Get ready for a flood of IPOs
Flood of IPOs land this week

If everything goes as planned, this week will be the busiest for initial public offerings since 2000.


As chocolate companies are forced to raise prices, inelastic demand for their products could mean higher revenue.

By Staff Fri 12:54 PM

Hershey's Milk Chocolate bars are arranged underneath M&Ms, a Mars product © Jb Reed/Bloomberg via Getty ImagesBy Andrew Sachais, TheStreet

With cocoa prices on the rise since 2013, most U.S. confectioners have started to hike prices of chocolate bars and candies. It is unlikely that these higher prices will translate into lower demand, though. Widespread chocolate cravings should allow chocolatiers to shift higher cocoa costs to consumers without seeing a considerable drop off in sales. Just look at Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) as an example of how this works.

Mars Chocolate North America, the maker of M&M's and Snickers, said on Wednesday that it planned to raise prices by an average of 7 percent "to offset rising costs," its first increase in three years. The price hike by Mars follows Hershey's (HSY), the No. 1 candy maker in the United States, which said last week that it too would raise prices on chocolate, up close to 8%, due to soaring commodity costs.


The $200 device isn't debuting with all the fanfare of an iPhone, but it doesn't need a home run to be a winner.

By MSN Money Partner Fri 12:24 PM
Credit: © Ted S. Warren/AP

Caption: The new Amazon Fire PhoneBy Greg Bensinger, The Wall Street Journal

Amazon (AMZN) is embarking on its grandest attempt yet to keep customers buying more from its namesake site.

The company will begin selling its new Fire smartphone (pictured) Friday at AT&T (T) stores without the fanfare of releases from rivals Apple (AAPL) or Samsung Electronics -- there are no velvet ropes outside stores of the exclusive carrier for die-hard fans. 

And reviewers haven't been especially kind, knocking the handset for a lineup of features that don’t seem yet to elevate it to a must-buy.

But because the Fire is designed to make shopping on Amazon even easier, it doesn't have to be a home run for it to be a winner. 


The longshot bet was made before news broke that the company may go private.

By MSN Money Partner Fri 12:06 PM
SodaStream soda mixes (© Todd Oren/Getty Images for SodaStream)By Alex Rosenberg, CNBC

Was it skill, dumb luck -- or something more sinister? 

That's what traders are asking about a big, longshot bet on SodaStream (SODA) that returned some 3,000 percent in just two hours.

Two minutes before 10 a.m. ET on Thursday, one options trader bought 500 weekly 30-strike calls in SodaStream for 15 cents each (or $15 per contract, given that each contract controls 100 shares) that expire Friday. It was by far the biggest SodaStream trade of the day in terms of the number of contracts. 

The purchase gives the trader the right to buy SodaStream shares for $30 at the close of Friday trading. The reason those options were so inexpensive is that the stock was trading at about $29.50 at the time, meaning the chance of the stock closing Friday above $30 was considered to be especially low.

Tags: SODA

The stock had previously soared 23,000% before regulators hit the brakes.

By MSN Money Partner Fri 11:51 AM
Credit: ©
Caption: A screenshot of Introbiz.comBy Tomi Kilgore, MarketWatch

Cynk Technology (CYNK) shares fell 82 percent Friday after they became free to trade for the first time in two weeks.

Given the stock's meteoric rise, prior to the 10-session halt by the Securities and Exchange Commission -- despite no reported sales or assets -- it's no surprise to see it get spanked at the open. The stock dropped 64 percent to $5, then plunged as much as 86 percent at the intraday low of $2.01.

Technically speaking, there was some minor congestion in the shares' chart prior to the halt between $5 and $3 that could provide some support. And as technicians often say, the strongest support for any stock is at zero.

The SEC halted trading of the social network's (pictured) stock July 11 because of "potentially manipulative transactions" and concerns regarding the "accuracy and adequacy of information in the marketplace." The stock, which traded over-the-counter, closed at $13.90 on July 10 after soaring about 23,000 percent since June 16.


Tighter regulations and the end of a lengthy bull market in bonds have changed the landscape forever.

