The $19 billion WhatsApp deal could become the Facebook founder's legacy . . . or his albatross.
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Betting against this company is stupid.
By Tim Hanson
It's not often that a company you've criticized invites you over for a tour and tea, but that's precisely what happened to me recently in Beijing when I visited Baidu's (BIDU) corporate campus in the northwestern part of the city. And after spending a full day meeting employees and getting a sense of the company's culture and growth strategy, I'm beginning to think that my skepticism of the company has been misguided.
I'll tell you why, but first I need to explain what I used to think.
This story begins 1,800% ago
Baidu went public in 2005, and given the excitement about emerging markets then, the stock nearly doubled on its first day of trading. It's looked expensive to me ever since. One reason for that is Baidu was (and to some extent remains) a Google (GOOG) clone.
The company plans to offer video streams in three languages to 43 countries later this year.
This is a huge deal for the video-streaming and DVD-by-mail company. Netflix has gone international only once, launching services in Canada last year. Now it plans to offer videos in Spanish, Portuguese and English to subscribers in Mexico, Central America and South America as well as in the Caribbean.
Analysts think there are 40 million to 45 million broadband customers in Latin America and the Caribbean. Think about that in terms of Netflix Canada, which won the loyalty of 8% of broadband households within seven months, says Citi analyst James Rivett.
The following video has a pretty meaty discussion about Netflix's expansion and what it means for the stock. Check it out.
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Fidelity introduces 4 targeted products that reduce interest-rate uncertainty.
By Stan Luxenberg, TheStreet
Plenty of investors are worried that interest rates will rise in coming years. That could be bad news for bond funds. When rates rise, bond prices tend to fall. So investors in bond funds can't be sure how much money they will have on any particular date.
To help reduce the uncertainty, Fidelity Investments recently introduced four municipal funds that target specific dates, ranging from 2015 to 2021. The funds hold bonds that mature near the target dates. The idea is that shareholders will receive their principal back on the target dates.
The funds could be attractive for cautious investors who are saving for specific events. Say you will need to make college tuition payments in 10 years. You could invest in Fidelity Municipal Income 2021 (FOCFX).
With the sale of the struggling roast beef chain officially behind it, Wendy's sheds the Arby's name while keeping a small stock interest in the company.
By Miriam Reimer, TheStreet
Wendy's (WEN) is once again a solo fast-food name brand -- dropping Arby's from its name now that its sale of the struggling roast beef chain is complete -- and the company is forging ahead with new menu items, an updated logo and a focus on global growth.
Wendy's said early Tuesday that it completed the sale of Arby's to private equity firm Roark Capital Management, a long-anticipated divestiture announced in June. Effective immediately, its corporate name was changed to The Wendy's Company, and its common stock will continue to trade under the ticker WEN.
The sale of its struggling Arby's chain showed that Wendy's was looking to deleverage its balance sheet and finally divest a brand that's been dragging on its financials for years.
Lawmakers have less than a month to set aside the political rhetoric and finally work out a deal.
At this point, negotiations stand pretty much exactly where they were two weeks ago, when House Republicans pulled out, The Washington Post reports. And we've heard plenty of bluster from both sides of the aisle since then.
Congress is in full debate over whether to lift the country's $14.3 trillion debt ceiling by Aug. 2. If the impasse continues after that point, we could very well see a plunge back into recession, a crumbling stock market and a financial ripple effect across the globe.
Check out the following analysis of the debt ceiling drama from CNBC.
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After one of the best 5-day performances in years, stocks have more upside progress yet to come.
Equities enjoyed one of their best performances of all time last week on signs of renewed economic vigor and progress by European leaders to quell the latest round of the Greek debt crisis. The "re-recovery" I've been writing about in my columns and blogs posts has arrived, and investors are crawling over themselves to participate after stocks fell to their most oversold levels since the late 1990s by some measures.
It was only the 10th time in the history of the S&P 500 since 1928 that it gained at least 0.75% for five straight days. History also suggests Tuesday's slight weakness was to be expected: Seven of the other nine examples dipped the next day. But in eight of those nine examples, buying the dip resulted in gains two weeks later.
