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VIDEO ON MSN MONEY

An activist investor and corporate acquirer may be teaming up to make an offer for Allergan.

By MSN Money Partner Mon 5:42 PM
Image: Plastic surgery © Adam Gault/Digital Vision/Getty ImagesBy David Benoit, Dana Mattioli and Jonathan D. Rockoff, The Wall Street Journal

William Ackman and Valeant Pharmaceuticals International (VRX) are teaming up to try to buy wrinkle-treatment Botox maker Allergan (AGN), according to people familiar with the matter, in a unorthodox alliance between an activist investor and corporate acquirer.


Ackman's Pershing Square Capital Management LP has built a nearly 10 percent stake in Allergan, according to people familiar with the matter, worth about $4 billion and representing his biggest investment ever, the people said.


The two companies, both midsize in the pharmaceutical industry, have market capitalizations of more than $40 billion. Any offer for Allergan would likely come with a premium above $116 a share, the price Allergan traded at before Pershing Square began rapidly building its stake, said one of the people.

 

If you want targeted exposure to the world's best companies, add these to your portfolio.

By StreetAuthority Mon 4:25 PM
Image: Earth encircled by money © Bob Jacobson/CorbisBy David Sterman

Over the past half decade, the exchange-traded fund (ETF) industry has caught the mutual fund industry off-guard. The assets being managed by ETFs have more than doubled in size since 2009, compared with flat growth for their more mature counterparts (though mutual funds still manage more assets overall).

​ETFs have proved to be especially popular with investors seeking global exposure. There are now a few hundred country- and region-specific stock and bond ETFs, enabling investors to glean very targeted exposure. For example, as I wrote recently, I think Chile and Vietnam represent sound investment environments.

The appeal of country ETFs is self-evident: They are much cheaper to own than comparable mutual funds, and lower expense ratios can add up to big savings over the short or long haul.  

Experts discounted the potential for the sector coming into 2014, but large caps have been soaring.

By Benzinga Mon 4:08 PM

Caption: Oil and gas platform
Credit: © curraheeshutter/Getty ImagesBy David Fabian


The energy sector has been trading sharply higher as rising oil and natural gas prices create a sturdy tailwind for many integrated service and exploration companies.


After a frightening dip in January that tested the 200-day moving average, the Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) has rocketed to new all-time highs. In fact, XLE has now gained over 4 percent in the month of April and more than 13 percent since its February low.


This ETF is the largest and most heavily traded large-cap energy index, which encapsulates 44 companies and over $10 billion in total assets.


Many experts discounted the potential for the energy sector coming into 2014 as skepticism about the future of commodity prices weighed on revenue growth prospects.

 

If you believe that the economy will keep recovering, then this is the sector to own.

By MSN Money Partner Mon 3:38 PM
Railroad cars crowd the tracks at the CSX Transportation rail yard in Baldwin, Fla
© Oscar Sosa/APBy Bryan Borzykowski, CNBC

It's been another harrowing week for investors, with all the major U.S. markets falling by about 1 percent between April 10 and 15. For the average investor, selloffs bring fears of another recession, but for more astute stock pickers, a market drop is often a chance to pick up stocks at a bargain.


There's one sector that investors should consider taking advantage of during a dip: U.S. industrials. If you believe that the economy will keep recovering, then this is the sector to own -- it always does better when the country's fortunes improve.


Just look at its post-recession returns for proof. Between Sept.19, 2008, and March 6, 2009, America's industrial sector, which accounts for about 11 percent of the market, fell by about 55 percent, compared with 45 percent for the  Standard & Poor's 500 Index ($INX). Since the market bottomed on March 6, 2009, the S&P 500 is up 149 percent, compared with 230 percent for the S&P 500 Industrials Index.

 
Tags: CATCSXMMM

The high yield behind this asset class earns it consideration as a core holding, but watch out for interest-rate movements.

By InvestorPlace Mon 2:56 PM

© woraput/Vetta/Getty Images
Stock AnalystBy Daniel Putnam


Preferred stocks don't receive much attention, but maybe it's time that changed.


The asset class, which investors can access easily via the iShares U.S. Preferred Stock ETF (PFF), offers the compelling combination of competitive returns, low risk and an outstanding yield.


And yet, PFF has just $9 billion under management -- just a fraction of the $157 billion held in the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY).


Based on a number of measures, it looks like investors are missing an opportunity.


The first benefit of preferred stocks is, of course, their yield. PFF currently offers an SEC yield of 5.8 percent, well above the 1.9 percent available on SPY.

 
Tags: PFF

Shares spike 44% after company gets the green light to file for approval of its experimental drug for Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

By MSN Money Partner Mon 2:47 PM
DNA Illustration
© Mina De La O/Getty ImagesBy Meg Tirrell, CNBC

Five months after Sarepta Therapeutics (SRPT) lost 64 percent of its market value in one day, the company got the go-ahead to file for approval of its experimental drug for Duchenne muscular dystrophy.


