The most likely scenario is that the markets will begin to rise from here -- and that bounce is just beginning to take hold.
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These companies are tapping a growing and lucrative market as millions of Americans find their personal data at risk.
By Karen Riccio
The identities of more than 15 million Americans are used fraudulently each year, with financial losses totaling near $50 billion.
Close to 100 million more people are at risk for having their personal identifying information stolen when records maintained in government and corporate databases are compromised.
These statistics demonstrate that identity theft may just be the most frequent, costly and pervasive crime in the United States.
The ways thieves steal information have become sophisticated. They can read "noise" waves and intercept data with ATM skimmers, or infiltrate peer-to-peer networks like music sites. Other criminals target consumers with phishing (by email), SMSishing (by text) or Vishing (by voicemail).
The aluminum maker's latest results gave us the most bullish worldview since the Great Recession ended.
The needle movers are all going in the right direction. That's the real takeaway from Tuesday night's Alcoa (AA) conference call.
The biggest drivers of worldwide growth -- the huge end markets in aerospace, trucks, autos, and nonresidential construction -- are all looking up. With just a couple of exceptions, notably in some European construction, every single end market is improving.
It's the most bullish worldview Alcoa has given us since the Great Recession ended. No wonder the stock has been running so hard.
There's always a lot of confusion about Alcoa and its importance as an indicator of anything. The aluminum maker has had its share of ups and downs -- and it's been mostly downs, for sure. In large part this is because there is too much aluminum being produced in the world, but it's also because the company is so incredibly sensitive to worldwide growth.
Older bellwethers like AT&T and Intel are flexing some muscle, filling the void left by investors fleeing momentum names.
Don't look now, but some old standbys are back in favor in the stock market.
Much has been made in the selloff of hot stocks like Netflix (NFLX), Facebook (FB) and what feels like the entire biotech space this year, but in the face of those declines older bellwethers like Intel (INTC), AT&T (T) and Cisco Systems (CSCO) have been flexing some muscle.
The Nasdaq Composite is down 6 percent since hitting its high-water mark on March 6, and some of last year's highest fliers have been among the names dragging it lower. Netflix, Facebook and Tesla Motors (TSLA) each hit their high for the year within a few days of the Nasdaq's peak, and have tumbled 15 percent or more since.
The seed company has angered consumers with perceived unfair pricing tactics, but investors have little to complain about. Monsanto projects to approach $130 in the next 12 to 18 months.
This has come even amid protests over Monsanto's genetically modified seeds and complaints about the company's ethics. Some believe that Monsanto has established unfair pricing tactics towards farmers. These issues and others have soured Monsanto's relationship with consumers. There's never a dull moment. But investors have had little to complain about.
This sector is down 6% since peaking in early March -- but that doesn't mean there are bargains to be had.
For tech stocks, growth may no longer be coming at a reasonable price, even after the recent pull-back.
Technology stocks are down 6 percent since they peaked in early March. And that drop is larger than the dip in the general market during the same time period.
But that doesn't mean there are bargains to be had. The average stock in the Nasdaq 100 (NDX) has a price-to-earnings multiple of 18, based on projected 2014 bottom lines. That compares to 16 for the Standard & Poor's 500 Index ($INX). And that's with the dip.
Technology stock believers say it's unfair to compare the P/E ratios of the average large company to tech stocks. Technology companies tend to increase in earnings at a faster rate, so they deserve higher P/E ratios.
The investor pessimism that started with Amazon and Facebook has crept over to Delta and other carriers.
By Anthony Mirhaydari
The stock market has been under pressure over the last few weeks as momentum favorites in big tech and biotech have rolled over badly.
It has been a big reversal of fortune for these stocks -- carried merely by their popularity, as ridiculous price-to-earnings multiples brings back memories of the dot-com bubble -- which have helped keep the Nasdaq-100 above its 20-week moving average since late 2012.
But it's all coming apart now as investors realize the game is up. What started in stocks like Amazon (AMZN) and Facebook (FB) is now spreading to other areas where persistent momentum has led to complacency. That includes airline stocks, which have been on a tear over the last three years. Delta Air Lines (DAL) has more than tripled.
The Oracle of Omaha hasn't beaten the market in a while, critics note. Defenders say he's playing the long game.
Is Warren Buffett really losing his mojo?
That's the assertion behind a weekend New York Times column by Jeff Sommer keying off a statistical analysis by statistician Salil Mehta that finds Buffett (pictured), while having enjoyed a stellar run over the past nearly half-century, isn't doing so hot recently.
The study finds that while Buffett has produced an impressive dose of alpha -- the ability to outperform the market without adding risk -- over several decades, his more recent performance "isn't impressive at all," Sommer writes. Read a related blog post by Mehta here.
For four of the past five years, Sommer recounts, citing the analysis, Buffett has underperformed the typical, no-frills Standard & Poor's 500 Index ($INX) fund. In fact, he's done "so much worse that it's unlikely to be a matter of a string of bad luck. Mr. Buffett has begun to behave like an investor with no alpha at all," Sommer writes.
