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Its user profiles now have more in common with Facebook's.

By InvestorPlace Apr 8, 2014 1:54PM

Twitter screenshotBy Christopher Freeburn


If you love Facebook (FB), we have good news for you: It's basically coming to Twitter (TWTR).


Twitter announced Tuesday via its blog that it is updating the look of its profiles in a way that . . . well, looks like a Twitter feed shoved into a Facebook page.


The redesigned Twitter profiles will eventually show up to anyone with a web browser. Twitter's blog says the new profile is rolling out for some users starting Tuesday, and eventually will be available to everyone within "the coming weeks."

 
Tags: FBTWTR

The company's earnings reflect the national economy back at us in all its confounding glory.

By MSN Money Partner Apr 8, 2014 1:35PM
Caption: Alcoa aluminum manufacturing plant in Maryland
Credit: © Kristoffer Tripplaar / AlamyUpdated 4:30 p.m. ET

By Marek Fuchs, MarketWatch

Investors still treat Alcoa (AA), the largest aluminum producer in the U.S., as an economic barometer -- but for all the wrong reasons.


For a long time, Alcoa, as a gauge for commodities and manufacturers, has set the tone for earnings season. It's also helped that the 125-year-old company is still the first big company on the quarterly release schedule. (Alcoa released its results Tuesday, only six business days after the end of the first quarter.) As aluminum went, so went America, according to the Wall Street saying.


But the U.S. is no longer a manufacturer. It's a service-driven economy. Plus, the country's most famous companies produce drugs and technology hardware.


That said, Alcoa can still serve as a guidepost. The trick is realizing why and how.

 
Tags: AAJPMWFC

The retailer's expansion may seem positive, but can these razor-thin margins support the massive capital expenditures required?

By Motley Fool Investor Beat Apr 8, 2014 1:23PM
Much of the narrative around Wal-Mart (WMT) in recent years has been the company's push into more international markets. Now, the company has announced that it will be opening 50 new stores across India.

On today's Stock of the Day, Motley Fool analyst Michael Finarelli notes that while there has been quite a lot spent by the company to make this highly touted international push, the returns that have come back from the effort thus far have dramatically lagged returns from the company's domestic business, due to much thinner margins in other markets. 

The sector has a serious image problem, and investors are skittish about sticking with an industry they know little about.

By Benzinga Apr 8, 2014 11:55AM

Image: Pills © MedicalRF.com/CorbisBy Charley Blaine


The great biotechnology sell-off of 2014 began on Feb. 26 and started as big sell-offs often do: quietly.


The SPDR S&P Biotechnology exchange-traded fund (XBI) peaked at $172.52 and closed at $170.01, off 40 cents from the day before.


The next day, the ETF finished at a record close of $170.66 but dropped pretty consistently thereafter. Between Feb. 25 and Monday, the ETF had suffered losses on 20 of 29 days -- and had dropped 22.8 percent in the process.


It's been a shocking decline, but should not have surprised anyone. The ETF had risen 48 percent in 2012 and added an additional 31 percent in 2014 before the blow-off erupted.

 

A massive energy acquisition last year baffled some -- but it's in line to deliver solid returns in coming years. Take the long-term view here.

By StreetAuthority Apr 8, 2014 10:15AM
Credit: © Reuters

Caption: An aerial view of a giant mine run by U.S. firm Freeport-McMoran Cooper & Gold Inc., at the Grassberg mining operation, in Indonesia's Papua provinceBy David Sterman

As executives prepare to announce a major multi-billion-dollar acquisition to the public, they usually grow very excited about an enthusiastic response from key shareholders.

But when copper miner Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold (FCX) announced a pair of acquisitions in the oil and gas sector, worth an estimated $20 billion, investors did a spit-take.

At the time, investors wondered why the world's largest copper miner would diversify away into a completely unrelated industry. And they grew alarmed at the amount of debt taken on to complete the deal.

More than a year later, shares remain below where they were before the deal was announced, and many investors still see the deal as a head-scratcher. Yet in coming years, these bold strokes are likely to be seen in a much better light. 

Spending in this area is expected to quadruple by 2025. Here are the best picks to profit from this trend.

By StreetAuthority Apr 8, 2014 9:39AM
Droplet Falling from Pipette into Test Tube © Andrew Douglas, Radius Images, Getty ImagesBy David Sterman

In some respects, this is a golden age for pharmaceuticals. Thousands of medical researchers are making major clinical progress in the fight to treat cancer, heart disease and other afflications.

