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


The chain is expanding a build-your-own-burger test in California. It could be viewed as market research for the next hit combo.

By MSN Money Partner Tue 2:34 PM
Credit: © Gene J. Puskar/AP

Caption: A McDonald's Big Mac sandwichBy Venessa Wong, Businessweek

McDonald's (MCD) recently expanded its build-your-own burger test

Now, in four Southern California stores, customers will be encouraged to assemble any combination of the following:

Beef patty: One or two

Bun: Buttered toasted bakery-style bun, buttered toasted artisan roll

Cheese: American, sharp white cheddar, pepper jack

Tags: MCD

The stock is expensive and the guidance is weak -- not an appetizing combination.

By Staff Tue 1:39 PM

Credit: © Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Caption: Cans of Campbell Soup brand productsBy Richard Saintvilus, TheStreet

With shares down more than 6 percent over the past two months, investors are hungry for any news that will heat up Campbell Soup (CPB) stock. logo

They didn't get it last week and probably won't for some time.

There are better -- and cheaper -- food-related companies worth your investment, starting with General Mills (GIS).

Campbell's, known for its cans of soups, Pepperidge Farm snacks, V8 products and Spaghettios, missed revenue estimates, which sent the shares lower by another 2.5 percent the day after the earnings report.


The precious metal has suffered as the dollar climbs, geopolitical risks abate and demand from key consumers slows.

By MSN Money Partner Tue 1:35 PM
Gold Bars © Stockbyte/SuperStockBy Sri Jegarajah, CNBC

Gold may drop to $1,200 an ounce, possibly breaching the key support level, thanks to a resurgent U.S. dollar and higher Treasury yields on expectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve could signal tighter policy this week, CNBC's latest survey of strategists, analysts and traders shows.

"In the shorter term I believe gold tests $1,200, trades as low as $1,190 or so, after which the bargain-hunters will come in and move the price back to the $1,240 to $1,250 level," said Anthony Grisanti, President of GRZ Energy, in a Sept. 15 commentary. 

"Geopolitical has been quiet and all major economies are easing one way or another. And that makes the Greenback the strongest buck on the block. My bias for gold is lower."


An announcement about the closely watched competition is expected as early as Tuesday.

By MSN Money Partner Tue 12:40 PM
Credit: © Boeing/AP Photo
Caption: In this artist illustration shows an artist concept of Boeing’s Crew Space Transportation (CST)-100 spacecraft approaching the International Space Station.By Andy Pasztor, The Wall Street Journal

Boeing (BA) appears positioned to beat out two smaller rivals for the bulk of a multibillion-dollar NASA contract to ferry astronauts to and from orbit, according to government and aerospace-industry officials.

An award to Boeing would represent a victory over the newer Space Exploration Technologies Corp., or SpaceX, which had been considered a favorite in many quarters because of its lower costs and nimbler approach. 

The decision on the development of space taxis will be a milestone for commercial space endeavors, locking in unparalleled authority for contractors to develop and operate vehicles with limited federal oversight. An announcement is expected as early as Tuesday.

Tags: BA

The loan is a sweet deal for Eddie Lampert. The company needs the money to get through the holidays.

By MSN Money Partner Tue 12:16 PM
Credit: Gregory Bull/AP

Caption: Eddie Lampert, CEO of Sears

By Nathan Vardi, Forbes

Billionaire Eddie Lampert (pictured), who made his fortune running his ESL Investments hedge fund and is now CEO of Sears (SHLD), is lending the company he runs $400 million to help it get through the key Christmas shopping season.

Shares of Sears fell by more than 6 percent in Tuesday trading to $31.21 after the loan was disclosed. 

The loan is a safe bet for Lampert. Affiliates of Lampert's ESL Investments are making the loan, which is short-term in nature and will be secured by 25 of Sears' properties. The loan carries an interest rate of 5 percent and an upfront fee of about $7 million.

Tags: SHLD

Nearly half of fund managers polled believe the Fed will soon introduce what would be its first rate tightening in 9 years.

By MSN Money Partner Tue 12:05 PM
Credit: © Jin Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Caption: Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New YorkBy Sara Sjolin, MarketWatch

Investors are increasingly expecting the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates in the spring of 2015, with the dollar forecast to rise as a result, according to the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Fund Manager Survey for September.

Nearly half of the fund managers polled, 48 percent, believe the U.S. central bank will introduce what would be its first rate tightening in nine years in the second quarter of next year. That's up from 38 percent last month. Against that backdrop, a net 86 percent of the respondents see the dollar strengthening further against the euro and yen.

