Get ready for a flood of IPOs
Flood of IPOs land this week

If everything goes as planned, this week will be the busiest for initial public offerings since 2000.

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The company makes it harder to add to the DVD queue from streaming devices, igniting a firestorm of controversy.

By Kim Peterson Jan 20, 2011 1:59PM
Credit: (© Paul Sakuma/AP)
Caption: Netflix DVDIs Netflix (NFLX) trying to phase out the DVD? That's what some customers are saying after the company sent out a short message this week on the company blog.

Netflix is removing the "Add to DVD queue" option for people who use Xbox 360s and other devices that stream Netflix videos. Those users must now go directly to Netflix's website to add movies to the DVD queue (you can still add to the "instant" queue from anywhere).

Talk about inconvenient. The move has ignited a firestorm of resentment among users, and the blog post has received 4,500 mostly negative comments. Why would Netflix do this? The explanation is, well, a little bit murky.

"We're doing this so we can concentrate on offering you the titles that are available to watch instantly," the company says on its blog. 

With world markets recovering and developing, the prospects for the power industry appear promising.

By TheStreet Staff Jan 20, 2011 12:56PM

Image: Globe (© Comstock/SuperStock)By Don Dion, TheStreet

 

Rising commodity prices have been the talk of the Street for weeks, leading investors to seek out new and promising ways to gain access to wheat, coal, copper and other hard assets.

 

Energy, in particular, has gained a great deal of investor interest as improving economic conditions around the globe help lift crude prices back toward $100. This week, looking ahead to the new year, the International Energy Agency offered a promising outlook, raising its 2011 global oil demand forecast.

 

Targeting oil and other facets of the energy sector has become a simple endeavor, thanks to the advent of exchange-traded funds. Using products such as the United States Oil Fund (USO) or the iShares Dow Jones U.S. Oil Equipment & Services Index Fund (IEZ), investors can directly capture the price action of this fuel source through futures contracts, or take an indirect approach to the industry and play the effect of rising prices on producers.

 

With Steve Jobs on medical leave, all eyes are on his No. 2.

By TheStreet Staff Jan 20, 2011 12:54PM

Credit: Apple Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook ((C) Chris Hondros/Getty Images)By James Rogers, TheStreet

 

Investors listening to Apple's (AAPL)first-quarter conference call Tuesday hoping for some Steve Jobs-style showboating and fiery rhetoric were surely disappointed. A soft-spoken, somewhat reserved Southerner is now center stage at the world's biggest technology company.

 

With Jobs on medical leave, all eyes are now focused on his No. 2, COO Tim Cook. Whereas his flamboyant boss spiced up press events and analyst calls with the occasional dig at fellow Silicon Valley companies like Adobe (ADBE), Cook's conference call comments (save for one swipe at rival tablet makers) were much more restrained. The Alabama native instead made vague references to the "magic of Apple" while giving little away about the company's broader strategy and its succession plan.

 

Cook, of course, is familiar with this role. He has already taken the company's reins on two prior occasions: for two months in 2004 when Jobs was receiving treatment for pancreatic cancer, and again for six months in 2009.

 

Take advantage of the market's messed-up expectation on the maker of the Cessna business jet.

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day Jan 20, 2011 12:40PM

The recession hit capital equipment makers hard because many customers had to forestall upgrades in order to survive. But the market seems to be ignoring the fact this can't continue forever, and all that cash sitting around has to be put to use sometime soon.

 

Rex Moore, Motley Fool Top Stocks editor

 

With a record amount of cash now sitting on company balance sheets, management teams are beginning to feel comfortable enough with the economic recovery to start loosening the purse strings. One company that stands to gain heavily from this is Textron (TXT).

 

The retailer plans to offer cheaper, better eats. But past efforts to boost product quality and lower prices didn't help sales.

By InvestorPlace Jan 20, 2011 10:48AM

Image: Groceries (© Tetra Images/Corbis)By Jeff Reeves, editor of InvestorPlace.com

 

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) is looking to prove you can be a big-box retailer and still believe in smaller waistlines. And to help achieve that goal, it's asking the first lady for help.

 

The company announced a plan today that will give shoppers healthier food options at lower prices, cutting out some of the most unhealthful foods packaged under its store brands. Coupled with better food on the shelf is a better PR push for the company's healthful offerings -- led by a partnership with Michelle Obama, who will attend the official Wal-Mart announcement, according to reports.

 

The in-store plan involves taking unhealthful salts, saturated fats, transfats and sugar out of Wal-Mart store-branded products under the Great Value and Sam's Choice labels. The retailer also has pledged to lower prices on fruits and vegetables.

 

Internet stocks are down 5% to 10% after F5 Networks' disappointing earnings. It's a chance to pick up the names you thought had gotten away from you.

