Did Alibaba IPO signal a market top?
Did Alibaba IPO signal a market top?

Some investment advisers are entertaining that possibility, especially in light of Monday's triple-digit loss in the Dow.

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Ron Johnson is a visionary in the retail world who will help lead the stalled-out department store into its long-awaited next turn.

By Jim Cramer Jun 15, 2011 8:51AM

jim cramerthe streetIs Ron Johnson worth a billion dollars to JCPenney (JCP)? No. He might be worth more.

 

Johnson, if you aren't familiar with his work, is the man who invented the look and feel of the Apple (AAPL) Store -- which, by the way, is the most successful retailer in the world. The average Apple Store is estimated to sell about $27 million in product each year, which comes to more than $4,000 per square foot. No merchant on earth comes near it -- nobody even has more than $1,000 per square foot that I can find -- and I would attribute an outsized amount of that money to Johnson, who turned Target (TGT) around before he went to Apple and has the best eye in the business.

 

Remember, every other computer company has failed at retail. Apple is the best success story in retail -- ever -- and Johnson was instrumental, with innovations like the Genius Bar and the swarming smart young people who help you and get you started. Once someone has bought something at an Apple Store, the repeat business is astounding.

 

Higher fuel prices and labor costs take a bite out of GOL's operating margins even as traffic and revenue climb..

By Jim J. Jubak Jun 14, 2011 5:00PM
Jim JubakShares of GOL Linhas Aereas Inteligentes (GOL) continue to close in on the June 29, 2010 low at $11.72. Even yesterday’s solid report on May traffic couldn’t keep the stock of Brazil’s low-cost airline out of the red.

Today, of course, the stock is up on the global bounce, but I’m not sure how long that will last.

Traffic climbed by 12.7% in May, GOL reported yesterday. The company recorded 2.44 billion revenue-passenger kilometers in May, up from 2.17 billion in May 2010. (A revenue-passenger kilometer is calculated by multiplying the number of paying passengers by the number of kilometers flown.)

GOL’s load factor -- the percentage of available seats that are occupied -- climbed to 62.9% in May, from 57.9% in May 2010.
 

Bidding online for everything from designer jeans to appliances was supposed to overhaul commerce as we knew it. What happened?

By Kim Peterson Jun 14, 2011 4:18PM
Online auctions were supposed to be the next big thing. At least that's what people thought in the dot-com boom, when eBay (EBAY) was full of promise.

What happened over the last decade? Now, even eBay doesn't care much for online auctions (they make up 31% of sales on the site) and the very concept of bidding for something over the computer seems to be dead, writes Wired Magazine.

EBay has gone from being an auction company with a payments business (PayPal) on the side to being a financial company with an auction business on the side. PayPal is growing like a weed, and brought in $3.4 billion in revenue last year.

EBay still runs auctions, but most of those go through the fixed-price "Buy it Now" option that eliminates the need for bidding. 

Firming economic data and a recovery in the credit markets are helping stocks push off of their worst oversold condition since the late 1990s.

By Anthony Mirhaydari Jun 14, 2011 4:12PM

Well, isn't that better?

 

Stocks, commodities and other risky assets blasted higher Tuesday, thanks to a batch of good economic data. Inflationary pressure -- one of the main reasons for the market sell-off over last the past two months -- is beginning to abate because of lower energy prices. Retail sales were better than expected. And inventories remain very tight, setting the stage for a production rebound in the second half of the year while businesses restock their shelves as the economy re-accelerates.


This is a welcome change after the S&P 500 lost 7.7% from its May 1 high and settled into one of the worst oversold situation in decades. Breadth is blowing out, and by all indications, the rebound is the real deal and should continue. Here's why:

 

The lawn and garden company eyes medical marijuana as a potential business opportunity.

By Kim Peterson Jun 14, 2011 2:38PM
Medical marijuana is a potentially huge market for some major corporations. But we haven't heard much about it from chief executives -- until now.

Scotts Miracle-Gro (SMG) is definitely interested in medical marijuana. And why not? The company's premium topsoil, plant food and weed killers could find new customers among marijuana growers.

It's an opportunity that chief executive Jim Hagedorn can't pass up. "I want to target the pot market," he told The Wall Street Journal. "There's no good reason we haven't."

Check out the following video interview for more about Hagedorn's comments.

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A strong lineup of brands will help the company claim more than 40% of the at-home coffee-drinking market, one analyst says.

