Energy boom makes oil a safe haven
Oil becomes a surprising haven

The idea of US crude being a shelter from turmoil abroad may not be as far fetched as it seems.


McDonald's is passing on the higher costs of beef, cheese and other ingredients to its customers

By InvestorPlace Apr 22, 2011 8:43AM

investorplace logoImage: Family eating burgers (© Bananastock/Jupiterimages)Americans are already feeling the impact of higher gas prices. But the next time they have a Big Mac attack, consumers may have to suffer the same sticker shock they now get when they pull up to the pump.


That's because McDonalds Corp.'s (MCD) is seeing inflation push up the costs of ingredients like Big Mac beef, cheeseburger cheese and McCafe coffee beans.


As a result, the world's largest fast-food chain said it will raise prices to keep up with food inflation.


The price increases won't be steep, at least not in the United States. Sensitive to the higher prices that Americans are facing at the gasoline pump, grocery store and everywhere else they have to open their wallets, McDonalds says it will absorb some of the initial costs by gradually raising prices to recoup the 4% to 4.5% cost of food increases.  


The miner uncovers a higher grade of ore in Indonesia, accelerating production and giving some relief to worries about rising costs.

By Jim J. Jubak Apr 21, 2011 5:04PM
Jim JubakOn Wednesday, Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold (FCX) reported first-quarter earnings of $1.57 a share. This was 28 cents a share above the Wall Street analyst consensus, and 57% above the $1 a share reported in the first quarter of 2010.

Revenue increased by almost 31% from the first quarter of 2010, to $5.71 billion, beating the Wall Street projection of $5.31 billion.

Copper sales for the first quarter totaled 926 million pounds. That was down from sales of 960 million pounds in the first quarter of 2010, but well above the company’s own January estimate of 840 million pounds.

Sales of gold and molybdenum, however, climbed from the year-ago quarter. Gold totals increased from 478,000 to 480,000 ounces, and 20 million pounds of molybdenum moved, up from 17 million.

The Bratz line, which has deeply hurt Barbie sales, does not belong to Mattel, a jury decides.

By Kim Peterson Apr 21, 2011 3:19PM
Barbie just can't catch a break when it comes to those sassy Bratz dolls.

Barbie maker Mattel (MAT) got smacked down by a federal jury today, and was ordered to pay $88.5 million to rival MGA Entertainment in a dispute over the Bratz line.

In what's being called a stunning decision, the jury told Mattel that it does not own the Bratz dolls. The legal battle has been going since 2004, and one analyst said today that Mattel's failure to settle was a "tremendously bad decision" by management.

Post continues after this news report about the jury's decision: 

As inflation takes its toll on consumers and the trade balance, GDP growth could be disappointing.

By Anthony Mirhaydari Apr 21, 2011 1:04PM

One year ago, all was right in the world. Jobs were being created. Annualized GDP growth averaged an impressive 4.4% between the end of 2009 and the beginning of 2010. The Federal Reserve even felt confident enough to allow its first round of quantitative easing to expire.


Then we had a growth scare as risky assets tumbled in the wake of the eurozone debt crisis and the Greek bailout. As a result, GDP growth slowed to just 1.7% in the second quarter amid talk of a double-dip recession.


History is repeating itself. The Fed's QE2 program is about to end. The eurozone crisis is heating up, with Greece on the verge of a debt default/restructuring. And now we have fiscal austerity and inflationary pressure -- side effects of all the stimuli used to juice the economy. I think the stage is set for another slowdown in the months to come. Indeed, by some estimates, the economy may already be shrinking.


This company has growth in sales and earnings, so I'm adding its stock to my Wall Street Survivor portfolio.

By Jim Van Meerten Apr 21, 2011 1:02PM
Once in awhile you run across a stock that makes you wonder why you've never heard of it. 

I was looking at stocks that have had and are expected to have double-digit growth in sales and earnings and are currently having positive price momentum as measured by Barchart technical indicators.

I found Gildan Activewear (GIL), a company that has over 60% market share in its niche. It makes the blank T-shirts and sweat shirts that all the other companies print on. The sales, earnings and price appreciation have been great. 

Nearly all of the purchases from our recent Buffett-style portfolio are paying off nicely. Now it's time to adjust stops to lock in profits.