Sarepta said Monday it received guidance from the Food and Drug Administration that will enable it to apply for regulatory approval of eteplirsen by the end of this year, before completing a larger scale, confirmatory clinical study. 


The company will supplement its FDA filing with additional safety and efficacy data from an earlier trial as well as from a confirmatory study it plans to start in the third quarter, according to a statement.

 
Tags: GSKSRPT

The current earnings crop is expected to be the low point of this year's picture, however.

By Zacks.com Mon 1:47 PM

Man climbing ladder © George Doyle, Stockbyte, Getty ImagesBy Sheraz Mian


The first-quarter earnings season has gotten off to a relatively soft start.


Low expectations essentially guarantee that we are unlikely to get any major negative surprises. But as with economic data, the market has likely moved past the Q1 numbers and is looking ahead to the coming periods when earnings growth is expected to accelerate.

 

A big part of the reports thus far have been from the finance sector, with results from more than one-third the sector's total market capitalization are already out. Most of the finance sector results have been from the major banks, which alone account for more than 40 percent of the sector's total earnings.

 

Estimates for bank earnings had fallen ahead of the start of the earnings season as it became clear that weakness in the capital markets business will compound the existing mortgage banking woes.

 
Tags: BACCJPM

Recent disclosures show that industry executives frequently consulted one another before recruiting workers or making strategic moves.

By MSN Money Partner Mon 12:58 PM
Caption: A sign is posted on the exterior of Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif.
Credit: © Justin Sullivan/Getty Images By Jeff Elder, The Wall Street Journal

Some of tech's biggest names -- Steve Jobs, Eric Schmidt, Sergey Brin, Bill Campbell -- conferred and squabbled and made peace privately for years, documents in a current Silicon Valley antitrust case reveal. But they were unable to pull a new company into the club, the court documents show: Facebook (FB) declined their friend request.


In a trial set to begin later next month, some Silicon Valley giants -- Google (GOOG), Apple (AAPL), Intel (INTC) and Adobe Systems (ADBE) -- are accused in a class-action suit of colluding to suppress wages between 2005 and 2009, by agreeing not to poach each other's employees, among other things. 


The stakes behind the case are large, with some 64,000 employees seeking $3 billion in damages. But for now, a series of recently released documents are putting the spotlight on some potentially embarrassing details of an inner corporate circle.

 

We're in the gloomiest cycle in 55 years, so focus on high-quality companies with lots of cash. Here are some examples.

By MSN Money Partner Mon 11:55 AM
Caption: A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange
Credit: © Peter Foley/CorbisBy Wallace Witkowski, MarketWatch

Taking the long-term view is probably the best course of action for investors, given the weakness of first-quarter results, as we head into the peak week of first-quarter earnings season with reports from heavyweights like Apple (AAPL), Microsoft (MSFT) and AT&T (T).


Stocks ended the holiday-shortened week with their best weekly gain in nine months on mixed earnings in the tech and financials sectors. The Dow Jones industrials ($INDU) and the  Nasdaq Composite Index ($COMPX) both finished up 2.4 percent, while the Standard & Poor's 500 Index ($INX) gained 2.7 percent.


As we enter one of the weakest earnings seasons in several quarters, one encouraging sign for market history buffs is that the S&P 500 rallied to show a slight gain for the year just before Easter after starting last week in the red.

 

The fall in this sector has been so troubling that we are just one more big miss and one more ugly deal away from taking down a good portion of the S&P 500.

By Jim Cramer Mon 11:29 AM

Image: Stock market report © ULTRA.F/Digital Vision/Getty ImagesWe are not out of the woods as long as we are hearing about possible IPO valuations for companies like Airbnb at $10 billion that aren't being laughed at or scorned. When Dropbox is being valued comfortably at $10 billion for IPO purposes on the basis of its 200 million users, this market will not be appeased, especially when Box, a rival more centered on enterprise that can easily move into the consumer market, is now being talked about at "only" $3 billion (although I am sure it is higher this red-hot minute).


TheStreet.com logoThese are the signs that we have yet to learn from the froth that has engulfed tech stocks from Concur (CNQR) and FireEye (FEYE) to Celgene (CELG) and Gilead (GILD) and everything in between. These are why the Amber Roads and Border Frees and A10s are always going to be considered like the also-rans of the years 1999 to 2000, until they go bust, get bought or get real profitable. It is why you need to beware of headlines that say "Tech Fall Isn't Seen as Sign of Trouble," because almost everyone knows that the tech fall has been so precipitous and lurking -- seen Google (GOOGL), anyone? -- that we are only one more big miss and one more ugly deal away from taking down a good portion of the S&P 500.

