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But the move changes nothing. AT&T and Verizon are still top dogs, T-Mobile is still going to disappear, and consumers will face fewer options.

By InvestorPlace Aug 31, 2011 11:51AM

By Jeff Reeves, Editor, InvestorPlace.com

 

Poor AT&T (T). We just learned Wednesday that the Justice Department will try to block its proposed merger with T-Mobile.

 

Justice lawyers say the acquisition of the No. 4 wireless carrier in the country by No. 2 AT&T would reduce competition and raise prices, The Associated Press reports. Expect AT&T to take the fight to court.

 

Meanwhile, how will AT&T muddle through with a measly $125 billion in annual revenue and just 110 million wireless subscribers? What ever will the company do with its $3.8 billion cash stockpile if it can't buy this competitor?

 

In case you haven't sensed the sarcasm yet, wake up and smell the coffee. AT&T is hardly on the brink of collapse and hardly a bit player in the telecom sector. The sad reality is that the mobile marketplace has been consolidating for some time, and this will continue with or without the merger.

 

When it comes to choosing locations for its sought-after stores, Apple's process is similar to high-end brands like Hermes and Louis Vuitton, say real estate experts.

By TheStreet Staff Aug 31, 2011 11:11AM

By Olivia Oran, TheStreetTheStreet

 

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz caused a stir recently by making a public plea for an Apple (AAPL) store to be built in Brooklyn as part of a downtown revitalization effort. He was shut down repeatedly.

 

How could Brooklyn -- a cultural hub filled with musicians, artists and entrepreneurs -- not be a good match for Apple, whose products are used widely and prized by creative types, Markowitz wondered.

 

The answer lies within Apple's core retail strategy: capitalize on already well-trafficked, well-to-do areas that don't need help gentrifying. In other words, go where the money's at.

 

For 25 large corporations, the top boss took home more money than the entire company paid in federal income taxes, one study shows.

By Kim Peterson Aug 31, 2011 10:47AM
No matter what happens to the economy, executive pay seems immune. We may be on the verge of another recession, but chief executives are still taking home tens of millions of dollars. We're used to that by now.

But what about when a CEO's salary is fatter than the entire federal income tax bill for the company? Or better yet, what if their companies didn't pay any 2010 federal income taxes at all? Is this becoming the new normal?

That's what some of the largest U.S. companies managed to finagle last year, according to a new study from the Institute for Policy Studies. The study found that 25 of the 100 highest-paid CEOs took home more money than their company paid in federal income taxes. The average pay of those 25 CEOs was $16.7 million. 

Recent strength in homebuilding stocks may set up good trading opportunities, but as long as the overall trend remains down, long-term investors should stay away.

By MoneyShow.com Aug 31, 2011 10:44AM
By Tom Aspray, MoneyShow.com

The latest Case-Schiller Housing Price Index caught many by surprise when it reported an unexpected rise of 1.1% for June. The year-over-year results showed that the index has declined by 4.6%.

The surprise increase boosted the homebuilding stocks, as many were already trading well above their recent lows.


The Dow Jones Home Construction Index completed a major head-and-shoulders top in May 2006. It peaked in 2005 at 1100 and closed Tuesday at 208. It is down 81% from the 2005 highs.


Though the SPDR S&P Homebuilders ETF (XHB) and the key homebuilding stocks have provided some good trading opportunities in the past, there are no signs yet of a major bottom.

 

Twenty-five of the 100 highest-paid bosses made more than their companies paid in taxes last year.

By TheStreet Staff Aug 31, 2011 10:36AM

By Jeanine Skowronski, MainStreet

 

Twenty-five of last year's highest-paid corporate CEOs made more than their companies paid in taxes, according to a report from the Institute for Policy Studies.

 

IPS says the 25 highest-paid CEOs averaged 16.7 million in annual compensation, with 22 of them getting net pay increases last year. In 13 of the companies, the pay increases coincided with either a decline in the corporation's tax bill or an increase in their tax refund check.

 

The low tax bills and large refunds could not be attributed to lower profits at those companies, the institute says, but rather to the use of offshore tax havens and corporate tax breaks.

 

Don't underestimate the power of the world's biggest online retailer and the godfather of e-commerce.