By Apr 21, 2011 11:44AM
By Tom Aspray,

On March 10, in my column "5 Stocks Buffett Would Love," I recommended five large industrial stocks that had market values over $5 billion, as well as fundamentals that could make them attractive for acquisition by Warren Buffett.
Our recommended buy levels were hit in four of the five Buffett-style stocks, and four could still be bought for more aggressive accounts, while stops should be raised on the previously recommended positions to lock in some nice profits.

Since the August lows, the Select Sector SPDR - Industrial (XLI) is up 34%, versus 27% for the S&P 500. The powerful stock rally on Wednesday confirmed my view that Monday's panic selling was a buying opportunity, as the advancing issues swamped the declining issues by more than a four-to-one margin.
The Advance/Decline (A/D) lines on the major averages have turned sharply higher and surpassed last week’s highs, providing strong evidence that the market correction is indeed over.

The market hasn't quite caught up with this opportunity.

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day Apr 21, 2011 11:26AM

By Jim Mueller


The Messed-Up Expectation methodology I'm following with my Rising Star portfolio is working. In that portfolio, I'm looking for companies at prices reflecting growth expectations that are lower than what they're likely capable of, and getting high returns when the market corrects its mistake.


I believe I've found another candidate in Hertz Global Holdings (HTZ).


O.J. Simpson loved this company
Hertz is the second largest U.S. car rental company, behind privately held Enterprise Holdings (which includes Alamo, Enterprise, and National) and ahead of Avis Budget Group (CAR) and Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group (DTG).


Retail is in recovery, so I'm adding BBBY to hlep my portfolio recover.

By Jim Van Meerten Apr 21, 2011 10:47AM
It's always nice when a store you like to shop in becomes a success. Bed Bath and Beyond (BBBY) is that kind of store.  I'm a kitchen gadget freak, so I love this store. 

I try not to be an impulse shopper, but as I wander the store I sometimes find bargains I didn't expect and can't pass up. Today I can't pass up the stock. 

Same-store sales are up 7% year over year.  The company is on target to add 40 new stores this year and another 40 to 50 next year. Margin squeezes have been offset by savings in SG&A so I think this looks like a well managed company. The price is on a roll.

Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) is a nationwide operator of superstores selling predominantly high-quality domestics merchandise and home furnishings typically found in better department stores.

Berkshire Hathaway lacks a valuable revenue source now that Goldman Sachs has bought back $5.5 billion in preferred shares.

By TheStreet Staff Apr 21, 2011 10:18AM
TheStreetBy Don Dion, TheStreet


Warren Buffett made the news during this shortened week after it was announced that Goldman Sachs (GS) had bought back the $5.5 billion in preferred shares it sold to Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) during the dire depths of the financial crisis.


In the midst of the credit mess, as Lehman Bros. was collapsing and Merrill Lynch was going through an emergency takeover, Goldman Sachs sought help from Buffett. Given his positive outlook for the U.S., the Oracle of Omaha was willing to step in and provide Goldman with a $5 billion fund to save the company from ruin.


The deal came with conditions. In return for the funding, Buffett received preferred shares that promised a 10% annual dividend and warrants to purchase $5 billion in Goldman common stock at $115 per share.


Why settle for streaming only 1 movie when you can watch multiple shows at once on your phone, TV and video game console?

By InvestorPlace Apr 21, 2011 9:03AM

Image: Film (© Comstock/SuperStock)By Anthony John Agnello, Consumer and Technology Writer


As Netflix (NFLX) has grown dramatically over the past two years, analysts and industry pundits have wondered repeatedly when the streaming video company would hit a glass ceiling: No way could Netflix shares pass $200. No way could the company's subscriber base reach 20 million. No way could it continue to sign new content partners.

Well, Netflix has met and surpassed all of those hurdles, but even now it is facing new challenges. How will it fend off new competitors and keep growing its membership at a breakneck pace?

The answer may have arrived. Netflix offered a preview of its future strategy earlier this week, announcing it will begin offering "family plan" subscription packages later this year.


Gold is not an investment, and gold is not contrarian. And its value is not bulletproof.

By InvestorPlace Apr 21, 2011 8:54AM

investorplace logo

Image: Gold (© Stockbyte/SuperStock)By Charles Sizemore,

Gold prices topped $1,500 per ounce this week, days after Standard & Poor's roiled the equity and bond markets by lowering its outlook on the AAA credit rating of the U.S. government. 

