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Forget facts. It's all the rage to be a doom-monger.

By MSN Money Partner Aug 12, 2014 2:59PM
Image: Stock market © Digital Vision/SuperStockBy Jeff Reeves, MarketWatch

Anyone who follows the stock market today knows we are doomed.

Sure, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index ($INX) is up 180 percent from the March 2009 lows. And, yes, unemployment is the lowest since late 2008.

But those statistics matter only if you're looking at the facts and worried about being "objective." I mean, who's interested in what economists, government agencies and famous investors think, anyway?

What's much more compelling is when you see the latest headlines on cable news, then extrapolate a narrative based on your own observations of fear, greed and corruption. That's what we seem to have today.

As a result, I am not interested taking the word of a trendy non-profit at face value. Nor am I interested in what would have happened to a lazy buy-and-hold strategy over the past few decades.


The chain is set to unveil a concept store that offers artisanal bites. 'The next big thing in indulgence is small,' says an executive.

By MSN Money Partner Aug 12, 2014 2:39PM
Credit: Courtesy of Cinnabon
Caption: What to expect at the Bon Bake Shop by CinnabonBy Diane Brady, Businessweek

Imagine a Cinnabon smothered with cream cheese icing, set amid rows of clones in a flashy food court. Now shrink it to one-tenth the size and switch to Oreo frosting or a Caramel Macchiato spread. 

Then go to the opposite end of the mall, and serve it like an artisanal bon bon in a stand-alone shop that looks nothing like its fast-food parent.

Welcome to Bon Bake Shop by Cinnabon, a new chain that the cinnamon roll giant will test in mid-September at Houston's Willowbrook Mall. It's the latest move by a brand that has put its name on vodka, Cream of Wheat, and frosting-filled dessert balls at Taco Bell (YUM). 


The rare event is a black eye for the bankers behind Vascular Biogenics' debut. 'We've never seen anything like this happen before,' one market watcher says.

By MSN Money Partner Aug 12, 2014 2:21PM
Credit: © Spain, S.L./age footstock/Alamy

Caption: A centrifuge in a biopharmaceutical labBy Telis Demos, Scott Patterson and Chris Dieterich, The Wall Street Journal

It was the IPO that wasn't: A biotech firm hit the market and traded for six days, only to announce Friday that it wasn't issuing shares after all, thanks to a key investor's failure to follow through on a commitment to buy stock.

That meant all the investors who thought they had bought or sold shares in Vascular Biogenics Ltd. since it began trading hadn't.

The highly unusual cancellation of a deal days after the shares began trading is a black eye for lead underwriters Deutsche Bank AG (DB) and Wells Fargo (WFC) and an unwanted headache for any buyer or seller of the stock. It also is a major setback for the money-losing biotechnology company, which had planned to use the proceeds of the $65 million offering to fund drug development.


The stock is up 70% in the last year and isn't slowing down. But remember, this is still a volatile and risky pick.

By InvestorPlace Aug 12, 2014 2:05PM

File photo of a Tesla Model S outside the Tesla factory in Fremont, Calif. (© Paul Sakuma/AP)By Jeff Reeves

Tesla Motors (TSLA) hit a new record close on Monday, settling above $259 a share. That price was topped only by a previous intraday high of $265 set briefly during trading in February. Shares were down less than 1 percent on Tuesday.

When it comes to Tesla stock, it's always hard to put your finger directly on what's making shares move. But it seems like one of the big drivers (pardon the pun) for Tesla's most recent move was an upgrade from Deutsche Bank to "buy" with a price target of $310. That's up from a previous price target of $220.

It's actually kind of amusing, when you think about it, that Deutsche Bank never had a "buy" rating on Tesla stock to begin with. After all, this is one of the hottest stocks on Wall Street, with shares up 70 percent in the last year and about 680 percent since January 2013.


Macy's and other retailers are thriving, in fact, long after some observers predicted they would wither away.

By MSN Money Partner Aug 12, 2014 1:55PM
Credit: © Jin Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Caption: Pedestrians cross the street in front of the Macy's Inc. flagship store in New York, U.S.By Phil Wahba, Fortune

Beating up on department stores is a favorite pastime of retail haters. 

And yet, despite accusations of having a passé business model, dusty stores and an aging customer base, U.S. department stores have staged a comeback in the last two years -- and are arguably more vital than they have been in a long time.

Just look at the Wall Street forecasts for the retailers' comparable sales (sales at stores open at least a year plus e-commerce) reports expected in the next week: Macy's (M) is expected to report a 4 percent jump on Wednesday, while J.C. Penney (JCP) should post a 5.8 percent increase and Nordstrom (JWN) a 3.2 percent rise on Thursday, according to Thomson Reuters data. 


The 2 heavily financed upstarts aim to supplant the taxi industry. It's already a bitter fight.

By MSN Money Partner Aug 12, 2014 12:43PM
Credit: © Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Caption: The Uber Technologies Inc. application and logo are displayed on a smartphoneBy Douglas Macmillan, The Wall Street Journal

Forget Apple (AAPL) versus Google (GOOG). The fiercest battle in the tech capital may well be between two heavily financed upstarts plotting the demise of the taxi industry -- and each other.

