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It's no Alibaba, but the Citizens Financial Group offering is important to the market.


Developments in key bond ETFs could shift the outlook for the stock market in the weeks ahead.

By Dec 9, 2011 2:26PM

By Tom Aspray,

The bond bull market of 2011 is likely to be remembered for many years. Who would have expected the sale of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s 100-year bonds to be oversubscribed?

The summer spike highs did suggest a top was being formed, but after an initial round of selling, bonds have held up quite well. The technicals for the longer-term instruments can be interpreted as continuation patterns that would be resolved by another push higher in prices and a corresponding push lower in yields.


There may be a new player in premium TV with a DVD rental partner, but it's still no big deal.

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day Dec 9, 2011 2:23PM

Image: Watching television (© image100/Corbis)By Rick Aristotle Munarriz


Building on the Reuters story about Verizon (VZ) rolling out stand-alone video streaming next year, TechCrunch is now reporting that Verizon's service will roll out in cahoots with Coinstar's (CSTR) Redbox.


The alliance makes sense. Redbox promised investors a digital distribution strategy that failed to materialize last year, and it was always assumed that the cheap DVD rental kiosk operator wouldn't go in alone.


One analyst firm says the retailer's operating performance continues to deteriorate.

By Kim Peterson Dec 9, 2011 2:20PM
Sears Holdings (SHLD) has been trading above $55 lately, but analysts at Imperial Capital say the stock is only worth about $6. Ouch.

The move comes as other analysts expect Sears, which also owns the struggling Kmart chain, to move from annual profits to losses. The company lost $421 million in the quarter ended Oct. 29 and is expected to report a loss for the full fiscal year. 

One analyst says the company is losing share opportunities to Apple and Google's Android platform.

By Kim Peterson Dec 9, 2011 1:33PM
Think Research In Motion (RIMM) has it bad now? Just wait.

Citigroup analyst Jim Suva lists 10 reasons the company could get even worse. Suva, who understandably has a "sell" rating on the stock, says he thinks RIM will probably start to guide more conservatively after missing expectations for the past few quarters. In fact, he added, he wouldn't be surprised if the company stopped giving full-year guidance completely. 

Despite recent good economic news, Toyota Motor and other companies continue to ratchet down expectations.

By Jonathan Berr Dec 9, 2011 1:08PM
Investors buoyed by the recent spate of good economic news shouldn't be breathing easier just yet. There is still plenty of negative data to digest.

Toyota Motor (TM) slashed its earnings outlook this week, citing the disruption to production caused by the worst floods in Thailand in almost 70 years. The timing couldn't be worse for the Japanese company, which is fighting the surging popularity of Hyundai Motor and its affiliate Kia Motors. In November, Toyota posted a 6.7% gain in deliveries, its first monthly sales increase since April. Meanwhile, Hyundai's sales gained 29%, surpassing analysts' estimates. 
Tags: DDTM

The actor's onboard kerfuffle has turned attention to the game company's 'Words With Friends.'

By Kim Peterson Dec 9, 2011 12:59PM
Actor Alec Baldwin was kicked off an American Airlines plane this week because he wouldn't turn off his phone. Now, the game he was playing on his phone is getting some attention for online company Zynga as it heads into its initial public offering.

Baldwin was reportedly so into the Zynga game "Words With Friends" that he refused to turn it off as the plane prepared to leave. The actor took the phone into the lavatory, reports say, slamming the door so hard it alarmed the pilots in the cockpit. 
Tags: amrIPO

Bernstein upgraded Yum! Brands to 'outperform,' while Citigroup initiated Sirius XM with a 'buy.'

By MSN Money Partner Dec 9, 2011 11:51AM
Information provided by

Friday's noteworthy upgrades include:
  • PEPCO Holdings (POM) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse
  • Ensco (ESV) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Citigroup
  • Alcatel-Lucent (ALU) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Bernstein
  • Yum! Brands (YUM) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Bernstein

One analyst says there are no significant technical hurdles in the way of the tablet's release.

By Kim Peterson Dec 9, 2011 11:48AM
Apple (AAPL) is preparing to launch its new iPad in February, according to a Citi analyst. And it's going to look great.

In a note to clients, Richard Gardner says several sources have told him of the February launch, reports Business Insider. The new iPad's screen is likely to be twice the resolution of the current iPad's. 

By dividing the company, CEO Rosenfeld is hoping to allow each section to focus more closely on strategic priorities and allocates its resources appropriately.

By Trefis Dec 9, 2011 11:29AM
Robert George Young/PhotographerKraft Foods (KFT), which said in early August it would divide into two separate companies, announced this week the new CEOs and chairs for both divisions.