After a decade in which stocks went nowhere and the U.S. dollar lost value to every world currency except the Zimbabwean dollar, many Americans are ready to give up on the entire system. Quite a few already have.

But frankly, gold today is as risky as tech stocks in 1999 and Miami condos in 2005, and the arguments supporting its rise are every bit as flimsy.  Here are the three biggest myths about gold that will pop the current bubble:


Peabody's share price could pull back as concerns rise about slowing growth in China.

By Jim J. Jubak Apr 20, 2011 4:12PM
Jim JubakI'd buy Peabody Energy (BTU) on the post-earnings drop -- except that I think you’ll be able to get this even cheaper in coming days. Commodity stocks will likely pull back (once again) over fears that growth in China will slow, as that country ratchets up its fight against inflation.

On April 19, the company announced first-quarter 2011 earnings of 67 cents a share, 7 cents a share better than Wall Street projections. Revenue of $1.75 billion was up 15% from the first quarter of 2010, and slightly exceeded analyst projections of $1.74 billion.

All this was pretty good for a company that saw its big Australian coalmines underwater for part of the period. But production declines were more than offset by price increases. Revenue per ton in Australia jumped by 43%, with price increases for metallurgical coal -- up 74% -- outstripping increases for thermal coal.

The stock was down yesterday on that company-specific news, and on a drop in the sector on those China fears.

The company performs well in the first quarter despite challenges from rising commodity costs and foreign-exchange rates.

By Jim J. Jubak Apr 20, 2011 3:26PM
Jim JubakIf this is what qualifies as a tough year for Nestlé (NSRGY), I’ll take it.

The company faces a headwind from a strong Swiss franc, which makes its products more expensive for customers pretty much everywhere else.

Costs are also climbing, with increases in the prices of everything from corn to sugar.

And yet for the first quarter of 2011 -- despite what the company calculates was a 9.8% hit from foreign-exchange rates -- the company saw sales for its continuing business fall by just 1.2% from the first quarter of 2010.

Organic growth, a measure which excludes currency effects, climbed by 6.4%, as the company’s emphasis on growing its business in emerging economies paid off big. The volume of goods sold climbed by 4.9%, beating the 3.7% increase expected by Wall Street analysts.

The U.S. Treasury owns 500 million shares of General Motors, and is tired of waiting for the share price to rise.

By Kim Peterson Apr 20, 2011 3:05PM
Image: Car Accident (© Hemera Technologies/ long do you hold on to a so-so stock? That's what the U.S. government is wondering about its massive stake in General Motors (GM).

The U.S. Treasury still owns about 500 million shares after the $50 billion rescue of the company in 2009. It would need to sell those shares at $53 apiece just to break even on its investment.

But GM's share price is nowhere near that amount. The stock hit a new low this week and is at about $30 today, down 19% year-to-date. The way fuel prices are moving, the chance of that stock hitting the $53 mark anytime soon are nil.

The government is likely just going to sell the stock at a loss to taxpayers, The Wall Street Journal reports. At GM's current price, taxpayers would lose at least $11 billion if the government sold its entire stake. But hey, what's another $11 billion to a government bleeding so much red it could pass for an extra on "Saw 3D"? 
Tags: gm

The company changes its business model to let fan response determine ticket prices. Will it work? With video interview.

By Kim Peterson Apr 20, 2011 2:42PM
After getting killed in last year's lackluster concert season, Ticketmaster is changing the way it does business. And it hopes scalpers lose out along the way.

Now Ticketmaster says it will adjust the price of sports and concert tickets according to demand. If shrieking girls can't get enough of a certain floppy-haired teen idol, for example, ticket prices will go up. But if, say, Rebecca Black launches a nationwide tour to slow demand, her ticket prices will drop.

It's a fundamental change to the traditional model for Ticketmaster, a division of Live Nation Entertainment (LYV). In the past, Ticketmaster worked with artists to set tickets at specific prices, and those prices didn't really change.

Post continues after this interview with Ticketmaster about the new pricing: 


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[BRIEFING.COM] The S&P 500 (+0.1%) hovers right above its flat line with seven sectors sporting gains.

Market participants received just one economic data point today (June Pending Home Sales -1.1%), but the rest of the week will bring a full slate of data. Tomorrow, the Case-Shiller 20-city Index ( consensus 10.0%) will be released at 9:00 ET, while the July Consumer Confidence report (consensus 85.6) will cross the wires at 10:00 ET.

As the week progresses, ... More


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