The company, which reports its quarterly earnings Tuesday, has once again become an investor favorite.
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Just as soup kitchens drew the unemployed during the Great Depression, so cafes have become popular gathering and networking spots during the current downturn.
The weight of last week's jobs report was simply crushing. We learned that exactly zero jobs were created in August, and fears of another recession are fast becoming a reality.
First, the big picture: The United States is experiencing a very traumatic economic event, characterized by persistently high unemployment and persistently high uncertainty. What began in 2008 with the collapse of the housing market and financial crisis has yet to reach its full course.
This is not the Great Depression, mind you. There are no shortages of food or Hoovervilles prompted by a homelessness epidemic. But the pain of losing jobs, homes and pay is very real in its own way.
The retail giant says its Vudu video service isn't looking to compete with the movie-rental company, but ultimately the two may go head to head.
By Jeanine Poggi, TheStreet
Wal-Mart and Netflix are quintessential frenemies. In the past, they have seemingly worked side by side as long as neither encroached on the other's turf.
But with Vudu's clout growing at the same time as Netflix is making a few missteps, how much longer can they remain cozy?
The billionaire's emphasis on buying into solid companies with clear business models is a good long-term fund strategy.
By Don Dion, TheStreet
Although Warren Buffett has never sat down to pen an official autobiography, droves of the Nebraska native's fans and followers already know and take the investor's pearls of wisdom to heart in their own investing endeavors. Buffett's success has largely resulted from his skills as a stock investor, but ETF investors can still use his lessons to their advantage.
When it comes to planning an investing strategy, Buffett is famous for his interest in "boring" industries. Rather than diving into the latest fast-moving tech company or trying his luck with other risky companies and financial products, the Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) chairman invests in those that boast easy-to-understand business plans.
This strategy proved particularly beneficial when, at the start of the new millennium, the investor was able to avoid getting caught up in a frenzy that ultimately led to the bursting of the dot-com bubble.
Honchos at these 3 companies have presided over tremendous growth. One stock would have turned your $1,000 into $20 million in less than 20 years.
Bigwigs in corner offices have been on the move in recent weeks.
In the "tearful goodbye" category, Apple (AAPL) announced that iconic founder Steve Jobs is stepping down from his CEO role. In the "don't let the door hit you on the way out" category, Yahoo (YHOO) canned CEO Carol Bartz (via telephone, no less) with a year left on her contract. Even Regis Philbin said recently he will be retiring.
Where have all the great leaders gone? Allow me to offer these:
A promising CPI number in China is being tossed aside by bad data out of Greece.
Good news: The most important consumer price index in the world, the Chinese CPI, went down, which makes it possible that the most important swing factor in world economics might be going from bearish to neutral.
Bad news: It doesn't matter, because it comes on a "world is ending" day in Europe, and the "world is ending" crowd has all the cards when it wants to play them.
We are not in an uncertain backdrop, despite what you hear. We are in a certain backdrop, as in "The euro will not hold, and some if not many European banks are going to fail."
It's odd to think about it, but the European chaos gets the better of us at all times, and it's a learning lesson that the important Chinese CPI number doesn't come near the importance of bad Greek data, because bad Greek data portend "the end of the world."
End of the world is the rock to the Chinese scissors.
The president's closely watched jobs plan represents a desperately needed push for growth.
The wait is over. After weeks of teasing and political bickering, President Obama finally delivered his speech to Congress proposing the kind of fiscal support the economy desperately needs to avoid falling back into recession.
Known as the American Jobs Act, and worth $450 billion, it's exactly the kind of economic support I discussed in a recent column urging Obama to spend more to keep the economy out of the ditch -- and to keep the deficit from getting even worse through flagging growth.
Highlights include an expansion of existing payroll tax cuts for middle class workers and the creation of tax cuts for businesses hiring new workers. Also included were plans to increase infrastructure spending on roads and schools. With the cost to be offset by reforms to the tax code and entitlement spending, Obama pushed hard for the plan -- which contains measures which have historically enjoyed bipartisan support -- to be quickly passed.
Indeed, without the much maligned 2009 stimulus package the Congressional Budget Office believes the economy would already be contracting right now. With the economy stagnating near its stall speed, encumbered by negative pressures like the European debt crisis and the political circus that was the debt-ceiling fight, the stimulus plan is exactly the kind of thing we need to break the cycle of lowered confidence, reduced spending and investments, and ongoing job market weakness. Here's why, starting with a breakdown of the plan.
Strategic remarks by the European Central Bank's outgoing president give the bank room to maneuver.
Goldman Sachs first touts the donut maker, then slams it.
By Dan Radovsky
Dunkin' Brands (DNKN) must be wondering what's going on when the company that underwrote its initial public offering a mere two months ago is yelling, "Get out!" at the top of its lungs.