By TheStreet Staff Jun 14, 2011 2:32PM

the streetImage: Coffee (© Foodcollection RF/Getty Images/Getty Images)By Miriam Reimer, TheStreet

 

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (GMCR) is poised to capture at least 40% of the market for coffee-drinking homes, according to Canaccord Genuity analyst Scott Van Winkle.

 

Already the clear leader in the single-serve coffee market through the success of its Keurig brewing system, Van Winkle said he raised his market share expectations for Keurig from 15% to 25% and then to 30%, but sees the one-cup brewer garnering upwards of 40% market penetration "given the strong line-up of brands available and further innovation lying ahead."

 

He specifically mentioned the Dunkin' Donuts brand of K-Cups -- single-serve pods used to brew a cup of coffee with the Keurig machines -- as a way Green Mountain is making gains towards deeper market share.

 

The cable giant will allow customers to use video calling through their television sets.

By TheStreet Staff Jun 14, 2011 1:50PM

Image: Television (© Digital Vision Ltd./SuperStock)By Joe Deaux, TheStreet

 

Comcast (CMCSA) will offer Skype HD video calling with its cable service, the cable giant said Tuesday.

 

Comcast said its customers would get an adapter box, a high-quality video camera and a special remote that could channel surf and send Skype texts.

 

"Exact pricing is still being worked on, but we plan to offer the equipment and service at a low monthly rate," said Peter Dobrow, a Comcast spokesman, in an email.

 

"TV has evolved into a social experience, and Comcast and Skype will be delivering a product that personalizes the TV experience even more, and brings friends and family together through the biggest screen in their homes," said Neil Smit, Comcast Cable president.

 

US carriers collected $3.4 billion in baggage charges and $2.3 billion for reservation changes last year.

By Kim Peterson Jun 14, 2011 12:53PM
All those fees airlines slap on to check bags and change flights are adding up to big money. New figures show that U.S. airlines collected almost $5.7 billion in fees last year, a 10% increase from 2009.

The biggest fee hog was Delta Air Lines (DAL), which led the industry in fees for both categories, Reuters reports. In fact, Delta collected more than 20% of the entire industry's total. American Airlines, owned by AMR Corp. (AMR), came in second. You can see the full list here.

Check out the following video report about the fees.

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Investors who buy the metals in the current environment take a big risk, as the charts predict further declines.

By MoneyShow.com Jun 14, 2011 12:53PM
By Tom Aspray, MoneyShow.com

Gold and silver weakened on Monday, and many investors have been surprised that the metals have failed to rally, given the ongoing debt problems in Greece. There seems to be a wide range of opinions about where the metals are heading, with some investors convinced a major top is in place and others looking for gold to reach $5,000.

Many traders and investors who missed the move up to May's highs are itching to buy so they can participate in the next parabolic move up. They are likely to be chopped up, however, because technical damage like what occurred in the silver market will typically take at least a few months to repair.

The daily charts for the key gold and silver futures, as well as the ETFs that track both metals, show apparent continuation patterns. These should be viewed as a pause or interruption in the corrections from the May highs.

Monday's weakness suggests that we are getting closer to the resumption of the daily downtrends. The positive weekly and monthly analysis still suggests that these will be corrections in the longer-term uptrends.

A further decline should take silver below the May lows, and I do not think that all the weak longs have been stopped out just yet. Gold is likely to hold up better on a further decline, which should eventually set up a good buying opportunity, but a patient strategy will likely be required.
 
Tags: etfgold

Buffett's company is approaching book value.

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day Jun 14, 2011 11:58AM

By Morgan Housel, The Motley Fool

 

You can't go back in time. If you could, investing in any number of cherry-picked companies would solve most people's present-day financial problems. Ah, if only.

 

The next-best thing? Buying good companies at valuations even investors with a time machine couldn't.

 

That's where Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) shares sit today.           

 

How Berkshire should be valued is a regular matter of debate. It isn't a normal company, so some normal valuation metrics lack relevance. Many of Berkshire's investments generate no net income yet still reward shareholders handsomely.

 

These managed funds offer a more nuanced approach to navigating an uncertain sector.

By TheStreet Staff Jun 14, 2011 11:15AM

Image: Corn field (© Bob Rashid/Brand X/Corbis)By Don Dion, TheStreet

 

Using ETFs, it is possible to alleviate some of the headaches associated with today's rocky commodities investing environment.

