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Loyalty programs and in-house brands provide the drugstore with much higher profit margins than other products.

By Trefis Mar 26, 2012 12:28PM
Image: Lipstick (© Stockbyte/PictureQuest)CVS Caremark (CVS) will close the shutters on its high-end beauty retail stores Beauty360 and the corresponding e-commerce business to focus on the growth of its core CVS pharmacy beauty business. 

The move is motivated by the success of its Beauty Club loyalty program and the performance of its in-house brand Nuance Salma Hayek launched last year. It intends to focus its efforts in the beauty retail sector through its 7,300 strong CVS drugstore network.
 

The current CEO has a long track record of success in the restaurant business.

By TheStockAdvisors Mar 26, 2012 12:07PM
Image: Hamburger (© BananaStock/Jupiterimages)By George Putnam, The Turnaround Letter

Wendy's (WEN) began in 1969 as a single restaurant in Columbus, Ohio, named after founder Dave Thomas' daughter. Now it has more than 6,500 restaurants in the U.S. and 27 in other countries.

Wendy's has a number of the characteristics that we like to see in a turnaround situation: a well-known brand, renewed focus, a new management team with turnaround experience, decent financials and a large shareholder with a lot at stake. 
Tags: MCDWENYUM

Getting viewers' attention remains a challenge for the company, which spends billions every year on advertising.

By Jonathan Berr Mar 26, 2012 11:58AM
Image: Businessman watching television (© Image Source/Corbis)Coca-Cola's (KO) first commercial was produced in conjunction with a television special featuring ventriloquist Edgar Bergen and his dummy Charlie McCarthy. It ran on Thanksgiving Day 1950. 

These days, the No. 1 soda maker is much less enthusiastic about 30-second spots.
 

The biggest plays at the NCAA tournament happen off the courts -- in luxury suites and at meet-and-greets as businesses try to woo their biggest customers.

By TheStreet Staff Mar 26, 2012 11:51AM

The Final Four is presumably about the NCAA men's basketball championship, but some of the best games in New Orleans are being played on smartphones, in luxury suites and behind the flaps of corporate hospitality tents.

 

The Final Four is one of little more than a handful of in-demand events routinely circled on the corporate calendar, as regional vice presidents and chief executives all too familiar with the Pareto Principle (80% of sales come from 20% of your clients) try to impress their most valuable vendors. Jacob Turnage, co-founder and vice president of marketing for Atlanta-based organizer of high-end sports hospitality EB Corporate routinely counts the Final Four among the "Big Six" corporate hospitality events that include the Super Bowl, the Masters Tournament, tennis' U.S. Open, the Kentucky Derby and, this year, the Ryder Cup.

 

Safeway is downgraded to 'neutral' at Credit Suisse, and WABCO Holdings is initiated with a 'neutral' at Goldman.

By MSN Money Partner Mar 26, 2012 11:11AM
Information provided by Theflyonthewall.com

Monday's noteworthy upgrades include:
  • DTE Energy (DTE) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Macquarie
  • Wisconsin Energy (WEC) upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Barclays
  • Philip Morris (PM) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Davenport
  • Lorillard (LO) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Davenport
  • Lions Gate (LGF) upgraded to Average from Below Average at Caris
 

The popular apparel chain keeps posting profits, and competitors wonder what goes into its secret sauce.

By TheWeek.com Mar 26, 2012 10:44AM
Investors expected little from Lululemon (LULU) when it began selling shares at $2 a pop in 2007. The maker of Wunder Under pants and other yoga women's wear hardly seemed like a player in the competitive world of retail sportswear. Five years later, Lululemon's stock has hit $76, and the company is valued at $10 billion -- more than the clothing behemoth J.C. Penney.

Last week, Lululemon posted a quarterly profit of $74 million; reported sales growth for the twelfth straight quarter; and, fittingly, opened a Boston store with a yoga class and dance party for 500 neon-clad guests.  
Tags: LULU

Verizon is a solid payer, and Vodafone even offers growth potential.

By InvestorPlace Mar 26, 2012 10:23AM

By Charles Sizemore

 

"It's hip to be square."
-- Huey Lewis and the News

 

It's a funny world we live in. Investments that would have been considered the domain of widows and orphans a decade ago are now downright trendy.

 

I'm talking, of course, about dividend-paying stocks. During the raging bull markets of the 1980s and 1990s and the housing boom of the 2000s, investors gave little thought to the income being thrown off by their investments. When you could flip a tech stock -- or a house -- in a couple of months and walk away with a 50% gain, earning a couple extra dollars from dividends seemed a little petty.

 

Despite worries about China, continued growth prospects for the global construction machinery maker are on target.

By Gene Marcial Mar 26, 2012 9:59AM

Caterpillar (CAT) shares climbed to a 52-week high of $116.95 on Feb. 24. The move caused jitters among most investors rather than instilling confidence in the world's largest producer of earth-moving equipment. But some close Caterpillar watchers and big investors see little reason for investors to panic.

