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The home-furnishings chain is only the latest retailer to serve up a disappointing outlook as consumer malaise spreads.

By MoneyShow.com Jun 22, 2012 12:54PM

By Igor Greenwald, MoneyShow.com


The list of retailers disappointed by their customers' rediscovered thrift grows ever longer. It's not exactly curtains for consumers yet, but neither are they buying curtains with the expected zeal, as Thursday evening's disappointing forecast from Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) confirms.


The home-furnishings chain's stock is on sale Friday after the earnings and same-store sales forecasts fell short of hopes, and the CEO acknowledged on the conference call "the ongoing economic challenges affecting consumers."

 

The real-estate investment trust has recently priced a secondary offering of 11 million shares to raise money for acquisitions and other purposes.

By Zacks.com Jun 22, 2012 12:40PM

By Zacks Equity Research

 

Sunstone Hotel Investors (SHO), a real-estate investment trust, recently priced a secondary offering of 11 million shares at $10.45 each. To cover any over-allotments, Sunstone also plans to offer a 30-day option to the underwriters for purchasing an additional 1.65 million shares.


The net proceeds from the offering will be contributed to its subsidiary, Sunstone Hotel Partnership, LLC, in exchange for additional membership units in the operating partnership.

 
Tags: HSTSHO

The long-awaited downgrade could have been much worse.

By InvestorPlace Jun 22, 2012 12:28PM

By Dan Burrows


Welcome to wacky world of Wall Street, where up is sometimes down and black is often white.


A total of 15 giant banks and securities firms in the U.S. and abroad suffered a credit downgrade at the hands of Moody's (MCO) -- in some cases bringing the quality of their debt perilously close to junk status -- and yet financial stocks rose smartly on the news.


So what's up with that? When it comes to the market, bad news is good news when it's not as bad as expected.

 

The discount chain is competitive on prices, but more of its customers are still turning to the online retailer.

By Kim Peterson Jun 22, 2012 12:27PM
Walmart © Bloomberg/Getty ImagesIf you're shopping for a DVD -- say, the first season of "Glee" -- would you find a better price at Amazon (AMZN) or Wal-Mart (WMT)?

Many of us would say Amazon, but Wal-Mart offered a better deal Friday on that DVD, both in its stores and on its website. Amazon charged $26.87 for the disc set, while Wal-Mart charged $24.96.

In fact, Wal-Mart beats Amazon time and time again on pricing, a study by research the firm Kantar Retail found. But Wal-Mart doesn't advertise this fact at all, and more of its customers are jumping to Amazon all the time. 
Tags: AMZNWMT

Cigarette makers resort to raising prices periodically to make up for declining sales.

By Trefis Jun 22, 2012 12:17PM
Altria Group (MO) and Reynolds American (RAI) have raised the prices of their cigarette packs by six cents. This is the first round of price hikes implemented this year. The tobacco companies raised the prices of cigarettes twice last year, the second of which was in December 2011.  

The move is yet to be matched by Lorillard, which has decided to let the prices remain unchanged for now. The six cents hike works out to be an increase of 1.5% for Marlboro, which represents 87% of Altria's volume.
 
Tags: MORAI

Because of investor pessimism they are cheap, but they boast high dividend yields and returns on equity.

By MSN Money Partner Jun 22, 2012 11:32AM
By Sheldon Liber

Someone asked me recently if I had taken a look at Total SA (TOT), the French oil company. Any contrarian investor has to be giving some thought to depressed oil stocks lately, and even more so if they happen to be headquartered in Europe. Oil stocks -- and energy stocks in general -- always appear somewhere on my radar screen.

 

Total is a giant company with a capitalization of $98.7 billion. For comparison, I examined Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A) of the Netherlands and Statoil ASA (STO) of Norway. Shell is more than twice the size of Total at $206.5 billion, and Statoil is comparable at $73.2 billion.

 

SuperValu is upgraded to 'neutral,' and Facebook is initiated with a 'buy.'

By MSN Money Partner Jun 22, 2012 10:46AM
Information provided by Theflyonthewall.com

Friday's noteworthy upgrades include:  
  • Corning (GLW) upgraded to Neutral from Underweight at JPMorgan
  • SXC Health Solutions (SXCI) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse
  • The Fresh Market (TFM) upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at Piper Jaffray
 

MSN Money's Charley Blaine answers readers' questions about the economic factors affecting US household finances.

By MSN Money Partner Jun 22, 2012 10:45AM

Concerned about your net worth over the coming months and years? In this video, MSN Money markets reporter Charley Blaine explains the economic forces affecting long-term job growth, as well as the possibility of a higher tax burden on average taxpayers.

As he answers questions from MSN Money's Facebook community, Blaine also comments on global currencies.

