The chain still has quality management and strong retention rates.
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AIG's IPO is 'an utter debacle,' Sony hackers go on a global rampage and Arianna Huffington oversells AOL in this week's round-up of business buffoonery.
Here is this week's roundup of the dumbest actions on Wall Street.
5. AIG: The anti-LinkedIn IPO
Apparently, the words AIG and IPO don't get investors beating down the doors to get a piece of the action. Gee whiz, I wonder why?
While closely monitoring market action for clues about what lies ahead, more aggressive traders can look to profit from ETFs tracking the tech sector and gold.
Not if you mix shareholder returns into the equation.
By Tim Beyers
CEO compensation is a hot topic, especially now that the Dodd-Frank Act requires say-on-pay votes. With CEO pay and performance seemingly disconnected at the following company, the Fool invites you to judge for yourself whether this business's boss actually deserves such a hefty paycheck.
Few things are worse for investors than owning a piece of an "oh yeah" tech company. These are the Rodney Dangerfields of their industries. They've been around forever. They've even done impressive work in years past. But lately, whenever their names come up in conversation, it's almost always with the caveat, "oh yeah, I forgot about them." Adobe (ADBE) has become that kind of company, but you wouldn't know it from CEO Shantanu Narayen's pay package.
By owning both cyclical financial stocks and steady consumer staples, the Oracle can perform well in any market.
By Don Dion, TheStreet
As Warren Buffett has quipped, his favorite holding period for any investment is "forever." By sticking to a long-term time horizon when structuring his legendary investing portfolio, the famed billionaire has been able to weather numerous short-term shake-ups during his long career.
In examining his current holdings lineup, it is possible to uncover clues that will help retail investors mimic him and profit over the long run.
Buffett's portfolio taps into a wide range of market sectors, providing exposure to industries such as energy and health care. The largest chunks of the Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) portfolio, however, are dedicated to companies in the financial and consumer sectors.
These potential bargains could heat up.
By Jamie Dlugosch, StockPickr
I live in the frozen tundra of Minneapolis, where we are slowly -- and I mean slowly -- emerging from a dastardly long winter and a spring that hasn't sprung. It is hard to believe that summer, as marked by Memorial Day weekend, is right around the corner.
While many market participants slow down their investment activity in summer, I think there is plenty of money to be made by staying active. In the current environment, stocks are exhibiting weakness. Sellers are dominating the action, and pessimism is rising.
This is actually quite bullish for stocks. Yes, many risks remain, but current fiscal and monetary policy is conducive to economic growth. It may not be the strongest recovery on record, but we are growing, and we're likely to continue to do so.
We may get an up day if Portuguese bankers and German finance officials can stay out of the headlines.
The rhythm of the European crisis seems to have taken a different turn.
Rather than waking every morning to a story about how some Portuguese banker is worried, or a Greek minister is fretting, or unknown Spanish and German finance officials are digging in their heels or alternately letting go of them, the continent seems to have gone silent.
It is almost as if they can turn it off and turn it on again.
Some of this could be that there is a pre-honeymoon lull for Christian Lagarde, as she is almost certain to get the International Monetary Fund job. Some of it is because China says it is willing to buy the bonds of some of these countries. And some of it is a recognition that the German banks, at least according to Fitch, can handle even a Greek default, and that was quite surprising.
Economists were surprised by sluggish growth in the first quarter. Is this a blip or a trend?
The Google Wallet system will let users pay for items simply by waving their phones at cash-register readers.
Those are questions Google (GOOG) will be asking people later this summer as it rolls out Google Wallet, a new mobile payment system. Go to McDonald's (MCD), for example, and pay by waving your phone in front of special readers, like the MasterCard PayPass reader already in place at the fast-food restaurant.
There are safeguards in place so that people can't steal your phone and go on a shopping bender. The system stays shut down, for example, until you enter your PIN number at the store counter.
Post continues after this video explaining more about Google Wallet:
Recent selling in master limited partnerships (MLPs) has presented some low-risk entry points, allowing buyers to tap into sizable yields and attractive growth prospects.
I'm officially tossing them into the "too hard" pile.
By Matt Koppenheffer
Am I a flip-flopper?
I had been seriously skeptical of Chinese small caps before the worst of the meltdown began. But then, as the short "hit" pieces flooded the Web and the group's stock prices got absolutely clobbered, the value investor in me started to get intrigued.
