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The fast-food company is taking another step in its push to move into the premium category.
When most consumers think of Burger King (BKC), they think of cheap eats for their lunch break. But a look at some recent menu experimentation shows BK is looking to change that with a push into the premium arena via higher-priced, higher-quality food.
Take an upscale Burger King brunch menu in test markets, including cibatta breakfast sandwiches and mimosas. Or its summer ribs promotion, which was so successful that Burger King sold out of ribs early.
Or consider Burger King's latest push for upscale eats -- Whopper Bars in select areas, offering some rather spectacular reinventions of its Whopper.
A week ago, we thought Macy's, with its strong performance, was an outlier. Turns out it was the consensus.
By Jim Cramer, TheStreet
Total retail forgiveness. Have we forgotten how much we hated Bed Bath's (BBBY) quarter? Are we overlooking the fact that we thought Ross (ROST) had decelerated? Anyone remember that we were unhappy with Kohl's (KSS), that it was a miss? Did we overlook that Gap (GPS) can't turn or that Sears (SHLD) ain't no Home Depot (HD)?
BJ's (BJ) missed, didn't it? Shouldn't it be down three instead of one? Target (TGT)? What was so hot about it? The stock opened down yesterday, for heaven's sake. I thought: Hmm, good call I made to get out of that. But the decline sure didn't last long!
This market has suddenly, after earnings from Home Depot and Wal-Mart (WMT), developed a lighter touch. Suddenly we are talking about refinancing and how the consumer is getting more liquid.
The depressed economy has reduced operating costs so much that Indian outsourcing isn't as attractive.
The global economy is changing quickly, causing this unexpected turn: Call-center jobs are coming back to America from India.
Customer-support employees are becoming just as cheap to hire here as in India, the head of a large outsourcing company in India tells the Financial Times.
Blame the high unemployment level in the U.S., which has driven down wages. People are willing to accept less money and are more open to working in low-skilled jobs in customer support.
Wall Street is undergoing an attitude adjustment. And that's good news for stocks.
It was a classic turnaround Tuesday as stocks moved decisively higher. The smallest and riskiest stocks led the way, with the Russell 2000 gaining 1.8%. Small caps are up another 0.8% in mid-day trading Wednesday.
Investors were encouraged overnight by rumors the Bank of Japan was intervening to stem the rise in the yen, successful bond issuances by Spain and Ireland, and a better-than-expect report on U.S. industrial production. Also a $39 billion offer by Aussie materials goliath BHP Billiton (BHP) for fertilizer maker Potash of Saskatchewan (POT) reignited hopes for a flashy mergers boom as all the money being funneled into the bond market eventually finds its way into stocks.
A good overview of the situation was sent around trading desks by Barclays Capital strategists.
Sales will suffer as long as high unemployment persists, experts say.
Refinancing jumped 17% in the week ended Aug. 13, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association's index. It hit the highest level since May 2009.
But home purchases fell 3.4%. Home sales are going to suffer as long as the unemployment rate hovers at 10%, experts say.
So what does this say about the economy?
American Airlines offers to move fliers to the front of coach, but only if they pay.
American Airlines (AMR) is introducing a new fee for customers who fly coach.
If you want to get into the first few rows, it'll cost an extra $19 to $39 for a one-way flight. But here's a twist: You can buy these "Express Seats" only at airport self-service check-in machines.
The idea is to upsell customers at the airport and persuade them to pay just a little more for a better seat. Gone are the days when you could just move into one of the open seats in front once you board.
Shares drop after an analyst at Morgan Keegan docks the company on a potential increase in content costs.
By Jeanine Poggi, TheStreet
Netflix (NFLX) is stumbling after an analyst cut its rating to "underperform."
Morgan Keegan analyst Justin Patterson is particularly concerned about content costs related to Netflix's new deal with EPIX, a joint venture with Viacom (VIA), Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios and Lions Gate Entertainment (LFG) that could add up to 20,000 new titles to Netflix's streaming content.
Patterson estimates that the EPIX deal could cost Netflix about $1.10 a subscriber per month, "providing other content owners with a baseline for negotiations and limiting Netflix's flexibility to obtain more digital content without eroding margins."
But reluctant broadcasters are doing their best to ensure it fails to connect with viewers.
By Anthony Agnello, InvestorPlace.com
Television has come a long way since TV sets became commercially available in the 1930s, and the medium continues to evolve as the world gets more wired. Now you don't even need a cable to get "cable" from companies like DirecTV (DTV), and you can watch some of your favorite shows online whenever you want.
So what's the future of the telly? To hear Google (GOOG) tell it, viewers will start using set-top boxes to stream on demand, store show preferences and surf the Web from their sofa in between episodes of "Family Guy."
And the Internet giant is determined to get this next-gen technology on the market this fall, branded as Google TV.
The automaker has much in common with Webvan, a Silicon Valley company that flopped after going public 10 years ago.
