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.

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Even if you're a full-on bull for certain picks, it's helpful to know how negative the bets are against them.

By InvestorPlace 54 minutes ago

File photo of the GameStop store in New York on April 28, 2008 just before 'Grand Theft Auto IV' was released (© Ramin Talaie/Bloomberg via Getty Images)By Jeff Reeves


A look at the most-shorted stocks can be helpful to investors, whether they are betting in favor of the stock rising or trying to profit from its decline.


That's because when short interest is high, there's also a high chance of volatility.


Obviously if a lot of bearish investors are piling into short positions, that is a measure of negative sentiment . . . but if a stock with high short interest just manages to post a glimmer of hope, a short squeeze can prompt a spectacular rally as short sellers rush to cover their positions and buy back the stock.


Depending on which side of the trade you're on, you can either make a big profit or feel a lot of pain in a stock that has high short interest.

 

In this economy, you'd think these retailers would be racking up the sales. That's not the case.

By MSN Money Partner 3 hours ago
Manager Doris Oransky arranges merchandise at a Dollar General store in Arvada, Colorado on June 2, 2009 (© Rick Wilking/Newscom/Reuters)By Ashley Lutz, Business Insider

Discount stores are slowly dying. 

Monday, Dollar Tree (DLTR) announced it would buy Family Dollar (FDO), a chain that is in the process of closing hundreds of stores and firing workers. 


Other discount stores have been struggling as well, writes Heidi Moore at The Guardian. Fashion discounter Loehmann's filed for bankruptcy, while Wal-Mart's (WMT) sales have declined for the past five quarters. 


"There’s just not enough money deployed by American families to keep all the discount chains in business," Moore writes. 

 

The last time bond investors were this bullish, the 10-year yield saw an extraordinary rise.

By MSN Money Partner 4 hours ago
Credit: © vaeenma /Getty Images
Caption: Road sign to bond marketBy Mark Hulbert, MarketWatch

Interest rates have fallen this year because the otherwise compelling case for why they should rise was missing one crucial piece -- until now.


That missing piece was in the sentiment arena: Far from the excessive bullishness typically seen at market tops, bond traders and investors instead have been quite bearish. In classic contrarian fashion, the market instead did just the opposite -- rallying as interest rates fell.


But the Wall of Worry has now given way to near-record levels of bullishness. That's not a good sign.


Consider the average recommended bond market exposure among a subset of short-term bond market timers tracked by the Hulbert Financial Digest (as measured by the Hulbert Bond Newsletter Sentiment Index, or HBNSI). On three occasions over the last six weeks this average has risen to its highest level since 2009 -- 54.7 percent.

 

Ahead of Twitter's second-quarter earnings release, analysts are largely bullish, and investors are watching several metrics closely, especially user growth.

By TheStreet.com Staff 4 hours ago

The Twitter Inc. company's headquarters in San Francisco © David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty ImagesBy Laura Berman, TheStreet


Twitter (TWTR) reports its second-quarter earnings after the bell, and investors are watching several metrics closely, especially user growth.


Twitter shares have fallen 8 percent in the last three months and 40 percent year-to-date, with investors wary that the social network's user base isn’t growing fast enough. Last quarter, Twitter reported 255 million monthly active users, well below rival Facebook’s (FB) 1.3 billion during the same period.


User engagement has slipped: in the first quarter, Twitter saw 157 billion timeline views, down from 158 billion in the third quarter of 2013 despite adding 23 million users to the platform. The company has tried to convince investors that it still has strong growth prospects, notably by engaging users and advertisers during this year’s FIFA World Cup, during which the company set several new tweet records.

 

Shareholders held a mostly symbolic protest vote last year in response to high executive pay.

By MSN Money Partner 4 hours ago
Credit: © Action Press/Rex Features

Caption: Larry Ellison, co-founder & Chief Executive Officer of Oracle Corp.By Shira Ovide, The Wall Street Journal

Oracle (ORCL) significantly cut its yearly stock grants to Chief Executive Larry Ellison (pictured) and other top executives nearly a year after a wave of shareholder opposition to compensation paid to the billionaire chief.

Mr. Ellison, typically among the highest-paid U.S. corporate executives, has received the bulk of his compensation in the form of an award of seven million stock options in each of the last eight years at least, according to compensation disclosures. 


Last week, the board granted him options on three million shares, according to a regulatory filing released Monday.


The options would be valued at roughly $46 million, based on Oracle's most recent stock price and the value it placed on other stock options in the fiscal year ended May 31.

 
Tags: ORCL

The electronics retailer won't have much financial cushion to fund its turnaround plan, the ratings agency says.

By MSN Money Partner 4 hours ago
People walk past a RadioShack store in Manhattan on July 26, 2012 in New York City (© Mario Tama/Getty Images)By Krystina Gustafson, CNBC

Moody's on Tuesday issued a warning that RadioShack's (RSH) turnaround plan may never come to fruition.