But now it's time to finally throw up my hands, pull out the ol' white flag, and simply say, "I give up!" And I can thank Longtop Financial (LFT) for bringing me to this conclusion.
Longtop's shares were halted last week, and earlier this week the company filed with the SEC that its accountant (Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu) is walking away and its CFO has offered his letter of resignation. That all sounds bad enough, but it gets much worse. Check out the reasons that Deloitte told Longtop to talk to the hand:
As we work through this bout of market turbulence, investors can use these funds to gain exposure to industry giants like GE or steady dividend payers like Chevron.
By Don Dion, TheStreet
The investing environment has been shaken by the bloody political protests in the Middle East and Northern Africa, Japan's natural disasters, the commodities shakeup and most recently, the resurgence of the European debt crisis.
Although this rocky situation from these headwinds may prove too much to many, I advise against fleeing the marketplace at this time.
Rather, by making adjustments, it is possible for battered investors to weather current economic storms and prepare for clearer skies ahead.
In a range-bound trading environment, companies that execute well return to the forefront, and those that do their homework are rewarded.
There's a phrase we haven't heard lately. It does seem, for however fleeting a time, that the euro is range-bound vs. the dollar -- call it $140-$150 on the CurrencyShares Euro Trust (FXE). And oil seems to have settled in to the $100 range, give or take a couple of bucks, despite aggressive pushing by two major companies.
When we get all range-bound, we tend to focus on the fundamentals and the possibilities that things can "calm down." When we look at the "actuals" instead of being blinded by the volatility, what we see are some companies in more control of their destiny than others, and some companies losing control of their destiny while others seem to be regaining control.
Take apparel. Wednesday we were shocked that Ralph Lauren (RL) was scalded by commodity inflation. It was really ugly. Took me by surprise. But then Guess (GES) reported, and I figured they would blow it, but they instead delivered perfectly. Took me by surprise.
The gaming company best known for 'Farmville' and other games on Facebook is reportedly in IPO talks. With video.
I'm not sure we can call it a bona fide bubble yet, but don't be surprised to hear much more about tech IPOs soon. Case in point: Zynga, a social-networking company whose business model is "almost completely dependent on Facebook," as Portfolio notes.
Zynga is best known for "Farmville," "Mafia Wars" and other games played by Facebook users.
Post continues after this video about whether a Zynga IPO makes sense:
The company has hired an adviser to explore options for its future.
Updated at 6:20 p.m. ET.
Shares of Martha Stewart Living (MSO) rocketed as much as 36% to $5.10 today on news that the company has hired an advisory firm to help figure out its future.
The shares dropped back to $4.67 at the close, still a 23.9% gain.
The possible scenarios here range from an outright sale to the formation of a partnership to going completely private. In any case, investors seem to like the potential changes.
Another plus: Martha is returning to the board this year. She was banned from the board for five years in a settlement with securities regulators but can return in August. Stewart served five months in prison after a 2004 conviction for obstructing justice and lying to investigators about a stock sale.
The boot-maker's CEO gives the computer giant a swift kick regarding sustainability.
By Alyce Lomax
Should consumers have to choose between "moral consumption" and the coolest technology? Timberland (TBL) CEO Jeffrey Swartz posed that question in a recent blog post aimed squarely at Apple (AAPL) and its devoted fans.
Swartz's blog is called Rantings of a Responsible CEO, and this particular post, highlighted by ZDNet, centered on responsibility in corporate supply chains. Swartz contends that companies in his industry have to be transparent regarding supply-chain issues, unlike tech companies. He points out that such openness from companies like Timberland, Nike (NKE) and Adidas has debunked "competitive secret" myths.
Swartz makes valid points in his criticism, discussing how Apple does seem to get away with pretty unpleasant business concerning the foreign suppliers it relies on.
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[BRIEFING.COM] The major averages finished the session on a lower note as the S&P 500 lost 0.4% while the Nasdaq shed 0.1%. The Russell 2000, which paced the retreat on Tuesday and Wednesday, added 0.2%, trimming its December loss to 3.5%.
After spending the first half of the session in a steady retreat, the S&P 500 found technical support in the 1772 area. Upon reaching that level, the index reversed sharply, and marched back to its flat line. There was no particular catalyst ... More
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