"As the first Fed rate hike since 2006 draws closer, we'll see a new U.S. dollar bull market and movement out of bonds," said Michael Hartnett, chief investment strategist at B. of A. Merrill Lynch Global Research, in the release.


Hedge funds' capital raising is causing all kinds of cascading destruction in the go-go names.

By Jim Cramer Tue 10:52 AM

A general view of the Alibaba Group headquarters in Hangzhou, China © Hong Wu/Getty ImagesAlibaba is causing a kind of cascade. But believe me, if funds are going to get all the Alibaba they need on the sheets, they are going to need every penny being sold now.

You layer right on top of that the hedge funds that know how the game is played, and you see the kind of destruction that is being wrought to all of the go-go names.

Remember, you cannot justify owning almost any of these names versus Alibaba. The Chinese Internet company has more earnings power, greater growth and a bigger moat than anything out there until it gets to roughly $100 a share. logoGiven that they are talking about $70, which probably means $75, and given how hot the deal is and, therefore, how small the allocation is -- well, you can see for yourself, these names still have to be sold, and sold hard.


Customers say the Internet service provider has threatened to cancel service, but the company says it has no problem with the browser.

By MSN Money Partner Tue 10:26 AM
File photo of the Comcast logo on a television screen (© Elise Amendola/AP Photo)By James Cook, Business Insider

Some users of the anonymous Web browser Tor have reported that Comcast (CMCSA) has threatened to cut off their Internet service unless they stop using the legal software.

Comcast completely denies their claims. In a blog post, the company said, "We have no policy against Tor, or any other browser or software. Customers are free to use their Xfinity Internet service to visit any website, use any app, and so forth."

According to a report on Deepdotweb, Comcast customer representatives have branded Tor "illegal" and told customers that using it is against the company's policies.

Tor is a type of Web browser that, in theory, makes all your Internet activity private. The software routes traffic through a series of other connected Internet users, making it difficult for governments and private companies to monitor your Internet usage. 


Stocks drift lower and bonds are hit as investors await the Fed. Prepare for higher volatility this week.

By InvestorPlace Mon 5:49 PM

Credit: © Scott Eells/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Caption: A trader analyzes stock data on the floor of the New York Stock ExchangeBy Anthony Mirhaydari

With summer vacations fading evermore into distant memory, investors are being faced with increasingly treacherous market conditions in a month that historically has been a poor performer.

On Monday (the six-year anniversary of Lehman Bros. imploding), stocks finished mostly lower as bonds were hit once again heading into Wednesday's critical Federal Reserve policy meeting statement.

In the end, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index ($INX) lost a fraction as it remains below the 2000 level. The Nasdaq Composite Index ($COMPX) lost 1.1 percent as the approaching Alibaba IPO is sucking the wind out of big tech stocks.

Notably, the Russell 2000 ($TOMX) lost 1.2 percent as it dropped below its 50- and 200-day moving averages.


One analyst thinks the struggling electronics chain could be an attractive buy and complement other commerce initiatives.

By MSN Money Partner Mon 4:59 PM
Credit: © Richard Levine/Demotix/Corbis
Caption: A RadioShack store in Greenwich Village, New York on Aug. 27, 2014By Jennifer Booton, MarketWatch

Investors are giving a nod of approval to news Monday that RadioShack's (RSH) chief financial officer has stepped down amid flagging sales.

However, one analyst has an even more drastic solution to the consumer electronic chain’s turnaround woes: a takeover by Amazon (AMZN).


Rob Peck of SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, who has a buy rating on Amazon, said the ongoing convergence of e-commerce and brick-and-mortar retail makes RadioShack an attractive buy for Amazon.

It would complement other local commerce initiatives run by other e-commerce giants, including the same-day delivery services run by eBay (EBAY) and Google (GOOG) and Amazon’s own grocery delivery business.


Venture capitalist Bill Gurley says Silicon Valley is 'taking on an excessive amount of risk.'

By MSN Money Partner Mon 3:12 PM
Credit: © Marek Mnich/Getty Images
Caption: Close up of smartphone on laptop keyboardBy Jay Yarow, Business Insider

Respected venture capitalist Bill Gurley is sounding the alarm on the startup industry.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Gurley says the current environment reminds him of the tech bubble that formed in the late 1990s.

