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Take bubble talk with a grain of salt

Jim Cramer asks, why pay any attention to letters from a manager who lost money in the first quarter?


The company reported a strong quarter Wednesday, sending shares skyward.

By Motley Fool Investor Beat 11 hours ago
Shares of tech giant Apple (AAPL) closed up 8.2 percent Thursday after it announced a strong quarter.

The highlight of the report was the iPhone, which saw unit sales of over 44 million compared to estimates of around 38 million. The company also increased its capital return program from $100 billion to $130 billion, most of which will be in the form of a share repurchase program. 
Tags: AAPL

The company matched Wall Street expectations on profits but its sales were a slight surprise.

By MSN Money Partner 13 hours ago
Amazon logo on a warehouse in Bad Hersfeld on May 14, 2013 (© Lisi Niesner/Newscom/Reuters)By (AMZN) rallied in extended-hours trading Thursday after the e-commerce giant posted revenue that topped estimates, while earnings were in line with forecasts.

The company posted earnings of 23 cents a share, matching Wall Street expectations, while revenue was higher at $19.74 billion, versus expectations for $19.43 billion.

Shares climbed 2.1 percent in extended-hours trading to $344.16. The stock rallied nearly 4 percent in the regular session ahead of the earnings report.

"We get our energy from inventing on behalf of customers, and 2014 is off to a kinetic start," said CEO Jeff Bezos, in a press release. "Our device team launched Fire TV, offering great content, including our recently announced exclusive deal with HBO, and innovative features like unified voice search, which we're delighted is being adopted by so many new partners, including Netflix, HBO Go, Hulu Plus, Crackle and Showtime Anytime."


If you're in the dark about what to do with your portfolio, here are some tips on how to prepare.

By InvestorPlace 13 hours ago

Image: Money grow © Dynamic Graphics/Creatas Images/JupiterimagesBy Jeff Reeves

There's a lot of talk about interest-rate risk as the Federal Reserve looks to tighten monetary policy in the next year or so.

The Fed has already drawn down some of its quantitative easing, and many investors believe that Chairwoman Janet Yellen plans to raise interest rates by next spring.

In fact, the body of evidence so firmly favors higher interest rates and tighter Fed policy that one recent survey showed unanimous expectations that yields on the 10-year Treasury note will rise in the next six months.

Tags: TLT

Discount brokers are seeing big jumps in business as small investors get back into the game.

By MSN Money Partner 14 hours ago
Image: Stocks circled in newspaper © Digital Vision/Getty ImagesBy Julie Steinberg, The Wall Street Journal

Small investors are putting a little high frequency into their own trading.

Discount brokers TD Ameritrade Holding (AMTD) and E*Trade Financial (ETFC) on Wednesday reported big jumps in daily trading volume in the first quarter from the same period a year ago. 

TD Ameritrade posted a 30 percent jump to a record 492,000 revenue-generating trades a day, while E*Trade said average daily volume rose 33 percent to 198,000. Charles Schwab (SCHW) last week reported a 13 percent increase in volume to 337,300 trades a day.

Executives attributed the growth to strong returns from stocks in recent years, more widespread adoption of mobile-trading technology and the lack of alternatives to stocks in a period of historically low interest rates. More market volatility during the first quarter added to trading volume, executives said.


Delivering packages will give the company, stung by shipping delays last Christmas, more control over the shopping experience.

By MSN Money Partner 15 hours ago
Credit: © Jonathan Alcorn/Reuters
Caption: An Amazon Fresh delivery van in Los AngelesBy Greg Bensinger and Laura Stevens, The Wall Street Journal

The future of Amazon (AMZN) is hiding in plain sight in a San Francisco parking lot.

There, adjacent to recently closed Candlestick Park, Amazon is testing its own delivery network for "the last mile," the final leg of a package's journey to consumers' doorsteps. 

Trucks loaded with Amazon packages and driven by Amazon-supervised contractors leave this parking lot for homes and offices around San Francisco. Similar efforts are under way in Los Angeles and New York.

Delivering its own packages will give Amazon, stung by shipping delays last Christmas, more control over the shopping experience. The retailer will gain flexibility regarding when packages are delivered and help in containing shipping expenses, which grew 29 percent last year. As a percentage of sales, Amazon's shipping costs have grown each year since 2009, according to securities filings.


