Get ready for a flood of IPOs
Flood of IPOs land this week

If everything goes as planned, this week will be the busiest for initial public offerings since 2000.

VIDEO ON MSN MONEY

The company is making 200 films from its online service available at no cost on PlayStation 3 consoles and Blu-ray players.

By Kim Peterson Mar 30, 2011 2:55PM
Image: Hollywood (© Comstock/SuperStock)Sony (SNE) owns a Hollywood movie studio. It also sells lots of devices on which you can watch movies online.

This company should have been leading the online video business. How difficult can it be to get your right hand to shake the left hand? But this is Sony we're talking about, so the answer is very difficult.

But the company keeps trying. This week, Sony's online video platform, called Crackle, is expanding its content on PlayStation 3 consoles and Sony's own Blu-ray players and Bravia televisions. The company wants to have 200 or so movies available on the service, which is free to users.

The movies aren't new, but they're watchable. The current lineup includes "Ghostbusters," "The Da Vinci Code" and "Spiderman 3." 

The retailer says it doesn't need the music industry's blessing for a new service that stores your music online. Will that fly? With video updates.

By Kim Peterson Mar 30, 2011 1:47PM
Amazon (AMZN) took a big gamble this week, one that could backfire in court.

The company launched Cloud Drive, designed to let you store your music collection online. All you need are a computer and an Internet connection -- or an Android-based phone -- and you can listen to your music library from anywhere. Amazon is letting customers store about 1,000 songs for free.

Sounds kind of amazing. Investors were impressed, sending Amazon shares up nearly 7% in two days to $179.42. But here's where Amazon gets into trouble: It didn't ask permission from record labels before launching the service.

You can bet it took all of 10 seconds for all the major record labels to get on the phone with their lawyers over this one. The music labels think Amazon should have relicensed the music (read: paid more) for online streaming, and one executive described the company's move as "somewhat stunning," according to Reuters.

Post continues after this video about Amazon's new cloud service: 

Financial aid can be cumbersome. This company streamlines the process.

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day Mar 30, 2011 1:41PM

By Jason Moser

 

Figuring out college finances these days is a bit like taking a calculus final before you've even had the class; good luck with all that. But thanks to Higher One Holdings (ONE), not only are schools benefiting from a streamlined financial aid process, but the students are as well.

 

Take the high road
Higher One started out as an idea between three college friends who were looking to expand the purchasing power of their student ID cards. Fast-forward to today, and the company is providing its services to more than 675 institutions around the country -- and it looks like they're just getting started.

 

Companies involved with alternative sources like wind turbines and natural-gas vehicles are getting a big lift from Japan's nuclear disaster and soaring oil prices.

By Anthony Mirhaydari Mar 30, 2011 12:42PM

Recent events have focused investor attention on the energy sector. The political turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa has pushed crude oil to fresh highs as global spare capacity gets dangerously thin. And Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear meltdown has called into question the safety of fission reactors.

 

Over the past few months, traditional oil and gas stocks have been big performers. But now alternative-energy plays are perking up as it becomes clear that wind energy, solar and natural gas will play a larger role in the energy ecosystem.

 

President Barack Obama helped things along Wednesday with a speech outlining ways the country can reduce its dependence on foreign oil. One particular idea, encouraging the use of liquefied and compressed natural gas in cars and trucks, pushed Clean Energy Fuels (CLNE) up more than 11% at one point today. I think the gains are just starting. Here's why.

 

These funds are positioned to take advantage of high crop prices.

By TheStreet Staff Mar 30, 2011 11:12AM

By Don Dion, TheStreet

 

With the days getting longer and the weather getting warmer, ETF investors may want to consider arming their portfolios for spring.

 

A number of agriculture-related ETFs should be on investors' radars. Since last summer, agriculture has dominated headlines as supply shortages and improving global economic conditions have pushed food prices to record levels.

 

Looking ahead to this year's growing season, the prices of a number of these crops appear set to remain high. According to a Bloomberg report, although corn acreage is forecast to increase to the second-highest level since the early 1940s, the yield will not be enough to satisfy demand for cattle feed and ethanol.

 

While the radiation problem is foremost on people's minds, there are signs that the country's $300 billion rebuild is starting to heat up.

