A Mexican wave for Big Oil?
Mexico opens way for Big Oil

New legislation is allowing foreign companies to finally invest in the country's vast oil reserves.

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The country is reportedly preparing to ask for aid. US home prices rise. GM and Chrysler post sales gains, but Ford's sales are flat. MetroPCS soars on a deal rumor. PetSmart will replace Sunoco in the S&P 500.

By Melly Alazraki Oct 2, 2012 9:14AM
stock marketLast updated at 12:25 p.m. ET

U.S. stocks turned mostly negative as concerns over a global slowdown and its effect on earnings offset earlier optimism arising from speculation that Spain would soon request a much-anticipated bailout. Many observers hope an aid package will alleviate the eurozone debt crisis. Meanwhile, General Motors and Chrysler reported sales gains in September, while Ford's sales were flat.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ($INDU) was down 56 points at 13,460. The S&P 500 ($INX) was down 1 point at 1,443. The Nasdaq Composite ($COMPX) was up 1 point at 3,114.

Microsoft (MSFT) and Intel (INTC) were among the few Dow stocks that remained positive, while DuPont (DD), Caterpillar (CAT) and J.P. Morgan Chase (JPM) were among the laggards. 

This social-media company has an edge on mobile, and the market is realizing it.

By Jim Cramer Oct 2, 2012 9:00AM

TheStreet.com logoStephen Morris, Vetta, Getty ImagesDon't look now, but Yelp (YELP) is about to take out its high. That's right, a social-media company that's regaining lost ground in a truly terrific run, no doubt aided by Yelp's inclusion in Apple's (AAPL) new iPhone 5.


Yelp has been one of the nuttiest of the IPOs, in part because the stock has been totally out of whack with the other players. For example, it got pressed down beyond all belief ahead of a lock-up expiration, and then when not as much stock came in for sale, even though a ton actually did, the darned thing roared, no doubt encouraged by a huge short position.

 

I have liked Yelp ever since I interviewed the company's CEO, Jeremy Stoppelman, on the day it went public. It was easy to like, because in a world where people are gravitating from desktop to smartphone, few companies have the edge that Yelp does.

 

It's almost certain that the region's economy has slipped into a recession again.

By Jim J. Jubak Oct 1, 2012 5:45PM
Image: Europe (Photodisc/SuperStock)More evidence -- in case you needed it -- is showing that Europe has slipped back into recession in the third quarter. And the newest economic danger zone is named France.

In September, Europe’s manufacturing sector suffered its worst decline since 2009, according to the Markit Economics purchasing managers index released Monday morning.

Two countries in the eurozone did manage to show growth in their manufacturing sectors -- Ireland at 51.8 and the Netherlands at 50.7. (In this index any number above 50 shows that the economy or sector is growing. Less than 50 and the economy or sector is in contraction.)

After those two countries, though, the data was grim indeed.
 

Children with brokerage accounts appear to have an uncanny knack for making good trades ahead of earnings and takeover announcements, a study finds.

By Kim Peterson Oct 1, 2012 5:33PM
Image: Baby with money -- Creatas, PhotolibraryStock market researchers noticed a funny thing recently when combing through mountains of transaction data: Children are extraordinary investors.

Kids with underaged investor accounts get it right a lot of the time. How could this be? Should we all be betting on Disney (DIS) and Mattel (MAT)? Is there some secret kindergarten course on cash flow and call options?

The answer may be a little more sinister than you think.

The team of researchers studied the transactions of more than 500,000 people from 1995 through 2010. They studied investors trading on the Nasdaq OMX Helsinki exchange, combing through data from Euroclear, a company that settles securities transactions in Europe. 
Tags: DISMAT

The retailer is being sued on claims that it copied Minnetonka's 'Thunderbird' design.

By Benzinga Oct 1, 2012 4:47PM
Target store in San Bruno, California /Justin Sullivan/Getty Images By Katey Stapleton

As frigid weather sets in throughout the U.S., warm and comfy apparel becomes a necessity. Retail giant Target (TGT) is rolling out boots and slippers for the season, but may have to rethink a certain pair of shoes after getting slapped with a lawsuit from Minnetonka Moccasins.


According to The Huffington Post, Minnetonka believes Target snagged its "Thunderbird" design when it placed a beaded bird on the toe of similar looking shoes. Court documents reveal that Target once tapped Minnetonka to begin selling the brand in stores, which the moccasin maker clearly rejected.


