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The chip-maker has a blowout quarter and has no intention of letting up on competitors.

By Jim J. Jubak Jul 14, 2010 5:50PM

Jim JubakSales of server chips were up 170% in the second quarter of 2010 from the second quarter of 2009, Intel (INTC) announced when the company reported earnings Tuesday night.


When I last updated this stock back in April, after the company announced first-quarter earnings and an increase in gross margins to 63.4%, I wrote: "The company had been projecting gross margins of 58% to 64%. The increase in gross margins is the key piece of news in this report. 


"To get margins up to that level, the product mix at Intel has had to shift toward a higher proportion of sales from more profitable server chips. Industry watchers have recently forecast a two-year cycle of big increases in server purchases as corporate customers upgrade their equipment. Intel seems to be signaling that it's going to ride that trend to higher margins for more than just the next quarter."

 

Giving every iPhone 4 user a bumper is the cheapest short-term way to fix the antenna problem.

By Kim Peterson Jul 14, 2010 3:59PM

Credit: (© Paul Sakuma/AP)
Caption: Apple CEO Steve Jobs holds the new iPhone 4Apple (AAPL), would you just give out free bumpers and make this all go away?

The company's ongoing reception problems with its new iPhone 4 can, in many cases, be solved by putting a $30 bumper case on the device. But as Consumer Reports and Information Week note, the user shouldn't have to pay to fix an Apple problem.

From a financial standpoint, it's clearly in Apple's best interest to give a free bumper to any iPhone 4 owner who wants one. Giving cases to 3 million people would cost $45 million, according to one analyst.

 

Chinese consumers flock to KFC, Pizza Hut and other distinctly American restaurants.

By Kim Peterson Jul 14, 2010 2:46PM
 ©Eugene Hoshiko/APChina can't get enough fried chicken and pepperoni pizza.

And that's great news for Yum Brands (YUM), the company that owns KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell. The U.S. economy may be in the doldrums, but in China, a new KFC opens almost every day, CNNMoney reports.

American fast food has gone global, and the welcome has been better than executives could have hoped for. Yum Brands has the ambitious goal of opening 20,000 fast-food restaurants in China, writes Ben Rooney. 

The shares are cheap, especially when you look at the stock's forward P/E.

By Kim Peterson Jul 14, 2010 2:16PM

Shares of Wal-Mart (WMT) -- like many of the items on its shelves -- are dirt cheap.

The stock is in the $50 range right now, having just rebounded from a low of around $48. And while that may not sound too cheap, consider that the stock is trading at a mere 11.4 times expected earnings for the next year.

Compare that to Costco (COST), which is at a 17.4 forward P/E.  Amazon's (AMZN) is 31.2. Target's (TGT) P/E is in the same ballpark as Wal-Mart's.

 

If history is any guide, the chip-maker's shares will blip, then drop, after posting a great quarter. But there's no reason a stock this good should continue to trade at a discount.

By Jim Cramer Jul 14, 2010 8:41AM

jim cramer of thestreet.comBy Jim Cramer, TheStreet

 

How could the Street be so wrong about Intel (INTC)? How did people not see the demand? How did people not recognize what a gift it was to get this one with a 3% yield?

 

I understand. We have had several great quarters from Intel, and they have led to blips up that then gave up the ghost almost immediately. Maybe the tech bear market knows no bounds and we are simply going to see the same thing happen again. Every time Intel reports a great quarter, everyone says it is the last good quarter and sells it. Could happen again.

 

But I am a believer. I do not believe that high-quality, terrific stocks with earnings momentum, great product cycles, picture-perfect balance sheets and unbelievably good managements that are delivering amazing gross margins and sales should forever trade at big discounts to the average stock.

 

Fewer future buyers and low satisfaction plague RIM smart phones, a survey finds.

By InvestorPlace Jul 14, 2010 6:52AM

Credit: (© Manu Fernandez/AP)
Caption: iPhone 3GSA recent survey lends some hard proof to the trend that many consumers and investors have already noticed: The BlackBerry is dying.


Why? Because the iPhone is killing it -- and because the Google Android operating system is driving strong sales for HTC and other manufacturers.

 

According to a survey conducted by ChangeWave Research at the end of June (just before the Apple iPhone 4 release), Research in Motion (RIMM) and its BlackBerry line of products is barely hanging on to its No. 1 spot in smart-phone market share, and a wave of big demand for the Apple Inc. (AAPL) iPhone looks like it will soon knock RIM from its perch. Read full details of the survey here.

 

The market is especially volatile now, anticipating key data coming Thursday.

By Jim J. Jubak Jul 13, 2010 5:24PM

Jim JubakLive by the rumor, die by the rumor.  


Maybe they ought to engrave that above the entrance to the Shanghai stock exchange. 


Monday, the Shanghai Composite Index climbed 0.8% to the highest level since June 28 after newspaper reports, essentially unsourced rumors, said that banks had resumed making mortgages on third homes in China's biggest cities. A prohibition on third-home mortgages had been a conspicuous part of Beijing's efforts to slow real-estate speculation. 

 

Signs point to a turnaround for the aluminum giant, showing potential as a good recovery investment.