 

Until recently, commodities stood out as a popular destination for many investors as sweeping global market strength helped propel the prices of metals, agricultural products and energy sources along seemingly uninterrupted upward paths.

 

Over the past few weeks, however, commodities have stopped moving in unison, calling into question this full-steam-ahead mentality. While some resources such as corn are powering toward record highs, others, such as nickel, are facing substantial headwinds.

 

This shift has not gone unnoticed and, as the Financial Times pointed out last week, many commodities investors are adjusting their investing approaches to better deal with this type of environment. Rather than diving headfirst into commodities, many are opting for a more tactical approach. Such a strategy better ensures that they are able to zig and zag along with the fluid commodities landscape.

 

Everything is falling into place for the abundant domestic fuel -- except Washington.

By Jim Cramer Jun 14, 2011 9:11AM

jim cramerthe streetDividend boosts warm the heart. That's why when I saw Chesapeake Energy (CHK) raise its quarterly dividend from 7.5 cents to 8.75 cents, I sat up and took notice.

 

These days, Chesapeake is typically in the news only when the story is about the CEO pay of Aubrey McClendon. I think it should appear in the news for being the biggest driller in this country. That's right. The biggest. It's the second-largest holder of natural gas in the country, and it is one of the top petroleum producers. It is at the forefront of every single shale, and it is trimming its debt and doing all the right things, including this first dividend boost since 2008.

 

The confidence this dividend boost shows is terrific, because if Chesapeake were too stretched in its campaign to lower debt and drill more oil wells, it wouldn't take this action.

 

Bank lending and the money supply have slowed. Will industrial production follow suit?

By Jim J. Jubak Jun 13, 2011 5:27PM
Jim JubakDon't get buried by this week's data dump from China. The numbers certainly have the potential to move financial markets around the world.

China weighs in Tuesday with its monthly inflation and industrial-production update. In April, China's annual inflation rate ticked down to 5.3%, from 5.4% in March.

With food prices still climbing, economists are predicting that inflation will edge back up to 5.5% for May, according to Bloomberg. That will keep inflation above the People’s Bank of China’s target of 4%, and feed into fears that the central bank will have to keep raising bank-reserve requirements and benchmark interest rates to slow the economy and fight inflation.

Worry that the bank will slow the economy too much got an unpleasant boost from figures released today, which showed both bank lending and China’s money supply grew at a slower pace in May. 
 

The social-networking site could see its valuation rocket to more than $100 billion in the first quarter.

By Kim Peterson Jun 13, 2011 3:15PM
After repeatedly playing coy about going public, Facebook may be considering an initial public offering for early next year, CNBC reports.

We could see the IPO sometime in the first quarter, managed by Goldman Sachs (GS), and the deal could value Facebook at more than $100 billion. That's more than Amazon's (AMZN) $84 billion value and three times that of Target (TGT).

Facebook has tried to ignore all the IPO chatter for years, with its executives playing cool anytime they were asked about it. But we saw a hint that the IPO gears were turning last month, when the company's chief operating officer said such an event was inevitable.

CNBC has more information on the possible IPO in the following report.

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401k and IRA investors can protect themselves and find profits despite recent market turmoil.

By InvestorPlace Jun 13, 2011 2:51PM
Image: Mutual funds (© ThinkStock/SuperStock)By Tom Taulli, InvestorPlace.com
   

Over the past few months, mutual fund investors have been painfully aware that the U.S. economy has been running out of steam. A sure sign of this was disappointing jobs data for May, and the recent losing streak for stocks has driven the point home further.


Unfortunately for 401k investors, the slowdown may persist for some time. After all, there will continue to be budget tightening on Capitol Hill as well as many cash-strapped states.  Low real estate prices will hurt confidence and consumer spending.  Oh, and the American consumer is still weighed down by large debts.


So how can investors deal with such things?  Well, there are certain types of funds that should actually do well during tough times.  So let’s take a look:

 

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[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market finished the Tuesday session on the defensive after spending the entire day in a steady retreat. The S&P 500 (-0.6%) posted its third consecutive decline, while the small-cap Russell 2000 (-0.9%) slipped behind the broader market during afternoon action.

Equity indices were pressured from the start following some overnight developments that weighed on sentiment. The market tried to overcome the early weakness, but could not stage a sustained rebound, ... More


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