The $19 billion WhatsApp deal could become the Facebook founder's legacy . . . or his albatross.
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Still no debt deal. More uncertainty in Europe. Tech stinking up the joint. We've been here before. The best strategy for now is to own good stocks and dividends.
No debt deal here. Lots of discord and posturing about Greek debt there. No uniform view. Some talking about selective defaults on Greek bonds, others talking about bailout terms of no certainty. To watch the decline in European markets as the discord unfolded was pretty breathtaking, although the Germans and the French keep saying they agree on a plan and that something positive is imminent.
It's always imminent with these politicians, isn't it? China didn't help either, with a purchasing managers report that could indicate a hard landing ahead -- something at odds with many other reports -- but none too positive.
All in all, it was a back-to-the-old-bad-ways night again, with my fallback defensive plan of not being all that opportunistic. Staying with a nontrading, "owning good stocks and dividends" strategy remains the best posture, and extreme caution is needed without European and American debt resolutions.
I looked at this stock about a year ago, and my thoughts are still relevant today.
Risk of growth by acquisition
Very significant portion of Brown & Brown's (BRO) growth in the past came from acquiring brokers. I am naturally skeptical of sustainability of this type of growth as it comes with the following risks:
A midcycle upgrade is coming in time for a year-end sales boost, an analyst says.
By Scott Moritz, TheStreet
Eager to flog would-be tablet competitors, Apple has modified the iPad 2 with a "slimmer profile with higher screen and camera resolution," said Rodman Renshaw analyst Ashok Kumar, citing his supply and manufacturing sources.
The midcycle upgrade appears to advance the iPad 2 but is not the full redesign expected with next year's iPad 3, Kumar said.
These shares may not be long-term holds, but they are cheap.
By Matt Koppenheffer
Fool regulars may know that although I spend most of my time looking for value-priced, dividend-paying stocks that I can own for the long term, I do occasionally like to rummage around in the bargain bin to see if there are any severely beaten-down stocks worth owning.
With these stocks, I'm not looking for cream-of-the-crop businesses that I want to own for years. I'm simply looking for decent businesses that are underpriced. I put a small amount of money into each and own them as a broader basket.
This search is far from idle. In my last go-round, one stock, Genworth Financial, was already part of personal portfolio, and three of the four others -- Bank of America (BAC), Hartford Financial Services (HIG), and Cemex -- have all been buys for me since I published that article.
Shares of the real-estate website roar out of the gate. Stock in the headphone company is not as hot.
By Joe Deaux, TheStreet
Zillow's shares closed at $35.77, up 78.9%, while Skullcandy shares were up 1.6% at $20.32.
Skullcandy reached a high of $23.40 but slowly crept down during the noon hour. Zillow opened at $20 a share, leaped to $60 in the opening minutes, then quickly fell after buyers of the initial price offer sold off at a 200% profit.
Shares slip after Amazon strikes a streaming deal with CBS.
By Jeanine Poggi, TheStreet
As part of the agreement, the e-commerce giant will allow its Prime users to stream CBS' television content. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Starting this summer, Amazon will add 2,000 episodes, growing its total number of Prime instant videos to more than 8,000 movies and television shows. It will also offer full seasons for 18 popular television series, including The Tudors, Numb3rs, Medium, the complete Star Trek franchise, Frasier and Cheers.
The move comes as Netflix has faced stark criticism from subscribers after a rate hike and outage.
Strong market performance this week has set up favorable buying opportunities in ETFs tracking consumer discretionaries, technology and consumer staples.
With giants like GE and Caterpillar ready to report earnings, these funds offer investors a range of aggressive and conservative plays in the sector.
By Don Dion, TheStreet
In the same way the financial sector dominated earnings-related headlines last week, during the latter half of this week, industrials will be front and center as leading companies like General Electric (GE) and Caterpillar (CAT) report their quarterly performances and updated outlooks.
The market's multi-week spurt of rocky action has pressured emotions recently. However, breakout numbers from these giants of industry would be a welcome dose of confidence for wearied and doubtful global investors.
ETF investors have a range of options to tap into this corner of the market. As companies step up and provide insight into the future, it may be worth putting some of these products on the watch list.
Demand should surge over the next 25 years. Consider 2 stocks and an ETF.
By Tom Taulli, InvestorPlace
For the past couple of years, natural gas has been a dud for investors. A big problem has been the surge in production, which has been driven by new innovations like fracking and horizontal drilling.
Yet this may be short-term noise. According to a report from the International Energy Agency, natural gas is poised for a golden age, with at least a 50% spike in demand by 2035.
Why the growth? There are many key factors. First, there will be a continued focus on energy sources that have lower carbon emission levels. And demand from China, India and other emerging economies should remain strong.
