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


The company is dropping clothing from 10 locations and looking to shutter some Hometown and Hardware stores.

By Kim Peterson Mar 15, 2012 6:15PM
Image: Sears sign© Spencer Platt/Getty Images News/Getty ImagesSears Holdings (SHLD) already said it would close as many as 120 Sears and Kmart stores this year in an effort to turn the business around. But that wasn't enough.

The struggling retailer said Thursday it will have to tighten its belt even more. Sears is now planning to close 43 Hometown stores, 10 Sears Hardware stores and all nine stores in the Great Indoors chain. Hometown stores are independently operated, and sell hardware in mostly rural areas.

Sears is also getting rid of clothing in 10 Sears stores -- perhaps in a test run for a chain-wide initiative in the future. 

Many have held out hope for gold-mining stocks, but negative technical signals actually warned of this week's high-volume decline.

By Mar 15, 2012 5:04PM

Image: Small Stack of gold ingots (© Anthony Bradshaw/Photographer)By Tom Aspray,

The gold miners were hit very hard Wednesday, and the widely watched Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (GDX) fell 3.8%. The fund was flat Thursday. For much of 2011, many investors and analysts have hoped that the mining stocks would finally catch up with gold prices and the primary gold ETF, the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD).

Of course, hope is not a good investment strategy, and the technical readings for gold mining stocks have turned more negative in the past month.


A lot of people just don't know the satellite radio leader.

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day Mar 15, 2012 4:57PM

By Rick Aristotle Munarriz |


How well do you know Sirius XM Radio (SIRI)?


You may know a lot about the history of satellite radio and the merger that stitched XM to Sirius in a company that now combines for 21.9 million subscribers. However, I still see a fair deal of misinformation out there put out by investors, analysts, and financial writers from both the bullish and bearish camps.


I figured I would go over a couple of the things that irk me. Here are two myths that are often said about Sirius XM that are just not fundamentally true.


The US and the UK are reportedly teaming up in an effort to ease prices at the pump.

By Wall St. Cheat Sheet Mar 15, 2012 4:52PM

Image: Gas station © Purestock/Purestock/Getty ImagesThe United States and Britain agreed Thursday to release emergency oil reserves in an effort to prevent high gasoline prices from further crippling the economy, Reuters reported.

A formal U.S. request asking the United Kingdom to release oil from government-controlled reserves is expected shortly, the news service reported, citing sources. The request would follow a meeting Wednesday in Washington between President Barack Obama and Prime Minister David Cameron, who reportedly discussed the issue.


As anticipated, the upscale retailer's profits fell. Management projects a dismal outlook for the full year.

By Benzinga Mar 15, 2012 4:32PM

By Katey Stapleton, Benzinga Staff Writer

As CEOs tend to do, Guess' (GES) Paul Marciano attempted to save face by claiming on an earnings call Wednesday that his company can withstand the dismal economy in Europe. But investors weren't buying it.

Guess shares fell more than 12% in after-hours trading Wednesday. On Thursday, shares fell more than 10% to close at $32.97. The drop reflected expectations that the bleak European market Marciano mentioned would hurt customer spending.


Lloyd Blankfein is in the crosshairs after a former employee accuses the company of ripping off its clients.

By Mar 15, 2012 4:06PM
In the banking equivalent of the shot heard round the world, Goldman Sachs (GS) executive Greg Smith announced his resignation Wednesday in a devastating New York Times opinion piece that accused the firm of ruthlessly exploiting its clients for profit.

Smith assailed Goldman for its "toxic and destructive" business practices and "morally bankrupt" culture, and placed the blame squarely on CEO Lloyd Blankfein. The controversial Goldman boss has already been blasted by lawmakers for his company's dubious deals, and has forked over millions of dollars to settle fraud charges brought by the SEC.  

Unlike many Americans, Bill Weldon has nothing to fear from retirement.

By Melly Alazraki Mar 15, 2012 3:21PM

Image: Bundles of US one hundred dollar bills in bird © Don Farrall/Photodisc/Getty ImagesBill Weldon is stepping down next month as Johnson & Johnson's (JNJ) CEO, but he will remain chairman of the board. When he eventually retires from the chairman position, he stands to collect a package currently valued at $143.5 million. As Napoleon Dynamite would put it: "sweet!"


Weldon's package, as reported by Dow Jones based on the company's filing, breaks down to two main components. The first is accumulated-pension benefits valued at $48.4 million. The second is accumulated deferred compensation, which amounts to $95.1 million.

