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Think weakness in the category will help stocks? Not in this bizarre economic reality.

By InvestorPlace Sep 10, 2014 5:40PM

Credit: © Jin Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Caption: Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, on Wednesday, July 30, 2014By Anthony Mirhaydari


Stocks pushed higher on Wall Street on Wednesday as a rebound in Apple (AAPL), after the initial disappointment with Tuesday's iPhone 6/Apple Watch unveiling, was largely reversed with some very orderly, machine-like buying in the tech giant.


Also helping the bulls was a "No" majority in another one of those Scottish independence polls that has the Europeans suffering a cold sweat.


Overall, the Dow Jones Industrial Average ($INDU) gained 0.3 percent after testing below the 17,000 level for the first time since mid-August and threatening to fall through its two-month trading range. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index ($INX) gained 0.4 percent but was unable to retake the 2,000 level.


Yawn.


It seems like the stock market's summertime doldrums continue.

 

The company is testing a campaign in which people can send vouchers for free Bud Lights online.

By MSN Money Partner Sep 10, 2014 4:48PM
Credit: Gene Puskar/AP Photo
Caption: Aluminum bottles of Bud Light beerBy Joshua Brustein, Businessweek

Anheuser-Busch (BUD) wants you to buy the next round on Facebook (FB). 


The company is testing a campaign whereby people can send vouchers for free Bud Lights to people celebrating birthdays or dispatch Budweisers on any occasion it might be appropriate to send an inexpensive beer to an online acquaintance.


The program is currently available in Denver and Chicago. In those cities, recipients will receive coupons that can be redeemed at participating bars or restaurants. 


Any teenagers who hope this constitutes an opportunity for a free beer will have to set up fake Facebook accounts and then trick bartenders into thinking they're 21.

 

The company's new CEO is making big changes that he hopes will re-energize its fashion, design and baby categories.

By MSN Money Partner Sep 10, 2014 2:23PM
Credit: © Richard Levine/Alamy

Caption: A Target department store sign in New YorkBy Paul Ziobro, The Wall Street Journal

Target's (TGT) new CEO plans to double down on just a handful of departments like baby products and fashion, a strategic shift as the discounter works to bring shoppers back to its stores and better compete with online rivals.

The change comes as the advantage of big-box stores' giant assortments is fading. Internet retailers like Amazon.com (AMZN) offer an almost bottomless range of products, and shoppers are defecting to stores that are easier to navigate.


Just a month into his job, Chief Executive Brian Cornell is seeking to bolster a small number of categories that could help the chain stand out.

 

The blitz of new offerings aims to resolve questions about the company's ability to innovate in the post-Steve Jobs era.

By MSN Money Partner Sep 10, 2014 1:02PM
Credit: © Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Caption: Apple CEO Tim Cook shows off the new iPhone 6 and the Apple Watch during an Apple special event on September 9, 2014 in Cupertino, Calif.By Daisuke Wakabayashi, Greg Bensinger and Alistair Barr, The Wall Street Journal

Apple (AAPL) wasn't the first company to make a smartphone or a tablet computer. But its iPhone and iPad redefined those products, helping to make Apple the most valuable company in the world.

Now, Apple is betting that it again can succeed where others have struggled, by changing the way consumers pay for purchases, how they think about a computing device on their wrists and how much they're willing to pay for a phone.


Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook (pictured) on Tuesday introduced a new payments system for mobile devices, a series of sleekly designed smartwatches and a pair of larger iPhones.

 

No, your router isn't broken. Major Internet companies are intentionally pretending to slow their connections to protest potential changes to net neutrality.

By The Fiscal Times Sep 10, 2014 12:05PM

Image: Man with laptop © Comstock Images/Jupiterimages​By Andrew Lumby, The Fiscal Times


On Wednesday morning, if your early-morning visit to Reddit, or Etsy, or Netflix (NFLX) seems a little slow, don't bother resetting your router or attempt to navigate Comcast's Kafkaesque customer support.


The cause of the issue is probably just Internet Slowdown Day.


Hundreds of sites, ranging from giant news aggregator Reddit, social media hubs like FourSquare and Vine, web streaming giant Netflix and, yes, several large adult-content sites, are intentionally pretending to slow their connections and temporarily hide their content, in a move that is eerily similar to the large-scale Internet blackout that occurred during the SOPA deliberations in 2012.


Other notable sites participating include Fark, Tumblr, Upworthy and Vimeo.

 
Tags: CMCSANFLX

This important sector is once again a short if the government doesn't realize it's playing too big a role in the business of America.

By Jim Cramer Sep 10, 2014 11:58AM

Credit: © George Clerk/Getty Images
Caption: A 'Bank' sign on a building exteriorNew rules for banking? On top of the old ones? With even more capital raised? Are you kidding me?

TheStreet.com logo


That's what we are hearing from the Fed, that a surcharge with fatter cushions is needed to further eliminate too-big-to-fail considerations.

