Energy boom makes oil a safe haven
Oil becomes a surprising safe haven

The idea of US crude being a shelter from turmoil abroad may not be as far fetched as it seems.


If the Supreme Court says yes, it could cost the industry billions.

By Melly Alazraki Nov 30, 2011 12:59PM

Labor disputes are common in the auto and airline industries but not so much in the pharmaceutical sector. Yet a dispute between pharmaceutical companies and their drug reps could have such serious implications for the entire industry that both sides petitioned the Supreme Court to take on a current case. On Monday the petition was granted.

The court is now set to decide whether GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has to pay overtime benefits to its sales representatives. What the court decides will have ramifications for similar cases against other Big Pharmas, including Merck (MRK), Novartis (NVS), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) and Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY) to name a few.


Could the social-networking site handle a massive offering all by itself?

By Jonathan Berr Nov 30, 2011 12:40PM
Image: Stock market Traders (© Photodisc/SuperStock)Facebook's $10 billion initial public offering, expected next year, is the among the most eagerly anticipated deals in recent memory. Wall Street bankers, though, may be sitting on the sidelines.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Facebook chief financial officer David Ebersman "has told bankers he is skeptical about the value bankers could bring to such a deal." That nugget, courtesy of anonymous sources, was designed to make the masters of the universe who arrange multi-billion dollar deals quake in their $695 Gucci loafers. It probably worked. 

Though the insurance company has been facing headwinds, there are long-term reasons for investor optimism.

By TheStockAdvisors Nov 30, 2011 11:16AM
Image: Insurance (© Hemera/age fotostock)By Richard Moroney, Dow Theory Forecasts

Aflac (AFL) ought to be reveling in its own success. As the top seller of cancer and medical insurance products in Japan, Aflac produces predictable cash flows from premiums on these policies.

But the shares have been volatile, reflecting its fight against the currents of Japan’s natural disaster and Europe’s debt crisis.

The company has grown sales 7% and per-share profits 14% over the last year, and expectations are for modest growth in 2012 (8% in sales and 4% in per-share profits). 
Tags: AFL

A coordinated intervention by the world's central banks to pump money and liquidity into the system suggests things in Europe are worse than we thought.

By Jim Cramer Nov 30, 2011 10:56AM

the street

Image: Bank Vault (© Radius Images/Jupiterimages)Things are much worse than I thought. For me, that's the real takeaway from this financial D-Day, this worldwide coordination from wealthier countries to help major banks in Europe that were clearly about to go under.


Remember, there were two risks to the situation: credit to the banks and credit to the countries. Apparently the credit had all but dried up for SocGen, for BNPParibas and maybe even for Deutsche Bank (DB). Now that credit will be freed up.


Zacks ranks this specialty retailer a strong buy and expects to see double digit earnings growth this year.

By Nov 30, 2011 10:45AM

By: Tracey Ryniec


Genesco Inc. (GCO), a specialty shoe and hat retailer, is in the sweet spot for retailing. This Zacks #1 Rank (strong buy) is expected to see double digit earnings growth this year. Shares recently soared to a new multi-year high. But surprisingly, GCO is also a value stock, with a forward P/E of 14.7.


Being involved in retail since 1924, Genesco has seen its share of both good and bad economies. Headquartered in Nashville, it now operates 2,225 footwear and headwear retail stores in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico.

Tags: GCO

The company notched an impressive gain Tuesday after telling analysts it would target DIY customers.

By Kim Peterson Nov 30, 2011 9:27AM
Image: Woman Using a Spirit Level on a Sink in a Domestic Bathroom (© Alex Wilson/Digital Vision/Getty Images)Home Depot (HD) shares saw a 5% gain Tuesday, a performance that handily beat all the other components of the Dow Jones Industrial Average ($INDU).

This stock is on a roll, rising nearly 15% in the past three months.

You'd think the company wouldn't be faring all that well. The housing market is dismal, with home prices continuing to drop. Homeowners are cash-strapped, with little money budgeted for major renovation projects. 

A single error on the company’s part can lead to dire consequences for small-scale merchants.

By Trefis Nov 30, 2011 8:16AM
Groupon's (GRPN) key pitch to merchants and small businesses is that it's the perfect alternative to traditional advertising in the newspaper and on television. However, the recent case where a U.K. bakery lost some $20,000 on a Groupon deal highlights how the company's daily-coupon structure can potentially be dangerous, especially for businesses with high marginal costs.

Groupon shares closed Tuesday at $16.01 -- well below the company's Nov. 4 IPO price of $20. 

By rejecting a settlement between Citigroup and the SEC, a Federal judge seems to have struck a blow for transparency and investor protection. But the ruling could backfire.

