Gold bars & granules © Heinz-Peter Bader/Reuters
Americans prefer gold, real estate

As the market wades through what many people hope is a sixth bull year, some have grown nervous about how long the run can go.


Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke tells Congress that another round of quantitative easing is an option. Here's why it won't happen.

By Anthony Mirhaydari Jul 13, 2011 4:13PM

Markets snapped their eurozone-induced stupor on Wednesday, thanks to dovish comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke in his semiannual testimony to Congress. He told  House members that although short-term policy rates have been near zero since 2008 and the central bank just finished a second $600 billion round of long-term  bond purchases, the Fed could still provide more policy stimulus if needed.


Investors love the idea of more cheap cash coming from the Fed. But here's the thing: It's not coming. Nor is this a bad thing.


Not only did Bernanke couch his remarks by saying a QE3 would happen only if the economy stalls (I'm still looking for a re-acceleration) and if the deflation threat returns (no risk of that now) -- there simply isn't justification for QE3 now. And internally, Fed policymakers are divided on the issue.


The daily deals site tries to expand into bigger-ticket items as it heads to a public offering.

By Kim Peterson Jul 13, 2011 4:00PM
One of the biggest criticisms of Groupon's business model is that it's too easily copied by competitors. And as the company heads to an IPO, it needs to prove those critics wrong.

And so Groupon is taking its business to the next level with bigger-ticket items. This week, it offered its first coupon deal for a car: Pay $199 and get $500 off of a vehicle at a Detroit dealership.

Quite a leap for a company more comfortable with $20 off a $40 Mexican food dinner. Groupon has also recently offered a $500 discount for real-estate closing costs, Reuters reports. And a partnership with Expedia (EXPE) is touting a $1,000 voucher for a Tahiti vacation.

How the Oracle gleans insights about the economy and markets.

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day Jul 13, 2011 2:13PM

By Alex Dumortier, CFA 


"In my whole life, I have known no wise people who didn't read all the time -- none, zero. You'd be amazed at how much Warren reads -- and at how much I read."


That's a Charlie Munger quote (Munger is Warren Buffett's right-hand man at Berkshire Hathaway (BRK). There is little question in my mind that there are few if any activities that can help you improve as a person, and an investor, more than reading. Here are two investor letters that Buffett reads as soon as they are released:


Jamie Dimon's shareholder letter
On Friday, Buffett told Bloomberg that "Jamie Dimon is a fabulous banker and probably writes the best annual report in America. I grab his report when it comes in, and my friends do, too."


Rebekah Brooks steps down as the head of News International, which will apologize for the phone hacking that sparked the furor. In the US, the FBI examines claims that 9/11 victims' phones were hacked.

By TheStreet Staff Jul 13, 2011 1:56PM

Image: Printing press (© James Hardy/Getty Images)By Frank Byrt, TheStreet


Updated at 8:50 a.m. ET, July 15


Rebekah Brooks has resigned as CEO of News International, News Corp.'s (NWSA) U.K. newspaper unit, as the media company battles phone hacking allegations. Brooks will be replaced by Tom Mockridge, the CEO of News Corp.'s Sky Italia operations.

And James Murdoch, who heads international operations for the giant media group, said Friday that the newspaper group will apologize to Britain for the phone hacking. While News Corp.'s stock has dropped nearly 8% this week, shares were flat at $15.44 Friday.

Brooks' resignation follows Thursday's reports that the Federal Bureau of Investigation is looking into claims that News Corp. might have tried to hack into phones belonging to victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.


Former CEO Ken Lewis' decision to buy Countrywide in 2008 has been bleeding the nation's largest bank -- and its investors -- ever since.

By TheStreet Staff Jul 13, 2011 1:51PM

By Philip van Doorn, TheStreet


Reports that New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman may challenge the recent $8.5 billion settlement by Bank of America (BAC) for bad mortgage securities inherited from Countrywide Financial underscore what a disaster the 2008 acquisition has been for the nation's largest bank.


Under the reign of its acquisitive former CEO Ken Lewis, Bank of America completed its acquisition of Countrywide in July 2008 in an exchange of shares valued at $4.2 billion, although the real cost of the deal at that time included the cancellation of $2 billion Countrywide preferred shares, purchased by Bank of America in August 2007.