By MSN Money Partner Thu 3:40 PM
Credit: © Tetra Images/Getty Images

Caption: Empty trading desks with computers and phonesBy Howard Gold, MarketWatch

The signs are everywhere on Wall Street. Trading floors that once buzzed with noise and energy are now as silent as cathedrals. Big firms that reaped huge profits from trading stocks, bonds, commodities and currencies are turning to staid money management to boost earnings.

What once was the main event is now just a sideshow. 

There are many fewer traders now, and they're making much less money. And there are going to be even fewer very, very soon. With one big exception I'll discuss later, trading is dying.

And it's not just stock trading, where volumes are slightly more than half of what they were five years ago. Fixed income, currencies and commodities trading (FICC), Wall Street's huge profit driver of the 2000s, is in deep, deep trouble.


The company hasn't revealed the iPhone 6 launch timeline, and its outlook is meaningless in terms of projecting demand for the device.

By MSN Money Partner Thu 2:34 PM
Credit: © George Rose/Getty Images
Caption: The exterior of the downtown Apple Store in Central Hong Kong is viewed on May 27, 2014, in Hong Kong, ChinaBy Adam Levine-Weinberg, The Motley Fool

On Tuesday afternoon, Apple (AAPL) reported solid earnings for the third quarter of its 2014 fiscal year. Generally, investors have a tendency to look past earnings numbers for the seasonally weak June quarter, instead focusing on guidance for the upcoming quarter.

On one level, this makes sense, as Apple has released new iPhones during the September quarter for the last two years -- and is expected to do so again in 2014. 

However, Apple's Q4 guidance is meaningless in terms of projecting demand for new products like the iPhone 6. Investors would be better off ignoring the guidance and waiting for more solid information.

Tags: AAPL

Facebook's stock needs to hit a certain dollar amount for its young CEO to gain the title.

By MSN Money Partner Thu 2:22 PM
Credit: © Robert Galbraith/Reuters

Caption: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg addresses at Facebook's f8 developers conference in San Francisco, Calif. April 30, 2014By Jay Yarow, Business Insider

We doubt this is Mark Zuckerberg's goal in life, but if he wants to be the richest man in the world, Facebook's stock has to go to $200. 

We got that number from Bloomberg wealth reporter David de Jong on Twitter

He says at $200 Zuckerberg (pictured) would overtake Bill Gates as the world's richest person -- assuming all things stay the same as they are now. (De Jong was responding to a tweet from NYT columnist Farhad Manjoo.)

Facebook's (FB) stock is trading at around $76 Thursday, so it needs to almost triple. Facebook's current market cap is $195.4 billion. If the stock went to $200, Facebook would be worth over $500 billion. For some comparison, Apple (AAPL) is currently valued at $580 billion. 

Can Facebook do it? Can it reach $500+ billion? 


The company offered 1-cent bargains to win a NY state contract, but pulled back as orders flooded in. 'People were going hog wild,' says a school district official.

By MSN Money Partner Thu 1:09 PM
Credit: © Paul Sakuma/AP

Caption: Paper clips are seen on display for sale at a Staples store in Menlo Park, Calif.By Mark Maremont, The Wall Street Journal

Staples (SPLS) made the State of New York quite a promise: Buy your office supplies from us, and we'll sell you a bunch of things for a penny apiece. This unleashed a rush on the retailer as government offices and qualifying organizations across the state gobbled up the one-cent items.

A Brooklyn charity benefiting disabled people ordered 240,000 boxes of facial tissue and 48,000 rolls of paper towels, according to documents obtained in a public-records request. Rome, N.Y., wanted 100,000 CD-Rs. A State Department of Motor Vehicles office ordered 8,000 rolls of packaging tape.

"We ordered things we didn't even need," said Nancy Sitone, manager of office services at United Cerebral Palsy Association of Greater Suffolk Inc. "I have some products up the yin-yang."

Tags: SPLS

The country may be nearing a crucial turning point, economists say.

By MSN Money Partner Thu 12:54 PM
Image: Worried couple © Digital Vision, Getty ImagesBy Everett Rosenfeld, CNBC

The U.S. economy has churned out some pretty encouraging news lately, but plenty of skeptical Americans still have much anxiety about this recovery.