Investors must be wondering, too. The share price, which had risen 42% since the IPO, started the day by falling almost 5% on the "sell" rating, before closing down 3%.
Goldman Sachs (GS), the fickle underwriter, opened the day with that downer rating, noting that Dunkin's core domestic business is "highly macro-sensitive against an uncertain economic backdrop." So what's changed? I don't remember the domestic macro-economic picture looking all that great two months ago, either, do you?
A change in copyright law may give musical artists the rights to recordings that are 35 years old.
That's because the first group of albums affected by that change is hitting the 35-year mark. And soon, the rights to some pretty big recordings will go back to the artists who created them, Rolling Stone reports.
We're talking about classics like "Darkness on the Edge of Town" by Bruce Springsteen, "52nd Street" by Billy Joel and "The Long Run" by the Eagles. They were all created in 1978, and are eligible for termination rights from their record companies, writes David Browne.
A firing gone awry, an outraged former CEO and an irate investor calling for heads. Yep, that's life at Yahoo.
First, we have the underperforming chief executive, Carol Bartz. She was fired over the phone by the company's chairman. Over the phone. Ouch.
You just don't do that to feisty Bartz.
Alternative ETFs employ multiple strategies, such as going both long and short, to keep performance high when markets turn volatile.
By Roger Nusbaum, TheStreet
Alternative funds, also known as market-neutral or absolute-return funds, can play a huge role in diversified portfolios if they meet their objectives.
As the summer started to wind down, the S&P 500 ($INX) rolled over into a downtrend with the extreme volatility normally associated with bear markets. So it is perhaps with good timing that ETF provider QuantShares has come to market with four such funds and has three more ready to debut soon.
The US Market Neutral Size Fund (SIZ) buys small-cap stocks and sells large-cap stocks short.
The restaurant ratings publisher will bolster local reviews, online coupon business and more for the search giant.
By Jeff Reeves, InvestorPlace.com
Google (GOOG) just announced it will buy the venerable restaurant rater Zagat. Details remain sketchy, but the news has both foodies and techies taking note.
For consumers, the result could be the latest offering from a big technology company trying to have a very local impact -- via deals or promoting off-the-beaten-path restaurants in your neighborhood that appeal to your tastes. For techies and investors, the Google purchase of Zagat is noteworthy because it means the tech giant is finding yet another way to extend its octopus-like reach into every facet of our lives.
Here's a look at what the Google-Zagat alliance could look like:
Multidecade lows even after recent gains mean big values for gutsy investors.
It seems that investors have no shortage of things to worry about. The Institute for Supply Management's manufacturing index fell to 50.6 in August, indicating that the manufacturing sector is just a hair's breadth away from contracting.
In Europe, similar surveys show the manufacturing sector contracting in France and coming very close to contracting in Germany. The employment picture also looks downright awful.
Still, it would appear that much of the anxiety is overdone. Europe and the U.S. may indeed be slipping back into recession, but we are talking about a marginal drift from mildly positive growth to mildly negative shrinkage. We’re not looking at another 2008-caliber swan dive -- meaning now is the time to go bargain hunting.
These low-risk blue chips are beating the markets by wide margins and delivering income.
After a heinous August and a volatile start to September, low-risk investments are in focus.
But investors should not make the mistake of thinking they have to settle for low-risk, low-return investments. There are a host of high-yield stocks out there with big dividends and stable cash flows that have been enjoying significant share appreciation in 2011.
These investments offer the best of both worlds -- cash-rich blue chips that throw off plump dividends while outperforming the major indexes.
We have issues to work through, but it's wrong to be so gloomy when tech's seasonal strength is about to kick in and China may be ready to stop its economic tightening.
Too gloomy? That's what I am thinking these days when I talk to executives and fund managers and stock traders. Everyone has succumbed to an overwhelming sense that Europe has to bring down the world and that the United States is unmoored and unwilling or unable to lead.
Moreover, no one -- including me -- expects anything from the president tonight. We've been too bashed into believing the guy is anti-business, even if he actually doesn't hate capitalism. In fact, I don't know a soul anymore who doesn't think the president favors a socialized state, a la that of the struggling Europeans.
We're all waiting for the collapse in the euro, which we all know is untenable, to bring down the world.
But what if it doesn't?
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Pipeline owners are making big profits on oil coming from North Dakota's Bakken fields. But a lot of natural gas continues to be flared due to low prices.
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[BRIEFING.COM] S&P futures vs fair value: +6.80. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: +18.70. The stock market is on track for an upbeat open with futures on the S&P 500 trading just below their best levels of the morning (seven pts above fair value). Futures held slim gains during the early part of the night, but climbed to highs shortly after markets in Europe opened for business. Like U.S. futures, European markets trade near their best levels of the day with earnings in focus. ... More
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