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

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


Income taxes are going up, and the tax cuts in 2001 and 2003 are to blame.

By Kim Peterson Aug 13, 2010 1:48PM

Tax protest © Brian Hagiwara/Brand X/CorbisOur tax system is a disaster, and something has to be done quickly, writes Floyd Norris in The New York Times.

Everyone will pay higher income taxes if the law is not changed, he writes. And the tax rate on corporate dividends could rise as high as 39.6% next year, from 15% currently, he adds.

Blame tax cuts in 2001 and 2003 for this ridiculous situation. A law in 2001 required income taxes to return to their pre-2001 levels by the end of 2010, Norris writes.


A second extension delays today's payment deadline till the end of September.

By TheStreet Staff Aug 13, 2010 11:27AM

TheStreetBy Jeanine Poggi, TheStreet 


Blockbuster's debt payment deadline has been extended to Sept. 30.


The movie rental retailer was scheduled to make the payment today. This is the second extension Blockbuster has received this summer. Last month creditors moved the payment up one month.


Blockbuster said it continues to discuss recapitalization opportunities with its creditors.


There are no secrets to investing. You need only 3 simple things to have an above-average portfolio.

By Jim Van Meerten Aug 13, 2010 11:14AM

This morning is a time to take a breather and sit back to contemplate. My indicators aren't giving me any sell signals on any of the stocks I presently own, and the market seems to be slightly above its yesterday lows, so I'll wait till noon to see what is in store for us today.

Let's take a minute and try to clarify what we really want out of our portfolios. Lots of people are looking for some magic secret that will propel them into the Forbes 400 list in just a matter of weeks. My inbox is filled with spam promising that the senders offer the only newsletter that can show me the secrets of the universe and can reveal to only me the next great penny stock that will go from 50 cents to $100 in the next year. All I can say is: " A fool and his money are soon parted."


If you bought shares of NFLX on its way down, it's time to cash out your gains and let the rest run.

By Jim Cramer Aug 13, 2010 8:33AM

jim cramer of thestreet.comBy Jim Cramer, TheStreet


It's business as usual for the CANDIES, the stocks that bottom coming off the sell-off and spring back to life when the selling's almost over.


These stocks -- Chipotle (CMG), Apple (AAPL), Netflix (NFLX), Deckers (DECK), Intuitive Surgical (ISRG), Express Scripts (ESRX) and (CRM) (the lone laggard) -- tend to be the first soldiers over the top, and they are doing it again. They all came in a little right near the close yesterday but stood out nonetheless.


The real standout name, though, the one that has gotten totally and completely out of control, is Netflix. I like Netflix. I said ALL THE WAY DOWN HERE that you had to buy it, that the story's too good, that the management team's too smart, that you can't abandon it after it beat earnings expectations and raised its full-year outlook, despite those sellers who took it down 20 straight points from when it reported.


Poor barley harvests and wheat export bans could cause the price of a pint of beer to go up 40%.

By InvestorPlace Aug 12, 2010 4:43PM

Beer © CorbisDon't feel too bad if the recent market turbulence, rocky economy and poor job market have you wanting to stop by your local watering hole to drown your sorrows with a pint of beer. But very soon this little escape could cost you even more.


As the debate over whether we're headed for a period of inflation or deflation rages on outside the saloon doors, from a barstool view, it doesn't make much of a difference. The major governments of the world have been printing unprecedented sums of money, yet economic weakness and other factors have generally kept a lid on prices at the consumer and producer levels. But not when it comes to beer.

Beer prices have gone up regardless of inflation or deflation in the broader economy -- and it looks like they're about to go up even more.


McDonald's is seeing great sales, but the stock has become rather expensive.

By Jim J. Jubak Aug 12, 2010 2:47PM

Jim JubakMcDonald's (MCD) has put together an extraordinary 2010 -- so far. But I'm not as excited about the second half of the year, especially not at current share prices.

On Monday, McDonald's announced that global comparable-store sales climbed 7% in July from July 2009. Sales at restaurants open for 13 months or more rose 5.7% in the U.S. and 10% in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.

McDonald's sales are indeed hitting on all cylinders: the dollar menu, new higher-priced menu offers, frozen frappes, and upgraded coffee drinks have all boosted sales since their rollouts.

However, it's not sales that worry me but margins.


One study says the average pay at commercial and investment banks will rise for the second straight year.

By Kim Peterson Aug 12, 2010 2:01PM

cash stack © Steve Cole/Photodisc Green/Getty ImagesWall Street bonuses are likely headed up this year. Are you at all surprised?

It's hard to imagine any other industry that could freely hand out whopper bonuses despite being under such scrutiny by regulators and the public. And yet it happens over and over again on Wall Street.

One study says bonuses at financial firms will be up from last year, but still won't reach the record amounts paid out in 2007, according to Reuters. The average compensation at banks is headed up for the second straight year as well.


Two professors tried to come up with a model that could ferret out executive mendacity.

By Kim Peterson Aug 12, 2010 1:28PM
CEO © Roy McMahon/CorbisHow can you tell when a CEO is lying? Words are coming out of his mouth.

No, I'm just joking. Or am I? Two professors at Stanford decided to see whether they could tell when a corporate honcho is lying. Imagine if they could devise a lie detector that would buzz whenever a CEO stretched the truth in an earnings call. Genius!