Major questions remain about certain aspects of the health of the economy, including stagnant wage growth, unemployment and corporate taxes.

After some weak numbers at the beginning of the year, the U.S. economy may be nearing a crucial turning point, economists told CNBC.

"The economy is mediocre," said Joel Naroff, president of Naroff Economic Advisors. "But it's getting better by the month."

A Gallup poll from July found that Americans are less worried about unemployment and jobs issues in the U.S. than in previous months, although 14 percent still said they think it is the most important problem facing the country.


Specialty apparel is doing incredibly well, with fantastic growth and terrific gross margins.

By Jim Cramer Thu 12:43 PM

Under Armour shoes worn by players on the Northwestern Wildcats © Matthew Holst/Getty ImagesYou want to hear the nuttiest idea yet? You know what group is doing incredibly well, with fantastic growth and terrific gross margins?

It's specialty apparel -- namely, Skechers (SKX), Under Armour (UA), Carter's (CRI) and Hanesbrands (HBI).

Skechers has been doing so well, with all new lines of footwear and terrific promotion. The stock is still way too cheap. logoAs for Under Armour, a heavily shorted technology stock that happens to be in the apparel industry, management has highlighted that it is doing well in footwear and in international sales. There isn't anything this company isn't doing well. The direct-to-consumer service is amazing. The gross margin is terrific. The stores are amazing. This is a momentum stock that has much further to go.


The social media company is hitting all-time highs Thursday and it's largely due to strong mobile advertising.

By Staff Thu 12:27 PM

An Apple iPhone4s displaying the stock exchange app in front of a computer screen with the Facebook logo © Jan-Philipp/dpa/CorbisBy Chris Ciaccia, TheStreet

The biggest takeaway from Facebook's (FB) earnings is that its mobile advertising efforts are much stronger than anticipated, allowing it to generate margins other companies could only hope to dream about.

Facebook's margins on earnings before interest taxes, depreciation and amortization, or EBITDA, were 67.7 percent, significantly higher than what Wall Street was expecting, as the company's mobile ads are simply more effective than anything else out there right now. On the earnings call, COO Sheryl Sandberg said it's not just mobile app install ads that are driving the results; it's everything.

"Our mobile ads revenue is pretty, it's broad based," Sandberg said on the earnings call. She noted that the company has not only large brand advertisers, but small businesses, direct response advertisers, as well as developers using mobile ads. Sandberg did note that mobile app install ads "remain a good part of our mobile ads revenue and we're excited about the opportunities there," but it's clear that the company is focusing on more than just installing apps, be it from developers or corporations.


You have nearly an equal chance of being hit by lightning as finding a fund that is a top performer for 5 straight years.

By MSN Money Partner Thu 12:21 PM
Image: Mutual funds © ThinkStock/SuperStockBy Mitchell Tuchman, MarketWatch

Do you know someone who has been hit by lightning? Do you know anyone who knows anyone who has been hit by lightning?

Exceedingly unlikely, right? But it turns out to be roughly the same chance as knowing someone -- anyone -- whose mutual fund consistently stays ahead of the pack.

Put another way, your chances of buying a hot fund and watching it immediately lag are pretty darned high. Close to guaranteed.

This fact shouldn't surprise anyone. A study by S&P Dow Jones Indices, reported in The New York Times, showed that just two funds out of 2,862 managed to be in the top quartile of performers for five consecutive years.

The two funds in question -- the Hodges Small Cap (HDPSX) and the AMG SouthernSun Small Cap (SSSFX) were small-cap funds (also not surprising), but SouthernSun is closed to new investors. So you're down to one choice out of 2,862. Your chances of being hit by lightning in your lifetime, meanwhile, comes in at 1 in 3,000.


The sector has been on a tear, but selling pressure is mounting.

By InvestorPlace Thu 12:06 PM

Image: Circuit Board © Datacraft Co Ltd, imagenavi, Getty ImagesBy Anthony Mirhaydari

One of the leading sector groups over the last few months has been semiconductor stocks.

