Since she joined in July 2012, CEO Marissa Mayer has acquired dozens of startups.
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A California company that makes pot-growing equipment hopes to go public this year.
A California outfit called GrowOp Technology plans an initial public offering later this year, according to its website. The company is not a marijuana grower. Instead, it makes growing equipment that includes a 53-foot high-tech tractor trailer designed for growing pot. The trailers are outfitted with a hydroponic growing system and can be monitored remotely with a computer or iPhone.
Trailers come in three sizes and cost between $10,000 and $70,000, the company said.
GrowOp appears to be taking its IPO very seriously. Its founder, Derek Peterson, was an investment banker at Wachovia and Morgan Stanley (MS), reports 24/7 Wall St. The company's advisory committee includes a fund manager, an investment banker and the head of a corporate advisory firm.
After a rough holiday season, the retailer considers using Wal-Mart's model of everyday low prices.
For years, Best Buy was doing fine with its tactical pricing strategy. Yes, its regular prices were high, but the chain would offer blowout discounts on specific items to entice customers. The promotional strategy worked well, especially when Circuit City imploded.
But now shoppers are getting wise. They price-check on their smart phones. They know what deal they want. And they know that items will eventually get into Best Buy's sale rotation. So they wait.
Shoppers are so smart, in fact, that Best Buy is questioning its entire pricing strategy. "Why do we carry inventory when we train consumers only to buy it" on sale, executive Mike Vitelli asked at a recent staff meeting, Bloomberg reports.
Another executive admitted to Bloomberg that without the "everyday pricing" model favored by Wal-Mart (WMT) and others, shoppers will wait it out. "Our inventory sits and waits for that next promotional moment," said the executive, Rick Rommel.
A single fund holds some of the Oracle's most popular big-company investments.
By Don Dion, TheStreet
It has been a busy week for Warren Buffett fans.
On top of Buffett's visit to the White House -- where he, George H.W. Bush, Maya Angelou and others were honored by President Barack Obama and presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom -- the Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A)13F filing was released to the public.
Oberservers have spent the week fiercely digging through the document in hopes of uncovering clues to Buffett's view of the global market.
In the final months of 2010, Buffett made some tweaks to his legendary portfolio. Overall, the famously bullish investor ended the quarter as a net seller, unloading shares of a number of his holdings and further increasing the size of his already substantial pile of cash.
Doomsayers and critics abound, but they are missing the point -- and missing opportunities to make money.
You can learn so much from Twitter. You can learn how total amateurs think (there are a lot of good people out there, too, but that's not the point of this post). You can learn how people are adept at losing money and have a total loser's mind-set. You can see how far people need to go to stay in the game and make money. In fact, you want to kick them out of the game!
Let me detail some of the loser attitudes I am seeing. By far the most common one is "Is this a top?" for the stock they want to know about. A top? This kind of illogic is something we seek to combat every day in Action Alerts Plus. If you think the fundamentals are deteriorating, that sales are decelerating, that margins are being compressed, that the end markets are getting weak, that the execution is getting sloppy, that the competition is heating up, then you very well might have a top on your hands.
If you think that gross margins are good and maybe getting better and sales are strong, you most likely don't have a top on your hands. You have a stock that can churn higher that might have excellent earnings power in the out years.
Boosted by improvement in the construction and forestry equipment units, Deere enjoys a blowout first quarter.
Traditionally sleepy sectors like healthcare are finding favor again. Here's why, along with a few fast moving stocks in the group.
A shift is underway. Long ignored stocks in defensive sectors are perking up. Specifically, I'm seeing activity among health care issues. As a group, the sector is recovering from a period of underperformance and demonstrating relative strength vs. the broad market for the first time since last summer. Why the shift?
For one, there is an argument to be made that as the economic growth cycle and stock bull market matures, investors will start to transition from ultra-cyclical stocks like semiconductors into more defensive names.
There are other reasons too, including attractive valuations and high "sector idiosyncratic risk" -- something I explain below. As all of this normalizes, there will be opportunities for those who can identify the best companies with the brightest growth prospects. Here are a few stocks that I think are good candidates.
The company is reportedly hogging touch panels from Taiwanese manufacturers, making it difficult for rivals to secure enough supply.
Apple wants to ship 40 million iPads this year, Digitimes reports, and it's buying what it can from major touch-panel makers Wintek and TPK. Now, second-tier tablet makers "are already out of the game," sources tell Digitimes.
There's tight supply left for Research in Motion (RIMM), Motorola (MSI) and Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), all of whom are debuting tablet devices this year. Apple's iPad already has a formidable market lead, and other companies need volume in order to catch up. "Sources from tablet PC makers also pointed out that the component shortage is causing their shipment volumes to be unable to catch up with their orders, especially for second-tier players," Digitimes reported.
W.R. Berkley has a track record, talent, and a tantalizing price
After investing in an insurance company, Mark Twain said, "Life has seemed more precious. Accidents have assumed a kindlier aspect . . . But to me now there is a charm about a railway collision that is unspeakable." Fool analyst Michael Olsen explains Twain's not necessarily being macabre.
Rex Moore, Motley Fool Top Stocks Editor
The best insurance companies don't just write a simple policy, perform a service of mutual societal benefit, and part ways.
They seek risks -- the dirty, shunned variety -- and exploit them: Workers' compensation, product liability, and three-legged donkeys. The best insurers bide their time, and when other run, they write insurance on them. And they make lots of money.
