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The president's closely watched jobs plan represents a desperately needed push for growth.
The wait is over. After weeks of teasing and political bickering, President Obama finally delivered his speech to Congress proposing the kind of fiscal support the economy desperately needs to avoid falling back into recession.
Known as the American Jobs Act, and worth $450 billion, it's exactly the kind of economic support I discussed in a recent column urging Obama to spend more to keep the economy out of the ditch -- and to keep the deficit from getting even worse through flagging growth.
Highlights include an expansion of existing payroll tax cuts for middle class workers and the creation of tax cuts for businesses hiring new workers. Also included were plans to increase infrastructure spending on roads and schools. With the cost to be offset by reforms to the tax code and entitlement spending, Obama pushed hard for the plan -- which contains measures which have historically enjoyed bipartisan support -- to be quickly passed.
Indeed, without the much maligned 2009 stimulus package the Congressional Budget Office believes the economy would already be contracting right now. With the economy stagnating near its stall speed, encumbered by negative pressures like the European debt crisis and the political circus that was the debt-ceiling fight, the stimulus plan is exactly the kind of thing we need to break the cycle of lowered confidence, reduced spending and investments, and ongoing job market weakness. Here's why, starting with a breakdown of the plan.
Strategic remarks by the European Central Bank's outgoing president give the bank room to maneuver.
Goldman Sachs first touts the donut maker, then slams it.
By Dan Radovsky
Dunkin' Brands (DNKN) must be wondering what's going on when the company that underwrote its initial public offering a mere two months ago is yelling, "Get out!" at the top of its lungs.
Investors must be wondering, too. The share price, which had risen 42% since the IPO, started the day by falling almost 5% on the "sell" rating, before closing down 3%.
Goldman Sachs (GS), the fickle underwriter, opened the day with that downer rating, noting that Dunkin's core domestic business is "highly macro-sensitive against an uncertain economic backdrop." So what's changed? I don't remember the domestic macro-economic picture looking all that great two months ago, either, do you?
A change in copyright law may give musical artists the rights to recordings that are 35 years old.
That's because the first group of albums affected by that change is hitting the 35-year mark. And soon, the rights to some pretty big recordings will go back to the artists who created them, Rolling Stone reports.
We're talking about classics like "Darkness on the Edge of Town" by Bruce Springsteen, "52nd Street" by Billy Joel and "The Long Run" by the Eagles. They were all created in 1978, and are eligible for termination rights from their record companies, writes David Browne.
A firing gone awry, an outraged former CEO and an irate investor calling for heads. Yep, that's life at Yahoo.
First, we have the underperforming chief executive, Carol Bartz. She was fired over the phone by the company's chairman. Over the phone. Ouch.
You just don't do that to feisty Bartz.
Alternative ETFs employ multiple strategies, such as going both long and short, to keep performance high when markets turn volatile.
By Roger Nusbaum, TheStreet
Alternative funds, also known as market-neutral or absolute-return funds, can play a huge role in diversified portfolios if they meet their objectives.
As the summer started to wind down, the S&P 500 ($INX) rolled over into a downtrend with the extreme volatility normally associated with bear markets. So it is perhaps with good timing that ETF provider QuantShares has come to market with four such funds and has three more ready to debut soon.
The US Market Neutral Size Fund (SIZ) buys small-cap stocks and sells large-cap stocks short.
The restaurant ratings publisher will bolster local reviews, online coupon business and more for the search giant.
By Jeff Reeves, InvestorPlace.com
Google (GOOG) just announced it will buy the venerable restaurant rater Zagat. Details remain sketchy, but the news has both foodies and techies taking note.
For consumers, the result could be the latest offering from a big technology company trying to have a very local impact -- via deals or promoting off-the-beaten-path restaurants in your neighborhood that appeal to your tastes. For techies and investors, the Google purchase of Zagat is noteworthy because it means the tech giant is finding yet another way to extend its octopus-like reach into every facet of our lives.
Here's a look at what the Google-Zagat alliance could look like:
Multidecade lows even after recent gains mean big values for gutsy investors.
It seems that investors have no shortage of things to worry about. The Institute for Supply Management's manufacturing index fell to 50.6 in August, indicating that the manufacturing sector is just a hair's breadth away from contracting.
