VIDEO ON MSN MONEY
Keep an eye on these Japan investments, which could see gains once the reconstruction process begins.
By Scott Rothbort, StockPickr
Japan has suffered a series of disasters -- earthquake, aftershocks, tsunamis and nuclear accidents -- over the course of the last week. The Japanese stock market is down dramatically in the wake of these unfortunate events. I have refrained from making any Japanese investment or trade, with one or two brief exceptions, for nearly 20 years, but I am now taking a more serious look at opportunities that are presenting themselves as a result of the aforementioned events.
As a matter of background, I spent an extensive amount of time in Japan from 1986 to 2001, with particular focus on my expatriate years of 1987 to 1989. My first son was born there. While my Japanese is a bit rusty, I have an excellent grasp of the culture, history, business and economics of Japan.
Japan was rebuilt by allied occupational forces after World War II. Even today, the U.S. has a large naval presence in Japan. Japan's post-war coming-out party, so to speak, was the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. It was from that period on that the country became a major exporter of technology, cars, automotive parts, consumer electronics, commercial ships and pharmaceutics.
It's unclear how long it will take for the country's manufacturing sector to return to full production.
With respect to our production plants in the concerned regions (Ibaraki, Oyama and Kooriyama plants and Komatsu Utility Co.), nothing has changed in their conditions since our last news release. We are continuing inspection and repairs of facilities and equipment of these plants.
While Komatsu Utility has resumed production, resuming overall production still remains indefinite. Concerning affected suppliers, we are supporting to their inspection of facilities and equipment and their recovery to normal production.
Pepsi's marketing blunders allowed Diet Coke to move into the No. 2 spot last year.
Nabbing the first two spots is "a historic win" for Coca-Cola (KO), the Journal reports. And it says a lot about the ongoing problems Pepsi (PEP) faces in trying to drive business and maintain its market share.
It was pretty clear that Diet Coke was moving into the No. 2 spot even back in 2009. Pepsi had just a slight lead over Diet Coke back then, the Journal reports. Both brands had a little less than 10% market share, while regular Coke grabbed 17% of the market.
The issue here isn't so much what Coca-Cola did right but what Pepsi did wrong. Pepsi tried some interesting marketing strategies that simply didn't pay off.
Come on, $25 billion for a site promoting Brazilian wax treatments and photography classes?
Now we're getting a better idea of why Groupon turned down a $6 billion offer from Google (GOOG) in December. The site is on fire. It has doubled its subscriber base in the past three months to 70 million users. Just a year ago, Groupon was valued at $1.3 billion.
Aren't we going overboard here? Does a daily-deals site really warrant anything close to a $25 billion consideration? One analyst told Bloomberg that this sector is as "hot as anything, and no one knows where it's going to tap out."
Groupon rang up $760 million in sales last year, but a good chunk of that went back to local merchants in the revenue-sharing system the company has devised.
These funds offer stability in turbulent times by focusing on the US recovery through consumer staples.
By Don Dion, TheStreet
In recent months, investor confidence has been tested by a battery of disconcerting international events.
While it is natural to keep a close watch on these gripping news stories, it's also important to avoid letting day-to-day headlines influence your long-term investing success. There are plenty of fears out there. However, bending and swaying with daily and hourly headwinds is a surefire way to increase confusion, which may lead to losses.
Investing in this trying economic environment requires a careful eye and a level head. By gearing up with a strong, well-diversified portfolio, investors can alleviate some of the anxieties that come with these volatile times.
I don't dislike it. I just like it a lot less than almost every other segment now.
Let's say Qualcomm (QCOM) doesn't see material impact from Japan disruptions. Let's say there are no real supply chain issues for Texas Instruments (TXN). Let's say that whatever weakness Apple (AAPL) might have from Japan supply issues was alleviated all by itself after we went to sleep. Let's postulate that, in fact, everything that any of the U.S. tech companies have going in Japan is now humming and ready.
Don't we simply revert to where we were a week ago before the Japanese cataclysm hit? Did we forget that we were in tablet hell, a big glut because Apple has killed the competition? Did someone find a way to create more Chinese demand for the kind of telecommunications infrastructure equipment that was in inventory correction mode last Thursday?
Did demand suddenly improve for consumer electronics with the Japanese being urged to stay indoors or, if they took the advice of the U.S. government, flee for their lives? Sure, it is not a big market. But we had big prices for stocks a week ago, and they reflected robust demand everywhere.
The master finds value lying in plain sight.
By Alex Dumortier, CFA
On Monday, Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) announced that it is acquiring Lubrizol (LZ) , the leading global supplier of additives to transportation and industrial lubricants (so boring it's good), in a deal valued at $9.7 billion. Despite the fact that this is one of Berkshire's largest ever acquisitions, it appears that Lubrizol had gone largely unnoticed by investors. I'll take a look at this deal before describing how you can follow Buffett's approach to capitalize on similar opportunities. Finally, I'll highlight two other "Berkshire-type" companies with publicly traded stocks.
A bet on growing economic activity
More than 70% of Lubrizol's revenues are related to the transportation and industrial lubricant business. Over the short term, this presents a risk in that Lubrizol's customers are in cyclical industries. However, given Berkshire's holding period -- forever -- that is of no concern to Buffett; he's willing to bet that industrial activity and transportation needs, and the resulting demand for Lubrizol's products, will be greater in 10 years' time than they are today.
The social-media giant continues its foray into the video market with live baseball.
By Scott Moritz, TheStreet
Facebook has started a little spring training of its own.
The games are largely a promotion to lure subscribers to MLB.TV's $120 season-long subscription package. But the move also looks like a warm-up to Facebook's ongoing push in to the nascent streaming-video market.
