Did Alibaba IPO signal a market top?
Did Alibaba IPO signal a market top?

Some investment advisers are entertaining that possibility, especially in light of Monday's triple-digit loss in the Dow.


Customers say the Internet service provider has threatened to cancel service, but the company says it has no problem with the browser.

By MSN Money Partner Sep 16, 2014 10:26AM
File photo of the Comcast logo on a television screen (© Elise Amendola/AP Photo)By James Cook, Business Insider

Some users of the anonymous Web browser Tor have reported that Comcast (CMCSA) has threatened to cut off their Internet service unless they stop using the legal software.

Comcast completely denies their claims. In a blog post, the company said, "We have no policy against Tor, or any other browser or software. Customers are free to use their Xfinity Internet service to visit any website, use any app, and so forth."

According to a report on Deepdotweb, Comcast customer representatives have branded Tor "illegal" and told customers that using it is against the company's policies.

Tor is a type of Web browser that, in theory, makes all your Internet activity private. The software routes traffic through a series of other connected Internet users, making it difficult for governments and private companies to monitor your Internet usage. 


Stocks drift lower and bonds are hit as investors await the Fed. Prepare for higher volatility this week.

By InvestorPlace Sep 15, 2014 5:49PM

Credit: © Scott Eells/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Caption: A trader analyzes stock data on the floor of the New York Stock ExchangeBy Anthony Mirhaydari

With summer vacations fading evermore into distant memory, investors are being faced with increasingly treacherous market conditions in a month that historically has been a poor performer.

On Monday (the six-year anniversary of Lehman Bros. imploding), stocks finished mostly lower as bonds were hit once again heading into Wednesday's critical Federal Reserve policy meeting statement.

In the end, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index ($INX) lost a fraction as it remains below the 2000 level. The Nasdaq Composite Index ($COMPX) lost 1.1 percent as the approaching Alibaba IPO is sucking the wind out of big tech stocks.

Notably, the Russell 2000 ($TOMX) lost 1.2 percent as it dropped below its 50- and 200-day moving averages.


One analyst thinks the struggling electronics chain could be an attractive buy and complement other commerce initiatives.

By MSN Money Partner Sep 15, 2014 4:59PM
Credit: © Richard Levine/Demotix/Corbis
Caption: A RadioShack store in Greenwich Village, New York on Aug. 27, 2014By Jennifer Booton, MarketWatch

Investors are giving a nod of approval to news Monday that RadioShack's (RSH) chief financial officer has stepped down amid flagging sales.

However, one analyst has an even more drastic solution to the consumer electronic chain’s turnaround woes: a takeover by Amazon (AMZN).


Rob Peck of SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, who has a buy rating on Amazon, said the ongoing convergence of e-commerce and brick-and-mortar retail makes RadioShack an attractive buy for Amazon.

It would complement other local commerce initiatives run by other e-commerce giants, including the same-day delivery services run by eBay (EBAY) and Google (GOOG) and Amazon’s own grocery delivery business.


Venture capitalist Bill Gurley says Silicon Valley is 'taking on an excessive amount of risk.'

By MSN Money Partner Sep 15, 2014 3:12PM
Credit: © Marek Mnich/Getty Images
Caption: Close up of smartphone on laptop keyboardBy Jay Yarow, Business Insider

Respected venture capitalist Bill Gurley is sounding the alarm on the startup industry.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Gurley says the current environment reminds him of the tech bubble that formed in the late 1990s.

Every incremental day that goes past I have this feeling a little bit more. I think that Silicon Valley as a whole or that the venture-capital community or startup community is taking on an excessive amount of risk right now. Unprecedented since ‘'99. In some ways less silly than '99 and in other ways more silly than in '99.

Gurley adds, "No one's fearful, everyone's greedy, and it will eventually end."


Oil and natural-gas wells have become more productive -- a potent trend that should keep the fuels flowing.

By MSN Money Partner Sep 15, 2014 2:49PM
Credit: © Matthew Brown/AP Photo
Caption: a pump jack pulls crude oil from the Bakken region of the Northern Plains near Bainville, Mont.By Russell Gold, The Wall Street Journal

Skeptics of the U.S. energy boom say it can't last much longer because it requires drilling an ever-increasing number of wells.

But the boom already has lasted longer than anyone would have imagined just a decade ago and has more room to run. 

That's because oil and natural-gas wells have become more productive -- an unrecognized but potent trend that should keep the fuels flowing.

Back in 2003, the energy industry had just begun combining the techniques of drilling horizontal bores through shale and then using hydraulic fracturing -- shooting tons of water, chemicals and sand into the rocks.

Tags: XOM

Don't be tempted by these names, whose dividends distract from their otherwise uncompelling stories.

