have heard many analogies to the Exxon (XOM) Valdez, but I am beginning to believe that this one's more like asbestos and the endless number of companies that had to file for bankruptcy protection to deal with the never-ending claims from people who worked with asbestos.
Maxwell Technologies still has an intact story, but it's moving at a slower pace.
This year marks a very important transition for Maxwell Technologies (MXWL), one that, unfortunately, won't make life easy for the company, given the state of the auto industry. You can see the results of that transition in the company's somewhat disappointing earnings for the first quarter of 2010.
Maxwell really runs two businesses.
One business is composed of the older microelectronics (radiation-hardened components and computers for use in space) and transmission (capacitors used in high-voltage electrical transmission lines) product lines. Back in 2006, these product lines accounted for two-thirds of the company's sales.
In some embarrassing blunders, the experts called a few duds that ended up being stars.
But if you had bought the stock, you would have seen a 66% rise this year as Huntington became a star performer, Bloomberg reports.
It's the same story with Eastman Kodak (EK) and Sunoco (SUN), which both soared 20% even though nearly one out of three analysts covering them urged investors to sell, writes Lynn Thomasson.
Reports say the company wants to jump into the digital download business dominated by Apple.
Google (GOOG) wants to organize all the world's information and make it accessible, but the company has largely ignored one key area: music.
That could change this year, reports say, when the company launches its own music download service. An online subscription service could follow in 2011.
Why would Google want to jump into a business that is low margin, low profit, ultra-competitive and full of headaches? The answer, in one word, is Android.
Consider investing in these U.S. exporters as they cash in on China's new currency policy.
By Jake Lynch, TheStreet
U.S. stocks rallied yesterday after China said it would relax its yuan currency peg. The move will make U.S. goods cheaper overseas, benefiting American exporters. Here are 5 companies that will capitalize on a weaker dollar.
5. Boeing (BA) is an aerospace and defense company.
Quarter: First-quarter profit dropped 15% to $519 million, or 70 cents a share, as revenue declined 7.8%.
An expert says the company could write off the billions it will spend to protect its reputation.
By Dan Freed, TheStreet
BP (BP) likely will be able to deduct payments it has agreed to make to compensate people damaged by the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, according to a tax expert.
BP last week agreed to establish a $20 billion escrow account to compensate victims of the spill. In determining whether the fund is tax-deductible, BP first must establish that it is an "ordinary and necessary" expense it incurs as part of conducting its business -- a hurdle it clears fairly easily, according to a report Monday from Robert Willens, a longtime Lehman Bros. tax expert who now heads his own consulting firm.
Willens cites a past case in which the Internal Revenue Service allowed a taxpayer to deduct a payment made to settle a lawsuit, since the act that gave rise to the lawsuit was part of the ordinary business activity of the taxpayer in question.
These well-known blue chips are still paying sweet dividends.
Great dividend stocks are easier to find than you think.
Income investors looking for safe dividend stocks in which to stash their retirement money are already familiar with many blue chips that have hefty yields. It's just that when investors stop at the grocery store or pay their phone bills, they aren't thinking about how the big brands they're doing business with are actually good income investments.
Here are three of America's best-known corporations with yields about twice what 10-year Treasurys pay. These low-risk blue chips are some of the most famous high-yield dividend stocks out there:
The best time to buy these shares is when they get hammered in a scripted retreat.
By Jim Cramer, TheStreet
Time for the patented rollover? Did we rally and rally until everything got taken up too high and too much money came in?
Sure looks like it. Just like that, the bid is gone underneath, we are worried about the euro, the Chinese are still regarded as cheaters, oil went too high and we are worried about a weak economy, punctuated by the spill in the Gulf.
It's as if the whole move upward was based on nothing but an easing of the crisis and the soft landing in China -- and now we are back in the range. I expect oil to slip back to $70, the euro to go back to $1.20 against the dollar and gold to go higher as a sign of craziness and destruction.
Until earnings are reported.
After months of reducing its holdings, the country has increased its investment.
China's decision to end a strict yuan-dollar peg is getting all the headlines -- even though the likely appreciation of the yuan versus the dollar is in the vicinity of 3% or so in 2010. That's hardly a game changer. (For more on why China made this move now, see this post.)
But the bigger China-U.S. news dates back a few days to June 15: After reducing its holdings of U.S. Treasury debt by 6.5% from November 2009 through February 2010, China reversed its policy.
In March and April, China increased its investment in U.S. government notes and bonds by 2.6% to $900.2 billion.
Shares of these hot energy picks go for less than a gallon of gas.
As a growth guy who focuses on sales and earnings, I have very strict guidelines as to how I screen penny stocks. Small stocks come with big risk, and there aren't always the concrete numbers I demand in these investments.
However, if you do your homework, you can often separate the poor penny stocks from the shiny picks that could deliver big profits overnight.
Here are three of my favorite penny stocks right now:
The market is fighting back now, but these stocks are doomed to fail in the months ahead.
After the stock market's antics in May, things appear to be on the mend in June, with the broader market trending upward -- especially thanks to a bullish start for this week as China moves to revalue its yuan.
But a rising tide does not lift all boats. Some stocks have been pushed down for a reason after the stock market's consolidation last month, and these picks need to be trimmed from your portfolio immediately.
Here are the three worst blue chips, according to my latest analysis of the market:
Signs of trouble emerge as equities enter a historically weak time of the year.
Risky assets bounced higher in overseas trading today after China finally acquiesced to global pressure and announced that it would once again allow its currency, the renminbi yuan, to start appreciating again. The Shanghai Composite jumped 2.9%, Japan's Nikkei index added 2.4%, and European stocks gained 1%.
But American traders are using the good news as cover to sell. As I write this, the smaller and riskier stocks in the Russell 2000 have dropped from a gain of 1.8% to trade with a deepening loss of 0.7%. The U.S. dollar is also moving higher and is trading with its largest gain since stocks bottomed on June 8.
With the major indexes overbought in the short term, and after a recent cross of significant technical resistance at the 200-day moving averages on the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average, a pause for breath was to be expected. There is evidence, both historical and anecdotal, that stocks have further to fall.
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The auto parts giant beats Wall Street expectations, while continuing to expand its stores in the U.S. and Mexico.
Top Stocks provides analysis about the most noteworthy stocks in the market each day, combining some of the best content from around the MSN Money site and the rest of the Web.
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[BRIEFING.COM] Stocks ended modestly higher as the S&P 500 climbed 0.2%, and the Dow added 0.4% to register its 19th consecutive Tuesday of gains.
The major averages saw little change during morning action, but afternoon buying interest helped lift the indices to session highs. Most cyclical sectors (with the exception of materials and technology) finished among the leaders, but the defensively-geared health care sector settled atop the leaderboard as biotechnology outperformed. ... More
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