Geopolitical crises are taking a toll on stocks as we head into the seasonally weak month of August.
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Fewer golden parachutes and more vision are needed for corporate America to make a comeback.
By Jeff Reeves, InvestorPlace.com
There will be a million legacy stories written about the passing of Apple's front man, but the one I hope gets the most attention by investors is the story of Steve Jobs the CEO -- a true leader at a time when many people in corner offices are frankly not worthy of the post.
We need more leadership in corporate America right now and fewer golden parachutes.
Investors may be able to put the fear on hold and actually see what earnings season has to say.
As long as pension funds are continually allocating ever more money into commodities, they will drive the price up. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy.
If there were ever an official league for screw-ups, Wall Street and Congress would earn perfect attendance awards nearly every year. It seems like everything they do to "fix" some flaw in the system only serves to create two new problems down the road. (Guess who pays the bill each and every time?)
This cycle of inept intervention is described in greater detail by Dr. Randy Wray, a respected economist at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, as he describes the across-the-board increase in commodity prices in recent years.
Denmark recently became the first country to implement a tax on saturated fats, and other countries are likely to follow.
The country is the first to slap a tax on saturated fats. Now, residents will pay about 12 cents more for a bag of chips, 39 cents more for a small package of butter and 40 cents more for a hamburger, one Danish group calculated. Hungary also recently implemented a tax on soft drinks, pastries and salty snacks.
The movement could spread to other countries; Finland and Romania could soon follow suit. Governments around the world are desperate for cash, and the tax is one way to raise more money while appearing to take a stand on public health.
General Motors, like Ford, sees opportunities to expand its reach through the emergent car-sharing business.
By Ted Reed, TheStreet
RelayRides allows vehicle owners to rent those vehicles to others, with the San Francisco-based firm providing a marketplace and insurance. General Motors Ventures LLC is in "advanced discussions" with RelayRides about an investment in the company, GM said.
The planned partnership would link GM's OnStar system to RelayRides, enabling the owners to rent out their cars using OnStar. The service would be available in a mobile application that would allow potential customers to check for vehicles and make reservations with their smart phones. The relationship will launch early in 2012.
Why superb products aren't translating into booming sales.
By John Rosevear
The market may not be loving their stocks, but buyers appear to be loving their vehicles: Despite grim economic predictions, all three of the Detroit automakers posted solid sales gains in September, with the market's overall pace the strongest seen since April.
Chrysler led the way with a 27% year-over-year sales gain, thanks to a surprisingly well-refreshed product lineup that is starting to gather momentum in the market. But the real story, at least from a Detroit perspective, is this: General Motors (GM) posted big gains, while supposedly stronger Ford (F) barely kept pace with the market.
What's behind that?
Tuesday's big reversal creates patterns pointing to higher stock prices.
Stocks surged into the close Tuesday after a day of heavy volatility on late-breaking news that European officials -- even the intransigent Germans -- are considering a "concerted, coordinated effort" with a "sense of urgency" to prevent the eurozone debt problems from turning into a full-fledged banking crisis by recapitalizing Europe's financial system.
That unleashed a frenzy of buying as overleveraged and overconfident short sellers were forced to close their positions quickly. With U.S. large caps dropping into bear market territory in intraday trading, the last thing most people expected was a rally in the last hour of trading.
The warehouse retailer faces rising costs, and a 10% fee increase will help counter those expenses.
The reason? Costs are going up, and even though sales are doing just fine, margins are headed down. To offset some of those costs, Costco will increase individual membership fees by $5 to $55 and executive fees by $10 to $110.
The announcement comes amid disappointing quarterly results. The retailer reported $1.08 per share in profit on $28.18 billion in revenue. Analysts were looking for $1.10 per share on $27.84 billion in revenue. So even though Costco came in higher on sales -- same-store sales rose 12% when analysts expected 10% -- the narrow profit miss got most of the attention.
When Ackman, Buffett, Peltz and Jefferies all agree, you should listen.
By Jonathan Chen, Benzinga
What a difference a few days makes.
Family Dollar (FDO) reported better-than-expected earnings on Sept. 28, raising its guidance and announcing it would be buying back an additional $250 million worth of stock. But the shares slumped along with the rest of the market. Then, on Wednesday, the stock got a boost from an analyst upgrade. As of midday, it was up $1.50, or about 3% to $53.
