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Groupon's implosion is following a very familiar pattern, and it's not the only company doing so.

By TheStreet Staff Apr 4, 2012 2:21PM

By Gary Weiss

 

It basically goes like this: First you get investor cash. Then you screw something up. Then you get your accountants to make it seem that you haven't screwed up. Then it's all over.

 

I call it the "screw-up-lie-die" template. It's been seen in big companies and small, from Enron to penny stocks. It is so old, it creaks. But fear not. It is alive and vibrant, and is currently being played out in real time at Groupon (GRPN), the coupon-deal company whose IPO turned sour in recent days, ever since it disclosed on Friday that its losses were much worse than previously reported.

 

The struggling Internet company still looks bloated, and rival AOL could use a trim, too.

By InvestorPlace Apr 4, 2012 2:17PM

By Jonathan Berr


Yahoo (YHOO) CEO Scott Thompson's plan to slash about 2,000 employees -- or 14% of the Internet media company's work force -- doesn't go far enough. But it will ratchet up the pressure on AOL (AOL) CEO Tim Armstrong, whose company is also struggling, to do the same.


Thompson, who joined Yahoo in January after heading eBay's (EBAY) PayPal unit, needs to fundamentally restructure Yahoo, which in its current configuration makes no sense. Nothing should be off the table, including selling Web properties and patents. The company also needs to finally unload its 35% stake in Yahoo Japan and its 40% interest in Alibaba.

 

The company significantly lowered guidance, likely as a result of insufficient exposure to Apple and Samsung.

By Minyanville Apr 4, 2012 1:48PM
Shares of SanDisk (SNDK) are getting smacked down by over 10% Wednesday after the flash-memory giant pre-announced lousy first-quarter results.

SanDisk now expects to report first-quarter revenue of $1.2 billion versus prior guidance of $1.3 to $1.35 billion, and consensus of $1.3 billion. Additionally, the company lowered its gross margin guidance from an earlier range of 39% to 42%.  

The fertilizer company stands to benefit as US farmers add to corn stocks.

By Jim J. Jubak Apr 4, 2012 1:36PM
Image: Combines in field (© Mark Karrass/Corbis/Corbis)In my April 2 post on the great first quarter turned in by cyclical stocks -- and the lousy March -- I said that in general, I don't see much to tempt me into putting money into cyclical stocks before first-quarter earnings season (which starts on April 10) and before we get some resolution of big macroeconomic questions on growth from Europe and China.

In general.

But I also said that I'd make an exception for fertilizer producer Potash of Saskatchewan (POT) and I promised to explain why.
 
Tags: POT

The prime minister warns of 'extreme difficulty' after the country fails to find enough bond buyers.

By Jim J. Jubak Apr 4, 2012 1:26PM
Image: Europe (© Photodisc/SuperStock)Well, that's helpful -- if you were worried that a bad Spanish bond auction might not spook global financial markets.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said Wednesday morning that Spain is "facing an economic situation of extreme difficulty -- I repeat, of extreme difficulty."

That's just in case anyone missed the disastrous results of Wednesday's Spanish bond auction. Spain managed to sell 2.59 billion euros in bonds. That was just above the minimum target for the auction and well below the hoped-for maximum of 3.5 billion euros.
 

Stocks fall after Fed dashes hope for further stimulus.

By MSN Money Partner Apr 4, 2012 1:05PM
Information provided by theflyonthewall.com.

Stocks on Wall Street were sharply lower midday Wednesday, as the slide that began after Tuesday's release of the Federal Open Market Committee minutes deepened. The comments that sank the market revolved around the lack of additional stimulus, ruling out at least for the time being any semblance of further quantitative easing. Though Fed Chairman Bernanke said as much last month, the market reacted strongly late yesterday and again today after digesting the implications further.

The economic data released Wednesday was generally in line with expectations, but did little to improve the dour tone of the market.  

For the first time in nearly a decade, fashionistas and investors seem to agree that the retailer has found the right blend of style and business strategy.

By The Fiscal Times Apr 4, 2012 12:12PM
GapBy Suzanne McGeeThe Fiscal Times

Glenn Murphy, the CEO of Gap Inc. (GPS), might want to think about sending "Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner a Jeroboam of champagne -- or even commissioning a special vintage in his honor -- as a vote of thanks.

After all, the clothing retailer's dramatic turnaround this year is due at least in part to the AMC television series and, in particular, the decision by Gap division Banana Republic to showcase "Mad Men"-themed styles (created with input from the show's costume designer) in its women's retail stores. Avid consumers have snapped the clothing up in hopes of emulating the on-screen flair of January Jones or Christina Hendricks. 

Wall Street suffers as higher energy prices nix dreams of more stimulus.

By Anthony Mirhaydari Apr 4, 2012 12:11PM

The delicate balance holding the stock market aloft has been broken. Central bankers, the providers of the cheap money that has sustained the uptrend, could no longer deny rising inflationary pressures. They also had to mention signs of economic strengthening, even if they're based on unsustainable things like unseasonably warm weather and a drop in the savings rate. 