The company reports its first-quarter results, and weather, international sales and CEO succession will all likely be in focus.

By Benzinga 15 hours ago

Credit: © Ford Motor Company
Caption: Ford F-250 Super Duty pickup truckBy Nelson Hem

Ford (F), which this week announced who will replace departing CEO Alan Mulally, is scheduled to report its first-quarter 2014 results Friday before the markets open.

Investors will be looking for continued strength in North America, Ford's biggest market, but also in China, where it overtook Honda and Toyota last year. They will want to see some sign of improvement in European operations. As with many other earnings reports this season, weather in the quarter is likely to be a factor.

Analysts on average predict that Ford will report that its revenue for the quarter increased marginally year-over-year to $34.06 billion. Earnings of $0.31 per share are also in the consensus forecast. That would be down from a reported profit of $0.41 per share in the comparable period of last year.


After an endless stream of promotional offers, the company is going back to its roots. It's trying to find a strategy that works.

By MSN Money Partner 16 hours ago
File photo of a McDonald's restaurant in Suffolk, England (© Geography Photos/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)By Claire Zillman, Fortune

McDonald's (MCD) is having a bit of an identity crisis.

The burger behemoth announced a 5.2 percent drop in profits for the first three months of 2014 and a 1.7 percent decrease in same-store sales in the U.S. on Tuesday. President and CEO Don Thompson emphasized that McDonald's would be focusing on its core products, like its Big Mac, Egg McMuffin, and its famous french fries.

Thompson's back-to-basics vow comes in response to the sort of menu creep the chain experienced in 2013, when it rolled out a seemingly endless stream of limited-time offers, like its Mighty Wings, a steak and egg burrito, a steak breakfast sandwich, a new Quarter pounder, a grilled onion cheddar burger, the Hot n' Spicy McChicken, and a product that the restaurant must have questioned from the start: Fish McBites. 


Tomorrow's billionaires are being raised on technology, and their money management will grow increasingly social, transparent and sophisticated.

By MSN Money Partner 16 hours ago
Image: Two woman looking at laptop computer © Whisson, Jordan, CorbisBy Lawrence Delevingne, CNBC

Lots of start-up funding. Crowd-sourced investment ideas. Real-time low-cost portfolio monitoring. An emphasis on environmental and social impact.

Call it the Silicon Valley effect on the future of money management for the global ultrawealthy.

Those are some of the broad themes that heard from leading family offices, private banks and other experts in an effort to understand how the world's wealthiest people will manage their fortunes in 25 years.

In 2039, today's 20- and 30-something multimillionaires and billionaires will be in their 50s and 60s.


The company knocked it out of the park this quarter, but is that enough of a reason for you to jump in?

By Motley Fool Investor Beat 16 hours ago
Shares of biopharma giant Gilead Sciences (GILD) were up Wednesday after it announced a strong quarter, which included revenue doubling to $5 billion and earnings per share tripling from $0.43 to $1.33.

Most of the company's strength this quarter came from its hepatitis C drug Sovaldi. Sales of the drug hit $2.3 billion this quarter, which was incredible considering it was the first full quarter the drug was on the market. It also didn't hurt that sales of Stribild, Gilead's HIV pill, were up 134 percent year-over-year. 

The new restaurant, the first of which will open this summer, features premium tacos, fries, craft beer and wine.

By MSN Money Partner 17 hours ago
© Taco BellBy Hayley Peterson, Business Insider

Taco Bell is launching a new upscale taco chain.

The restaurant, called U.S. Taco Co. and Urban Taproom, will feature a menu of 10 premium tacos, thick-cut fries, milkshakes, craft beer, and wine, according to Nation's Restaurant News, an industry publication. 

The first location is set to open in Huntington Beach, Calif., this summer. Taco Bell declined to elaborate on expansion plans.

Here are some of the menu items, according to NRN.


After a decade of innovation, the company's well has run dry.

By MSN Money Partner 17 hours ago
Caption: Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller announces the new iPad Air
Credit: © Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesBy Howard Gold, MarketWatch

Apple (AAPL) put on a great show for investors in its earnings report Wednesday after the stock market closed.

The company reported quarterly earnings that were much better than analysts had expected on stronger-than-anticipated iPhone sales. Apple said it would return $130 billion to investors through 2015. And it announced a seven-for-one stock split, which would make it much easier for retail investors to buy the shares.

