Surge brought back from the dead
Surge is back from the dead

Coca-Cola launched the soda brand in the 1990s to compete with Mountain Dew. Sales didn't exactly take off.


Stocks are unstoppable. If you're a bear, you have to wonder if you're in the Twilight Zone.

By MSN Money Partner Tue 12:59 PM
Image: Arrow Up © moodboard/CorbisBy Michael Sincere, MarketWatch

Everyone believes the U.S. stock market has reached a permanently high plateau. Everyone, that is, but the bears.

Last week's Investors Intelligence survey showed bearish sentiment at its lowest since 1987 (13.3 percent). 

In fact, short-sellers have nearly disappeared along with the few remaining bears. In addition, the VIX (VIX) is at historic lows (near 12), which reflects investor complacency.

Put another way, almost no one believes this market will go down.

Ironically, retail investors are not as gung-ho about the market as in the past. Viewership of financial television programs is at 20-year lows, especially in the coveted 25-to-54 age group. It's a sign that even as the market climbs higher, interest in the stock market is falling along with volatility.


The new site sells remote-controlled machines ranging in price from $36 to $1,300.

By MSN Money Partner Tue 12:44 PM
Credit: © Charles Platiau/Reuters
Caption: A pilot flies a Phantom Drone by DJI company, one of the models featured on the Amazon Drone store homepageBy staff

Music, books, clothes . . . and drones?

Amazon (AMZN) has launched a Drone Store on its website, dedicating a section exclusively to the devices.

The site features dozens of drone brands like DJI and Parrot, as well as tips that encourage buyers to "fly responsibly." 

Prices on the remote-controlled machines, which can be deployed for recreation or picture taking, range from $36 to $1,300.

Tags: AMZN

How to make sense of General Mills' purchase of Annie's?

By Jim Cramer Tue 12:41 PM

A General Mills Inc. brand cereal box © Scott Eells/Bloomberg via Getty ImagesMy jaw dropped when I saw it. General Mills (GIS) to buy Annie's (BNNY) for $46 a share. Forty-six dollars! An astounding 37 percent premium to the close and a 51 percent premium to the last thirty days.

General Mills, the best-run traditional food company in the packaged goods industry, buying the most challenged -- some would say most poorly run -- independent natural and organic food business in the entire segment.

It's the ultimate comeuppance, some would say even the ultimate embarrassment, because General Mills has about the longest-running history of disciplined capital allocation, while Annie's has pretty much disappointed for multiple quarters. It has had a very sorry execution pretty much for most of its two and a half years of public existence. logoYet when the dual releases came out it was all victory lap for John Foraker and his Annie's team. Under the heading "Annie's to be acquired by General Mills for $46 per share in cash," the company's second line of the release after the terms are stated seems downright surreal: "This acquisition will enable Annie's to enter a new phase of growth and success while maximizing value for stock holders." Huh? I though General Mills was buying Annie's. This makes it sound like the other way around.


The brand, which is owned by JAB Holdings, may list in London as soon as this month.

By MSN Money Partner Tue 12:36 PM
Credit: © Robert Alexander/Getty Images

Caption: Jimmy Choo shoes seen in a clothing store window display in San Francisco, Calif..By Laura Lorenzetti, Fortune

Luxury shoemaker Jimmy Choo, made famous by Sarah Jessica Parker's character in the HBO show Sex and the City, is looking to go public to the tune of about $1 billion.

The brand, which is owned by JAB Holdings, may list an initial public offering as soon as this month in London as demand for high-end shoes grows. Bank of America (BAC) will manage the sale, and HSBC Holdings (HSBC) has also been retained, people familiar with the deal told Bloomberg News.

The IPO comes in the wake of a shake-up in the world of designer shoe-wear. Nine West Footwear Group was spun off of Jones Group after the company was snapped up by private equity firm Sycamore Partners for $2.2 billion in April.


Looking at stocks through 4 different indicators gives an almost identically bearish view.

By MSN Money Partner Tue 12:28 PM
Credit: © Image Source/Corbis
Caption: Bull and Bear MarketsBy Mark Hulbert, MarketWatch

Making the bullish case is getting a lot harder.

Let's say that you want to wriggle out from underneath the bearish conclusions of the cyclically adjusted price-to-earnings ratio (CAPE), which for some time now has been very bearish. Sidestepping that conclusion turns out to be a lot harder than you think.

The CAPE is the version of the traditional P/E ratio that has been championed by Yale University finance professor (and recent Nobel laureate) Robert Shiller. 