 

By acknowledging the troubles of higher prices, they have destroyed Wall Street's hopes of hundreds of billions' worth of new monetary policy easing later this month. The stock market's cheap-money addiction has been laid bare. And it ain't pretty.

 

The home of the Whopper has a tough road ahead.

By Jonathan Berr Apr 4, 2012 11:55AM
Image: Hamburger (© BananaStock/Jupiterimages)Burger King Holdings, which recently rolled out its biggest menu overhaul in history, has decided to go public less than two years after being taken private in a $3.3 billion deal by 3G Capital.

Whether the new Burger King IPO will give investors indigestion remains to be seen. 
Tags: MCDWEN

Novo Nordisk is downgraded to 'sell,' and IBM is downgraded to 'neutral.'

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

Wednesday's noteworthy upgrades include:  
  • AIG (AIG) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Bernstein
  • Akamai (AKAM) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at DA Davidson
  • Starbucks (SBUX) upgraded to Conviction Buy from Neutral at Goldman
  • Biogen (BIIB) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Goldman
  • CSX (CSX) upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at Atlantic Equities
 

The costs are rising quickly as the potential for damage grows.

By InvestorPlace Apr 4, 2012 10:23AM

By Aaron Levitt

It's hard to believe that it's been almost two years since BP's (BP) Deepwater Horizon oil spill and almost 25 years since Occidental Petroleum's (OXY) Piper Alpha disaster -- the last major accident in the North Sea, which killed 167 people -- back in 1988. However, with these events still fresh in many people's minds, Total's (TOT) recent issues with its Elgin platform in the North Sea have taken on a new sense of urgency.

Sitting on a powder keg of highly flammable natural gas and gas condensate, the French oil major's rig could be one of the worst oil disasters in the North Sea. A gas cloud, made mostly of methane, has essentially enveloped the rig after attempts to shut a troubled production failed and caused a leak. If this cloud -- which is growing by roughly 200,000 cubic meters a day -- ignites, it could be catastrophic.

 

Both major political parties are letting our best chance for fuel independence slip away.

By Jim Cramer Apr 4, 2012 10:21AM

It's not "Drill, baby, drill." It's "Use, baby, use."

 

We've got a phenomenal disconnect between what the political parties are saying about our oil and gas reserves and what the reality may be.

 

When President Barack Obama talks about energy, he always mentions that we can't solve the problem of high gasoline prices by drilling for oil in this country. We can only hope that, long term, through conservation, solar, wind and other renewables, that we can bring down the cost of energy.

 

When I hear the Republicans talk, they put our energy problems squarely on the unwillingness of the Democrats to allow drilling on federal lands, saying that if we could get to that land, we would indeed produce enough oil to affect pricing.

 

Both sides are totally wrong.

 

Despite industry pressure, the drugmaker is focused on boosting its future pipeline.

By TheStockAdvisors Apr 4, 2012 9:58AM

By Ben Shepherd, Investing Daily

Merck (MRK) has failed to excite the market about its prospects as sales and earnings have fallen largely in line with Wall Street estimates over the past several quarters, with few surprises to the upside.

Merck has faced pressure from the looming patent expiration of its blockbuster allergy drug Singulair, which goes off patent in August. With annual sales of about $5.2 billion, Singulair has contributed about 11.1% toward Merck's annual revenue over the past two years, so it's easy to understand why investors might be nervous.

 
Tags: MRK

The world's largest express package carrier continues to see gains in domestic and foreign shipping.

By Gene Marcial Apr 4, 2012 9:10AM

UPS (UPS) is no longer only a cyclical investment play on the U.S. economy. It has become a global, steadily growing and diversified company in multiple expanding markets.

 

And its stock continues to shoot higher, climbing to a 52-week high of $81.79 a share Tuesday, up from its 52-week low of $60 hit in August 2011. Many large investors are starting to recognize its worldwide impact and growth potential in good or bad times.

 
Tags: ups

Moody's downgrades General Electric. JPMorgan may be sued for actions related to Lehman's collapse.

By TheStreet Staff Apr 4, 2012 8:18AM

By Joseph Woelfel

 

General Electric's (GE) credit rating was downgraded a notch by Moody's because the agency said it sees risks associated with the funding model of GE's lending unit, General Electric Capital Corp. GE was cut to Aa3 from Aa2. GE Capital's rating was cut by two notches to A1 from Aa2. Moody's said because GE Capital is so big, it must rely on funding from financial markets, which aren't reliable and where risks remain.

 

Regulators are set to penalize JPMorgan Chase (JPM) for actions tied to the demise of Lehman Bros. in 2008, The New York Times reported, citing people briefed on the matter. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission is expected this week to file a civil case against JPMorgan.

 

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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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