In addition, as seen with the Fukushima nuclear implosion in Japan, natural gas looks fairly safe. Consider that Germany recently said it will shut down 17 of its nuclear power plants.
Even at the peak of the scandal, shares went up. And the stock remains a buy, because this robust media empire puts up the numbers that Wall Street craves.
How could News Corp. (NWSA) go up almost a dollar Tuesday despite the endless grilling the Murdochs received in front of British lawmakers intent on finding out -- to use the old Watergate phrase -- "What did you know and when did you know it?"
Isn't this empire falling apart before our eyes? Isn't this the denouement of a great media empire? Isn't this a modern-day "Citizen Kane," in which a tremendous kingpin and his newspaper come crashing down, one in which you want to jump up and down and shout "Rosebud," which would have been far more effective than a shaving-cream pie in making the twilight point? Is the stock's rally just mocking us?
Hardly. In fact, this is just exactly how things play out in the stock world. Tuesday was the peak day, the day when the buck stopped at the Murdochs. And despite what I am sure will be endless attempts to keep this juicy story alive, from now on it will be more Page 6 than it is the business page, meaning that the worst is over for the business -- even if it isn't for the Murdochs, although it is probably over for them, too.
Revenue for the consumer tech giant soars 82%, and today's announcement of a new MacBook Air and Lion OS could mean even bigger sales to come.
To say Apple (AAPL) impressed Wall Street with its profit and sales results Tuesday is the understatement of the year. Kind of like saying the iPhone is nice for making calls or that Steve Jobs is pretty good with computers.
Let's put it this way: When you triple your profits and beat sales forecasts by about $3.5 billion in an environment where consumers are still skittish, you're doing fine.
And as if Tuesday's numbers weren't impressive enough, Apple grabbed headlines again Wednesday by unveiling dramatic updates with its MacBook Air, Mac mini and Lion operating system.
The company blew away expectations in its most recent quarter, but it still has some long-term worries.
- For the second quarter, Google reported earnings of $8.74 a share (excluding one-time items). That was 91 cents a share above the Wall Street consensus estimate of $7.83.
After a pullback on concerns over the US debt ceiling and the future of the eurozone, buyers reassert the strength seen in late June.
It's been a volatile couple of weeks. Investors have been held captive to the headlines -- which by nature are dynamic and unpredictable. Traders, with nowhere else to hide, flocked to the safety of precious metals and sold pretty much everything else. Treasury bonds and stocks have both been hit in recent days.
Here at home, the politicos in Washington have danced ever closer to the Aug. 2 debt ceiling deadline with seemingly irreconcilable positions on taxes and spending. And across the Atlantic, the sovereign debt contagion that pulled down Greece, Ireland and Portugal started to threaten core countries like Spain and Italy. Scary stuff.
That all changed on Tuesday as stocks and other risky assets screamed higher as these two political uncertainties -- the U.S. debt ceiling and the new Greek bailout -- move toward positive resolutions. And that sets the stage for the resumption of the medium-term uptrend I've been writing about in my columns and blog posts lately. Here's why and how to take advantage.
Taking a position ahead of quarterly results, even if they are better than expected, can be risky, but assessing technical outlook can provide a valuable edge.
Shares of the tech powerhouse suffered their worst first-half performance since 2008 on growth worries, but investors still see upside after the stock's rebound.
By Robert Holmes, TheStreet
Apple (AAPL) shares notched yet another all-time high Monday even as the Dow Jones Industrial Average ($INDU) tumbled nearly 100 points, an impressive comeback for a stock that suffered its worst first-half performance in three years.
Apple, which is due to report quarterly results after the closing bell today, lost some of its shine earlier this year on worries about whether the company could sustain its high growth rate. Apple didn't hold to its schedule of launching a new iPhone iteration in June. Competition from Google (GOOG) and other handset and tablet makers intensified. Perhaps most importantly, Apple CEO Steve Jobs took yet another leave of absence for health reasons.
By June 20, Apple shares hit a low of $310.50, 3.7% below the stock's closing price at the end of 2010. Through the first six months of the year, Apple shares had their worst first-half performance since 2008, when the worst recession since the Great Depression bruised equities.
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The apparel chain takes a hard hit after blaming the weather for its quarterly sales decline. But cold temperatures don't explain the drop in full-year sales as well.
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[BRIEFING.COM] The major averages finished the Tuesday session near their lows with the Russell 2000 (-1.0%) leading the slide. The S&P 500 lost 0.5% with nine sectors ending in the red.
Equities indices started the day with modest gains and spent the first two hours of action in the neighborhood of their flat lines. Although the early trade lacked clear sector leadership, that could have been overlooked due to the strength among heavily-weighted sectors like health care (-0.3%), ... More
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