By InvestorPlace Sep 15, 2014 2:32PM

File photo of a Carnival cruise ship in Nassau Harbour, Providence Island, Bahamas (© Paul Brown/Rex Features)By John Divine

Dividend stocks appeal to the investor's most primal craving: cash. We all know cash is king.

Some investors who are further along in life need steady cash dividends to supplement their retirement. Some investors won't need that cash for many years, though, but that's fine -- dividends can be a tremendous boost to your portfolio if you automatically reinvest them.

However, when the underlying asset producing that cash is at risk, unstable or weakening, investors need to exercise extreme caution.

The following three dividend stocks are long-term traps: The underlying businesses just aren't that great, and poor share-price performance threatens to undercut the gains made from dividends.


Anheuser-Busch is reportedly talking to banks about financing in what could be a roughly $122 billion deal to buy SABMiller.

By MSN Money Partner Sep 15, 2014 2:11PM
Credit: © Francois Lenoir Reuters

Caption: View of the Anheuser-Busch InBev logo outside the brewer's headquartersBy John Kell, Fortune

The world's largest brewers appear to be angling to get even bigger, with reports saying Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD) is in talks with banks to finance a deal to buy SABMiller PLC, which itself sought to buy Dutch brewer Heineken NV in a deal that was rejected.

AB InBev is reportedly talking to banks about financing what could be a roughly $122 billion deal to buy SABMiller, The Wall Street Journal reported, a deal that would combine the globe's top two beer makers. 

A potential merger between those two giants has been rumored for years, a deal that would join AB InBev's portfolio -- which includes Budweiser, Stella Artois and Corona -- with SABMiller's Coors, Miller and Leinenkugel's.

Tags: BUD

Markus 'Notch' Persson says he wasn't motivated by money to close the deal. 'It's about my sanity.'

By MSN Money Partner Sep 15, 2014 1:20PM
Credit: © Paul Hennessy/Newscom/Polaris Images

Caption: Minecraft creator Markus ‘Notch’ PerssonBy Dave Smith, Business Insider

Microsoft (MSFTofficially announced its $2.5 billion purchase of Mojang, the Swedish company behind the ultrapopular game "Minecraft," on Monday. (Microsoft owns and publishes Top Stocks, an MSN Money site.)

Markus "Notch" Persson (pictured), the game's developer, has mixed emotions about the success of his company.

"As soon as this deal is finalized, I will leave Mojang and go back to doing Ludum Dares and small web experiments," Persson said in a blog post. "If I ever accidentally make something that seems to gain traction, I'll probably abandon it immediately."

Persson said he had wanted to step down from the development of Minecraft "a relatively long time ago," but he said he stuck with the team because "people said I was important for the culture, [so] I stayed." 

Tags: MSFT

Competitors including McDonald's and Dunkin' Donuts would be wise to carve their own seasonal niches rather than copy a pumpkin-spiced favorite.

By TheStreet.com Staff Sep 15, 2014 1:08PM

The Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte // Courtesy of StarbucksBy Jason Notte, TheStreet

Setting your calendar to Starbucks (SBUX) pumpkin spice latte is a bit basic, but reeling in repeat customers with a signature seasonal items is basically just a great idea.

The Starbucks pumpkin spice latte inhabits a place in our culture that the coffee chain's fast-food competitors and retail counterparts just can't find. In its 11th year of existence, the pumpkin spice latte has its own Twitter feed (@TheRealPSL), its own Tumblr, a post-Labor-Day release date, secret codes to get the drink as early as Aug. 26 and lengthy historical accounts and passionate defenses from esteemed publications. The flavor has been replicated so often by competitors including McDonald's (MCD), Dunkin Donuts (DNKN) and even Mars' M&M's, that the amount of "pumpkin spice"-- a mix of pumpkin, nutmeg and cinnamon -- in food served by restaurants increased 234 percent from 2008 to 2012, according to Datassential Menu Trends.


The chain sold the one-of-a-kind item for $129, and said its stains and holes were due to discoloration and natural fray.

By MSN Money Partner Sep 15, 2014 1:08PM
Credit: Courtesy of Urban Outfitters/Buzzfeed

Caption: Screenshot showing Urban Outfitters’ Vintage Kent State SweatshirtBy Lindsey Rupp, Bloomberg News

Kent State University, the site of a shooting in 1970 that killed four students, criticized Urban Outfitters (URBN) for selling a sweatshirt with its college logo and what appears to be splattered blood.

"We take great offense to a company using our pain for their publicity and profit," the Ohio university said in a statement online. "This item is beyond poor taste and trivializes a loss of life that still hurts the Kent State community today."

Urban Outfitters, a retail chain with a history of stocking controversial items, sold the one-of-a kind item for $129 on its website as part of an assortment of vintage clothing. 

The company said on Twitter today that there was no blood on the shirt, and the stains and holes were a result of discoloration and "natural wear and fray."