 

Of late, any headlines that may affect CAT's operations create nervousness, even among some bulls. And when the disturbing news involves China's vast market, many shareholders feel unhinged. The concern is further exacerbated by some analysts and bears who can't wait to see the stock push back.

 

After this most remarkable quarter, will analysts change their tune?

By Jim Cramer Mar 26, 2012 9:53AM

It's the end of the quarter, and I still don't hear anything other than the heartless "bonds are overvalued, sell bonds, buy stocks." The whole exercise is less bloodless than the quick shows of triumph in "Hunger Games."

 

Last week was about as dramatic as I have heard the equity case be made, when Goldman Sachs (GS) said that "The Long Good Buy" for bonds is now over and that people should buy stocks. As is so often the case when all reports are written for hedge funds and companies that run trillions of dollars in assets, it is all about the

S&P 500 ($INX) being cheap compared with bonds, as if owning the ETF for the index is all that people do. 

Electronic retailers are trying hard to maintain their edge as online players like Amazon bring significant changes to the industry.

By Trefis Mar 26, 2012 9:08AM
It looks like competition and shifting consumer trends are getting the better of consumer electronics retailer RadioShack (RSH). It faces competition from retailers such as Wal-Mart (WMT), Target (TGT) and Best Buy (BBY) as well as online players like Amazon (AMZN) and eBay (EBAY).

Increasing online penetration and the advancement in mobile technology have changed the dynamics of the consumer retail industry. Retail companies are leaving no stone unturned to remain competitive as customers become smarter, more aware and more tech savvy. 

The search giant appoints 3 new board members, while the Internet pioneer seeks help finding buyers for its patents.

By TheStreet Staff Mar 26, 2012 7:49AM

By Andrea Tse

 

Updated at 9:13 a.m. ET

 

Yahoo (YHOO) appointed three new directors to its board, setting it up for a proxy fight with Third Point LLC, one of its largest shareholders. Hedge fund Third Point, which owns a 5.8% stake in Yahoo, last week launched a bid to gain four seats on the Internet company's board. Yahoo's nominees are John Hayes, the chief marketing officer of American Express (AXP)' Peter Liguori, the former chief operating officer of Discovery Communications (DISCA); and Thomas McInerney, the outgoing chief financial officer of IAC/InterActiveCorp (IACI).

 

AOL (AOL) hired Evercore Partners to find a buyer for its more than 800 patents and explore other strategic options, Bloomberg reported, citing three people with knowledge of the situation. Private-equity firms including Providence Equity Partners, TPG Capital and Silver Lake have approached AOL about taking the company private, yet the overtures haven't resulted in a deal. Evercore is trying to help AOL wring value from a patent portfolio that some experts estimate can yield more than $1 billion in licensing income.

 

Google's core business will erode as 'intelligent' software delivers answers without its search ads.

By MoneyShow.com Mar 26, 2012 2:25AM

By Igor Greenwald 


There's a tech behemoth out there with a fast-growing business, a good-looking chart, a huge stockpile of cash and total dominance of one of the most lucrative markets on earth. And it belongs on an endangered-species list.


No, not Apple (AAPL), no matter how hot its iPad gets. Apple's consumer cult and monopoly on products aren't going away anytime soon, while recent revenue growth of 73% suggests it's steamrolling what currently passes for competition.

 

The release would represent a 15% total stake in the company.

By Benzinga Mar 26, 2012 2:21AM

By Brett Callwood, Benzinga Staff Writer


Zynga (ZNGA) founder and CEO Mark Pincus is planning on selling 43 million Class A shares, massively increasing the social-gaming company's public float.


According to the Wall Street Journal, Zynga will not receive any proceeds from the offering, which the company filed for earlier this month, although it did not disclose any details at that time.

 

Design and manufacturing problems with the fighter jets jeopardize the Pentagon's largest contract.

By Trefis Mar 23, 2012 2:43PM
Lockheed Martin (LMT) has run into serious cost overruns in its quest to deliver the first 63 F-35 fighter jets under its flagship program with the Pentagon. 

There have been cost excesses from the Pentagon's side, as well, resulting in combined overruns of more than $1 billion in the Defense Department's costliest program to date. 
 
Tags: BALMTRTN

As of last year, China had more than a million millionaires -- and not only do they love to shop, they adore brand names like Louis Vuitton and Chanel.

By The Fiscal Times Mar 23, 2012 1:53PM
Image: Woman with shopping bags (© Tanya Constantine/Getty Images)By Suzanne McGee, The Fiscal Times  The Fiscal Times

Investors looking to tap into the growth of a consumer economy in China have tended to flock to companies like Yum Brands (YUM), which is intent on ensuring that every citizen from Beijing to Guangzhou and as far west as Urumqi has easy access to Kentucky Fried Chicken.

But there's another part of the Chinese consumer story -- a more upscale dimension.  

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[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market finished an upbeat week on a mixed note. The S&P 500 shed less than a point, ending the week higher by 1.3%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (+0.1%) cemented a 1.7% advance for the week. High-beta names underperformed, which weighed on the Nasdaq Composite (-0.3%) and the Russell 2000 (-1.3%).

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