By InvestorPlace Aug 31, 2011 8:50AM

By Tom Taulli, InvestorPlace.com


Forty years ago, discount retailers like K-Mart got much of the attention from investors, which ironically allowed Wal-Mart (WMT) to continue its rapid growth without attracting competition.


Today, we may be witnessing something similar playing out. As Apple (AAPL) and Google (GOOG) get the headlines, there doesn’t seem to be as much adulation for Amazon.com (AMZN).  Yet this company’s potential may be larger than these two companies - combined.

 

It apparently escaped its cage in a New York airport on Aug. 25 and still can't be found. So feline lovers have taken Jack's cause to Facebook.

By Kim Peterson Aug 30, 2011 7:46PM
American Airlines (AMR) is in hot water after a cat it was supposed to transport apparently escaped his cage.

Jack has been missing since Aug. 25, when his owner, Karen Pascoe, checked him and his brother in as cargo for a flight from John F. Kennedy airport to California. It didn't take long for Jack to go missing. Pascoe was called by the airline soon after she cleared security, CBS reports.

She searched the inbound baggage area for an hour with no luck and eventually boarded a later flight with her other cat, Barry. The airline promised to keep searching. Jack still hasn't been found.

Cat lovers are ratcheting up the pressure on American, and Jack is now famous. A Facebook page with his picture has more than 4,000 fans. The news is spreading, and the last thing American wants is another embarrassing episode like United Airlines (UAL) faced with the United Breaks Guitars video on YouTube.  
Tags: amr

The hurricane was devastating, but it may end up giving the economy a much-needed boost.

By Kim Peterson Aug 30, 2011 7:16PM
Hurricane Irene was undoubtedly bad for the economy. Businesses were forced to close doors along most of the East Coast. Homes and shops were flooded, public transportation came to a standstill, and power outages were common.

Some of the damage was not insured, either. Estimates show the hurricane's cost to insurers at about $2.6 billion. The total economic losses, including the noninsured portions, could hit $7 billion.

But there may be a hidden stimulus package here. MarketWatch's Irwin Kellner said Irene might have reduced growth in the gross domestic product by as much as a full percentage point. But the effects of the storm could boost the fourth-quarter GDP by even more. 

A lesson in how to squander capital.

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day Aug 30, 2011 2:52PM
By Morgan Housel

 

Last month, I pointed out what I thought was an amazing statistic: Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) shares were so cheap that, based on average share buybacks over the last three years, the company would repurchase its entire market cap within the next decade. It didn't need to grow earnings. Ever. Just carry on, slow and steady. At well under 10 times earnings, repurchasing shares was likely a good use of capital that would treat shareholders well.

 

You know what happened next: The urge to do something dumb.

 

After offering to buy U.K. software company Autonomy for $10 billion in cash, HP management signaled in a conference call that it would effectively can its share repurchase plans for the near future. Buying Autonomy is a better use of its capital, it reckons.

 

These 3 mutual funds -- one of which was launched in 1929 -- stand out among thousands.

By TheStreet Staff Aug 30, 2011 11:45AM

Image: Mutual funds (© Don Farrall/Getty Images)By Frank Byrt, TheStreet

 

Whom do you want at the wheel of your ship in a hurricane when you're a mutual fund investor?

 

The hot shot with the yacht-club pedigree, white duck pants, cravat and the hat to match? Or the guy who's been around the world a few times, quietly displays his confidence and can back it up with double-digit returns that go back a decade?

 

The answer should be clear by now: the steady, experienced hand with nothing to prove.

 

Here are three funds cited by Standard & Poor's as giving a series of market storms a run and having proved their skills over the decades. Their managers oversee "blended" mutual funds. That is, they invest across different asset classes. The funds offer investors the potential for capital appreciation from equities along with income from bonds -- a combination that fits well in these turbulent times.

 

Opinion: America's real-estate market is in a decline that doesn't seem to be getting better.

By TheStreet Staff Aug 30, 2011 11:43AM

Image: Housing market © Ocean/Corbis/CorbisBy Gary Weiss, columnist for TheStreetTheStreet

 

The stock market, as measured by the

S&P 500 ($INX), rose almost 3% Monday, perhaps pleasantly surprised that the Northeast doesn't resemble the Gulf Coast -- Katrina-cable-TV hype notwithstanding.

