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For these supermarket giants, paying more attention to prices would better support stock valuations -- if it's not too late.

By Minyanville Jan 30, 2012 11:37AM

George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty ImagesBy Ronald Thomas, CFA

I have always thought that too many investment analysts, at least where the consumer sector is concerned, do not pay enough attention to marketing and marketing strategy, and spend too much time playing with financial ratios. Many analysts overlook the relative prices companies charge consumers versus their competitors. They then do not sound an alarm for potential future market share losses and the effect that will have on stock valuations. In the food retailing area, Safeway (SWY) and SurperValu (SVU) are examples.


Safeway's prices are about 18% higher than Walmart's (WMT), and 11% higher than Kroger (KR).

 

The maker of Enfamil was cleared in a recent health scare, but it may be too late to prevent other pressures from biting at the stock.

By MoneyShow.com Jan 30, 2012 11:08AM

By Jim Jubak


Mead Johnson Nutrition (MJN) on Thursday reported fourth-quarter earnings of 52 cents a share, a penny above Wall Street estimates, and revenue of $911.3 million, above the Wall Street consensus of $894.04 million.

 

On the news, the stock closed up at $74.01. That $74 a share was the price I set for an exit in the aftermath of the death of a baby in Missouri that had consumed the company's Enfamil baby formula from a Cronobacter infection. 

 

To me, the stock is now a sell.

 
Tags: MJN

One analyst makes a case for boosting the stock's price target to $650.

By TheStockAdvisors Jan 30, 2012 10:47AM
By Geoffrey Seiler, BullMarket.com

Apple (AAPL) has returned to its winning ways, reporting that it had more than doubled its profit and totally blowing away sales expectations for its iPhone and iPad and its Mac computers.

Revenue surged by 73% year over year. It was an absolute monster quarter. The results easily outdistanced the already heady expectations for holiday sales. The company sold 37.04 million iPhones worldwide, up 128% from a year ago. It sold 15.43 million iPads, 111% better than the year-earlier period. 

Down the road, you'll find it's worth the price.

By InvestorPlace Jan 30, 2012 10:25AM
Image: Dog in purse (© Corbis)By Kyle Woodley, InvestorPlace Assistant Editor

Ralph Lauren (RL), the iconic luxury brand with a host of top-flight apparel, has spent decades as a mainstay in high-end retail.


As it turns out, it's a spiffy stock, too.


RL shares are up 40% in the last year and have tripled since 2009 thanks to steady growth. The company's fiscal 2011 earnings of $568 million, or $5.75 per share, were up almost 20% from the year before -- on top of 20% growth in both 2009 to 2010 previously.

 

But can it control its marketing expenses?

By Trefis Jan 30, 2012 10:13AM
Image: shopping from home © Alistair Berg/Digital Vision/Getty ImagesGroupon (GRPN) has benefited from the spike in daily deals during the holidays. According to daily-deal business intelligence firm Yipit, Groupon has been outperforming the overall industry in North America, growing its gross billings by 6%, compared with an industry growth of 2% from October to November 2011.

The big question when it reports earnings on Feb. 8 is whether Groupon has reined in its marketing expenses. Those costs stood at around 55% of its net revenues for January to September 2011. Groupon leads the daily-deal market and shares this space with players such as LivingSocial and Google (GOOG) Offers. 
Tags: GOOGGRPN

Experts say now is the ideal time for the social media giant to go public.

By TheStreet Staff Jan 27, 2012 4:57PM

the streetUpdated Monday, Jan. 30


By Olivia Oran

 

Facebook is edging closer to its eagerly anticipated IPO, according to The Wall Street Journal, which says the social networking phenomenon may file its IPO documents on Wednesday. Experts say now is the perfect time for Facebook to start out on its IPO path.

 

"We expected them to file in the third to fourth week of January because they closed their prior quarter Dec. 31," said Sam Hamadeh, the CEO of research firm PrivCo. "Now they get a full 120 days runway to take off with the IPO without showing any other quarterly numbers and filing any amendments."

 

Despite buoyant consumer sentiment, the data suggests the good vibes won't last.

By Anthony Mirhaydari Jan 27, 2012 4:40PM

Markets were mildly disappointed Friday by the 2.8% annualized growth rate the economy managed in the fourth quarter. Growth missed expectations slightly, but it was still the best result in over a year. What's worrying is that the details suggest growth will drag in the months to come as a temporary boost from a drop in the savings rate and an increase in inventories fade. The fact that manufacturers cut investment last quarter and that final sales came in at only 0.8%, suggest it's time for caution.

 

That's not how most people feel. The latest survey of consumer sentiment by the University of Michigan surged for the fifth straight month and has returned to levels not seen since last January. A rising stock market no doubt has a lot to do with that.

