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Intuitive Surgical is upgraded to 'buy,' and ConAgra is initiated with a 'buy.'

By MSN Money Partner Jul 25, 2012 11:11AM
Information provided by Theflyonthewall.com

Wednesday's noteworthy upgrades include:  
  • Amgen (AMGN) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse
  • Domino's Pizza (DPZ) upgraded to Conviction Buy from Neutral at Goldman
  • Group 1 Automotive (GPI) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Goldman
 

This retailer is a new addition to a portfolio that focuses on stocks showing buyback activity.

By TheStockAdvisors Jul 25, 2012 10:53AM

By David Fried, The Buyback Letter

 

Clothing giant The Gap (GPS), a new addition to our Buyback Portfolio, is one of the world's largest specialty retailers, with some 3,200 stores in 39 countries.

 

Founded in 1969 and based in San Francisco, Calif., the company has five of the most recognized apparel brands in the world -- Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, Piperlime and Athleta. The company is focusing on growing internationally and gaining market share at home by offering items at lower prices and improving its merchandise selection.

 
Tags: GPS

New moves aimed at making money are fine, but not when you anger users along the way.

By Kim Peterson Jul 25, 2012 10:43AM
Facebook (FB) raised $16 billion in its initial public offering in May, but it wants more. Since the social networking site went public, it's been trying out a number of ways to boost its numbers.

Some of the moves have been downright infuriating, such as switching everyone's email address to a facebook.com address. Others have been just annoying, such as the new "sponsored stories" that now appear in feeds.

Nearly every move appears designed to make Facebook more money by increasing traffic, showing users more ads or persuading them to pay more. 

The soft drink and snacks giant posts better than expected results.

By Jonathan Berr Jul 25, 2012 10:40AM

Shares of PepsiCo (PEP) rose some 1.2% in early trading Wednesday after the drinks and snacks company posted quarterly results that were less awful than Wall Street expected.

 

Net income at the Purchase, New York company fell to $1.49 billion, or 94 cents per share, versus $1.89 billion, or $1.17, a year earlier. Excluding one-time items, profit was $1.12 a share, beating the $1.09 average estimate of Wall Street analysts. Revenue fell 2.2% to $16.5 billion.

 
Tags: KOPEP

We have some winners over losers and some cyclical trends that only some companies are playing in.

By Jim Cramer Jul 25, 2012 10:35AM

Whom do you trust?


Do you trust Norfolk Southern (NSC) with great volumes in chemicals, oil, wood and automotive, with some possible turn in coal? Or do you trust UPS (UPS), which talked about business falling off a cliff. Do you trust Riverbed (RVBD), Broadcom (BRCM) andAltera (ALTR), all talking about increased telecom and wireless spending, or do you fret about Apple (AAPL)? Do you buy into Buffalo Wild Wings' (BWLD) sudden decline in growth or do you bank with Panera (PNRA) Wednesday and Domino's (DPZ) Tuesday?

 

The former Googler has an impressive resume as one of Silicon Valley's foremost engineers and managers, but can she save the struggling company?

By TheWeek.com Jul 25, 2012 10:09AM

Yahoo's (YHOO) new CEO Marissa Mayer is not facing an easy road as she takes on an ailing company. But the 37-year-old former Google (GOOG) exec differs from predecessors like Scott Thompson and Carol Bartz in that she seems to have a large slice of the tech world rooting for her success.


Her hiring was praised as a "surprising coup" for Yahoo, since Mayer oversaw the development of some of Google's most popular products, including search, Gmail, Google News, Google Images, and Google Maps. Though Yahoo has seen revenue growth stall as more users migrate to other sites like Facebook, Mayer can take a number of incremental steps to improve the legendary web company. 

 

Stocks of both companies doubled this year on hope their drugs will be approved for sale in the US.

By Minyanville.com Jul 25, 2012 9:40AM

A pair of biotech companies -- Amarin (AMRN) and Horizon Pharma (HZNP) -- are expected to find out by Thursday whether key experimental drugs pass muster for U.S. approval. Stocks of both companies have roughly doubled this year on expectations that the drugs will be cleared for sale.

 

But that's where the similarities end. Amarin, which developed a heart medicine made of fish oil, has grown to a $2 billion market value company. Closing at $14.83 Tuesday, the stock can climb higher, some analysts say. (The Irish company's American shares trade on Nasdaq (NASDAQ).)

 
Tags: AMRNGSK

The iPad maker reports disappointing quarterly results, while the heavy machinery maker surprises to the upside.

By MSN Money Partner Jul 25, 2012 9:01AM
By Joseph Woelfel, TheStreet.com

Apple (AAPL), the iPhone, iPad and iPod maker, missed Wall Street's expectations on the top and bottom lines in the third quarter and issued weak guidance after the markets closed Tuesday. Apple reported third-quarter earnings of $9.32 a share on revenue of $35.02 billion for the three months ended in June. Analysts expected a profit of $10.37 a share on revenue of $37.18 billion. Apple shares were down 4.6% in pre-market trading at last check.

During the earnings conference call, Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer cited several reasons for the revenue and earnings miss, including economic weakness in Europe, Australia, Canada, and Brazil. He also said consumer speculation about new products was delaying some purchasing and that a delay with Intel's (INTC) Ivy Bridge chips hurt Mac sales in April and May. 

The company was particularly hurt by weakness and uncertainty in Europe.