Yet another group of scientists are working to stop diseases before they emerge: The progress in vaccine research is likely to eventually be seen as one of the key breakthroughs of the early 21st century.

For companies that come up with breakthroughs, the rewards can be huge. Merck's (MRK) Gardisil, which prevents the spread of human papillomavirus (HPV), racked up more than $1 billion in sales last year. Pfizer's (PFE) Prevnar 13, which helps prevent invasive pneumococcal disease, is expected to surpass $5 billion in annual sales within a few years. 

Users of handheld device can scan products and send orders directly to the company's grocery delivery service

By MSN Money Partner Apr 7, 2014 4:01PM

Courtesy of Amazon.com
 
The Amazon Dash which allows the user to add groceries and household goods to their shopping lists using the company's AmazonFresh service Greg Bensinger, The Wall Street Journal


Amazon.com (AMZN) on Friday announced plans to offer a handheld device to more easily order groceries and other household goods from home.


The wand-like device, dubbed Dash, can scan product barcodes or users can speak the names of goods into a microphone to log orders to AmazonFresh grocery delivery accounts, according to a teaser video on Amazon’s website. 


The device, about six inches long and an inch wide, uses a Wi-Fi connection to send the information over the Internet to the company.

 
Tags: AMZN

Several indicators point at more than just a quick bite out of the markets.

By InvestorPlace Apr 7, 2014 3:36PM

A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange minutes after a Federal Reserve announcement on January 29, 2014 in New York City
© Spencer Platt/Getty ImagesBy Anthony Mirhaydari


It was all going so well.


Stocks were ignoring the weakness in big tech and biotech. The large-cap indices were flirting with new record highs. January's emerging-market wipeout and February's Ukraine volatility were long forgotten.


The bulls ignored skeptics like me pointing out diminishing participation as fewer stocks ramped to new highs, an over-reliance on the yen carry trade and signs that amid overconfidence and complacency, fundamentals like earnings and macroeconomic data were rolling over.


That all changed Friday as the Nasdaq-100 suffered its worst intraday reversal in years. In the process, it violated three-year-old uptrend support as it closed beneath its 20-week moving average for the first time since 2012.

 
Tags: $ndxFB

Questcor raised the price of its obscure treatment from $50 to $28,000 per vial -- and was just bought for $5.6 billion.

By MSN Money Partner Apr 7, 2014 3:16PM

Image: Prescription medicine expenses © Don Farrall, Photodisc, Getty ImagesBy Matthew Herper, Forbes


If you're starting a biotechnology company and thinking of developing anything other than a super-high-priced medicine for a niche market, Monday morning's news that Questcor Pharmaceuticals (QCOR) is being bought by Dublin-based specialty pharma Mallinckrodt for $5.6 billion may make you reconsider.


Forget new drugs for any common diseases, find an old one that you can justify charging a lot more for.


In December 2012, the New York Times' Andrew Pollack chronicled how Questcor had become an overnight success by raising the price of its product, Acthar Gel, used to treat kids with severe seizures, from $50 per vial to $28,000 per vial at that time. The drug was originally approved in the 1950s. Pollack wrote:

 

The company has called back 75,000 pounds of nuggets amid complaints that the meat was contaminated with bits of plastic.

By InvestorPlace Apr 7, 2014 2:10PM

Tyson Chicken Nuggets
© Paul Sakuma/APBy Christopher Freeburn


Consumers who purchased bags of Tyson Foods (TSN) frozen chicken nuggets at Wal-Mart's (WMT) Sam's Club warehouse stores this winter might be affected by a Tyson chicken recall.


The recall covers 5-pound bags of "Tyson fully cooked white meat chicken nuggets -- 16142-928." The bags have manufacturer's codes on the side, and codes 0264SDL0315 through 0319 as well as 0474SDL0311 through 0134 are covered.


Also under included in the Tyson chicken recall are 20-pound bulk packs of "Spare Time fully cooked nugget-shaped chicken breast pattie fritters w/rib meat -- 16142-861" bearing the same manufacturer codes as above. The 20-pound bags were distributed for institutional use in Arkansas and Indiana.

 
Tags: TSNWMT

The stock tanks 20% after the spin-off of Lands' End, leaving shareholders reeling at the company's reduced value.

By MSN Money Partner Apr 7, 2014 1:53PM
A customer enters a Sears store
© Andy Clark/ReutersBy Tony Owusu, TheStreet

Sears Holdings Corp (SHLD) shares plummeted 19.9 percent to $40.22 in trading on Monday.

The steep drop comes on the first day of trading since Friday night's completion of its pro-rata spin-off of Lands' End from Sears Holdings.