When the acquisition was completed, Countrywide's mortgages were written down to fair value by $9.8 billion, and its mortgage servicing rights were written down by $1.5 billion. But those write-downs didn't address the bleeding that Bank of America would suffer from a seemingly endless array of mortgage repurchase demands from investors.


Even as the media giant battles phone hacking allegations, the company has a strong film and television business -- and a ton of cash.

By Jim Cramer Jul 13, 2011 1:27PM

the streetjim cramer

What do you do when a major scandal affects a major move by a major company?


Or, to put it bluntly, do the charges against journalists at News Corp. (NWSA) affect a small enough part of its empire to change the perception of a family-run but public company?


I know I am riveted by where this scandal stops and whether the company dropped its bid for BSkyB because of future revelations. I am riveted by the idea that Joel Klein, one of the most ethically rigorous men I have ever met, a former Justice Department heavy who works at News Corp., stands up and says, "We are going to tell all here, and then you will see there's not much to it."


It's now more common than Twitter's tweet button on the Web's largest sites.

By Kim Peterson Jul 13, 2011 1:19PM
Another day, another piece of evidence showing the advances Google (GOOG) is making in its social-media efforts.

A study has found that Google's +1 button is now more common than Twitter's tweet button on the home pages of the 10,000 largest sites. In fact, the +1 button is now on 4.4% of those sites' front pages -- a 33% increase from a month ago, according to search-engine optimization company BrightEdge.

Don't get this +1 button confused with the Google+ social service the company is testing publicly. Clicking the +1 button on a website shows that you like it -- similar to Facebook's Like button -- and your opinion shows up when your friends run Google searches. The company says it's a way to collect things you like on the Web. 

Investors favored brewers like Anheuser-Busch for their safety and yields. But the group is technically weak, so shareholders may soon feel like drowning their sorrows.

By Jul 13, 2011 12:29PM
By Tom Aspray,

As part of my nightly review of the day's market action, I generally review more than 150 charts, which always includes looking for unusual volume patterns. Recently the volume in Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD) was four times larger than normal.

After looking at the chart for BUD, I moved on to the chart for the S&P 500 Brewers index, as well as those of all of the large brewers. I wanted to determine whether the action in BUD was an isolated event or part of an industry-wide pattern.

The stocks of beer companies like BUD have recently been touted for their attractive dividends, with industry leader Companhia de Bebidas das Americas (ABV), better known as Ambev, a Brazilian brewery giant, yielding more than 4%. Though the chart of ABV looks the strongest of the group, the other major beer company stocks look vulnerable to at least a 5% decline. That would make those yields much less attractive.

This fund's strength lies in its diversified portfolio, which could help investors weather potentially disappointing results from banks.

By TheStreet Staff Jul 13, 2011 11:05AM

By Don Dion, TheStreet


While it can be an exciting time for stock pickers, earnings season is also an alluring period for those with a focus on ETFs. Many of the top components of popular indexes will report their earnings and provide outlooks in coming weeks.


On Monday, Alcoa (AA) kicked things off, reporting that its profit more than doubled during the most recent three-month period. While its numbers set a positive tone, investors must continue to exercise caution under current market conditions.


Next up will be Wall Street giants JPMorgan (JPM) and Citigroup (C). As investors have witnessed throughout the opening half of 2011, the markets have not been kind to the financial industry.


Coinstar stands to benefit as Netflix raises subscription rates, an analyst says.

By TheStreet Staff Jul 13, 2011 10:54AM

Image: Movies (© Comstock/SuperStock)By Jeanine Poggi, TheStreet


Coinstar's (CSTR) Redbox DVD kiosks could turn out to be the big winner from Netflix's (NFLX) subscription rate hike.


On Tuesday, Netflix announced that it is separating its DVD and streaming subscriptions, charging $16 per month for access to both forms of content. This is a 60% increase from the prior rate of $9.99 per month. Users can gain access to each individual subscription for $7.99 per month.


While Wall Street has been praising the move from Netflix, customers are enraged, with many claiming they will cancel their memberships completely as a result.


This could benefit Coinstar, which has been trying to ramp up its offerings to better compete with Netflix.


Staffing services and for-profit education stand to gain in this difficult job market.

