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Consumers are reining in spending, but they're still willing to pay big bucks for cable TV.
Cable bills are actually going up, Bloomberg reports. In the second quarter, people paid about 8% more than the same period a year ago, to an average of $123 a month.
Cable and satellite stocks are enjoying a nice run this year as a result, beating the S&P 500 index by some 15%, Bloomberg reports. Free cash flow is at record highs at companies like Comcast (CMCSA), Time Warner Cable (TWC) and Cablevision (CVC).
Motivational speaker makes a move to market predictions. Do you believe him?
Tony Robbins may be rightfully known as one of the best motivational speakers of his generation. He's helped many people who sing his praises.
But a market prognosticator? I'm not so sure.
Recently, Robbins jumped on the 'market is doomed' bandwagon, producing a video warning anyone willing to listen that a crash of epic proportion may be coming in the near future.
You can view the message here.
He's really just jumping on the bandwagon, though he does come across in a rather compelling fashion.
The company is gearing up for an all-out war with Facebook, and it wants Max Levchin to help lead.
Now, Levchin (pictured) has rocketed into the role of VP of engineering at Google. It's rare for an outsider to land a top position like that, writes VentureBeat, and it's a sign that Levchin has a huge amount of power and influence there.
Fast Company asks the big question: "Did Google pay $182 million for Slide, or did they pay it for Max Levchin?"
Sure, sentiment is in the tank, but here are a few reasons to start looking for bargains.
With equities down more than 13% from their April highs and with bonds on a tear, investors are fleeing the stock market. Equities have underperformed bonds in 10 of the past 12 trading days, while the ICI showed equity funds have lost money for 16 straight weeks.
You can see this withdrawal of demand in the breadth data. According to the folks at Lowry Research, who have been tracking the supply and demand trends since 1938, their proprietary measure of "buying power" has dropped 34 points since the early August rally high. In comparison, their measure of supply has fallen only 5 points over the same period.
Clearly, instead of intense short-selling, the current market malaise is the result of a buyers' strike. But there are still plenty of reasons to believe that the bull market that started back in March 2009 isn't over just yet.
Reports say the struggling movie-rental chain may enter a planned bankruptcy as soon as mid-September.
By Jeanine Poggi, TheStreet
It looks like the worst fear of many Blockbusterinvestors may come true: The movie-rental chain could be gearing up for a bankruptcy filing next month, according to reports.
Blockbuster and its senior debt holders met last week with six major movie studios to discuss their intention to enter a planned bankruptcy, the Los Angeles Times reported, citing sources familiar with the matter.
It would be essential for Blockbuster to retain the support of movie studios amid a bankruptcy filing, to ensure it continues receiving new releases so business isn't disrupted.
The president seems not to understand the anxiety gripping businesses and their customers, a psychological condition that is crippling the economy.
By Jim Cramer, TheStreet
Is it fear of fear itself? Is that what is happening? Are we bumming ourselves out too much?
Last night, Mickey Drexler, the CEO of J. Crew (JCG), talked about how negativity among consumers has rather suddenly made them tougher customers, or deferred customers or not costumers at all. Crew encourages its staff to become involved in customer decision making -- or the lack of decision making -- to find out what is behind their motivation. And again and again, Drexler said that since July, people have been worried and nervous and not making decisions as they were.
What struck me was the language he used. It was almost exactly the language that John Chambers, the CEO of Cisco (CSCO), used to describe the newfound behavior of his customers. I found myself thinking as I listened to the Crew call that I was in an echo chamber of John Chambers!
It was psychological more than frugal; it was macro worries, not micro concerns. The economic environment. It matters.
There are three reasons to like LAN Airlines' $3.7 billion purchase of TAM.
Shareholders of LAN will own 70% of the combined company. (TAM will be de-listed, and the new shares for LATAM Airlines will trade in New York; Santiago, Chile, and Sao Paulo, Brazil.)
The acquisition will make LAN, with strong routes and market share in Chile, Peru, Argentina, and Ecuador, a dominant player in the Brazilian market. (TAM had about 42% of the Brazilian domestic market as of the end of the second quarter of 2010.) TAM's revenue last year of $4.9 billion was greater than LAN's revenue of $ 3.7 billion.
The company is concerned about cracks that could form in the engines of the affected cars.
The recall covers about 1.13 million Corolla and Matrix vehicles from the 2005 through 2008 model years. At least three reported accidents were related to an engine defect that has become the focus of the recall, Bloomberg reports.
This has been a terrible year for Toyota, though its share price Thursday dropped only slightly after the recalls were announced. Over the past 12 months, the company has recalled more than 9 million vehicles -- including the latest one -- for problems including faulty pedals, unintended acceleration and floor-mat entrapment.