 

Even wise risk-taking can result in horrific hits. But as long as they're contained to a piece of your portfolio, you should be able to handle them.

By Jim Cramer Jun 22, 2012 9:48AM

When you speculate, you are going to lose some money. Fact of life. It's just what happens.

 

The concept is alien to many people who speculate, though, and some do nothing but speculation. Unlike most others who talk and write about stocks, I have been adamant that speculation can be part of anyone's portfolio. I think it should be a part of it if you want to stay engaged.

 

The two builders plan to develop a huge community in Lake Forest, California.

By Zacks.com Jun 22, 2012 9:38AM

By Zacks Equity Research

 

Toll Brothers, Inc. (TOL) entered into a partnership with Shea Baker Ranch LLC, a member of the Shea family of companies, to develop Baker Ranch, a master-planned community in Lake Forest, California.

 

Designed to cater to a variety of buyer profiles and price points, Baker Ranch will have three segments offering single-family attached, detached and multi-family homes. Baker Ranch will have about 1,780 single-family homes and 414 rental apartments. The construction is expected to start from fall of 2012. The company expects to offer homes for sales by spring of 2014.

 
Tags: LENTOL

After China, the restaurant chain seeks to expand further.

By Trefis Jun 22, 2012 9:22AM
TrefisMcDonald's Corporation (MCD) is lining up investments in South Africa and India as it looks to increase its penetration in these countries, which have traditionally lagged behind that of China.

McDonald's comparable restaurant sales growth in May disappointed with APMEA (Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa), in particular, declining 1.7%. After gaining more than 40% in 2011, McDonald's stock price has declined by about 10% in 2012. 
Tags: MCD

The restaurant chain reports quarterly results, and the beverage company is being added to the S&P 500.

By MSN Money Partner Jun 22, 2012 8:53AM
By Michael Baron, TheStreet.com

Shares of Darden Restaurants (DRI) fell in pre-market action after the Orlando-based company posted in-line earnings for its fiscal fourth quarter but came in slightly short on the top line. The company, which also announced a 16% increase in its quarterly dividend, attributed the sales shortfall to "same-restaurant sales declines at both Olive Garden and Red Lobster that reflected less effective than anticipated nationally advertised promotions."


Darden also said it expects the business environment in fiscal 2013 to be "very similar" to what it experienced in fiscal 2012. The stock was last quoted at $48.86, down 3%, on volume of less than 30,000, according to Nasdaq.com. Darden forecast blended same-restaurant sales growth of 1%-to-2% for fiscal 2013 from its Red Lobster, Olive Garden and Longhorn Steakhouse concepts, a projection that it said is "just below" its long-term target.

 

Ratings cuts can cost global banks big money. But regional banks could find opportunity in the fallout.

By Jim J. Jubak Jun 21, 2012 6:19PM
Thursday's downgrade of 15 big global banks is just the latest stop on Moody's Investor Service's world tour of the financial sector. 

In February, Moody's announced it would review the credit ratings of 17 global investment banks. On May 14, it downgraded the credit ratings of Italian banks UniCredit and Intesa Sanpaolo (ISNPY). On May 18 it downgraded 16 Spanish banks, including Banco Santander (SAN). June 6 brought downgrades to seven German and three Austrian banks.

Thursday, Moody’s downgraded Bank of America, Barclays, BNP Paribas, Citigroup, Credit Agricole, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, Royal Bank of Canada, Royal Bank of Scotland Group, Societe Generale, and UBS. (Moody’s had already downgraded Macquarie Group and Nomura Holdings on March 15.)
 

The tech titan introduces a phone featuring a next-level start screen, Nokia maps and a renewed focus on mobile payments.

By TheWeek.com Jun 21, 2012 4:39PM

On Wednesday, a revolving cast of Microsoft (MSFT) execs took the stage in San Francisco to showcase Windows Phone 8, the eagerly awaited update to their mobile operating system. 

It's been a busy week for the crew from Redmond: The company made waves on Monday when it unveiled a snappy new line of keyboard-equipped tablets called Surface, which some consider the toughest challenge yet to Apple's (AAPL) market-dominating iPad. Does Windows Phone 8 resonate with the technorati, too?

 
Tags: AAPLMSFT

The department store chain could be suffering from the same worrying trend as JC Penney: shoppers downgrading to discount retailers.

By Minyanville Jun 21, 2012 4:31PM
JC Penney (JCP) has lost sales in its changeover to an everyday low-pricing strategy, but those customers haven't moved disproportionately to Kohl's (KSS), its most direct competitor.

I was surprised since, as a rule, dissatisfied department store customers generally switch to another department store. Instead, JC Penney customers have dropped out of the category altogether and traded down to discount stores. 

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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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