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In short, the PC maker's quarter was an unmitigated disaster.

By Jim Cramer Aug 22, 2012 9:28AM

Man, was Dell (DELL) bad Tuesday night.


The company saw a collapse of personal computer sales, including a dramatic revision down from just the June quarter. Plus: A 14% decline in personal computers. BRIC country business down 15% -- that's right, down. Asia Pacific off 12%. India and China weak -- China for the first time ever. Sequential revenue coming down. And terrible Ultrabook sales.

 

In short, even in a world where we have rallied stocks on beating or meeting reduced expectations, this one is tough to swallow.

 

July home sales show market strength. Investors hope central bank policymakers will hint at more stimulus. Japan's trade deficit heightens worries about a global slowdown. Dell warns of a tough second half.

By Melly Alazraki Aug 22, 2012 9:18AM
Updated at 12:14 p.m. ET

Stocks remained lower Wednesday as global slowdown concerns once again took center stage after Japan reported weak economic data. As investors awaited the minutes from the Federal Reserve's most recent policy meeting, housing data continued to show improvement. Shares of Dell (DELL) were sliding after the company on Tuesday warned of a challenging second half.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ($INDU) was down 59 points at 13,144. The S&P 500 ($INX) was down 4 points at 1,409. The Nasdaq Composite ($COMPX) was down 3 points at 3,064.

Asian markets ended lower after Japanese data showed the country's trade deficit widened more than expected in July as exports plunged.  

The iPhone maker is now the most valuable public company in history, breaking a record for market cap that the software giant set in 1999.

By The Fiscal Times Aug 21, 2012 5:30PM
David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty ImagesBy Yuval Rosenberg

Hey, Microsoft (MSFT), how do you like them Apples (AAPL)?

With its stock ending the day up 2.63% to $665.15, Apple on Monday became the most valuable public company in history, breaking a record for market capitalization that Microsoft had set in December 1999.

In the late 1990s, as technology and Internet stocks were flying high, Microsoft catapulted past behemoths Coca-Cola (KO) and General Electric (GE) (the previous No. 1) to become the world's most valuable company, eventually becoming the first to top $500 billion in market cap. On Dec. 27, 1999, Microsoft ended the trading day with a valuation of $616.34 billion. It would go on to reach an intra-day peak valuation of $620.58 billion on Dec. 30 of that year. 

The futures market points to more increases, and refinery accidents have hampered US production.

By Kim Peterson Aug 21, 2012 5:13PM
After a nice break at the pump earlier this year, gasoline prices are rising again. And they probably will continue to for some time, experts say.

That's because gasoline futures -- a crystal ball for gas prices -- have spiked 19% in the past two months, The Wall Street Journal reports. That has helped trigger the price increase at the pump, though so far gas prices have risen only 7.2% in the same period.

Because pump prices follow futures action by several weeks, "drivers have yet to feel the full extent of the recent rally," John Biers and Dan Strumpf write. 
Tags: CVXDALLUV

As stocks hit resistance from their 2012 highs, investors should be looking for additional upside progress.

By Anthony Mirhaydari Aug 21, 2012 4:38PM

While many people couldn't care less about the stock market right now as end-of-summer vacations are in full swing, there were some real fireworks to be seen Tuesday. Apple (AAPL) soaring and then crashing. Facebook (FB) collapsing. The dollar plunging. The major averages pushing over their 2012 highs early in the session before being smacked down into negative territory. And all the while, with everyone distracted, precious metals continued to launch out of a long multiyear downtrend.

 

With the S&P 500 perched right below its 2012 closing high, the bulls are at a decision point: Either they push over the bears' defensives at 1,420 on better economic data, signs the Germans and the Spanish are opening up to the idea of a bailout in exchange for reducing Spanish borrowing costs, and hopes of aggressive central bank intervention -- or they succumb to the market's short-term overbought condition.

 

Even if the new Best Buy's new CEO Hubert Joly brought tremendous skills to the table, it's hard to see his hiring as anything more than too little, too late.

