Geopolitical crises are taking a toll on stocks as we head into the seasonally weak month of August.
VIDEO ON MSN MONEY
IMF grapples with disgraced former boss. Research In Motion recalls its Playbook. Vikram Pandit seeks affirmation through Facebook.
Here is this week's roundup of the dumbest actions on Wall Street.
5. Dominique Strauss-Kahn: A story with no winners
To say that the actions of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the disgraced former Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund now sitting in a Rikers Island cell, are dumb is a massive insult to the word "dumb."
Could Strauss-Kahn possibly have thought, if the charges against him hold true, that sexually assaulting a woman in a $3,000 hotel room reserved and paid for in his name, leaving a DNA trail, then calling Sofitel because he might have left his phone in the room were the actions of a smart man? Or a sane one?
Some investors are more equal than others.
By Dan Freed, TheStreet
In fact, the only way a retail investor could have gotten a piece of the LinkedIn IPO at its $45 offer price would be to be a hugely profitable client for a full-service brokerage firm.
In other words, if you are willing to throw away lots of money by having a full-service broker and paying huge commissions, the broker may "reward" you by throwing you a few shares of LinkedIn. It's a bit like getting a "complimentary" dessert after you've spent $200 per person on dinner.
The company raises big bucks in its first debt offering. But why is it panhandling?
By Rick Aristotle Munarriz
There are three stages of response to Google's (GOOG) decision to raise nearly $3 billion in debt this week.
The first stage is denial. Why is Google panhandling? The company has $36.7 billion in cash, equivalents and marketable securities. It can't be hard up for cash. Google is crazy!
The second stage is acceptance. Google's stock has lost its sizzle, trading 29% below its peak in 2007. A bond offering helps grease the palms of underwriters, ideally leading to favorable coverage. A secondary offering would do the same thing, but disgruntled shareholders would only bellyache about new shares being minted at price points well below all-time highs. Even now, Google is trading closer to its 52-week low than its 52-week high.
Wall Street seems to be turning bullish on emerging markets, but the chart action for one of the primary emerging-markets ETFs shows that there’s still cause for concern.
As important as we think we are, the eurozone, oil futures and China all have a bigger impact on stocks than the US does.
There's always a routine in this business, one that's dictated by events, what's important, what will determine the day.
It used to be pretty simple -- antediluvian, even. When I first moved to the suburbs, I would get out of bed, throw some clothes on and walk to the end of the driveway to get the The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. I used to pay extra to be the first on the route, to get a jump on things. You didn't have to get in much earlier than 7 a.m. in those days, because the news wire didn't start until then.
Issues would come in and out of the first focus. Sometimes it would be taxes, sometimes terror, sometimes takeovers. But for the most part it would be company-by-company news, and if something was happening in the broader market, you examined it to figure out what you needed to sell or buy into the overall market moves.
Deere increased full-year guidance on a solid second-quarter report. So why is Wall Street disappointed?
Revamping women's clothing is the top priority for the retailer, which has watched North American sales slide.
Gap (GPS) is in a crisis, having tried unsuccessfully for years to turn business around. The company has booted its top designer and its president, and is desperate to get back on track by the holidays. Gap cut its full-year profit forecast this afternoon, and the stock has dropped nearly 13% in after-hours trading.
"I have a much higher sense of urgency," chief executive Glenn Murphy said in a rare interview. "This brand is just too damn important to not see that kind of effort being put forward," he told The Wall Street Journal.
The biggest priority for Gap is women's shirts. Gap can't get them right, and sales have been a mess for years, writes Elizabeth Homes. Sales at the Gap's 1,000 U.S. stores have fallen 32% since 2004. Now, Gap's North American stores contribute just a quarter of overall revenue, which isn't helping fund overseas expansion enough.
Post continues after this video about Gap's issues:
Rubber-stamping excessive executive compensation ruins things for the rest of us.
By Alyce Lomax
Last year, CEOs at the biggest American companies made better money than they did in 2007, despite the intervening economic havoc. Why did executives enjoy such a cushy payday? Because their biggest shareholders did nothing to stop it.
According to executive compensation research firm Equilar, the typical CEO made $9 million in 2010, a 24% increase over last year. In 2007, before the housing bubble burst and the financial crisis hit, the median pay for CEOs was $8.4 million. Although CEO pay did clock two years of declines, major CEOs have apparently quickly regained lost ground in pay levels.
Sadly, they seem to be among the few groups of individuals who have regained much at all in the last couple of years. While some of these CEOs undoubtedly deserve pay hikes for great performance, many don't.
We’ve been following three technically sound stocks whose strong overseas operations will also benefit if the US dollar stays weak. One is still a good buy, and a fourth stock has just emerged.
Funds that tap a mix of gold, silver, platinum and palladium can be useful in a variety of investing scenarios.
By Don Dion, TheStreet
Precious metals have become a major region of interest for ETF sponsors. Since its introduction in late 2004, the physically based SPDR Gold Shares (GLD) fund has taken off in popularity, gathering over $60 billion in assets, making it the second-largest ETF in the world.
