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Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, Bristol-Myers, Elan and other companies are following a strategy that suffered a big blow recently.

By InvestorPlace Jul 27, 2011 10:00AM

By Barry Cohen, Health Care Writer


It's true that a rising tide can lift all boats.


At the same time, a sinking ship can suck the innocent down in its vortex. That's exactly what might happen to a number of pharmaceutical companies that had high hopes for their Alzheimer's treatments.


Pfizer (PFE), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY), Elan (ELN) and a host of other companies are following a strategy that suffered a big blow recently. The death knell for drugs based upon the assumption that the buildup of amyloid in the brain causes Alzheimer's might have been sounded when Eli Lilly (LLY) released results of a follow-up study at the recent Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Paris.

 

Before you bet against it, consider the impeccable track record of CEO Reed Hastings.

By Jim Cramer Jul 27, 2011 8:28AM

jim cramerthe streetTo sell or not to sell Netflix (NFLX)?

 

You know what? In a curious twist on Shakespeare, that is not the question.

 

To me, the question is: Do you take advantage of the decline in Netflix and have faith that management did the right thing in raising subscription rates?

 

It's very rare that there is such a hot-button battleground stock like Netflix. The world seems to be divided between people who think Netflix is always one quarter away from being revealed as a colossal joke and those who believe Netflix is going to take over the world.

 

To me it is not that simple. To hold on to Netflix or even to buy it, you have to take a leap of faith about management, about CEO Reed Hastings and about his ability to navigate the waters of price increases and payments to creators of entertainment. You have to believe that he has loyal customers in America and that he will have loyal customers in the future, particularly overseas, where the company has just started to expand.

 

The oil-services company is now able to raise prices across product groups and regions.

By Jim J. Jubak Jul 26, 2011 6:01PM
Jim JubakYes, Schlumberger (SLB) beat on earnings (87 cents, instead of the 85 cents Wall Street expected) and on revenue ($9.62 billion, instead of the estimated $9.3 billion), but the real news in the oil-services giant’s quarterly earnings announcement was a return of pricing power.

Schlumberger reported seeing the ability to successfully raise prices across all its product groups and all its geographies. Pricing improvement started near the end of the second quarter in its international product lines, and in liquids-rich drilling in North American shale formations.

To Schlumberger, this doesn’t look like a short-term trend. The company says that it sees an oil- and gas-industry-wide shortage developing for oilfield services.
 
Tags: oil

Sometimes a stock has everything you want but is not a bargain

By Jim Van Meerten Jul 26, 2011 5:52PM
Right now my Wall Street Survivor portfolio is full but each week I still look to see what I'd buy if I had some cash.  I'd advice you not to take others' buy/sell recommendations unless you've studied how that person invests and your investment philosophy meshes with theirs.

I'm 64 years old and have already accumulated a large portfolio.  I want to keep what I've got but still need growth to beat future taxes, inflation and whatever other uncertainties that may be thrown up for me to cope with by either the economy or politicians.

Some of my readers have complained  that my articles are "cookie cutter" but I take that as a complement because I want all my stock to have he same attributes.  I want to know the same information about any potential investment and pass on any that don't meet all my criteria.  They are: 

Don't let the sparkle throw you off your game.

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day Jul 26, 2011 2:23PM

By Alex Pape

 

Gold is a hot topic among investors these days. Some are arguing that the gold run is just getting started. Others argue that we are in a gold bubble that is poised to pop. Still others maintain that gold is a store of value -- a way to protect their wealth. I don't agree with any of these arguments, but I will put forth one of my own: Having a strong conviction about future gold prices is arrogant.

 

What exactly are you analyzing?
However dazzling, gold comes up short when it comes to:

  1. Cash flow analysis (no cash flows).
  2. Any kind of practical fundamental analysis (there are no bottom-up fundamentals).
  3. Any realistic absolute valuation technique.

What we do have is economic data about gold.

 

The fast-food giant slims down the fries and promises to add a fruit or vegetable to all Happy Meals by April.