By The Fiscal Times Aug 21, 2012 4:34PM
By The Fiscal TimesSuzanne McGee

On Monday, Best Buy named a new CEO to lead its turnaround strategy. On Tuesday, the electronics retailer showed how Herculean his task will be.

By almost every standard, Best Buy's (BBY) second-quarter results were disastrous. Profits plunged 91% to only 4 cents a share; analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters had expected that figure would be closer to 31 cents a share. Same store sales? Down 3.2% overall, while its most important segment, consumer electronics, saw a 9.6% plunge in sales. 

Soon 9 jurors will weigh in on the patent lawsuit, and they will likely shape the future of the smartphone market.

By TheWeek.com Aug 21, 2012 3:53PM

After a month of intense legal fighting, the so-called patent trial of the century is finally drawing to a close. Apple (AAPL) is demanding $2.5 billion in damages from Samsung (SSNLF) for creating devices that allegedly copy key features from the iPhone and iPad, while the Korean manufacturer is counter-suing to the tune of $422 million.


Late Monday, the CEOs of both companies met privately, hoping to settle the case before the start of closing arguments on Tuesday, but failed to reach an agreement. That leaves it up to nine jury members in a five-story San Jose courthouse to decide. 

 
Tags: AAPL

The electric vehicle manufacturer faces some obstacles as it prepares to ramp up production.

By Trefis Aug 21, 2012 1:06PM
Trefis© VisionsofAmerica/Joe Sohm/Digital Vision/Getty ImagesTesla Motors (TSLA) recently launched the Model S and has begun delivering the vehicles to customers. The classy sedan has received very positive reviews, and has racked up over 12,200 reservations to date.

The company has high hopes for the car -- but a lot of work to do before it can achieve its goal of establishing itself as a large-scale electric vehicle manufacturer.

We currently have a Trefis price estimate of $41 for Tesla and below we highlight three broad risks to our views on the car maker: 
Tags: FgmTMTSLA

Problems keep stacking up for the consumer electronics company, and little relief is in sight.

By InvestorPlace Aug 21, 2012 12:46PM
By Tom Taulli


There seems to be no end to the deterioration at Best Buy (BBY). In the second quarter, the company's earnings plunged by 91% to $12 million, or 4 cents a share.


True, the figure included a $91 million charge for store shutdowns. But even when adjusting for this, earnings came to 20 cents a share, still well below the Wall Street consensus of 31 cents a share. On the news, the stock sank 5% Tuesday morning to $17.25, though it pared some of its losses later in the day.

 

Stocks on Wall Street are mixed in another tame session.

By MSN Money Partner Aug 21, 2012 12:30PM
Image: Wall Street sign (© Corbis/SuperStock)

Information provided by Theflyonthewall.com

Best Buy (BBY) fell another 2% after declining yesterday. The company's earnings and revenue fell short of consensus and it withdrew its full-year guidance.

Among others reporting earnings, Nordson (NDSN) advanced and Barnes & Noble (BKS) declined.

Among the notable gainers Tuesday was Urban Outfitters (URBN), up over 17%, as its Q2 results prompted upgrades and price target increases around the Street.

Also higher were Dex One (DEXO), up 40%, and SuperMedia (SPMD), up 54%, as both benefited from their announcement of plans to combine in a stock-for-stock merger of equals.  

Retail stocks are fluctuating on earnings reports and analyst calls.

By Benzinga Aug 21, 2012 12:18PM
Image: woman swiping a credit card © Rubberball/Mike Kemp/Rubberball/Getty Images

By Katey Stapleton

Struggling for many months leading up to its second-quarter earnings call, Urban Outfitters (URBN) pulled off a beat that had traders frantically snatching up shares on Monday in after-hours trading.


Conversely, Fossil (FOSL) was downgraded from "buy" to "hold" on Tuesday morning as the retailer finds itself at a branding crossroads.


