Indexes might not be in correction territory, but they're getting closer. Now's the time to consider what moves to make.
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The stock plunges as the company falls far short of subscriber forecasts. This means its video library will suffer as more folks quit.
By Jeff Reeves, InvestorPlace.com
Netflix (NFLX) stock got slammed Thursday -- closing at $169.25, off 18.9% -- after the company announced its dual-pricing model has scared off more customers than expected. Netflix launched a pricing planback in July whereby, starting this month, it would begin charging customers separately for the DVDs it mails out and the streaming video service it provides. Instead of $9.99 for both, NFLX would charge $7.99 for each service.
Netflix had estimated it would wind up with about 3 million DVD-only subscribers and 10 million streaming-only customers. But the real numbers are smaller -- much smaller -- and that could really mess up any of Netflix's plans to improve its video library.
European markets have been on a tear since the US Treasury secretary assured us that we are not about to see a replay of Lehman. Will our market follow suit?
Ever since U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner made it very clear that, despite what you may think, there will not be Lehman-style crisis in Europe, the European markets that dominate ours have been on fire.
Some people have told me: Wait, in April Geithner said there was no way the U.S. debt would be downgraded and he got that wrong. Why is this any different?
The answer, I think, is that it has been within the control of Europe to get the European banks where they need to be; they have just haven't exercised control. You still have banks issuing big dividends -- how can Banco Santander (STD) have an almost 10% yield? You still do not have disclosure, and you still have derivatives that will be difficult to unwind.
Such a whopping loss on one guy's gamble couldn't have come at a worse time for UBS, and it will likely force the bank into the red for the quarter.
We learned overnight that a "rogue" trader at Swiss bank UBS (UBS) bled out a stunning $2 billion at the company's investment division in the third quarter. These are not clients working with UBS brokers, mind you, but one yeahoo playing with house money to enrich this banking giant and its corporate overlords.
Makes you really wonder who these "experts" are.
UBS shares were slumping by 9% to $11.50 in early trading Thursday on news of the impairment charge the bank should book for the quarter as a result. It's bad enough that there are massive layoffs happening at the bank, bad housing loans that continue to take a toll, the specter of a sovereign debt crisis weighing on credit markets and all the other mayhem in the financial sector. Suffering a $2 billion loss at UBS thanks to one guy's gamble couldn't have come at a worse time, and it likely will force the company into the red for the quarter.
Could Yum Brands be considered a dividend stock? The company announces yet another double-digit increase.
But a solid dividend? Yes, as it turns out. Taco Bell's parent company, Yum Brands (YUM), has authorized a 14% increase in its quarterly dividend. It will be the seventh consecutive double-digit increase for shareholders.
The new dividend is 28.5 cents a share. At Wednesday's closing price of $53.30, the dividend yield would be 2.14%. That's about in line with the 2.11% average dividend yield of all stocks in the S&P 500 index ($INX), Seeking Alpha notes. It's also higher than the 10-year Treasury.
The social-networking company wants to keep employees focused and could push its initial public offering to fall 2012, The Financial Times says.
The IPO was expected sometime in the first quarter of 2012, with many anticipating the Internet company to valued at $100 million. Now the company is looking to go public next September or later, The Financial Times reports.
The reason? The company wants to keep employees focused on product developments instead of the jackpot millions they'll get in an IPO.
Hasbro made big decisions about the popular toy after new federal rules doomed the traditional light bulb.
No more. A law signed by President George W. Bush calls for 100-watt light bulbs to be phased out next year in favor of energy-efficient versions. But the new bulbs are so energy efficient that they don't work in an Easy-Bake oven.
That created a dilemma for Hasbro (HAS), which makes the popular toy. Would the Easy-Bake go the way of the incandescent bulb?
The company decided instead to overhaul the Easy-Bake oven, removing the bulb completely.
The dismal history of failed forecasts.
Last week, I wrote that "most of what was expected to shape the past 30 years never happened, and what did shape the past 30 years was never expected." We live in an unpredictable world, but this doesn't stop experts from making divine forecasts. Predictably, their collective track records stink. As Philip Tetlock, a U.C. Berkeley professor who studies expert predictions, put it, most experts could be beaten by a "dart-throwing chimp." Yet we listen to them. Intently. With confidence.
At least one reader disagreed. In an email, he challenged me to elaborate on three mainstream (not fringe) predictions that never came true.
One could write volumes of books on this topic, and a few have. But challenge accepted. Here are three predictions about the economy that never came to pass.
These lesser-known dividend stocks show favorable chart and volume patterns and have good upside potential and limited risk.
By Tom Aspray, MoneyShow.com
One of the regular screens I run almost every day is one that looks for unusual volume activity. Normally, a quick look at the charts will allow me to determine whether I should do further research.
Yesterday’s scan revealed several companies that had turned up from recent lows on significantly higher volume. I was not familiar with the three companies that looked the best and was pleasantly surprised to see that all had attractive yields as well.
