A Mexican wave for Big Oil?
Mexico opens way for Big Oil

New legislation is allowing foreign companies to finally invest in the country's vast oil reserves.


A fantastic franchise run into the ground by management, Avon makes a prime M&A target. Even if it goes unsold, the rumors may help shake things up.

By Jim Cramer Oct 13, 2010 8:29AM

jim cramerBy Jim Cramer, TheStreet


Will L'Oreal (LRLCY) bid for Avon (AVP)? Wrong question. Why doesn't it?


This is a fantastic franchise that has been run into the ground by its current management -- management that has been allowed to screw up endlessly, with both accounting woes and simple execution problems. The notion that Avon could get a bid from some other company -- Loreal or Estee Lauder (EL) for that matter -- makes so much sense that I can't believe it hasn't happened yet.


Plus, when you compare Avon with the incredible business that Herbalife (HLF) has right now -- one of the greatest stocks out there -- or with Tupperware (TUP) -- another company that has done well -- Avon is a joke.


The coffee chain listens to customer complaints and tries to restore the quality of its drinks.

By Kim Peterson Oct 13, 2010 12:54AM
Credit: (© Anthony Bolante/Reuters)
Caption: Starbucks baristaStarbucks (SBUX)baristas know how to make drinks quickly -- a little too quickly, the coffee chain has decided.

The company has begun telling its baristas to slow down, The Wall Street Journal reports. No more frenzied multitasking; baristas are now allowed to make only two drinks at a time.

The new policy might make for longer lines, but Starbucks isn't worried. The take-it-slow approach stems from customer complaints, the Journal reports. Some people weren't happy with the assembly-line feel that hangs over a Starbucks counter. 

Fears abound that the Bank of Japan will move to restrain the yen's climb.

By Jim J. Jubak Oct 12, 2010 4:19PM

Jim JubakNow that worked out just swell, didn't it?

Remember way back on Sept. 15, when Japan intervened in the currency markets to drive down the soaring yen? The yen had just stormed through the 83-yen-to-the-dollar level that a number of large Japanese exporters had pegged as the exchange rate where they stopped making money.

By buying U.S. dollars and selling yen, the intervention succeeded in driving the yen down to an exchange rate of 86 to the dollar.


The movie-rental chain reportedly wants new blood as it emerges from bankruptcy.

By Kim Peterson Oct 12, 2010 4:14PM
Credit: Ron Heflin/AP
Caption: Blockbuster storeBlockbuster (BBI) has discovered this thing called the Internet, and thinks it's time to give it a shot. The company is looking for a new chief executive that can "steer the company into digital businesses," The Wall Street Journal reports.

Better late than never, I suppose. Too late? Perhaps. But Blockbuster is going to try.

Blockbuster is looking for a new boss and could boot Jim Keyes by the end of the year, the Journal reports. Keyes has been in charge since 2007 -- right about the time Blockbuster should have been about to annihilate upstart rival Netflix (NFLX)

Microsoft is well-positioned to compete in mobile market.

By InvestorPlace Oct 12, 2010 4:04PM

Smartphone news seems to break every day, and yesterday was no different.

Microsoft held a press conference to debut its much-anticipated Windows Phone 7 operating system and the initial lineup of smartphone handsets that use it. Speaking at the event in New York, chief executive Steve Ballmer showed off nine Windows Phone 7 smartphones that will be supported by every major mobile carrier in the United States, with the sole exception of Verizon (VZ) (Note: Microsoft publishes MSN Money).

Deutsche Telekom's  T-Mobile USA will offer two phones from HTC, the 3.7-inch HTC 7 Mozart and the almost tablet-sized 4.3-inch HD7, as well as the vertical slider phone the Dell (DELL) Venue Pro. Sprint (S) will also offer a phone from HTC, the HTC 7 Pro, that's a bit smaller and with more memory than those available through T-Mobile. Ralph de la Vega, CEO of AT&T (T) Mobility, showed off his company's trio of phones. AT&T will support Samsung's ultra-thin Focus, the LG  Quantum and the sleek HTC 7 Surround. Other models, the LG Optimus 7 and the HTC Trophy, respectively don't have carrier support or are only available in Europe.


