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Take bubble talk with a grain of salt

Jim Cramer asks, why pay any attention to letters from a manager who lost money in the first quarter?


Valeant Pharmaceuticals has teamed up with activist investor Bill Ackman and Pershing Square Capital Management for a $47 billion deal to acquire Botox maker Allergan.

By Staff Tue 12:28 PM

Allergan Pred Forte eye drops © Stuwdamdorp/AlamyBy Antoine Gara, TheStreet

Pershing Square Capital Management may be re-writing the rules of activist investing after teaming up with Valeant Pharmaceuticals (VRX) on a takeover bid for Allergan (AGN). Valeant will offer Allergan $48.30 a share in cash and 0.83 of its shares in the bid, which values Allergan at an about 10 percent premium to its Monday closing share price. 

The takeover effort is the first that counts an activist hedge fund investor as a crucial piece and it raises the prospect of similar marriages between activist investors and deal-seeking corporations looking to press an unsolicited merger. 


Jeff Bezos has lost $6.3 billion so far this year as shares of his company have declined.

By MSN Money Partner Tue 12:23 PM
File photo of Jeff Bezos on Nov. 16, 2012 (© Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)By Nick Summers, Businessweek

Jeff Bezos is one bad day -- or even just a middling one -- from an abysmal distinction. 

He'll have lost more money than anyone else on earth in 2014 if his net worth declines by just $200 million, relative to Mexican investor Carlos Slim, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

The Amazon (AMZN) founder has lost $6.3 billion so far this year, second only to Slim's $6.5 billion decline. Bezos (pictured) has most of his wealth tied up in company stock, which has declined 17.3 percent since Jan. 1, bringing his net worth to $29.7 billion. 

On a percentage basis, Slim has lost about half as much as Bezos, 8.8 percent, to cut his worth to $67.3 billion, the second-largest pile in the world.

Tags: AMZN

As regulations tighten around coal, these natural gas and oil producers stand to benefit.

By Traders Reserve Tue 11:56 AM

Image: Natural gas plant © Kevin Burke/CorbisBy Karen Riccio


The Environmental Protection Agency just announced plans to further stiffen regulations on coal-fired power plants and the emission of carbons.


This can only mean bad news for companies with profits tied to coal, and good news for profits tied to natural gas and oil. The EPA's move will ultimately increase the need for cleaner, more efficient producers of energy.

While solar and wind may have a purpose and contribution to the cause, the immediate beneficiary will be the explorers and developers of natural gas and oil. Natural gas reserves in the U.S. have increased two-fold over the past 14 years; and shale and tight gas production has more than doubled in the last four years. According to the International Energy Association (IEA), we are sitting on a 2.2 quadrillion cubic feet of proven and recoverable oil.


The company is growing, but it needs to grow fast enough for the uber-excited bulls.

By InvestorPlace Tue 11:28 AM

Caption: The Facebook logo is seen on a tablet screen
Credit: © Lionel Bonaventure/AFP/Getty ImagesBy Jeff Reeves

Facebook (FB) has had a busy start to 2014. Earnings blew the doors off in January, the stock is up 8 percent despite a small loss for the broader S&P 500 Index ($INX) and the company has rattled off a bunch of big-time acquisitions.

But for the next few weeks, Facebook shareholders will be most concerned about the balance sheet instead of the drumbeat of headlines and daily FB stock charts.

That's because the biggest catalyst for FB stock performance lately has been its blowout earnings and revenue growth posted at the end of January; FB stock gapped up by double-digits the next day as a result and has stayed strong ever since.

So what's in store this time when Facebook earnings hit Wednesday?


Netflix and Halliburton plainly illustrate what's justifying this broad-market run.

By Jim Cramer Tue 11:13 AM

(From top) Netflix Inc in San Jose Calif. & Halliburton manufacturing facility in Duncan, Okla. © MTP/Alamy; Robert Hughes/ZUMA PressWhen you listen to a Netflix (NFLX) call, you are sitting there thinking, "How can these guys be that good?"

Then you listen to a Halliburton (HAL) call and you say, "How can these guys be that good?"

Two calls. Two subjects. Two tours de force. logoNetflix is a plain-English company that has figured out that conference calls shouldn't be just about analysts trying to get help on their models. This is a much bigger-thinking company than that. Netflix is trying to explain why if you offer a superior product, be it Time Warner's (TWX) HBO or Amazon (AMZN) or anyone else, even Comcast (CMCSA), people will take it. But it has to be genuinely superior.

I love that Netflix goes into the viewing habits of customers. This company has actually thought about customers like good retailers do. It recognizes that people prefer to have all the content at once if they would like that content. Netflix also knows the foreign markets will work, because, well, they already work. Witness the comments about how "The Mentalist" is the No. 1 show in France. I'm surprised Netflix didn't mention that the French always loved Jerry Lewis. My favorite line: "The total addressable market over time are human beings that enjoy TV shows and movies, because everybody is going to be on the Internet."


All of these could one day be among the world's best income producers.

By StreetAuthority Tue 10:13 AM
Arm & Hammer Baking soda boxes
© Richard Drew/APBy Tim Begany

Because no one can predict the future with 100 percent accuracy, spotting tomorrow's best income-producing blue-chip stocks today is extremely difficult.

However, I recently profiled one company I strongly believe is well on its way to achieving blue-chip status -- filtration technologies manufacturer Pall Corp. (PLL) -- and there are several others I think have the same type of potential.

Aside from being in retail, these three companies aren't much alike. One is a sodium bicarbonate maker best known for the Arm & Hammer brand, and the second is a leading discount clothing chain based in California. The third has carved out a profitable niche as a provider of farm and ranch supplies in rural areas.  

Analysts at Jefferies made a list of picks that have the potential to soar in price.

By Forbes Digital Tue 9:45 AM
Caption: The Intel logo is displayed outside of the Intel headquarters in Santa Clara, Calif
Credit: © Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesBy Steve Schaefer, Forbes Staff

Business-focused social network LinkedIn (LNKD), retailer Lumber Liquidators (LL), growing ETF power WisdomTree Investments (WETF), cloud-based enterprise software company Workday (WDAY) and 3D-printing outfit 3D Systems (DDD) don't have much in common.

Except for the fact that analysts from Jefferies think all five could see their stocks double over the next two years.

In a lengthy note to clients Wednesday, Jefferies highlighted the five aforementioned stocks along with 23 others they believe have the potential to double in price over the next two years or so through a combination of earnings growth and multiple expansion.

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.


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.


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

By 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.


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.



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[BRIEFING.COM] Equity indices have spent the past 30 minutes in a slow climb towards their opening highs. The S&P 500 now trades about three points below its session high, while the Nasdaq hovers roughly 20 points below its best level of the session.

With the major averages fighting their way back from session lows, eight sectors now trade in the green, while two of the smallest groups-telecom services (-1.5%) and materials (-0.2%)-remain in negative territory.

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