 

Momentum stocks have taken a beating over the last few weeks so tech investors will be looking for positive news out of Netflix earnings after the close on Monday.

By TheStreet.com Staff Mon 11:19 AM

The Netflix company logo is seen at Netflix headquarters in Los Gatos, Calif. © Ryan Anson/AFP/Getty ImagesBy Chris Ciaccia, TheStreet


Netflix (NFLX) reports first-quarter earnings after the close of trading on Monday, and with the recent trouncing in the stock investors will be looking to see whether CEO Reed Hastings top-ticked his own company or if there is more fuel to this fire. The Street on MSN Money


Shares of Netflix have dropped sharply since the start of 2014, as high-momentum tech stocks have taken the brunt of selling. Netflix has dropped 6.1 percent year to date compared with a 1.94 percent decline in the Nasdaq. In Netflix's third-quarter earnings letter, Hastings warned of "euphoria" in the stock. 
 
"In calendar year 2003, we were the highest performing stock on Nasdaq," Hastings wrote in the letter. "We had solid results compounded by momentum-investor-fueled euphoria. Some of the euphoria today feels like 2003."

 

Serious issues like drought and the deterioration of the developed world spell opportunity for this industry leader.

By StreetAuthority Fri 2:17 PM
Credit: © Gene Blevins Reuters

Caption: A cell phone tower stands in Moore, Okla.By Tim Begany

Some of the best investments are right in front of us every day. Yet they're often overlooked because they're so much a part of our daily lives they don't register with the conscious mind.

One area investors may underappreciate is infrastructure -- things like telephone poles, towers for wireless communication, substations for electric utilities, and guard rails along roadways, to name just a few. Although infrastructure is the very foundation of society, I suspect it's probably far from the first thing on investors' minds.

However, I expect it to be an excellent investment in coming years. In the U.S. and other developed countries, infrastructure has been neglected for so long it now needs some heavy-duty overhaul. Many areas of the emerging world have little or no infrastructure at all and will need tremendous amounts put into place for the first time. 

Former CEO cuts his holding to 20% but says, 'the story in't written yet.'

By MSN Money producer Fri 2:11 PM

A man reads a book at a Barnes & Noble store in New York. © Stephen Yang/Bloomberg via Getty Images
By Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg, The Wall Street Journal The Wall Street Journal


In mid-January, Daniel Fidler worked his final day at what was Barnes & Noble's (BKS) store in Chestnut Hill, Mass., putting in a few extra weeks stripping out books and bookcases after the store closed at the end of the year. "I was depressed but I kept a smile on my face because I didn't want to think about what would happen," said the 24-year-old, who is still looking for a new job. "We had a party at a restaurant, and everybody who left came back, but it was bittersweet."

 

Barnes & Noble is making its last stand in towns just like Chestnut Hill. Its 663 stores still stretch across all 50 states, but there are 63 fewer than five years ago. Stores in Georgetown and the heart of Greenwich Village have closed. Gone, too, is the rambling college store in Manhattan's Flatiron district that was the sole Barnes & Noble retail property when Leonard Riggio bought that business in 1971.

 
Tags: AMZNBKS

Lending was up in the first quarter, but that jump has hidden the fact that individuals are still having a tough time getting loans.

By MSN Money Partner Fri 12:52 PM
A hand delivering money © kokouu/Getty Images
By Stephen Gandel, Fortune

Consumers are still getting crunched.

In the past week, the nation's biggest banks reported their results for the first three months of the year. Earnings were disappointing. But the numbers also showed a significant increase in lending, which many economists said was a welcome sign for the economy. Fortune on MSN Money

The problem: Every additional dollar, and then some, that the nation's biggest banks have lent out in the past year has gone to corporations. So, while corporate lending was up by 7 percent, or $101 billion, from a year ago, that masked the fact that consumer lending at the nation's five biggest lenders has continued to drop, by $12 billion in the past year alone. 
 

'Headline pay' vs. 'realized pay'? Cash bonuses and stock awards? It's harder than ever to decipher compensation within the sector.

By MSN Money Partner Fri 12:23 PM
Credit: © Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Caption: James 'Jamie' Dimon, chief executive officer of JPMorgan Chase & Co.,By Paul Hodgson, Fortune

In January, news stories claimed that JPMorgan (JPM) CEO Jamie Dimon got a 74 percent pay increase in 2013. But in April, now that the proxy is out, his pay is reported as declining by 37 percent.


Fortune on MSN MoneyOne thing is certain, it can't have done both. The surprising fact is that neither figure represents what Dimon (pictured) actually earned in either year. 


In 2012, Dimon earned $9,506,114 while last year he earned $12,033,071, figures that have not been reported elsewhere. That's a 27 percent increase in a year when the bank saw some of the largest fines ever handed out to a financial institution. In this case, it's not so much performance-related pay as fine-related pay.

 
Tags: CGSJPMMS

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