The $19 billion WhatsApp deal could become the Facebook founder's legacy . . . or his albatross.
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Apple is far from a tech dinosaur, but it's never too early to prepare for the inevitable ice age.
By Scott Moritz, TheStreet
Apple (AAPL) -- purveyor of hip, the gadget maker with the golden touch -- has seen its stock price hit new highs in the past week. In fact, Apple has been on a winning streak for the past decade, ever since co-founder Steve Jobs reclaimed the top post. Apple's long ride atop the pinnacle of cool has a can't-miss quality to it; a gravity-defying feel of permanence.
But beware of the backlash. The life cycle of tech giants is brilliant and brutally short. Today's consumer electronics leaders are tomorrow's fossils. In the 1970s, Atari was considered infallible, bringing video games out of the arcade and into the home. But by the 80s, rivals Sega and Nintendo got the hot hand, and Atari was deemed uncool.
Here are three reasons to sell Apple and bank your gains.
Why is it going after Ratiopharm? This one just doesn't make sense.
By Jim Cramer, TheStreet
Someone want to tell me what Pfizer (PFE) is doing with this potential acquisition of Ratiopharm and the subsequent bidding war with Teva Pharmaceutical (TEVA) and the Icelandic Actavis? Why does Pfizer need a generic-drug maker? What was the point of the Wyeth move? Can't that sustain earnings power?
When people look at the Dow Jones averages and want to know what takes them over the top, a couple of key stocks are going to have to break out: Alcoa (AA), Verizon (VZ), AT&T (T), Intel (INTC) and most definitely Pfizer and Merck (MRK). I had high hopes for Merck - Schering-Plough, and it looks like that deal is going to be a good one.
I thought Pfizer-Wyeth would do the same. Pfizer needs growth and I thought Wyeth had it. If it didn't, then Pfizer ought to go after a Gilead Sciences (GILD) or a Celgene (CELG), where growth is assured. It most certainly shouldn't be going against Teva, which has a terrific fit with Ratiopharm as far as its generic side goes.
Large stocks are badly lagging smaller, riskier stocks in the rally out of February's low.
Small stocks, which have been leading the broad market out of February's low, have launched impressively to new highs. Over the last 21 days, the Russell 2000 small cap index has gained a whopping 13.1%, compared with a 5.5% gain in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. This has been the longest and largest string of gains for the small caps since the awesome July 2009 rally.
So this is great news, right? Well, it depends. In the early stages of an upswing, such a performance disparity between smaller, riskier stocks and larger stocks is normally a positive indication of rising risk appetites among investors, and thus presages further gains.
However, there's a catch. The fact that large stocks like the 30 name brand stocks in the Dow Jones Industrial Average including ExxonMobil (XOM) and General Electric (GE) are lagging so badly can be a cause for concern as the current rally matures.
Analysts say Dell and Hewlett-Packard should benefit as companies upgrade their computer systems.
By James Rogers, TheStreet
Based on recent figures from research firm NPD, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster predicted Apple's Mac sales would rise in the coming months.
"We expect the strong year-over-year growth in NPD data that we saw in January to have continued in the month of February," he wrote in a note on Monday. "We believe this represents a buying opportunity ahead of NPD data for the month of February on March 15."
Marvell beats consensus and sees solid jumps in revenue and margins.
After the market closed March 4, Marvell Technology Group (MRVL) reported fiscal fourth-quarter earnings of 40 cents per share (excluding items). That was 3 cents per share above the official Wall Street consensus.
Revenue climbed 64% from the fourth quarter of the prior year to $843 million, just a tad above analyst consensus. Strength came in storage (sales up 5%) and networking (sales up 10%).
The best news in the current quarter, however, came on gross margins, which climbed 2.2 percentage points to hit 60%. That's an all-time high for the chip company and is significantly above the 58.6% gross margin expected by Wall Street.
Soft year-over-year comparisons could mean a February sales surge that powers AAPL shares in the weeks ahead.
In February of 2009, the Mac was looking like rotten apple for Apple (AAPL). Sales had slipped 16% year-over-year and the lack of revenue from the computer division of this gadget maker really weighed on shares.
Fast forward to this year, where consumer spending has firmed up and Mac sales growth helped AAPL post a nearly 80% earnings surprise in its latest quarterly report.
Together, these two trends could point to a blowout showing for Mac sales when February numbers are released in mid-March and power AAPL shares more than even the buzz created by its iPad launch.
One analyst puts it all on the line with one number for the S&P 500 index: 1120
Janjuah, who concedes in a note that he will "always be labeled a perma-bear," says he now sees the potential for a bullish call, according to Zero Hedge.
Here's how Janjuah lays it out: If the S&P 500 index closes above 1120 on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, we're going up. Next is 1150 and 1220. (Monday, the index has been hovering around 1139)
But if not,
Apple's market value has shot into the stratosphere, and it may soon be worth more than Wal-Mart.
