The Dow has run up to -- and been turned away from -- 16,000 twice before.
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Calm down about the delay rumors. A less-than-credible Taiwanese brokerage suggests production problems, and Apple shares fall.
But here's the thing: Apple hasn't announced any launch date for the iPad 2. Heck, Apple hasn't even announced an iPad 2 yet. The media and analysts have created an imaginary launch date, and now people are freaking out because that date may be missed. Give it a rest already.
Apple shares dropped nearly 3% Tuesday after two analysts in Taiwan said the iPad 2 may be delayed till June from April because of production bottlenecks at Hon Hai Precision Industry, one of Apple's manufacturing partners in Taipei. The analysts said the delay came after Apple made design changes before the Lunar New Year, Bloomberg reported. The analysts, Vincent Chen and Alison Chen, work for Yuanta Securities.
A sharp rise in cotton prices has been a boon for a fund that tracks them, but it remains a wildly volatile investment.
By Don Dion, TheStreet
Here are five exchange-traded funds to keep your eyes on this week.
Cotton has been a standout in the recent commodities rally, and last week it surpassed $2 a pound for the first time.
The relentless multi-month ascension has been a boon for the iPath Dow Jones UBS Cotton Total Return Subindex ETN, which, prior to Friday's sell-off, was trading in previously unexplored territory.
BAL's performance has been breathtaking, but I urge conservative investors to look elsewhere for agriculture exposure. As we saw with Friday's heavy dip, BAL remains a wildly volatile product. If cotton prices follow up Friday's tumble with additional losses, investors holding BAL will be in for a rocky ride.
The violence in Libya is weighing down stocks, but it will not ultimately harm the earnings of many companies.
I never like these weird days off, when we are gone and they aren't. But I particularly don't like them now, when the books are all one and the same -- so, basically, we have to get Monday's hammering plus Tuesday's hammering.
There are two ways to approach this kind of baked-in sell-off. You can decide that it is just the beginning of a larger downward slide, or you can make a bet that things will get better and pick your opportunities.
My instinct during this period is to err on the side that it is baked in and that selling now would mean locking in losses from Middle East unrest that, most likely, will not harm the numbers of most of the companies I want to buy. It will hurt the consumers of oil, but I don't want those anyway.
So I take the "beginning of the end" off the table.
The No. 2 pizza chain hopes some new items will help it take a bite out of Pizza Hut's market share.
The company's focus is still pizza, of course. But now customers can get boneless chicken with any of these dipping sauces: hot, BBQ, ranch, blue cheese and sweet mango habanero. Chicken wings are also available in hot, sweet mango habanero and BBQ flavors.
The offerings come as Domino's cruises to a 52-week high. The stock zoomed as high as $17.61 last week but dropped to $17.14 Friday (markets are closed Monday). The stock has soared 31% in the past six months.
What makes Domino's so hot? Net income growth has been sluggish, writes TheStreet, but the company makes up for that with revenue growth, reasonable debt levels, good cash flow and a largely solid financial position.
Time to take a long-short absolute-return approach to your trading.
Stocks gained more ground last week on the strength of powerful earnings and merger and acquisition activity. The S&P 500 added 1% to its impressive streak of gains in 2011.
I’ve seen this sort of market before. Just when you think stocks should go down, they go up. What gives?
The bottom line is that the further removed we get from the recession and financial crisis, the more confident investors become. More and more investors are buying stocks for any number of reasons.
The cycle is as old as the hills, but at some point the music will indeed stop or at least take a breather.
That’s why I will once again this week recommend the ProShares Short Russell 2000 (RWM) for ETF traders.
A new fund that tracks the industry is an expensive marketing ploy, critics say.
The fund is called First Trust Nasdaq CEA Smartphone Index(FONE), and the ETF is bound to generate some excitement, as investors already are enthused about smart phones and sector leaders like Apple (AAPL).
But critics are already saying it's unnecessary and too narrow. It tracks the Nasdaq OMX CEA smart-phone index, which is made up of 73 companies, Morningstar reports. U.S. companies, including Apple and Motorola Solutions (MSI), are the bulk of the index, with about 44% of assets. Companies from Taiwan, Japan and South Korea are also represented.
Analysts say tens of millions of tablet computers will appear at companies within 5 years.
The list of companies that now use the iPad in their offices is growing, including General Electric (GE), Wells Fargo (WFM) and Medtronic (MDT), The New York Times reports. Apple says at least 80% of Fortune 100 companies are using or testing the iPad.
But this is just the beginning for tablet computers in the workplace. As companies such as Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) and Research in Motion (RIMM) debut their own tablets this year, the devices will spring up across the office.
One analyst told the Times he expects tens of millions of tablets in American offices by 2015. "It will be the fastest uptake of any device in the enterprise ever," he added. "Faster than PCs, faster than laptops and faster than smart phones."
After months of underperformance compared with US equities, emerging-market stocks are moving higher on renewed dollar weakness.
One of the most popular investing themes of the past few years looks ready for a resurrection. I'm talking about foreign stocks, which attracted a lot of attention in 2009 and 2010 because of the exposure they offered to fast-growing economies like China and Brazil.