And all I can say is: Would you give these banks a chance to do some lending and stop making them fear you so much?


We don't want to go back to the old days when banks' capital was stretched. But if we want sustained movement in this economy, the big banks have to feel that they can make some mistakes and not have the book thrown at them. I think a preponderance of the loans they are making are to people who don't really need them.


This kind of rule making, while good in principle, says to the banks, "You think you are out of the woods with us, but dream on." To me that means "Don't you dare make a loan that goes bad."

 

As the tech giant shifts focus away from hardware, mobile payment could be one area that drives revenue growth.

By TheStreet.com Staff Sep 10, 2014 11:46AM

Apple CEO Tim Cook talks about Apple Pay at an Apple special event on September 9, 2014 in Cupertino, Calif. © Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesBy Chris Ciaccia, TheStreet


As Apple (AAPL) continues to expand beyond just iDevices, the massive profit and potential behind Apple Pay is one of the keys to the tech giant's revenue growth in the future.


Apple Pay will force retailers to roll out contactless payments, ultimately making customers more comfortable tapping phones to pay for items, said Pascal Caillon, general manager North America of Proxama, a contactless payment solutions company. 

"Apple's foray into NFC (near field communications) is a landmark and will ignite the mobile payments market globally, but especially in the U.S. where adoption has lagged," Caillon said via email. "NFC is THE technology for point of sale payments and aligns with the card scheme work we have been doing for years, but now there is even more impetus for merchants to roll out contactless payments beyond the initial supporting merchants that Apple announced today."

 

Investors weren't too thrilled with the company's lineup of news, and the S&P 500 falls below the key 2,000 level.

By InvestorPlace Sep 9, 2014 6:03PM

Credit: © Scott Eells/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Caption: A trader analyzes stock data on the floor of the New York Stock ExchangeBy Anthony Mirhaydari


Hype met reality on Tuesday, and the results weren't pretty.


Investors weren't impressed with the new product debuts from Apple (AAPL), including the iPhone 6 (in two sizes!) and the Apple Watch (with a scroll knob!). Not even a live performance from U2 could save the day.


As result, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index ($INX) lost 0.7 percent, dropped below the all-important 2,000 level, and suffered its worst two-day selloff since early August. Apple dropped 0.4 a percent after testing its 50-day moving average in a way that hasn't been seen since April.


Moreover, high-yield junk bonds continue their weak streak, with the Barclays High Yield Bond ETF (JNK) down another 0.5 percent to breach its lower Bollinger Band for the first time since July as concerns over rising rates and the end of the Federal Reserve's QE3 bond purchase program next month rattle the fixed-income market.

 

The market began to implode 6 years ago, and even now it is just a shell of its former self.

By MSN Money Partner Sep 9, 2014 4:10PM
An abandoned house in Arcadia, Fla. (© Richard Clapp/Flickr Vision/Getty Images)By John Maxfield, The Motley Fool

This month marks the sixth anniversary of one of the most dramatic episodes in the history of the U.S. economy.


Over the course of three weeks in Sept. 2008, Fannie Mae (FNMA) and Freddie Mac (FMCC) were nationalized, Lehman Brothers filed bankruptcy, Bank of America (BAC) agreed to acquire Merrill Lynch, the Federal Reserve bailed out AIG (AIG) with an $85 billion loan, and the FDIC seized savings-and-loan giant Washington Mutual.


Had the financial crisis been a typical recession, it would have been long forgotten by now. But it wasn't. And, as a result, we're still living with the consequences.


Nowhere is this more apparent than the housing market. Even though soaring home prices have led some to proclaim a new bubble, the evidence is clear that the markets for both new and existing homes remain a fraction of their former selves.

 
Tags: AIGBAC

The stock's dividend is going to trump sales, the CNBC host says, and investors still have faith in CEO Don Thompson.

By MSN Money Partner Sep 9, 2014 1:33PM
Caption: A sign stands outside of a McDonald's restaurant in San Francisco
Credit: © Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesBy Drew Sandholm, CNBC

Though McDonald's (MCD) stock has ticked lower on weak summer sales, shares of the fast food giant could soon hit a bottom, CNBC's Jim Cramer said Tuesday.


"[The] dividend is going to trump sales. This stock is going to find a bottom here," Cramer said on "Squawk on the Street." 


August sales were down roughly 4 percent while its stock currently sports a 3.5 percent dividend yield, he noted.


That juicy dividend yield is not the only reason investors held on to the burger joint's stock either, Cramer said.

 
Tags: MCD

Stocks are unstoppable. If you're a bear, you have to wonder if you're in the Twilight Zone.

By MSN Money Partner Sep 9, 2014 12:59PM
Image: Arrow Up © moodboard/CorbisBy Michael Sincere, MarketWatch

Everyone believes the U.S. stock market has reached a permanently high plateau. Everyone, that is, but the bears.