By InvestorPlace Jul 13, 2010 3:18PM

By Jim Woods, InvestorPlace.com

 

It’s been a tough year for aluminum.  The spot price of so-called "primary aluminum" (99.7% purity) has fallen over -12% year to date, but that’s nothing when compared to the decline in the world’s largest aluminum manufacturer, Alcoa (AA)The Dow Jones component’s shares are down over -32% year to date, a decline that’s a clear reflection of fears of another leg downward in the global economy.

 

But investors should remember the old adage “buy low, sell high” when it comes to Alcoa stock. AA shares may have had a rough run lately, but there are signs pointing to a turnaround in the company soon. Here are three reasons why investors should consider Alcoa stock for their portfolios.

 

One analyst says what others won't: It's really hard to find good stocks.

By Kim Peterson Jul 13, 2010 2:02PM
We love to throw around stock ideas on this blog. But when it comes down to spending your hard-earned money on a stock, don't trust anyone but yourself.

Even the analysts who spend all day poring over stocks say they can't get it right.

"Recommending stocks in the current environment may well be a fool’s errand," says a top Barcap quant researcher, according to The Financial Times. "Stock selection has rarely ever been more difficult than it has over the past two months." 

Apple sees the kind of sales and profit growth that's usually reserved for smaller companies.

By Kim Peterson Jul 13, 2010 1:32PM
Credit: (© Paul Sakuma/AP)
Caption: Apple CEO Steve Jobs holds the new iPhone 4Apple (AAPL) is the second-largest company in the U.S., with a market value of $228 billion.

Normally, when you get that big, it's hard to maintain a high growth rate. But Apple will likely get 50% more sales and 71% more profit this year than last year, writes Andy Zaky at Fortune. If that continues, Apple will beat out Exxon Mobil (XOM) to become the largest company.

How in the world can Apple sustain that kind of momentum? Oh, and by the way, Apple is sitting on a shocking $41 billion in cash. 

Why can't we simply have a system where deposits equal expenditures?

By Jim Van Meerten Jul 13, 2010 11:42AM
I just attended my 45th high school reunion -- Fort Lauderdale High School class of 1965 -- and one of the hot topics of conversation was Social Security and when you should retire.

I retired last September when I turned 62 and decided to take my reduced benefits. My kids had both graduated from college and were employed, my debt was low and I'd saved for retirement since I graduated from college. My Social Security statement showed I'd been paying in to the SSI fund since 1962 while I was still in high school and had contributions every year since then.

Yesterday an article by David Lightman called "A push to delay Social Security benefits until 70" caught my eye. The article, like most articles on Social Security tells of all the problems but offers few solutions except for pushing out your retirement date further and further. Well I've got some ideas. 

Priced at $1 to $3, these small-cap picks have the explosive potential of penny stocks -- without the huge risk.

By InvestorPlace Jul 13, 2010 11:16AM

By Louis Navellier, Editor of Blue Chip Growth


Penny stock investing doesn’t have to involve super-risky stocks that can erase your retirement money. Penny stock recommendations also can encapsulate low-priced stocks that are more stable, trading at bargain prices and low valuations.


These bargain investments trade for between $1 and $3 -- very cheap compared with traditional equities. Though they are not trading for a few cents like some penny stock recommendations, these stocks are worth the extra share price because they have added stability.


Here are three pricey penny stock recommendations from this week for investors looking for low-priced picks with the ability to surge but with more stable companies that won’t collapse overnight.

 

With an increasingly coveted fleet, an improving balance sheet and plenty of cash, Ford has the momentum of an oncoming F-150.

By Jim Cramer Jul 13, 2010 8:49AM

jim cramerBy Jim Cramer, TheStreet

 

What does Ford (F) have to do to get some respect around this joint?

 

Two weeks ago the company announced a $4 billion payoff of its union and preferred debt obligations. Ford didn't have to do it. It could have made the union payment with stock. It could have kept deferring the preferred payments forever.

 

But the company had so much cash and the sales are so strong, they said let's just pay 'em off. That means that when Ford reports, it is going to get some serious credit upgrades and will be able to offer the most generous financing without getting killed in the process.

 

 

Investors are anxious about the country's GDP numbers, which are due out Thursday.

By Jim J. Jubak Jul 12, 2010 4:21PM

Jim JubakAll eyes will be on China's second-quarter gross domestic product numbers when they're announced Thursday.


Will China's economy show something like the 11.9% growth of the first quarter (danger, Will Robinson), or a big drop to 8% (worryingly too slow) or come in just right? (See the latest forecast from the International Monetary Fund on the rest of the global economy in my post "Economic growth will be higher than projected, the IMF says, unless, of course, it's not.")


The numbers announced in the run-up to the GDP report haven't given much away.

 

The company is counting on frappes, smoothies and lattes to bring in $1 billion this year.

By Kim Peterson Jul 12, 2010 2:56PM

fast food © Bananastock/JupiterimagesPop quiz: What's expected to add $125,000 to the sales of each McDonald's restaurant in America this year?

The answer is beverages. And that's why McDonald's (MCD) has pounced on frappes, smoothies and other drinks as the economy struggles to improve.

McDonald's beverage line is also estimated to contribute $1 billion to the company's bottom line this year, Advertising Age reports. The company officially begins advertising the beverages this week.

 

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[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market finished the Wednesday session on a modestly lower note, but it is worth mentioning today's retreat took place after six consecutive gains. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (-0.1%) and S&P 500 (-0.2%) settled not far below their flat lines, while the Nasdaq Composite (-0.8%) lagged throughout the session.

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