Some companies hit all-time records last month, while others missed forecasts.
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The cement-maker almost went under in the credit crisis. But economic growth in the US and Mexico is helping it recover.
Yes, Chinese airlines have ordered 200 aircraft from Boeing. But we already knew that.
But shareholders didn't react to the news, and Boeing shares actually fell by 1%. That's because there actually aren't any new orders to announce.
All those planes have already been announced in the past four years, The Seattle Times reports. Boeing has already received nonrefundable deposits on them and booked them as firm orders.
So the impact on Boeing is minimal. The only newsworthy thing to come out of today is that the Chinese government gave final approval to the airlines that placed those plane orders.
Who owns the rights to the popular dolls? Two toy companies are fighting it out.
All of this has ruffled feathers within the toy industry, spurring an ugly legal battle between MGA and Barbie maker Mattel (MAT). How ugly is it?
Mattel executives described a "rival-led Barbie genocide" in one internal memo, according to The Associated Press. "This is war and sides must be taken: Barbie stands for good. All others stand for evil," the memo read. Yikes.
The memo emerged in an ongoing court fight that entered its second round this week. At the heart of the case is Mattel's claim that Bratz creator Carter Bryant came up with the idea for the dolls while he was working at Mattel. Mattel also says MGA secretly conspired with Bryant to steal the idea.
Believe it or not, the company has strengths that investors are missing.
Four months ago, Eric Bleeker recommended Apple. After a nice 25% run-up, he's not shying away from the stock and thinks the $300 billion behemoth still has plenty of room to run.
Rex Moore, Motley Fool Top Stocks editor
The $300 billion market capitalization might scare investors off, but I think Apple (AAPL) has plenty of room to grow. In fact, it's my top conviction selection to outperform the market in 2011. I don't think you'll see another year of 53% returns like Apple had in 2010, but at today's price levels, there's still a lot left in the tank.
Why Apple has room to run
There are four key themes that should keep Apple outperforming.
- iOS scales. Apple has proven its ability to scale iOS to different devices, which unlocks opportunities in connected living room devices (think Apple TV) as well as advertising.
- Software is the new kingmaker. Unlike the age of Motorola's (MMI) RAZR when phones were differentiated by slick designs that were easy to copy, phone dominance is now dictated by the software. That's a much more defensible position, especially when Apple controls its App Store and the media platform (iTunes) its users have adopted.
The highly anticipated system goes on sale March 27. Will its steep price be a turnoff?
This isn't just another Game Boy. The 3DS is generating lots of excitement because Nintendo says it will show 3D images without the need for 3D glasses. But you'd better start saving now, because that slick technology will come at a cost.
Nintendo will charge $250 for a 3DS. That's a lot of allowance money. But the company hopes the 3DS is broadly appealing enough that adults might use one instead of, or perhaps in addition to, smart phones that also have games on them.
Devices like the iPhone are certainly competing with Nintendo's current handheld, the DS. Sales of the DS dropped 23% in 2010, CNBC reports. And sales of Nintendo's groundbreaking Wii console fell 26% that year.
One of the most persistent advances in stock market history nears its end.
Technically, we are now at a decision point. The S&P 500 has scratched its way back to within inches of 1,300, which hasn't been seen since August 2008. This marked the end of a temporary two-month rebound within the 2007-09 bear market. The bears will be camped out at that level with sniper rifles, ready to ambush overeager bulls.
And, boy, have the bulls been enthusiastic. Since Dec. 1, the S&P 500 has closed above its 10-day moving average for 32 days in a row. Aside from a similar low-volatility run last April that ended in disaster and the May 6 flash crash as investors all tried to sell at the same time, you've got to go all the way back to 1997 to find another period of similarly persistent performance.
Runs like this are extremely rare.
Reports from the 2 tech titans reveal increased spending at corporate and individual levels -- a rejuvenation the market isn't taking into account yet.
We fret so much about how consumers are strapped and how companies are just withholding profits and not spending, and then we get two quarters that tell us, frankly, the opposite.
First, the products that IBM and Apple sell are not inexpensive. The big rap against Apple is that the price point for so many of its devices is so high. Anyone who has bought a truly wireless, no-Wi-Fi iPad as I did this holiday, or anyone who has bought a MacBook Air, as I did the year before, knows these devices are very expensive compared with a plain-old but pretty good Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) at Costco (COST).
The company reports a positive revenue picture across the board, but the results weren't as spectacular as you might think.
Yes, the recalls were damaging, but the big picture at the company isn't nearly as bad as you think.
"It looks like a plane spinning out of control," one former employee told the newspaper. This past year, the Times wrote, could have been called "annus horribilis." The headline was just as dramatic: "Can Johnson & Johnson get its act together?"
Let's push aside the doom and gloom and look at the numbers. Johnson and Johnson shares started last year at around $64.50 and by the end had plunged to the shocking level of . . . $61.85. Hmmm. Are investors missing something here?
How about earnings? A quick scan through the quarters doesn't reveal huge disaster. Third-quarter profit rose 2.2% from the year before, while sales were down 0.7%. The company even raised its full-year guidance in October. The second quarter saw gains in sales and profit. Same with the first quarter.