By Kim Peterson Jul 26, 2011 2:22PM
Will carrots and raisins help McDonald's (MCD) sell more Happy Meals?

The fast-food chain gave in to pressure from advocacy groups Tuesday, promising to add a fruit or vegetable to Happy Meals nationwide by April. The chain also said it will downsize the fries included in the meals.

McDonald's was even willing to go as far as removing fries altogether from Happy Meals, but customers didn't like that option, The Los Angeles Times reports. So the company is slimming down its fry holders to contain just 1.1 ounces of potatoes (down from 2.4 ounces).

McDonald's currently offers Happy Meal customers the option of fries or apple slices (though only 11% of customers choose apples). The new Happy Meals, which start rolling out in September, will automatically include both apples and the smaller pack of fries. 

Republicans and Democrats unveil strikingly similar proposals. The difference is in the timing.

By Kim Peterson Jul 26, 2011 1:00PM
The debt limit conflict in Washington, D.C., is heading into its final days, ugly as ever. We're now at the point where Democrats and Republicans have dueling news conferences and competing proposals -- and no one wants to give in.

But in reality, the two sides aren't that far apart. Just take a look at the two proposals, which have more in common than you'd think. 

These funds have outperformed their bullion counterparts in the past month.

By TheStreet Staff Jul 26, 2011 12:03PM

Image: Small Stack of gold ingots (©Anthony Bradshaw/Photographer)By Don Dion, TheStreet

 

With the U.S. debt-ceiling drama again taking center stage this week, haven asset classes continue to attract retail and institutional investors.

 

Gold in particular has generated mass appeal as prices top $1,600 per ounce, sitting at all-time highs.

 

With this rise, investors may be tempted to dive headlong into physically backed ETFs like iShares Gold Trust (IAU) or SPDR Gold Shares (GLD). However, I encourage investors to keep an eye on other gold-related exchange-traded products as well.

 

The world faces a long-term scarcity as China and India build new nuclear plants, and major buying opportunities may emerge for shares of some beaten-down producers.

By MoneyShow.com Jul 26, 2011 11:30AM
By Tom Aspray, MoneyShow.com

Uranium prices have seen their largest drop in two years since Japan's nuclear disaster and Germany's decision to phase out its nuclear plants, both of which hit uranium prices hard. 

This has hammered the stocks of the leading uranium producers, but the longer-term fundamental and technical outlook suggests a major buying opportunity may lie ahead.

Germany depends on nuclear power for 23% of its needs, and with Japan considering cutting back on its nuclear expansion plans, the entire industry has been in retreat. 

Though Japan is the third-largest nuclear power producer after the US and France, it's important to take a much more global look at the prospects for nuclear power.
 

The retail giant pushes its streaming service as Netflix shares plunge 10% on disappointing earnings and a backlash against a price increase.

By TheStreet Staff Jul 26, 2011 11:04AM

By Jeanine Poggi, TheStreet

 

As investors and subscribers call into question the future of Netflix (NFLX), Wal-Mart (WMT) is looking to take advantage of the situation.

 

The retail behemoth on Tuesday began streaming many movies the same day they come out on DVD through its Vudu service. Wal-Mart purchased Vudu last year and currently offers 20,000 titles on the site. Users can watch movies with Internet access and via devices like Sony’s (SNE) PlayStation 3 and Blu-ray players.

 

Movies cost between $1 and $5.99 to rent and can be purchased for $4.99 and up. Vudu does not offer a subscription option, making it a bit different from Netflix.

 

Tune out the president's scare tactics and instead focus on earnings season.

By Jim Cramer Jul 26, 2011 8:48AM

jim cramerthe streetInterest rates skyrocketing? Mortgage costs going through the roof? Can't afford to send your kid to college? Did the president really imply last night that all of these horrors await us if we don't pass a debt ceiling deal, we default and the ratings agencies downgrade us?

