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Up next: Biggest bank IPO ever

It's no Alibaba, but the Citizens Financial Group offering is important to the market.


But the real party begins next week when the Federal Reserve issues an important policy statement.

By InvestorPlace Sep 11, 2014 7:15PM

Credit: © Lucas Jackson/Reuters

Caption: A trader points to a stock chart on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shortly before the closing bell in New York July 2, 2014By Anthony Mirhaydari

Stocks finished mixed on Thursday, with the Standard & Poor's 500 Index ($INX) finishing its third day below the 2000 level. Since shares rallied out of the early August low, things have been quiet.

Too quiet.

For the last four weeks, the Dow Jones Industrial Average ($INDU) has been contained in a 161-point range with multiple tests of support at 17,000.

Thursday was the second intraday breach of that critical level -- a possible sign of weakening market support. That's corroborated by narrowing measures of internal breadth I've been seeing as fewer and fewer stocks participate to the upside.

However, that's all set to change over the next week, starting on Friday.


Can't get a piece of the hottest offering of the year? Try buying the right calls in one of its largest stakeholders.

By MSN Money Partner Sep 11, 2014 4:10PM
Credit: © Hong Wu/Getty Images
Caption: The Alibaba Group headquarters in Hangzhou, ChinaBy Steven M. Sears, Barron's

For the average investor, getting a piece of Alibaba's initial public offering is as likely as winning the lottery.

The underwriters of the Chinese e-commerce giant's IPO will allocate shares to institutional customers who generate significant fees. 

Those customers are apt to sell for a quick profit in the aftermarket where less well-heeled investors, seduced by Wall Street's get-rich-quick marketing machine, will buy Alibaba's stock at price-earnings multiples that might give angina to disciplined investors like Warren Buffett.

But investors who want to profit from the biggest U.S. IPO in history and what will almost certainly be one of the hottest deals of the year can consider a backdoor options trade.

Tags: YHOO

Tech stocks have fallen so far at the start of the new millennium, it was difficult to imagine that the index could ever make up what it lost.

By MSN Money Partner Sep 11, 2014 3:50PM
Image: Dollar sign on keyboard © Corbis​By Philip van Doorn, MarketWatch

The Nasdaq Composite Index ($COMPX) has outperformed the record-setting  Standard & Poor's 500 Index ($INX) of the largest U.S. stocks this year. 

And it's climbing back to its record high set in March 2000, when the dot-com bubble burst.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq had fallen so far at the start of the new millennium, it was difficult to imagine that it would ever make up what it lost. But as MarketWatch's Howard Gold discusses today, the Nasdaq Composite is close to completing an extraordinary recovery.

The index comprises about 2,500 stocks, much fewer than there were in the late 1990s, and has become less beholden to the tech industry. Such shares now make up 44 percent of the total, down from 57 percent at the end of 2009. Sorry to say that Apple (AAPL) isn't among the best bets this year, even though a tour de force product rollout impressed investors.


The country has spurned traditional shopping -- big-box retailers especially -- in favor of online purchases from the company. It's huge, and only getting bigger.

By MSN Money Partner Sep 11, 2014 2:55PM
Credit: © Brent Lewin/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Caption: Taobao, a website of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., is displayed on a computer tabletBy Scott Cendrowski, Fortune

Alibaba started dominating in China, simply enough, by connecting big Chinese manufacturers with big buyers across the world. 

Its business-to-business site,, went public in 2007 (before going private again seven years later) to great fanfare. The site allowed business to buy everything from Chinese-made mopeds to blue jeans in bulk.

Alibaba's advantage wasn't hard to discern, and it remains the reason the Chinese tech giant's IPO has been mentioned on every news site and TV broadcast for the past week: size.


A fast-food restaurant is not an obvious fit for a brunch gathering. Some speculate the move could signal expanded breakfast hours.

By MSN Money Partner Sep 11, 2014 2:23PM
Caption: A sign stands outside of a McDonald's restaurant in San Francisco
Credit: © Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesBy Venessa Wong, Businessweek

McDonald's (MCD) might want to put Egg McMuffins into the national brunch discussion. 

