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

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

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Awful second-quarter earnings from Vestas show that wind power is still a poor investment at the mercy of government spending.

By Jim Cramer Aug 18, 2010 8:55AM

jim cramerBy Jim Cramer, TheStreet

 

If the government is subsidizing it, particularly if the government is that of Spain or the U.S., you can forget about sales, no matter how hot the product seems to be.

 

That's my feeling after seeing the stunning earnings miss by Vestas, the Denmark wind turbine company. The second-quarter loss of 119 million euros -- plus a sales forecast that shaves a billion euros off previous guidance, from 7 billion to 6 billion -- is a reminder that spending on alternative energy is a loser if it isn't economical.

 

Vestas isn't a metaphor for wind. It is a metaphor for everything that doesn't make money but exists because a government wants to wean its country off of carbon. The privilege of doing so is now too expensive, whether it be for switchgrass (really expensive, according to a great piece Tuesday from JPMorgan's "Eye of the Market") or ethanol or solar.

 

Reports out of Taiwan say Apple has asked manufacturers to produce a 7-inch iPad.

By Kim Peterson Aug 17, 2010 2:53PM

Credit: (© Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Caption: Apple iPadA Taiwanese newspaper reports that Apple (AAPL) is preparing a smaller iPad with a 7-inch screen, one that could launch by Christmas, according to PC World.

The current iPad has a 9.7-inch screen (measured diagonally) and weighs 1.5 pounds. A smaller iPad would weigh less and cost less than the original model. Plus, it would be even more portable.

Why would Apple go this route? As Business Insider points out, it wants to own the tablet market. Other rivals are quickly developing their own tablets (and will probably sell those for less), and Apple is trying to extend its lead with different sizes and pricing options.

 

Shares tumble after the clothing retailer reveals it might not make it through the year.

By TheStreet Staff Aug 17, 2010 2:24PM

the streetBy Jeanine Poggi, TheStreet

 

American Apparel's (APP) stock is taking a bloodbath after the clothier warned that its dwindling liquidity may not be enough to sustain it through the year.

 

The company said Tuesday that it may be unable to repay a loan due in September and that it is in talks with creditors. As of the end of the second quarter, its debt rose 32% to $120.3 million.

American Apparel said it would delay its second-quarter earnings report after its accounting firm, Deloitte & Touche, resigned last month. The company found a new auditor, Marcum, but said Tuesday that it has received a federal subpoena related to the switch.

 

Shares were plunging 22.3% Tuesday to $1.08 shortly before the market close and have fallen more than 60% in the past three months.

 

The company is well-positioned to supply industrial gases to growing economies.

By Jim Van Meerten Aug 17, 2010 1:56PM
I've got four reasons to add Praxair (PX) to my Wall Street Survivor portfolio, but the biggest reason I like this stock is that the company is already positioned to supply industrial gases to growing economies. It is established -- with customers in China, India and Germany -- and is the second-largest in its industry, with 26,000 employees.

Praxair mainly produces atmospheric and process gases, but it also makes metallic and ceramic coatings and powders. Another segment of the company builds equipment to make industrial gases.

Wall Street analysts are high on this stock, with 14 buy recommendations published based on projections of sales increases of 12.7% this year and 8.3% next year.
 

Research In Motion's new phone has sputtered out of the gate, giving rise to rumors of price cuts.

By Kim Peterson Aug 17, 2010 1:18PM

BlackBerry Torch. Credit: © 2010 Research In Motion LimitedWell, well, looks like we have some updating to do here. There were many reports today -- here and on other sites -- that Amazon(AMZN) and other retailers had cut the price of the BlackBerry Torch in half.

As it turns out, Amazon had been selling the Torch for $99.99 all along. (The phone still costs $199.99 on AT&T's site.) The online retailer tends to deeply discount some devices at launch, perhaps as a way of attracting buyers to its service plans (Amazon gets a commission from AT&T for selling plans, a source told The Wall Street Journal).

The Amazon-chops-Torch-price story got picked up, I think, because it followed days of analysts offering dire predictions about the way the phone has been selling. That led to more doubts about the future of BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (RIMM).

 

Despite dramatic discounts, sales at the world's biggest retailer have fallen for the fifth straight quarter.

By TheStreet Staff Aug 17, 2010 12:19PM

business news from thestreetArrow © Cory Docken/JupiterimagesBy Jeanine Poggi, TheStreet

 

Wal-Mart (WMT) reported its fifth straight quarter of U.S. sales declines, leaving investors to ask how the discount behemoth plans to regain shoppers.

 

While the world's largest retailer forecasts between a 2% decline and a 1% increase for third-quarter same-store sales, exactly how it plans to return to positive sales territory remains unclear.

 

There's no denying that the aggressive rollbacks put in place during the quarter didn't generate the traffic Wal-Mart expected.

 

The latest report from Berkshire holdings shows the Oracle of Omaha boosting stakes in several companies and adding a new one.

By InvestorPlace Aug 17, 2010 11:40AM

Credit: (© Paul White/AP)
Caption: Warren BuffettBerkshire Hathaway (BRK.B) revealed its latest quarterly holdings report this week, with stocks of record as of the market close on June 30. Though many positions remain unchanged, there are some notable moves from billionaire Warren Buffett.

 

Buffett and Berkshire are watched closely by many investors, so to make things easier, here is a list of BRK stock holdings that have seen increases as of the latest report:

 

This quartet of laggards could take off again with better management.

By TheStreet Staff Aug 17, 2010 10:57AM

thestreet.comBy Stockpickr at TheStreet

 

Two "old world" companies recently reported great earnings. I am talking about Macy's (M) and Walt Disney (DIS). Both supposedly "didn't get it" a few years ago.