By The Fiscal Times Nov 29, 2011 6:53PM

By  Suzanne McGee

Maybe the Occupy Wall Street movement is making everyone just a little bit more thoughtful about the roles and responsibilities of both the financial services industry and its regulators toward investors.


At least, that’s one possible conclusion we can draw from the unexpected decision by Judge Jed Rakoff, of the  Federal District Court judge for the Southern District of New York, to nix the proposed $285 million settlement between the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) and Citigroup over allegations that the bank didn’t disclose to investors that it was involved in selecting investments for a mortgage-bond investment pool -- as it continued to sell those investments short.


The motorcycle maker's long-term strategy is running afoul with some dealers and constraining inventories of some pricier models.

By Trefis Nov 29, 2011 5:54PM
Harley Davidson (HOG), the biggest U.S. motorcycle maker, has seen shares drop by more than 12% in the last week.

CEO Keith Wandell, hoping to use Ford (F) as a template in Harley's turnaround, is streamlining production, cutting labor costs, pushing Harley into emerging markets and improving stores and customer service. 

The family that controls the iconic property has filed tentative plans for a publicly traded company.

By Kim Peterson Nov 29, 2011 5:29PM
How'd you like to own a piece of the Empire State Building? The 102-story skyscraper may be open to investors if one family gets its way.

The Malkin family, which controls the property, has filed plans with regulators for a publicly traded company that includes the building, The New York Times reports.

The filing (which you can see here) doesn't say a whole lot. It refers to a company called Empire State Building Associates, and says that the Malkin family is working to include the company in a new real estate investment trust, or REIT. 

Shares of the luxury retailer tank after it gives disappointing guidance for the current quarter.

By Jonathan Berr Nov 29, 2011 4:37PM

Image: Wedding ring (© Jamie Grill/Photolibrary/Photolibrary)Updated: 6:27 p.m. ET


Shares of Tiffany & Co. (TIF), a name synonymous with luxury, slumped Tuesday after the company spooked Wall Street with talk of "continued short-term economic challenges and uncertainties."

The stock was down 8.7% to $67.22 after Tiffany gave disappointing fourth-quarter guidance of $1.48 to $1.58 a share in earnings, way below the $1.63 analysts expected.

Tags: TIF

Europe's debt-tangle could spread to the stronger French and German economies.

By Trefis Nov 29, 2011 4:35PM

JPMorgan Chase's (JPM) stock is caught up in the undercurrent that is dragging down share prices of all financial sector firms. The bank's shares are trading around $29 -- lows the stock hasn't seen since early 2009. Clearly the fact that the bank surpassed rival Bank of America (BAC) to become the largest in the U.S. in terms of total assets last quarter did not help its stock much.


In view of the weak global economic conditions -- primarily escalating debt in Europe -- and the string of lawsuits concerning the bank, we reviewed our analysis for JPMorgan and revised our price estimate for its stock from $45 to $39.


Central European Distribution has seen plenty of interest this year -- but its businesses remain troubled.

By Jim J. Jubak Nov 29, 2011 4:28PM
A Russian billionaire has bought a piece of Central European Distribution (CEDC), one of the world's largest vodka producers, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission.

Premium vodka maker Russian Standard and its chairman, Roustam Tariko, filed notice with regulators Monday stating that they had acquired a 9.9% stake in Central European Distribution. The stake of 7.2 million shares was acquired between Nov. 15 and Nov. 21 for an average price of $3.52 a share. The SEC filing calls this a strategic investment.

Being right for the wrong reasons

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day Nov 29, 2011 3:50PM

By Morgan Housel


In December 2007, I wrote an article titled "The Impending Destruction of the U.S. Economy." It was one of the more popular articles I've written for The Motley Fool. Readers cheered along with its message. It received almost no pushback or rebuttals -- a rarity. I still get the occasional laudatory email to this day.


And it was almost entirely wrong.


The article was straightforward: The economy was buried in debt, and the chicken was coming home to roost. That part was right, and late 2007 indeed marked the beginning of a debt-fueled recession that lingers today.


Short-term concerns are creating long-term value for this maker of high-tech controller chips.

By TheStockAdvisors Nov 29, 2011 3:03PM
By Paul McWilliams, Next Inning

I think the critical market factors that are needed to drive growth at Marvell Technology Group (MRVL) in 2012 will materialize and be solid throughout the year.

If I'm right in this assessment, I think Wall Street will wake up to the value of the story sometime during the next six to 12 months. 
Tags: MRVL


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[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market capped the trading week with losses across the major averages. The S&P 500 fell 0.5% to surrender its weekly gain, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (-0.7%) and Russell 2000 (-0.9%) underperformed. The two indices posted respective losses of 0.8% and 0.6% for the week.

Equity indices were pressured from the get-go after several heavyweights disappointed the market with their earnings and/or guidance, which led to some broader profit-taking. After ... More


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