 

So as traders picked their way across tree limbs and flooded roads on their way to work Monday, perhaps they overlooked a commonplace sight that was even more prevalent than clogged waterways: for-sale signs on lawns, sometimes with the nauseating come-on "auction today."

 

We're in the middle of a real-estate depression, folks, and it's not getting any better. Perhaps it's good news that the financial markets have gotten used to the bad news out of the housing market, because the bad news keeps coming. But if the housing-market woes are an indication of the direction of the economy, we're in sorry shape. And as with a number of questions I've explored recently, it comes down to this: What, if anything, is the Obama administration going to do about it?

 

The company reached a licensing agreement with Green Mountain Coffee Roasters back in March.

By TheStreet Staff Aug 30, 2011 11:39AM

By Michael Baron, TheStreet

 

Starbucks (SBUX) said Tuesday that K-Cup portion packs of its coffees for the Keurig brewing system manufactured by Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (GMCR) will be available for retail sale in the United States in November.

 

Starbucks and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters reached a licensing agreement back in March for Starbucks to be the "exclusive licensed super-premium coffee brand" for Keurig system.

 

"We are excited to expand our presence in the multibillion-dollar single-cup coffee category with the introduction of Starbucks coffee K-Cup Portion Packs, which offer a convenient at-home brewing solution utilizing the popular Keurig Brewer," said Jeff Hansberry, the president of Starbucks Global Consumer Products Group.

 

The brick-and-mortar bookstore has largely been written off, but the stock is surging thanks to Nook sales

By InvestorPlace Aug 30, 2011 11:21AM

By Jeff Reeves, Editor, InvestorPlace.com


In the wake of the Borders bankruptcy, there's a lot of jeering about how brick-and-mortar book retailers are destined for the trash heap. Conventional wisdom claims that in the same way Blockbuster was passed by as DVD rentals became a quaint anachronism, so will booksellers become another victim of the Internet revolution.


Not so fast. Barnes & Noble (BKS) just provided a glimmer of hope with its earnings report Tuesday. Numbers impressed Wall Street and sent shares soaring as much as 18% in early trading.


So what is B&N doing right these days?

 

The sector typically outperforms the market from September onward, and the shares of 2 low-cost retailers may soon present favorable buying opportunities.

By MoneyShow.com Aug 30, 2011 10:50AM

By Tom Aspray, MoneyShow.com


The 0.5% rise in July consumer spending helped give stocks a boost on Monday, as it was the best number since December 2009. Tuesday’s consumer confidence numbers are unlikely to be as positive.


The market’s strength following Friday’s impressive reversal clearly got some of those on the short side a bit nervous. The Advance/Decline (A/D) lines on the major averages are now rising more sharply, but it is still too early to tell if they have really bottomed out.


The bear flag formations discussed last week are still intact, but do allow for a rally in the S&P 500 to the 1225-1230 area. It will be the strength of any pullback once stronger resistance is reached that will shed light on the intermediate term.

During the recent market decline, there have been several market sectors that have performed better than the S&P 500. One such sector that is now entering a strong seasonal period is retail, and while one big-name stock is encountering strong resistance, two others are looking much more attractive.

 

Despite the somber talk of more recession and a deeper market retracement, the picture is bright. By the end of the year, we could be up smartly.

By MoneyShow.com Aug 30, 2011 9:37AM

By Jim Lowell, special to MoneyShow.com


The markets have continued to demonstrate both relative strength and positive resilience in the face of heated political snafus here and globally.


Of course, the weighty question of whither goes the markets from here has become an even more burdensome one, thanks to political rather than economic interests. What else is new?


I continue to think we’ll net a 10% to 15% gain by year's end, based on fundamentals that exhibit earnings growth rather than contraction. I also continue to think it will be a hard slog from here to there.


At the outset of this year, I talked about how we’d likely see another dip in the housing market and a stall in the jobs market. That’s where we are, but where are we heading?

 

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[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market finished the Wednesday session on a modestly lower note, but it is worth mentioning today's retreat took place after six consecutive gains. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (-0.1%) and S&P 500 (-0.2%) settled not far below their flat lines, while the Nasdaq Composite (-0.8%) lagged throughout the session.

Equity indices started the day in the red, with the Nasdaq showing early weakness as large cap tech names and biotechnology weighed. The technology ... More


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