The burger giant has applied to trademark "McBrunch," signaling yet another possible approach to boost its late-morning business on the weekends.

Breakfast is the quickest-growing time of day for fast-food sales, and McDonald's has been fighting to keep its lead against an increasingly crowded field of morning competitors. 

More robust food offerings from Starbucks (SBUX) now vie with a new morning menu at Taco Bell and better coffee from Chick-fil-A on the breakfast battlefield.


The commodity is nominated in US dollars, and the dollar is getting stronger.

By MSN Money Partner Sep 11, 2014 2:04PM
Image: Baker © Blend Images/SuperStockBy Lee Brodie, CNBC

There seems to be every reason for oil to rally. Why is it down? And should you pare down on your energy holdings?

Always an advocate for understanding the environment before you make any big decisions, Jim Cramer believes it's critical for anyone holding energy stocks to get a handle on oil, and why the price is in decline, especially when there would seem every reason for it to go higher.

Common sense would suggest the ongoing tensions in Russia, as well as the threat of an Ebola epidemic in Nigeria and the horrific terrorism in Iraq, would all send oil higher, if for no other reason than they threaten supply.

Tags: RDS

Banks are on board, but merchants are still wary of paying for the technology.

By MSN Money Partner Sep 11, 2014 1:55PM
Credit: © Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Caption: Apple CEO Tim Cook talks about Apple Pay at an Apple special event on September 9, 2014 in Cupertino, Calif.By Daisuke Wakabayashi and Greg Bensinger, The Wall Street Journal

Apple (AAPL) has lined up an impressive list of banks and credit-card issuers to support its new mobile-payment service. Now all it needs is more merchants, and customers.

Apple hopes its service, Apple Pay, will prompt shoppers to ditch their wallet and make purchases with an iPhone. The system relies on a technology known as near-field communication, or NFC, that has had trouble winning acceptance from merchants.

Merchants must install a reader at their checkout line for so-called tap-and-go payments. NFC readers are being used by fewer than 10 percent of merchants, according to Gartner analyst Mark Hung.


The songs are showing up in some user libraries as purchased, with or without their approval.

By MSN Money Partner Sep 11, 2014 1:22PM
Credit: © Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP Images
Caption: Apple CEO Tim Cook, left, smiles next to U2 members, The Edge, Bono, and Larry Mullen Jr. during an announcement of new products on Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014, in Cupertino, Calif.By James Cook, Business Insider

While Bono and Tim Cook (pictured) might be excited about the release of U2's new album, not everyone is sharing their enthusiasm

Toward the end of Tuesday's Apple event, Tim Cook and Bono announced that every iTunes user would be given the band's new album for free. 

While that might not sound like a bad thing, many people are angry over the way Apple chose to "gift" the album. 

U2's new album, "Songs of Innocence," shows up in iTunes libraries as purchased, whether users have chosen to buy it or not. That has made a lot of people angry, as it's nearly impossible to get rid of the album.
Tags: AAPL

When people want what a company makes, you get a secular growth product story that dazzles.

By Jim Cramer Sep 11, 2014 1:19PM

The Apple Watch was unveiled at the product announcement in Cupertino, Calif., on Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014 © David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty ImagesWiseguys finish last. I am talking about how all of the wiseguys were out there dissing Apple (AAPL) even as the stock was going down. Not because of the high price of the Apple Watch but because we are again playing the parlor game of Fed watch and the word "considerable" -- as in a considerable time might have to pass before rates are raised -- might be coming out of the upcoming statement.

To me this is common sense. I mean, hasn't a "considerable" amount of time passed since they said a considerable amount of time would have to pass before the Fed raises rates? No matter. Pavlov's dog plays a role every day -- my new name for sellers who come out of the woodwork after any chatter, legitimate or otherwise, that the Fed has to raise rates, and, unfortunately, Pavlov's dog surfaced right when we were hearing about the Apple Watch's beautiful design.