Every incremental day that goes past I have this feeling a little bit more. I think that Silicon Valley as a whole or that the venture-capital community or startup community is taking on an excessive amount of risk right now. Unprecedented since ‘'99. In some ways less silly than '99 and in other ways more silly than in '99.

Gurley adds, "No one's fearful, everyone's greedy, and it will eventually end."


Oil and natural-gas wells have become more productive -- a potent trend that should keep the fuels flowing.

By MSN Money Partner Mon 2:49 PM
Credit: © Matthew Brown/AP Photo
Caption: a pump jack pulls crude oil from the Bakken region of the Northern Plains near Bainville, Mont.By Russell Gold, The Wall Street Journal

Skeptics of the U.S. energy boom say it can't last much longer because it requires drilling an ever-increasing number of wells.

But the boom already has lasted longer than anyone would have imagined just a decade ago and has more room to run. 

That's because oil and natural-gas wells have become more productive -- an unrecognized but potent trend that should keep the fuels flowing.

Back in 2003, the energy industry had just begun combining the techniques of drilling horizontal bores through shale and then using hydraulic fracturing -- shooting tons of water, chemicals and sand into the rocks.

Tags: XOM

Don't be tempted by these names, whose dividends distract from their otherwise uncompelling stories.

By InvestorPlace Mon 2:32 PM

File photo of a Carnival cruise ship in Nassau Harbour, Providence Island, Bahamas (© Paul Brown/Rex Features)By John Divine

Dividend stocks appeal to the investor's most primal craving: cash. We all know cash is king.

Some investors who are further along in life need steady cash dividends to supplement their retirement. Some investors won't need that cash for many years, though, but that's fine -- dividends can be a tremendous boost to your portfolio if you automatically reinvest them.

However, when the underlying asset producing that cash is at risk, unstable or weakening, investors need to exercise extreme caution.

The following three dividend stocks are long-term traps: The underlying businesses just aren't that great, and poor share-price performance threatens to undercut the gains made from dividends.


Anheuser-Busch is reportedly talking to banks about financing in what could be a roughly $122 billion deal to buy SABMiller.

By MSN Money Partner Sep 15, 2014 2:11PM
Credit: © Francois Lenoir Reuters

Caption: View of the Anheuser-Busch InBev logo outside the brewer's headquartersBy John Kell, Fortune

The world's largest brewers appear to be angling to get even bigger, with reports saying Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD) is in talks with banks to finance a deal to buy SABMiller PLC, which itself sought to buy Dutch brewer Heineken NV in a deal that was rejected.

AB InBev is reportedly talking to banks about financing what could be a roughly $122 billion deal to buy SABMiller, The Wall Street Journal reported, a deal that would combine the globe's top two beer makers. 

A potential merger between those two giants has been rumored for years, a deal that would join AB InBev's portfolio -- which includes Budweiser, Stella Artois and Corona -- with SABMiller's Coors, Miller and Leinenkugel's.

Tags: BUD

Markus 'Notch' Persson says he wasn't motivated by money to close the deal. 'It's about my sanity.'

By MSN Money Partner Sep 15, 2014 1:20PM
Credit: © Paul Hennessy/Newscom/Polaris Images

Caption: Minecraft creator Markus ‘Notch’ PerssonBy Dave Smith, Business Insider

Microsoft (MSFTofficially announced its $2.5 billion purchase of Mojang, the Swedish company behind the ultrapopular game "Minecraft," on Monday. (Microsoft owns and publishes Top Stocks, an MSN Money site.)

Markus "Notch" Persson (pictured), the game's developer, has mixed emotions about the success of his company.

"As soon as this deal is finalized, I will leave Mojang and go back to doing Ludum Dares and small web experiments," Persson said in a blog post. "If I ever accidentally make something that seems to gain traction, I'll probably abandon it immediately."

Persson said he had wanted to step down from the development of Minecraft "a relatively long time ago," but he said he stuck with the team because "people said I was important for the culture, [so] I stayed." 

Tags: MSFT


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[BRIEFING.COM] Equity indices remain near their lows with the S&P 500 trading down 0.8%. The consumer discretionary sector (-1.5%) slumped to the bottom of the leaderboard at the start and the growth-sensitive sector remains behind the other nine groups at this juncture.

High-beta names like (AMZN 321.92, -9.40), Netflix (NFLX 439.80, -17.72), and (PCLN 1157.78, -28.34) have contributed to the underperformance with losses ranging from ... More


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