The $19 billion WhatsApp deal could become the Facebook founder's legacy . . . or his albatross.
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Sysco's cost-cutting pushes its operating margin to its highest level in a decade.
Revenue for the three months that ended in December 2009 was $8.87 billion, roughly matching analysts' expectations for $8.83 billion.
The most encouraging news in my opinion came on operating margins. Second-quarter revenue fell by 3.1% from the year-earlier period, showing that the company and the economy aren't yet out of the woods.
Home Depot, Nordstrom and Aeropostale could beat fourth-quarter earnings estimates.
By Jeanine Poggi, TheStreet
Don't expect too many surprises from retailers' fourth-quarter earnings reports. Most companies cut costs dramatically in 2009, so modest sales growth could boost earnings, says Craig Johnson, president at Customer Growth Partners, a retail consulting firm.
Investors should look for stable prices, sequential sales growth and commodity forecasts. The strongest retailers will be able to increase sales without giving up margin gains from the past year, says Chandi Neubauer, an analyst at Majestic Research. Steer clear of retailers that plan to add US stores in 2010 or even 2011, says Wall Street Strategies analyst Brian Sozzi. The domestic economy must strengthen before companies can resume growth.
These retail stocks offer good upside potential:
Currency trader Hughes shares his outlook
Written by Douglas Estadt
Kevin Hughes of KM Hughes & Associates (http://hughesincorporated.com) explains his current FOREX outlook:
- Long USD
- Short GBP based on longstanding sovereign debt
- Short Euro, growing number of weak nations in the E.U.
To learn more about Kevin's currency outlook, view the video below
Restructuring helped Playboy's earnings, but with a lot of red ink, its best hope may be for a buyout.
Playboy Enterprises (PLA) is still in the red, but the company is making huge strides in its restructuring and has cut its quarterly loss to just 83 cents per share from $4.40 a year ago. Segment income also nearly doubled, from $1.1 million to $2.1 million.
This is a dramatic leap ahead for the bunny brand at a time when consumer confidence appears to be on the mend. But is Playboy gaining momentum at the perfect time to make a dramatic comeback, or does Hugh Hefner's media empire still have serious troubles ahead as it struggles to rebrand itself in the digital age?
Once a glittering bauble much sought after by investors, now the entertainment properties for sale are in need of buyers
- MGM needs to be sold or faces bankruptcy sooner rather than later; the studio’s production has been virtually halted as financiers seek to sort out its debt-laden balance sheet.
- Disney has put Miramax up for sale, seeking $700 million -- with buyers so far balking at that price tag.
- Liberty Media’s John Malone has hired an investment bank to sell or dismantle Starz Media and its main division, Overture Films.
Warren Buffett adds to his significant stake in Wells Fargo, as John Paulson establishes an initial position.
By Lauren Tara LaCapra, TheStreet
Some high-profile financiers got more bullish on Wells Fargo (WFC) last quarter, tempting retail investors to mimic their moves.
It's not surprising that Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) has long held stock in Wells Fargo, one of the country's largest banks. It's a quintessential American stock that has held up well through the crisis, and a company whose earnings had increased at a steady clip for many years. Buffett likes those types of investments.
Last quarter, Berkshire bought another 6.7 million of Wells Fargo's common shares. The firm now holds 320 million shares, or roughly 6.7% of the total. Buffett may have acquired more stock to maintain Berkshire's position as Wells' largest individual holder, while the company issued 426 million new shares to repay TARP.
The city tops the list of the most miserable in the U.S. Is your city on the list?
Forbes gave Cleveland this dubious honor because of its high unemployment and taxes, bad weather, political corruption and lousy sports teams (the Cavs were not included, apparently).
The U.S. in general grew more miserable last year as unemployment, foreclosures and bankruptcy rose, according to Forbes. In fact, the Misery Index, which tracks these things, hit its highest level since 1983.
Cautious investors seeking steady dividends and strong fundamentals should consider these stocks.
By Jake Lynch, TheStreet
Stocks have struggled this year in the wake of the 2009 rally, prompting many investors to turn to defensive names.
Cautious investors seeking steady dividends should consider these 10 stocks. They're rated "buy" and rank in the top 1% of our 5,000-stock coverage universe for financial strength.