Yum Brands will focus on tacos, pizza and chicken as it aggressively expands into China.
Instead, Yum wants to focus on its more popular fast-food restaurants: Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and KFC. The company plans to expand those lines in the U.S. and internationally, it said in a statement.
Yum is all about its international business these days and is focused on its growth in China. About 65% of its profits come from overseas -- up from 22% in 1998 -- and it apparently doesn't think those two restaurants will do well in other countries.
They don't even do that well in the United States. Long John Silver's and A&W were just a sliver of Yum's operations, with only about 1,630 locations total.
Earnings and revenue growth fail to meet investor expectations.
By Lauren Tara LaCapra, TheStreet
Citigroup (C) shares were down sharply Tuesday after the bank released fourth-quarter earnings that fell far short of Wall Street expectations.
Though Citi earned just half of what Wall Street was expecting for the fourth quarter, much of the decline came from an accounting oddity that costs financial companies more when their own credit conditions improve. Many analysts hadn't factored such a charge into their estimates.
Still, Citi shares were falling 5.7% to $4.84 in midday trading, ahead of a conference call with management.
The New York bank said it earned $1.3 billion last quarter, or 4 cents per share, compared with a net loss of $7.6 billion, or 33 cents per share, a year ago. The average analyst had expected Citi to earn 8 cents per share, on average, according to Thomson Reuters. Revenue of $18.4 billion fell far short of the average expectation for $20.5 billion as well.
Shares plunge 13% after the bookseller reportedly hires bankruptcy and restructuring lawyers and announces further job cuts.
By Jeanine Poggi, TheStreet
Borders (BGP) stock was tanking Tuesday after reports surfaced over the weekend that the company has hired bankruptcy and restructuring lawyers.
As the company continues talks to secure a $500 million credit line, it has also hired the law firm Kasowitz, Beson, Torres & Friedman, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing sources familiar with the matter. But the sources said Kasowitz's job is to keep Borders out of bankruptcy court.
Shares of Borders were falling 13.1% to 92 cents in midday trading.
Kasowitz met with publishers last week to pitch them a plan to defer payments and is in talks with GE Capital about providing a new revolving credit facility, the source told the Journal.
After taking a beating last year, SunPower is ready to shine in 2011.
For today's pick of the day, we turn to Alyce Lomax. Alyce is running a real-money socially responsible portfolio for us, which so far is making money while also making us feel good about ourselves. Which making money tends to do anyway, but I digress.
Rex Moore, Motley Fool Top Stocks editor
Renewable-energy stocks are solid contenders for a socially responsible portfolio. And while many stocks rallied in 2010, solar stocks took a real beating. This presents an opportunity to profit off others' pessimism and buy a promising green-energy stock at a low, low price for my SRI-focused Rising Stars portfolio.
After weighing alternatives like low-price solar leader First Solar, I settled on one choice: SunPower (SPWRA).
San Jose, Calif.-based SunPower, a subsidiary of Cypress Semiconductor until late 2008, has a holistic approach to the solar-panel business. It targets the entire gamut of customers seeking green-energy alternatives: governments, corporations, utilities, homebuilders and even homeowners.
Delivery, originally scheduled for May 2008, is now put off until later this year.
By Ted Reed, TheStreet
Boeing (BA) has once again delayed delivery of the 787.
First delivery is now expected in the third quarter. Most recently, first delivery was scheduled for the current quarter. The original date for first delivery was May 2008, so the plane is now more than three years behind schedule.
The new date reflects the impact on an in-flight fire during testing in November. It includes time required to produce, install and test updated software and new electrical power-distribution panels in the flight-test and production airplanes, Boeing said.
"This revised time line for first delivery accommodates the work we believe remains to be done to complete testing and certification of the 787," said Scott Fancher, the vice president and general manager of the 787 program. "We've also restored some margin in the schedule to allow for any additional time that may be needed to complete certification activities."
The iPhone maker's succession plan and product road map may not be enough to allay investors' concerns.
By Scott Moritz, TheStreet
The Apple chief said Monday that he would take a medical leave for an unspecified reason and that COO Tim Cook would head the company as the day-to-day manager in the interim. The shares were trading at $341, down 2%, this afternoon.
The move comes as Apple gets set to release its quarterly results later today. While analysts expect Apple to post blowout numbers on strong sales of iPads, iPhones and Macs, the stellar financial performance will likely be overshadowed by worries about the extent of Jobs' illness.
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The retailer labels the character's fake memoir as non-fiction. This comes weeks after it categorized the the Bible as fiction.
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[BRIEFING.COM] The drive for five continued today and it was a success. For the fifth straight session, the S&P 500 ended lower. Like the previous four sessions, though, the losses were fairly modest in scope. The S&P 500 declined 0.4%, bringing its total loss for the five sessions to 22 points or 1.2%. All in all, that still qualifies as a pretty tame slide considering the S&P 500 had risen 150 points, or 9.1%, over the previous eight weeks.
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