Currently, for example, the CAPE stands at 25.69, which is 55 percent higher than its average back to the late 1800s of 16.55 and 61 percent higher than the ratio’s median level of 15.95. In fact, there have been only three times since the 1880s when the CAPE has been higher than where it stands today: 1929, 2000 and 2007 -- all three of which, of course, coincided with major market highs.


The company is no longer the chain with the most 'kid appeal.' A smaller upstart has taken its place.

By MSN Money Partner Tue 12:09 PM
McDonald's Happy Meal (© David Paul Morris/Getty Images)By Susan Berfield, Businessweek

McDonald's (MCD) has already admitted it has a problem with millennials, who want food that is healthier and fresher than much of what the chain offers. 

Now it looks as if McDonald's has a problem with kids, too. The company has lost its first-place position as the chain with the most "kid appeal," reported Crain's Chicago Business. 

The new favorite, according to Sandelman & Associates, a restaurant research firm, is Chick-fil-A. It's one of several fast-casual chains that are appealing because they serve "real" food. Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) is another.


There's a lot of hype. If you're considering a play on either stock, consider first what your objective is.

By MSN Money Partner Tue 11:58 AM
Dice on newspaper stock pages © Tom Grill, PhotographerBy David Weidner, MarketWatch

Beginning Tuesday, investors are presented with two "second-coming" opportunities. But the question whether to buy or sell has less to do with the unknown of how these opportunities perform initially, and more to do with something investors already know.

Let's start with what's happening.

First, Apple (AAPL) is set to unveil upgrades to its iPhone line and, potentially, release a wearable device, probably a watch. 

For the company, it's the biggest and most crucial roll-out in Tim Cook's role as CEO following the death of Steve Jobs in October 2011. To many, Apple has been adrift since Jobs' death. This is a critical moment to see if Cook can keep the mojo of his late predecessor.


Retailers have taken a page from Amazon's own playbook by turning many of their stores into distribution centers that can fill online orders quickly and efficiently.

By Staff Tue 11:54 AM

Packages from in Palo Alto, Calif. © Paul Sakuma/APBy Brian SozziTheStreet

Brick-and-mortar stores, which have been hammered by online retailers like Amazon (AMZN), are starting to fight back.

Big-box retailers like Walmart (WMT), Target (TGT) and Best Buy (BBY) are ramping up their online operations and seeing sales boom, making inroads against e-commerce giant Amazon.

The retailers, which also include Macy's (M) and Home Depot (HD), have taken a page from Amazon's own playbook by turning many of their stores into distribution centers that can fill online orders quickly and efficiently. logoU.S. retail e-commerce sales reached $75 billion in the second quarter, up 4.9 percent from the previous three-months, according to the Census Bureau. It marked the second consecutive quarter in which the sequential growth rate has accelerated -- following a 3 percent increase in the 2013 holiday quarter, U.S. retail e-commerce sales gained 3.3 percent in the first quarter. 


The big action was in the currency markets Monday as the focus turned to political and economic turmoil in Europe and Japan.

By InvestorPlace Sep 8, 2014 5:14PM

© skhoward/iStock /360/Getty Images
One dollar billBy Anthony Mirhaydari

Stocks finished mixed on Monday, with bonds continuing their recent string of weakness, as the big action was over in the currency markets.

In the end, the Dow Jones Industrial Average ($INDU) lost 0.2 percent, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index ($INX) lost 0.3 percent but was able to hold the all-important 2,000 level that it's been flirting with for weeks, the Nasdaq Composite Index ($COMPX) gained 0.2 percent, and the Russell 2000 ($TOMX) gained 0.2 percent.

A combination of detonation in Japanese economic data, new cheap money stimulus measures in Europe and the rising potential for a Scottish independence vote all undercut foreign currencies. The U.S. dollar soared as a result.


Yes, it's cheap relative to other major carriers, but there's a reason for that.

By MSN Money Partner Sep 8, 2014 5:00PM
Credit: © Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Caption: A United Airlines 747 arrives at San Francisco International AirportBy Adam Levine-Weinberg, The Motley Fool

On Tuesday, United Airlines stock hit a new all-time high at $50 on the dot. Falling oil prices and an analyst recommendation helped United Continental Holdings (UAL) reach that symbolic plateau.

However, investors should consider using the recent rally as an opportunity to sell and get out. 

While bulls think United Airlines stock is cheaper than that of network carrier rivals Delta Air Lines (DAL) and American Airlines (AAL), it doesn't trade at a big enough discount given its weak financial track record and future prospects.

Most analysts who recommend United Airlines stock do so because it is cheap relative to other major airlines. United was named a top pick on Tuesday by Hunter Keay of Wolfe Research.


They're increasingly seen as a good option for those just starting to invest or for those who aren't actively trading.

