Get ready for a flood of IPOs
Flood of IPOs land this week

If everything goes as planned, this week will be the busiest for initial public offerings since 2000.

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Health Net is upgraded to 'buy' at Goldman, and Hasbro is downgraded to 'underperform' at BMO Capital.

By MSN Money Partner May 4, 2012 11:00AM
Information provided by Theflyonthewall.com

Friday's noteworthy upgrades include:  
  • Allstate (ALL) upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Barclays
  • Health Net (HNT) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Goldman
  • SunPower (SPWR) upgraded to Hold from Sell at ThinkEquity
  • Whole Foods (WFM) upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at JPMorgan
  • Weight Watchers (WTW) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Auriga
 

But which credit card stock looks better going forward?

By InvestorPlace May 4, 2012 10:36AM

By Charles Sizemore

 

Credit card rivals MasterCard (MA) and Visa (V) released earnings this week, and both knocked the ball out of the park.

 

We'll start with MasterCard. This smaller of the two rivals enjoyed earnings growth of 25% in the first quarter and a 17% increase in worldwide purchase volumes. Not to be outdone, Visa announced a 30% rise in earnings per share on an 11% rise in payments volume.

 

The Oracle of Omaha also says the hype does not signal a tech bubble.

By MSN Money Partner May 4, 2012 10:21AM
Warren Buffett, the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A, BRK.B), won't invest in Facebook, but he does understand the excitement surrounding its coming initial public offering.

Despite the hype, he doesn't think we're in a bubble similar to the dot-com craze of the late 1990s early 2000s. Listen to what he has to say: 

The hedge-fund star who blew up Herbalife shares with a few innocent questions on Tuesday owes some answers of his own.

By MoneyShow.com May 4, 2012 10:02AM

By Igor Greenwald, MoneyShow.com

 

I bought some Herbalife (HLF) call options Tuesday. I write this up front so that you won't mistake me for a disinterested observer. And also so you won't misinterpret the rest as advice to buy Herbalife, sell Herbalife, or use its diet pills as suppositories.

 

In making this disclosure, I've already been infinitely more forthcoming than noted hedge-fund manager and short-seller David Einhorn. Einhorn's surprise cameo on the Herbalife earnings conference call set the stock back 20%, or $543 million in market cap lost for each of his three leading questions. The stock lost a record 34% of its value in three days, as of Thursday's close.

 

OK, so you don't have to aim for millions. But time and a little savvy can really pay off as your child grows. Here are 8 expert picks and some tips on where to begin.

By Kim Peterson May 4, 2012 9:32AM
Credit: Kim PetersonForrest Gump hit the jackpot when a friend invested his money in "some kind of fruit company" -- also known as Apple (AAPL). The stock went public at a split-adjusted price of $2.75 and is now worth nearly $600.

Wouldn't it be great to give a newborn the same stock market bonanza? If only.

In today's volatile markets, perhaps the most we can do is invest some cash in a reliable, well-priced stock and hope it goes somewhere.

The right choice might turn into a college tuition in a couple of decades. Or a down payment. We just have to figure out what to pick. 

This high-flyer -- up 30-fold over the past decade -- still offers long-term value.

By TheStockAdvisors May 4, 2012 9:16AM

By Jack Adamo, Insiders Plus

I've been enthusiastic about Chile ever since I started looking into it a few months ago. It has had some of the most consistent growth in the world over the last decade and its government has the highest rating for honesty of any government in South America.

Our latest recommendation, LAN Airlines S.A. (LFL), serves 76 destinations connecting Latin America to North America, Europe, and the South Pacific, as well as 93 additional international destinations through various code share agreements. It has strategic alliances with American Airlines, Iberia, and Qantas.

 
Tags: LFLtravel

The energy company tops expectations. The social network rallies 10% on bullish guidance and an acquisition.

By TheStreet Staff May 4, 2012 8:33AM

By Joseph Woelfel and Alexandra Zendrian

 

Duke Energy (DUK) reported first-quarter earnings Friday of $295 million, or 22 cents a share, down from year-earlier earnings of $511 million, or 38 cents. Adjusted earnings for the latest quarter were 38 cents a share. Analysts expected a profit of 36 cents a share on revenue of $3.62 billion.

 

LinkedIn (LNKD), the business social network, topped Wall Street's expectations for its first quarter. The company also gave a bullish forecast for the current quarter and said it has agreed to acquire privately held SlideShare, a service that allows professionals to share presentations, for $118.75 million in cash and stock.

 

Right now, it's because that's what the company says it's worth. But investors will have their say.

By Charley Blaine May 3, 2012 11:14PM
Updated: 9:17 a.m. ET, Friday

There was a lot of excitement Thursday afternoon when social-networking site Facebook said it might price its shares from $28 to $35 -- or as much as $11.81 billion -- when it goes public. It could mean Facebook is worth between $59.9 billion and $96 billion. The initial public offering price is expected to be set May 17, with trading set to start on May 18.

The next question is whether $28 to $35 makes sense. This is a judgment call that can be made only by the buyers of the IPO and investors once trading starts. Right now, the assumptions that would make those numbers possible suggest a pricey stock.  

