Geopolitical crises are taking a toll on stocks as we head into the seasonally weak month of August.
- Moody's: RadioShack is running out of cash
The retailer may not have a financial cushion to fund its turnaround plan.
VIDEO ON MSN MONEY
If results are surprising, a bullish outlook on these stocks will pay off.
By Ken Shreve
It's up to three high-profile tech names to save the day and lift the tech sector out of its recent malaise. Optimism is key, but judging from recent price and volume trends in each stock, it might be a tall order.
Earnings reports from tech companies have left a lot to be desired last week. IBM (IBM) missed its revenue number by about $1 billion, and results from Google (GOOG) also came in well below expectations.
The intermediate-term bullish trend is now questionable.
By Sam Collins
Friday's market was hammered by sellers who focused mainly on the technology sector. It was the 25th anniversary of Black Monday, and stockholders celebrated it with the worst day for stocks in three months.
Despite the fact that third quarter earnings have been projected to be lower than the second quarter for months, the lower earnings from Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) and General Electric (GE), and a lowered estimate by Marvel Technology (MRVL), seemed to catch the market by surprise. GE noted, however, that the company is performing well and is on track to have a double-digit earnings increase for full year 2012.
Before the launch of Windows 8 and the Surface tablet on Friday, a Barclays analyst feels the company must find a new cash cow.
Equity analysts are often accused of having a herd mentality, but Barclays Capital on Friday bucked the trend where the world's biggest software company is concerned. The firm's analyst Raimo Lenschow cut his price target on Microsoft (MSFT) stock by $2 to $34 while maintaining a lukewarm overall rating of "equal-weight."
Partially as a result, shares of Microsoft finished in the red Friday, closing 2.9% lower in an admittedly awful overall market.
The analyst, well regarded and historically highly ranked in industry surveys by both Institutional Investor magazine and Thompson Reuters Starmine, thus breaks with several more optimistic peers. Analysts at Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and Lenschow's ex-employer Bank of America-Merrill Lynch have all reiterated upbeat "buy" ratings -- even after Microsoft announced its quarterly profit tumbled 22%.
Tech may be spoiling the party, but old standbys like insurers, banks, retail and oil are holding up nicely.
To listen to the dialogue is to think that somehow the world came to an end because of earnings last week. But I think that's in large part because of the companies that caught our eyes more than the companies that actually reported.
I'm not disputing some high-profile misses. Google (GOOG) had given no sign that it was struggling with mobile and mobile advertisers. None. Its acolytes, people close to the company, gave us no insight whatsoever that it was meeting with resistance and that advertisers are balking even for mobile search ads.
With not much news on the economic front but more major earnings, Wall Street looks ready to recover.
U.S. stock futures traded slightly higher on Monday after Friday's dramatic sell-off. Stocks in Europe and Asia traded largely flat as there was little major economic news affecting the global economy.
In Japan, trade balance came in lower than expected at -980 billion yen versus the -740 billion yen that was forecast.
And Spain's Prime Minister Rajoy won a political victory over the weekend as his party won a victory in a regional election.
There are no major economic releases on the U.S. economic calendar Monday. However, there will be three- and six-month bill auctions in the U.S. and France.
Some would-be cord cutters are just complacent couch potatoes, a survey says.
The next time you hear someone crow about a show they've discovered on Netflix's (NFLX) streaming library, all the episodes they've uncovered on Hulu Plus or how much of a workout their Roku is going to get once their Amazon (AMZN) Prime membership kicks in this holiday season, resist labeling them an effete cord-cutter.
They're just watching reruns, like every other TBS and Nickelodeon-viewing cable and satellite customer.
A new survey released at at an Advertising Age conference on Wednesday found that 42% of TV viewers reported watching more streamed content this year than last year. While 8% did so because they were cutting back on cable and 10% had canceled cable and satellite altogether, a whopping 73% said they were streaming just to catch up on episodes of their favorite shows.
The unquenchably ambitious coffee chain opens its first store in the world's second-most-populous nation. But it faces some cultural challenges.
On Friday, Starbucks (SBUX) opened its first outlet in India, a cavernous, two-story building in a swank Mumbai neighborhood.
The store is part of the chain's broader push to expand its presence in emerging markets -- seen as the most promising areas for growth, given Starbucks' super-saturation in the States and Europe's entrenched cafe culture.
But breaking into new countries requires a little more finesse than simply showing up, as Home Depot (HD) recently learned in China.
