Apple is a market darling again
Apple is a market darling again

The company, which reports its quarterly earnings Tuesday, has once again become an investor favorite.

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The retail sector has been hammered but consumer spending will come roaring back. Focus on these high-end names.

By Traders Reserve Fri 2:14 PM

Caption: Polo Ralph Lauren clothing fashion retail outlet in Maine
Credit: © Jeff Greenberg/AlamyBy Jamie Dlugosch


Say what you will about a dicey market . . . I'm jumping on the rally train.


Who's joining me? You will if you want your portfolio to rock. If that is the case, just what stocks should you be buying today?


I like to buy the downtrodden, as those stocks that are out of favor today become the darlings of tomorrow.


And if there was ever an out-of-favor sector, it would be the retail space. The weather-related mini-recession (or at least that's what I call it) is long passed. In its place is an economy that is growing and growing strongly.


Retail sales are on the upswing fueled by gains in the job market and improving incomes.


At the end of the day, people in this country want to spend money. It's our favorite pastime and though our balance sheets may have been crushed by the financial crisis, our willingness to spend was not.

 

Investors need to know more about the Malaysian jet crash before trading, the CNBC host says.

By MSN Money Partner Fri 12:19 PM
Image: Stock market © Zurbar/age fotostockBy Lee Brodie, CNBC

Jim Cramer often says to buy on weakness. This, however, isn't one of those times.


Instead, Cramer is cautious of stocks, broadly.


Although Cramer doesn't enjoy focusing on money in the wake of tragedy, especially when lives have been lost, Cramer believes any and every catalyst that moves the market must be weighed by investors. Nothing less would be prudent.


And on Thursday, a powerful catalyst roiled markets. A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 with 295 people aboard crashed and burned in an eastern Ukraine wheat field near the Russian border. Ukrainian officials called the crash an act of terrorism and said the plane might have been shot down by a Russian-made antiaircraft system.

 

Though stocks have been hitting new highs, something was bound to spook investors -- and that something was a downed Malaysian jet.

By InvestorPlace Thu 4:54 PM
Caption: A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange
Credit: © Justin Lane /epa/CorbisBy Anthony Mirhaydari

It was all going so well. Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen was in front of Congress this week brandishing her dovish tendencies. Large-cap stocks are pushing to new highs. CNBC was attacking the skeptics on air with great vitriol. All was right in the world.


But all changed on Thursday after a Russian surface-to-air missile streaked through the East Ukrainian sky and, in a flash, ended nearly 300 lives at 30,000 feet when it brought down a Malaysian 777 airline bound for Kuala Lumpur.


Both Kiev and the pro-Russian separatists are blaming each other, but it's clear that this is going to escalate the situation -- especially in the wake of Wednesday's new U.S. economic sanctions against Russia.


But the bigger story is that this confirms the apprehension I noticed deep within the market earlier this week. Insiders didn't know what, exactly, was going to spook the market . . . only that things had gone too far.

 
Tags: IBB

Over the past 15 years, US sales of incontinence products have roughly tripled to around $1.5 billion.

By MSN Money Partner Thu 3:36 PM
Image: Group of older people seated © Image Source, Getty ImagesBy Serena Ng, The Wall Street Journal

Procter & Gamble (PG) is getting back into a business it exited more than a decade ago -- making products for adults suffering from incontinence -- as it takes aim at the growing ranks of aging Americans.

Births peaked in the U.S. at 4.32 million in 2007 and declined for five years before leveling off recently. Some 3.96 million babies were born in the U.S. last year, according to preliminary data from the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention.


The number was up slightly from 2012, but the country's fertility rate dropped to a record low of 62.9 births per 1,000 women of childbearing age. Meanwhile, over 3 million Americans are now turning 65 each year, according to the Pew Research Center.


"The flip side of the low birthrate is we're all living longer," Kimberly-Clark (KMB) Chief Executive Tom Falk told an investor conference earlier this summer. While demand for the company's Huggies training pants has been weakening, its sales of incontinence products have been growing steadily, he said.

 
Tags: PG

The hepatitis C treatment Sovaldi costs $1,000 a day. That's a steep price for state budgets to cover.

By MSN Money Partner Thu 1:51 PM
Credit: Gilead Sciences/AP

Caption: The Hepatitis-C medication Sovaldi made by Gilead SciencesBy Bertha Coombs, CNBC

The nation's Medicaid programs could find themselves on the hook for more than $55 billion to pay for breakthrough hepatitis C treatments like Sovaldi, which costs $1,000 a day for a 12-week treatment, a new study says.


That's even with a 23 percent Medicaid plan discount for the drug,pharmacy benefits firm Express Scripts said in its state-by-state analysis that estimated the staggering costs of the treatment.


"These states are saying 'What is it we're supposed to do?'" said Dr. Steve Miller, Express Scripts medical director. "This is just unimaginable for state budgets today."