Over the ensuing years, the success of this fund has been noticed by large and small providers. Many, attempting to profit from interest in this corner of the market, have launched their own funds designed to offer investors access to these shiny resources.
While some firms, like Global X and Market Vectors, have opted to take the equity-based route with miner funds like the Global X Silver Miners ETF (SIL) and Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (GDX) respectively, others have chosen to use futures contracts or physical stockpiles to provide investors with direct access to their desired metals.
By pricing the stock more than 80% below its opening price, the social-media giant is left out while initial investors make big profits.
By Jeff Reeves, Editor, InvestorPlace.com
LinkedIn (LNKD) shares soared in their market debut Thursday, though the social-media giant made a nearly $300 million mistake with its IPO.
The company priced its long-awaited IPO at $45 a share Wednesday, but the stock opened at a stunning $83. By 11 a.m ET, shares were trading up a whopping 95% at $97.85. With 7.8 million shares up for grabs, LinkedIn made $351 million in its public offering. But had it priced the initial shares 84% higher, it would have raked in $647 million in capital instead.
In short, somebody made a fortune on this initial public offering, but it wasn't LinkedIn.
Analysts are all too eager to sound the alarm, but good stocks are good stocks -- period.
Let's see, after you've had a good run in stocks, or after stocks have reported some good news, you are usually forced to chase them, courtesy the momentum people who want in and want up.
Occasionally, though, you get your entry points from the Street, which, since the 2000-03 and 2008-09 debacles, is always anxious to downgrade at a moment's notice, just when things are starting to look up.
Take Intel (INTC). Goldman, which had been saying that Intel was going to $21 and had a "hold" rating on it, went to an outright "sell" Thursday and changed its price target to $20. I have not been a fan of Intel, preferring ARM Holdings (ARMH), because Intel is not part of the vast Apple (AAPL) ecosystem. It does not have the proper smartphone entry. And it is still very much linked to a device in decline -- the personal computer. But it now has a new chip that has lots of power and uses a lot less energy, and that might be the perfect solution to its problems.
CSCO is a recent addition that has underperformed, and the index should focus more on consumer tech than corporate tech.
By Jeff Reeves, Editor, InvestorPlace.com
Next Thursday marks 115th birthday of the much-followed -- and much maligned -- Dow Jones Industrial Average. Charles Dow created the benchmark on May 26, 1896, at a reading of 40 points, representing the dollar average of 12 stocks from leading U.S. industries.
There have been a host of changes to the index over the years, with the lineup of component stocks growing to 30 and involving 48 different formulations since its inception. Of course, some of the most recent changes include booting out victims of the financial crisis: General Motors (GM), American International Group (AIG) and Citigroup (C).
But why wait until a company goes bankrupt or gets bailed out to rejigger the index? If the Dow is so widely cited by the media and economic analysts, shouldn't it be a precise gauge of the stock market and the American economy as a whole and not just a nostalgic list of old giants that have seen better days?
The high-end grocer has seen its share price go through the roof in the last year.
The company's second-quarter earnings were the strongest in five years. Whole Foods is making so much money, in fact, that it repaid outstanding debt ahead of the August 2012 due date. How often does that happen?
Standard & Poor's raised its corporate credit rating on Whole Foods to BB+, which is the top notch before investment-grade levels. "The rating on Whole Foods reflects our expectation that the company will maintain its sales and profit growth and enhance credit metrics," S&P analyst Charles Pinson-Rose told Dow Jones.
Fund managers surveyed by Merrill Lynch have cut exposure to risky sectors and assets as they become less confident about economic growth and profits.
Based on the findings of the latest Merrill Lynch fund manager survey, the "smart money" has become a lot less excited about the future. Growth expectations are being marked down, and earnings are expected to stagnate.
These are all consequences of the negative factors I've been discussing in my recent columns and blog posts. From fresh losses for the housing market to a peak in corporate earnings growth to the end of accommodative monetary and fiscal policy to surging inflation, disappointing economic data and renewed concerns over the health of the euro zone, investors have plenty to worry about.
And now, based on the survey findings, the big boys are starting to pull in their horns. The overall takeaway: Fund managers surveyed, who collectively control more than $800 billion in assets, are questioning whether global economic growth can continue to press ahead, given all the headwinds we face. As a result, they're starting to take action.
MORE ON MSN MONEY
Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.
Investors are anxious to see if hiring can maintain its strong pace in the second half of the year.
Top Stocks provides analysis about the most noteworthy stocks in the market each day, combining some of the best content from around the MSN Money site and the rest of the Web.
Contributors include professional investors and journalists affiliated with MSN Money.
Follow us on Twitter @topstocksmsn.
[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market punctuated July with a broad-based retreat that sent the S&P 500 lower by 2.0% with all ten sectors ending in the red. The benchmark index posted a monthly decline of 1.5%, while the Russell 2000 (-2.3%) underperformed to end the month lower by 6.1%.
To get a better feel for what led to today's retreat, we'd like to look back to Wednesday, when the market had ample reason to rally, but did not. Instead, it ended basically flat after a sloppy day of ... More
More Market News
|There’s a problem getting this information right now. Please try again later.|