It's time for the rest of Wall Street to sit up and take notice of the improving story here.
This may be a make-or-break month for the economy. But history doesn't favor investors.
By Frank Byrt, TheStreet
October has a history of being an especially cruel month for investors. And if the stock market's disastrous performance and volatility in the third quarter were a prelude, it may well be again.
Economists are divided on whether the U.S. economy is about to fall into a recession and drag the equity market and Americans' 401k's down with it. That's a scary prospect, because the benchmark S&P 500 ($INX) is nearing a bear market, having declined almost 20% since late April.
Other asset classes such as commodities, oil and real estate also have fallen.
Economists' latest prognostications will make your head spin, but they agree on one thing: A resolution of the eurozone's sovereign debt crisis this month would go a long way toward getting the world's economy and stock markets back on track.
The name of the voice-command app Siri translates into hilarity.
Particularly impressive is Siri, Apple's new voice-command app that lets you talk to your iPhone. Need to know how bad traffic is in your area? Just ask the phone and Siri will give you real-time data on traffic outside.
However, Apple forgot the cardinal rule of language-based technology: If you build it, your audience is going to make lewd jokes with it. And Apple's new app made it all too easy for people to turn it into a joke, considering what Siri sounds like in Japanese. Here's a hint: The iPhone 4S almost certainly will be Sir Mix-a-Lot's favorite smartphone.
These three stocks are already outperforming as we enter a seasonally strong period for the retail sector.
By Tom Aspray, MoneyShow.com
Stocks staged an impressive rebound on Tuesday as the cash S&P 500 went from being down over 25 points to up almost 25 on the close. The Advance/Decline (A/D) numbers also closed solidly positive for the day. It was very encouraging that after a mid-day rally failure, the S&P was able to rally sharply in the last hour.
This increases the chances of a further rally over the short term, and if we get strong market internals, the A/D lines may complete their bottom formations.
Opinion: America's corporate bosses have won for us one of the highest standards of living in the world. They deserve some credit.
By Brad Hall, TheStreet
Last weekend, 700 people were arrested on the Brooklyn Bridge for protesting greedy corporations. Greedy corporations? What does that even mean? It reminds me of graduate school, where my professors would continually warn about the evils of corporate America and preach of the true goodness of all things academic. I used to wonder whether those professors owned the outputs of such evil -- like a bed or a PC.
America's standard of living is among the highest in the world. One wonders whether the Brooklyn Bridge leaders understand why they are able to protest in designer jeans and Nikes (NKE). It's because America's CEOs consistently produce big profits. Profits are good.
The primary lever for continued profitability is productivity. Every country's standard of living depends on national productivity. Collectively, America's CEOs have created the world's third-most-productive country. America should be proud of its CEOs and grateful for their contributions. Here are four of the most prominent contributions.
Europe is still the big problem, but plunging commodities prices will help lots of companies.
It's tough to be bullish when Europe is the albatross around our necks. Who knows what will happen overnight? Somehow, it tends not to be good. And they are in huge bear markets over there.
But I can't resist talking about a silver lining that no one seems to care about. A little less than three months ago, we heard company after company talk about skyrocketing raw costs. We heard about how oil keeps going higher or is stubbornly high. We heard that paper board wasn't going down, that plastics aren't coming in and that grains are just way too elevated. Steel costs were too much for car companies, and copper was too much for homebuilders.
Companies as diverse as Ford (F) and Clorox (CLX) and Procter & Gamble (PG) and Kimberly-Clark (KMB) continually sounded alarms about inflation. Their conference calls were filled with downbeat input cost caveats that were going to hurt earnings, going to hurt costs for a very long time to come.
Even though the company still must test the quality of its new deposit, the discovery is important.
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[BRIEFING.COM] The S&P 500 has inched up from its worst level of the session, but that could be overlooked considering the index remains lower by 28 points.
Today's retreat has sent the benchmark average below its 50-day moving average (1953) for the first time in a while. Specifically, the index tested, but never closed below the 50-day average on six occasions during a three-week stretch between late April and early May. Prior to that span, the S&P 500 dove below the 50-day ... More
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