Nationally, Express Scripts estimated that more than 750,000 Medicaid patients and prisoners now covered under state health programs suffer from chronic hepatitis C, a viral infection that can lead to deadly liver cancer.

 

The sector continues to confound the billionaire investor and partner Charlie Munger. They have bemoaned their bad luck for years.

By MSN Money Partner Thu 1:05 PM
Caption: Billionaire investor Warren Buffett
Credit: © Nati Harnik/APBy Anupreeta Das, The Wall Street Journal

To Warren Buffett, it is the one area where he says his investing track record is "awful," "pretty bad" or "really bad."


Berkshire Hathaway's (BRK.A) tiny gaggle of retail businesses -- from See's Candies to Ben Bridge Jeweler and Nebraska Furniture Mart -- gets little attention from investors and analysts, and the companies are profitable.


But the retail sector continues to confound the billionaire investor and his partner Charlie Munger. They have bemoaned their bad luck in retail investing for years, speaking about their retail "failures" at annual meetings and in interviews. More recently, the duo -- famously averse to technology bets -- have lamented how the Internet is rapidly reshaping shopping habits and affecting Berkshire-owned retailers in ways they didn't expect.

 

Wells Fargo boss John Stumpf thinks growth will rebound in the second quarter.

By MSN Money Partner Thu 12:38 PM
Credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Caption: Chairman & CEO of Wells Fargo John Stumpf addresses the 2014 annual conference of the Export-Import Bank (EXIM) April 25, 2014 in Washington, DCBy Matthew J. Belvedere, CNBC

The U.S. economy is "stronger than people think," Wells Fargo (WFC) Chairman and CEO John Stumpf told CNBC on Thursday.


"We were all surprised by the first-quarter GDP," he said in a "Squawk Box" interview. "Who knows what second quarter will be, but I think it will surprise on the upside."


Gross domestic product contracted at a 2.9 percent annual rate the first quarter, the economy's worst performance in five years. Economists expect GDP to growth around 3 percent in the second quarter.


If you exclude housing, Stumpf said, the economy is better now than it was during the boom years of 2000 to 2008.

 
Tags: WFC

Investors will be paying close attention to the company's cost-per-click revenue, among other areas.

By MSN Money Partner Thu 12:03 PM
Caption: The entrance of the Google offices in Brussels on February 5, 2014
Credit: © Georges Gobet/AFP/Getty ImagesBy Cadie Thompson, CNBC

Investors will be looking to see whether Google (GOOG) has turned around the decline in cost-per-click revenue when the company reports earnings after the bell on Thursday.


Although paid clicks -- or the number of people clicking through paid search ads -- increased 26 percent year-over-year in the first quarter, the cost per click declined 9 percent for the same period.


"People are going to be very focused on CPCs [the amount an advertiser pays Google per user click] because it's an indication on how they are monetizing mobile. Monetizing that well is important in moving Google forward," said Shyam Patil, an analyst at Wedbush Securities.


As people increasingly search on their mobile devices, Google needs to make sure that its click growth rate can help compensate for declines in CPC, which are likely to continue for some time, Patil said.

 

If you're worried about the moves in the current market, you need to cash out now.

By Jim Cramer Thu 12:02 PM

A trader points to a stock chart on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shortly before the closing bell in New York July 2, 2014 © Lucas Jackson/ReutersNobody likes spoilsports, least of all me. Yet that's exactly what we are getting after months and months of tranquility, and it is beginning to worry me.


In the past few weeks, I have received a number of calls and way too many Tweets from people who are complaining about small moves in stocks. One caller is very worried about the sudden 2-point swoon in Gilead (GILD). Another is upset about a buck-and-a-half decline in Celgene (CELG). Two Twitter followers feel scalded by a set of $0.20 and $0.30 declines in the stock of Rite Aid (RAD).


But Wednesday took the cake when a 9-cent drop in Globalstar (GSAT) caused a caller to be both apoplectic and scared.


OK, put aside the knowledge that Gilead and Celgene are up from $65 to $87 and $68 to $86 in a little more than three months. Overlook that Rite Aid is up by 40 percent and Globalstar is up 132 percent this year!

 

The Chinese e-commerce giant had wanted to have shares trading by mid-August, but that proved too ambitious.

By MSN Money Partner Thu 11:50 AM
Caption: The logo of Alibaba Group in China
Credit: © Ju Huanzong/Rez FeaturesBy Telis Demos, The Wall Street Journal

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. is now planning to launch its initial public offering after the U.S. Labor Day holiday on Sept. 1, according to a person familiar with the company.


The Chinese e-commerce giant has been working on a potentially $20 billion initial public offering for this summer, and it had been planning to launch the deal as soon as the end of this month.


The decision to delay the deal was made because the company couldn't be certain it would complete its pre-IPO work this month, the person familiar with the move said. 


The goal had been to complete the IPO and have the shares trading by mid-August, before the IPO market slows.

 
Tags: CCSGSJPM

The notorious dictator is upset that a 'Call of Duty' title made him out to be a kidnapper and murderer.

