Finance professor Jeremy Siegel still expects the Dow to hit 18,000. But he's concerned about the labor force and commodity prices.
VIDEO ON MSN MONEY
The cable company takes a swipe at Netflix by boosting its on-demand library.
Comcast (CMCSA) has just made a big leap in competing with Netflix (NFLX) and other video-on-demand providers. The cable giant has snagged shows from ABC and Fox Broadcasting for its on-demand library.
Now, Comcast is the only cable or satellite company to offer current shows from all four major networks in its on-demand service.
Post continues after this video interview with Comcast's chief executive:
Pepsi is debuting new vending machines that let you record video and send drink gifts to friends.
The company is introducing vending machines that let you buy a friend a soda in advance. Then it tells your friend that the drink is waiting.
The new machines from Pepsi are an experiment in combining social networking with traditional vending. The touch-screen machine will sell Mountain Dew and other beverages just like a regular vending machine. The difference is the way it includes your friends.
After buying a soda for a friend, a customer gives the machine the friend's name and cellphone number. Customers can even record a short video at the machine to send along with a personalized text message.
While the greenback suffers at the hands of traders looking for a quick buck, evidence builds for an overdue rebound.
The dollar has been under incredible pressure lately as Wall Street hotshots enthusiastically embrace the "carry trade" -- a one-way bet that's been paying big.
It works like this: Borrow in a weak, falling currency with ultra-low interest rates. Then, use the proceeds, plus leverage, to invest in high-yield assets and dollar-sensitive commodities like gold and oil. All of this was enabled by the Federal Reserve and its $600 billion "QE2" initiative.
As a result, the dollar has plunged below the nadir reached in early 2008 as hedge fund types pile on. It's down more than 20% from the high reached in 2009. This has increased inflationary pressure and weighed on consumer sentiment -- both of which were big factors in today's disappointing Q1 GDP report. Clearly, the dollar and its status as the world's reserve currency is facing a moment of truth. But there's room for optimism.
Even after taking steps to address the issue, Apple faces new questions from lawmakers and independent researchers. With video update.
Now one congressman is accusing the company of lying. And some people think Apple's recent statements have only raised more questions than answers.
The issue centers around the location snapshots that Apple regularly gathers from people's iPhones. Apple says it uses iPhones to get information about cellphone towers and wireless hot spots, which helps it refine maps and driving directions for users. It's also using the information to build a "traffic database" that will eventually tell users where traffic is jammed.
Post continues after interview with one of the researchers who brought this issue into the spotlight:
This laundromat operator could really clean up.
By Michael Olsen, CFA
To the list of certain things in life -- death and taxes -- go ahead and add laundry. If you want to turn heaps of dirty clothes into fat stacks of filthy lucre, just open a laundromat.
Don't be fooled by their humdrum image. I've learned that effectively operated laundromats, in apartment buildings or as independent businesses, can be venerable cash machines. During my research, I stumbled upon laundromat facilities manager Mac-Gray (TUC), and today I'm giving the stock a 4.8% position in my Rising Star portfolio.
This company might not be squeaky clean, but a host of factors make it very compelling: Activist shareholders pushing for better governance, new shareholder-friendly management, the potential for improving profits, and a valuation so small, you'd think it got shrunk in the wash.
Rely on relative performance, or RS analysis, to stay invested in stocks that are leading the current market, and consider this tech stock, which looks poised to outperform now.
Exxon's first-quarter earnings surge 69% as crude oil creeps above $100. Includes video.
By Jeff Reeves, editor of InvestorPlace.com.
Consumers are feeling the pain at the pump right now. The average price of a gallon of gas has jumped about 12 cents in the U.S. over the past two weeks to $3.88, with the highest average reaching $4.27 in Chicago.
When MSN Money ran a story recently about the positive aspects of $5 gas, it got more than 600 comments, most of them from irate readers.
But one company that appears to be doing just fine in this era of expensive energy is Big Oil poster child Exxon Mobil (XOM).
The iShares Dow Jones U.S. Transportation Average Index hits highs this year after companies such as UPS, Delta Air Lines and CSX report better-than-expected quarterly results.
By Don Dion, TheStreet
Amid this busy spurt of earnings, companies in the transportation industry have logged some of the most noteworthy performances. Companies such as UPS (UPS), Delta Air Lines (DAL) and CSX (CSX) have topped analyst forecasts. These results have helped to return the Dow Jones Transportation Average to 2011 highs.
