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The company gave away $5 million in free breakfasts two months ago, and is now stretching profits thin with $2-$8 offerings.

By InvestorPlace Mar 31, 2010 2:47PM

denny's denn value menuIn an effort to connect even more with cost-conscious consumers, Denny’s (DENN) is jumping on the value-menu bandwagon with its new “$2 $4 $6 $8 Value Menu.” The 16 items range from a-la-carte breakfast items like a $2 endless stack of pancakes to an $8 feast of Spicy Cowboy Chopped Steak, two sides, dinner bread and a drink.

What’s more, Denny’s is offering a number of all-you-can-eat meals on its new value menu -- a clear shot at some casual dining deals like Darden Restaurant's (DRI) endless salad and breadsticks offer at its Olive Garden chains, or Ruby Tuesday’s (RT) all-you-can-eat salad bar. That positions Denny's in a sweet spot as the cheapest casual dining option and a higher-quality restaurant for families with only a few bucks to spend.

But there’s a real risk here for the company as it takes the regional testing of this value menu to the national scale. The fact is that restaurant owners everywhere are feeling the sting of slower consumer spending, and that the corporate office may risk a mutiny among franchisees by flattening out already razor-thin profit margins.

 

Take a look at your cable bill. It has certainly changed.

By Jim Van Meerten Mar 31, 2010 1:33PM
In my Wall Street Survivor portfolio I had to clear some deadwood. GOL Linhaus Aereas Inteligentes SA (GOL) and Cytori Therapeutics (CYTX) just quit performing the way I wanted them to. Both dropped below their 20-, 50- and even 100-day moving averages, so they have no place in my momentum-based portfolio.

I wanted a large, more stable company for my portfolio so I used Barchart to screen stocks in the S&P 500 index with the highest relative strength. Time Warner Cable (TWC) was near the top of the list.

It has been a long time since I looked at cable TV companies and thought of them as just a simple utility company where you take the number of subscribers times the monthly rate and there you have revenue. Things have changed.
 

President Obama is looking to expand drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. Good news for oil drillers.

By Jamie Dlugosch Mar 31, 2010 11:48AM

President Obama announced plans to increase drilling in the Gulf of Mexico further denting arguments that the President is a left wing Socialist with designs of government take-over of the economy.

 

This administration is proving to be dead center and if anything is leaning to the right.

 

First to benefit were the large banks and financial institutions of Wall Street like Citigroup (C) and Goldman Sachs (GS) with a massive government bailout funded by taxpayers.

 

 

Next in line are the health care companies and pharmaceutical companies like United Health Group (UNH) and WellPoint (WLP) that will benefit greatly from the recently passed health care legislation.

 

Now it is time for the oil companies to step up to the feed trough.

 
Tags: oil

The nation's books may not look as bad at first, but that's because nationalized banks and toxic mortgages are seen as 'assets.'

By InvestorPlace Mar 31, 2010 11:13AM

ireland debtWhile Greece is in the spotlight as sovereign debt woes threaten to cripple the nation’s public sector, Ireland’s balance sheet has quietly been getting worse -- and now its financial problems are so bad it could have the dubious honor of beating Greece to bankruptcy.

That’s because a very pricey government bank bailout is adding to the ballooning deficit of this nation. Some experts see Ireland's debt-to-GDP ratio topping 10% in 2010 and to 80% by 2012 without intervention!

Ireland is already $95 billion in debt for 2010, and on top of that, it’s essentially nationalizing its banking sector for tens of billions of dollars more. But because it’s buying assets -- albeit “toxic assets” with very little real value -- those expenses aren’t on the balance sheet as sovereign debt. Quite a trick of math!

 

Billionaire investor Carl Icahn cuts his stake in the struggling video chain by two-thirds.

By TheStreet Staff Mar 31, 2010 10:32AM

TheStreetBy Jeanine Poggi, TheStreet

 

Billionaire investor Carl Icahn is losing his faith in Blockbuster (BBI).

 

Icahn shed more than 13 million Class A shares, reducing his ownership to 5.1% as of March 29, according to a Securities and Exchange filing. In January, Icahn was one of the biggest investors in the movie rental chain, with a 16.9% stake. Icahn also reduced his stake in Class B shares.