Sears received $500 million in aggregate gross proceeds from the move, while distributing 32 million shares of Lands' End to its common stockholders.

The drop can be attributed to the loss of value from the Lands' End spin-off, which is now trading independently, down 0.4 percent to $31.67 on Monday. 

 
Tags: SHLD

This once-booming sector has been underperforming, and Berkshire Hathaway's interest could signal that it's finally coming back to life.

By MSN Money Partner Apr 7, 2014 1:29PM
Credit: © Nati Harnik/AP

Caption: Warren BuffettBy Bryan Borzykowski, CNBC

Last June, Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) surprised a number of investors by sinking more than $500 million into Suncor Energy (SU), one of Canada's largest oil-and-gas companies.


To Americans, it may have seemed like just another one of the Oracle's undervalued plays, but it got a lot of long-suffering Canadian energy-fund managers excited. This once-booming sector has been underperforming over the last few years, and Berkshire Hathaway's bet could be a signal that it's finally coming back to life.


Since 2009, U.S. oil-and-gas producers have dramatically outperformed Canadian ones. The S&P Oil & Gas Exploration and Production Select Index ($SPSIOP) is up about 150 percent over the last five years versus 30 percent for Canada's S&P Capped Energy Index

 

The company is spinning off Lands End and other key parts to benefit shareholders as performance slips. The CEO's hedge fund has a 48% stake.

By MSN Money Partner Apr 7, 2014 12:56PM
Sears store in Brooklyn, NY
© Mario Tama/Getty ImagesBy Suzanne Kapner, The Wall Street Journal

Chief Executive Edward Lampert is carving out some of the best pieces of Sears Holdings (SHLD) for its shareholders, moves that could leave bondholders at risk if its remaining businesses continue to deteriorate.


The latest step in that pattern was Sears' spinoff of Lands' End, one of the crumbling holding company's few bright spots. Shares in the preppy clothing maker were distributed to existing Sears shareholders on Friday. Lands' End had net income of $79 million in the most recent year, compared with a loss of $1.4 billion for Sears Holdings.


All told, in the past 27 months Lampert, whose hedge fund owns nearly half of Sears' stock, has distributed to shareholders -- through various means -- assets and divisions valued at roughly $2.3 billion.

 
Tags: SHLD

A motorcycle unlike any in the company's recent history began coming off the assembly line this year. Here's what it means for the company.

By MSN Money Partner Apr 7, 2014 12:49PM
Credit: © Andy Mahr/Harley-Davidson Motor Company/AP

Caption: Harley-Davidson’s new Street 750 modelBy James B. Kelleher, Reuters

To catch a glimpse of Harley-Davidson's (HOG) history, visit its Milwaukee headquarters, housed in the 111-year-old company's first real factory. Or tour its York, Penn., plant, which has cranked out motorcycles since the early 1970s and builds some of its biggest cruising bikes, including the Road King and Electra Glide.


But for a look at the company's future, head for its vehicle and power-train plant in Kansas City. Opened in 1998, the 435,000-square-foot factory produces several of Harley's most popular bikes, including the Sportster and V-Rod.


Earlier this year, a motorcycle unlike any Harley has made in decades began coming off the line. Known as the Street (pictured), it is the company's first entirely new bike in more than a decade and the first U.S.-built small bike bearing the Harley name in nearly 50 years. 

 
Tags: HOG

Companies will begin to report first quarter earnings this week. Here's a look at what to expect from some of the prominent reports.

By Benzinga Apr 7, 2014 11:20AM

File photo of a sign at a JPMorgan Chase building in New York © Justine Lane/EPABy Nelson Hem


This week brings the first-quarter report from Alcoa (AA), the traditional kickoff of a new earnings season. Benzinga on MSN Money


But its relevance may be diminishing, now that the company is no longer part of the Dow Jones Industrial Average.


With the end-of-the-week earnings reports from J.P. Morgan (JPM) and Wells Fargo (WFC), the new season really gets started. Below is a quick look at what analysts expect from these and the other most prominent quarterly reports due out this week.

 

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[BRIEFING.COM] As expected, the major averages began the day on an upbeat note. The Nasdaq trades higher by 0.8%, while the S&P 500 sports an early advance of 0.6% with all ten sectors showing gains.

The energy sector (+0.9%) is an early leader as the group carries yesterday's strength into today's session. Crude oil, meanwhile, is higher by 0.8% at $104.58/bbl. Outside of energy, consumer discretionary (+0.8%) and technology (+0.8%) are also among the early leaders, while telecom ... More


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