Irene Rosenfeld, CEO of Kraft since 2006 and chairwoman since 2007, will head the new Global Snacks business. Tony Vernon, currently president of Kraft Foods, North America, will be CEO of the new North American Grocery Business. He will be joined by John Cahill from private equity firm Ripplewood Holdings as non-executive chairman.

A quick look at the Trefis breakdown for the company can help us determine the potential impact of this proposed split. 
Tags: KFT

The 5-cent payout adds to Ford's attractiveness for investors.

By InvestorPlace Dec 9, 2011 11:15AM
Tetra Images/Getty ImagesBy Jeff Reeves

Ford Motor (F) made headlines on Thursday by reinstating its dividend. The Detroit automaker had eliminated quarterly dividend payments about five years ago. But Ford will now pay 5 cents per share to stockholders of record as of Jan. 31, 2012, with the first payment to be made Mar. 1.

The move raises two questions. First, is the dividend all that great? Second, is does the quarterly payout make Ford stock a buy?


Exciting new products and rapid growth suggest a target of $655 within 3 years.

By TheStockAdvisors Dec 9, 2011 10:40AM
Image Source/PhotolibraryBy J. Royden Ward, Cabot Benjamin Graham Value Letter

Apple (AAPL) has a unique ability to identify what customers want, produce easy-to-use products, and launch unique marketing campaigns to create demand.

The company’s revolutionary iPod digital music player, iTune online music store, and iPhone helped sales to increase 33% per year during the past five years, while earnings per share surged 70% per year during the same period. 
Tags: AAPL

Moody's has concluded that the bonds of some high-profile leveraged buyouts are too junky for most investors.

By The Fiscal Times Dec 9, 2011 10:06AM
bondBy Suzanne McGee, The Fiscal Times

To some fund managers, they are known as the "Big Five:" The junk bonds that Clear Channel Communications, Harrah's Entertainment, Energy Future Holdings (the utility formerly known as TXU), Realogy, and Hawker Beechcraft originally issued in the midst of the leveraged buyout frenzy between 2006 and 2008.

All are trading at eye-popping yields that rise into the mid-teens. But to many investment managers, they are distinctive not because of the high yields, but because even as the default risk has ebbed for junk bonds as a whole, and the overall rate of defaults has fallen, the securities of the Big Five are still seen as perilous. 

Poorer countries like Italy and Spain need to know there's a backstop as they adopt austerity measures. And bond investors need reassurance.

By Jim Cramer Dec 9, 2011 9:59AM

Image: Euro bank notes, close up, soft focus (© Robert Kohlhuber/Photodisc/Getty Images)

the street

Still reeling that the European Central Bank didn't do more. Reeling that they didn't understand that the sovereigns need help in return for the austerity they have to administer to their budgets.


Yes, these poorer countries like Italy and Spain have spent too much, have profligate welfare states and have let others pay for their errant ways, but if they are going to continue their belt-tightening austerity ways, they need to know there is a backstop. They need to know there is a rescue or else it isn't worth it and they will just risk going under.


Missed expectations at the discount retailer? No problem.

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day Dec 8, 2011 5:25PM
Image: Man shopping (© Noel Hendrickson/Getty Images/Getty Images)By Alyce Lomax


Costco (COST) is impervious to negativity. Although the discount retailer missed analysts' expectations, investors are taking the news in stride. Anybody who was waiting for a temporary plunge in the stock price in order to take a position will have to wait a little longer.


Fiscal first-quarter net income inched 2.6% higher to $320 million, or 73 cents per share, including charges related to settling an income tax audit related to its Mexican joint venture and a contribution to a coalition supporting the reform of alcoholic beverage laws in Washington state; combined, these charges dinged earnings by about 7 cents per share.


The markets slumped even after the European Central Bank moved forcefully.

By Jim J. Jubak Dec 8, 2011 5:24PM
Image: Europe (© Photodisc/SuperStock)Mario Draghi and the European Central Bank Thursday delivered everything investors could have reasonably hoped for -- and still financial markets tumbled. The German DAX Index finished the day down 2% and the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index ($INX) closed down 2.1%.

I think that market action amounts to a great big vote of no confidence in the European political leaders that have just begun a summit meeting that wraps up Friday.

At Thursday's meeting in Frankfurt, the European Central Bank cut its benchmark interest rate by 0.25 percentage points to 1%, extended the term of its credit facility for banks to three years from the current one-year term, and loosened its standards on the kinds of collateral it will accept from banks.


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[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market finished an upbeat week on a mixed note. The S&P 500 shed less than a point, ending the week higher by 1.3%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (+0.1%) cemented a 1.7% advance for the week. High-beta names underperformed, which weighed on the Nasdaq Composite (-0.3%) and the Russell 2000 (-1.3%).

Equity indices displayed strength in the early going with the S&P 500 tagging the 2,019 level during the opening 30 minutes of the action. However, ... More


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