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.

VIDEO ON MSN MONEY

The glory days are over for big-box retailers as consumers search for more convenience, say Goldman Sachs analysts.

By MSN Money Partner 42 minutes ago
Walmart plastic shopping bags in shopping cart
© ParryGrab/AlamyBy Ashley Lutz, Business Insider

The heyday of big-box discount retailers is over. 

Consumers are becoming less interested in retailers like Wal-Mart (WMT) and Target (TGT), according to a recent note by Goldman Sachs. 


Instead, "consumers appear more focused on some combination of value and convenience," the analysts write. 


The advent of online retailers like Amazon.com (AMZN) has also contributed to the problems at Wal-Mart and Target, according to the note. Consumers are less likely to make a trip to the stores when they could get free delivery online. 


Wal-Mart's sales have declined for five straight quarters, leading to shakeups at the executive level.

 

The stakes are high heading into the company's earnings report Thursday.

By InvestorPlace 1 hour ago

LinkedIn Corp. headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. on April 25, 2013 (© David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images)By Jeff Reeves


LinkedIn (LNKD) has had a rough 12 months or so. The stock is down roughly 25 percent from summer 2013 highs, and is deeply in the red so far in 2014.


This would be bad enough for the stock, but the fact the market itself is rallying nicely at the same time only adds insult to injury.


It's also worth noting that LinkedIn is just one of many momentum plays in the Internet space that have run out of gas in 2014, such as Yelp (YELP) and Pandora (P).


That means stakes are high for LinkedIn earnings, due out Thursday after the bell, as investors look either to validate the downtrend or see a turnaround in the stock.


Here's what to look for in LinkedIn earnings:

 

The global risk level is high and the markets are at full valuation, one investor says. 'I think it is a very good time to be cautious.'

By MSN Money Partner 1 hour ago
Image: Money © MedioImages/JupiterimagesBy Ben Eisen, MarketWatch

Dan Fuss hasn't been shy about playing in the riskier corners of the bond market during his 50-plus years in finance. But he's becoming increasingly cautious this year, reflecting growing concerns about the state of the credit markets.


Fuss' flagship Loomis Sayles Bond Fund (LSBDX) has put 27 percent of its $24.4 billion in assets under management in cash and reserves, such as short-term Treasurys, he said in an interview with MarketWatch this week. He joins a number of other big bond managers who have been prioritizing liquid holdings.


That decision reflects a mix of caution about geopolitical conflicts around the world that have so far gently pushed investors away from riskier debt securities. In the past month, Russia’s conflict with Ukraine has intensified, leading to harsher sanctions from Western nations. Violence has also erupted between Gaza and Israel.

 

A number of US mutual funds hold government bonds from the country, which is perilously close to default.

By MSN Money Partner 1 hour ago
Credit: © Daniel Garcia/AFP/Getty Images

Caption: Members of the Granaderos presidential guard carry out the daily flag hoisting ceremony in front of the government house at Plaza de Mayo square in Buenos Aires, Argentina on July 30, 2014. Last-ditch talks aimed at averting Argentina's second default in 13 years were to resume Wednesday in New York, after Tuesday's marathon session failed to reach a deal.By Ben Eisen, MarketWatch

Hedge funds aren't the only investors with money on the line as Argentina scrambles to avoid a bond default.


A number of mutual funds, including funds run by Goldman Sachs (GS) and Fidelity Investments, have exposure to Argentina, which must reach a deal with a group of bond creditors by Wednesday, or face default for the second time in 13 years.


Argentina's Merval stock Index dropped 1 percent Monday as the deadline for a deal drew closer.


The sovereign bonds sold by Argentina are a high-risk, high-reward bet. If the South American nation irons out a solution with its creditors, the debt could increase rapidly in price, leading to a handsome payout. If a default occurs, these funds could get back just a fraction of their investments, if anything at all.

 

The company is lowering its soda machine projections for the second half of the year, however.

By MSN Money Partner 3 hours ago
SodaStream soda mixes (© Todd Oren/Getty Images for SodaStream)By Myles Udland, Business Insider

Shares of SodaStream (SODA) were up more than 12 percent Wednesday after the company reported earnings and revenue that beat estimates.

In the second quarter, the maker of beverage carbonation machines earned 43 cents per share, better than the 31 cents expected by analysts, on revenue of $141.2 million, topping the $140.6 million Wall Street expected. 


"The second quarter was highlighted by record gas refills including unit growth in all regions underscoring the global appeal and stickiness of our home carbonation system," said CEO Daniel Birnbaum in a statement. "Our total business in our Western Europe, Asia Pacific, and CEMEA regions all posted solid increases in the second quarter as our product and marketing strategies are leading to increased household penetration and user activity." 

 
Tags: SODA

Should the fast-food chain act as the boss of all workers in franchised stores? The company says no, but organized labor says yes.

By MSN Money Partner 3 hours ago

A McDonald's employee prepares an order at a McDonald's restaurant on April 19, 2011 in San Francisco, Calif. (© Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)By Josh Eidelson, Businessweek


The fast-food business model just suffered a blow. 


The top prosecutor for the federal labor board has rejected McDonald's (MCD) claim that it's not the boss of the workers in its franchised stores.


