Geopolitical crises are taking a toll on stocks as we head into the seasonally weak month of August.
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Technical analysis offers no support to a market in decline. In other words, look out below.
Stocks opened with a technical recovery Thursday after a drubbing on Wednesday. That followed positive news from Europe and a drop in weekly jobless claims.
A late rally recovered most of the losses, but the Nasdaq closed the day down. And judging by sentiment early Friday, it looks like we could be headed lower again to end the week.
Thursday's extreme volatility may not be evidenced by the closing numbers. And the prospect of end-of-quarter window dressing may also mask some of the mayhem. But if you look at the charts, you can see a rather ugly story unfolding in the days ahead.
It's time for investors to get very, very worried. Just see for yourself in these charts:
Two pieces of economic news could move the markets.
The Chinese number is the official version of the preliminary manufacturing purchasing managers' index (PMI). The preliminary version, released by HSBC and Markit Economics on Sept. 22, showed the manufacturing PMI falling to 49.4 in September from 49.9 in August. Any index level below 50 indicates that the sector is contracting. [Update, 7 am ET, Sept. 30: The PMI came in at 49.9 in September].
The bookseller's stock has fallen 10% since Amazon announced its new tablet.
Barnes & Noble was already having a tough time. Its shares have dropped more than 50% in three years, and executives had hoped the Nook would carry it out of its misery. Those hopes may be dashed now.
The presidential candidate says the investor, with his tax-the-rich suggestions, is unaware of the jobs situation in parts of the country.
Perry took aim at the Oracle of Omaha in an interview Thursday on CNBC. He was asked about the "Buffett rule," which says people making more than $1 million a year should at least pay the same tax percentage that the middle class does.
Starting next year, the $5 charge will hit most customers who buy things with debit cards.
The Dow Jones news service uncovered the plans after seeing an internal memo sent to bank executives Thursday. It's safe to say that customers will be outraged if the new charges start early next year as planned.
The fee will kick in only during the months when customers use their debit cards to make a purchase, Dow Jones reports. If you use your debit card only at an ATM, you won't get charged.
The grocery store cash register is doubling as a vacuum.
By Jeff Reeves, InvestorPlace.com
Inflation is the untold story of the economic downturn. While unemployment, foreclosures and government debt make plenty of headlines, it's startling to consider the slow and steady ascent of consumer staples. Inflation is driving up things like beef, soft drinks, grains and milk.
There are ways to hedge your investment portfolio against inflation, such as the best inflation investments I highlighted recently in a separate column. But there is little you can do to cut back the grocery bill as food prices continue rising.
Haven't noticed how bad inflation has gotten at the supermarket? Well, here are nine ugly instances showing how much damage inflation is inflicting on family budgets:
The huge number of unlocked smartphones illustrates either fans' fervor for Apple or customer dissatisfaction with AT&T and Verizon.
Apple (AAPL) iPhone fans know no bounds. Sprint (S) and T-Mobile might not formally carry the iPhone or subsidize sales of the smartphone, but that doesn't stop Apple junkies from finding a way around limitations.
Case in point: A blog post from T-Mobile this week claims that 1 million T-Mobile iPhones are already on the company's network.
Contrast a company like Paychex, which is finding new ways to grow, with Darden, which asks you to keep waiting for a turnaround.
That -- plus some very negative commentary about challenges and inflation and still one more promise to revitalize stores -- makes me feel that, while there's a 3.8% yield, maybe it's not worth waiting for this company to get its act together.
Contrast Darden with Paychex (PAYX). Here's a company that is levered to hiring and business formation. It should be getting hammered, because we don't have a lot of hiring or business formation in this country. Has Paychex decided it will sit around and wait for things to get better? Hardly. It has created services, including human resources outsourcing options, that enabled it to beat numbers and report 13% growth.
We're not yet at the day when we can choose from a menu of channels, but we may be headed there.
Customers have clamored for this for years. If you don't watch the Disney Channel, why on Earth should you have to pay for it? But cable companies have argued that the all-or-nothing approach is the only way to do it.
But now, cable customers are slipping away. They're cutting budgets in the stumbling economy. They're moving to programs available on Netflix (NFLX) or other websites. Comcast (CMCSA) and Time Warner Cable (TWC) lost 1.2 million video customers in the last year, Reuters reports.
F5 Networks is barely off its 52-week bottom, but analysts expect big earnings growth for its fourth quarter.
After more than a month of customer discontent, subscriber defections may be bottoming out.
Subscriber cancellations are stabilizing, according to a note from analysts at PiperJaffray. The analysts conducted a survey of subscribers and found that that only 10% of customers now expect to quit the service. That's down from 15% in mid-August.
"The risk of a mass exodus appears to be moderating," the analysts wrote.
With a new device at a shockingly low price, Amazon has just narrowed the field to 2 players.
After all, this is a 7-inch touch-screen tablet that can play movies and music -- for only $199. The cheapest iPad starts at $499.
Amazon's stock lit up after the announcement Wednesday, trading up 3% at midday to $231. Apple shares were unchanged.
The Kindle Fire could make a big difference for the company.
By Eric Bleeker
If you take one thing away from the unveiling of Amazon.com's (AMZN) new tablet, it should be this: When Jeff Bezos unveiled the price at Wednesday's press conference, the person sitting next to me gasped.
Only $199 for that sharp-looking of a tablet?
If you've been holding out on buying an iPad in hopes of a more viable competitor, your time has come. Amazon has unveiled its new Kindle Fire. I was at the press conference and offer more analysis below, but first the details:
As Europe nears a solution to its debt crisis, investors buy up some of the most economically sensitive stocks.
Stocks have pushed higher this week as European policymakers move closer to mending the festering wound that is their debt crisis, which has gone on so long without adequate treatment that it's now beginning to infect the continent's banking system as well.
The catalyst for the surge of good feelings has been reports that the eurozone is poised to enact a creative solution to maximize the firepower of its existing €440 billion bailout fund, the European Financial Stability Facility.
Details are unimportant. What matters is that the plan would give the Europeans €3.2 trillion with which to support Greece and build a firewall around the too-big-to-fail nations of Italy and Spain.
These funds offer diversity along with exposure to a few heavyweights.
By Don Dion, TheStreet
Instant diversification is one of the biggest benefits that come with exchange-traded funds.
It's still possible to use these products to gain ample exposure to stock market darlings. Below, I've highlighted funds that allow investors to tap into three popular tech names.
Apple. Setting aside 15% of its portfolio to Apple (AAPL), the PowerShares QQQ (QQQ) is one of the strongest options fans can turn to in order to gain access to this company. QQQ is not just a popular choice for Apple followers, however. On the contrary, when paired with other broad index ETFs, the fund can also make for an attractive core component in a well-diversified portfolio.
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The high-definition camera maker gives its first earnings report as a public company Thursday afternoon.
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[BRIEFING.COM] The S&P 500 has inched up from its worst level of the session, but that could be overlooked considering the index remains lower by 28 points.
Today's retreat has sent the benchmark average below its 50-day moving average (1953) for the first time in a while. Specifically, the index tested, but never closed below the 50-day average on six occasions during a three-week stretch between late April and early May. Prior to that span, the S&P 500 dove below the 50-day ... More
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