 

Actually, he didn't imply it, he straight out said it. Now, we don't know what will actually happen to the dollar or interest rates if -- and now likely when -- we don't pass the new ceiling. But whatever happens will be short-lived, and I was pretty shocked that the president went so "scare tactic" on this issue last night.

 

Sure, rates could go up a bit and the dollar go down a tad, but I simply don't regard this issue as anything other than one more we will muddle through like we have all of the other times since 1776.

 

The company says its four busiest stores are now in China. Demand is so high that fake stores are now springing up.

By Kim Peterson Jul 25, 2011 5:25PM
China's growing upper middle-class is producing big numbers for Apple (AAPL).

The company's two stores in Shanghai are so packed that Apple is planning another one, plus dozens more throughout the country, The New York Times reports. Even in a country filled with cheap electronic knock-offs, people are willing to pay a pretty penny for iPads, MacBooks and iPhones.

The four busiest Apple stores in the world are in Beijing and Shanghai, the Times reports. They also generate the highest sales. It's very hard to successfully introduce a global brand to China; Google (GOOG) and countless others have failed.

But Apple makes it look easy.  

The company had a great quarter, with revenue up 50%. There are other positives to this stock, too.

By Jim J. Jubak Jul 25, 2011 4:53PM
Jim JubakLast week, Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold (FCX) reported second-quarter earnings of $1.43 a share, 7 cents a share above Wall Street projections. Revenue climbed to $5.81 billion, a 50.5% increase from the second quarter of 2010. (The stock is a member of my Jubak’s Picks portfolio.)

There were three especially positive parts of the Freeport McMoRan story this quarter:
  • Sales grew from last year’s levels. Sales of copper climbed to 1 billion pounds (from 914 million in the second quarter of 2010), molybdenum to 21 million pounds (from 16 million), and gold to 356,000 ounces (from 298,000).
  • Cash costs fell, with net cash costs for copper, for example, dropping to 93 cents a pound from 97 cents a pound in the second quarter of 2010.
 

There's no reason to impose a limit that can be lifted willy-nilly while potentially sending the US into default.

By Kim Peterson Jul 25, 2011 4:31PM
Image: Washington, D.C. (© Corbis)The United States and Denmark are the only two democratic countries that have a debt ceiling, writes James Surowiecki in The New Yorker. No one else finds it all that necessary. Why do we?

Surowiecki makes a very good case for abolishing the debt ceiling. It was adopted in 1917 to stop U.S. presidents from borrowing and spending money without congressional oversight. And while some Republicans like to say that President Barack Obama is on a similar spending binge, that simply isn't true: Since 1974, the government's taxing and spending have been spelled out pretty specifically in the budget resolution each Congress passes.

The irony here, Surowiecki writes, is that Obama will be less accountable to Congress if the ceiling isn't raised. That's because he alone will decide which bills get paid and which don't. Congress has no authority here. 

Research In Motion is the latest company to announce big job cuts, signaling a trend that could further damage the economic recovery.

By Kim Peterson Jul 25, 2011 2:11PM
Image: Unemployment line up (© BananaStock/SuperStock)The troubled maker of BlackBerry phones is chopping 2,000 jobs this week. Research In Motion's (RIMM) cuts, announced Monday, amount to 10.5% of its work force. That's higher than analysts thought, The New York Times reported, leading some to wonder whether the company is worse off than expected.

RIM isn't the only one wielding the ax this summer. Cisco Systems (CSCO) recently announced job cuts of 6,500, rocking a tech sector that had been relatively stable in the recession. Lockheed Martin (LMT) also wants to cut 6,500. Borders is liquidating and laying off thousands of employees in the process.

Each of those layoff announcements is devastating for the families involved. Put them together, and we're starting to see a return of sweeping job cuts that could further erode the fragile economy. 

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[BRIEFING.COM] The major averages finished the session on a modestly higher note, but not before heavy selling pressure sent the Nasdaq Composite (+0.3%) for a test of its 200-day moving average. The S&P 500, meanwhile, added 0.7% with all ten sectors posting gains.

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