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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.


Donor pays $2.63 million to eat steak with Buffett. Dick Bove calls out Cohan for "hot air" comment. J.C. Penney shares take a wild ride.

By TheStreet Staff Jun 17, 2011 2:39PM

TheStreetBy Gregg Greenberg, TheStreet


Here is this week's roundup of the dumbest actions on Wall Street.


5. Lunch lunacy


What kind of value investor forks over $2.63 million for a steak lunch?


The anonymous bidder who ponied up this outlandish amount to charity will get to dine with the king of all value investors, Berkshire Hathaway's (BRK.B) Warren Buffett.


One of the company's largest stakeholders criticizes management and says he's dumping half of his holdings.

By Kim Peterson Jun 17, 2011 1:35PM
Research In Motion's (RIMM) shares dropped 21% Friday to $27.87. Who could have imagined that this stock would fall below $30?

Not long ago, it seemed the company could do no wrong. Its BlackBerry device was a must-have for business and a status symbol for executives. RIM had the business world in its palm.

But the company and its stock has been on a devastating downward spiral, punctuated by disappointing quarterly earnings like the report we saw Thursday (Charley Blaine has the gory details here).

And now, even some of RIM's top investors are publicly bashing the company. 

Bargain-hunters return after one of the worst sell-offs in decades.

By Anthony Mirhaydari Jun 17, 2011 1:11PM

Investors have suffered a crisis of confidence over the past few weeks as all the negative factors I started discussing in my columns and blogs months ago -- the eurozone crisis, inflationary pressure, high gas prices and Japan's supply-chain problems -- replaced an air of confidence and optimism with fear and  distrust.


As a result, by some measures, stocks fell to their most oversold levels since 1999, as I discussed in my most recent blog post. And then they continued falling.


But now it appears that the turn I've been writing about is finally at hand as the economic fundamentals improve and bargain-hunters enter the fray. You could see this in Friday's report on leading economic indicators, which jumped more than expected, thanks to an increase in the yield curve (the subject of my previous column), consumer expectations and permits for new housing. And you can see it in the way bullish investors have initiated new uptrends in solid companies like United Technologies (UTX) and Kraft (KFT) by bidding shares up and over their 18-day moving averages.


This is just the start.


The consumer-review website is reportedly getting ready to file in August.

By Kim Peterson Jun 17, 2011 1:08PM
Now I've heard everything. The website Angie's List is preparing to file in August for an initial public offering, Bloomberg reports.

The website publishes consumer reviews about plumbers, roofers, mechanics and other service providers and charges users a membership fee. In the Phoenix market, for example, the fee is $39 for one year. The company also gets revenue from advertising.

Perhaps I shouldn't dismiss Angie's List at first glance. Perhaps the company has huge plans that warrant an IPO. We'll know more when it files its paperwork to go public. The company has picked Bank of America (BAC) to lead the IPO, Bloomberg reports.  

What is Pottermore, and what does it mean? Rumors abound of a new venture.

By Kim Peterson Jun 17, 2011 12:27PM
Harry Potter fans are abuzz about a new website,, that hints at a new project from author J.K. Rowling. The website shows two owls on a pink background and links to a YouTube site counting down the days until the June 23 announcement.

What's next for Harry Potter? Rowling's people say it's definitely not a new book. An editor at the Harry Potter news site HPANA got a sneak preview of Pottermore and said it's "breathtaking in scope, detail and sheer beauty."

Check out this video report about the mysterious new site and what it means for Harry Potter fans.

Post continues below: 

Their stocks have held up surprisingly well and could lead the market's next leg higher. These 3 might be worth a nibble.

By Jun 17, 2011 12:23PM
By Tom Aspray,

While concerns over the economy are continuing to grow, there are few signs that they are impacting many of the restaurant stocks. From the May 2 high close on the S&P 500, it has since declined by 6.9% (through Thursday’s close) while the S&P Restaurant index was up 1.7%. That is a differential of 8.6% in just over six weeks.

Many of the individual restaurant stocks have done even better, and typically, those stocks that perform the best during a market correction will lead the market higher once it turns around.

