The chain still has quality management and strong retention rates.
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The 'Money Never Sleeps' actor says he has some investing skills, and he likes Apple and IOC.
Hey, we put everyone else's stock picks in here, so why not give this kid a turn?
Shia LaBeouf, all of 23 years old, apparently now knows a thing or two about investing after finishing filming on "Money Never Sleeps," in which LaBeouf plays a Wall Street trader named Jacob Moore. This is the sequel to Oliver Stone's 1987 hit "Wall Street."
- MSN Entertainment: On the set of 'Tron Legacy'
Now that health care and financial reforms are in the works, it's time to shore up Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
By Lauren Tara LaCapra, TheStreet
Now that other major agenda items are on the road to passage, the Obama administration has set its sights on the two big, gaping holes in America's balance sheet: Fannie Mae (FNM) and Freddie Mac (FRE).
Though the mortgage-finance giants stand to vaporize more taxpayer funds than any other bailed-out company, and are hugely important to economic policy goals, little has been said about Fannie and Freddie's future so far.
On Tuesday, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner spoke in broad terms about the plan to address Fannie and Freddie before the House Financial Services Committee. The plan appears to be for another hybrid public-private entity, but one whose government support is explicit, with risk priced more "appropriately" than it has been for decades.
I'm not afraid of change and my plan for the future is the same one I've had in the past
Over the past few weeks as I listened to my favorite stations, congressmen and commentators I sensed that there was a lot of fear and anxiety in their voices. In spite of all their protests and the protests they were covering the bill passed anyway. I started to ask myself how could something pass that it seemed everyone was against and then it hit me. Maybe I was listening to the wrong people. I stepped back to see what was happening.
I don't think there is anyone, rich or poor, Democratic or Republican that really wants someone to die or stay sick because they haven't got the financial means to purchase the services or drugs that will save their life or ease their pain. Americans are just too carrying to let that happen. Things will be different and we shouldn't fear that. But how will I change my plan?
A look at AIG's complex derivative business shows why it's difficult to take apart these bets.
By Lauren Tara LaCapra, TheStreet
Drilling down into the terms and details of American International Group's (AIG) massive derivative book shows why unwinding thousands of these bets has been so difficult and time-consuming.
AIG's financial products division has made incredible strides in whittling down its often-complex trades. Progress has sped up since the markets have recovered and the firm has been standing on more solid ground, both managerially and operationally.
As of March 9, AIG had reduced the notional value of its derivatives book to $800 billion, with 14,800 trades outstanding. That's $140 billion less exposure and 8% fewer trades than at year-end alone, and less than a third of the $2.7 trillion in exposure at its 2007 peak.
Investors who made a killing on Bank of America should consider selling the stock before financial reform takes the spotlight.
By David MacDougall, TheStreet
Bank of America (BAC) shares have outperformed those of rivals JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and Wells Fargo (WFC) during the past year. But the source of Bank of America's strength could also be its biggest risk.
As the largest US bank by assets with a market cap that's only slightly smaller than that of JPMorgan, Bank of America will likely be targeted by new regulations designed to clamp down on "too big to fail" institutions. While proposed regulations haven't been finalized, it's near certain that something will be signed into law that will restrict its banking operations, and the uncertainty of this process will weigh on Bank of America shareholders.
Bank of America stock has almost tripled during the past year as the company cut its leverage level and paid a dividend of about 2%. Bank of America's beta value is very high at 2.6, indicating the stock is extremely sensitive to market risk. With about 50% of the company's revenue coming from home loans, card services and deposits last year, Bank of America is more tied to personal finance than most of its competitors.
It would take some accounting magic, but a buyout of the video game store could save BBI
Gamestop (GME) is Wall Street’s favorite dog to kick around. Shares are down 20% from the lows of 2009 despite a red-hot rally of about 70% in the broader market. That makes it one of the 10 worst performers in the last year.
The reasons are crystal clear: As consumer spending dried up, all but the hard-core gamers cut back on spending. And despite a bit of strength around the holiday season, video game sales have done nothing but drop. The details from February’s video game sales report a few weeks back showed more of the same, and GME continues to pay the price.
But is the brutal fall of GME entirely fair? Some companies say the answer is no, and they are looking to game Gamestop’s decline as a shot for a bargain basement acquisition. And if execs at Blockbuster (BBI) can work some accounting magic, could be a potential buyer of GME.
The retailer's earnings call revealed that the housing turnover is leading to an accelerated spending wave.
By Jim Cramer, TheStreet
Nothing was more important than health care in Monday's session. Can't take away from it. But the eye-opening, I should say eye-popping, Williams-Sonoma (WSM) call may have been more of a catalyst than anyone who wasn't on it might have realized.
WSM basically said the public is spending again for everything from high-end bedding and nice cookware to expensive furniture and glassware. It was like something you would have heard not only before the Great Recession but maybe in the midst of the housing boom.
You could learn so much from it. First, you recognized that, like Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY), when Linens 'n Things went under, WSM picked up great share when Smith & Hawken -- a unit of Scotts Miracle-Gro (SMG) -- closed its retail arm. (That was a two-birds-with-one-stone call because SMG moved up huge, too, on it).
There's a lot of money flowing to Asia right now, and at some point valuations could skyrocket.