Within the past 21 months -- the period in which strikes by fast-food workers went from unheard-of to increasingly common -- union-backed McDonald's workers have brought 181 charges before the National Labor Relations Board. On Tuesday the NLRB general counsel's office announced it had found dozens of allegations with enough merit to pursue. 


And, more important, the general counsel directed NLRB officials to treat McDonald's as a defendant alongside the franchisees running the stores. Giving McDonald's shared responsibility for how franchisees treat workers could force corporate headquarters to get involved more closely with everything from potential unionization to wages.

 
Tags: BKWMCDWEN

We have seen a huge correction, and we now need to look for signs that it is ending.

By Jim Cramer 3 hours ago

A trader analyzes stock data on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange © Scott Eells/Bloomberg via Getty ImagesThe rolling correction continues as we've seen some really powerful downward moves in some of the major industrials. They remind me of something Byron Wien -- a senior adviser at Blackstone and by far my favorite market commentator -- said at the beginning of the year. He remarked that the S&P 500 would initially drop 10 percent in a worst-of-times situation, and then in a best-of-times situation it could rally 20 percent, heading perhaps to 2,300 by the end of the year.


I point this out because Wien put out his monthly note Tuesday night, and it is very positive on the market -- but he does not directly address that he thought stocks would have that initial decline.


TheStreet.com logoYet as I look over so many of the big industrials and many of the technology stocks, I see the market did have a pretty large correction already. Stocks such as General Electric (GE) and Boeing (BA) and United Technologies (UTX) are down huge from their highs. The cloud-computing stocks, despite their nascent rallies, are down much more than 10 percent.

 

The company's earnings beat impressed Wall Street, but some observers say there are still long-term questions about its future.

By MSN Money Partner 4 hours ago
Credit: © Richard Drew/AP Photo
Caption: The Twitter bird logo is on an updated phone post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.By Barbara Kollmeyer, MarketWatch

Twitter (TWTR) shares soared anew on Wednesday as analysts scrambled to lift price targets after quarterly results blew away Wall Street's forecasts.


The stock was up 20 percent in midday trading on heavy volume of about 80 million shares. It soared late Tuesday after the company's adjusted profit and revenue surpassed expectations, and its outlook on full-year revenue was also better than a previous estimate. 


Analysts had been holding their breath over the tally for monthly active users. Twitter edged past expectations for 267 million monthly active users with a count of 271 million.

 
Tags: SOCLTWTR

Delta Airlines' intrusion into Alaska's Seattle hub has motivated Alaska employees into a sort of 'Keep Alaska My Alaska' campaign.

By TheStreet.com Staff 4 hours ago

The tails of Alaska Airlines jetliners pass at Seattle/Tacoma International airport in SeaTac, Wash. © David Zalubowski/APBy Ted Reed, TheStreet


For Alaska Airlines (ALK), the reality of being under assault by a stronger adversary sank in six days ago, when the carrier reported earnings that beat estimates -- yet watched its shares fall 9 percent as analysts worried about capacity increases in key markets.


But Delta's (DAL) effort to build a Seattle hub on top of Alaska's Seattle hub is also having a positive impact for the airline, in that it is further uniting Alaska's approximately 10,200 workers, 83 percent of them unionized.


It has not escaped the workers that Delta is a largely non-union carrier, one that strongly resisted efforts by the International Association of Machinists and the Association of Flight Attendants to organize its workers following the 2008 merger with Northwest. IAM and AFA are the two largest unions at Alaska.

 

Jobs numbers expected later this week will shed more light on the economy. 'The Fed has to be delighted,' one economist says.

By MSN Money Partner 4 hours ago
Image: Arrow Up (© Stockbyte/SuperStock)By Patti Domm, CNBC

A stunning acceleration in second-quarter growth and a jump in inflation are triggering a new round of speculation that the Fed will have to speed up plans to hike rates.


The faster pace of growth makes it more likely the economy will grow at a better clip in the second half, but strategists do not expect the Fed to change its timeline unless there is a consistent jump in activity. 


The number is not expected to have any impact on the Fed statement scheduled for 2 p.m. EDT Wednesday.


Second-quarter GDP grew at 4 percent, well above the expected 3 percent. Traders focused on the faster pace of inflation at 2.3 percent annual rate, compared with 1.4 percent in the first quarter, as measured by the personal consumption expenditures index. That is above the Fed's 2 percent target rate.

 
Tags: JPM

After enjoying a smooth rise in stock prices since May, investors are about to be hit with another bout of volatility.

By InvestorPlace 22 hours ago

Image: Stock market © Digital Vision/SuperStockBy Anthony Mirhaydari


Stocks dribbled lower on Tuesday in response to the West's application of additional pressure on Russia in the form of expanded economic sanctions -- on growing evidence Moscow is directly furnishing weapons and support to pro-Russian Ukrainian separatists.


The Dow Jones Industrial Average ($INDU) lost 0.4 percent after trading in the green earlier in the session.


After enjoying a smooth, easy rise in stock prices since May, investors are about to be hit with another bout of volatility. Normally, this liquidity-boosted market wouldn't blink an eye. But given the divergences underway -- with significant weakness among small-cap stocks and high-yield bonds as large-cap stocks remain unaffected -- it could set the stage for some fireworks.

 

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 24 hours 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 Tue 1:36 PM
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 Tue 1:07 PM
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 Tue 1:01 PM

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.

 

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