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Can Google's new service make the social networking site obsolete?

By Benzinga Dec 28, 2011 5:25PM

Image: African-American woman shopping online (© Ariel Skelley/Blend Images/Getty Images)By Tuomo Kallio, Benzinga Staff Writer


About 625,000 new users join Google's (GOOG) social network, Google+, every day, according to Bloomberg. At this rate, the service will have 400 million users by the end of 2012, which would make it a serious competitor for Facebook.


Ancestry.com co-founder Paul Allen posted a note Tuesday saying that he expects the number of Google+ users to grow, as more and more people are using Android smartphones.

 

While the office supplier is sensitive to economic activity, investors overreacted in dumping the stock.

By TheStockAdvisors Dec 28, 2011 4:57PM
Image: Shredder (© James Darell/Getty Images)This post is one in a series in which over 50 newsletter advisors share their Top Picks for 2012

By George Putnam, The Turnaround Letter

One of our favorite stocks for 2012 is OfficeMax (OMX), a leading seller of office products in both the business-to-business and retail channels.   
Tags: OMX

Buy out Netflix? EA? Never.

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day Dec 28, 2011 4:46PM

By Evan Niu

 

It's no secret: Apple (AAPL) is loaded.

 

Over the years, it has been steadily growing its cash hoard, and inevitably the discussion leads to the same question: What should Cupertino do with its mountain of money? The two most popular suggestions are always a dividend and ginormous acquisitions. The Mac maker now has $81.6 billion in cash and investments sitting on the balance sheet, and that doesn't include long-term marketable securities of $55.6 billion, which are generally included in Apple's cash-equivalent figures.

 

This is one retailer that doesn't like to spend much money making its stores appealing to customers.

By Kim Peterson Dec 28, 2011 4:09PM
It's obvious that Sears Holdings (SHLD) isn't running its Sears and Kmart stores well. But one number says a lot about how the company views its operations.

That number is the amount Sears spends each year updating its stores.

Retailers like to take good care of their stores. They'll refresh the color themes, upgrade the cash registers, replace carpets and redo the signage -- anything to make the overall shopping experience better.  
Tags: SHLDTGT

Which executives did a great job in a turbulent economy, and which ones failed to lead?

By InvestorPlace Dec 28, 2011 3:38PM
Image: CEO (© Roy McMahon/Corbis)By Jeff Reeves


There's no doubt about it: It's a jungle out there on Wall Street, and a lot of chief executives are under fire these days. It was easy to justify that big bonus and corner office when times were good and everyone was rolling in profits -- but now that the economy is very challenging and even good stocks have trouble getting ahead, the bar is significantly higher for company leadership.


The worst CEOs tend to make themselves pretty obvious as their company struggles and shares plummet.

 

Huge demand for oil transportation from Canada to the US and other markets is leading the company to invest aggressively in its Trans Mountain Pipeline.

By Trefis Dec 28, 2011 3:30PM
Image: Oil drums (© Kevin Phillips/Digital Vision/age fotostock)Kinder Morgan Energy Partners (KMP) has made significant investments in projects that extend the functionality of its premier 715-mile Trans Mountain pipeline connecting Edmonton to refineries and marketing terminals in British Columbia, Vancouver and Washington's Puget Sound region.

Recent reports suggest the company's efforts have fared pretty well, as demand for oil moved through the pipeline has surpassed installed capacity by 63%. 
Tags: KMPoilXOM

Tuesday's dramatic share price plunge still doesn’t turn the company’s stock into a blue light special, as many other retailers have shown.

By The Fiscal Times Dec 28, 2011 2:58PM
walmartMaybe hedge fund managers don’t make the best operating executives.

 

Certainly, in the last four years that Edward Lampert has presided over the fortunes of Kmart and Sears (SHLD), things have gone from bad to worse at the struggling retail empire he created.


At first, the deal looked great: He acquired a controlling interest in then-bankrupt Kmart and, after that chain emerged from bankruptcy, orchestrated a merger with Sears.

 

While these moves are encouraging, what still remains to be seen is how the new management team approaches labor negotiations.

By Trefis Dec 28, 2011 1:32PM
Image: Airline (© Christie & Cole/Corbis)The ball seems to be rolling at American Airlines, owned by AMR Corp. (AMR), as the airline looks to shake up management to get its house in order.

It has been a busy month for the Fort Worth, Texas company after it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in November.

In its first move after the filing, American streamlined its senior leadership team.

 

CEO Tim Cook is wasting shareholders' money fighting the popular Android mobile platform made by Google.