Money flows in March reflect a belief that the US economy will accelerate over the next few quarters.
After the tech sector's brutal selloff and this year's strong run for utility and healthcare stocks, investors are now considering a meaningful shift into more "cyclical" names.
There has recently been a sharp drop in the Nasdaq and caution in Asia and Europe markets. However, economic indicators around the world are slowly improving. All this has left investors uncertain about where to place their cash.
However, a combination of earnings momentum, economic data and flows from exchange-traded funds all seem to point to the "cyclicals" -- stocks whose value tends to follow changes in the business or economic cycle , such as industrials, financials, basic resources and even autos.
Its user profiles now have more in common with Facebook's.
By Christopher Freeburn
Twitter announced Tuesday via its blog that it is updating the look of its profiles in a way that . . . well, looks like a Twitter feed shoved into a Facebook page.
The redesigned Twitter profiles will eventually show up to anyone with a web browser. Twitter's blog says the new profile is rolling out for some users starting Tuesday, and eventually will be available to everyone within "the coming weeks."
The company's earnings reflect the national economy back at us in all its confounding glory.
By Marek Fuchs, MarketWatch
Investors still treat Alcoa (AA), the largest aluminum producer in the U.S., as an economic barometer -- but for all the wrong reasons.
For a long time, Alcoa, as a gauge for commodities and manufacturers, has set the tone for earnings season. It's also helped that the 125-year-old company is still the first big company on the quarterly release schedule. (Alcoa released its results Tuesday, only six business days after the end of the first quarter.) As aluminum went, so went America, according to the Wall Street saying.
But the U.S. is no longer a manufacturer. It's a service-driven economy. Plus, the country's most famous companies produce drugs and technology hardware.
That said, Alcoa can still serve as a guidepost. The trick is realizing why and how.
The retailer's expansion may seem positive, but can these razor-thin margins support the massive capital expenditures required?
On today's Stock of the Day, Motley Fool analyst Michael Finarelli notes that while there has been quite a lot spent by the company to make this highly touted international push, the returns that have come back from the effort thus far have dramatically lagged returns from the company's domestic business, due to much thinner margins in other markets.
The sector has a serious image problem, and investors are skittish about sticking with an industry they know little about.
The great biotechnology sell-off of 2014 began on Feb. 26 and started as big sell-offs often do: quietly.
The SPDR S&P Biotechnology exchange-traded fund (XBI) peaked at $172.52 and closed at $170.01, off 40 cents from the day before.
The next day, the ETF finished at a record close of $170.66 but dropped pretty consistently thereafter. Between Feb. 25 and Monday, the ETF had suffered losses on 20 of 29 days -- and had dropped 22.8 percent in the process.
It's been a shocking decline, but should not have surprised anyone. The ETF had risen 48 percent in 2012 and added an additional 31 percent in 2014 before the blow-off erupted.
A massive energy acquisition last year baffled some -- but it's in line to deliver solid returns in coming years. Take the long-term view here.
As executives prepare to announce a major multi-billion-dollar acquisition to the public, they usually grow very excited about an enthusiastic response from key shareholders.
But when copper miner Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold (FCX) announced a pair of acquisitions in the oil and gas sector, worth an estimated $20 billion, investors did a spit-take.
At the time, investors wondered why the world's largest copper miner would diversify away into a completely unrelated industry. And they grew alarmed at the amount of debt taken on to complete the deal.
More than a year later, shares remain below where they were before the deal was announced, and many investors still see the deal as a head-scratcher. Yet in coming years, these bold strokes are likely to be seen in a much better light.
Spending in this area is expected to quadruple by 2025. Here are the best picks to profit from this trend.
In some respects, this is a golden age for pharmaceuticals. Thousands of medical researchers are making major clinical progress in the fight to treat cancer, heart disease and other afflications.
Yet another group of scientists are working to stop diseases before they emerge: The progress in vaccine research is likely to eventually be seen as one of the key breakthroughs of the early 21st century.
For companies that come up with breakthroughs, the rewards can be huge. Merck's (MRK) Gardisil, which prevents the spread of human papillomavirus (HPV), racked up more than $1 billion in sales last year. Pfizer's (PFE) Prevnar 13, which helps prevent invasive pneumococcal disease, is expected to surpass $5 billion in annual sales within a few years.
Users of handheld device can scan products and send orders directly to the company's grocery delivery service
Greg Bensinger, The Wall Street Journal
Amazon.com (AMZN) on Friday announced plans to offer a handheld device to more easily order groceries and other household goods from home.
The wand-like device, dubbed Dash, can scan product barcodes or users can speak the names of goods into a microphone to log orders to AmazonFresh grocery delivery accounts, according to a teaser video on Amazon’s website.
The device, about six inches long and an inch wide, uses a Wi-Fi connection to send the information over the Internet to the company.
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