Businessman blowing bubbles (© GSO Images/Photographer's Choice/Getty Images)
Take bubble talk with a grain of salt

Jim Cramer asks, why pay any attention to letters from a manager who lost money in the first quarter?


Former CEO cuts his holding to 20% but says, 'the story in't written yet.'

By MSN Money producer Fri 2:11 PM

A man reads a book at a Barnes & Noble store in New York. © Stephen Yang/Bloomberg via Getty Images
By Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg, The Wall Street Journal The Wall Street Journal

In mid-January, Daniel Fidler worked his final day at what was Barnes & Noble's (BKS) store in Chestnut Hill, Mass., putting in a few extra weeks stripping out books and bookcases after the store closed at the end of the year. "I was depressed but I kept a smile on my face because I didn't want to think about what would happen," said the 24-year-old, who is still looking for a new job. "We had a party at a restaurant, and everybody who left came back, but it was bittersweet."


Barnes & Noble is making its last stand in towns just like Chestnut Hill. Its 663 stores still stretch across all 50 states, but there are 63 fewer than five years ago. Stores in Georgetown and the heart of Greenwich Village have closed. Gone, too, is the rambling college store in Manhattan's Flatiron district that was the sole Barnes & Noble retail property when Leonard Riggio bought that business in 1971.


Lending was up in the first quarter, but that jump has hidden the fact that individuals are still having a tough time getting loans.

By MSN Money Partner Fri 12:52 PM
A hand delivering money © kokouu/Getty Images
By Stephen Gandel, Fortune

Consumers are still getting crunched.

In the past week, the nation's biggest banks reported their results for the first three months of the year. Earnings were disappointing. But the numbers also showed a significant increase in lending, which many economists said was a welcome sign for the economy. Fortune on MSN Money

The problem: Every additional dollar, and then some, that the nation's biggest banks have lent out in the past year has gone to corporations. So, while corporate lending was up by 7 percent, or $101 billion, from a year ago, that masked the fact that consumer lending at the nation's five biggest lenders has continued to drop, by $12 billion in the past year alone. 

'Headline pay' vs. 'realized pay'? Cash bonuses and stock awards? It's harder than ever to decipher compensation within the sector.

By MSN Money Partner Fri 12:23 PM
Credit: © Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Caption: James 'Jamie' Dimon, chief executive officer of JPMorgan Chase & Co.,By Paul Hodgson, Fortune

In January, news stories claimed that JPMorgan (JPM) CEO Jamie Dimon got a 74 percent pay increase in 2013. But in April, now that the proxy is out, his pay is reported as declining by 37 percent.

Fortune on MSN MoneyOne thing is certain, it can't have done both. The surprising fact is that neither figure represents what Dimon (pictured) actually earned in either year. 

In 2012, Dimon earned $9,506,114 while last year he earned $12,033,071, figures that have not been reported elsewhere. That's a 27 percent increase in a year when the bank saw some of the largest fines ever handed out to a financial institution. In this case, it's not so much performance-related pay as fine-related pay.


The company, headed for an IPO later this year, is worth as much as 10 Tesla Motors combined, says Bernstein's Carlos Kirjner.

By MSN Money Partner Fri 11:04 AM
Credit: © Hong Wu/Getty Images
Caption: The Alibaba Group headquarters in Hangzhou, ChinaBy Stephen Russolillo, The Wall Street Journal

$245 billion!

That's the valuation Bernstein analyst Carlos Kirjner slapped on Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. following the glimpse at the better-than-expected results investors got this week.

Yahoo (YHOO), which owns a 24 percent stake in Alibaba, said late Tuesday that the China-based e-commerce giant’s revenue jumped 66 percent in the quarter ended Dec. 31, well ahead of analysts' estimates.

The results buoyed investor optimism for Alibaba ahead of its initial public offering in New York. The deal, expected later this year, could raise about $15 billion from investors, just shy of what Facebook (FB) sold when the social-networking firm went public in May 2012.


The Cline Shale in Texas could be the largest North American oil region of all time. Here's one stock at the center of it all.

By StreetAuthority Fri 10:09 AM
Caption: An oil field near Bakersfield, Calif.
Credit: © Keith Wood/Getty ImagesBy Eric Winter

Every now and again, an opportunity comes along that turns unsuspecting, normal people into overnight millionaires.

Such as are the promises being made with the Cline Shale, located in the Permian Basin in West Texas. It has become one of the most talked-about and buzzworthy energy plays in the last century, let alone the past few years.

Covering an area of over 1 million acres, the Cline Shale could be the largest North American oil play of all time, with the potential to pull 30 billion barrels of oil out of the ground.  

These picks continue to gain amidst the seemingly insatiable demand for the nation's top hot drink.