On the other hand, the sectors for which the technical and relative performance analysis is negative have done even worse than the S&P 500.

The technical outlook for the materials sector and the Select Sector SPDR - Materials (XLB) was discussed on May 3 (see “Will the Materials Slump Continue?”), and since the May 2 close, it is down 9.1%, as is the Select Sector SPDR - Energy (XLE). This is 2.2% worse than the S&P 500’s performance over the same time period.

On the first oversold rally in the stock market, the materials and energy sectors may see more short covering, but once the market starts a sustainable new uptrend, groups like the restaurant stocks are likely to do the best.

The critics nuke Duke, and Pandora's out of the box.

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day Jun 17, 2011 11:31AM

By Rick Aristotle Munarriz


Stupidity is contagious. It gets us all from time to time. Even respectable companies can catch it. Let's take a look at five dumb financial events this week that may make your head spin.


1. Underwriters do a little overwriting
Shares of Boingo Wireless (WIFI) surged 32% higher on Monday, after four analysts chimed in with bullish opinions.


Wait a minute. Weren't these the same four analysts that took the Wi-Fi hot-spot operator public at $13.50 just a month ago? Oh, they were.


Despite its profitability and slow yet determined growth, shares of Boingo Wireless were smacked down to $7.65 before Monday's orchestrated CPR session. There's nothing dumb about standing behind the poorly received stock that these four analysts helped take public, but why did Pacific Crest issue a price target of $13?


After some shaky years, the airline appears to be headed in a promising direction.

By TheStreet Staff Jun 17, 2011 11:14AM

Image: Airline (© Christie & Cole/Corbis)By Don Dion, TheStreet


This weekend I'll get to rub elbows with the one and only Warren Buffett when I head to Las Vegas to attend a NetJets-sponsored poker tournament.


So far, 2011 has proved an interesting and controversial year for Berkshire Hathaway's (BRK.A) fractional jet ownership company, and there's a good chance the Oracle of Omaha will use the event to ease tensions and restore customer confidence in the company.


Since Berkshire initially acquired NetJets in 1998, the company has been a tricky investment. As Buffett noted in his 2010 Berkshire letter to shareholders, "Even though NetJets was consistently a runaway winner with customers, our financial results, since its acquisition in 1998, were a failure."


After much hype surrounding some big-name public offerings, Bankrate and others are falling short. Is the 2011 IPO scene flaming out? With video.

By InvestorPlace Jun 17, 2011 11:00AM

By Jeff Reeves, Editor,

Bankrate (RATE) made its big debut on Wall Street on Friday morning, raising about $187.5 million in its IPO. The offering was priced at $15 a share.


But as with other IPOs lately, the initial price didn't hold. In early trading, Bankrate had slumped as low as $14.10 a share.


What makes Bankrate interesting, however, is that unlike other recent offerings, it didn't even get the hoopla of a big bounce right out of the gate. That bodes very ill for upcoming 2011 IPOs that could include Dunkin' Donuts, Groupon and Facebook.


Let's look back at some of the biggest recent offerings to show you what I mean.


No matter the cause of crude's precipitous decline, consumer spending will rebound as the price of gasoline drops.

By Jim Cramer Jun 17, 2011 9:58AM

jim cramerthe streetWe're not seeing the stories yet. The stories that say, "Gasoline has come down so much that people are going out more again." We didn't see them in 2008 either.


But it happened. And judging by the violence of the move down coupled with the charts being horrendous for crude and the soon-to-be-toppled Moammar Ghadafi, you are going to be getting that good feeling real soon. I had thought my $90-a-barrel price target was a stretch when we got to $110, but I am now thinking that looks too high!


It took about three months from oil's outrageous peak to its hideous trough in 2008 before we saw a spending rebound -- and remember, that was during a period of heavy layoffs. You still saw spending go up, principally because the oil "tax" on consumers eased.


A profitable combination of diverse businesses puts DuPont on the path to solid revenue growth.

By Jim J. Jubak Jun 16, 2011 5:37PM
Jim JubakThis isn’t your parents' chemical company anymore.