By Jonathan Berr Dec 28, 2011 1:15PM
Before he died, Apple (AAPL) co-founder Steve Jobs vowed to throttle the Android operating system. But keeping that fight going is proving costly -- and will probably ultimately be futile.

At least, that's the conclusion of a Bloomberg News analysis of the "thermonuclear" patent war that the Cupertino, Calif. company is waging against the three largest Android users: Samsung Electronics, HTC and Motorola Mobility (MMI).  

Despite management's poor decisions, the stock could double in the next 6 to 12 months.

By TheStockAdvisors Dec 28, 2011 1:12PM
Image: Hollywood (© Comstock/SuperStock)This post is one in a series in which around 50 newsletter advisors share their Top Picks for 2012

By Ian Wyatt, The 100K Portfolio

Every once in a while an outstanding company falls from grace. Sometimes it's because the market for its products has changed. Other times it’s due to external factors, such as expiring patents, a lawsuit, an unexpected catastrophic event or new competition. 
Tags: NFLX

Leadership changes at one of the world's largest and most underappreciated biotechs bode well for investors.

By Gene Marcial Dec 28, 2011 11:01AM
SuperStockFor investors seeking to participate in the increasingly growing but complex world of biotechs, Amgen (AMGN) is the stock to buy for the coming year -- and for the long haul.

A pivotal event -- change in the company's leadership -- should entice investors to pick up shares now. The changes, which will occur by mid-2012, include chief executive Kevin Sharer's retirement on May 23. He will be succeeded by chief operating officer Robert Bradway. And the head of research and development , Roger Perlmutter, will retire on Feb. 12, to be replaced by chief medical officer Sean Harper. 
Tags: AMGN

Recession-resistant fast-food company has appetite for growth.

By TheStockAdvisors Dec 28, 2011 9:56AM
Image: Hamburger (© BananaStock/Jupiterimages)This post is one in a series in which over 50 newsletter advisors share their Top Picks for 2012

By Jim Powell, Global Changes & Opportunities Report

My top pick for 2012 -- and a promising new addition to our list of blue chip stocks that have good long-term track records -- is McDonald’s (MCD). 
Tags: MCD

As 2012 nears, investors' patience is wearing thin with these poor performers.

By Jonathan Berr Dec 27, 2011 5:28PM
Image: CEO (© Photodisc/Getty Images)If you're compiling a list of CEOs who deserve to be fired, the challenge is not in finding deserving candidates. It's in cutting down the list to the most deserving.

My list of endangered CEOs is based on several objective criteria. First, I tried to separate companies hurt by macroeconomic factors beyond their control from those whose fortunes were hurt by specific management decisions. Then I culled the list further to include companies with stock prices down by at least 30% for the year. 

A cute year-end rally has pushed stocks back over a critical level separating bull and bear markets. Can it last?

By Anthony Mirhaydari Dec 27, 2011 5:13PM

While many people are still enjoying extended holiday breaks or are busy cashing in those ubiquitous gift cards, Wall Street has been gently pushing stocks higher. And higher. And higher. Enough to push the S&P 500 back over its 200-day moving average, the line of demarcation between bull and bear phases, for the first time since October.

 

Catalysts for the move have been a relative calming of the eurozone debt crisis (though it's changing for the worse again with Italian borrowing costs surging back over 7%) and some better-than-expected economic data here at home. Plus, stocks just tend to do well during the final few weeks of the year. Chalk it up to holiday cheer.

 

The question is: Can the positive momentum last and keep stocks out of bear market territory?

 

How will this affect the oil company's bottom line?

By Benzinga Dec 27, 2011 5:07PM

Image: Brazil (© Donald Edwards/age fotostock)By Gordon WilcoxBenzinga Staff Writer


As one of the largest oil companies in the world, Chevron (CVX) is used to operating in some less-than-hospitable locations. Angola, Nigeria and Russia are just a few of the places where Chevron does business that aren't exactly top-notch vacation destinations.


Western oil majors expect trouble of some kind or another in many countries, but Brazil should not be one of them. Until now.

 

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[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market finished the Wednesday session on a modestly lower note, but it is worth mentioning today's retreat took place after six consecutive gains. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (-0.1%) and S&P 500 (-0.2%) settled not far below their flat lines, while the Nasdaq Composite (-0.8%) lagged throughout the session.

Equity indices started the day in the red, with the Nasdaq showing early weakness as large cap tech names and biotechnology weighed. The technology ... More


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