Minnetonka, known for its celebrity clientele and reliable footwear, sells signature moccasins for higher prices than Target customers are likely willing to pay.

 

The luxury car market has generally remained insulated from Europe's debt troubles, but that may be changing.

By Trefis Oct 1, 2012 1:47PM
Need for Speed copyright Mark Evans, The Agency Collection, Getty ImagesMercedes-Benz, owned by Daimler AG (DAI), has warned that adverse market conditions in Europe and a Chinese slowdown could dent its second-half profits. 

Chinese auto sales are up 4.1% only through August, while European sales have declined for 11 months in a row with August sales down 8.9%.


The luxury car market in Europe has generally remained insulated from the debt crisis but that might no longer remain true with automakers sounding gloomy about their forecasts. 


Even Porsche (owned by Audi), whose sales are up 15% in the first half of the year, recently announced that it is hesitant to increase production as it anticipates sales growth to slow down in 2013.

 
Tags: DAI

But saying that clicks don't matter won't be an easy sell.

By Jonathan Berr Oct 1, 2012 1:19PM
Couple with laptop copyright Daly and Newton, OJO Images, Getty ImagesFacebook (FB), whose shares have slumped more than 40% this year, needs to convince companies that it's worth the money to advertise on its site -- or else it will never recover from what many analysts consider to be the worst IPO in history. 

The pioneering social network's latest effort to address this vexing challenge is to change the subject.

According to Reuters
, the company is trying to convince advertisers that "clicks" are not the only way to measure the effectiveness of advertisements. The reason Facebook is making this argument is that "fewer than 1% of in-store sales tied to brand advertising campaigns on Facebook come from people who clicked on an ad," the news service says. 

Facebook, along with its partner Datalogix, can now give marketers data on sales generated from advertisements on the social network, which would enable them to target their messages more effectively.
 
Tags: FB

General Electric continues to lower its liquidity risk by shrinking the balance sheet of its finance arm and growing its bank deposits.

By TheStreet Staff Oct 1, 2012 1:08PM

TheStreet.com logoImage, Bank Vault copyright Corbis, CorbisBy Philip van Doorn


General Electric (GE) learned its liquidity lesson during the 1998 financial crisis, and concluded, "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" by moving from banking shadows into the light over the past four years.


While it may seem ironic to some investors, GE Capital is continuing to lower its liquidity risk by growing its bank deposits.


This may even lower the likelihood of another government backstop for the GE's finance arm, in the event of another major liquidity crisis, like the one we saw in late 2008.

 

Stocks climb on data showing US manufacturing grew unexpectedly in September.

By MSN Money Partner Oct 1, 2012 12:59PM
Image, Wall Street sign, copyright Corbis, SuperStockBarron's said over the weekend that Goldman Sachs (GS) shares could rally 25% in the next year and about 4% of the predicted move higher came during early trading Monday.

Among the notable stock market gainers were Ceradyne (CRDN), up 43% to $34.92 after agreeing to be acquired by 3M (MMM) for $35 per share, and Versant (VSNT), up 15% to $11.33 following its deal to be to be acquired by UNICOM Systems for $11.50 per share. 

Among the noteworthy losers was Gordmans Stores (GMAN), down over 24% after the company warned its same-store sales declined 2.1% quarter to date and cut its earnings view. Also lower were shares of Wendy's (WEN), which slid about 5% following a downgrade to a "neutral" rating at Janney Capital. 
 
Tags: GSMMMWEN

MSN Money's Anthony Mirhaydari discusses the presidential race and offers some investment advice.

By MSN Money Partner Oct 1, 2012 12:42PM
With the presidential race shifting into high gear, MSN Money columnist Anthony Mirhaydari explains in the following video how Republican candidate Mitt Romney's recent 47% comment hit a nerve on both sides of the political aisle.

To fix the economic problems the candidates refer to, Mirhaydari suggests structural changes, specifically labor market reforms. He also offers some investment advice. 

Just in time for the holiday shopping season, Amazon rolls out an impressively beautiful device.

By TheWeek.com Oct 1, 2012 12:27PM

Amazon.com logo copyright Spencer Platt, Getty ImagesWhen it was first announced in September, Amazon's (AMZN) new flagship e-reader, the Kindle Paperwhite, inspired a cheery chorus of wows from the tech press, mostly due to its innovative new "Paperwhite" display. 