For example, E I du Pont de Nemours (DD), DuPont to its friends, got 28% of its sales in 2010 from its agriculture and nutrition segment. (That percentage will go up once DuPont integrates its acquisition of Danisco, the world’s second-largest producer of enzymes for biofuels and foods, in 2012.)

Of that, 59% comes from Pioneer Hi-Bred, the world’s largest seed company.

Another big hunk of sales come from what I’d called advanced materials. For example, 10% of sales in 2010 came from electronics, advanced display, and photovoltaic products.

Another 20% of sales fall into the performance materials unit, which produces such things as engineering and industrial polymers. Safety and protection fibers, such as Kevlar, account for 10%.

Starting Friday, renters can get video games in addition to Redbox's traditional movie offerings.

By Kim Peterson Jun 16, 2011 4:23PM
Redbox, owned by Coinstar (CSTR), is beating Netflix (NFLX) to the video-game punch.

Starting Friday, the company will begin renting video games at 21,000 stores across the United States, the Associated Press reports. The games will rent for $1.50 a day. Redbox already charges $1 to $2 to rent DVD movies for a day.

Redbox has been testing video-game rentals since 2009. The move gives the company an advantage over Netflix, which doesn't rent video games. Some of the games available at Redbox will include "Call of Duty: Black Ops" and "LA Noire." 

An analysis of flight records shows some company planes are making lots of trips to resort destinations.

By Kim Peterson Jun 16, 2011 3:02PM
Image: Airline (© Ken Seet/Corbis)I totally understand if a chief executive uses the corporate jet for personal trips once in a while. These people still do company business while in flight, and hey, that's a perk of the job.

But when half of a company jet's hours are devoted to vacations for the top bosses and these guys don't have to pay a dime -- well, that veers quickly into questionable territory.

The Wall Street Journal reviewed the flight records of dozens of corporate jets over a four-year period, and found that sometimes, more than 50% of their trips were to or from resort destinations -- usually locations where executives owned homes.

Companies are supposed to disclose all that travel time to shareholders, but they don't. Take the case of computer-storage company EMC (EMC), which has five company jets.  

In what world does it become more relevant in 3 years than it is now?

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day Jun 16, 2011 2:43PM

By Rick Aristotle Munarriz


Shares of Best Buy (BBY) rose nearly 5% Tuesday after the consumer electronics retailer posted better-than-expected quarterly results. The company is pretty popular around Fooldom. Several of our newsletter services like it. Fellow Fool Alyce Lomax feels that "value-minded investors should give the electronics retailer props" after the report.


I have to respectfully disagree. Best Buy may not be the second coming -- and going -- of Circuit City, but the chain has nonetheless peaked.


Let's go over the reasons I think buyers are running into a burning building.


On the 100th anniversary of IBM, we look at young names that experts say have the staying power to endure the next century.

By TheStreet Staff Jun 16, 2011 2:40PM

Image: Solar energy (© Mick Roessler/Corbis)By Olivia Oran, TheStreet


With one of the world's best track records when it comes to the ability to remake itself time and time again, IBM (IBM) celebrates its centennial on Thursday, joining a list of iconic American stocks like Colgate (CL), John Deere (DE) and Tiffany & Co. (TIF) that have all out-gunned countless competitors and economic cycles to reach 100 years of age.


Though this type of lasting power inevitably has, at times, colored IBM as stodgy, slow-growing and unexciting -- especially in a sector where many investors crave a continuous stream of new consumer gadgets -- Big Blue has repeatedly reconquered tech with its own world-changing brand of innovation.


So who in tech is in for the next 100 years?


Obvious answers from our sources include Apple (AAPL) -- whose ability to innovate in consumer electronics is viewed as virtually untouchable -- and Google (GOOG), thanks to its significant investment in efficient data centers and sustainability (not, as you might think, its core search business).



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[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market finished the Wednesday session on a modestly lower note, but it is worth mentioning today's retreat took place after six consecutive gains. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (-0.1%) and S&P 500 (-0.2%) settled not far below their flat lines, while the Nasdaq Composite (-0.8%) lagged throughout the session.

Equity indices started the day in the red, with the Nasdaq showing early weakness as large cap tech names and biotechnology weighed. The technology ... More


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