By Jim Cramer Jan 20, 2011 9:59AM

jim cramerShoot first. Shoot everything! That's the market's reaction to Internet backbone F5 Networks' (FFIV) earnings last night, and I have to tell you that I believe it is a vicious overreaction. But don't tell the sellers.

 

I am seeing anything connected to the Net down 5% to 10%. Anything. Juniper (JNPR). Salesforce.com (CRM). Riverbed (RVBD). Acme Packet (APKT). Motricity (MOTR). Akamai (AKAM) is the only one that seems not to be down too far . . . yet. The whole mobile Internet tsunami has been wiped out because of F5's guidance!

 

What's the truth here?

 

First, if you can get F5 down even 30 -- who would ever have thought that would merit an "even"? -- then you should just grab it.


That's ridiculous. The company is a good company. While you can't be overly eager, because we don't know enough yet about what "went wrong" at F5, it doesn't deserve to be drawn and quartered (or thirded)!

 

The cement-maker almost went under in the credit crisis. But economic growth in the US and Mexico is helping it recover.

By Jim J. Jubak Jan 19, 2011 5:10PM
Image: Jim JubakA cement-maker like Cemex (CX) couldn't have picked a worse set of markets for the global economic crisis if it had tried.

The company's third- and fourth-largest markets? Spain and the United Kingdom. The second? The United States, epicenter for the global housing meltdown. And then, of course, there is No. 1: Mexico, where domestic economic activity closely follows growth (or the lack thereof) in the United States.

No wonder Cemex almost went under during the crisis, drowning in an ocean of debt that included $14 billion for its 2007 top-of-the-market acquisition of Rinker, an Australian cement-maker with even bigger exposure to the U.S. market. The stock, which had looked like it was closing in on $30 a share in May 2008, bottomed below $4 in November 2008.
 

Yes, Chinese airlines have ordered 200 aircraft from Boeing. But we already knew that.

By Kim Peterson Jan 19, 2011 3:48PM
Image: Airline (© Christie & Cole/Corbis)Boeing (BA) has a huge order in from China worth $19 billion, the White House announced today. The order of 200 aircraft will be delivered over three years.

But shareholders didn't react to the news, and Boeing shares actually fell by 1%. That's because there actually aren't any new orders to announce.

All those planes have already been announced in the past four years, The Seattle Times reports. Boeing has already received nonrefundable deposits on them and booked them as firm orders.

So the impact on Boeing is minimal. The only newsworthy thing to come out of today is that the Chinese government gave final approval to the airlines that placed those plane orders. 

Who owns the rights to the popular dolls? Two toy companies are fighting it out.

By Kim Peterson Jan 19, 2011 3:06PM
Credit: Bratz Dolls (©Gregory Bull/AP)The Bratz dolls line has been a huge success for MGA Entertainment. And Barbie, well, let's just say she's no longer the most popular girl in the toy store.

All of this has ruffled feathers within the toy industry, spurring an ugly legal battle between MGA and Barbie maker Mattel (MAT). How ugly is it?

Mattel executives described a "rival-led Barbie genocide" in one internal memo, according to The Associated Press. "This is war and sides must be taken: Barbie stands for good. All others stand for evil," the memo read. Yikes.

The memo emerged in an ongoing court fight that entered its second round this week. At the heart of the case is Mattel's claim that Bratz creator Carter Bryant came up with the idea for the dolls while he was working at Mattel. Mattel also says MGA secretly conspired with Bryant to steal the idea. 

Believe it or not, the company has strengths that investors are missing.

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day Jan 19, 2011 2:57PM

Credit: (© Paul Sakuma/AP)
Caption: Apple CEO Steve JobsFour months ago, Eric Bleeker recommended Apple. After a nice 25% run-up, he's not shying away from the stock and thinks the $300 billion behemoth still has plenty of room to run.

 

Rex Moore, Motley Fool Top Stocks editor

 

The $300 billion market capitalization might scare investors off, but I think Apple (AAPL) has plenty of room to grow. In fact, it's my top conviction selection to outperform the market in 2011. I don't think you'll see another year of 53% returns like Apple had in 2010, but at today's price levels, there's still a lot left in the tank.

 

Why Apple has room to run
There are four key themes that should keep Apple outperforming.

  1. iOS scales. Apple has proven its ability to scale iOS to different devices, which unlocks opportunities in connected living room devices (think Apple TV) as well as advertising.  
  2. Software is the new kingmaker. Unlike the age of Motorola's (MMI) RAZR when phones were differentiated by slick designs that were easy to copy, phone dominance is now dictated by the software. That's a much more defensible position, especially when Apple controls its App Store and the media platform (iTunes) its users have adopted.
 

The highly anticipated system goes on sale March 27. Will its steep price be a turnoff?