These stocks look attractive for both investors and traders since tight stops can be used. If the current bottom is just signaling a rebound within the downtrend, they still have the potential for 7% to 10% on the upside. Of course, if a more significant low is being formed, the upside potential is even greater.
People in the 18-24 age group overwhelmingly prefer Android phones. What does this say about Apple's mobile future?
But what is a bit surprising is how young adults have flocked to Android instead of Apple's (AAPL) iPhone. In fact, Android phones are twice as popular as iPhones within the 18-24 age group, according to a new Pew survey.
College graduates and the financially well-off prefer iPhones or BlackBerry devices, the survey said.
Microsoft's entry into mobile computing is seen as a key turning point for the semiconductor industry.
By Scott Moritz, TheStreet
Microsoft unveiled its Windows 8 operating system Tuesday to developers at the BUILD conference in Anaheim, Calif., impressing some reviewers with the system's speedy boot-up and live tile interface.
But what investors saw was a little different.
With broad geographical diversification and an attractive yield, this fund is a relatively safe way to add an international element to your portfolio.
By Don Dion, TheStreet
Despite these concerns, I still believe that maintaining some exposure abroad is essential to a well-balanced portfolio.
In the past, I have highlighted Canada and China as countries investors may want to keep an eye on. While aggressive investors may find funds like the iShares MSCI Canada Index Fund (EWC) and Guggenheim China Small Cap ETF (HAO) exciting, such individual nation funds may prove to be excessively risky for a more conservative audience. For individuals looking for a safer way to add a global element to their portfolio, the PowerShares International Dividend Achievers Portfolio (PID) may be just right.
With the metal at record-high prices, debate turns to whether it's a form of money that should be used in monetary policy.
By Alix Steel, TheStreet
Gold is being taken more seriously as a legitimate form of money as paper currencies flail and the price of the metal hits new records.
Gold's last gasp of monetary fame came between World War II and 1971, when nations pegged their currencies to the U.S. dollar and the dollar was fixed to gold at $35 an ounce. This wasn't a pure gold standard, but it forced some kind of fiscal discipline into monetary systems. President Richard Nixon abandoned the standard in 1971 so the U.S. could have more cash to fight the Vietnam War.
Although gold bugs still loved the metal, pushing prices to a then-high of $850 an ounce by 1980, the fever didn't hit the mainstream for almost 40 years -- until now.
Gold is a haven asset, a trade and a store of wealth, but it can also be considered a currency, and that theory is gaining steam. Here are three of the primary factors behind gold's rising legitimacy.
Passing the president's jobs plan would be worse than doing nothing at all.
Does it matter what President Barack Obama does? Other than perhaps to declare a moratorium on changing anything?
We've had some classic examples in this one-two punch of "the jobs plan" and "how to pay for the jobs plan" that show me, increasingly, it doesn't matter.
Here's why. If you look at Obama's plan through a corroded prism, but one that has served you well, it's about giving money to state and local governments to keep paying highly unionized people on their payroll. It is also about keeping people from looking for work who would rather not take lower-paying jobs than they used to have -- remember, corrupted prism.
It is about payroll tax breaks for startup companies that don't even bother to care about this minuscule nonstarter, something that truly doesn't influence behavior of people who create small businesses. Heck, they expect to lose money when they start them, not worry about payroll tax exemptions. It is about giving people who work a couple of percentage points more on their wages, perhaps so they can shop at Target (TGT) and not Dollar General (DG).
If millions of Americans filed for Chapter 11 protection, people would suddenly have more spending money and companies would start hiring again, one columnist writes.
The idea isn't as half-baked as you might think. Tens of millions of homeowners could default on their mortgages and millions more could file for bankruptcy, Arends writes.
Why? Because the real problem with our economy is debt. American households owe $13.3 trillion -- an amount that has doubled in the past 11 years. "We're hocked up to the eyeballs, and then some. We're at the bottom of a lake of debt, lashed to an anchor," Arends writes.
While the overall market remains mired in a two-month trading range, evidence builds for an upside breakout as semiconductor stocks perk up.
If the financial markets are a battle field, then the fog of war down on Wall Street is particularly thick these days.
Stocks and other risky assets are rising and falling based on every rumor, whisper and denial out of Europe. On Monday, it was all about China using its $3.2 trillion stash of currency reserves to support Italy's bond market. Tuesday, it's all about a Dutch finance minister saying that a Greek default is unavoidable -- a statement that was later retracted.
But all the while, just beneath the tumult and turmoil on the surface, Wall Street insiders are stealthily accumulating new stakes in super sensitive sectors like semiconductors and transports. That, along with a number of positive technical signals, suggest that despite the euro zone worries a new medium-term uptrend is being formed. Here's why.
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[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market finished the Wednesday session on an upbeat note with the Nasdaq (+1.3%) ending in the lead. The S&P 500 settled higher by 1.1% with all ten sectors posting gains.
The benchmark index spent the entire trading day in the green, rallying to new highs during the last hour of action. The tech-heavy Nasdaq, meanwhile, briefly dipped into the red during morning action, but was able to recover swiftly.
Stocks began the trading day with modest gains ... More
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