The credit ratings agency said that although the struggling electronics chain should have enough liquidity to make it through the current fiscal year, it is "increasingly likely" it will run out of cash by the fiscal third quarter of 2015.


"Barring a cash infusion, RadioShack will not have much of a cash cushion to draw upon as it scrambles to remain relevant in the increasingly competitive mobile phone and consumer electronics business," Moody's said in a note on Tuesday.


"Unless RadioShack can orchestrate a successful turnaround strategy over the next 12 to 18 months and improve customer traffic in its stores, we think the company's liquidity will continue to deteriorate and it will start to lose vendor support."

 
Tags: RSH

Energy companies are lining up for approval to ship an ultralight type of crude called condensate.

By MSN Money Partner 5 hours ago
Credit: © Jim West/Alamy

Caption: Rail tank cars transport oil produced in the Bakken shale field
By Matthew Philips, Businessweek

An important shift has quietly occurred in the U.S. oil industry in the past month.


 In late June, the Department of Commerce determined that two Texas companies, Pioneer Natural Resources (PXD) and Enterprise Products Partners (EPD), could start exporting an ultralight type of crude called condensate. That constitutes the biggest loosening of the U.S. ban on oil exports since it was passed in 1975.


After news of the ruling broke, Commerce Department officials seemed genuinely surprised by the reaction and announced that allowing condensate exports did not ordain a change in the law. Yet that's pretty much how the market treated it.


Energy companies are now lining up to get the same permission from the government as Pioneer and Enterprise. There's talk of building condensate-only pipelines in Texas, home to some of the biggest such reserves in North America. 

 
Tags: EPDPXD

Stocks and the economy are doing better than most investors expected, strategists note.

By MSN Money Partner 5 hours ago
Credit: © Richard Drew/AP
Caption: Specialist Jay Woods is reflected in one of the screens at his post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Wednesday, June 18, 2014By Matthew J. Belvedere, CNBC

Stronger earnings for the second quarter and beyond will be the key driver that keeps gas in the bull market tank, leading quantitative strategists told CNBC on Tuesday.


U.S. stock futures turned higher in premarket trading, after Dow components Pfizer (PFE) and Merck (MRK) reported better-than-expected second-quarter earnings.


"[The market] is still doing better than most people expected. I think the same thing is true of the economy. I think the same thing is true of corporate earnings," said Ed Keon, portfolio manager at Prudential's Quantitative Management Associates. "The expectations are still relatively modest for the fundamentals. That means this bull market has more legs."

 
Tags: MRKPFE

Sure, the stock is speculative, but this company is unique and could be the next hot item on Wall Street's menu.

By Jim Cramer 5 hours ago

An El Pollo Loco Restaurant in Upland Calif. © John Crowe/AlamyMaybe it's the name. Maybe it's the symbol. Whatever it is, when shares of El Pollo Loco (LOCO) -- the "crazy chicken" restaurant -- exploded higher on a second day after a robust opening, it once again inspired a whole new level of top calling.


Is it justified? Does a stock that goes public at $16 and then goes to $19 on its first day and leaps to $34 on its second day make any sense at all? Can it signify something? Or is it a stock move filled with sound and fury signifying nothing?


TheStreet.com logoFirst, we have to put this move in context, and the context that is GoPro (GPRO), which had a very similar move. The niche camera company, which is trying to grow into a full-blown ecosystem, went public at $24 -- the high end of the range. It jumped by 32 percent on the first day to $31, then rallied to $35 the next day, then galloped to $40 before it peaked at $48. So El Pollo Loco might not be so loco. The GoPro move made sense in some ways because it is a popular company, particularly among teens, with a hot-selling product that conceivably has staying power. Plus, it's profitable.

 

'We're not exactly in a uniformly strong market,' says the notably pessimistic newsletter publisher.

By MSN Money Partner Mon 3:36 PM
Image: Broken-Pencil © Christian Zachariasen/JupiterimagesBy Bruno J. Navarro, CNBC

Permabear Marc Faber said Monday he expects stocks to drop 20 percent 30 percent by October.


"Don't forget many stocks are already down 10 percent. The home builders are down roughly 15 percent. Airlines have just dropped around 10 percent," he said on CNBC's "Halftime Report."


Faber, publisher of the "Gloom, Boom & Doom Report," also noted that several large-cap stocks were down by double-digit percentages.


"So, we're not exactly in a uniformly strong market," he said. "The Russell 2000 ($TOMX), which represents 2,000 companies, is down 2 percent for the year. And big deal, the S&P is up 6 percent, whereas the Philippines, Indonesia, India, Thailand, Vietnam are all up between 15 percent and 25 percent."