By InvestorPlace Jul 13, 2011 9:48AM
Image: Construction workers (© image100/Corbis)By Jamie Dlugosch,

June's job numbers were a big disappointment to Americans hoping for a respite from high unemployment. While some expected or hoped for the creation of 100,000 to 200,000 jobs, the economy delivered a putrid 18,000.

This week it was reported that tech giant Cisco (CSCO) could cut as many as 10,000 workers, showing that things aren't getting any better. The sad reality is that the unemployment rate will stay at 9% or higher for some time.

So where do investors turn in these times? Here are three picks to consider:


Peabody Energy and ArcelorMittal are joining forces to make a bid for an Australian coal producer.

By Jim J. Jubak Jul 12, 2011 10:17PM
Jim JubakThe big boys are back.

A little more than a year after MacArthur Coal (MACDY) rejected a A$15.00 a share bid from Peabody Energy (BTU), and three years after the company ended acquisition talks with ArcelorMittal (MT), the biggest U.S. coal company and the world’s largest steelmaker have teamed up on a A$15.50 bid for the Australian coal producer.

Thanks to a stronger Australian dollar, this year’s bid is worth about US$16.59 a share, compared to the May 2010 bid's value of US$13.47. That’s 23% higher.

The price was about 40% above the stock's closing price on the Sydney market yesterday, before the bid was announced. Shares were up a little more than 27% in New York trading. Today, the Sydney shares are playing catch
up and have climbed 37%.

The company's newest social-networking service is gaining users at such a clip that some observers are now talking 100 million.

By Kim Peterson Jul 12, 2011 3:15PM
It seems hardly possible that Google's (GOOG) newest attempt to kill Facebook, called Google+, has already hit 10 million users.

But that's what one fairly credible source is saying. If that's true, then Google+ is quickly turning from a Web oddity into something that could truly give Facebook a run for its money.

Paul Allen, the founder of, says in a blog post that the number of Google+ users hit 7.3 million on July 10 and 9.5 million on July 11. With that rate of growth, it's easy to assume that the service will hit 10 million on Tuesday and perhaps 20 million by the weekend. (He explains his methodology here.) 

Rattled investors, worried about Europe and the U.S. debt ceiling, turn back to precious metals.

By Anthony Mirhaydari Jul 12, 2011 3:05PM

Stocks snapped their recent uptrend in a big way this week on another bout of panic selling. The eurozone debt crisis -- which seemed ready to cool after Greek politicians approved a tough new austerity package late last month-- is once again at full boil. As a result, people sold early and sold often.


Significant price damage was done as stocks dropped away from what looks to be a potential triple-top pattern on the Nasdaq 100 or a head-and-shoulders reversal pattern on the S&P 500 and NYSE Composite indices. No matter what index you prefer, or which technical pattern you're looking at, the message was clear: The bears were dug in at a key level, and the bulls failed to break through.


Now, the counterattack is on. The average investor, which watched stocks get whacked over the last few months and Treasury bonds get whacked over the last few weeks, are stampeding into the last safe haven: Gold and silver.


The company will now offer a DVD-only plan with no streaming video access. It didn't anticipate that demand, it says.

By Kim Peterson Jul 12, 2011 2:27PM
Netflix (NFLX) customers will now have to pay at least $16 a month to get DVDs by mail plus streaming video -- up from the previous minimum of $10.

The company announced Tuesday what amounts to a price increase for customers who want unlimited streaming plus one by-mail DVD rental at a time. Previously, it cost $10 a month for that plan.

Now, Netflix is splitting that plan into two parts: Unlimited streaming for $8 a month, and unlimited DVDs (one at a time by mail) for $8 a month. You can subscribe to both, but you'll have to pay $16 a month with no bundling discount. Netflix shares were up more than 1% Tuesday to $295.55 in midday trading.

The following video news report has more details. Post continues after video: 


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[BRIEFING.COM] Equity indices strung together a daylong rally on Tuesday, giving the S&P 500 its sixth consecutive advance. Some selling during the final hour of action pressured the indices from their highs, but they still ended with the bulk of their gains. The benchmark index added 0.4% with eight sectors finishing in the green, while the Nasdaq (+1.0%) outperformed throughout the session.

Although the stock market began the day on a flat note, the major averages quickly took the ... More


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