The rumors are true: Android phones that allow users one-touch access to their Facebook accounts are unveiled at the World Mobile Congress in Barcelona.
By Seth Fiegerman, MainStreet
For months, Facebook has denied rumors that it would take a page from Google’s (GOOG) playbook and come out with its own line of smartphones, but this week the company did an about-face and revealed that even though it will not develop a Facebook phone, other companies already are.
“A lot has been made about a single Facebook phone but this year you can expect to see dozens of phones with much deeper social integrations than anything we’ve seen so far,” Mark Zuckerberg, the co-founder and CEO of Facebook, announced Tuesday at the 2011 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.
In particular, Zuckerberg highlighted two new Android phones manufactured by HTC – the ChaCha and Salsa - that will boast a special Facebook button to give users the ability to pull up their Facebook accounts with one touch.
The National Enquirer publishes photos that purport to show the Apple chief outside of a treatment center in California.
The National Enquirer published photos after following Jobs from breakfast to the Stanford Cancer Center, Gizmodo reports. Jobs is on a medical leave from the company, but it's hard to tell whether he is in fact the man in the photos. Apple has not verified the Enquirer's report.
As unseemly as the photos are, shareholders are reacting by pushing the stock down more than 1% today to $358.50. That's not a huge drop -- certainly not enough to dent the massive climb the stock has made since September. Apple is still trading close to its 52-week high of $364.90.
Apple shareholders are desperate for information about Jobs, even unverified reports accompanied by National Enquirer photos. The company has not explained why Jobs needed to go on medical leave -- his third in seven years -- and the reports, if correct, could shed some light on the situation.
The billionaire hedge fund manager increased his stakes in Delta, InterOil and Dendreon.
By Frank Byrt, TheStreet
Billionaire investor George Soros' hedge fund made a big bet on Delta Air Lines (DAL) in the fourth quarter, while keeping gold as its largest holding. Apple (AAPL), maker of the iPad and iPhone, remained a top 10 position.
The fund, which serves wealthy investors, added 11 million shares to its Delta Air stake, bringing it to 14.7 million shares worth about $186 million, Soros Fund Management said in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.
The fund's assets rose about 15% in the fourth quarter, to $7.7 billion, up from $6.7 billion on Sept. 30.
Companies with an abundance of coal and iron ore, like Cliffs Natural Resources, are reporting unheard-of profits.
Step back into time to an era when great forges devoured coal and iron to make the world's best steel to meet the demand of industrial growth. The companies with an abundance of these commodities coined fortunes, expanding and raising prices far faster than costs increased and producing record profits for shareholders despite worries, woes and hand wringing from critics that it all must end and end badly.
Think back in time to the quarter that Cliffs Natural Resources (CLF) announced last night. That's right, I am talking about the most recent of histories, October through January, and I am looking at commodity producer Cliffs, which reported a to-die-for number after Wednesday's close, with a 100% increase in sales and a 450% increase in profits.
Yep, the successor to the oh-so-troubled Cleveland Cliffs, the iron ore company with a list of clients that constantly seemed to be seeking bankruptcy, stiffing their premier iron ore provider, the company that restructured repeatedly, is now in its halcyon days because of worldwide demand for iron and coal.
Concern over rising prices has investors moving back into precious metals after January's selloff.
Current inflationary pressures are larger and more pervasive than many believe, which was the subject of one of my recent columns. Both at home and abroad, prices continue to move higher. And now, inflation is beginning to cross-pollinate as ultra-lose monetary policy in the United States is exported to places like China, pushing up wages and commodity prices before being exported back to the United States via higher import prices.
In China, core consumer prices increased 2.6% year-over-year for the month from a 2.1% increase in December. And the Producer Price Index increased 6.6%, accelerating from the 5.9% increase in December and coming in well above the 6.1% increase forecast by analysts. In the United States, import prices are rising at a 5.3% annual rate and producer prices are rising at a 3.6% rate.
After flat lining for a few months, inflation expectations are moving higher again. And that's returned silver prices to their record high and pushed gold and gold stocks off their January lows. I think there's more to come as the market has yet to adequately discount the inflation problem -- setting the stage for continued gains by gold and silver in the months to come. Here's why.
Suntech Power has ongoing cost struggles, and new investments by rivals continue to add pressure.
The airline is making several changes to its SkyMiles program in hopes of keeping customers happy and loyal.
DeltaAir (DAL) now agrees and says it will eliminate the expiration dates on its SkyMiles program. Previously, the miles disappeared after two years of no activity on an account. Delta is now the only major U.S. airline that doesn't expire its miles.
Why did Delta do this? For one thing, its mileage program was nothing to brag about. It lagged those of rivals in basic features. Try collecting a round-trip award at the basic 25,000-mile mark. You'll probably need to cough up 40,000 or more, writes Justin Bachman at BusinessWeek.
That's one way to infuriate customers.
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John Stumpf acknowledges that growth has been slow, but he says he's still optimistic.
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[BRIEFING.COM] The major averages spent the entire session in a steady downtrend, but despite persistent selling pressure, today's losses were limited in scope. The Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq shed between 0.2% and 0.3% while the Russell 2000 lagged, falling 0.9%.
The underperformance of the Russell 2000 was likely owed in part to tax-loss selling, which tends to pick up this time of year. Small-caps often feel that pinch in a stronger fashion than large-cap issues since individual ... More
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