By Kim Peterson Jan 19, 2011 1:59PM
Credit: Nintendo 3DS (© Nintendo)Nintendo (NTDOY) has finally announced the launch date for its 3DS portable system. The highly anticipated device will hit stores March 27.

This isn't just another Game Boy. The 3DS is generating lots of excitement because Nintendo says it will show 3D images without the need for 3D glasses. But you'd better start saving now, because that slick technology will come at a cost.

Nintendo will charge $250 for a 3DS. That's a lot of allowance money. But the company hopes the 3DS is broadly appealing enough that adults might use one instead of, or perhaps in addition to, smart phones that also have games on them.    
 
Devices like the iPhone are certainly competing with Nintendo's current handheld, the DS. Sales of the DS dropped 23% in 2010, CNBC reports. And sales of Nintendo's groundbreaking Wii console fell 26% that year. 

One of the most persistent advances in stock market history nears its end.

By Anthony Mirhaydari Jan 19, 2011 1:13PM

Technically, we are now at a decision point. The S&P 500 has scratched its way back to within inches of 1,300, which hasn't been seen since August 2008. This marked the end of a temporary two-month rebound within the 2007-09 bear market. The bears will be camped out at that level with sniper rifles, ready to ambush overeager bulls.


And, boy, have the bulls been enthusiastic. Since Dec. 1, the S&P 500 has closed above its 10-day moving average for 32 days in a row. Aside from a similar low-volatility run last April that ended in disaster and the May 6 flash crash as investors all tried to sell at the same time, you've got to go all the way back to 1997 to find another period of similarly persistent performance.


Runs like this are extremely rare.

 

Reports from the 2 tech titans reveal increased spending at corporate and individual levels -- a rejuvenation the market isn't taking into account yet.

By Jim Cramer Jan 19, 2011 10:00AM

jim cramerWe are both a rich country and a rich world. Isn't that the ultimate takeaway from the IBM (IBM) and Apple (AAPL) earnings reports last night?

 

We fret so much about how consumers are strapped and how companies are just withholding profits and not spending, and then we get two quarters that tell us, frankly, the opposite.

 

First, the products that IBM and Apple sell are not inexpensive. The big rap against Apple is that the price point for so many of its devices is so high. Anyone who has bought a truly wireless, no-Wi-Fi iPad as I did this holiday, or anyone who has bought a MacBook Air, as I did the year before, knows these devices are very expensive compared with a plain-old but pretty good Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) at Costco (COST).

 

The company reports a positive revenue picture across the board, but the results weren't as spectacular as you might think.

By Jim J. Jubak Jan 18, 2011 5:00PM
Jim JubakMost of the time, Wall Street's attention is riveted on earnings per share. On Friday, when JPMorgan Chase (JPM) reported fourth-quarter financial results before the stock market opened, eyes were focused on revenue.

That’s because the economic cycle has turned far enough that banks are reserving less against losses and adding withdrawals from reserves back to earnings. (Earlier in the cycle, they were subtracting those withdrawals from earnings.) Because of that, earnings can soar even if a bank’s basic businesses are circling the drain.

The real measure of current health -- and of the potential for future profits -- then becomes revenue growth. The faster revenue is growing now, the more a bank will add to earnings in the future once the temporary additions to earnings from reserve reductions taper off. 

On that basis, JPMorgan Chase’s fourth quarter was good, although not as spectacular as you’d think if you only look at earnings.
 

Yes, the recalls were damaging, but the big picture at the company isn't nearly as bad as you think.

By Kim Peterson Jan 18, 2011 3:11PM
Credit: Tylenol recall (©Paul Sakuma/AP)A recent New York Times article on Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) paints a picture of a company beyond repair, a doomed purveyor of shabbily made medicinal products that has drawn the scrutiny of government officials.

"It looks like a plane spinning out of control," one former employee told the newspaper. This past year, the Times wrote, could have been called "annus horribilis." The headline was just as dramatic: "Can Johnson & Johnson get its act together?"

Let's push aside the doom and gloom and look at the numbers. Johnson and Johnson shares started last year at around $64.50 and by the end had plunged to the shocking level of . . . $61.85. Hmmm. Are investors missing something here?   

How about earnings? A quick scan through the quarters doesn't reveal huge disaster. Third-quarter profit rose 2.2% from the year before, while sales were down 0.7%. The company even raised its full-year guidance in October. The second quarter saw gains in sales and profit. Same with the first quarter

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[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market ended the Wednesday session on a mixed note with small caps displaying relative strength. The Nasdaq Composite (+0.5%) and Russell 2000 (+0.4%) registered modest gains, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (-0.2%) and S&P 500 (+0.01%) underperformed.

Despite the mixed finish, the key indices traded higher across the board at the start of the session after the advance reading of second quarter GDP surpassed estimates (4.0% versus Briefing.com ... More


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