But iPad sales were very disappointing, and the company announced no new products, nor would it give guidance on when they might be coming.

The excellent earnings and the extra financial engineering may help Apple shares in the short run -- the shares surged 8 percent in after-hours trading and were up 8 percent Thursday to $567.39.


People are spending more and more time in front of little screens, and these tech giants are capitalizing beautifully.

By Jim Cramer 19 hours ago

The Facebook logo is seen on an Apple iPhone © Jason Alden/Bloomberg via Getty ImagesYou know what was lost in the shuffle of all of the reports last night? How about spending? Specifically, how much are consumers worldwide spending on their devices, particularly when it comes to their expensive cellphones? How about: How much are advertisers spending online, and what results are they getting? Those were the twin takeaways from Apple (AAPL) and Facebook (FB), and I think they are still just beginning to materialize.

We talk a lot about how there are regions of the global economy that are waxing and waning, but given the secular growth in consumer and advertising spending online, this remains the fastest-growing sector in the world. You just don't get the kind of growth that Apple and Facebook are getting without spending by the Chinese, Russians, Brazilians, Indonesians, Europeans and Americans.


In a volatile market, retirement fund managers are all about maximizing safety and value. Should these additions have a place in your portfolio?

By StreetAuthority 19 hours ago
Image: Stocks circled in newspaper © Digital Vision/Getty ImagesBy Eric Winter

As we enter earnings season for the first quarter of 2014, we are also seeing a number of 13F filings roll out ahead of the May 15 deadline as well.

These SEC forms outline a fund's long-only equity positions (as well as some debt and option trades) but omit short and international positions. However, we're still often able to get a good idea of a fund's portfolio depending on its investing methodology.

The California Public Employees Retirement System is one such asset manager whose 13F can provide a fair amount of clarity to retail investors.

CalPERS is the largest public pension fund in the U.S., carrying a staggering market value of $288 billion as of this month. Capital is divided across strategies emphasizing growth, income, liquidity and real assets, among others. Its equity holdings posted a gain of 25.6 percent last year, with total assets gaining 16 percent in 2013, the largest appreciation in 11 years. 

Stocks are facing some serious resistance as the bears tear into the market's respite.

By InvestorPlace Wed 4:35 PM

Credit: © Andy Clark/Reuters

Caption: A customer enters the Lululemon store in downtown Vancouver, British Columbia November 8, 2013By Anthony Mirhaydari

After a two-week reprieve, the bears were on the attack again Wednesday.

Stocks are contending with some serious overhead technical resistance. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ($INDU) has moved into a resistance zone going back to December, spanning the range between 16,600 and 16,500. For its part, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite ($COMPX) has hit downtrend channel resistance around the 4150 level.

The situation looked vulnerable after the low-volume, narrow-breadth rebound out of the lows set earlier this month. The evidence suggested that much of the motivation for the rebound was short-covering activity in the big tech and biotech stocks that have been such a drag on overall activity since March.


These ETFs are benchmarked to extremely out-of-favor foreign markets that most investors would quickly pass over. Whoever said being a contrarian was easy?

By MSN Money Partner Wed 2:36 PM
Image: Globe with money © PhotoAlto/SuperStockBy Mark Hulbert, MarketWatch

Do you do more than just talk the talk about being a contrarian investor, but actually walk the walk? Here’s a way to find out: Would you invest in the stock markets of Greece, Argentina or Russia?

I can hear the cries of anguish: You mean contrarian investing means risking your assets in the stock markets of countries that are in as awful shape as those of these three?

Greece is still a basket case, and Argentina is struggling with a currency crisis. The Russian economy, already in shambles, could face international sanctions and isolation over its aggressive behavior in Ukraine and, as a result, suffer an even more serious downturn.



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Market index data delayed by 15 minutes

[BRIEFING.COM] The Nasdaq Composite (+0.5%) and S&P 500 (+0.2%) posted modest gains on Thursday, but not before enduring a morning dip into the red, which took place in reaction to reports indicating Russia has commenced military exercises on the Ukrainian border.

The news from Europe knocked the key indices from their early highs, while giving a boost to safe-haven assets like gold futures (+0.5% to $1290.80/ozt), Treasuries (10-yr yield -1 bps to 2.69%), and the Japanese yen (102.30 ... More


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