By Traders Reserve Fri 9:17 AM
File photo of a Dunkin' Donuts Inc. store in Midtown Manhattan (© Ramin Talaie/Getty Images)By Karen Riccio

It's not too late for investors to get their buzz from investing in the coffee industry. 

Coffee consumption --along with coffee profits -- continues to rise annually, and consumers show no sign of limiting their coffee habits.

Americans already drink an estimated 400 million cups a day, about one out of every four cups consumed on the planet, by some accounts. 


Some consumers may whine about the $5 cup of Starbucks -- but they keep buying, in higher numbers than ever before. Specialty coffee is the fastest-growing segment of the industry, and consumers continue to shift over to spendier gourmet coffee options. Some 34 percent of American adults now consume gourmet coffee beverages daily, up from 31 percent, last year, while daily non-gourmet coffee drinking is down to 35 percent from last year's 39 percent.


These unknown names are steady defensive picks, delivering dividends and low volatility in an unsteady market.

By MSN Money producer Fri 8:12 AM

Electricity pylons © Digital Vision., Photodisc, Getty ImagesBy Philip van Doorn, MarketWatch MarketWatch

How much do you fear a stock market correction?


There are dire warnings, the latest from Bank of America Merrill Lynch analysts Stephen Suttmeier and Jue Xiong, who said earlier this week that the Nasdaq Composite Index ($COMPX) may have topped out following its recent rally heading into May, typically a weak month for stocks.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq is down 3 percent this year following gains of 38 percent  in 2013 and 16 percent  the year before. From its closing high March 5, the index has pulled back 7 percent.


But it's not only high-flying tech stocks. Mark Hulbert discussed the technical and seasonal aspects of the correction fears, the decisions of some investment advisers to "sell in April and go away" and possible tax implications. The benchmark S&P 500 Index ($SPX), which surged more than 30 percent in 2013, is little changed this year.


Remy Cointreau says it was 'adversely affected' by China's anti-extravagance policy.

By MSN Money Partner Apr 17, 2014 4:33PM
Bottles on Shelves in Bar
© Johner/Getty ImagesBy Arjun Kharpal, CNBC

Shares of major drink makers got battered on Thursday after poor results from Diageo (DEO) and Remy Cointreau, stemming from the Chinese economic slowdown, caused a sell-off.

Remy Cointreau fell 3.8 percent and Diageo fell 4.5 percent after the companies reported earnings. Other drink makers were also dragged down, with Pernod Ricard (PDRDY) lower by about 3.6 percent.

Remy Cointreau, maker of ultra-premium cognac Louis XIII, blamed China for a 13.5 percent decline in sales for the year ending March 31 to 1.03 billion euros ($1.43 billion).

Tags: DEO

The next half-decade could bring dozens of new potential blockbuster treatments to the market.

By StreetAuthority Apr 17, 2014 3:07PM
Image: Scientists monitoring computers in control room © Martin Barraud/OJO Images/Getty ImagesBy David Sterman

Britain's Queen Victoria left an unfortunate legacy: Her descendants, spread across numerous European royal families, all inherited a genetic mutation that causes hemophilia. In fact, one out of every 5,000 to 10,000 males in the world is born with the defect.

But hemophilia may soon be a relic of the past. Baxter International's (BAX) recent acquisition of Chatham Therapeutics has led doctors to anticipate a reworking of the genes that cause the disease.

In fact, a wide range of genetic mutations hidden in human DNA are now being targeted by biotechnology researchers.  

These tech headliners are in the midst of broader breakdowns. Consider cutting them from your portfolio.

By InvestorPlace Apr 17, 2014 2:40PM

Caption: An office building occupied by in Sunnyvale, Calif.
Credit: © Kristoffer Tripplaar/AlamyBy Anthony Mirhaydari

For the first time since 2012, investors are contending with some serious market volatility. The vicious whipsaws were on display Tuesday as stocks launched higher after the both the Russell 2000 and the Nasdaq Composite Index ($COMPX) threatened to fall below their 200-day moving averages for the first time in three years.

The selling has been led by a breakdown in momentum stocks that hedge funds and retail investors alike piled into. Many are already down more than 20 percent from their highs.

And while that has been a drag on parts of the market -- especially the tech- and biotech-sensitive Nasdaq (which was down 7 percent from recent highs) -- we haven't seen the damage hit the overall market really hard just yet: The S&P 500, for instance, is only down 1.6 percent from its all-time high. The credit markets are also holding up, with corporate bonds resilient.


In tech, several of these tropes are making the rounds. But just because they're not true doesn't mean they're not profitable.

By Jim Cramer Apr 17, 2014 2:11PM

Sandisk © Simon Dawson/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Sometimes the case in the tech world gets made even when it shouldn't be, and everyone eventually accedes to it.

