Once you get past the hype, there's little chance for long-term gain with this stock.
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Come on, $25 billion for a site promoting Brazilian wax treatments and photography classes?
Now we're getting a better idea of why Groupon turned down a $6 billion offer from Google (GOOG) in December. The site is on fire. It has doubled its subscriber base in the past three months to 70 million users. Just a year ago, Groupon was valued at $1.3 billion.
Aren't we going overboard here? Does a daily-deals site really warrant anything close to a $25 billion consideration? One analyst told Bloomberg that this sector is as "hot as anything, and no one knows where it's going to tap out."
Groupon rang up $760 million in sales last year, but a good chunk of that went back to local merchants in the revenue-sharing system the company has devised.
These funds offer stability in turbulent times by focusing on the US recovery through consumer staples.
By Don Dion, TheStreet
In recent months, investor confidence has been tested by a battery of disconcerting international events.
While it is natural to keep a close watch on these gripping news stories, it's also important to avoid letting day-to-day headlines influence your long-term investing success. There are plenty of fears out there. However, bending and swaying with daily and hourly headwinds is a surefire way to increase confusion, which may lead to losses.
Investing in this trying economic environment requires a careful eye and a level head. By gearing up with a strong, well-diversified portfolio, investors can alleviate some of the anxieties that come with these volatile times.
I don't dislike it. I just like it a lot less than almost every other segment now.
Let's say Qualcomm (QCOM) doesn't see material impact from Japan disruptions. Let's say there are no real supply chain issues for Texas Instruments (TXN). Let's say that whatever weakness Apple (AAPL) might have from Japan supply issues was alleviated all by itself after we went to sleep. Let's postulate that, in fact, everything that any of the U.S. tech companies have going in Japan is now humming and ready.
Don't we simply revert to where we were a week ago before the Japanese cataclysm hit? Did we forget that we were in tablet hell, a big glut because Apple has killed the competition? Did someone find a way to create more Chinese demand for the kind of telecommunications infrastructure equipment that was in inventory correction mode last Thursday?
Did demand suddenly improve for consumer electronics with the Japanese being urged to stay indoors or, if they took the advice of the U.S. government, flee for their lives? Sure, it is not a big market. But we had big prices for stocks a week ago, and they reflected robust demand everywhere.
The master finds value lying in plain sight.
By Alex Dumortier, CFA
On Monday, Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) announced that it is acquiring Lubrizol (LZ) , the leading global supplier of additives to transportation and industrial lubricants (so boring it's good), in a deal valued at $9.7 billion. Despite the fact that this is one of Berkshire's largest ever acquisitions, it appears that Lubrizol had gone largely unnoticed by investors. I'll take a look at this deal before describing how you can follow Buffett's approach to capitalize on similar opportunities. Finally, I'll highlight two other "Berkshire-type" companies with publicly traded stocks.
A bet on growing economic activity
More than 70% of Lubrizol's revenues are related to the transportation and industrial lubricant business. Over the short term, this presents a risk in that Lubrizol's customers are in cyclical industries. However, given Berkshire's holding period -- forever -- that is of no concern to Buffett; he's willing to bet that industrial activity and transportation needs, and the resulting demand for Lubrizol's products, will be greater in 10 years' time than they are today.
The social-media giant continues its foray into the video market with live baseball.
By Scott Moritz, TheStreet
Facebook has started a little spring training of its own.
The games are largely a promotion to lure subscribers to MLB.TV's $120 season-long subscription package. But the move also looks like a warm-up to Facebook's ongoing push in to the nascent streaming-video market.
The nation wants to rebuild its ruined factories quickly, but this disaster may end up accelerating interest in off-shoring.
The downtrend appears far from over as traders react to Japan's natural disaster, the end of QE2, rising inflationary pressure and a simmering debt crisis in Europe.
The stock market is in free fall as the major averages break their seven-month uptrends and drop into the abyss. The Nasdaq QQQ Trust (QQQQ) has already returned to levels reached last December. And it's showing no signs of slowing its descent. Even market stalwarts like Apple (AAPL) have succumbed to the wave of selling pressure, with shares of the tech giant falling at a pace not seen in more than a year.
After months of believing that all ailments could be solved by the Fed's $600 billion monetary injection, it's becoming clear that the concerns about Japan's nuclear disaster and violence in Bahrain are now too large. What's more, rising inflation, with the Producer Price Index increasing at a whopping 5.8% annual pace in February, means that another round of money printing will just make the problem worse. When QE2 was teased last August and started in November, these pressures didn't exist.
As a result, no risky asset class is being spared as commodities, oil, corporate bonds and even gold and silver follow stocks lower as investors head for the exits. All indications suggest the downtrend is far from over. Here's why.
Jon Bon Jovi says the ability to preview songs on iTunes before you buy them has taken the magic out of music.
Bon Jovi comes across as quite the aging rocker, lamenting the loss of those days when you could go into a record store and have a "magical" experience.
"Kids today have missed the whole experience of putting the headphones on, turning it up to 10, holding the jacket, closing their eyes and getting lost in an album; and the beauty of taking your allowance money and making a decision based on the jacket, not knowing what the record sounded like, and looking at a couple of still pictures and imagining it."
I remember those days, and they were great. You didn't know all the songs on the album, because there was no way to preview them. So you bought an album with the hope and expectation that those songs would be good. It was a gamble that people liked to take.