I think a similar performance is in store for us now, thanks to cautious sentiment, impressive market breadth and strengthening economic fundamentals. But above all, the Federal Reserve's "stealth stimulus" -- a subject I've touched on frequently -- will keep funneling easy money into risky assets like stocks as the same dynamic that powered the housing bubble is at work again.
Funds tracking the Japanese economy, corn prices and the euro will be in the spotlight for the next few days.
By Don Dion, TheStreet
Here are five exchange-traded funds to keep an eye on this week.
The Japan-tracking EWJ spent much of the month of June treading water, subdued below its 50-day moving average. At the close of the month, however, the fund caught a break. Thanks to a three-day ascent during the middle of last week, shares of EWJ managed to recapture levels seen at the start of May.
In the coming days, as we take our first steps into the second half of 2011, it will be interesting to see if EWJ can capitalize on last week's strength. The Japanese markets still have ample ground to cover before the fund regains the highs witnessed before the devastating earthquake and tsunami. Along the road to recovery, expect headwinds to persist.
An impressive rally last week may just be the start of something bigger.
The Fourth of July holiday came early for the stock market last week as stocks exploded to their best weekly gain in many moons.
Powered by solid economic numbers and optimism for the forthcoming second-quarter earnings season, bulls pushed the S&P 500 to a gain of more than 5% for the week.
It is amazing watching the wall of worry crumble. The bear argument for a double dip or stock market armageddon never did hold much water. The three-month pause in the market was just that, a pause.
Despite the big gains, many stocks trade for relatively low valuations. As long as profits come in as forecast, we can expect more gains in July. It will be a tremendous summer rally if corporate earnings beat analyst estimates.
I’m staying long and strong with my ETFs to buy this week. Keep an eye on the iShares S&P North America Technology and Multimedia Fund (IGN).
Their solid chart patterns point to relative safety for investors.
Fortunes changed nearly overnight last week, and a rally took firm hold. So firm, in fact, that a coming correction could be a time to buy.
The company is trying to sell a huge estate it foreclosed on. But the business magnate's cagey moves present a problem.
Donald Trump is putting a huge squeeze on the bank as it tries to foreclose on a 24,000-square-foot estate in Virginia. Bank of America owns the house and is trying to sell it for $16 million, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Maybe the bank could sell a normal estate for that much, but not in this case. You see, Trump owns the backyard, the front yard and most of the driveway. He doesn't own the house itself, but he's willing to take it off the bank's hands for, oh, $3.6 million.
Ah, you gotta love the Donald. Here's how this nightmare for Bank of America came about:
Gerdau exports more than a third of its Brazilian production, but an appreciating real has made exports more expensive.
The ETFs that track fast-growing Indonesia and Malaysia look poised to outperform, and with a pullback in the week ahead, favorable buy set-ups may be presented for both.
Use these tools to trade stocks of companies set to report quarterly results.
With the second quarter now finished, I'm gearing up for earnings season. While some folks shy away from trading stocks of companies set to release operating results, I use the opportunity to attack the market at its weakest and most inefficient point.
When a company reports results, the news will be greeted by overzealous buying or fearful selling almost immediately. The mad rush of buyers or sellers results in a stock that can move 5% to 10% higher or lower, depending on the company's success or failure at meeting Wall Street's expectations.
The beat-the-numbers game is alive and well. If you trade wisely, big profits can be had in a short period. The trick, of course, is to understand what is coming and position yourself accordingly.
I use several very effective tools to help guide my way to trading earnings successfully. On Monday, I gave a preview on 5 companies reporting earnings this week using these keys.
Romney and Cain are just the latest to spend their pizza money to get a bigger piece of the political pie.
By Jason Notte, TheStreet
With pizza industry alumni using their dining and delivery experience to think outside the box, pizza has a rising political profile.
Two candidates in the field pursuing the Republican party's 2012 presidential nomination have long, stringy ties to the pizza industry and are just the latest pizza alumni to make their presence felt in American politics.
The pizza industry brought in $36 billion in 2009, the last full year for which complete statistics are available, and provides a nice resume item for candidates pushing for economic growth. But don't take the link too far. The industry declined 1% from 2008 to 2009 and has seen its share of struggles in the year and a half since, making relying on pizza for popularity at the polls look as dumb as calling it "'za."
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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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