Investors are hotly divided over this young tech company, which has a can't-miss concept but has yet to generate real sales.
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The social network's alliance with Spotify will turn up the heat on the Internet radio service.
By Tom Taulli, InvestorPlace.com
Facebook is an entertainment destination, with a massive global audience (the latest count: 750 million users).
While it has had much success allowing people to communicate, it looks like the company is gearing up for the next step: adding premium movies and music. Move over, Rupert Murdoch, and get ready for the next media network.
As should be no surprise, Facebook has big ambitions. Keep in mind that the company recently named Netflix (NFLX) CEO Reed Hasting to its board.
But the company's first move into the media business may be music. Blogger Jeff Rose found that some of the code for the company's new video chat system has hooks to music downloading. Some of the keywords include "MusicDownload" and "vibes."
The automaker has endorsed a bill that would prohibit all US motorists from using handheld phones while driving.
By Ted Reed, TheStreet
Ford is endorsing a proposal by Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D., N.Y.) for national legislation. While most states have imposed limitations on cellphone use by drivers, the federal government has not acted.
"Ford endorses Rep. McCarthy's legislation because it represents a practical, commonsense approach to a national problem," said Pete Lawson, Ford's vice president of government affairs. "Distracted driving is an important issue, and that's why Ford became the first automaker to support proposed legislation banning handheld texting while driving in 2009 and why we are proud to support Rep. McCarthy's legislation that will ban using handheld devices while driving."
One analyst sees hope for the BlackBerry maker if it were to divide into separate businesses for network and devices.
By Scott Moritz, TheStreet
RBC analyst Mike Abramsky is the most recent RIM watcher to call for action. Abramsky, a die-hard RIM supporter, urged the company in a research note Tuesday to split into two businesses: network and devices.
"Acting now may target opportunities and unlock significant shareholder value," Abramsky wrote.
The company's franchising strategy and expansion opportunities will make it a worthwhile investment after it goes public.
By Jake Lynch, TheStreet
Dunkin' Brands (DNKN), the owner of the doughnut-and-coffee chain and ice-cream purveyor Baskin-Robbins, is set to go public. Millions of people in the Northeast can't get enough of Dunkin' Donuts coffee. So how will its stock fare?
First, the basics: The company, co-owned by private-equity investors Bain Capital, Carlyle Group and Thomas Lee, is seeking to sell more than 22 million common shares for between $16 and $18 a share for net proceeds of up to $400 million. Dunkin' amended its S-1, an initial public offering request form to the Securities and Exchange Commission, on Monday. In it, Dunkin' indicated that it would have 126 million total common shares after the share sale.
That translates to a market value of more than $2 billion. Even after the IPO, the private-equity owners will retain more than half of the outstanding stock. Its profit stream is likely to enrich Bain, Carlyle and Lee for years to come.
The US stock correction is now under way, and global markets, gold and the dollar are on the move. Where are the next buying opportunities?
The bond guru will be more transparent, but investors hoping to use his fund as a blueprint will be out of luck.
By Frank Byrt, TheStreet
Followers of bond fund maven Bill Gross of Pimco will be able to get a gander at his trading strategy once the firm launches its first exchange-traded fund later this year. But that doesn't mean investors can replicate Gross' big wins on their own.
That's because of a regulatory wrinkle that will preclude do-it-yourselfers from matching his moves trade for trade, at least for now.
Gross has built a reputation as a brilliant manager of the world's largest mutual fund, the $253 billion Pimco Total Return Fund (PTTAX), which has a five-year average annual return of 8.5%, more than twice that of the S&P 500 Index.
We're better off than we were 3 years ago, though it may not feel like it.
Jeez, these Armageddons seem like a dime a dozen. And that's the real problem: Armageddons aren't sold a dozen by the dime. They are sold very rarely. We should know it -- we lived through one just a couple short years ago.
Here's the problem, though. We have learned the wrong lesson. We have learned that every single crisis is the paramount crisis. That every single woe is the death rattle. That the sky not only falls but falls hard and takes all of us chickens with it.
Here's what we should have learned. You can almost blow up the western financial world. You can almost nationalize every single bank. You can almost destroy capitalism. We almost did. We can scorn Bernanke and Geithner and criticize them for 9% unemployment. But I think we should have and could have had 25% unemployment. I think we could have had a depression.
Italy is the world's third-biggest debtor after the US and Japan. That fact, along with the country's deficit, makes many bondholders nervous.
The upscale grocer appeals to niche consumers who are well on their way to economic revival. Goldman Sachs has added the stock to its list of picks.
As the recession lingers, a grocer nicknamed "Whole Paycheck" shouldn't be doing well. But Whole Foods Market (WFMI) is on fire, with shares up an astonishing 70% in the past year.