Apple has handed over its leadership -- and all the excitement -- to this 3-D printer company.

By Traders Reserve Sep 11, 2014 12:56PM

Caption: A 3D printer MakerBot Replicator 2 produces a sculpture
Credit: © Fabrizio Bensch/ReutersBy Jamie Dlugosch

Apple's (AAPL) big product announcement on Tuesday was oh-so-anticlimactic. The moment came and the market yawned. After a brief spike higher, Apple shares finished lower.

I hate to break it to the Apple fanatics, but there is a new king of innovation, and it is not Apple. Nope, the new king of innovation is in the 3-D printing space.

The name of the company is Stratasys (SSYS).

I know, that's a bold statement. But it's true.

Apple lost its innovation leadership with an emphasis on design . . . a big mistake. It's one thing to have a cool product and then layer on design after market acceptance. What Apple is doing now is the reverse: "Let's make it cool-looking and hope people will buy."  

The chain plans to introduce the new topping, made with bamboo charcoal, next week in Japan.

By MSN Money Partner Sep 11, 2014 12:40PM
Image credit: Burger King Japan
By Michael Kitchen, MarketWatch

Japan is a nation known for its love of culinary oddities, and starting Sept. 19, Burger King (BKW), plans to indulge that love with black cheese.

That's right, Burger King Japan has announced the latest iteration of its "Kuro" burger ("kuro" meaning "black" in Japanese), first introduced last year. 

The buns are black, the sauce is black, and this year, the cheese will be black as well.

According to the gaming site, the buns and the new cheese addition get their coloring from bamboo charcoal, while the accompanying onion and garlic sauce is prepared with squid ink, and the hamburger patties are made with black pepper, just for good measure.

Tags: BKW

The yoga-apparel maker beat Wall Street expectations for earnings and revenue Thursday.

By MSN Money Partner Sep 11, 2014 12:23PM
Credit: © Andy Clark/Reuters

Caption: A customer enters the Lululemon store in downtown Vancouver, British Columbia November 8, 2013By Myles Udland, Business Insider

Lululemon (LULU) shares were up more than 15 percent Thursday after the company reported second-quarter earnings and revenue that beat expectations.

Early Thursday, the yoga apparel maker reported earnings per share of 33 cents, topping expectations for 29 cents. 

Revenue in the second quarter totaled $390.7 million, beating estimates for $376.8 million. 

Lululemon said total comparable store sales were flat in the second quarter, and on a constant dollar basis comparable store sales were down 5 percent. 

Tags: LULU

Investors are cheering the latest earnings report from Lululemon but buyers should beware.

By Staff Sep 11, 2014 12:15PM

The logo of Lululemon is pictured on a store front in San Diego, Calif. © Mike Blake/Newscom/ReutersBy Brian Sozzi, TheStreet

Investors rejoiced over Lululemon's (LULUbetter-than-expected second-quarter earnings, which hinted that the beleaguered yoga-apparel brand finally was turning around amid investments in people, processes and more compelling merchandise.

But investors who are buying into this notion could end up motionless on their yoga mats given three key aspects to Lululemon's second-quarter performance.

Lululemon reported second-quarter EPS of 33 cents, 4 cents higher than consensus forecasts. Lululemon's bottom line also surpassed its own guidance of 28 cents to 30 cents a share it provided in June. Total comparable-store sales, which include direct-to-consumer (online) sales, were unchanged in the quarter compared to guidance which called for a decrease in the low- to mid-single digits percentage range. Comparable-store sales at physical locations declined 5 percent, and net revenue for Lululemon's online business rose 29 percent.


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.


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.



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[BRIEFING.COM] After spending the first two hours of the trading day in a steady slide, the S&P 500 has maintained a four-point range over the past 60 minutes.

The materials sector (+0.1%) has been able to stay out of the red, but its slim gain is now in jeopardy following an orderly decline from the opening high. Steelmakers have factored into the retreat as evidenced by a 2.9% decline in the Market Vectors Steel ETF (SLX 47.23, -1.40). Miners haven't done much to turn the ... More


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