Excitement over the "Internet of things" as well as indications that moribund PC sales seem to be stabilizing thanks to Microsoft's (MSFT) dropping of Windows XP support -- resulting in a forced upgrade cycle for many users -- have pushed the sector into a near-vertical trajectory since breaking out three months ago. (Microsoft owns and publishes Top Stocks, an MSN Money site.)

Since the beginning of May, the Market Vectors Semiconductors (SMH) is up more than 14 percent versus a 5.5 percent gain for the Standard & Poor's 500 Index ($INX).

But the sector has lost some momentum so far this month, with selling pressure intensifying as a surge of negative volume undercuts the sector's upward momentum. After such an exciting rise, there is evidence that a pullback looms.


4 analysts downgrade the stock the day after a disappointing quarterly report.

By MSN Money Partner Wed 3:48 PM
Caption: A sign stands outside of a McDonald's restaurant in San Francisco
Credit: © Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesBy Andria Cheng, MarketWatch

Consumers have been abandoning McDonald's (MCD) by not eating out as much or instead patronizing rivals like Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG). Now, analysts, too, have soured on the company's stock.

Four analysts downgraded the company's stock on Wednesday, a day after the Oak Brook, Ill.-based company posted a disappointing second-quarter profit and full-year outlook amid a continued sales slowdown in the key markets of the U.S., Germany, Japan and Australia.

"The deteriorating fundamentals increase the likelihood of activist involvement," said Rachael Rothman, an analyst at Susquehanna Financial. She said the company's turnaround is taking longer than she expected and downgraded the stock to neutral from positive.

While McDonald’s Chief Executive Don Thompson evoked a sense of urgency on a conference call Tuesday, Wall Street said substantial improvement in sales and customer visits likely won't come any time soon. Meanwhile, the company is facing cost pressures, including higher prices for meat and other items.


In the context of recent history, the precious metal is at a low point as the market for equities has soared.

By MSN Money Partner Wed 2:46 PM
Hundred dollar bills surrounded by gold © Anthony Bradshaw, PhotographerBy Elizabeth MacBride, CNBC

Gold prices rose again last week on news of the downing of Malaysia Air Flight MH17, the latest in a series of geopolitical shocks that have sent the price of the precious metal up this year.

The price of gold rose 4 percent in the year preceding July 17. On news that the airliner had been shot down over Ukraine, it rose 1.2 percent to $1,315 per ounce, according to Morningstar data based on the London Fix. (It's since fallen a little as investors have started taking profits.)

The volatility is a sign of the most fundamental fact about gold. It is possibly the most emotionally driven asset class -- the refuge of apocalyptic worriers, as well as of serious traders who look at it as a portfolio diversifier and alternative to paper currency.

"You cannot discount the psychosis that exists around gold," said Ben Johnson, Morningstar's director of manager research for passive strategies. "We call it the oldest continuous 2,000-year-old investment bubble around here."



Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.

Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.


StockScouter rates stocks from 1 to 10, with 10 being the best, using a system of advanced mathematics to determine a stock's expected risk and return. Ratings are displayed on a bell curve, meaning there will be fewer ratings of 1 and 10 and far more of 4 through 7.

126 rated 1
286 rated 2
474 rated 3
680 rated 4
626 rated 5
609 rated 6
620 rated 7
462 rated 8
304 rated 9
132 rated 10

Top Picks


Trending NOW

What’s this?



Quotes delayed at least 15 min


Top Stocks provides analysis about the most noteworthy stocks in the market each day, combining some of the best content from around the MSN Money site and the rest of the Web.

Contributors include professional investors and journalists affiliated with MSN Money.

Follow us on Twitter @topstocksmsn.


There’s a problem getting this information right now. Please try again later.
There’s a problem getting this information right now. Please try again later.
Market index data delayed by 15 minutes

[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market began the last week of July on a quiet note with the S&P 500 ending less than a point above its flat line. Like the benchmark index, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (+0.1%) also posted a slim gain, while the Russell 2000 (-0.5%) and Nasdaq Composite (-0.1%) lagged throughout the session.

The major averages were awakened from their weekend slumber with an opening retreat that pressured the S&P 500 below its 20-day moving average (1975). Even though ... More


There’s a problem getting this information right now. Please try again later.