The nation wants to rebuild its ruined factories quickly, but this disaster may end up accelerating interest in off-shoring.
The downtrend appears far from over as traders react to Japan's natural disaster, the end of QE2, rising inflationary pressure and a simmering debt crisis in Europe.
The stock market is in free fall as the major averages break their seven-month uptrends and drop into the abyss. The Nasdaq QQQ Trust (QQQQ) has already returned to levels reached last December. And it's showing no signs of slowing its descent. Even market stalwarts like Apple (AAPL) have succumbed to the wave of selling pressure, with shares of the tech giant falling at a pace not seen in more than a year.
After months of believing that all ailments could be solved by the Fed's $600 billion monetary injection, it's becoming clear that the concerns about Japan's nuclear disaster and violence in Bahrain are now too large. What's more, rising inflation, with the Producer Price Index increasing at a whopping 5.8% annual pace in February, means that another round of money printing will just make the problem worse. When QE2 was teased last August and started in November, these pressures didn't exist.
As a result, no risky asset class is being spared as commodities, oil, corporate bonds and even gold and silver follow stocks lower as investors head for the exits. All indications suggest the downtrend is far from over. Here's why.
Jon Bon Jovi says the ability to preview songs on iTunes before you buy them has taken the magic out of music.
Bon Jovi comes across as quite the aging rocker, lamenting the loss of those days when you could go into a record store and have a "magical" experience.
"Kids today have missed the whole experience of putting the headphones on, turning it up to 10, holding the jacket, closing their eyes and getting lost in an album; and the beauty of taking your allowance money and making a decision based on the jacket, not knowing what the record sounded like, and looking at a couple of still pictures and imagining it."
I remember those days, and they were great. You didn't know all the songs on the album, because there was no way to preview them. So you bought an album with the hope and expectation that those songs would be good. It was a gamble that people liked to take.
These companies count on the quake-stricken nation for a portion of their sales and will likely see revenue fall this year.
Aflac (AFL), the health and life insurance company, does 75% of its business in Japan. It sells a popular line of cancer insurance there, The New York Times reports. In the past five days of trading, the stock has dropped from $56 to $50.56.
"The market is looking at everything that's exposed to Japan, and we're part of that," an Aflac spokeswoman told the newspaper. Maybe that's why the company reacted so harshly to Gilbert Gottfried's crude Twitter jokes about Japan's earthquakes and tsunami, firing the comedian from his role as the voice of Aflac's duck mascot.
Other U.S. companies are exposed to Japan, though not to Aflac's extent. Bank of America Merrill Lynch has compiled a list of the top 10 Japan-exposed S&P 500 companies, according to Business Insider. See the list below.
While you can't create your own Berkshire, you can imitate its philosophy.
According to the latest from Forbes, Warren Buffett is the third-richest man in the world, with a net worth of $50 billion. About 90% of his wealth is in Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) stock, a diverse holding company that has catapulted from $6,800 a share in 1991 to a whopping $127,600.
So how can you invest like Buffett? While you can't create your own Berkshire, you can imitate its philosophy with three mutual funds.
Don Yacktman is one of the best money managers on Wall Street. The Yacktman Fund (YACKX) has clocked average annual returns of 14.16% for the past three years and 11.84 for the past decade.
Despite billions in initial losses, Berkshire Hathaway may emerge unscathed.
By Dan Freed, TheStreet
Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-B) may ultimately come out unscathed from the earthquake and nuclear disaster unfolding in Japan despite initial losses of $2.5 billion on stocks and derivatives and too-early-to-quantify insurance and reinsurance claims.
Buffett also has significant investment stakes in Swiss Re and another reinsurer with large Japanese earthquake exposure, Munich Re.
Shares of all those companies have lost ground since Japan's earthquake struck on Friday. Shares of RenaissanceRe Holdings (RNR), however, have actually gained since the quake struck.
Shares of Peet's bounce on rumors of a Starbucks buyout. But should the coffee giant try to acquire its cappuccino-size competitor?
By Miriam Reimer, TheStreet
Updated at 2:58 p.m. ET
Peet's Coffee & Tea (PEET) shares plunged last week after Starbucks (SBUX) and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (GMCR) announced a long-anticipated partnership. But the coffee roaster and specialty retailer's stock has soared amid rumors that Starbucks could be looking to take it over.
Peet's shares surged 9.4% Tuesday and continued to climb 2.2% Wednesday, to $47.03, amid rumors it could be a takeover target of Starbucks. The stock had plunged 11.4% Thursday, the day Starbucks and Green Mountain announced a deal in which Starbucks and Tazo tea-branded K-Cup portion packs will be available for Green Mountain's popular Keurig single-cup brewing systems later this year. Investors were clearly disappointed that Emeryville, Calif., Peet's had been left out of the lucrative partnership.
MORE ON MSN MONEY
Copyright © 2013 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
Quotes are real-time for NASDAQ, NYSE and AMEX. See delay times for other exchanges.
Try as the bears might, they couldn't break U.S. stocks. But investors still face frothy prices and considerable headwinds.
Top Stocks provides analysis about the most noteworthy stocks in the market each day, combining some of the best content from around the MSN Money site and the rest of the Web.
Contributors include professional investors and journalists affiliated with MSN Money.
Follow us on Twitter @topstocksmsn.
[BRIEFING.COM] Stocks entered the weekend on a mixed note as the S&P 500 shed 0.1% while the Dow ended with a gain of 0.1%.
The major averages began the day on a lower note as nine of ten sectors saw losses of more than 0.5%.
The consumer staples sector was the lone exception as the group spent the entire day in positive territory thanks to the relative strength of Dow component Procter & Gamble (PG 81.89, +3.19). The second-largest staple stock advanced ... More
More Market News
|There’s a problem getting this information right now. Please try again later.|