 

Blockbuster has been on a slow decline, warning in March that it may have to file for bankruptcy if cash levels remain weak. It currently has about $1 billion in debt.

 

Shares drop over 9% after $43.3 million weekend premiere, but strong word of mouth could be sparking the film.

By TheWrap Mar 30, 2010 6:12PM

It’s a tough market, even for fire-breathing dragons.


Share prices for DreamWorks Animation (DWA) Tuesday were flat, a day after tumbling more than 9% amid Wall Street’s disappointment about the weekend opening of the studio’s latest 3D animated film, "How to Train Your Dragon."



The movie grossed $43.3 million over the three-day weekend period at 4,055 theaters, 2,178 of them equipped with 3D.


The opening could have been much worse.

 

The U.S. Postal Service wants to cut Saturday mail delivery, taking one more day out of Netflix's lineup.

By Kim Peterson Mar 30, 2010 4:23PM
Netflix DVD. Credit: (© Paul Sakuma/AP)Will Netflix (NFLX) suffer if the post office cuts Saturday delivery? Probably not, although The Big Money makes it sound like the end of the world for the company.

The video rental company passed 12.3 million subscribers last year, most of whom get their movies through the U.S. mail. It's stock price has tripled since 2005 to $75, and it now brings in more movie rental revenue than rival Blockbuster (BBI), writes Ethan Epstein.

But what happens to Netflix if the Postal Service cancels Saturday mail? Could Netflix "suffer a serious blow," as Epstein writes? 

Energy Transfer Partners benefits from low interest rates, and a jump in earnings is likely.

By Jim J. Jubak Mar 30, 2010 3:31PM

Jim JubakEnergy Transfer Partners (ETP) has hit my $47 target price just about on schedule. But I don't see any reason to sell these master limited partnership units out of Jubak's Picks quite yet.


As I wrote in July 2009, “the longer the Federal Reserve promises to keep interest rates low, the more valuable Energy Transfer Partners is and the longer I want to hold it.” 


The Fed's target for shorter interest rates is still at 0% to 0.25%, and the promise is still to keep rates at that level “for an extended period.”

 

Users will spend $1,548.75 to buy the top iPad model and use it for two years. That amount could buy more than an ounce of gold or 38 shares of Barrick Gold.

By TheStreet Staff Mar 30, 2010 1:43PM

TheStreetBy Alix Steel, TheStreet

 

There are better ways to spend the $1,548.76 an Apple (AAPL) iPad costs.

 

The iPad will hit stores Saturday and preliminary reports indicate that people plan to buy the tablet computer. Apple has sold out of its pre-ordered inventory as consumers plop down $499 to $829 for the device. Morgan Stanley (MS) expects 6 million units to be sold this year.

 

Apple's top iPad model, which will cost $829, will offer 64 gigabytes of memory and wi-fi and 3G network capabilities. Although AT&T (T) isn’t forcing users to sign up for a two-year contract, plans with unlimited data cost $29.99 a month, which comes out to $719.76 for the same duration, bringing the grand total for an iPad to $1,548.76.

 

What else can you buy for $1,600? Gold, for starters.

 

There is money to be made in adult entertainment. How about adult entertainment stocks?

By Jamie Dlugosch Mar 30, 2010 12:47PM

Boys will be boys.

 

Despite being the party of family values, the Republican National Committee spent $2,000 at a West Hollywood adult entertainment club featuring near-naked women and simulated bondage activities.

 

Let’s face it: There is a large market for adult entertainment and even some of those supposedly against such vices partake in their availability.

 

 

Clearly, there’s money to be made in the category.

 

Two thousand dollars at one club is a lot to spend. Imagine the dollars flowing through these clubs?

 

In India, the Yum! Brands franchise has just one store but its brisk business signals the potential of this red-hot emerging market

By InvestorPlace Mar 30, 2010 12:12PM

taco bell indiaFirst, India goes wild over Domino’s Pizza (DPZ). Now, Yum! Brands (YUM) is seeing runaway success in the region with its Taco Bell, KFC and Pizza Hut chains.