Just a decade ago, Apple's (AAPL) market cap was several billion dollars. Now, the company's market value is nearly $200 billion, reports Tiernan Ray at Barron's.
Wal-Mart's (WMT) market cap is about $206.4 billion, which means Apple could soon overtake the No. 1 retailer in investors' eyes.
"It’s a rather stellar achievement in just a decade, without finding oil under the front porch," writes Ray.
The government's 'supertax' on banker bonuses producing large amounts of cash.
When the U.K.'s finance minister first announced a 50% tax on banker bonuses, he estimated it would raise about 550 million British pounds. Turns out it's going to raise three times that much.
In all, the supertax and other bonus taxes will bring in more than 2.5 billion British pounds, giving the government "an unexpectedly large windfall," according to the FT.com.
A budget shortfall for public schools bodes well for private education companies.
State and local governments, facing record budgetary shortfalls, are looking at tweaking the educational delivery system in search for savings. One option being explored is a four-day school week.
A shortened school week is controversial. Sure, teacher layoffs may be avoided due to dollars gained from such a shift, but surely there will be a negative impact on a child’s educational development as a result?
If so, one group possibly cheering the news is the private education business -- including online educators.
If Oscars were made of solid gold, each statuette would be worth $155,720 based on recent prices.
By Alix Steel, TheStreet
If Oscar awards were made of solid gold, Kathryn Bigelow and her movie, "The Hurt Locker," would have made nearly $1 million Sunday night.
Gold is trading for about $1,140 an ounce, almost $200 more than the same time a year ago. In March 2009, gold's monthly high was $955. This year's intraday March high touched $1,145.
Many analysts speculate that if prices can climb to $1,150 to $1,160 an ounce for several days, the precious metal could see another leg up.
More than 50 vintage Playboy issues can be browsed in Take Two's upcoming video game, Mafia II.
Playboy (PLA) has struggled to define its brand in the digital age, but may have hit the nail right on the head in its latest partnership with Take Two Interactive (TTWO) -- digitally reprinting classic Playboy issues that are integrated into the game play of the new release "Mafia II."
This is a great move for the Bunny brand, because it naturally opens the door to a slew of new prospective readers.
"Mafia II" is a mature video game title that attempts to recreate the gangland violence in the 1940s and 50s. That involves a period urban setting complete with rich details, from vintage cars to vintage firearms to even vintage Playboy magazines.
Retail sales numbers, consumer sentiment data and the Fed could all affect the market
We’ll soon get further information on how consumers are feeling with a couple of different reports. Next Friday, retail sales for February will be announced. For the previous month, retail sales were higher than expected, growing 0.5 percent…and strength was seen across virtually all sectors.
It will be interesting to see if that retail strength carried through to February. Recent jobless numbers have been higher than the market was expecting, which could translate into slower sales. And yet, the recently released Thomson-Reuters same-store sales index for February rose 4%, its best showing since November of 2007.
The health care bill, if it passes, is akin to a reverse stimulus.
By Jim Cramer, TheStreet
Could the charts be stronger? As I go through them, I am amazed that the only weak ones are the self-inflicted traders: Applied Materials (AMAT), Staples (SPLS), MasterCard (MA), H&R Block (HRB) and Western Union (WU), which either told a subpar story or literally took numbers down on the call.
Otherwise, it is all systems go with a lot of parabolic moves, especially in retail. You don't see charts like Ross Stores (ROST), F5 Networks (FFIV), Akamai (AKAM) and Macy's (M), straight up lately, unless we have a true, hard-hitting bull market going that's just zapping the shorts all over the place.
The diametrically opposed groups going up -- oil and airlines, coal and natural gas -- is just awesome bull-market behavior.
First a knock-off of Amazon's Kindle, and now a knock-off of Apple's iPad is in the works
While Apple has fans buzzing with anticipation, Sony (SNE) is quietly gearing up to unleash its own line of handheld devices to counter the iPad, the iPhone and anything else Apple has to offer, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Offerings include a touch-screen device that will directly compete with the iPad and a smartphone that can download PlayStation games -- a move intended to steal game-hungry iPhone customers.
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The apparel chain takes a hard hit after blaming the weather for its quarterly sales decline. But cold temperatures don't explain the drop in full-year sales as well.
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[BRIEFING.COM] The major averages finished the Tuesday session near their lows with the Russell 2000 (-1.0%) leading the slide. The S&P 500 lost 0.5% with nine sectors ending in the red.
Equities indices started the day with modest gains and spent the first two hours of action in the neighborhood of their flat lines. Although the early trade lacked clear sector leadership, that could have been overlooked due to the strength among heavily-weighted sectors like health care (-0.3%), ... More
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