Here's a guide to Starbucks' foray into India:
The head of Abercrombie & Fitch has a long list of expectations for the crew of his private plane. Michael Jeffries' rules are coming to light as part of a discrimination lawsuit brought by a former pilot.
He's the CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF), and if you were lucky enough -- or is it unlucky enough? -- to work on the crew of his private jet, you had a lot of rules to follow. Jeffries allegedly gave the crew members more than 40 pages of precise instructions on how to dress, act and work while in the air, and some of those demands were, well, a little creepy.
The athlete's tarnished name scares sponsors and further sullies cycling's image.
When we last checked in with Lance Armstrong, he had just stepped down from his chairman's post at the cancer-fighting charity he founded and was dropped from his Nike (NKE) sponsorship for "seemingly insurmountable" doping evidence against him.
Now he's lost considerably more, which is impressive for someone who's lost all of the above and all his cycling wins -- including seven Tour de France victories from 1999 to 2005 -- after a U.S. Anti-Doping Agency investigation that was released in full detail last week.
Sports marketing agent Steve Rosner of 16W Marketing told AdAge that the loss of current sponsorship deals, future sponsorships and potential corporate speaking engagements could cost Armstrong a total of $30 million.
How tarnished is Armstrong?
Third-quarter earnings extend the e-tailer's revitalized growth story.
A few years ago, eBay (EBAY) seemed like a washed-up Internet operator, just an online secondhand store amid a growing field of true online retailers.
The company's recently reported third-quarter earnings are just another reaffirmation that CEO John J. Donahoe has changed all that. He has his company back to attacking growth through mega-markets, specifically mobile.
In Q3, eBay's revenue increased by 15% to $3.4 billion and earnings came to 55 cents a share, a penny above Wall Street expectations. The company also gave a rosier outlook for the full year: EBay expects revenue of $13.95 billion to $14.1 billion and earnings per share of $2.32 to $2.35, both improved from forecasts in late August.
Stocks are sharply lower after mixed quarterly reports from some of the country's largest corporations.
Money manager Ken Fisher likes 'the biggest of the big.'
As the founder of Fisher Investments, an independent adviser with more than 25,000 private and 100 institutional clients, Ken Fisher employs a "variety of strategies" to manage assets, adding value by "identifying information not widely known" or interpreting readily available information more accurately than other market players.
Fisher also frequently deciphers the market in his Forbes column. On Sept. 5, he wrote that it was currently in the latter half of a bull run, with more ahead. Hence he advised investors to buy "the biggest of the big," as companies with $78 billion market capitalization or higher have traditionally performed best in similar scenarios.
"And if I'm wrong and a bear lurks soon, mega-cap stocks will drop far less than more speculative smaller stocks," he said.
No matter what you do, not every customer will be happy.
One study conducted by Bing Liu, a computer scientist at the University of Illinois at Chicago, found that 80% of the reviews on Amazon had four stars or higher, according to the Christian Science Monitor. He estimates that 30% of online reviews are fake. That number may be low, given the growing importance that businesses place on customers' feedback.
Some businesses have gotten the idea that the Internet is a place "where seldom is heard a discouraging word." Companies are extremely concerned -- and rightly so -- about their online reputations, because unfounded rumors can damage multibillion-dollar brands in the blink of an eye. Consumers, however, need to be suspicious about what they read online, because of the sophisticated ways companies "manage" their reputations.
These companies serving the construction industry offer some upside potential.
By Ken Shreve
If you missed the recent run in homebuilder stocks, don't worry. Instead of chasing them when most are well past proper entry points, focus on ancillary plays -- companies that stand to benefit from a continued housing recovery.
Housing start and building permit data earlier this week smashed expectations. Starts spiked in September, rising to 872,000 from 758,000 in August -- the most since July 2008.
Fortune Brands Home & Security (FBHS) could still be in the early stages of a move, and shares remain under accumulation. It was spun off by Fortune Brands a little over one year ago. The company, with a market capitalization of $3.1 billion, provides home security, and kitchen, bath and tool storage products. Some of its brands include Master Lock and Moen faucets.
SanDisk is upgraded to 'overweight,' while AMD is downgraded to 'market perform.'
Friday's noteworthy upgrades include:
MORE ON MSN MONEY
Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
Top Stocks provides analysis about the most noteworthy stocks in the market each day, combining some of the best content from around the MSN Money site and the rest of the Web.
Contributors include professional investors and journalists affiliated with MSN Money.
Follow us on Twitter @topstocksmsn.
More Market News
|There’s a problem getting this information right now. Please try again later.|