Last week's Investors Intelligence survey showed bearish sentiment at its lowest since 1987 (13.3 percent). 


In fact, short-sellers have nearly disappeared along with the few remaining bears. In addition, the VIX (VIX) is at historic lows (near 12), which reflects investor complacency.


Put another way, almost no one believes this market will go down.


Ironically, retail investors are not as gung-ho about the market as in the past. Viewership of financial television programs is at 20-year lows, especially in the coveted 25-to-54 age group. It's a sign that even as the market climbs higher, interest in the stock market is falling along with volatility.

 

The new site sells remote-controlled machines ranging in price from $36 to $1,300.

By MSN Money Partner Sep 9, 2014 12:44PM
Credit: © Charles Platiau/Reuters
Caption: A pilot flies a Phantom Drone by DJI company, one of the models featured on the Amazon Drone store homepageBy CNBC.com staff

Music, books, clothes . . . and drones?


Amazon (AMZN) has launched a Drone Store on its website, dedicating a section exclusively to the devices.


The site features dozens of drone brands like DJI and Parrot, as well as tips that encourage buyers to "fly responsibly." 


Prices on the remote-controlled machines, which can be deployed for recreation or picture taking, range from $36 to $1,300.

 
Tags: AMZN

How to make sense of General Mills' purchase of Annie's?

By Jim Cramer Sep 9, 2014 12:41PM

A General Mills Inc. brand cereal box © Scott Eells/Bloomberg via Getty ImagesMy jaw dropped when I saw it. General Mills (GIS) to buy Annie's (BNNY) for $46 a share. Forty-six dollars! An astounding 37 percent premium to the close and a 51 percent premium to the last thirty days.


General Mills, the best-run traditional food company in the packaged goods industry, buying the most challenged -- some would say most poorly run -- independent natural and organic food business in the entire segment.


It's the ultimate comeuppance, some would say even the ultimate embarrassment, because General Mills has about the longest-running history of disciplined capital allocation, while Annie's has pretty much disappointed for multiple quarters. It has had a very sorry execution pretty much for most of its two and a half years of public existence.


TheStreet.com logoYet when the dual releases came out it was all victory lap for John Foraker and his Annie's team. Under the heading "Annie's to be acquired by General Mills for $46 per share in cash," the company's second line of the release after the terms are stated seems downright surreal: "This acquisition will enable Annie's to enter a new phase of growth and success while maximizing value for stock holders." Huh? I though General Mills was buying Annie's. This makes it sound like the other way around.

 

The brand, which is owned by JAB Holdings, may list in London as soon as this month.

By MSN Money Partner Sep 9, 2014 12:36PM
Credit: © Robert Alexander/Getty Images

Caption: Jimmy Choo shoes seen in a clothing store window display in San Francisco, Calif..By Laura Lorenzetti, Fortune

Luxury shoemaker Jimmy Choo, made famous by Sarah Jessica Parker's character in the HBO show Sex and the City, is looking to go public to the tune of about $1 billion.


The brand, which is owned by JAB Holdings, may list an initial public offering as soon as this month in London as demand for high-end shoes grows. Bank of America (BAC) will manage the sale, and HSBC Holdings (HSBC) has also been retained, people familiar with the deal told Bloomberg News.


The IPO comes in the wake of a shake-up in the world of designer shoe-wear. Nine West Footwear Group was spun off of Jones Group after the company was snapped up by private equity firm Sycamore Partners for $2.2 billion in April.

 
Tags: BACHSBC

Looking at stocks through 4 different indicators gives an almost identically bearish view.

By MSN Money Partner Sep 9, 2014 12:28PM
Credit: © Image Source/Corbis
Caption: Bull and Bear MarketsBy Mark Hulbert, MarketWatch

Making the bullish case is getting a lot harder.


Let's say that you want to wriggle out from underneath the bearish conclusions of the cyclically adjusted price-to-earnings ratio (CAPE), which for some time now has been very bearish. Sidestepping that conclusion turns out to be a lot harder than you think.


The CAPE is the version of the traditional P/E ratio that has been championed by Yale University finance professor (and recent Nobel laureate) Robert Shiller. 


Currently, for example, the CAPE stands at 25.69, which is 55 percent higher than its average back to the late 1800s of 16.55 and 61 percent higher than the ratio’s median level of 15.95. In fact, there have been only three times since the 1880s when the CAPE has been higher than where it stands today: 1929, 2000 and 2007 -- all three of which, of course, coincided with major market highs.

 

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[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market began the new trading week on the defensive note with small-cap stocks pacing the retreat. The Russell 2000 (-1.4%) and Nasdaq Composite (-1.1%) displayed relative weakness, while the S&P 500 lost 0.8% with all ten sectors ending in the red.

Global equities began showing some cracks overnight after China's Finance Minister Lou Jiwei poured cold water on hopes for new stimulus measures. Specifically, Mr. Lou said the government has no plans to change ... More


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