Uber Technologies Inc. and Lyft Inc. operate just blocks from each other in San Francisco, yet their bitter war has spilled into dozens of cities where they are racing to provide the default app for summoning a ride within minutes.

The two rivals are undercutting each other's prices, poaching drivers and co-opting innovations, increasingly blurring the lines between the two services.


They are deal-less sectors in a deal-filled world, and that's what's making them suffer.

By Jim Cramer Aug 12, 2014 12:42PM

Atlanta's skyline with Bank of America Plaza and SunTrust Plaza © Danita Delimont/Getty ImagesWhen we talk about mergers and acquisitions, we think they run the gamut of industries. In fact, they don't, and the two areas where we have seen no consolidation are the two areas whose stocks are just acting horrendously at this moment. This makes sense. When there is no consolidation, there's no ability to rationalize and take out costs. Without consolidation, there's way too much competition. Without takeovers, you just can't boost estimates, the lifeblood of all positive stock moves.

Which two industries am I talking about? The banking stocks and the industrials.

I have watched the sickening dribs-and-drabs sell-off in the banking group for what seems like ages now. My Action Alerts Plus charitable trust has watched SunTrust (STI), which reported a terrific quarter, see its shares pretty much give up a few pennies a day, except for the days when it gives up $0.25 or $0.30. It's totally gut-wrenching. I look at the stock of Wells Fargo (WFC) and I wonder what happened to that spike to $53 on that fabulous quarter. KeyCorp (KEY), which was knocking on $15's door, now looks like it can slice through $13.


Money is pouring in now that lending is up. But executives still say rising regulatory costs are hurting their businesses.

By MSN Money Partner Aug 12, 2014 12:04PM
Credit: © Chris Minerva/Getty Images
Caption: A bank sign on a buildingBy Robin Sidel and Saabira Chaudhuri, The Wall Street Journal

Banks are lending to companies and individuals at the fastest pace since the financial crisis, helping propel profits to near-record levels.

U.S. banks posted $40.24 billion in net income during the second quarter, the industry's second-highest profit total in at least 23 years, according to data from research firm SNL Financial. The latest profits are just below the record $40.36 billion recorded in the first quarter of 2013.

The rebound comes even as bank executives say rising costs of regulation are hurting their businesses.


The clothing retailer will announce its second-quarter earnings after the close on Thursday. Brian Sozzi dives into why the company may surprise Wall Street, again.

By TheStreet.com Staff Aug 12, 2014 11:48AM

Customers shop at a J.C. Penney store, in New York © Mark Lennihan/APBy Brian Sozzi, TheStreet

JC Penney (JCP) could positively surprise Wall Street once again when it announces second-quarter earnings and third-quarter guidance on Aug. 14 after the close.

Should it do so, likely soon-to-depart chief executive officer Mike Ullman and his team will gain a good bit of support in the investment community as they strongly telegraphed the quarter and outlook.

There is no hiding that due to inclement weather, the first quarter was disappointing for the nation’s department stores. According to Bloomberg data, four of six department stores with a $2 billion market cap or greater met lowered Wall Street earnings expectations, with Sears (SHLD) and Kohl’s (KSS) falling shy. On average, first-quarter gross profit margins for the department store sector declined 40 basis points year over year, as compiled by Bloomberg, with retailers having rushed to mark down spring merchandise to make way for summer collections. Even Macy’s (M), long viewed as the best operator in the department store sector, notched a 1.6 percent same-store sales decline in the quarter, though reaffirmed its fiscal year earnings per share guidance of $4.40 to $4.50.


The company's stock price drops Monday as investors digest the publication's claims that a merger with Trulia could lead to a cut in value.

By MSN Money Partner Aug 11, 2014 4:42PM
File photo of the Zillow Inc. website (© Scott Eells/Bloomberg via Getty Images)By Myles Udland, Business Insider

Zillow (Z) shares could fall 50 percent, writes Bill Alpert in this week's Barron's cover story

On July 28, Zillow announced a $3.5 billion merger with Trulia (TRLA), its online real estate rival. The deal, which was comprised entirely of stock, sent the shares of both companies soaring, but since then Zillow has stumbled, falling about 12 percent, while Trulia is up 3 percent.

In Monday trading following Barron's story, shares of both companies closed down nearly 3 percent. 

Alpert writes that Zillow bulls have dubbed the combination "Godzulia" on hopes the two sites will grab "a big piece of the $10 billion that realtors spend annually on advertising."


The stock begins a promising bounce, boosted by sales growth in China.

By InvestorPlace Aug 11, 2014 4:24PM

Credit: © Scott Eells/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Caption: Coach Inc. handbags are displayed in New YorkBy Serge Berger, Beat the Bell

Luxury goods designer and producer Coach (COH) reported better-than-expected fiscal fourth-quarter results before the start of trading last Tuesday, which led to a good and technically significant rally in Coach stock.

