Apple is a market darling again
Apple is a market darling again

The company, which reports its quarterly earnings Tuesday, has once again become an investor favorite.

VIDEO ON MSN MONEY

The notorious dictator is upset that a 'Call of Duty' title made him out to be a kidnapper and murderer.

By MSN Money Partner Wed 4:13 PM
File photo of Manuel Noriega
© Alberto Lowe/ReutersBy Joseph Adinolfi, MarketWatch

Three years after being freed from a U.S. prison and returning to Panama, former strongman Manuel Noriega (pictured) is suing Activision Blizzard (ATVI) for using his name and likeness without his permission.


Panama's notorious military dictator, who ruled the country from 1983 until 1989 when he was removed from power and imprisoned in the U.S., alleges that the game "Call of Duty: Black Ops II" portrayed him as a "kidnapper, murderer, and enemy of the state."


The lawsuit alleges this was done to "heighten realism in the game . . . [which] translates directly into heightened sales," The Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday.


Noriega is not the only notable figure whose likeness was used in "Black Ops II." The game received media attention on its release because of a character resembling former U.S. Gen. David Petraeus.

 
Tags: ATVITTWO

It's had a big run over the past few months, but it still hasn't reached its full potential.

By MSN Money Partner Wed 3:54 PM
Apple logo at a store in San Francisco, Calif. (© David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images)By Jeff Reeves, MarketWatch

Apple (AAPL) is a force on Wall Street, with a cult-like appeal for investors and consumers.


As such, I make a habit of checking in on Apple every three months or so. In December, I gave 10 reasons to buy Apple in this column; the stock is up 18 percent since then, double the  Standard & Poor's 500 Index's ($INX) gain. After strong earnings in April, however, I warned there may be trouble on the horizon.


And now that Apple has tacked on about 30 percent in three months, the stakes are raised. So is Apple stock gathering steam, set to jump amid the company's earnings report Thursday? Or is this big run over the last few months too much, too quickly?


While it may sound like a flip-flop after my take in April (or, maybe a flip-flop on April's flip-flop from December?), I actually think Apple has more upside to come this year.


Here are a host of reasons why, and what to look for when the company reports earnings Thursday after the stock market closes:

 

The move, known as an inversion, has never been attempted by a major American retailer.

By MSN Money Partner Wed 3:32 PM
People walk by a Walgreens in Boston, Mass., on April 30, 2013 (Photo by Wendy Maeda/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)By Paul Ziobro, The Wall Street Journal

Walgreen's (WAG) first pharmacy opened 113 years ago inside a hotel on Chicago's South Side and this year, the chain will derive nearly all its sales and most of its profits from its 8,700 U.S. locations.

But Walgreen is currently thinking about leaving American shores, as part a plan to buy the rest of Alliance Boots GmbH, which operates a U.K. drugstore chain and is based in Switzerland. 


The move could help Walgreen lower its U.S. tax bill saving the company hundreds of millions of dollars a year -- money that wouldn't flow into the U.S. Treasury.


If it goes ahead, it would be an unusual use of the controversial and complex maneuver known as an inversion. While well tested among pharmaceutical and manufacturing companies that earn much of their income overseas or have assets like patents that are held offshore, the move has never been attempted by a major U.S. retailer, according to tax experts.

 

About 70 percent of them say they want to quit, but that just doesn't happen.

By MSN Money Partner Wed 2:42 PM
Teenager lighting a cigarette (© Diverse Images/UIG/Getty Images)By Mike Esterl, Karishma Mehrotra and Valerie Bauerlein, The Wall Street Journal

The U.S. adult smoking rate has plunged to below 20 percent from more than 40 percent half a century ago. 


Increasingly, smokers are poorer and less educated. And many smokers call themselves "occasional" or social smokers, consciously reining themselves in to try to avoid getting hooked.


Still, there are more than 40 million smokers in the U.S. today. And beneath the broad trends are pockets of growth and opportunity that are generating great interest in the tobacco industry.


Smoking rates are higher in gay, lesbian and bisexual groups, which are being targeted by the industry. More Americans are switching to menthol cigarettes like Newport, Lorillard's (LO) biggest brand. Indeed, Newport is the hot brand that Reynolds American (RAI) expects to add to its portfolio with its planned $25 billion acquisition of Lorillard, announced Tuesday.

 
Tags: LOMORAI

The precious metal could keep sliding until a major floor is found again.

By InvestorPlace Wed 1:23 PM

Image: Small Stack of gold ingots © Anthony Bradshaw/PhotographerBy James Brumley


It's the proverbial pie in the face for traders who were sure gold was destined for higher highs.


On Monday, gold prices, along with the SPDR Gold Shares (GLD), plunged a stunning 2.3 percent -- the biggest one-day dip of the year -- when Portugal's debt crisis didn't cause the country to sink into the ocean and drag the rest of Europe down with it.