 

They were assumed to be dying and soon to be dead. Digitalization of media and e-commerce were supposed to be their death knell. Both companies depend highly on discretionary consumer spending. Disney relies on vacation travel, both domestic and international. Macy's is neither luxury nor discount, left with a diminishing consumer base in the middle.

 

Not so fast.

 

No one wants to say it out loud, but many investors see a silver lining in all the negative economic stats: changes in Washington.

By Jim Cramer Aug 17, 2010 8:37AM

the streetBy Jim Cramer, TheStreet

 

Has "bad" turned good? Are we now rooting for crummy housing numbers, weaker consumer confidence and, yes, unfathomably horrible employment numbers? Do we now secretly lust for negative numbers?

 

Maybe that depends on who "we" is. If you are an American business person, no, absolutely not. You're not rooting for negative numbers. You want your business to thrive. Of course you want to make more money. It's what you do.

 

But if you are an owner of stock, any stock, if you are using the stock market for retirement or for savings to put your kid through school or to augment your paycheck, I think you are now beginning to see the silver lining of the miserable economic news: change in Washington.

 

Is it another bad sign for the markets -- or just hocus pocus?

By Jamie Dlugosch Aug 16, 2010 4:28PM

It turns out I'm not the only one predicting doom and gloom for the markets in September.

 

The Wall Street Journal recently reported on the Hindenburg Omen, a technical gauge said to be predictive of a stock market crash.

 

Developed by a blind mathematician in 1995 and named after the horrific dirigible crash of the early 1900s, the Hindenburg Omen uses a confluence of data including 52-week market highs and lows to predict activity.

The indicator has a 25% success rate in predicting market crashes. We should all be concerned then when the signal flashes red lights, as it did last week.

 

Will the Hindenburg result in the market bursting into flames this go-around?

 
Tags: ETF

The company wants to fly people from Cape Canaveral to the International Space Station.

By Kim Peterson Aug 16, 2010 4:06PM

Boeing (BA) is getting into the taxi business -- space taxis, that is.

The company wants to fly space taxis from Cape Canaveral to the International Space Station by 2015, according to USA Today. The spacecraft may even fly to a commercial space station that a company named Bigelow Aerospace is developing.

Boeing is seizing the opportunity created after NASA said it would shut down its shuttle program next year. When that program goes, an estimated 20,000 total jobs are expected to be lost -- including 8,000 at the Kennedy Space Center, USA Today reports.

 

Research In Motion shares drop after analyst checks show the new Torch isn't selling out.

By Kim Peterson Aug 16, 2010 2:37PM

BlackBerry Torch. Credit: © 2010 Research In Motion LimitedUpdated at 7:23 p.m. ET

 

Shares of Research In Motion (RIMM) were down 4.8% today after news that the company's newest weapon in the smart-phone wars may not be selling well.

The BlackBerry Torch began selling last Thursday, and the response has been underwhelming, according to analysts at Goldman Sachs. Calls to retailers found that most stores had not sold out.

Compare that to Apple's newest iPhone and the recently released Droid X, which sold out immediately after launch. Another problem that the analysts found is that most of the people who did buy the Torch were already BlackBerry users.

 

The mega-retailer has been raising prices faster than mainstream grocery stores, losing some of its discount lead.

By Kim Peterson Aug 16, 2010 2:00PM

Wal-Mart logo © WalmartWal-Mart (WMT) has been quietly raising its prices, giving little weight to fears that shoppers may have less spending money if deflation takes hold.

A recent study by JPMorgan Securities found that the mega-retailer has upped prices by nearly 6% over the last six weeks, according to The New York Post.

Analysts studied pricing at a Wal-Mart supercenter in Virginia, and found that a 32-ounce bottle of Windex, for example, saw an increase from $1.97 to $2.97. A 12-ounce box of Quaker Oats saw a 65% increase, and the price of a container of Tide detergent jumped 50%.

 

The $1.15 billion acquisition might open the door to new cloud computing revenue.

By TheStreet Staff Aug 16, 2010 10:52AM

business news from the streetBy James Rogers, TheStreet

 

Dell's (DELL) $1.15 billion acquisition of digital storage specialist 3Par (PAR) could be a shrewd move, opening the door to new cloud computing revenue.

 

Long touted as attractive acquisition bait, 3Par is seen as well-positioned for the shift toward cloud computing, which will force users to drive more efficiency out of their servers and storage. 3Par is a pioneer in thin provisioning technology, which allocates storage only when it is needed in an attempt to boost utilization rates.

 

The Fremont, Calif., storage specialist, which competes with EMC (EMC) and IBM (IBM), lists Verizon (VZ), Savvis (SVVS), Credit Suisse (CS) and the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) among its customers.

 

Semiconductors may make the best bounce this week, but investors will also be watching the currency, gold and Treasury markets.

By TheStreet Staff Aug 16, 2010 10:22AM

the streetBy Don Dion, TheStreet

 

ETF investors will be waiting anxiously to see which way the currency, microchip, gold and Treasury markets bounce. Here are five exchange-traded funds that should react to those movements in the days ahead.

 

1. Currencyshares Euro Trust (FXE)

 

The clock may be ticking for Europe. Sovereign and banking debt still looms over the continent, despite the efforts of the European Central Bank to shore up the system. Much of the recent optimism was tied to the rally in the euro, but as the currency slid lower, talk of Europe's problems starting popping up again.

 

On a weekly basis, only the declines in the first two weeks of May were larger than last week's selloff in FXE, during 2010.

 

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