 If you’re confused by the fact that an American versions of Mexican and Italian food selling well in India, you’re not alone. But one thing that’s plain as day is the big revenue stream these brands are tapping into. India’s GDP slowed to “only” a 6.1% annual rate in 2009, and consumer spending is rising steadily there even as Western markets struggle.

 

This has created a big opportunity for companies in many sectors, not the least of which are fast-food restaurants.

 

Apple's darling status has kept many investors from buying shares. It's not too late to catch the upswing.

By TheStreet Staff Mar 30, 2010 10:11AM

By Jake Lynch, TheStreetTheStreet

 

Apple has climbed 11% in March on positive iPad sales forecasts and increased consumer spending. Still, some investors shun Apple because they expect the shares to drop or consider the stock too expensive.

 

Here are five inhibitions that could be hurting your returns.

 

5. Aversion to groupthink: The technology bubble of the late '90s and the credit bubble of 2006 have stoked skepticism among investors. They avoid popular stocks because they've been burned by fast-growing names in the past. Apple repels many investors who question why shareholders are so emotionally attached to the company and its products. As long as you're buying shares based on investment fundamentals, not emotion, Apple is a safe bet.

 

Fiat bought Chrysler for the distribution, but an inefficient network and still-falling sales could spell doom for this 85-year-old car brand.

By Louis Navellier Mar 30, 2010 9:29AM

A recent Edmunds.com auto sales report offers further proof for an already obvious trend: Chrysler is far from recovery, and there is a very real chance the brand could become all but a memory in 2011.

 

The numbers showed a continued erosion of the former auto giant’s market share last month. Edmunds.com estimates March sales for Chrysler were down more than 10% from last year, the only major automaker that saw a sales decline compared to 2009. By comparison, Ford (F) saw sales up almost 50%. Even worse is that Chrysler sales are sliding even as auto sales in general pick up. March's seasonally adjusted sales rate will be 12.4 million vehicles, up dramatically from 10.3 million in February 2010.

Getting a smaller piece of a bigger pie is a big problem for this ailing Detroit giant. But weak sales mark only the first of many problems for Chrysler right now.

 

Reasons to check out this biotech stock

By Wall Street Media on MSN Money Mar 29, 2010 6:12PM
Written by Douglas Estadt

Delcath Systems is a biotech stock that does pose some risk, but with Phase III results just around the corner, we couldn’t help but take a look and ended up buying.  Here’s why:

 

  • Their PHP system is in phase III trials and allows physicians to deliver higher doses of chemotherapy directly to the liver (100x as much as IV doses)
  • They offer minimally invasive approach to targeted areas that can be repeated for follow up treatment.
  • We’re anticipating release of Phase III data in April for their leading candidate.
  • Delcath is also developing the technology to treat other organs or areas of the body that are affected by cancer.
  • Experienced management team, orphan drug status, and manufacturing being put in place are all positive signs.

 

To hear more about DCTH watch the video below

 

Coach diversifies its price points and takes other steps to keep sales strong.

By Jim J. Jubak Mar 29, 2010 5:25PM

Jim JubakLet it run!


Coach (COH) hit my October 2010 target of $40 last week, but the numbers on the U.S. economy look good enough in the short run and the momentum of U.S. stocks is strong enough right now that I'm going to keep this money on the table. (For more on why the U.S. stock market is likely to be the best performing stock market in the world in the next three months or so, see this post).


I think Coach has done a great job of navigating through the economic slowdown by shifting its price points and managing the mix between its full-price and outlet stores so that sales stayed strong but margins didn't take too much of a beating.

Now, Coach gets to reap some of the reward for handling the downturn so well.

 

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[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market ended the holiday-shortened week on a mixed note as the Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 0.1%, while the S&P 500 added 0.1% with seven sectors posting gains.

Equity indices faced an uphill climb from the opening bell after disappointing quarterly results from Google (GOOG 536.10, -20.44) and IBM (IBM 190.04, -6.36) weighed on the early sentiment. Google reported earnings $0.15 below the Capital IQ consensus estimate on revenue of $15.42 ... More


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