8 reasons the market isn't worse
8 reasons the market isn't worse

Stocks should be crushed by global turmoil, Jim Cramer says. Instead, they're doing fine.

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With this purchase, Whiting could surpass the production of current Bakken champ Continental Resources.

By Jim Cramer Jul 14, 2014 11:47AM

A Whiting Petroleum Co. pump jack pulls crude oil from the Bakken region of the Northern Plains near Bainville, Mont. © Matthew Brown/APDid Whiting Petroleum (WLL) hear footsteps? That's the first thing I thought about when I heard the company is offering 0.177 shares of its stock for each share of Kodiak (KOG), a $3.7 billion fellow traveler in the fast-growing Bakken region of North Dakota.


Exactly a year ago, with Kodiak stock at $8 and change, this company tried to sell itself. Presumably, Whiting, one of the largest independent producers in the state, most likely took a look and passed on it.


Since then, there's been a real acceleration in finds in the Bakken as the state has become the second-largest oil producer in the country. Whiting, with this deal, should surpass the production of current Bakken champ Continental Resources (CLR). That said, given the extraordinary production rates demonstrated by Harold Hamm's Continental, who knows if a combined Whiting-Kodiak would be able to keep up.

 

CEO Tim Cook has started gaining the confidence of shareholders as Apple looks to refresh its key products in the second half of the year.

By TheStreet.com Staff Jul 14, 2014 11:42AM

The logo of Apple at an Apple Store in Hong Kong, China © Xiao qiang xg/Imaginechina/CorbisBy Chris Ciaccia, TheStreet


Apple (AAPL) shares ticked higher after Barclays upgraded the stock to "overweight," after having downgraded the stock in April for the first time in a decade.


Barclays analyst Ben Reitzes upgraded shares, giving them a $110 price target, stating that his belief in Apple CEO Timothy D. Cook has returned, as Cook has "solidified his strategy and re-gained the confidence of Apple stakeholders in many ways -- reversing many of the warning signs we saw earlier in the year." He also noted that Samsung's recent weakness provides a buffer for Apple, and the pipeline into 2015 is so strong, that Reitzes and his team are "compelled to get on board even if its midway through the rebound trade."

 

Investors who want to diversify could do well to look overseas for stability and versatility.

By Benzinga Jul 11, 2014 2:39PM
Credit: © Stefan Wermuth/Reuters
Caption: The logo of AstraZeneca is seen on a medication packageBy Jonathan Yates

Investors should naturally be thinking risk management and protecting gains in this record bull market for the Dow Jones Industrial Average ($INDU) and the Standard & Poor's 500 Index ($INX).


An effective way to accomplish this is by diversifying holdings with British blue chips such as Unilever (UL), AstraZeneca (AZN), BHP Billiton (BBL), BAE Systems (BAESY) and Rosslyn Data, a software firm active in the cloud and big data.


Other British stocks can be good diversifying plays as well, such as Audioboom, and Litebulb Group. Like Unilever, a consumer goods firm with many familiar brands such as Vaseline and Lipton, Litebulb Group sells consumer products around the world. Audioboom has a global reputation as the "YouTube of Radio."

 

He's made some mistakes in the sector and sat out much of the US shale boom. Now, however, Berkshire is building some positions.

By MSN Money Partner Jul 11, 2014 2:22PM
Credit: © Nati Harnik/AP

Caption: Warren BuffettBy Tim Mullaney, CNBC

Warren Buffett (pictured) has been a big believer in and buyer of U.S. energy -- indirectly. 


When it comes to direct investments in energy stocks, though, Buffett -- famous for using an elephant-gun analogy to describe his hunt for acquisitions -- has been notably gun-shy.


Some recent bets on big oil and gas stocks suggest that Buffett and his stock-picking lieutenants -- former hedge fund managers Todd Combs and Ted Weschler -- are open to a wider range of direct energy stock investments. 


Buffett's biggest-ever acquisition, Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway, is an indirect play on Western coal transport as well as the Bakken shale boom and the railcars now being relied on to move the oil to market. 

 

Reynolds American and Lorillard confirm they are in merger talks. Here's what analysts have to say about it.

By TheStreet.com Staff Jul 11, 2014 1:49PM

Credit: © Matt Rourke/AP Photo

Caption: Camel cigarettes, a Reynolds American brandBy Chris Ciaccia, TheStreet


Reynolds American (RAI) confirmed Friday it was in talks to acquire smaller rival Lorillard (LO) following news that London-based Imperial Tobacco said it would buy certain assets and brands owned by both companies, essentially forcing the hand of the companies to admit to merger talks.TheStreet.com logo


In a statement, Lorillard said, "No agreement has been reached and there can be no assurances that any transactions will result. Unless circumstances dictate otherwise, Lorillard does not intend to make any additional comments regarding this matter."


The news comes after Reuters first confirmed the talks in May, citing sources close to the negotiations.

 

While the market is up, these ugly picks are all down significantly in the past month.