Shares rallied further last Friday, thus confirming Tuesday's move and putting Coach in a good mood chock full of upside momentum in which active investors can partake.

Specifically, Coach earnings came to 59 cents per share -- and while that was down 66 percent year-over-year, it did top analyst forecasts by 6 cents. Revenues, meanwhile, stood at $1.14 billion, down 7 percent but also ahead of analyst estimates for $1.09 billion.


Tekmira Pharmaceuticals' stock price rose another 15% Monday after gaining more than 45% on Friday.

By MSN Money Partner Aug 11, 2014 4:03PM
Ultrastructural morphology displayed by an Ebola virus virion is revealed in this undated handout colorized transmission electron micrograph
© Umaru Fofana/ReutersBy Myles Udland, Business Insider

The Ebola trade is still intact.

Shares of Tekmira Pharmaceuticals (TKMR) were up another 20 percent on Monday after gaining more than 45 percent on Friday after the FDA loosened a hold on the Ebola treatment in the company's development pipeline. 

After closing on Thursday afternoon at $14.27 per share, Tekmira shares were trading north of $23 on Monday. 

In Thursday evening's press release, Tekmira said, "the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has verbally confirmed they have modified the full clinical hold placed on the TKM-Ebola Investigational New Drug Application (IND) to a partial clinical hold. This action enables the potential use of TKM-Ebola in individuals infected with Ebola virus."


The state has staked most of its economy on energy, and now it's getting eclipsed by brighter oil stars.

By MSN Money Partner Aug 11, 2014 3:46PM
Credit: © Paul Souders/Corbis

Caption: Offshore oil rigs in Cook Inlet, AlaskaBy Cassandra Sweet and Jim Carlton, The Wall Street Journal

Since joining the Alaska oil rush in the early 1980s, Richard Repper has jumped from project to project in the state, with no job more than a three-hour flight from Soldotna, a town about 70 miles south of Anchorage.

But last fall, he began working in North Dakota, more than 2,000 miles away. A construction manager for an oil field services company, the 60-year-old Mr. Repper is finding more opportunity in the Bakken Shale oil fields than on Alaska's North Slope. He returned to his farmhouse here for just two weeks between Halloween and Easter.

"The job keeps getting longer and longer," says his wife Irene. "I didn't know he would be working so much."

The energy boom sweeping North America is producing an unexpected loser: Alaska.


If the alcohol becomes a casualty in the ongoing sanctions war between the countries, the US won't be too upset.

By MSN Money Partner Aug 11, 2014 3:13PM
Credit: © Todd Williamson/AP Photo
Caption: Russian Standard VodkaBy Angela Johnson, MarketWatch

Russian vodka's heyday may be over -- at least in the U.S.

As the United States and Russia wage economic warfare in the form of sanctions, if the flow of Russian vodka entering the U.S. were to decrease to a trickle, it is doubtful that American consumers would even notice.

In 2013, the amount of vodka imported from Russia into the U.S. dropped 70 percent from the prior year, according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the US (DISCUS) based on U.S. government data. Also, none of the top 10 selling vodka brands in the U.S. was from Russia.

"Americans won't lose any sleep over that because there are so many brands that are American," said Victorino Matus, author of the book "Vodka."


Worried by geopolitical turmoil as well as disappointing earnings results, some strategists have soured on these names.

By MSN Money Partner Aug 11, 2014 2:43PM
Credit: © Tim Shaffer/Reuters
Caption: A worker loads a shipment of boxes at an Amazon.com warehouse facilityBy Philip van Doorn, MarketWatch

The benchmark Standard & Poor's 500 Index ($INX) is up 3 percent this year, despite two big declines over the past two weeks.

With the escalating round of sanctions among Russia, the U.S. and Western European countries over the conflict in Ukraine, and President Obama's decision to strike Islamic State extremists in Iraq, there's no shortage of worry for investors. 

But the fact is that the drop in share prices for many companies has been caused by disappointing operating results.

As a result, analysts have cut 2015 earnings per share estimates, adding to companies' woes.

So here are the 10 S&P 500 stocks that have suffered the greatest declines to consensus 2015 estimates, among analysts polled by FactSet, since June 30:



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StockScouter rates stocks from 1 to 10, with 10 being the best, using a system of advanced mathematics to determine a stock's expected risk and return. Ratings are displayed on a bell curve, meaning there will be fewer ratings of 1 and 10 and far more of 4 through 7.

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Top Stocks provides analysis about the most noteworthy stocks in the market each day, combining some of the best content from around the MSN Money site and the rest of the Web.

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[BRIEFING.COM] The major averages have not gone anywhere during the past 30 minutes, but there has been some movement in the semiconductor space. Specifically, Infineon Technologies (IFNNY 11.19, -0.37) has agreed to acquire International Rectifier (IRF 39.19, +12.63) for $40/share. Infineon Technologies is lower by 3.2%, while International Rectifier has spiked 47.5%.

The broader PHLX Semiconductor Index is higher by 0.7%, while the technology sector sits right below its ... More


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