You've been warned about the next bubble. (Don't panic yet. It looks like it's a way off.)
A recent survey of 109 institutional investors based in Asia and Europe, commissioned by Fidelity from the Economist Intelligence Unit, shows that 63% of respondents plan to increase their allocation to stocks in Asia, excluding Australia and Japan, in 2010, even though they think Asian assets are riskier than their counterparts in developed markets, and they admit that they lack knowledge and expertise in these markets.
In other words, they're jumping on the bandwagon. (I doubt that the survey would find very different results for U.S. institutional investors. Fidelity itself, for example, is moving one of its stars, Anthony Bolton, to Hong Kong this month to set up a $971 million China investment trust that will be listed in London.)
Bank of America tries to expand in China, chasing competitors that already have a foothold in the fast-growing nation.
By Lauren Tara LaCapra, TheStreet
Bank of America (BAC) is on a better track with its reinvigorated business strategy, but mistakes from the past will keep the bank's profit on shaky ground for some time.
Bank of America Chief Executive Brian Moynihan has outlined his broad plan to pursue new business in high-growth emerging markets, and develop better relationships with wealthy clients in mature markets. He left this week for a trip to China, according to The Wall Street Journal, in an effort to build ties with leaders and business partners there.
But Bank of America is a laggard in respect to its newfound priorities abroad, and it will take time and effort to catch up. Major competitors are already established in China or building a presence there.
The company refuses to relent on price and aims to make the best product out there. And it succeeds.
But the idea is worth revisiting as the company gears up to sell its iPad tablet next week. There are other worthy competitors out there, and their products are cheaper.
"Apple’s assumption is that, if the iPad is also significantly better, people will happily shell out for it," Surowiecki writes. It's an assumption that has paid off handsomely for the company, as people flocked to the iPod and iPhone, gladly paying a premium when they could have bought a sufficient competitor for less money.
Early surveys show a seasonally adjusted sales rate of 13.2 million cars for the industry, the highest since August.
By Ted Reed, TheStreet
March is shaping up to be an unusually strong month for car sales, with catalysts including Toyota (TM) incentives and nice weather following a stormy February.
According to Edmonds.com, March sales are on pace to produce seasonally an adjusted annual sales rate for the industry of 13.2 million, the highest since the 13.7 million cars sold in August, reflecting buying inspired by the cash for clunkers program.
As of March 10, Ford (F) had a 19.2% share of the market, while General Motors had 17.8% of the market and Toyota had 15.5%, according to Truecar.com. Ford had a 17.6% share in February and a 14.6% share in March 2009.
A new company resurrects the legendary Commodore name to sell a new line of computers.
A new company, Commodore USA, has licensed the Commodore name and plans to start selling the made-over computer in June, according to PCWorld. But you don't have to dig very far before this starts sounding a little odd.
The new model, called Phoenix by Commodore USA, is an all-in-one system that can support up to 4 gigabytes of memory and 2 terabytes of storage, according to ZDNet.
BP's Prudhoe Bay Trust dropped sharply last week, boosting its yield to a 17% dividend. But is it a buying opportunity?
The BP Prudhoe Bay Royalty Trust (BPT) is a favorite among income-oriented dividend stock investors. The stock offers a hefty yield, and since it’s a “depletion trust” based on the life of its reserves, it’s not as tied to oil prices as other stocks in the energy sector.
But after dropping 13% in two days last week, some are wondering if it is time to cut this stock loose -- or time to buy more now that the dividend yield is now about 17%.
Let’s take a look:
Looking to keep customers, Wal-Mart employs the strategy it knows best: lower prices.
Shares of traditional grocer Safeway (SWY), for example, trade at a mere fraction of prices reached in 2001. Unfortunately for the sector, things are not going to get any easier.
Last week, Wal-Mart confirmed a report that it would slash prices on grocery items in hopes of boosting traffic at its stores.
The king of price rollbacks is set to discount up to 10,000 items beginning April 1.
Would you like Peppy Paneer on that pizza? Domino's, which just opened its 300th store in India, shows no sign of slowing.
Though Peppy Paneer may not be a popular pizza topping in the U.S., Indians are eating up the tofu-esque offering from Domino’s Pizza (DPZ) that caters to regional tastes on the subcontinent. And increasingly at DPZ, it’s what the international pizza crowd wants that matters.
It’s international expansion like this that is fueling Domino’s growth. About 55% of Domino's $5.6 billion in sales last year were in the United States, and that international same-store sales have increased for 64 consecutive quarters (that’s 16 years).
The trend is a little hard to wrap your head around -- an American version of an Italian food selling well in India. But this much is clear: If this keeps up, Domino’s will see the bulk of its revenue come in from outside the U.S. very soon, and it will provide a springboard for growth in the months and years to come.
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[BRIEFING.COM] The major averages finished the session on a lower note as the S&P 500 lost 0.4% while the Nasdaq shed 0.1%. The Russell 2000, which paced the retreat on Tuesday and Wednesday, added 0.2%, trimming its December loss to 3.5%.
After spending the first half of the session in a steady retreat, the S&P 500 found technical support in the 1772 area. Upon reaching that level, the index reversed sharply, and marched back to its flat line. There was no particular catalyst ... More
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