The online retailer is calling on writers to develop 'Kindle singles' that cost less than $10.

By Kim Peterson Oct 12, 2010 2:26PM
Credit: (© Amazon.com)
Caption: Amazon KindleAmazon (AMZN) has announced it will soon launch "Kindle Singles." And it's not some sort of dating service. These singles are short, cheap books for Kindle e-readers.

The way Amazon envisions it, Kindle Singles will be about twice as long as a New Yorker feature article. Equivalent to a few book chapters. They'll get their own section in the Kindle store.

But here's where it gets interesting: Amazon called on writers Tuesday to start producing their own singles for the store. No middleman. No publishing house. Amazon will control the singles from top to bottom. 

Shares jump after Credit Suisse raises earnings expectations for the coffee chain.

By TheStreet Staff Oct 12, 2010 1:44PM

thestreetCredit: (© Michael Conroy/AP)
Caption: Customer in a Starbucks storeBy Miriam Marcus Reimer, TheStreet


Starbucks (SBUX) shares jumped Tuesday after an analyst from Credit Suisse raised his earnings on the coffee chain.


Credit Suisse analyst Keith Siegner expects Starbucks to earn $1.45 per share in 2011 and $1.69 per share in 2012. The consensus call among Wall Street analysts polled by Thomson Reuters is for earning of $1.43 and $1.63 next year and the year after, respectively.


Siegner raised his estimates based on improved margins and expected earnings-per-share growth in the coming quarters. He maintained his "outperform" rating and $34 price target on Starbucks shares.


The coffee purveyor's stock was rising 4.1% Tuesday afternoon, to $27.05, on heavier-than-average volume.


Bernstein Research downgrades the telecom to 'sell,' concerned that it may not be able to extend its streak of dividend increases.

By TheStreet Staff Oct 12, 2010 1:06PM

By Scott Moritz, TheStreet


Verizon (VZ) was slapped with a "sell" rating from Bernstein Research on Tuesday on concerns about continued dividend growth.


As one of the darlings of the dividend crowd, Verizon shares are up 27% since its one-year low in July. Last month, Verizon raised its dividend to 48.75 cents a share, extending its streak of dividend increases to four years in a row.


But with a big payment to joint-venture partner Vodafone (VOD) looming and an ongoing debate about paying down the $57.4 billion in debt on the books, Verizon has some pressing decisions to make about how it spends its cash.


This fund is strong and well-diversified to withstand current conditions.

By TheStreet Staff Oct 12, 2010 10:29AM

the streetFind hot stocks © Digital Vision / Getty ImagesBy Don Dion, TheStreet


With Alcoa's (AA) analyst-beating quarterly report behind us, we are now in the full swing of what is shaping up to be an optimistic earnings season.

Investors looking for a way to play this fast-paced market should look to a strong, stable and diversified fund designed to track U.S. equities.


AVP jumps after a British newspaper reports that an $18.8 billion deal could be in the works.

By InvestorPlace Oct 12, 2010 10:19AM

Woman with lipstick  © Stockbyte/PictureQuest It's been a beautiful morning for shareholders of U.S. perfume and cosmetics company Avon Products (AVP). A British newspaper reported today that French cosmetics company L'Oreal might be preparing a cash bid for Avon.


The Daily Mail reported that L'Oreal plans to buy the company for $44 a share, or $18.8 billion. Avon closed Monday at $33.16, meaning L'Oreal is willing to pay a 32.7% premium on Avon stock.


AVP stock jumped 10% in premarket trading after the news was released. But is the buyout rumor real, and what does it mean for consumers?


Soon negative articles will start predicting dire holiday sales for retailers. That will be your chance to buy these surprisingly strong clothing companies.

