Longtime market bull Jeremy Siegel says investors could realize the market is behind the curve on interest rates.
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The retailer's earnings call revealed that the housing turnover is leading to an accelerated spending wave.
By Jim Cramer, TheStreet
Nothing was more important than health care in Monday's session. Can't take away from it. But the eye-opening, I should say eye-popping, Williams-Sonoma (WSM) call may have been more of a catalyst than anyone who wasn't on it might have realized.
WSM basically said the public is spending again for everything from high-end bedding and nice cookware to expensive furniture and glassware. It was like something you would have heard not only before the Great Recession but maybe in the midst of the housing boom.
You could learn so much from it. First, you recognized that, like Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY), when Linens 'n Things went under, WSM picked up great share when Smith & Hawken -- a unit of Scotts Miracle-Gro (SMG) -- closed its retail arm. (That was a two-birds-with-one-stone call because SMG moved up huge, too, on it).
There's a lot of money flowing to Asia right now, and at some point valuations could skyrocket.
You've been warned about the next bubble. (Don't panic yet. It looks like it's a way off.)
A recent survey of 109 institutional investors based in Asia and Europe, commissioned by Fidelity from the Economist Intelligence Unit, shows that 63% of respondents plan to increase their allocation to stocks in Asia, excluding Australia and Japan, in 2010, even though they think Asian assets are riskier than their counterparts in developed markets, and they admit that they lack knowledge and expertise in these markets.
In other words, they're jumping on the bandwagon. (I doubt that the survey would find very different results for U.S. institutional investors. Fidelity itself, for example, is moving one of its stars, Anthony Bolton, to Hong Kong this month to set up a $971 million China investment trust that will be listed in London.)
Bank of America tries to expand in China, chasing competitors that already have a foothold in the fast-growing nation.
By Lauren Tara LaCapra, TheStreet
Bank of America (BAC) is on a better track with its reinvigorated business strategy, but mistakes from the past will keep the bank's profit on shaky ground for some time.
Bank of America Chief Executive Brian Moynihan has outlined his broad plan to pursue new business in high-growth emerging markets, and develop better relationships with wealthy clients in mature markets. He left this week for a trip to China, according to The Wall Street Journal, in an effort to build ties with leaders and business partners there.
But Bank of America is a laggard in respect to its newfound priorities abroad, and it will take time and effort to catch up. Major competitors are already established in China or building a presence there.
The company refuses to relent on price and aims to make the best product out there. And it succeeds.
But the idea is worth revisiting as the company gears up to sell its iPad tablet next week. There are other worthy competitors out there, and their products are cheaper.
"Apple’s assumption is that, if the iPad is also significantly better, people will happily shell out for it," Surowiecki writes. It's an assumption that has paid off handsomely for the company, as people flocked to the iPod and iPhone, gladly paying a premium when they could have bought a sufficient competitor for less money.
Early surveys show a seasonally adjusted sales rate of 13.2 million cars for the industry, the highest since August.
By Ted Reed, TheStreet
March is shaping up to be an unusually strong month for car sales, with catalysts including Toyota (TM) incentives and nice weather following a stormy February.
According to Edmonds.com, March sales are on pace to produce seasonally an adjusted annual sales rate for the industry of 13.2 million, the highest since the 13.7 million cars sold in August, reflecting buying inspired by the cash for clunkers program.
As of March 10, Ford (F) had a 19.2% share of the market, while General Motors had 17.8% of the market and Toyota had 15.5%, according to Truecar.com. Ford had a 17.6% share in February and a 14.6% share in March 2009.
A new company resurrects the legendary Commodore name to sell a new line of computers.
A new company, Commodore USA, has licensed the Commodore name and plans to start selling the made-over computer in June, according to PCWorld. But you don't have to dig very far before this starts sounding a little odd.
The new model, called Phoenix by Commodore USA, is an all-in-one system that can support up to 4 gigabytes of memory and 2 terabytes of storage, according to ZDNet.
BP's Prudhoe Bay Trust dropped sharply last week, boosting its yield to a 17% dividend. But is it a buying opportunity?
The BP Prudhoe Bay Royalty Trust (BPT) is a favorite among income-oriented dividend stock investors. The stock offers a hefty yield, and since it’s a “depletion trust” based on the life of its reserves, it’s not as tied to oil prices as other stocks in the energy sector.
But after dropping 13% in two days last week, some are wondering if it is time to cut this stock loose -- or time to buy more now that the dividend yield is now about 17%.
Let’s take a look:
Looking to keep customers, Wal-Mart employs the strategy it knows best: lower prices.
Shares of traditional grocer Safeway (SWY), for example, trade at a mere fraction of prices reached in 2001. Unfortunately for the sector, things are not going to get any easier.
Last week, Wal-Mart confirmed a report that it would slash prices on grocery items in hopes of boosting traffic at its stores.
The king of price rollbacks is set to discount up to 10,000 items beginning April 1.