The closing price of gold on Monday was $1,306.70 per ounce, pulling the commodity's price to its lowest level since June 18.


Gold fell further on Tuesday but slightly recovered Wednesday. In morning trading, gold for August delivery was at $1,299.40 an ounce.


The $64,000 question is, of course, what's next for gold prices? Answer: most likely, more downside.

 
Tags: GLD

Just wait until corporate IT departments start ripping out their PC gear to install Macs and iStuff.

By TheStreet.com Staff Wed 12:47 PM

(From left) Apple & IBM logos © Hitij/epa/CorbisHow big a deal is the Apple-IBM deal? Wrong question. How smart is the Apple-IBM deal for Apple? Very.


I know IBM (IBM) is rallying harder than Apple (AAPL) on its newfound affiliation with the best ecosystem in the world. That's all well and good, and perhaps Ginny Rometty can spin the earnings that are reported Thursday with some Apple-infused excitement.


But to me, this is all about IT -- meaning that the objections of the IT departments are finally being met from the ground up.


TheStreet.com logoWe all know what's been going on at companies in this country for years and years. Ingrained IT people have been reluctant to support Apple, because Apple is a consumer company. It always wants us to carry around many devices. It always pleads that it is security that keeps the WINTEL system in place with its Blackberry adjunct.

 

The company courted the former Ford CEO for months. He injects a dose of independence to a group that has added just 1 other new member since 2005.

By MSN Money Partner Wed 12:38 PM
Credit: © Jeff Kowalsky/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Caption: Alan Mulally, outgoing chief executive officer of Ford Motor Co.By Rolfe Winkler, Alistair Barr and Joann S. Lublin, The Wall Street Journal

Former Ford Motor (F) Chief Executive Alan Mulally, who flirted with Microsoft's (MSFT) top job last winter, has joined the board of another tech giant: Google (GOOG). (Microsoft owns and publishes Top Stocks, an MSN Money site.)


Mr. Mulally (pictured), who retired as Ford's CEO on July 1, became the 11th member of Google's board on July 9 and adds a dose of independence to a group that has added just one other new member since 2005. Mr. Mulally will serve on the board's audit committee.


Mr. Mulally, also a former Boeing (BA) executive, brings to Google expertise in both the auto and aviation industries as the search giant expands into self-driving cars, information and entertainment systems for cars and delivering Internet access from drones and satellites.

 

Time Warner surges after rejecting an $80 billion acquisition bid from Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox.

By TheStreet.com Staff Wed 12:24 PM

A general view of the Time Warner Center in New York City © Jason Szenes/epa/AlamyBy Keris Alison Lahiff, TheStreet


Time Warner  (TWX), owner of the Warner Brothers movie studio and popular pay-TV networks TBS, TNT and HBO, was surging Wednesday after confirming it had rebuffed media mogul Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox  (FOXA) bid to buy the company in a deal worth $80 billion.


Shares of New York-based Time Warner were gaining 16.4 percent to $82.70, its highest price since August, 2001, as investors buy into a deal whose offer may have to be increased before can be consummated. Fox, ever the acquirer, was dropping 1.7 percent to $33.49.


"21st Century Fox can confirm that we made a formal proposal to Time Warner last month to combine the two companies," New York-based 21st Century Fox said in a statement. "The Time Warner Board of Directors declined to pursue our proposal. We are not currently in any discussions with Time Warner." 

 

The bid for Time Warner may not go through, but it's an indication that the industry is ripe for consolidation.

By MSN Money Partner Wed 12:19 PM
Credit: © Brendan McDermid/Reuters

Caption: A post that shows trades Time Warner stock on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange July 16, 2014By Matthew J. Belvedere, CNBC

The surprise $80 billion offer from 21st Century Fox (FOX) for Time Warner (TWX) may have been rejected, but more consolidation in media is likely, former Time Warner chief Gerald Levin told CNBC on Wednesday.

It's "part of the digital disruption" of the industry, he said in a "Squawk Box" interview.


"Even though content is normally king, the new age of the Googles, the Amazons, the Apples, the Netflixes all suggest that you have to be very entrepreneurial," Levin continued, "and most importantly, try and redefine your company."


"It's ultimately all about management," he added. "The ability to manage a combination. It's not just about blue-chip assets. That's another lesson from AOL-Time Warner."

 

The investor made waves recently when he was photographed in an Outback, but these days he favors Caddies.

By MSN Money Partner Tue 4:14 PM
Credit: © Nati Harnik/AP

Caption: Warren BuffettBy Joann Muller, Forbes

Pretty much anything that billionaire Warren Buffett says or does makes news, it seems. 


So last week, when the influential investor was photographed sitting alone in a new Subaru Outback, a hungry blogger at AutoEvolution turned it into a story, which then went viral, including this post explaining how the no-nonsense Subaru is a perfect fit for the Wizard of Omaha's frugal investing style. 


