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Up next: Biggest bank IPO ever

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


The prospect of an operating loss for the current quarter was enough to cause investors to throw up their hands in disgust and walk away from the stock.

By The Fiscal Times Feb 1, 2012 5:40PM
Image: young woman reading from Kindle (© Reggie Casagrande/Photographer)By Suzanne McGee, The Fiscal Times
Investors have a zero-tolerance policy for companies that disappoint these days, and that's why they spent much of Wednesday unloading shares of Amazon (AMZN) after the company's lackluster fourth-quarter earnings report late Tuesday. (The shares opened below $174 after closing the previous session above $194.)

It’s not so much that the company’s results fell dramatically short of expectations -- they didn't -- but that the contrast between higher revenues and sliding profits appeared more dramatic in light of Amazon’s somewhat bearish projections for the first quarter. 

Does its appearance in the charts say much about where the market is headed?

By Kim Peterson Feb 1, 2012 5:23PM
Image: Crystal ball (© Brand X Pictures/Jupiterimages)Traders are rejoicing that a "Golden Cross" briefly appeared in the Standard & Poor's 500 Index ($INX). But does it actually mean that much?

Some think so. In fact, the Golden Cross seems to be a better indicator about where the stock market is headed than the other side of the coin, which would be the "Death Cross." The S&P 500 usually gains about 10.2% in the 12 months following a Golden Cross, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The Death Cross? Despite its terrifying name, it leads to an average 3.5% gain for the S&P 500.  

Changes to the company's privacy policy promise to exchange value for information.

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day Feb 1, 2012 4:23PM

By Tim Beyers


Skeptics and cheerleaders alike have long wondered when Google (GOOG) would become Big Brother. Mark Jan. 27 as the day it happened.


Four days ago, the Big G announced changes to its privacy policy that, in effect, allow all of its distinct products to actively share and act upon data comprehensively. You can look at this in one of two ways:


This monthly scan is helpful for identifying which stocks may be too risky for new buying. It also turns up a pair of compelling 'buy' candidates.

By Feb 1, 2012 3:24PM

Image: Arrow Up (© Image Source/Photolibrary)By Tom Aspray,

The stock market's best January performance since 1997 has certainly changed the outlook of many investors. 

In January 1997, the S&P 500 gained 6.1% versus 4.4% in 2012. In 1997, the S&P 500 rose another 4% and peaked on February 22 before starting a seven-week decline that took the index below the prior year's close.


All investors can do is wait and see after the online retailer reports lackluster sales.

By Jim Cramer Feb 1, 2012 3:05PM

By Jim Cramer


Amazon (AMZN)? Buy? Sell? I know you may not want to hear this, but I don't know. When I finished that conference call, I was scratching my head. Big-time.


First, I expected that the company, which told us that it would spend to win, would blow out the revenues. Nope. It posted unexciting revenues and made me feel that its growth is slowing.


EU regulators may have killed the merger with Deutsche Boerse, but the NYSE remains a very attractive business -- and an inexpensive stock.

By The Fiscal Times Feb 1, 2012 2:58PM
NYSEBy Suzanne McGee, The Fiscal Times

The stock price of NYSE Euronext (NYX) sank 1.8% in trading on its own exchange Tuesday as traders and investors braced for word that the European Commission would block the company's proposed merger with Deutsche Boerse AG as being anticompetitive. Their fears were realized as the EU ruled against the merger Wednesday.

Strictly speaking, the regulators are probably right: In the short run, at least, the merger would have left investors with fewer independently owned trading platforms. But does that really matter in the global financial world we inhabit? And should investors really respond to the prospect of the failed merger by dumping their holdings in NYSE Euronext? 

The company's huge cash hoard is prompting speculation.

By Feb 1, 2012 2:30PM

Image: Businessman and businesswoman with blank check (© Image Source Pink/Getty Images)By Chad Fraser, Investing Daily

In the wake of the latest earnings from Apple (AAPL),'s Gordon Wilcox wrote the following: "It might be par for the course with Apple, but investors certainly still enjoy seeing the maker of iPhones and iPads crush Wall Street estimates come earnings time."

So they did last Wednesday, sending the shares up 6.2% to around $446.66. Here's what had investors in such a good mood:


The bank is hoping for opportunities when new rules force other Spanish institutions to go under or sell out.

By Jim J. Jubak Feb 1, 2012 2:11PM
Image: Arrow Down Umbrella (© Photographers Choice RF/SuperStock)When do you demand that all your competitors report kitchen-sink quarters? When you're convinced that their kitchen sinks are bigger than yours -- and when you believe that some at least will go under from the effort of heaving them out the window.