 

Chains are ratcheting up their technology offerings in hopes of attracting younger travelers.

By MSN Money Partner Mon 2:43 PM
By Craig Karmin, The Wall Street Journal

Hilton Worldwide Holdings (HLT) is placing a $550 million bet that hotel guests increasingly will use smartphones to choose rooms, check in and even unlock doors.

The company plans to announce this week new technology intended for its 4,200 properties world-wide. Targeting younger travelers, Hilton is aiming to leapfrog competitors that already have rolled out new services like turning mobile phones into room keys.


Guests already can check in and check out with a few punches on a smartphone or tablet-computer screen at all of Hilton's hotels in the U.S., the company said. By the end of summer, travelers will be able to see the location of and select their own rooms by mobile phone at six brands, from the midscale Hilton Garden Inn to the luxury Waldorf Astoria.

 

New rumors don’t change my view: GM will have two different plug-in electric car platforms in the next one to three years.

By TheStreet.com Staff Mon 2:02 PM

The General Motors Co. logo is seen at their world headquarters in Detroit, Mich. © Jeff Kowalsky/Bloomberg via Getty ImagesA few days ago, the Internet was again abuzz with rumors about a future electric car from General Motors (GM). The claim was that it would have 200 miles of range, be available by the end of 2016 and be part of the Chevrolet Sonic nameplate.


In essence, this is only a variant of rumors based around seemingly inconsistent statements from then-outgoing GM CEO Dan Akerson last December.  I analyzed these inconsistencies on Dec. 16.


This time, it's really not a lot better, except for one thing:  LG has recently said that it will have a battery capable of providing 200 miles of range by 2016.  LG is GM's current battery supplier, but LG also supplies a long list of other automakers.

 

The retailer nicknamed 'Whole Paycheck' is trimming prices, which has hit profit margins and disappointed investors.

By MSN Money Partner Mon 1:20 PM
Caption: A customer checks out of a Whole Foods Market in Washington, D.C.
Credit: © Andrew Councill/Bloomberg via Getty ImagesBy Michael Brush, MarketWatch

Whole Foods Market (WFM), also known as "Whole Paycheck," wants to change its nickname. And that's shaking up investors, creating a great buying opportunity in the stock.

Faced with tough competition, the famously expensive natural and organic food retailer is trimming prices, looking to tone down its moniker -- perhaps to "Less Paycheck."


The tactic has predictably hit profit margins and sales growth, sending investors to the exits. They’ve knocked the stock down 43 percent since last October to trade recently at $37.40.


But by now, the selling looks overdone, creating an opportunity for both swing traders and long-term investors. Here's why:

 
Tags: KRTFMWFM

If you insist on playing it, recognize that there are many seasoned stocks out there with much better odds.

By Jim Cramer Mon 12:47 PM

The Twitter symbol is displayed on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange © Brendan McDermid/ReutersSometimes you just say I don't have an edge and you just take a seat and watch the action unfold. That's how I am approaching Twitter's (TWTR) report tomorrow. I just think there are too many factors at work to be informed both about how the company is really doing and how the company's stock is going to do with that report.


All through this earnings period we have seen the stocks of companies go higher that beat on the top and the bottom lines, meaning companies that exceed revenue and earnings estimates, and then guide higher for both sets of numbers.


Companies that beat only on the top and bottom lines but didn't guide up have not done well if they have moved higher ahead of the report. Companies that have failed to beat on the top line and guided down -- let's call that the Xilinx (XLNX) example -- have been crushed to smithereens.

 

They're still holding cash and stocks, but are now moving into direct investments in companies, a new report says.

By MSN Money Partner Mon 12:40 PM
Businessman with cigar © Juice Images , SuperStock By Lawrence Delevingne, CNBC

The rich are increasingly enamored with private equity investing, but their rising allocation to PE funds doesn't mean they're cutting back on stock or cash allocations, according to a new survey of ultrawealthy investors by Tiger 21, a peer-to-peer network of high net worth individuals.


The 265 members polled -- with investable assets of more $25 billion -- increased their private equity allocations to 22 percent of the average portfolio during the second quarter of 2014, according to Tiger 21. 


That matches the record in PE during the first quarter of 2013 and the most significant allocation increase since Tiger 21 began tracking member portfolios in 2007.


The report comes after a decade of strong private equity performance. PEreturns averaged 13.9 percent net of fees from 2003 to 2013 and outperformed the S&P 500 with dividends by 6.5 percentage points, according to a new report from industry trade association Private Equity Growth Capital Council.

 

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  • Aug gold fell into negative territory after trading as high as $1310.30 per ounce in morning action as the dollar index strengthened. The yellow metal brushed a session low of $1295.50 per ounce and eventually settled with a 0.4% loss at $1298.20 per ounce. 
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