By InvestorPlace Jul 11, 2014 1:03PM

Caption: Coach Inc. store in New York
Credit: (© Scott Eells/Bloomberg via Getty Images)By Jeff Reeves


It has been a decent year, all in all, for the Standard & Poor's 500 Index ($INX).


The benchmark is up about 6.5 percent year to date, and a handful of picks, including Micron (MU) and Electronic Arts (EA), are up as much as 50 percent in 2014.


But after disappointing first-quarter numbers and negative guidance the norm for most stocks in the second quarter, we've started to see sentiment shift a bit and a lot more pessimism around the stock market.


Now, pessimism alone doesn't mean a crash and there are plenty of stocks still at or near all-time highs.


But there is indeed a group of stocks that are struggling now as we enter earnings season, and have momentum working against them big time.

 

We may have to declare this group uninvestable, as it's just too hard to figure out who's going to hit and who's going to miss.

By Jim Cramer Jul 11, 2014 12:43PM

A shopper leaves a Gap store in Palo Alto, Calif. © Paul Sakuma/APRemember the late and unlamented Hit Or Miss chain of women's apparel stores?


These days I think that namesake business represents the industry itself, where retailers seem to fall by the wayside only to be resurrected and then get crushed again. The Street on MSN Money


It wasn't that long ago when Gap (GPS) was heralded as one of the great turnaround stories in retail history. But now all of that's being called into question as its comparable-store sales for both Banana Republic and the flagship Gap that we got last night are simply baffling. What gives? I wonder if they know or are just another victim of the retail funk that The Container Store (TCS) used to explain its anemic sales.


Or how about last night's disappointing Rent-A-Center (RCII) numbers? They took my breath away, especially when they cited "macroeconomic weakness." I used to buy this stock on macro weakness, as people would rather rent than buy in tough times. Another unfathomable reason to go with an unfathomable report.

 

The market returns are notable, but the most impressive stock gains in history came under another president.

By MSN Money Partner Jul 11, 2014 12:25PM
Credit: © Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Caption: U.S. President Barack Obama pauses while speaking about the economy in Denver July 9, 2014By Russ Britt, MarketWatch

It's been almost 2,000 days since President Barack Obama entered the Oval Office. We here at MarketWatch thought it would be fitting to measure this milestone against the stock market's performance.


Obama was sworn in amid extreme financial turmoil in January 2009, roughly six weeks before the stock markets hit bottom in the wake of the Great Recession. Pretty much the only direction for stocks to go was up.


How far up, though? More important, how do gains under Obama compare with gains under other presidents who made it to 2,000 days?


Answer: He's in the top half of the eight presidents since the Great Depression whose time in office lasted that long. That can always change, of course. And there's considerable debate over whether he -- or any other president for that matter -- can influence the stock market or whether they're just along for the ride.

 

The bank, which released a solid earnings report Friday, has always been a good economic indicator, one analyst says.

By MSN Money Partner Jul 11, 2014 11:28AM
File photo of Wells Fargo & Co. signage at a bank branch in New York (© Scott Eells/Bloomberg via Getty Images)By Matthew J. Belvedere, CNBC

The adage "As goes GM, so goes the nation" can apply to Wells Fargo (WFC), Raymond James analyst Anthony Polini told CNBC after the bank on Friday became the first of its peers to release earnings.


Wells Fargo reported second-quarter earnings that met expectations, while revenue beat Wall Street estimates.


"I think it's good news for the U.S. economy. Wells is always a good indicator. They have a national banking platform. Their CEO, John Stumpf, has been particularly bullish on the economy," Polini said Friday in a "Squawk Box" interview. "This is a very good indicator that the economy is on track for an improvement."

 

The stoppage of CYNK's shares comes via the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority for an 'extraordinary event' and will last until July 24.

By MSNMoney partner Jul 11, 2014 9:47AM
Credit: © Introbiz.com
Caption: A screenshot of Introbiz.comBy Everett Rosenfeld, CNBC

Federal regulators on Friday halted trading in CYNK Technology (CYNK), the mysterious over-the-counter stock that ran from a few cents to over $21 in a month.

The stoppage was ordered at 8 a.m. EDT by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority for an "extraordinary event," according to the OTC Bulletin Board. At 9:30 a.m. EDT the reason for the halt was updated to make clear that it was ordered by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

According to CYNK's SEC suspension order, the halt will last until 11:59 p.m. EDT on July 24.

"The Commission temporarily suspended trading in the securities of CYNK because of concerns regarding the accuracy and adequacy of information in the marketplace and potentially manipulative transactions in CYNK's common stock," the order stated.

The company has one recorded employee and only a few dollars of assets.

A representative from FINRA was not immediately available for comment on the trading halt. 

The airline says the whole idea of check-ins before a flight is 'an increasingly antiquated concept.'

By MSN Money Partner Jul 10, 2014 2:45PM
Caption: A JetBlue Airways Corp. plane in Long Beach, Calif.
Credit: © Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty ImagesBy Justin Bachman, Businessweek

Consider our preflight rituals: packing, maybe pet care, stopping at the mail, driving or getting a lift to the airport. 