Tags: JNJ

The company made the moves hours after the Federal Reserve announced the latest stress-test results.

By Jim J. Jubak Mar 15, 2012 2:33PM
That didn't take long.

Hours after the Federal Reserve announced on March 13 that US Bancorp (USB) was one of the 15 financial companies that had passed its annual stress test (for more on the stress-test and winners and losers see my post) and could therefore go ahead with plans to raise dividends and increase its share buyback program -- the Minnesota-based bank did exactly that.

The board of directors approved a 56% increase in dividends to a quarterly 19.5 cents a share (78 cents annually) payable on April 16 to shareholders of record on March 30.
Tags: USB

The company is on track for growth -- with or without approval of the Keystone XL pipeline.

By TheStockAdvisors Mar 15, 2012 2:19PM
By Roger Conrad, The Utility Forecaster

TransCanada Corp. (TRP) has underperformed every other North American pipeline company since early November 2011.

That's when the Obama administration officially put the company's Keystone XL project on hold. Despite this move, we view the stock as a core holding in our model growth portfolio. 
Tags: TRP

The young-adult book series helped Scholastic achieve a great quarter, and shares of Lions Gate have risen on its movie plans.

By Kim Peterson Mar 15, 2012 1:49PM
"The Hunger Games" is exactly what Scholastic (SCHL) needed.

Strong interest in the young-adult series is generating oodles of cash for the book publisher. As a result, the company beat expectations for its most recent quarter and raised its outlook for the full year.

Sales of the series of novels have spiked, the company said, as anticipation grows ahead of next week's release of the big-screen adaptation of the first book in the series. 

The search engine's stock has slumped this year, while its rivals' shares have taken off.

By Jonathan Berr Mar 15, 2012 12:58PM
Image: Google © Bloomberg, Getty ImagesCongratulations to Google's (GOOG) public-relations department. It managed to persuade The Wall Street Journal to write an article on its plans to "fix the shortcomings of today's technology and maintain its dominant market share" -- without saying much new.

This is a transparent attempt to drum up interest in its shares, which are down about 4% this year, while rivals Microsoft (MSFT) and Apple (AAPL) have both risen by double digits. Investors are still smarting over the search engine giant's disappointing fourth-quarter results. 

This high-flying tech stock shows no signs of slowing down.

By InvestorPlace Mar 15, 2012 12:24PM

By Jeff Reeves


Apple (AAPL) is arguably the most amazing tech company in history. It has redefined how we listen to music and use our phones, and it has almost single-handedly moved the world beyond the idea of desktop computers and tactile keyboards.


As an investment, the stock is equally amazing. The latest milestone for Apple is that it briefly traded above $600 a share Thursday morning. And that raises an important question: How long can Apple stock keep up this kind of growth?


The answer: Probably for a long time to come.


AMD is upgraded to 'buy,' and Ariad Pharmaceuticals is initiated with a 'buy.'

By MSN Money Partner Mar 15, 2012 11:21AM
Information provided by

Thursday's noteworthy upgrades include:
  • Invesco Mortgage (IVR) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at FBR Capital
  • Public Storage (PSA) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse
  • Level 3 (LVLT) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at BofA/Merrill
  • AMD (AMD) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Jefferies
  • Union Pacific (UNP) upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Barclays
  • Veeco (VECO) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank
  • Aixtron (AIXG) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank

Helping customers slim down adds profits to this company's bottom line.

By TheStockAdvisors Mar 15, 2012 10:18AM
By Mark Skousen, Hedge Fund Trader Alert

More than two-thirds of adult Americans are overweight. By 2015, the number of overweight and obese people in the world is estimated to reach 3 billion.

A growing number of them are doing something about it -- as well as exercising more, dieting and eating better. That’s where Weight Watchers International (WTW), the world’s leading provider of weight-management services, comes into play. 
Tags: WTW

As long as Fed oversight status of the nation's largest life insurer is up in the air, investors should take a pass.

By InvestorPlace Mar 15, 2012 8:54AM

By Dan Burrows

It's been almost four long years since too-big-to-fail insurer American International Group (AIG) required a massive bailout to prevent the financial system from imploding, but the bailout still haunts the insurance industry.

MetLife (MET), the nation's largest life insurer, was one of four companies to fail the Federal Reserve's recent stress test, joining Citibank (C), SunTrust Banks (STI) and Ally Financial. MetLife was subject to the stress test because it owns a bank that it can't get rid of fast enough.



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