 

Then, like now, shares were rising in a low-volume, low-volatility crawl powered by central bank largesse. But then, like now, the fundamentals suggested trouble lurks beneath. Here's why.

 

Analysts' expectations are much too high, and the company must say so.

By Jim Cramer Jan 27, 2012 4:08PM

Can Ford Motor (F) ever get it together? I know a lot of people are thinking that this company has gone from being the comeback kid to a serial underperformer and that the story is finished, kaput and never coming back.


I think that's wrong. In fact I think that what happened here is that the company over-promised and under-delivered. Here's why... 

 

The company may seek to raise as much as $10 billion, The Wall Street Journal says, with a market cap of $75 billion to $100 billion. That would make the company more valuable than Amazon.com.

By Charley Blaine Jan 27, 2012 3:54PM
Charley BlaineUpdated:  4:07 p.m. ET

Facebook
, the colossus of social networking, is expected to file papers for an initial public offering next week.

The indications are that the IPO will suggest the company is worth $75 billion to $100 billion, The Wall Street Journal said.

Facebook's IPO could raise as much as $10 billion, the Journal said. The offering has been hotly anticipated as a defining moment for the latest Web investing boom.

Facebook, based in Menlo Park, Calif., has more than 800 million members around the world and has dramatically changed the way people interact with each other and share information on the Internet. 

MSN Money's Jim Jubak answers Facebook users' questions about his 10-year portfolio.

By MSN Money Partner Jan 27, 2012 3:10PM

With the economy in flux and trading volatile, investors can't really buy and hold a portfolio of stocks for 10 years. But MSN Money columnst Jim Jubak believes they can "buy and review" a portfolio of 10 stocks for the next 10 years

 

In this video, he explains his 10-year strategy while fielding questions from MSN Money's Facebook community. He discusses why commodities make sense and why Archer-Daniels-Midland (ADM) isn't his favorite stock these days.

 
Tags: ADM

The iconic motorcycle maker benfits from refocused product development and revamped dealership network.

By Trefis Jan 27, 2012 2:40PM
Image: Highway through prairie (© Comstock Images/Jupiterimages)Harley Davidson's (HOG) worldwide motorcycle retail sales increased by 10.9% in the fourth quarter, compared to the same quarter the year before. In the U.S., sales climbed 11.8%. The company's income from continuing operations in the quarter was $54.6 million, compared to a loss of $42.1 million for the same period last year. Its gross margins rose from 29.6% to 31.2%, while operating income posted an increase of $42.3 million.

All this has been possible because of Harley's commitment to refocusing its product development, reducing inefficiencies, and speeding time to market. 

 
Tags: HMCHOG

A market historian reviews the long-term pattern of stock prices and the Presidential election cycle.

By TheStockAdvisors Jan 27, 2012 2:38PM
By Jim Stack, Investech Market Analyst

What lies ahead in 2012? That’s the big question, and the fact that we’re approaching a Presidential Election likely improves the chances that this will be a good year for the stock market.

Historically, there has been a clear visible link between the Presidential election cycle and Wall Street. Below, we look at the correlation between cycles in the stock market and the 4-year election cycle. 

The push for healthier food has prompted the Golden Arches to stop using ammonium hydroxide in its burgers. Will the move hurt the company's bottom line?

By InvestorPlace Jan 27, 2012 2:10PM

By Kyle Woodley


McDonald's (MCD) clientele can finally rest easy, as "dog food" is coming off the menu at the Golden Arches.


In the wake of an outcry by the celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, McDonald's said on Thursday said it will stop using ammonium hydroxide, a common ingredient in cleaning solutions that's dubiously dubbed "pink slime," in its beef patties.

 

Some of the biggest and highest-yielding drug stocks are declining near attractive buy levels.

By MoneyShow.com Jan 27, 2012 1:53PM

Image: Pills (© Sean Justice/Corbis)By Tom Aspray, MoneyShow.com


The early strength in the stock market on Thursday was later hit with selling as stock index futures declined for most of the day. This is consistent with a loss of upside momentum, but there are no signs of a short-term top.


If you are waiting for the major market averages to reach a certain corrective level before you buy, you may miss out. Sector rotation is how the market has been correcting recently, with the material stocks coming to the forefront early this week.

 

Gambling revenue from casinos in Macao soared last year to nearly $33 billion -- many times the revenue earned in gaming meccas like Las Vegas.

By The Fiscal Times Jan 27, 2012 1:44PM
Macau CasinoBy Suzanne McGee, The Fiscal Times

The Year of the Dragon is off to an explosive start, as much of Asia and Chinese communities worldwide greeted the lunar new year with fireworks and festivities.

But the party atmosphere is nothing new for the casino business in Macau, the destination of choice for Chinese gamblers, a large and avid gaming community. 

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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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