New SEC rules make it easier for shareholders to nominate their own candidates for the board.
The changes come from a close vote this week at the Securities and Exchange Commission. Now, when companies mail ballots before shareholder meetings, they must include the names of all board nominees on them, the Wall Street Journal reports.
In the past, shareholders who wanted a new candidate had to pay for mailing separate ballots. They also had to do their own campaigning. Those barriers were a huge roadblock to getting anyone elected that wasn't hand-picked by the existing board.
One economist crunches the numbers and says that pricey new homes simply aren't moving.
The answer is zero -- for the second month in a row. At least, according to David Rosenberg, chief economist at investment firm Gluskin Sheff.
That figure seems hard to believe, but keep in mind that Rosenberg is talking about new homes, not existing ones. If he's right, that's a shocking statistic. For the housing market, trauma has set in, he says.
Things are unbelievably horrific in housing now, Rosenberg writes (as reported by Zero Hedge).
The push in 3 states is part of a fast-food trend toward healthful, unprocessed menu items.
Wendy's (WEN) is taking the slogan "Quality is Our Recipe" to a new level with all-natural fries in test markets.
Interestingly, the new recipe comes as Wendy's fries are already popular. A recent Zagat survey ranked Wendy's fries fourth-best, behind those of McDonald's (MCD), Five Guys and In-N-Out Burger.
- Related Article: What In-N-Out can teach bigger fast-food chains
So why would Wendy's make the change to an already successful snack? Simple: The move comes amid a flurry of other menu changes at fast-food restaurants that push for higher-quality, healthful and natural ingredients to boost sales. Here are the details on Wendy's latest menu item and where you can buy the skin-on fries:
When higher oil prices spark a rally in every sector except oil stocks, the market is broken. It's no wonder investors are going elsewhere.
By Jim Cramer, TheStreet
Technology makes a run off of oil's rally but not the oil stocks. Health care rallies on oil but not oil stocks. Retail rallies on oil. But not the oil stocks. Food stocks leap on a turn in oil. But not the oil stocks. That's how things played out all Wednesday afternoon. Will it play out that way today?
Excuse me for sounding like Dr. Seuss, but what a joke this market has become. Food and retail, both incredibly sensitive to rising oil prices, rally on oil getting better because oil's upturn is a sign that the consumer is feeling better? What hogwash. Rising oil prices hurt the food companies because it is their biggest expense, more than the food commodities they package.
Retail? Rising oil prices are demonstrably bad for them. Tech? There is no correlation in real life whatsoever. However, we are not in real life. We are in some sort of bizarre world where the only correlations we can find are the wrong ones.
Chinese online travel company Ctrip.com saw shares drop after its earnings report -- for a reason.
It's tempting to say that the 6% drop in Ctrip.com International's (CTRP) shares on Aug. 10th -- a day after its second-quarter earnings report -- was just the usual selling on the news by momentum investors unhappy the company only beat estimates by 2 cents a share and didn't raise guidance.
But when you're looking at a stock trading at 43.5x projected 2010 earnings per share, I'm not sure there's any "just" about an earnings report that didn't shoot out the lights.
There's just enough in the numbers to concern any investor counting on the company to keep growing earnings by 30% -- at a minimum.
Here's what the company reported.
The new editor has taken a nastier, more celebrity-focused tone, jarring some accustomed to a friendlier paper.
Many inside the industry were shocked at a lead story on Tuesday that felt like a broadside against the generally liked Jennifer Aniston:
"'Switch' a Bitch for Jennifer Aniston," read the headline, above a story that criticized the movie’s underperformance, but then backtracked to say it "wasn’t necessarily a setback" to her career.
The online retail juggernaut reassures investors that its Kindle is coping with the threat posed by Apple's iPad.
By James Rogers, TheStreet
In a statement released today, Amazon said the latest versions of the Kindle, launched in late July, are the fastest-selling Kindles ever. The Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk websites have sold more of the new Kindle and Kindle 3G than any other products during the last four weeks, according to the online retail giant.
Amazon's true Kindle performance, however, remains clouded in secrecy. Despite plenty of hype over the last few years, the retailer has not released any actual sales figures for its e-book device, although a company spokeswoman told TheStreet in an e-mail today that Amazon has sold "millions of Kindles overall."
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[BRIEFING.COM] Stocks ended modestly higher as the S&P 500 climbed 0.2%, and the Dow added 0.4% to register its 19th consecutive Tuesday of gains.
The major averages saw little change during morning action, but afternoon buying interest helped lift the indices to session highs. Most cyclical sectors (with the exception of materials and technology) finished among the leaders, but the defensively-geared health care sector settled atop the leaderboard as biotechnology outperformed. ... More
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