Would you like Peppy Paneer on that pizza? Domino's, which just opened its 300th store in India, shows no sign of slowing.
Though Peppy Paneer may not be a popular pizza topping in the U.S., Indians are eating up the tofu-esque offering from Domino’s Pizza (DPZ) that caters to regional tastes on the subcontinent. And increasingly at DPZ, it’s what the international pizza crowd wants that matters.
It’s international expansion like this that is fueling Domino’s growth. About 55% of Domino's $5.6 billion in sales last year were in the United States, and that international same-store sales have increased for 64 consecutive quarters (that’s 16 years).
The trend is a little hard to wrap your head around -- an American version of an Italian food selling well in India. But this much is clear: If this keeps up, Domino’s will see the bulk of its revenue come in from outside the U.S. very soon, and it will provide a springboard for growth in the months and years to come.
Right now it's earnings vs. Washington interference -- expect a bit of selling for now.
By Jim Cramer, TheStreet
Why isn't it down more? You will hear that all day. The answer is simple: The pain is in the back years. You will not see the real crimp in purchasing power and job formation until 2011, and then maybe we will be in better shape for it.
In fact, the real balance is between next quarter's earnings and what President Barack Obama has in store for us next. Will it be amnesty, so those who are illegal get a card that entitles them to universal health care? Will it be an energy bill that tacks on costs to companies that pollute and adds a new layer of bureaucracy? Will it be a push to restore the historic power of unions to their "rightful" place in history? Will it be financial legislation that punishes all large banks and Goldman Sachs (GS) in particular because Goldman makes too much money? Will it be rules about how the combinations that the government begged for, JPMorgan (JPM) / WaMu, JPMorgan / Bear Stearns, Wells Fargo (WFC) / Wachovia and Bank of America (BAC) / Merrill Lynch must be broken up and the institutions punished for helping the government?
Every weekend I step back and use the numbers on Barchart to analyze the market action
Value Line Index -- The Index contains 1700 stocks which is much broader than the S&P 500 or the much narrower Dow 30 -- Still looks good
- The Index closed Friday above its 20, 50 and 100 day moving averages
- The Barchart technical indicators still rate the stock as a 72% buy with 10 buy, 2 hold and only 1 sell signal
The smart phone maker is not looking too smart these days. Bankruptcy now a real threat.
The talk now is of a possible bankruptcy and the picture looks bleak. One indicator: Palm shipped some 960,000 units at the end of the third quarter, but only 408,000 ended up in the hands of customers. That leaves significant inventory out there that no one's in a rush to buy.
You can't help but wonder if Palm can survive the phenomenon that is Apple's iPhone, and my view on this dog is unchanged. Sell. Short. Run away. Here's the story.
Pepsi leads the pack of companies planning to buy back shares. Would investors prefer dividends instead?
Case in point: Pepsi (PEP), which said this week it will buy back up to $15 billion in shares in the next three years, including $4.4 billion in 2010. That's the biggest repurchase since the financial crisis hit, the Economist reports. (Pepsi also increased its dividend by 7%).
So far this year, buybacks are in the range of $65 billion, compared to $137 billion for all of last year.
So are these buybacks a good thing?
Union Pacific expects good things in the second half of 2010 and could be a good way to capture momentum.
Union Pacific (UNP) historically hasn't been an especially well-run railroad, but it is run well enough so that the transcontinental road will get a big boost from the recovering U.S. economy in the first half of 2010 -- and expectations for further improvement in the second half.
I'm not convinced that expectations for second-half growth will prove out, which is why I'm keeping this buy on a very short-term leash.
Billionaire corporate raider makes bold play for studio.
Billionaire corporate raider Carl Icahn has upped his offer to buy Lions Gate Entertainment (LGF), offering to acquire all of the studio’s outstanding shares.
"The Icahn Group is now offering to purchase UP TO ALL of Lionsgate's outstanding common shares. In addition, the expiration date of the Offer has been extended to April 30, 2010," he said in a news release.
The offer comes on the very day that Lionsgate is poised to bid in the final round of the expected sale of MGM, a deal that Icahn opposes. Lionsgate has been struggling with what price to set for the debt-laden MGM, and is bidding against better-funded and larger rivals, Time-Warner and Access Industries.
Last week, Lionsgate rejected Icahn’s offer to acquire 13.2 million shares -- about 30% of Lions Gate -- for $6 per share, or nearly $80 million.
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The expected $3.36 billion offering from Citizens Financial Group won't come close to Alibaba's, but it will be an important one for the market.
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[BRIEFING.COM] Alibaba Group (BABA 90.92, +22.92) is up big. The major indices are not. In fact, the higher the opening indication for Alibaba went, it seems the more the indices faded from their opening strength.
That could be owed to Alibaba drawing buying interest away from everything else. Volume in the stock is already a stunning 202 million shares, which is giving a huge lift to NYSE totals on this quarterly expiration day for stock options, index options, ... More
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