While everyone giggles with glee now that Apple is throwing off a dividend, this company has been doing the same thing for almost a decade, and is well-positioned for decades to come.

By MoneyShow.com May 3, 2012 7:45PM

By Charles Carlson, DRIP Investor


While Apple's (AAPL) announcement that it is initiating a dividend has garnered a lot of attention, one tech stock that has been ahead of the curve in terms of giving its shareholders dividends is Qualcomm (QCOM).


The company has been paying a quarterly dividend since 2003. Reflecting strong operating performance, the company recently boosted its dividend 16% to a quarterly rate of 25 cents per share.

 

The retail giant is dumping Kindle products in the latest round of an increasingly bitter battle between the online retailer and brick-and-mortar stores.

By TheWeek.com May 3, 2012 6:11PM
Image: Target © Bloomberg/Getty ImagesTarget (TGT) announced this week it would stop selling Amazon's (AMZN) Kindle devices, which include the Kindle e-reader, the Kindle Fire tablet computer, and all the Kindle's accompanying accessories.

Target is reportedly dropping the Kindle over a cryptic "conflict of interest," but the big-box retailer will continue to carry Barnes & Noble's (BKS) Nook e-reader and Apple's (AAPL) iPad. The seemingly aggressive move has fueled speculation that Target is targeting Amazon, which has emerged as an existential threat to physical retailers.

Is Target at war with Amazon? 

Wall Street makes a 180-degree turn as a scary reversal pattern reasserts itself.

By Anthony Mirhaydari May 3, 2012 4:24PM

Well, that didn't last long. The dollar-driven rebound in risky assets that I wrote about in my column this week petered out Thursday as worries about a slowdown in nonmanufacturing services and the ongoing eurozone crisis eclipsed the good feelings seen Tuesday after a stronger-than-expected report on manufacturing activity. People are also increasingly concerned about the Greek and French elections Sunday.

 

Copper, crude oil, gold. They're all moving lower as the U.S. dollar bounces higher against the euro. It seems the twisted logic of interpreting bad news as good (since it increases the odds of additional easing by the Federal Reserve at its June policy meeting) has faded. Now traders are just looking at bad news as bad. And once again, they're seeking the safety of the U.S. dollar.

 

All of this has put a very scary chart pattern back into play -- a pattern that technical analysis suggests would lead to a 5% drop for the NYSE Composite ($NYA) from current levels.

 

The future of the consumer electronics chain seems uncertain after the rapid departures of the CEO and chief marketing officer.

By Benzinga May 3, 2012 4:03PM

By Brett Callwood, Benzinga Staff Writer


The executive exodus at Best Buy (BBY) continued this week with the resignation of its chief marketing officer, Barry Judge. He had perhaps the most thankless job in retail, especially after one of the worst years in the history of the electronics chain.


Spokesman Greg Hitt said that Judge is leaving "to explore the next chapter in his career." He will be succeeded, at least temporarily, by Stephen Gillett, who only joined the company in March to lead the digital and global business. 

We all know a stock market meltdown is a great buying opportunity. But what if the crisis never comes?

By MSNMoney partner May 3, 2012 2:26PM
By Harvey Jones, The Motley Fool

Once you start believing in the apocalypse, it can take over your life. You may just end up on a windswept hillside with a huddle of like-minded souls, staring at your watch, waiting for the end of the world.

When the world doesn't end, you will either feel silly or claim you got your dates wrong.

That doesn't stop people like Robert Prechter. In June 2010, the gloomster pundit predicted the Dow would fall to 1,000. This week it hit a four-year high of 13,326.

 
Tags: GSKRDSVOD

Mergers and acquisitions activity is heating up among big pharma and biotechs.

By Stock Traders Daily May 3, 2012 2:25PM

Image: Dentist working on a computer © Andersen Ross/Brand X Pictures/Getty ImagesAs the economic landscape continues to slowly improve in the U.S., talks of increased mergers and acquisitions activity in the health-care sector have heated up. Big pharma remains on the lookout for ways to strengthen pipelines and M&A has always been a popular option for accomplishing this. 


Here are four companies that could be taken over in 2012:

 

The semiconductor equipment maker didn't give second-quarter earnings guidance. Is that cause for concern?

By Jim J. Jubak May 3, 2012 2:01PM
Analysts upped their target prices for ASML Holding (ASML), Europe's biggest semiconductor equipment maker, after the company reported first-quarter earnings of 68 cents a share (2 cents above consensus projections) on April 18.

Trouble is that the new higher targets are for just $55 a share or so, and with the stock trading Thursday at $49.88, I don't think that's enough of an upside given the uncertainties in equipment orders from ASML's biggest customers in coming quarters. ASML Holding is a member of my Jubak’s Picks 12-18 month portfolio. I'll be selling the shares out of that portfolio Thursday with a 39.4% gain since I added it on April 20, 2010.
 

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[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market began the last week of July on a quiet note with the S&P 500 ending less than a point above its flat line. Like the benchmark index, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (+0.1%) also posted a slim gain, while the Russell 2000 (-0.5%) and Nasdaq Composite (-0.1%) lagged throughout the session.

The major averages were awakened from their weekend slumber with an opening retreat that pressured the S&P 500 below its 20-day moving average (1975). Even though ... More


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