All that changed over the past six months as a new problem bubbled to the surface: inflation, driven by higher food and fuel prices. There are structural reasons foreign economies were more sensitive to rising prices. Alas, as the likes of China and Brazil tightened policy in response -- via interest-rate hikes, capital controls and tighter bank capital requirements -- investors fled out of fear of diminished economic growth. At the same time, the U.S. economy revved up.
As a result, since Oct. 1, the S&P 500 has climbed nearly 18%, while the iShares Emerging Markets (EEM) has added only 4.3%. Investors responded by pulling cash out of emerging-market mutual funds in a big way. Year to date, they've pulled a fifth of the record-setting $95 billion they put to work in EM during 2010, according to EPFR data. But now, for the first time since December, emerging-market stocks are perking up.
The company has farmed nearly a third of its new plane to other countries, and that's created some headaches.
Could Boeing's excessive reliance on outsourcing be to blame? That's the topic explored by Michael Hiltzik of The Los Angeles Times this week. About 30% of the Dreamliner is made in other countries -- far more than the 5% in Boeing's well-known 747 airplane.
Now, if Boeing outsourced well and saved money in the process, that would be one thing. But it didn't, and the list of mistakes it made in enlisting offshore help serves as a warning to other companies hoping to cut costs.
Some pieces made by foreign suppliers didn't fit together, Hiltzik writes. Vendors couldn't provide enough parts on time, contributing to delays. Boeing began asking subcontractors to do some of the engineering, and one supplier didn't even have an engineering staff.
What Wall Street is missing about the computer maker.
Most of us Fools are very interested in unloved, unknown, and undervalued stocks. Dell isn't exactly unknown, but according to contributor Chris Baines, two out of three ain't bad -- it's absolutely great.
Rex Moore, Motley Fool Top Stocks Editor
Please excuse my enthusiasm. I've been screaming at the top of my lungs about Dell's (DELL) undervaluation ever since I joined the Fool crew (and long before that on CAPS). I even wrote an open letter to Larry Ellison pointing out what a wonderful acquisition Dell would make. Unlike many un-Foolish commentators I like to put my money where my mouth is (and vice versa): I'm a Dell owner.
If you want to put new money into commodities, there are better copper plays than BHP Billiton.
Germany's takeover of the NYSE, Pepsi's plunge into the food wars and J.C. Penney's Google gaming were among the week's biggest business blunders.
By TheStreet Staff, TheStreet
Here is this week's roundup of the dumbest actions on Wall Street.
5. Das NYSE is kaput
Wall Street on Tuesday went apoplectic over the announcement that Germany's Deutsche Boerse would buy a controlling stake in NYSE Euronext (NYX). Shortly after the announcement the media was filled with an interesting mix of whining, xenophobia and self loathing from all sides of the political spectrum.
Donald Trump was quoted as saying "I think it's ridiculous that this country would allow Germany to buy our New York Stock Exchange. It's another black eye for the United States -- victory for Germany, not the United States."
Of course, he may have a grudge against Germany ever since Deutsche Bank (DB) sued him for defaulting on a construction loan in 2008. You know those Germans, expecting to be paid back. Jerks.
A California company that makes pot-growing equipment hopes to go public this year.
A California outfit called GrowOp Technology plans an initial public offering later this year, according to its website. The company is not a marijuana grower. Instead, it makes growing equipment that includes a 53-foot high-tech tractor trailer designed for growing pot. The trailers are outfitted with a hydroponic growing system and can be monitored remotely with a computer or iPhone.
Trailers come in three sizes and cost between $10,000 and $70,000, the company said.
GrowOp appears to be taking its IPO very seriously. Its founder, Derek Peterson, was an investment banker at Wachovia and Morgan Stanley (MS), reports 24/7 Wall St. The company's advisory committee includes a fund manager, an investment banker and the head of a corporate advisory firm.
After a rough holiday season, the retailer considers using Wal-Mart's model of everyday low prices.
For years, Best Buy was doing fine with its tactical pricing strategy. Yes, its regular prices were high, but the chain would offer blowout discounts on specific items to entice customers. The promotional strategy worked well, especially when Circuit City imploded.
But now shoppers are getting wise. They price-check on their smart phones. They know what deal they want. And they know that items will eventually get into Best Buy's sale rotation. So they wait.
Shoppers are so smart, in fact, that Best Buy is questioning its entire pricing strategy. "Why do we carry inventory when we train consumers only to buy it" on sale, executive Mike Vitelli asked at a recent staff meeting, Bloomberg reports.
Another executive admitted to Bloomberg that without the "everyday pricing" model favored by Wal-Mart (WMT) and others, shoppers will wait it out. "Our inventory sits and waits for that next promotional moment," said the executive, Rick Rommel.
A single fund holds some of the Oracle's most popular big-company investments.
By Don Dion, TheStreet
It has been a busy week for Warren Buffett fans.
On top of Buffett's visit to the White House -- where he, George H.W. Bush, Maya Angelou and others were honored by President Barack Obama and presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom -- the Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A)13F filing was released to the public.
Oberservers have spent the week fiercely digging through the document in hopes of uncovering clues to Buffett's view of the global market.
In the final months of 2010, Buffett made some tweaks to his legendary portfolio. Overall, the famously bullish investor ended the quarter as a net seller, unloading shares of a number of his holdings and further increasing the size of his already substantial pile of cash.
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The offering could become the second-biggest this year if underwriters exercise an option to buy more shares.
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