By Jim Cramer Mar 30, 2011 9:31AM

the streetjim cramerHow delayed will the reconstruction be in Japan? That's on people's minds, given the seeming intractability of the radiation problem from the stricken nuclear power plants.

 

I don't underestimate the dangers of the radiation. I also think there is probably much more we don't know about what is going on right now. But I do believe we are already starting to see some of the firmness in the metals and mining complex that I am expecting to come from this event, and I think the materials needed are already being purchased.

 

There are two things we now know that we didn't initially: The destruction was far greater and more wide-reaching than first reported, and the nuclear option for electricity may be waning.

 

Retailers are hoping that buyers who are tired of skinny jeans will build new outfits based on the flared look. With video updates.

By Kim Peterson Mar 29, 2011 3:36PM
People are finally tired of skinny jeans, and women's designer jean sales dropped by 6% last year to $1.36 billion, Bloomberg reports.

That's a disturbing trend for everyone from Macy's (M) to True Religion Apparel (TRLG) to American Eagle Outfitters (AEO). They're all wondering about the next jean trend to jump on to recover those sales -- and now, they think the answer is in the flared look.

Macy's and Bloomingdale's are betting on $185 jeans from J Brand that look like upside-down martini glasses, Bloomberg reports.

"It's been a hit," the women's fashion director at Bloomingdale's tells Bloomberg. "We've all been wearing skinnies or jeggings for too long. It's a reason to buy."

Post continues after this video about the latest trends from Fashion Week: 

Thanks to Sprint and AT&T's latest products, 3D smartphones are looming large for telecom investors.

By TheStreet Staff Mar 29, 2011 2:20PM

By James Rogers, TheStreet

 

Not so long ago, the mere sight of a 4G smartphone would be enough to get a gadgethead's heart racing. Now, with 4G smartphones ready to flood the market, companies like AT&T (T) and Sprint (S) are looking to push the envelope by adding 3D technology to their phones in an effort to woo consumers and developers away from the Apple (AAPL) iPhone juggernaut.

 

Last week, at the CTIA International Wireless show, telecom giants were mercilessly beating the 3D drum. Sprint's Evo 3D, built by HTC, and AT&T's LG Thrill 4G, hit the market later this year.

 

The big question, though, is whether 3D smartphones are the next big thing . . . or simply the next big gimmick.

 

Providing cleanup on isles everywhere can be a very profitable business.

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day Mar 29, 2011 2:13PM

By Alyce Lomax

 

My Rising Star portfolio is designed to generate both financial and social dividends. Unfortunately, the world isn't as clean and green as many of us would like. Despite our growing desire for a purer planet, we still tangle with garden-variety garbage, hazardous materials in need of proper disposal, and occasional major accidents.

 

Somebody's got to clean that up. That's where my latest purchase, Clean Harbors (CLH), comes in.

 

The business
Clean Harbors provides environmental, energy, and industrial services focused on cleaning up messes (and avoiding them to begin with). The company says it's the largest hazardous-waste disposal provider in North America.

 

The company could ship 30 million of the upgraded tablet computers in 2011, according to the analyst firm Needham & Co.

By TheStreet Staff Mar 29, 2011 2:10PM

By James Rogers, TheStreet

 

Apple (AAPL), boosted by consumer clamor for its new iPad 2, could ship 30 million of the iconic tablets in 2011, according to the analyst firm Needham & Co.

 

"On the strength of a worldwide blowout launch of the iPad 2, we're raising our fiscal 2011 and 2012 iPad shipment forecast," said Needham analyst Charlie Wolf, in a note released on Tuesday. "The launch of the iPad 2 so far exceeded our expectations ... it was evident our 2011 and 2012 shipment forecasts were dramatically low."

 

Needham raised its 2011 iPad forecast from 20 million to 30 million units and its 2012 projection from 30 million to 40 million units.

 

Amid the Japan crisis, US dealerships are getting warnings about parts that may be hard to find. And certain colors for new models are off-limits, too. With video updates.

By Kim Peterson Mar 29, 2011 1:30PM
Toyota (TM) dealerships might have a tough time fixing cars as a result of the Japan earthquake.

The company has warned dealers about a shortage of some parts it sends worldwide for repairs, The Wall Street Journal reports. Toyota is already up and running with most replacement parts, but a small fraction -- about 233 -- are in short supply.