The high-contrast e-ink touchscreen doesn't strain the eyes the same way an iPad display does, but still lets users read in the dark, thanks to a front-lit display. 


Now, tech product reviewers actually have their hands on the gadget, and they're noticing even more impressive features: A long-lasting battery that reportedly can go eight full weeks between charges; optional take-anywhere 3G (you'll pay $119 for WiFi only with ads; $139 for WiFi ad-free; and $179 for 3G); and access to Amazon's unrivaled selection of digital books and media. 


With the holiday buying frenzy just around the corner, is the new Kindle Paperwhite the e-reader to get? 

 
Tags: AMZN

The smartphone maker is looking to purchase a mobile content provider, but which one will it be?

By Benzinga Oct 1, 2012 12:21PM
Image, Teens with MP3 player copyright RubberBall, SuperStockBy Louis Bedigian 

Samsung wants to acquire an unspecified number of mobile content providers to compete more effectively against Apple (AAPL), Amazon (AMZN), and Google (GOOG).


While Pandora (P) is likely to be mentioned in any feature speculating which companies Samsung should acquire, Spotify would be a much better buy. Pandora may have more users, but Spotify has superior licensing agreements, which are much more valuable. Samsung could use those agreements to build the best streaming-music service ever created. (In many ways, Spotify has already accomplished that.)


As tempting as that company may be, however, there are others that Samsung should examine first if it is serious about becoming a leader in mobile content.

 

Revenue per employee is one way to measure a company's efficiency. Based on that, the energy giant tops the mega-caps.

By InvestorPlace Oct 1, 2012 12:12PM

Oil derricks copyright Comstock, CorbisBy Jeff Reeves


iplogoThere are many metrics of efficiency these days. But it's undeniable that the lean and mean companies are the ones investors like best.


After all, many companies -- I'm looking at you, UBS (UBS), Bank of America (BAC) and the rest of the financial sector planning layoffs -- have tried to cut their way to profitability lately amid the absence of top-line growth. And while that's not a long-term plan, it certainly can result in nice gains for investors in the near term.


So which players are the most efficient on Wall Street?


I looked at the top 15 stocks by market cap -- spanning a host of industries, including Big Pharma, telecom, consumer goods, retail and technology -- to see if I could spot some trends by dissecting a simple metric: revenue per employee.


It's basic math. Take the revenue, divide by the number of full timers, and you see who's got bloat and who doesn't.

 

Its stock has risen by 48% in the past year, making the search giant the world's second-largest technology company.

By Kim Peterson Oct 1, 2012 12:10PM
While Apple (AAPL) and Facebook (FB) have grabbed the headlines this year, Google's (GOOG) shares have quietly made incredible gains.

Google's stock price has risen 48% in the past year, fueled by a stabilizing search advertising business and investor enthusiasm over the company's growing wireless segment.

Google's rise helped it hit a notable milestone Monday. The company's market value briefly surpassed that of Microsoft (MSFT), making Google the world's second-largest technology company behind Apple. 

The struggling chain tries to erase its 'fast food' image.

By Jonathan Berr Oct 1, 2012 11:56AM
Image, Philly Cheese Steak, copyright FoodCollection, SuperStock, SuperStockArby's, which Wendy's (WEN) sold last year to Roark Capital Group for $430 million, is trying to reboot its brand. Through its new advertising campaign -- "Slicing Up the Truth About Freshness" -- the chain hopes to reposition itself as a purveyor of fresh rather than fast food. 

That's not going to be an easy sell, because it's been tried before.

Ever since it was founded, in 1964, Arby's has prided itself on offering a different sort of fast food -- namely, roast beef sandwiches, which are really yummy. The company, though, is proud that it was the first fast-food chain to offer a "complete light menu" in 1991. 

Ten years later, the company expanded its healthier offerings and introduced the Market Fresh line of sandwiches and salads. In 2008, Wendy's agreed to be acquired by Nelson Pelz's Triac, which controlled Arby's. The company took the Wendy's name, and the Arby's chain languished for years. The company tried pushing the freshness of its food again last year with its "Good Mood Food" campaign, but the message didn't stick.
 
Tags: MCDWEN

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