By MSN Money Partner Wed 4:13 PM
File photo of Manuel Noriega
© Alberto Lowe/ReutersBy Joseph Adinolfi, MarketWatch

Three years after being freed from a U.S. prison and returning to Panama, former strongman Manuel Noriega (pictured) is suing Activision Blizzard (ATVI) for using his name and likeness without his permission.


Panama's notorious military dictator, who ruled the country from 1983 until 1989 when he was removed from power and imprisoned in the U.S., alleges that the game "Call of Duty: Black Ops II" portrayed him as a "kidnapper, murderer, and enemy of the state."


The lawsuit alleges this was done to "heighten realism in the game . . . [which] translates directly into heightened sales," The Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday.


Noriega is not the only notable figure whose likeness was used in "Black Ops II." The game received media attention on its release because of a character resembling former U.S. Gen. David Petraeus.

 
Tags: ATVITTWO

It's had a big run over the past few months, but it still hasn't reached its full potential.

By MSN Money Partner Wed 3:54 PM
Apple logo at a store in San Francisco, Calif. (© David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images)By Jeff Reeves, MarketWatch

Apple (AAPL) is a force on Wall Street, with a cult-like appeal for investors and consumers.


As such, I make a habit of checking in on Apple every three months or so. In December, I gave 10 reasons to buy Apple in this column; the stock is up 18 percent since then, double the  Standard & Poor's 500 Index's ($INX) gain. After strong earnings in April, however, I warned there may be trouble on the horizon.


And now that Apple has tacked on about 30 percent in three months, the stakes are raised. So is Apple stock gathering steam, set to jump amid the company's earnings report Thursday? Or is this big run over the last few months too much, too quickly?


While it may sound like a flip-flop after my take in April (or, maybe a flip-flop on April's flip-flop from December?), I actually think Apple has more upside to come this year.


Here are a host of reasons why, and what to look for when the company reports earnings Thursday after the stock market closes:

 

The move, known as an inversion, has never been attempted by a major American retailer.

By MSN Money Partner Wed 3:32 PM
People walk by a Walgreens in Boston, Mass., on April 30, 2013 (Photo by Wendy Maeda/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)By Paul Ziobro, The Wall Street Journal

Walgreen's (WAG) first pharmacy opened 113 years ago inside a hotel on Chicago's South Side and this year, the chain will derive nearly all its sales and most of its profits from its 8,700 U.S. locations.

But Walgreen is currently thinking about leaving American shores, as part a plan to buy the rest of Alliance Boots GmbH, which operates a U.K. drugstore chain and is based in Switzerland. 


The move could help Walgreen lower its U.S. tax bill saving the company hundreds of millions of dollars a year -- money that wouldn't flow into the U.S. Treasury.


If it goes ahead, it would be an unusual use of the controversial and complex maneuver known as an inversion. While well tested among pharmaceutical and manufacturing companies that earn much of their income overseas or have assets like patents that are held offshore, the move has never been attempted by a major U.S. retailer, according to tax experts.

 

About 70 percent of them say they want to quit, but that just doesn't happen.

By MSN Money Partner Wed 2:42 PM
Teenager lighting a cigarette (© Diverse Images/UIG/Getty Images)By Mike Esterl, Karishma Mehrotra and Valerie Bauerlein, The Wall Street Journal

The U.S. adult smoking rate has plunged to below 20 percent from more than 40 percent half a century ago. 


Increasingly, smokers are poorer and less educated. And many smokers call themselves "occasional" or social smokers, consciously reining themselves in to try to avoid getting hooked.


Still, there are more than 40 million smokers in the U.S. today. And beneath the broad trends are pockets of growth and opportunity that are generating great interest in the tobacco industry.


Smoking rates are higher in gay, lesbian and bisexual groups, which are being targeted by the industry. More Americans are switching to menthol cigarettes like Newport, Lorillard's (LO) biggest brand. Indeed, Newport is the hot brand that Reynolds American (RAI) expects to add to its portfolio with its planned $25 billion acquisition of Lorillard, announced Tuesday.

 
Tags: LOMORAI

The precious metal could keep sliding until a major floor is found again.

By InvestorPlace Wed 1:23 PM

Image: Small Stack of gold ingots © Anthony Bradshaw/PhotographerBy James Brumley


It's the proverbial pie in the face for traders who were sure gold was destined for higher highs.


On Monday, gold prices, along with the SPDR Gold Shares (GLD), plunged a stunning 2.3 percent -- the biggest one-day dip of the year -- when Portugal's debt crisis didn't cause the country to sink into the ocean and drag the rest of Europe down with it.


The closing price of gold on Monday was $1,306.70 per ounce, pulling the commodity's price to its lowest level since June 18.


Gold fell further on Tuesday but slightly recovered Wednesday. In morning trading, gold for August delivery was at $1,299.40 an ounce.


The $64,000 question is, of course, what's next for gold prices? Answer: most likely, more downside.

 
Tags: GLD

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