That's because those 233 parts are from Japanese suppliers who were hit hard in the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. Those suppliers won't resume production for at least a month, the Journal reports, and it could be longer. Toyota now says those parts, which include shock absorbers, oil seals, radiator supports and fender parts, are on "controlled allocation."

You wouldn't expect paint to be a problem coming out of the Japan quake, but it is. Chrysler and Ford (F) are running into shortages with specific colors that use pigment from Japanese suppliers.

Post continues after this video analyzing the parts shortage: 

As emerging markets fall back into favor, several funds offer exposure to this growing region.

By TheStreet Staff Mar 29, 2011 10:27AM

Image: Singapore (© Bill Lai/Corbis)By Don Dion, TheStreet

 

Many emerging nations got off to a rough start this year as issues such as the political protests sweeping through the Middle East and North Africa and rapidly rising food prices tested investor nerves and drove many traders into the comfort of the developed world.

 

Now, however, as we head into the second quarter, some of these recently unloved countries have begun to fall back into favor. In the weeks ahead, investors may want to keep on their radar ETFs designed to track these nations. In the event that strength continues, they may present attractive investment opportunities.

 

Southeast Asian countries have become an area of focus as investors take cautious steps back into emerging markets. The Market Vectors Indonesia ETF (IDX) and the iShares MSCI Thailand Investable Market Index Fund (THD) are two funds that risk-tolerant investors may want to keep a close watch on. Both have staged impressive rallies in recent weeks, recovering back to levels seen prior to their drops early in the year.

 

Phillips-Van Heusen has the strong names and clever management needed to overcome rising raw costs.

By Jim Cramer Mar 29, 2011 9:42AM

the streetjim cramerNike (NKE) cut a wide swath of negativity in the apparel world with its poor quarter. Let's see if Phillips-Van Heusen (PVH) can stitch it back.

 

Last night, I spoke with the always fabulous Manny Chirico, who delivered an oh-so-solid quarter in the face of all of the headwinds that felled Nike. But unlike Nike, PVH made some changes to fabric, sourced better -- in less expensive countries than China -- and raised prices for its best stuff, notably Tommy Hilfiger.

 

What happened? Sales went up, but costs held steady. That gave PVH the confidence to raise its guidance for the full year (even though the current quarter wasn't raised because of some one-off promotions) and made me feel that PVH, like VF Corp. (VFC) and Polo Ralph Lauren (RL), is in charge of its destiny.

 

The retailer will begin selling Apple's newest iPad, and investors take notice.

By Kim Peterson Mar 28, 2011 3:59PM
Credit: (© 2011 Apple)
Caption: ipad 2Is RadioShack (RSH) becoming relevant again?

The retailer will start selling the iPad 2 tomorrow -- welcome news for RadioShack investors. The stock jumped more than 5% today to $15.04 on the news.

The iPad 2 will only be available at about 500 RadioShack locations, but hey, that's a start. And it could help shoppers who have looked everywhere for the new device. Even Apple (AAPL) can't keep enough supply on hand, telling online customers to expect a wait of between three and four weeks.

Apple has expanded its distribution channels for the iPad 2. It's already being sold at Best Buy (BBY), Target (TGT) and Wal-Mart (WMT), and at Verizon (VZ) and AT&T (T) retail stores. 

Major cinemas have hired lobbyists to ward off a proposed rule requiring them to disclose nutritional secrets of one of their biggest profit generators. With video updates.

By Kim Peterson Mar 28, 2011 1:46PM
A large container of movie theater popcorn can contain 1,000 calories. Add a few hundred more for the "butter" topping.

If theater chains told customers this dirty little secret, sales would fall. Popcorn is one of their biggest profit generators -- a $6 tub costs about 15 cents for ingredients. So cinema operators are fighting proposed rules that would require them to disclose the calories in concession food, The Los Angeles Times reports.

The controversy comes out of the federal healthcare law, which says restaurants with at least 20 locations in the U.S. must come clean about calorie counts, the Times reports. OK, but what does that have to do with the movies? The Food and Drug Administration said it wants to enforce the rule at movie theater concession stands, as well as at grocery stores.

That has struck fear into the hearts of major theater chains like Regal Entertainment Group (RGC) and Cinemark (CNK), which can get up to a third of their revenue from snacks.

Post continues after this video about why theater chains are raising ticket prices: 

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