These companies count on the quake-stricken nation for a portion of their sales and will likely see revenue fall this year.
Aflac (AFL), the health and life insurance company, does 75% of its business in Japan. It sells a popular line of cancer insurance there, The New York Times reports. In the past five days of trading, the stock has dropped from $56 to $50.56.
"The market is looking at everything that's exposed to Japan, and we're part of that," an Aflac spokeswoman told the newspaper. Maybe that's why the company reacted so harshly to Gilbert Gottfried's crude Twitter jokes about Japan's earthquakes and tsunami, firing the comedian from his role as the voice of Aflac's duck mascot.
Other U.S. companies are exposed to Japan, though not to Aflac's extent. Bank of America Merrill Lynch has compiled a list of the top 10 Japan-exposed S&P 500 companies, according to Business Insider. See the list below.
While you can't create your own Berkshire, you can imitate its philosophy.
According to the latest from Forbes, Warren Buffett is the third-richest man in the world, with a net worth of $50 billion. About 90% of his wealth is in Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) stock, a diverse holding company that has catapulted from $6,800 a share in 1991 to a whopping $127,600.
So how can you invest like Buffett? While you can't create your own Berkshire, you can imitate its philosophy with three mutual funds.
Don Yacktman is one of the best money managers on Wall Street. The Yacktman Fund (YACKX) has clocked average annual returns of 14.16% for the past three years and 11.84 for the past decade.
Despite billions in initial losses, Berkshire Hathaway may emerge unscathed.
By Dan Freed, TheStreet
Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-B) may ultimately come out unscathed from the earthquake and nuclear disaster unfolding in Japan despite initial losses of $2.5 billion on stocks and derivatives and too-early-to-quantify insurance and reinsurance claims.
Buffett also has significant investment stakes in Swiss Re and another reinsurer with large Japanese earthquake exposure, Munich Re.
Shares of all those companies have lost ground since Japan's earthquake struck on Friday. Shares of RenaissanceRe Holdings (RNR), however, have actually gained since the quake struck.
Shares of Peet's bounce on rumors of a Starbucks buyout. But should the coffee giant try to acquire its cappuccino-size competitor?
By Miriam Reimer, TheStreet
Updated at 2:58 p.m. ET
Peet's Coffee & Tea (PEET) shares plunged last week after Starbucks (SBUX) and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (GMCR) announced a long-anticipated partnership. But the coffee roaster and specialty retailer's stock has soared amid rumors that Starbucks could be looking to take it over.
Peet's shares surged 9.4% Tuesday and continued to climb 2.2% Wednesday, to $47.03, amid rumors it could be a takeover target of Starbucks. The stock had plunged 11.4% Thursday, the day Starbucks and Green Mountain announced a deal in which Starbucks and Tazo tea-branded K-Cup portion packs will be available for Green Mountain's popular Keurig single-cup brewing systems later this year. Investors were clearly disappointed that Emeryville, Calif., Peet's had been left out of the lucrative partnership.
A new $100 million series could star Kevin Spacey.
Netflix stock is up 200% in the past year, while Blockbuster is dead. What more does the streaming video giant want?
Apparently it wants not just to dominate home movie viewing but to flex its muscle with regular television programming. At least that appears to be the case, as Netflix has started making its own shows.
It's a dramatic move for Netflix, especially considering Coinstar (CSTR) and its brand Redbox is pushing into streaming video to challenge Netflix -- not to mention Facebook entering streaming video and Amazon.com (AMZN) offering Amazon Prime video services. Apparently Netflix is more concerned with gaining more turf than defending what it has.
The world's crises are the new operative backdrop. If you can handle the heat, trade stocks that have nothing to do with the Middle East, oil or Japan.
You will hear this phrase endlessly with regard to both of these situations: "Bad to worse." Again, get used to it.
You will hear that the nukes have to "blow" and spew radiation everywhere in intense doses. You will hear that oil shipments will be suspended imminently." Get used to it. You will hear that everything is going wrong for stocks because of these crises and that nothing can be done other than to take losses, sell or short. Get used to it.
You will hear that "panic" -- as in "Get out now to get liquid" -- is the operative strategy. Get used to it.
Why do we have to get used to it?
Ideally, the new plastic would be made of leftover agricultural waste. For now, it can't be recycled.
The bottle is made from switch grass, pine bark, corn husks and other materials, The Associated Press reports. And Pepsi is working on ways to include leftovers from its food business, including orange peels, potato scraps and oat hulls.
No, the bottle won't taste like pine trees or Fritos. Pepsi says it looks and feels exactly the same as existing bottles. It does the same job of protecting the drink inside.
Pepsi appears a lot further along on this innovation than Coca-Cola (KO). Coke makes a bottle with 30% plant-based plastic and doesn't plan on going 100% anytime soon. "For the next five to 10 years we don't see biodegradable plastics as an option for our bottles," said a Coca-Cola executive in 2009, according to PlasticsToday.com.
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The Fed may start tapering in just a few months. Here are a few of the likely winners and losers.
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[BRIEFING.COM] A solid November employment report translated into a solid day of gains for the major averages. While there was some talk that the encouraging job growth raised the odds of the Fed announcing a tapering at its December meeting, the message of the markets today was either that it didn't believe there would be a tapering this month or that it doesn't fear a tapering this month.
It was just one day, yet there was ample meaning wrapped up in the connection that the 10-yr ... More
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