And now Goldman Sachs (GS) has added the stock to its Conviction List. Analyst Stephen Grambling thinks sales and profits will come in better than management has forecast for 2011.
Those beats will come in as the chain expands, Grambling says. He set a $76 target on the stock, which is about 18% higher than Monday's price.
So why is Whole Foods doing so well in this time of high unemployment and economic turmoil? The grocer is capitalizing on a growing divide in this country between the well-to-do and the middle- to low-income households. Wal-Mart (WMT) shoppers are still living paycheck to paycheck, struggling to make ends meet and shopping at dollar stores when they can.
Even dollar-store customers are staying away from unnecessary items, and the slowdown in showing in company earnings.
This became evident at Target (TGT) and Wal-Mart (WMT) in the recession as those stores saw customers pass up furniture and sporting goods in favor of basic must-haves like toilet paper and cereal.
Now even dollar stores are seeing the end of the splurge. Sales and profits aren't growing as fast anymore, The Wall Street Journal reports. Shoppers are no longer buying even the cheap toys and home decorative items.
With high gas prices and high unemployment on their minds, shoppers are sticking to food, cleaning supplies and other necessities. Those products have lower margins, and as a result, investors are seeing missed quarterly earnings from Dollar General (DG), Family Dollar Stores (FDO) and Dollar Tree (DLTR).
The search giant's answer to Facebook is gaining users quickly.
By Scott Moritz, TheStreet
Ripples of invites launched during the Google+ field trials have built rapidly expanding waves of sign-ups across the broader online population. In other words, everybody's doing it -- or will be soon.
Blogger Paul Allen estimates the number Google+ users, as of Sunday, has nearly tripled to 4.7 million from 1.7 at the beginning of last week. Allen expects to update his estimate Monday.
But so what? Google has a product that could be as big as Gmail. Does that mean success on any level other than popularity in the blogosphere?
The company is said to be looking for another manufacturer to help build its next tablet.
By James Rogers, TheStreet
Faced with massive demand for its next-generation iPad, Apple (APPL) is looking for an additional contract manufacturer to help build the device, according to the DigiTimes Web site. Taiwan companies Quanta Computer and Pegatron Technology are in the frame, it said.
Citing industry sources in Taiwan, DigiTimes reports that Pegatron stands a better chance of winning the potentially lucrative iPad orders. Previously, Apple used just one manufacturer, Foxconn, to build its iconic tablet, but a recent explosion at the company's plant in Chengdu, China, has sent the gadget maker looking for an additional contractor.
Rumors have also been swirling for some time that Apple is tightening its relationship with Pegatron. Earlier this month, DigiTimes said Apple had ordered Pegatron to begin production of 15 million new iPhones for a September sales launch.
Despite low valuations, Bank of America, Citigroup and JPMorgan are sucker's bets.
Strong quarterly results from JPMorgan and Citigroup could help the SPDR KBW Banks ETF. For Google exposure, consider First Trust Dow Jones Internet Fund.
By Don Dion, TheStreet
Here are five exchange-traded funds to watch this week.
Earnings season kicks off this week with aluminum giant Alcoa (AA) scheduled to announce its quarterly performance and outlook after the bell. A number of companies will follow suit, providing investors with insight into the state of the U.S. and global economic recoveries.
Financials will be of particular interest among earnings watchers during the latter half of the week when JPMorgan (JPM) and Citigroup (C) step up to the plate. These two rank as the first- and second-largest KBE components and together account for 15% of its index.
It's hard to pull the trigger on what appears to be a crowded trade, but these energy stocks are poised for ongoing earnings growth and greater gains.
By Jake Lynch, TheStreet
Chevron (CVX) and larger rival Exxon Mobil (XOM) delivered record profits in 2008, following crude's meteoric rise to $147 a barrel. We may be in the midst of another energy bull market as oil has retained a foothold above $90 and is enjoying support amid improving global demand fundamentals.
Chevron is scheduled to report second-quarter results Tuesday. The company's stock has advanced 15% in 2011 and 50% in the past 12 months as the commodities boom widened the company's profit margins, bolstering net income. Chevron's first-quarter pre-tax margin, at nearly 20%, ranked in the 73rd industry percentile. Return on equity, the critical measure of profitability for stockholders, was outstanding, at 20%.
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[BRIEFING.COM] The major averages ended higher across the board as the S&P 500 advanced 0.8%.
Equities climbed steadily since the opening bell as investors prepared for tomorrow's policy decision from the Federal Reserve. Although chatter in recent weeks has included speculation the Fed would look to taper its asset purchases, today's broad gains suggest investors expect mostly reassuring words from Chairman Bernanke at tomorrow's press conference.
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