By MSN Money Partner Sep 8, 2014 4:07PM
Image: Couple paying bills in living room © Jose Luis Pelaez Inc, Blend Images, CorbisBy Sarah O'Brien, CNBC

It's no wonder that target-date funds have emerged as a welcome staple in many workers' 401k plans.

These funds, whose assets automatically shift into more conservative investments as individuals approach retirement, offer sophisticated and diversified exposure to Wall Street with little effort by the investor.

"Most investors tend to be hands-off," said Janet Yang, a senior analyst at fund-tracker Morningstar. "If you aren't willing to do the research of individual stocks or individual mutual funds and rebalance your portfolio once a year, target-date funds are a good 'set-it-and-forget-it' investment."

A target-date fund gets its name from the year in which an investor anticipates retiring. So, for instance, investors in a 2040 fund today will watch their assets gradually move from riskier investments -- which come with the potential for higher returns -- to more conservative options, such as bonds and cash, the closer they get to 2040.


Yet stock ownership for the wealthy is at a new high, adding to their fortunes as the market continues to hit records.

By MSN Money Partner Sep 8, 2014 3:47PM
Image: Stock investor © Tom Grill/CorbisBy Robert Frank, CNBC

The widening gap between the wealthy and the rest of America during the recovery can largely be explained in one word: stocks.

According to recent data from the Federal Reserve, America has the lowest level of stock ownership in 18 years. Yet stock ownership for the wealthy is at a new high -- and that has accounted for most of their good fortune compared to the rest of America.

The Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finance found that only 48.8 percent of Americans held stock either directly or indirectly in 2012, the latest period measured. 

That's the lowest level since 1995, when 40.5 percent of Americans held some form of stock. (Indirect ownership of stock includes stocks held in mutual funds, 401k plans and other investment vehicles.)


One of the most downbeat strategists watching the market flips, leaving few left to sound notes of caution.

By MSN Money Partner Sep 8, 2014 3:30PM
Credit: © Michael Marquand/Getty Images
Caption: Charging Bull statue in New York City’s financial districtBy Sam Ro, Business Insider

Bullishness is in the air. 

Last week Morgan Stanley (MS) and RBC Capital said we were only in the early stages of the bull market. And that was followed by an uber-bullish Barron's cover story.

All year Deutsche Bank's (DB) David Bianco held the title of most bearish strategist on Wall Street for 2014. With a measly 1,850 year-end target for the Standard & Poor's 500 Index ($INX), Bianco was caught behind the curve as the bull market extended its historic five-year long run.

In a new research note to clients, Bianco cranks up his 2014 and 2015 calls and unveils a big 2016 call. Here's a summary:

Tags: DB

'It's a bold look,' says CEO Gary Kelly. Twitter users weren't so sure, however. It will take years to repaint the entire fleet.

By MSN Money Partner Sep 8, 2014 2:33PM
Credit: Courtesy of Southwest Airlines

Caption: Southwest Airlines introduced a modern new look to its iconic brand todayBy David Koenig, The Associated Press

Southwest Airlines (LUV) is putting a new paint job on its planes, adding a splash of bright color as it enters middle age and faces many changes.

The airline introduced its new livery Monday to a rally of several hundred employees in a hangar at its headquarters next to Dallas Love Field.

Blue is still the dominant color, but the planes will also have red, yellow and blue swooshes on the tail and wing tips and "Southwest" in big letters along the side of the fuselage.

"It's a bold look; it's an updated look," declared CEO Gary Kelly.

On Twitter, the reviews came immediately and ranged from "horrible" to "I luv it."

Tags: LUV

The images will initially be shown to a small percentage of US users in the company's mobile apps.

By MSN Money Partner Sep 8, 2014 2:29PM
© Bloomberg via Getty Images/Getty
A user checks a Twitter feed on a smartphone in front of the Twitter logoBy Sarah Kessler, Fast Company

Twitter (TWTR) shopping is here. On Monday, the company announced it is testing a "buy button" that will allow users to make purchases without leaving the social network.

Buy buttons within tweets from select Twitter accounts will initially be shown to a small percentage of U.S. users in Twitter's mobile apps. The company plans to eventually expand the program to more users and its desktop program.

Like any other tweets, tweets with buy buttons can be promoted so that they function as ads. Twitter isn't disclosing whether or not it will take a cut of the buy button purchases.



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[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market welcomed the new trading week with a mixed session that saw relative strength among large-cap stocks, while high-beta names underperformed. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (+0.3%) and S&P 500 (-0.1%) finished near their flat lines, while the Nasdaq Composite and Russell 2000 both lost 1.1%.

Equities began the day on a cautious note amid continued concerns regarding the strength of the global economy. Over the weekend, China reported its first decline ... More


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