By Benzinga Jul 24, 2012 5:58PM
By Viktor Puskorius

DuPont (DD) shares fell 2% Tuesday to close at $47.74 after the company beat Wall Street expectations on profit but missed on revenue. DuPont also revised its full-year outlook.


The company reported a profit of $1.18 billion, or $1.25 a share, a 3% decrease from a year earlier. On an adjusted basis, profit of $1.48 per share beat analyst estimates of $1.46 a share. Sales rose 7% to $11 billion, missing the average analyst estimate of $11.25 billion.

 

Analysts had high expectations, but a slowdown in iPhone sales hurt the quarter in a big way.

By Kim Peterson Jul 24, 2012 5:00PM
This is where you see the downside of all the iPhone hype.

Everyone knows a new iPhone is coming soon, and as a result, people are delaying iPhone purchases until the next version is out. So now Apple (AAPL) finds itself in a new boom-and-bust cycle for its most important product -- and the quarter reported Tuesday definitely fell into the bust side. 
Tags: AAPL

Normally, 1 or 2 of the company's top 10 markets might struggle. Now, for the first time, it's seeing trouble across the board.

By Jim J. Jubak Jul 24, 2012 4:28PM
That was one depressing conference call. Oh, not because the results McDonald's (MCD) announced Monday were so bad or because the company slashed guidance. McDonald's did miss Wall Street's earnings estimates by 6 cents a share, but that was the result of a strong dollar that took 7 cents a share out of earnings.

No, what was really depressing was that the results demonstrated that not even McDonald's can escape the effects of the global economic slowdown -- and that the company's assessment of the global economy was so negative. 
 
Tags: MCDYUM

With its favorable funding mix, improved core business performance, and expansion strategies, the commercial bank should continue to yield profitable earnings in the upcoming quarters.

By Zacks.com Jul 24, 2012 2:09PM

Image: Cash machine (© Compassionate Eye Foundation/Getty Images/Getty Images)By Zacks Equity Research
 

Regions Financial Corporation's (RF) second-quarter 2012 earnings from continuing operations came in at 20 cents per share, outshining the Zacks consensus estimate by 6 cents. Moreover, the results compare favorably with the 14 cents per share reported in the prior quarter.


Quarterly results benefited from improved net interest margin and better credit quality backed by lower loan loss provisions and reduced non-performing assets. Moreover, improved funding mix and decline in non-interest expenses were the positives for the quarter. Yet, lower top-line, aided by reduced non-interest income was a dampener.

 
Tags: RF

The company launches a generous education program to help new employees pick up high-demand skills. But some people question the motive.

By TheWeek.com Jul 24, 2012 1:36PM

Image: Amazon.com logo © EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty ImagesThis week, visitors to Amazon's (AMZN) homepage were greeted with an open letter from CEO Jeff Bezos seeking employees for the company's storage and distribution warehouses. The main draw is a new education initiative called the Amazon Career Choice Program, which will pay up to $8,000 over four years to equip employees with "high-demand" skills in engineering, information technology, or nursing. Bezos also touted improved safety conditions at Amazon's warehouses, which have been criticized as "sweatshops" after reports that employees at one warehouse were working in 100-plus-degree temperatures and needed medical care. 


So, while some praise Bezos' education drive, others see a huge public relations stunt. 

 
Tags: AMZN

Stocks slide as US companies continue to indicate caution with their guidance and Moody's signals worries about more debt fallout in Europe.

By MSN Money Partner Jul 24, 2012 1:07PM
Information provided by Theflyonthewall.com

Dow components Du Pont (DD) and AT&T (T) both slid after reporting earnings that beat expectations but revenues that were below consensus. However, the biggest drag on the Dow was Cisco (CSCO), down 5.5%, after RBC Capital said it believes that VMware's (VMW) purchase of Nicira may impact Cisco's long-term data center growth prospects. Also, Cisco announced yesterday afternoon that it plans to cut about 2% of its workforce.

UPS (UPS) reported results that missed consensus on the top and bottom line and cut its full-year earnings view, citing lowered economic growth expectations. Specifically, UPS said it thinks U.S. GDP forecasts are too high and that the company sees U.S. GDP growth coming in closer to 1% in the second half of this year. 
 

The celebration, however, may be short-lived as massive defense spending cuts loom.

By Jonathan Berr Jul 24, 2012 12:33PM
Lockheed Martin (LMT), the world's largest defense contractor, reported better-than-expected quarterly results Tuesday as the U.S. Congress tries to avoid historic cuts to the Pentagon's budget. The company also raised its earnings forecast.

Profit from continuing operations at the Bethesda, Md., company rose 5% to $781 million, or $2.38 per share, versus $748 million, or $2.16 per share, in the year-ago period, fueled by gains in the company's aeronautics, electronic systems and space systems businesses. Sales rose to $11.92 billion. Wall Street analysts expected Lockheed Martin to earn $1.91 on revenue of $11.29 billion.
 
Tags: LMT

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[BRIEFING.COM] The headlines generally favored Tuesday being another good day for the stock market.  Instead, it was just a mixed day with modest point changes on either side of the unchanged mark for the major indices.

For the most part, the stock market was a sideshow.  The main trading events were seen in the commodity and Treasury markets, both of which saw some decent-sized losses within their respective complex.

Dollar strength was at the heart of the weakness in ... More


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