The huge plunge in fourth-quarter earnings at Banco Santander (STD), Spain's biggest bank, drew most of the attention Tuesday after the company reported its financial results. Net income fell for the quarter to 47 million euros from 2.1 billion euros a year earlier. The results fell just a bit short of the consensus Wall Street estimate of 1.78 billion euros for the quarter. (Banco Santander is a member of my Dividend Income portfolio.)
Tags: STD

Finding great long-term investments is easy, if you've done huge amounts of groundwork and study. But there are some short cuts.

By Feb 1, 2012 2:09PM

Image: Arrow Up (© moodboard/Corbis)By J. Royden Ward, Cabot Benjamin Graham Value Letter

How can you adapt what I have learned during the past several decades and create your own simplified investment approach? 

Very easy. I can get you on your way to steady, above-average profits using just two metrics: the Standard & Poor's Quality Ranking and the PEG ratio.

Tags: FDX

Nah. In fact, it won't even crack the top 10.

By InvestorPlace Feb 1, 2012 1:35PM

Image: Stock market (© Digital Vision/SuperStock)By Jeff Reeves

Ready for the largest IPO in history? Well, you'll have to keep waiting because Facebook won't be it.

Facebook filed documents for its initial public offering of stock as early as Wednesday. According to a report from Bloomberg, Morgan Stanley (MS) has been selected as lead underwriter, a bit of a black eye for Goldman Sachs (GS). The Facebook IPO valuation is fluid, but could push into 12 figures. And most importantly, the initial Facebook stock offering will garner about $5 billion in new funds for the social media company to grow.


Overall sales are expected to increase by 7% for the month, continuing solid momentum from 2011.

By Kim Peterson Feb 1, 2012 1:28PM
Image: Car salesman showing couple new silver hatchback in car showroom © Juice Images/Cultura/Getty ImagesUpdated 3:50 p.m. ET

Automakers have big sales expectations for 2012. And so far, it looks like they're going to match those predictions with no problem.

Judging by January's sales numbers, the industry appears poised to build on what turned out to be a very solid 2011. Most automakers saw sales gains from a year earlier, and this time, they didn't have to slash prices and offer other incentives to make those sales.

Chrysler continued an impressive streak of blowing sales out of the water. The automaker said U.S. sales rose 44% in January to 101,149 vehicles. It was Chrysler's best January sales in four years. 

Here's a way to roll the dice on the long-term growth of gaming in China.

By TheStockAdvisors Feb 1, 2012 12:54PM
Image: Dice on stock listings (© Kate Kunz/CorbisBy Nicholas Vardy, Bull Market Alert

Our latest featured stock, Melco Crown Entertainment Limited (MPEL), is a play on "Asia's Las Vegas."

Melco is an operator of casino gaming and entertainment resort facilities focused on the fast-growing Macau market -- the only Chinese city in which casinos are legal. Macau became the world's biggest gambling hub in 2006, overtaking the Las Vegas strip in terms of revenues that year. 
Tags: MPEL

More and more young people are tweeting, especially as their parents ease into Mark Zuckerberg's social network.

By Feb 1, 2012 12:36PM

Image: Teens with MP3 player (© RubberBall/SuperStock)Has Facebook lost its cool? An increasing number of teenagers, apparently turned off by the graying of Mark Zuckerberg's 800-million+ users social network, are making the digital trek over to Twitter. Here's what you should know:

 A newly released report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project found a "slow, but steady" increase in the number of teens using Twitter, says Martha Irvine for the Associated Press. Two years ago, just 8% of kids ages 12 to 17 were using Twitter. By last July, that number had doubled to 16%.


Seagate is upgraded to 'overweight,' while T. Rowe Price is downgraded to 'sell.'

By MSN Money Partner Feb 1, 2012 12:00PM
Information provided by

Wednesday's noteworthy upgrades include:
  • Citigroup (C) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Wells Fargo
  • First Horizon (FHN) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Wells Fargo
  • Archer Daniels (ADM) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at BMO Capital
  • Eli Lilly (LLY) upgraded to Neutral from Sell at MKM Partners
  • Seagate (STX) upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Barclays

This must-buy big name is solid and growing strongly -- and it's a bargain.

By InvestorPlace Feb 1, 2012 11:40AM

Thomas Barwick/Photodisc/Getty ImagesBy Lawrence Meyers

Some of the world's greatest investments are often sitting right under your nose. While rummaging through my garage the other day, I came across a hammer. I know what you're thinking: I'm going to talk about Home Depot (HD). Nope, I'm going one better. Home Depot has to shell out a lot of money to build and maintain these stores.

Instead, I'm going to talk about a company whose name requires Home Depot to stock its products. That name is Stanley Black & Decker (SWK).



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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%).

Equity indices displayed strength in the early going with the S&P 500 tagging the 2,019 level during the opening 30 minutes of the action. However, ... More


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