10. Raytheon (RTN) is an aerospace and defense contractor, specializing in high-tech systems. Fourth-quarter net income rose 20% to $504 million and earnings per share climbed 27% to $1.30, boosted by a lower share count. Revenue rose 9.5% to $6.7 billion. Raytheon's operating margin widened from 10% to 11%. The stock advanced 19% over the past year.
Drug store Duane Reade selling sushi makes no sense. Please!
Of all the crazy ideas executives foist upon their companies, selling sushi at the drug store has to be among the craziest.
Apparently somebody at Duane Reade, the heavily-in-debt and struggling drug store, thought this was a good idea because shoppers at its Midtown Manhattan location can now buy the prepackaged Japanese delicacy for under $10.
In the last 30 days the broadcasting stocks have been strong and Sirius is the strongest of the bunch
Back when I was a student I used to spend hours in the library reading Trendlines and Value Line. I learned two important lessons: always know what industries are presently enjoying the best price momentum and then find the best companies in those industries. According to Barchart the strongest industry in the last 30 days has been the broadcasting industry. I begin my search by sorting the industry for the stocks having the best current relative strength and limit my research to the top 10.
To help me whittle down the list I use Barchart's 13 technical indicators and eliminate those that rank below 100% on all 13 indicators. Last, I want to make sure that the stock had a price appreciation in the last 5 days. I'm left with just 4 stocks. Let's research them one at a time.
The great numbers we're getting trump the oil/gold/dollar complex.
By Jim Cramer, TheStreet
Is Wal-Mart (WMT) the flip side of Coach (COH) and Whole Foods (WFMI)? Is it the place people aren't shopping because they feel better? Or are all the new execution gains now behind them, and it no longer has the momentum?
Or maybe it's just a total irrelevance because of the oil/gold/dollar conundrum afflicting us once again, this time with an added advantage that 100 million shoppers must feel weak, confirming gold and oil weakness.
Either way, I am suspicious of the downside because of the terrific numbers we got from Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) and Applied Materials (AMAT) and my conviction that we are still early in the semiconductor golden age.
Why I bought the not-so-average Joe's Jeans.
When done right, the premium denim business can be very lucrative. Joe's Jeans is an example of a standout denim company, and that is why I bought their stock. Here are the main reasons I bought JOEZ:
- Well-managed company.
- Growing sales, up 42% in their most recent quarter.
- Recently signed leases to open new stores.
- Focusing on and adding new top-of-the-line designs while outsourcing their manufacturing.
- Low p/e ratio.
- Cash reserves.
To learn more about these Joe’s Jeans, view the video below.
Do the rallies of the last few days mean the correction is over? Look to China for more clues.
So, that's all ya got?
If the much-feared correction is over, then investors are still waiting for the kind of 10% correction that normally punctuates a rally.
From the Jan. 19 peak close at 1150.23 to what is so far the bottom at 1056.74 at the close on Feb. 8, the Standard & Poor's 500 index was down just 8.13%.
And as of 1 p.m. Eastern time on Wednesday, the index is up 4% from that February bottom.
What's next for the satellite radio company?
A year after its brush with extinction, Sirius XM Radio (SIRI) busted through the critical $1 per share mark this afternoon.
Trading above $1 is critical to the future of the company and its listing on the Nasdaq exchange. More importantly, crossing the dollar mark now opens the door to institutional buying from funds reluctant to own companies that trade for less than one dollar.
The sky is the limit with Sirius XM Radio (SIRI).
As I recently wrote, the company is awakening from a long slumber. Investors are re-examining the future of satellite radio, which was once left for dead.
Burger King is waking up to Starbucks, but will it be enough to rule the breakfast world dominated by McDonald's?
Burger King (BKC) has been sleepwalking through breakfast sales for a long time, and a new partnership with Starbucks (SBUX) announced on Tuesday isn't likely to be the wake-up call the company needs to catch archrival McDonald's (MCD).
By September, Burger King said it will replace its current BK Joe coffee line at some 7,250 locations with Seattle's Best Coffee, the former hometown rival that Starbucks acquired in 2003. Prices for the 100% Arabica-bean coffee will range from $1 to $2.79, with the option to add some of Starbucks' bells and whistles like flavored syrup and whipped cream.
- Video: 'Fast' casual dining
Burger King has been a perennial and distant No. 2 to McDonald's in the fast-food industry, and it will take more than a sexy deal with Starbucks to start eating away at McDonald's lead.
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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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