Tags: URBN

The company launched the soda brand in the 1990s to compete with Mountain Dew. Sales didn't exactly take off.

By MSN Money Partner Sep 15, 2014 12:56PM
By Ashley Lutz, Business Insider

Coca-Cola (KO) is bringing back Surge more than a decade after it was discontinued. 

The company will start selling 12-packs of Surge on Amazon (AMZN) today, writes Sapna Maheshwari at Buzzfeed.

Surge was launched in the '90s to compete with Mountain Dew. But the drink failed to sell and was discontinued 12 years ago. 

In a statement, Coca-Cola says that it is launching Surge in a response to an online campaign. 

A Facebook group called "SURGE Movement" has more than 100,000 fans on Facebook. The page was founded by Evan Carr of California in 2012.

Tags: KO

Investors who are shelving the stock should consider putting it in their basket instead.

By Jim Cramer Sep 15, 2014 12:30PM

A customer checks out of a Whole Foods Market in Washington, D.C. © Andrew Councill/Bloomberg via Getty ImagesIs it Whole Foods (WFM) vs. Kroger (KR)? Or is the world big enough for both?

I think the answer is the latter, and while Whole Foods has stumbled of late and Kroger's been red hot, I am beginning to wonder if we aren't nearing the end of the lack of performance from the best natural and organic retailer in the country.

First, a word about Kroger. It was a magnificent performer, once again, last week, talking about accelerating comparable-store sales -- an astounding 4.8 percent when I was looking for slightly more than 4 percent -- and an exciting integration of both Vitacost, an on-line vitamin company, and Harris Teeter, a recently purchased supermarket chain. The former gave the company terrific e-commerce tools and the latter is just the kind of classic expansion that allows for Krogerization of the North Carolina operation. Kroger's still selling at less than a market multiple despite its excellent execution, amazingly strong private label operation and a healthy embrace of natural and organic foods.


The tech company's core business should be worth $5 billion, almost none of which is realized in its current price.

By MSN Money Partner Sep 15, 2014 12:20PM
Yahoo logo on a smartphone (© KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)By J.J. Zhang, MarketWatch

Alibaba Group is about to take the IPO crown when it's expected to debut on Sept 18. It's a long-awaited debut for what is the largest Internet and e-commerce based company in the world.

While relatively unknown in the west, Alibaba has a myriad of operations, and investments, from its Alibaba marketplace (wholesale business-to-business sales and service), Taobao marketplace (think Amazon and eBay combined), Alipay (think PayPal and all mobile payments combined), TMall (think online Best Buy), cloud services (think SalesForce.com), Tudou (think Netflix and Youtube), and many more. 

Basically almost everything you can buy or do on the internet in China, Alibaba has some ownership of it. It has also recently started expanding into a more global company, bringing its services and products to a larger audience.

Tags: YHOO

The grocery giant expanded its Simple Truth line nationwide 2 years ago and has seen consistent growth.

By MSN Money Partner Sep 12, 2014 3:24PM
Kroger logo on a grocery cart (© Brian Christopher/Demotix/Demotix/Corbis)By Justin Bachman, Businessweek

Organic foods have long carried a price premium along with a certain snob appeal or caricature, depending on your view: fancy eats for affluent folks, not the hungry and thrifty masses. 

So much for that stereotype. Organic products sold under Kroger's (KR) store brand are about to top $1 billion in annual sales.

The grocery giant expanded its Simple Truth natural and organic foods line nationwide two years ago and has seen consistent sales growth. The company touts the brand as being "Free From 101" artificial ingredients and preservatives. 

Kroger says it has more than 35,000 products that are organic or natural, with about one-sixth of those added in the past year. (Natural foods are prepared with minimal processing and are not considered organic.)


The delivery company is feeling pressure from the ubiquity of free shipping, fierce competition from other delivery services and Amazon's power to drive down shipping costs.

By MSN Money Partner Sep 12, 2014 3:12PM
Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
UPS truck in New York CityBy Laura Stevens, The Wall Street Journal

When United Parcel Service (UPS) Chief Executive David Abney bought his first book from Amazon (AMZN) about 15 years ago, e-commerce seemed no more complicated than ordering from a catalog. "Pretty basic," he says.

Online sales have mushroomed since then into a huge business for the package-delivery company -- and a big problem.

Because of the ubiquity of free shipping, fierce competition from other delivery services and Amazon's power to drive down shipping costs as it gets even more enormous, UPS' average revenue on each Internet-related package it handles is dropping.



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[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market finished the Tuesday session on the defensive after spending the entire day in a steady retreat. The S&P 500 (-0.6%) posted its third consecutive decline, while the small-cap Russell 2000 (-0.9%) slipped behind the broader market during afternoon action.

Equity indices were pressured from the start following some overnight developments that weighed on sentiment. The market tried to overcome the early weakness, but could not stage a sustained rebound, ... More


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