Oh, and also the business of checking in 24 hours ahead of time. JetBlue Airways (JBLU) has a new idea: Automatically checking you in for flights and e-mailing the boarding pass.


"The idea of asking customers to jump an additional hurdle before their flight is an increasingly antiquated concept," Blair Koch, a JetBlue vice president, said in announcing the new process. "By having the right systems in place, we can remove this step and even help identify and prevent issues that can hinder customers from fully enjoying their travel experience."

 
Tags: JBLU

If you look closely, you might think that the chain now bears a striking resemblance to Panera Bread.

By MSN Money Partner Jul 10, 2014 1:41PM
Credit: © Darden Restaurants Inc/AP

Caption: The new ‘Olive Garden’ logo was released by Darden Restaurants on Monday, March 3, 2013
By Belinda Lanks, Businessweek

If you visit an Olive Garden this month, you might get a whiff of change. 


The Italian food chain has begun rolling out its redesigned décor and  logo -- a two-course re-branding effort to ditch its cheesy reputation for one that's slightly more sophisticated, albeit still family-friendly.


The overhaul is part of a "brand renaissance" announced last March by Darden Restaurants (DRI), Olive Garden's parent company, and the effort includes smaller lunch portions, faster dine-in service, and online ordering. 


A logo update, the first in more than 15 years, and an interior remodel are the visual signals of Darden's strategy to win back customers lost to such fast-casual brands as Chipotle (CMG) and Panera Bread (PNRA), which offer freshly prepared food at lower prices.

 

CYNK Technology has no revenue, no assets and only 1 employee. So why is it worth $4 billion?

By MSN Money Partner Jul 10, 2014 12:50PM
Credit: © Introbiz.com
Caption: A screenshot of Introbiz.comBy Everett Rosenfeld, CNBC

A social networking company with no revenue and no assets saw its stock soar to a market cap of well over $6 billion Thursday, only to fall back in the afternoon to $4 billion. 

The firm's meteoric rise is so unlikely that even its last auditor says it defies logic.

CYNK Technology (CYNK), which is based in Belize according to an SEC filing and only has one recorded employee, runs a social networking site (pictured) called IntroBiz. That site says it allows users to "both buy and sell the ability to socially connect to individuals such as celebrities, business owners, and talented IT professionals," but it is not clear how many registered users it has.

CYNK's stock was valued at less than a dime in June, and rocketed to nearly $20 at midday Thursday. By the afternoon, however, shares were down 5 percent to $13.97, placing the market value at around $4 billion.

 

Shares plunge as the company says customers are delaying big-ticket improvement projects until the fall or next spring.

By MSN Money Partner Jul 10, 2014 12:34PM
Credit: Dwight Burdette via Wikipedia, http://aka.ms/Mpyh32
Caption: The exterior of a Lumber Liquidators store in Ypsilanti, Mich.By Sam Ro, Business Insider

Shares of Lumber Liquidators (LL) were crashing Thursday. The stock was down 20 percent in midday trading.

"Customer traffic to our stores was significantly weaker than we expected, particularly in geographic areas severely impacted by the unusually harsh weather in the first quarter," explained CEO Robert Lynch on Wednesday afternoon.


Lumber Liquidators sells specialty flooring in its 340 locations across the country.


Home renovation, like floor replacement, serves as a proxy for home sales activity.


"The improvement in customer demand we experienced beginning in mid-March did not carry into May, and June weakened further," said Lynch. 

 
Tags: LL

The situation is sparking worries that uncertainty in the country could impact assets across the eurozone. New numbers from France and Italy aren't helping, either.

By MSN Money Partner Jul 10, 2014 12:24PM
Credit:c © Mario Cruz/EPA

Caption: A Banco Espirito Santo (BES) logo outside a branch in Lisbon, PortugalBy Myles Udland, Business Insider

The parent company of Banco Espirito Santo, Portugal's second-largest bank, missed debt payments to "a few clients," according to a Bloomberg report, and markets are freaking out.


Shares of Banco Espirito Santo trading in Lisbon were down more than 17 percent on Thursday. 


The Portuguese stock market was also down about 4 percent after the news. Stocks across Europe were also broadly lower. In the U.S., the Standard & Poor's 500 Index ($INX) and the Dow Jones Industrial Average ($INDU) fell hard in early trading Thursday, but recovered slightly by midday to post more moderate losses.


Citing a statement from Espirito Santo, Bloomberg reported that Espirito is "currently assessing the financial impact of its exposure. 

 

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[BRIEFING.COM] S&P futures vs fair value: +0.70. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: +10.50. U.S. equity futures hover near their pre-market highs amid upbeat action overseas. The S&P 500 futures trade less than a point above fair value.

Reviewing overnight developments:

  • Asian markets ended mixed. Japan's Nikkei -0.1%, China's Shanghai Composite +0.1%, and Hong Kong's Hang Seng +0.8% 
    • In economic data: 
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