With Christmas a few months down the road, seasonality has begun to affect the retail market in a mostly positive way. Companies ranging from Gap (GPS) to Foot Locker (FL) and DSW (DSW) have experienced positive results following recent earnings reports.

 

For your money, you'll get motion sensors that measure how high you jump. The new model is part of the sneaker giant's plan to hike prices as consumer spending recovers.

By Jonathan Berr Aug 21, 2012 11:41AM
Image: LeBron James' shoes in the men's basketball gold medal game between the US and Spain on Day 16 of the London 2012 Olympic Games (© Christian Petersen/Getty Images)Nike (NKE) plans to raise prices by as much as 10% and to debut its priciest sneaker ever in another sign that businesses are confident the U.S. economic recovery will gain momentum ahead of the presidential election.

The Wall Street Journal
reported Tuesday that Nike's price increases are designed to reverse six straight quarterly declines in gross margins as raw materials, shipping and labor costs rise. Other sneaker companies are raising prices as well. Nike's $315 LeBron James shoe is set to debut in the fall and will feature motion sensors that can measure how high players jump. For that price, the sneakers should also guarantee that people who wear them can make a three-point shot. 

Consumers are expected to flock to Nike's stores to snap up the LeBron X Nike Plus -- and that worries the Beaverton, Ore., company. It has made retailers such as Foot Locker (FL) and Dick's Sporting Goods (DKS) forgo releasing "hot" sneakers at midnight and will no longer permit them to pre-sell or take reservations for new shoes. 
Tags: DKSFLPGUA

Urban Outfitters is upgraded at 2 firms, and Seattle Genetics is initiated with a 'hold.'

By MSN Money Partner Aug 21, 2012 11:20AM
Information provided by Theflyonthewall.com

Tuesday's noteworthy upgrades include:  
  • Credicorp (BAP) upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at JPMorgan
  • Urban Outfitters (URBN) upgraded to Hold from Sell at Brean Murray, and to Outperform from Market Perform at William Blair
  • Gap (GPS) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Argus
  • Netflix (NFLX) upgraded to Above Average from Average at Caris
 

With the overall markets moving higher, investors should step into these stocks, ETFs and precious metals.

By TheStockAdvisors Aug 21, 2012 10:51AM

By Mary Anne and Pamela Aden, The Aden Forecast

 

While it's still too soon to be sure, several markets are showing renewed signs of strength and we're starting to buy into some of these stronger markets and diversifying for the first time in quite a while.

 

We feel it's warranted. If we're wrong and this proves to be a false alarm, we'll switch back to only safe haven investments. For now, most signs are giving the okay to wade into some of these potentially good markets.

 

The overall stock market is looking better. That's pretty impressive considering all the bad news the markets have been facing, like the sluggish economy and the European crisis, which have been at the forefront.

 

At least 4 early buyers have sold off their shares. Are they heading for the hills or just cashing out?

By Minyanville.com Aug 21, 2012 10:20AM

Cashing out or cutting their losses? Either way, it appears that early investors of Groupon (GRPN) have left the daily deals company as its post-IPO share price continues to plummet.

 

At least four early investors in Groupon who held stock in the company before it went public have sold off all or a huge portion of their holdings in the past few months. They include Andreessen Horowitz, Maverick Capital, Fidelity Investments and the Swedish investment firm Kinnevik.

 

Andreessen Horowitz sold its 5.1 million shares in June, which is when Groupon shares were already at a mere 50% of their IPO price. But the firm, co-founded by high-profile Silicon Valley investor Marc Andressen, still made a profit of close to $14 million from its initial $40 million investment.

 

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[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market finished the Wednesday session on an upbeat note with the Nasdaq (+1.3%) ending in the lead. The S&P 500 settled higher by 1.1% with all ten sectors posting gains.

The benchmark index spent the entire trading day in the green, rallying to new highs during the last hour of action. The tech-heavy Nasdaq, meanwhile, briefly dipped into the red during morning action, but was able to recover swiftly.

Stocks began the trading day with modest gains ... More


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