The iShares Dow Jones U.S. Transportation Average Index Fund (IYT), which is designed to track this popular index, has benefited from this recent round of earnings strength. The fund is not only seeing new 2011 highs but it has returned to previous all-time highs as well.
Looking ahead, it will be interesting to see if the index and ETF will be able to hold onto these current levels. Many investors turn to the transportation industry to get a feel for the state of the broader global economy. Therefore, if these levels do prove to be sustainable in the weeks ahead, it will likely provide many with a welcomed boost of confidence.
By allowing David Sokol to frame the Lubrizol discussion, Warren Buffett tacitly endorsed his actions.
Sometimes you just get had. Warren Buffett and the Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) shareholders got had by David Sokol. That's how you have had to look at this whole sordid episode with the audit committee report that came out Wednesday cinching that judgment.
The report is a refreshing break from the "ah, shucks" folksy nonsense that this issue was dealt with by Buffett and by Sokol the first time around. In fact, this report basically makes me feel like Buffett and Sokol both dissembled on the issue when it first broke.
Buffett allowed Sokol to delete the most crucial line in the alleged "come clean" release about this issue, which is that Sokol was leaving because his conduct on the matter ensured he would never get the top job. When Sokol prevailed in getting that line removed from the release, Buffett tacitly endorsed what Sokol did. It was the only admonition.
Now we know that Buffett and everyone else, apparently, were appalled by what happened, or the audit committee wouldn't be talking about suing Sokol for what he did. In other words, Sokol didn't leave to go make his second fortune with his family; he left because he was pushed. That's a totally different story.
Cummins raises its 2011 guidance and projected earnings. So what does this mean for the stock?
The coffee shop ranks behind McDonald's and Subway in terms of US sales. Updated with earnings numbers.
Starbucks (SBUX) might have started as a coffee shop, but it now counts as a chain restaurant -- and it's become the third-largest in the U.S.
When measured by sales dollars,McDonald's (MCD) tops the chart, and Subway comes in second. Starbucks is No. 3, according to a study by research firm Technomic. Not bad for a company that closed thousands of stores and went through its own mini-crisis in the economic recession.
Starbucks' rise is certainly bad for Burger King and Wendy's (WEN), which used to round out the top three behind Mickey D's.
Still, all is not well at Starbucks today. The company's share price dropped nearly 2% in after-hours trading after it disappointed analysts with its profit forecast for 2011. Before today, shares had zoomed 30% in the last year to $37.18.
Taking advantage of the chip revolution with the biggest and the and best.
By Jordan DiPietro
Today I'll be adding shares of Applied Materials (AMAT) to my Motley Fool real-money portfolio. The world's largest supplier of semiconductor manufacturing equipment has been around since 1967 and easily has the largest offering of semi equipment and services in the industry.
Applied Materials is on the manufacturing end of the semiconductor industry. While other companies will create complex designs for their chips, Applied designs the fabrication tools needed physically create the chips themselves. The process is extremely complicated -- requiring dozens of various steps -- and this company has a rich history and unparalleled expertise that allows it to deliver an unmatched product portfolio to fabrication operations.
What are the catalysts?
While Applied Materials might be the 800-pound gorilla on the block, it still faces extreme competition
With biotech rallying, investors who really want some bang for their buck should consider 3 smaller but riskier stocks. All have strong charts and low prices.
While Android presents a near-term threat to Apple, Google's attractive and powerful Chrome operating system could eventually wipe out much of the computing industry as we know it.
By Anton Wahlman, TheStreet
No, I'm not talking about Android.
I'm talking about Chrome OS.
While much of the world is embroiled in economic uncertainty, funds that expose investors to Chile, Canada, Sweden and Thailand hold potential growth.
By Don Dion, TheStreet
It's been a trying period for internationally-minded investors in 2011.
With political turmoil sweeping through the Middle East and Northern Africa, debt issues gripping the European Union and Japan still struggling to recover after its devastating earthquake, finding investing solace outside the U.S. borders requires a careful eye and plenty of patience.
Although at this time the options appear slim, there are nations out there that have exhibited strength. By using ETFs, investors can keep these countries on the radar.
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Consumers are very status conscious in Asia, Africa and other emerging-market areas. This is especially true in China.
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[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market ended the Thursday session on a mixed note ahead of Friday's nonfarm payrolls report for February (Briefing.com consensus 163K). The Dow Jones Industrial Average (+0.4%) and S&P 500 (+0.2%) posted modest gains while the Nasdaq Composite (-0.1%) lagged throughout the session.
Equities began the trading day on an upbeat note following comments from the Bank of England and the European Central Bank, both of which reaffirmed their commitment to ... More
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