CNBC tweeted the news to its 1.5 million followers and Subaru even jumped on board, posting the grainy photo and story on its Facebook page.


Buffett, whose modest tastes are well-known, was flabbergasted by the attention -- especially because the story was wrong. 

 

We already knew what she was going to say because, these days, the Federal Reserve can't stop talking about its plans. It wasn't always this way.

By MSN Money Partner Tue 3:58 PM
Credit: © J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo
Caption: Federal Reserve Chair Janet YellenBy Rex Nutting, MarketWatch

Humphrey-Hawkins Day used to mean something, but when Janet Yellen (pictured) went to Capitol Hill Tuesday to testify on the state of the economy, investors didn’t pay much attention.


We already knew what she was going to say because, these days, the Federal Reserve can barely shut up about what it thinks and what it plans to do.


These days, Yellen has plenty of other opportunities to explain herself and the deliberations of the Federal Open Market Committee. The Fed chairwoman doesn't need to wait for her ritual appearances in front of the House Financial Services Committee and the Senate Banking Committee. 


Yellen holds press conferences and conducts on-the-record interviews. The FOMC itself releases a long explanation after each meeting, and includes detailed forecasts and assumptions about the course of the economy every quarter. We even have a "dot plot" showing where each member thinks the federal funds rate will be years from now.

 

The company pulled Zilmax last year amid resistance from cattle processors. Now, it wants to run a test on 250,000 animals.

By MSN Money Partner Jul 15, 2014 3:00PM
Credit: Jim Young/Reuters
Caption: A worker looks over cows feeding in a free-stall barnBy Jesse Newman, The Wall Street Journal

A sweeping effort by Merck & Co. (MRK) to revive a livestock drug it pulled from the U.S. market last year is stalling amid resistance from the nation's largest beef processors.


Merck for months has been preparing to conduct a large-scale study this summer to demonstrate the safety of its Zilmax product. 


The feed additive was widely used to promote weight gain in U.S. cattle before Merck suspended sales in August 2013 because of concerns in the beef industry that the drug made it difficult for some animals to walk.


The pharmaceutical company has said it wants to test Zilmax on about 250,000 cattle, in what Merck says would be the most extensive randomized, controlled study of any drug fed to cattle. 

 

The Oracle and the Beatle caused quite a stir in Omaha as they went to dinner and walked up the street to get ice cream.

By MSN Money Partner Jul 15, 2014 1:23PM
Credit: Courtesy of Tom White via Instagram, speeeeeeed_of_white

Caption: The By Alex Crippen, CNBC

A young man's photograph with Warren Buffett and Paul McCartney casually sitting on a bench in the background is getting a lot of attention on the Internet.

The selfie was posted on Instagram late Sunday by user "speeeeeed_of_white." The user's profile page identifies the person in the picture as Tom White, "making the world a better place since 1997."


The Omaha World-Herald, the daily newspaper owned by Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A), reports there were multiple sightings of Buffett and McCartney Sunday night in the Dundee section of Omaha.

 

Her 2-year anniversary at the helm of the struggling company is this week. It's a pivot point for any CEO.

By MSN Money Partner Jul 15, 2014 1:11PM
Credit: © Brian Ach/Getty Images

Caption: Yahoo! CEO, Marissa Mayer speaks at TechCrunch Disrupt NY, May 7, 2014By Marek Fuchs, MarketWatch

Marriages may suffer from a seven-year itch, but for the media and the CEOs they lionize, the precise moment of reconsideration seems to come at two years.


That is why Yahoo's (YHOO) second-quarter earnings report, expected after the close of trading Tuesday, a day short of the two-year anniversary of Marissa Mayer's heralded appointment, is shaping up as the consummate pivot point.


You can already see the media seizing the two-year anniversary as the appropriate moment to take the first cold, hard look at Mayer's tenure, which has produced a lot of excitement, but only middling results.


Asked National Public Radio about Mayer, recently mocked for snoozing through a meeting: "So two years in, how's she doing?"

 
Tags: AAPLYHOO

The market can do a very poor job of evaluating some picks, CNBC host Jim Cramer says.

By MSN Money Partner Jul 15, 2014 12:46PM
A model of a Boeing Co. 777-300 ER Dreamliner aircraft is displayed at the Singapore Airshow
© Seperi/Getty ImagesBy Lee Brodie, CNBC

CNBC host Jim Cramer always advocates doing your own research and drawing your own conclusions. This is why.


"There are times, such as now, when the market does a very poor job of valuing certain stocks", Cramer said. 


If you followed Street sentiment you might have avoided a number of stocks, and, in turn, missed out on opportunities to make money. 


"Let me give you some examples," he added.

 

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  • Aug gold fell for the first time in five sessions as the dollar index gained strength. The yellow metal popped to a session high of $1316.80 per ounce in early morning action but quickly slipped back into the red. It eventually settled with a 0.7% loss at $1306.10 per ounce.
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