By Eric Jackson, TheStreet
Every 10 years or so, the smart folks in Silicon Valley select some inefficient industry run by dummies that they want to set straight and revolutionize. Ten years ago, there were smart entrepreneurs (with Internet backgrounds), with even smarter venture capitalists behind them, who started a company called Webvan. It was designed to transform grocery shopping. People would no longer go to brick-and-mortar stores, they said. Instead they'd buy all their groceries online.
After raising hundreds of millions of dollars and going public, Webvan failed. The smart Web entrepreneurs overlooked some basics about running a grocery business -- online or offline -- like the need for big, expensive distribution centers. Maybe if they'd had some grocery execs in the fold (on the management team or board), they might have thought of that "key success factor" for operating in that industry.
Awful second-quarter earnings from Vestas show that wind power is still a poor investment at the mercy of government spending.
By Jim Cramer, TheStreet
If the government is subsidizing it, particularly if the government is that of Spain or the U.S., you can forget about sales, no matter how hot the product seems to be.
That's my feeling after seeing the stunning earnings miss by Vestas, the Denmark wind turbine company. The second-quarter loss of 119 million euros -- plus a sales forecast that shaves a billion euros off previous guidance, from 7 billion to 6 billion -- is a reminder that spending on alternative energy is a loser if it isn't economical.
Vestas isn't a metaphor for wind. It is a metaphor for everything that doesn't make money but exists because a government wants to wean its country off of carbon. The privilege of doing so is now too expensive, whether it be for switchgrass (really expensive, according to a great piece Tuesday from JPMorgan's "Eye of the Market") or ethanol or solar.
Reports out of Taiwan say Apple has asked manufacturers to produce a 7-inch iPad.
A Taiwanese newspaper reports that Apple (AAPL) is preparing a smaller iPad with a 7-inch screen, one that could launch by Christmas, according to PC World.
The current iPad has a 9.7-inch screen (measured diagonally) and weighs 1.5 pounds. A smaller iPad would weigh less and cost less than the original model. Plus, it would be even more portable.
Why would Apple go this route? As Business Insider points out, it wants to own the tablet market. Other rivals are quickly developing their own tablets (and will probably sell those for less), and Apple is trying to extend its lead with different sizes and pricing options.
Shares tumble after the clothing retailer reveals it might not make it through the year.
By Jeanine Poggi, TheStreet
American Apparel's (APP) stock is taking a bloodbath after the clothier warned that its dwindling liquidity may not be enough to sustain it through the year.
The company said Tuesday that it may be unable to repay a loan due in September and that it is in talks with creditors. As of the end of the second quarter, its debt rose 32% to $120.3 million.
American Apparel said it would delay its second-quarter earnings report after its accounting firm, Deloitte & Touche, resigned last month. The company found a new auditor, Marcum, but said Tuesday that it has received a federal subpoena related to the switch.
Shares were plunging 22.3% Tuesday to $1.08 shortly before the market close and have fallen more than 60% in the past three months.
The company is well-positioned to supply industrial gases to growing economies.
Praxair mainly produces atmospheric and process gases, but it also makes metallic and ceramic coatings and powders. Another segment of the company builds equipment to make industrial gases.
Wall Street analysts are high on this stock, with 14 buy recommendations published based on projections of sales increases of 12.7% this year and 8.3% next year.
Research In Motion's new phone has sputtered out of the gate, giving rise to rumors of price cuts.
Well, well, looks like we have some updating to do here. There were many reports today -- here and on other sites -- that Amazon(AMZN) and other retailers had cut the price of the BlackBerry Torch in half.
As it turns out, Amazon had been selling the Torch for $99.99 all along. (The phone still costs $199.99 on AT&T's site.) The online retailer tends to deeply discount some devices at launch, perhaps as a way of attracting buyers to its service plans (Amazon gets a commission from AT&T for selling plans, a source told The Wall Street Journal).
The Amazon-chops-Torch-price story got picked up, I think, because it followed days of analysts offering dire predictions about the way the phone has been selling. That led to more doubts about the future of BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (RIMM).
Despite dramatic discounts, sales at the world's biggest retailer have fallen for the fifth straight quarter.
By Jeanine Poggi, TheStreet
Wal-Mart (WMT) reported its fifth straight quarter of U.S. sales declines, leaving investors to ask how the discount behemoth plans to regain shoppers.
While the world's largest retailer forecasts between a 2% decline and a 1% increase for third-quarter same-store sales, exactly how it plans to return to positive sales territory remains unclear.
There's no denying that the aggressive rollbacks put in place during the quarter didn't generate the traffic Wal-Mart expected.
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[BRIEFING.COM] The Russell 2000 crosssed the 1,000 level for the first time ever today and the S&P 500 established a new all-time, intraday high. Those were some of the more memorable highlights of what was an otherwise nondescript day of trading.
By and large, there just wasn't a lot of conviction on the part of either buyers or sellers. The major indices spent time on either side of the unchanged line, but never put a whole lot of distance between themselves and ... More
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