Energy boom makes oil a safe haven
Oil becomes a surprising safe haven

The idea of US crude being a shelter from turmoil abroad may not be as far fetched as it seems.

VIDEO ON MSN MONEY

A Chicago faucet company penalizes workers who spend more than the allotted minutes in the washroom outside their normal breaks.

By MSN Money Partner Jul 18, 2014 4:20PM
Credit: © Christopher Stevenson/Getty Images

Caption: Restroom signBy Amy Langfield, CNBC

If you work at WaterSaver Faucet Co.,  when you gotta go, you might not want to go.


The Chicago company installed a new system that monitors bathroom breaks and penalizes employees who spend more than six minutes a day in the washroom outside their normal breaks.


"The HR woman literally goes through every person's bathroom use and either hands out a reward or discipline," said Nick Kreitman, an attorney for Teamsters Local 743, which represents 80 workers at the plant, which coincidentally manufactures taps and other sink fixtures.


Employees who don't use extra breaks get a dollar a day while others who exceed more than one hour in a 10-day period will get a warning, which can lead to termination, he said.

 

Shares rise more than 3% Friday after the company reported strong revenue growth.

By MSN Money Partner Jul 18, 2014 2:46PM
Credit: © Paul Brown/Alamy
Caption: Google Headquarters in Mountain View, Silicon Valley, Calif.By Rolfe Winkler and Alistair Barr, The Wall Street Journal

Accelerating revenue growth in the second quarter pleased Google (GOOG) investors, who sent the search giant's shares higher in Friday trading despite rising expenses and the departure of a top executive.


The search giant said revenue for the quarter rose 22 percent to $16 billion from $13.1 billion a year earlier, excluding the Motorola Mobility business Google plans to sell to China's Lenovo Group.


The company surpassed analysts' revenue forecast of $15.6 billion on that basis, according to S&P Capital IQ.


Net income for the period, excluding Motorola, totaled $3.5 billion, or $5.09 a share, up 26 percent from the same period a year earlier.

 

The company has had a brutal time since its IPO in October.

By InvestorPlace Jul 18, 2014 2:25PM
A Potbelly Corp. sandwich & drink cup in Washington, DC, on Friday (© Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)By Tom Taulli

Potbelly (PBPB), an operator of sandwich shops, pulled off a huge IPO back in October, with the stock soaring 120 percent to $34 on its first day of trading.


But since then, life as a public company has been downright miserable. Lately, the stock's price has been hovering just above $11.


What's going on here? Well, the growth rate is slowing down.


Just look at the latest announcement from the company, which provided a warning for fiscal second-quarter earnings. Potbelly expects to post a meager 6.9 percent increase in sales to $83.6 million, which compares to the Wall Street estimate of $87 million.


And don't expect the situation to improve anytime soon. Potbelly also provided a revision of its full-year forecast. Earnings are now forecast at 18 cents to 21 cents per share, down from 43 cents to 46 cents per share. Oh, and comparable store sales are expected to be flat-to-negative low single digits. (Potbelly will report its official earnings on Aug. 5.)

 
Tags: PBPB

They have not let you down in this bizarre, contrary period.

By Jim Cramer Jul 18, 2014 2:16PM

Road sign to bond market © vaeenma /Getty ImagesThe market has taken a benign view of the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17, I think perhaps because it is so chilling that both sides have to tread more carefully. A needless escalation is good for no one.


Meanwhile, while any casualties are bad, attempts by the Israelis to stop the rocket-launching are, so far at least, surprising people in their lack of Arab street outcry.


With all that said, the crosscurrents remain great and the opportunities constrained by what can happen over the weekend.


TheStreet.com logoJust keep in mind that we are back in the vise grip of the bond market. Anything that sends rates up is now somehow viewed as positive for the overall market, not just the financials, and that's coloring so much.

 

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

By Traders Reserve Jul 18, 2014 2:14PM

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 Jul 18, 2014 12:19PM
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 Jul 17, 2014 4:54PM
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 Jul 17, 2014 3:36PM
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 Jul 17, 2014 1:51PM
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 Jul 17, 2014 1:05PM
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 Jul 17, 2014 12:38PM
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 Jul 17, 2014 12:03PM
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 Jul 17, 2014 12:02PM

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 Jul 17, 2014 11:50AM
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 Jul 16, 2014 4:13PM
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

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