So they set to work building a computer model based on psychological and linguistic studies, according to The Wall Street Journal. They looked for patterns in earnings calls from companies that later got into trouble and had to restate their results. 

Investors are digging the book retailer's grave, comparing it with the failing video-rental chain.

By TheStreet Staff Aug 12, 2010 11:16AM

TheStreetBy Jeanine Poggi, TheStreet


Is Barnes & Noble (BKS) the next Blockbuster?


That's the question being asked after the largest book retailer announced that it's putting itself up for sale. It's easy to see why investors fear Barnes & Noble will imitate the doomed fate of Blockbuster. Both of their paths to dominance have become iconic stories of business in the 1990s.

While Barnes & Noble dates all the way back to 1873, the company didn't roll out its superstores until the early 1990s. In 1989, Barnes & Noble had 23 such stores, and by 1992 the number had more than quadrupled to 105. In just one day in August 1992, the company opened five superstores and three months later launched three more.

Around the same time, Blockbuster was rolling out a new store each day.


It's tempting to say we're on the brink of a double-dip recession, but the economy isn't plummeting. It's simply mixed.

By Jim Cramer Aug 12, 2010 8:29AM

jim cramer of thestreet.comBy Jim Cramer, TheStreet


So tempting. Just so tempting. So tempting to say "double dip" and "get out!"


But I did that "get out" thing back at Dow 11,000 because I thought we were in for something as bad as we saw in 1987, when I went into cash the Friday before the crash. I just hated the market both times, and the fragility of everything led me to believe it was worth telling everyone to sell as much as possible because they could lose a huge amount of money.


We are not there this time. Yet the chatter is the same.



Kimberly-Clark files a complaint against Procter & Gamble for false advertising in its Charmin commercials with the dancing bears.

By Kim Peterson Aug 11, 2010 4:32PM

Apparently some people have spent significant time pondering this question: Should the animated bears on the Charmin commercials have toilet paper sticking to their behinds?

The answer is no, according to the National Advertising Division Council of Better Business Bureaus.

The toilet-tissue turmoil began when Kimberly-Clark (KMB), which makes Cottonelle Ultra Ripple, filed a complaint about the way Procter & Gamble (PG) was advertising Charmin Ultra Strong.


Some recent changes to my Wall Street Survivor portfolio

By Jim Van Meerten Aug 11, 2010 3:18PM
The market hasn't been that great lately so I've trimmed a few stocks from my portfolio.  Flir Systems (FLIR) and Church & Dwight ( CHD) were trimmed for price performance issues only.
Enough bad news, let's look at a great stock.  I've added Family Dollar Stores (FDO)  one of the fastest growing discount store chains in the United States. They sell consumer items are deeply discounted prices. The merchandise is sold at everyday low prices in a no frills, low overhead, self-service environment.
As the general consumer gets the jitters about their future they look for alternatives to cutting the cost of necessities they must buy and these stores are a good alternative.

A Russian ban on wheat exports has set off a scramble for supply, sending grain prices skyrocketing.

By Jim J. Jubak Aug 11, 2010 2:22PM

Jim JubakLast Thursday, Russia banned grain exports for the rest of the year. Drought has destroyed about 20% of the wheat crop of one of the world's top wheat exporters: Russia exported 21.4 million metric tons of wheat in 2009. The ban will run from Aug. 15 until Dec. 31 -- at a minimum.  

Wheat prices, already up 70% this summer, climbed again. Wheat was "up" another 8.3% on the Chicago Broad of Trade Wednesday. 

Wheat farmers in the U.S., Argentina, and Australia will pick up part of the slack -- as well as the benefit of higher prices. The wheat harvests in Canada and the European Union are not forecast to be particularly abundant this year.


EXCLUSIVE: The would-be mogul posted a $4 millon bond, then set about helping to conceive the winning bid to acquire Miramax from Disney

By TheWrap Aug 11, 2010 2:12PM
David Bergstein, the troubled Hollywood financier whose credits include -- oddly enough -- helping orchestrate the recent sale of Miramax, was arrested in Florida last November over bad checks and unpaid gambling debts involving multiple Las Vegas casinos, TheWrap has learned.

Though one set of fraud charges was dismissed after Bergstein moved to make good, the arrest -- Bergstein’s secret until now -- is the first public indication of criminality in the unfolding Hollywood saga of his calamitous personal and professional lives.

All totaled, he allegedly stiffed casinos for almost $3 million in recent years.

Bergstein reacted angrily Tuesday to a message left by TheWrap, describing this story on his home phone.


Many experts are warning of a deflationary environment, but Warren Buffett is making some inflation-ready moves.

By Kim Peterson Aug 11, 2010 1:52PM
Stock strategy © Getty Images Are we headed for inflation or deflation, and how do you align your investments to prepare?

Many experts are warning of a deflationary scenario, and lining up ways to get ready for that. But Warren Buffett is becoming quite the contrarian on this front, setting up his portfolio to prepare for inflation (more on that later).

So what to do with your investments? First, let's go over some moves that anticipate deflation. Here are some investing ideas for that environment. 


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[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market began the last week of July on a quiet note with the S&P 500 ending less than a point above its flat line. Like the benchmark index, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (+0.1%) also posted a slim gain, while the Russell 2000 (-0.5%) and Nasdaq Composite (-0.1%) lagged throughout the session.

The major averages were awakened from their weekend slumber with an opening retreat that pressured the S&P 500 below its 20-day moving average (1975). Even though ... More


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