For example, even without any real evidence that the personal computer business isn't falling off a cliff, the consensus has developed that it has gotten better. This view says you need to buy Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) and Intel (INTC) -- which, these analysts also claim, have lots of storage kickers away from personal computers to bring out value.

That's just perceived wisdom, but it has been one of the strongest calls out there. logoOr how about Seagate (STX) and Western Digital (WDC)? The consensus, as represented by short sellers (investors betting against these shares) -- and not unlike the view on HP -- has been that disk drives are going away courtesy of the personal computer's secular decline, and aided by increased production.


The company is attempting to block lawsuits with a new policy that lawyers are already questioning.

By MSN Money Partner Apr 17, 2014 1:52PM
General Mills brand cereal Cheerios are displayed on a supermarket
© Stephen Hilger/Bloomberg via Getty ImagesBy Michelle Coffey, MarketWatch

If you like Cheerios, you may want to keep it to yourself.

General Mills (GIS), maker of Lucky Charms and the Betty Crocker and Pillsbury brands, has installed a new privacy policy in which consumers who engage with its brands online, including liking them on Facebook or downloading coupons, withdraw their legal right to sue the company.

The Fortune 500 powerhouse notes a change in legal terms, warning on its website:

"We've updated our Privacy Policy. Please note we also have new Legal Terms which require all disputes related to the purchase or use of any General Mills product or service to be resolved through binding arbitration."

Tags: GIS

The chain blanketed the country with its giant locations. Now it makes more sense to focus on e-commerce.

By MSN Money Partner Apr 17, 2014 1:09PM
A customer pushes a cart through a Home Depot Inc. store in Washington, D.C. on Nov. 12, 2012 (© Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)By Shelly Banjo, The Wall Street Journal

Home Depot's (HD) newest location is 10 times bigger than its average store, stocks three times more items and has no customers.

It's an online distribution center, for a company that seems the unlikeliest of Internet retailers.

For decades, Home Depot excelled at the traditional retail model of growing by adding new locations. But the seller of tools, saws, particleboard and washing machines is making a hard turn toward the Internet in the face of changing shopper habits and fast diminishing returns from new store openings.


In-store health services and wider array of products add to the outsized profits that flow from retail pharmaceuticals.

By Traders Reserve Apr 17, 2014 12:40PM
A woman carries a bag as she leaves a CVS store in Houston, Texas, U.S., on Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2009. A Texas pension fund will decide this week whether to award CVS Caremark Corp. a new pharmacy-benefits contract valued at almost $1 billion after the state's attorney general sued the company for alleged Medicaid fraud. Photographer: Aaron M. Sprecher/Bloomberg via Getty ImagesBy Karen Riccio


With some 45,000 drugstores in the U.S. with combined annual revenues of $245 billion chasing the U.S. consumer, there’s no shortage of competition.

It’s an industry forever in growth mode, with global pharmacy sales expected to reach $1.4 trillion by 2017.

U.S. chains' profits are flowing not only from growing pharmaceuticals demand but from cosmetics and hair products segments, seasonal merchandise and a growing array of food products. Even more importantly,  the big chains are aggressively expanding lucrative services such as vaccinations, in-store primary health care and mail-order drug sales. 


China's version of Twitter had to cut its offering size and raised a less-than-expected $286 million.

By MSN Money Partner Apr 17, 2014 12:34PM
Credit: Richard Drew/AP
Caption: Weibo Corporation celebrates it's IPO on Thursday at the Nasdaq MarketSite in New YorkBy Paul Mozur, Telis Demos and Matt Jarzemsky, The Wall Street Journal

Weibo Corp. (WB), China's version of Twitter (TWTR), raised $286 million in an initial public offering in New York, falling short of expectations because of a reduced offering size, in a big test of demand for Chinese Internet stocks ahead of a hotly anticipated Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. listing.

Weibo -- which means "microblog" in Chinese -- allows users to send brief public messages to followers who can comment on or repost them. Since its 2009 launch, Weibo had grown to 144 million monthly active users as of March, making it the closest thing China has to a public forum in a country where the media is strictly controlled by the government.

At the IPO price, Weibo, which is growing fast but posted a net loss last year, is valued at about $3.4 billion. The $17-a-share price, which was at the bottom of the projected range of $17 to $19. The company sold 16.8 million shares, fewer than the 20 million expected. The stock was trading at $18.84 Thursday in midday trading.



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[BRIEFING.COM] The Nasdaq Composite (+0.5%) and S&P 500 (+0.2%) posted modest gains on Thursday, but not before enduring a morning dip into the red, which took place in reaction to reports indicating Russia has commenced military exercises on the Ukrainian border.

The news from Europe knocked the key indices from their early highs, while giving a boost to safe-haven assets like gold futures (+0.5% to $1290.80/ozt), Treasuries (10-yr yield -1 bps to 2.69%), and the Japanese yen (102.30 ... More


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