In Europe, similar surveys show the manufacturing sector contracting in France and coming very close to contracting in Germany. The employment picture also looks downright awful.
Still, it would appear that much of the anxiety is overdone. Europe and the U.S. may indeed be slipping back into recession, but we are talking about a marginal drift from mildly positive growth to mildly negative shrinkage. We’re not looking at another 2008-caliber swan dive -- meaning now is the time to go bargain hunting.
These low-risk blue chips are beating the markets by wide margins and delivering income.
After a heinous August and a volatile start to September, low-risk investments are in focus.
But investors should not make the mistake of thinking they have to settle for low-risk, low-return investments. There are a host of high-yield stocks out there with big dividends and stable cash flows that have been enjoying significant share appreciation in 2011.
These investments offer the best of both worlds -- cash-rich blue chips that throw off plump dividends while outperforming the major indexes.
We have issues to work through, but it's wrong to be so gloomy when tech's seasonal strength is about to kick in and China may be ready to stop its economic tightening.
Too gloomy? That's what I am thinking these days when I talk to executives and fund managers and stock traders. Everyone has succumbed to an overwhelming sense that Europe has to bring down the world and that the United States is unmoored and unwilling or unable to lead.
Moreover, no one -- including me -- expects anything from the president tonight. We've been too bashed into believing the guy is anti-business, even if he actually doesn't hate capitalism. In fact, I don't know a soul anymore who doesn't think the president favors a socialized state, a la that of the struggling Europeans.
We're all waiting for the collapse in the euro, which we all know is untenable, to bring down the world.
But what if it doesn't?
The company gets approval to settle a class-action lawsuit by sending gift cards to current and former Netflix users.
But this allegation has suddenly turned into a marketing windfall for Wal-Mart -- and may allow it to steal some of Netflix's customers. Here's how it happened.
A class-action lawsuit was filed alleging that in 2005, Wal-Mart agreed to stop renting DVDs online if Netflix agreed it wouldn't sell physical DVDs. Wal-Mart denied the allegations, but agreed to pay $27.5 million to settle the case.
The company is showing some cracks as it receives criticism for several unpopular new initiatives.
By Jeanine Poggi, TheStreet
The company's string of announcements, including its price hike and the loss of content, has put a sour taste in subscribers' mouths.
But its recent faux pas are out of character for Netflix, which has been a consistent company that has impressed both investors and subscribers alike. The proof is in the stock. Shares of the company have surged more than 50% in the past year, and it now boasts more than 25 million subscribers.
"Netflix only screwed up once in the first seven years I covered them (from 2004 until mid-2011) when they cut prices to compete with Blockbuster," says Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter. "They have now screwed up three times in the last couple of months (price increase, letting Starz get away, and capping streams per household). Maybe they'll right the ship, and maybe they will keep screwing up."
A step backward in the right direction.
By Morgan Housel
Part of Goldman Sachs' (GS) business is advising public companies on the virtues of returning private. Gone are the worries of beating expectations every quarter. Focus can shift to the long term. Dirty laundry isn't aired out for all to see. No disgruntled shareholders. No outside influences. Just business.
It might be time for Goldman to heed that advice itself. It should go private.
That only sounds bold if you forget that Goldman has been a private partnership for 92% of its existence. Founded in 1869, the bank didn't go public until 1999.
These picks offer exposure to the billions of dollars the league rakes in each year.
By Jonas Elmerraji, Stockpickr
Football is really back -- finally. The NFL regular season kicks off on Thursday when the New Orleans Saints meet the Packers at Green Bay. It's been a tumultuous road to the gridiron for the most valuable sports league in the world, with a lockout that threatened to curb football for the 2011 season -- a move that would have had implications beyond disappointing fans. After all, billions of dollars are at stake here.
And there is a way for investors to get exposure to the billions of dollars the NFL brings in each year. It's all about finding publicly traded stocks with hefty income statement exposure to the NFL.
Obviously, these aren't pure plays on football, but each of these names does receive meaningful revenue from the sport:
The rapper seems very interested in taking over Yahoo's business. Would he be any worse than the company's other top picks?
"Im takn over as tha CEO of Yahoo," Snoop wrote on Twitter. "Need sum of that Snoop Dogg content ya digg."
I digg. CEO Snoop (or maybe he would be called CEO Dogg) isn't such a bad idea.
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