By Jim Cramer Oct 12, 2010 8:54AM

the streetBy Jim Cramer, TheStreet


You want a group that simply has no quit in it? Look at these apparel stocks: Phillips Van Heusen (PVH), Ralph Lauren (RL), VF Corp. (VFC) and Jones Apparel (JNY). They just seem to have game despite the media's quest to make us believe that nothing is selling at the retail level and inventories have to be lean as can be. They are considered pariahs in the media, the whipping boys that have to get hurt as the retailers pull in their horns.


It won't stop, either. I believe we will soon be reading about how we will have a bad holiday season and how this group will be under severe pressure.


It won't matter that the companies themselves will tell you over and over again that business is strong. Nor will it matter that the valuations are pretty cheap: Jones is trading at 11 times earnings, VF Corp. at 13x, Phillips Van Heusen at 16x and Ralph Lauren at 18x. Given the consistency of the group, it is a wonder they aren’t all trading over where RL is.


The medium-term trend for the greenback may be downward, but we could see a short-term technical rally.

By Jim J. Jubak Oct 11, 2010 5:28PM

Jim JubakWhen the International Monetary Fund and the U.S. dollar go head to head, the dollar wins. 

On Wednesday, in the second of its "World Economic Outlook" reports for 2010, the IMF was bullish on commodities, especially on base metals, such as copper and tin. (For the IMF's read on growth in the global economy in the remainder of 2010 and in 2011, see my post).

"Commodity pries are projected to remain high by historical standards over the medium term, with risks tilted to the up side." In other words, we think commodity prices are going up, the IMF said, and the odds say that if we're wrong, it's because prices will go up more than we project.


The bank must pay millions after a panel finds 'serious misconduct.'

By Kim Peterson Oct 11, 2010 3:33PM
Credit: (© Tony Gutierrez/AP file)
Caption: Image:  Larry HagmanWhen you mess with J.R. Ewing, you get the horns. Just ask Citigroup (C).

Larry Hagman, who portrayed Ewing on the television show "Dallas," has won his case accusing Citigroup of securities fraud. Now the bank must pay $10 million to charities of Hagman's choosing, $1.1 million in compensatory damages and $440,000 in legal fees, Reuters reports.

Hagman had asked for only $1.35 million in damages. We're not sure what exactly Citigroup did wrong here -- since much of the case is being kept confidential -- but the bank clearly messed up. According to the ruling, Citigroup's global markets division "engaged in serious misconduct." 

Despite a breakout September, not all stocks are buys

By InvestorPlace Oct 11, 2010 3:15PM

By Louis Navellier

Stocks to sell can be difficult to find, especially when the broader markets are improving.

The market seems to be going strong after a breakout September, with the Dow up more than 10% since Aug. 31 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq up 13%. But a rising tide does not lift all boats, and a number of technology stocks continue to fall behind and are in danger of further declines as we enter another earnings season.


I currently have three tech blue chips on my "dogs with fleas" list as stocks to avoid this fall. As third-quarter numbers roll out for these technology giants, it could be bad news for shareholders.


The online auction company stands to gain as its PayPal service becomes the go-to payment system for the Android app store.

By Kim Peterson Oct 11, 2010 1:52PM
Kim PetersonWe hear a lot about Apple (AAPL) vs. Google(GOOG) vs. Research In Motion (RIMM) in the smart-phone wars. But there's another company very much in this game, and it's an unlikely contender: eBay (EBAY).

Yes, the online auction company. But eBay is becoming an online payments company with an auction business on the side. And the smart-phone wars will help get it there.

If news reports are correct, Google has all but sealed a deal to make eBay's PayPal the go-to payment system for its Android app store.  


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[BRIEFING.COM] The major averages punctuated a solid week with a subdued Friday session. The S&P 500 shed 0.2% to narrow its weekly gain to 1.7%, while the Nasdaq Composite (+0.1%) displayed relative strength. The tech-heavy index finished the week in line with the benchmark average.

Market participants went into today's session expecting to hear some new insight from Fed Chair Janet Yellen, who delivered the keynote address at this year's Jackson Hole Symposium. Unfortunately, the ... More


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