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It's no Alibaba, but the Citizens Financial Group offering is important to the market.

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New study finds members of this global elite are stashing an average $600 million each in cash -- 10 times more than a year ago.

By MSN Money Partner 6 hours ago

Image: CEO © Mike Kemp, RubberBall, SuperStockBy Robert Frank for CNBC

 

Billionaires are holding mountains of cash, offering the latest sign that the ultra-wealthy are nervous about putting more money into today's markets.

 

According to the new Billionaire CensusCNBC on MSN Money from Wealth-X and UBS, the world's billionaires are holding an average of $600 million in cash each -- greater than the gross domestic profit of Dominica. That marks a jump of $60 million from a year ago and translates into billionaires' holding an average of 19 percent of their net worth in cash.

 

"This increased liquidity signals that many billionaires are keeping their money on the sidelines and waiting for the optimal moment to make further investments," the study said.

 

An improving economy has limited the demand for a traditional safe haven that hasn't looked safe for a while.

By MSN Money Partner 7 hours ago

Image: Small Stack of gold ingots © Anthony Bradshaw/PhotographerBy Jeff Reeves for MarketWatch

 

Gold shined brightly at the beginning of 2014, with bullion prices jumping by about 13% from New Year’s Day until mid-March.

 

But since spring, and particularly sinceMarketWatch on MSN Money July, gold prices have been on the decline. Last week, the precious metal settled near lows not seen since Christmas 2013.

 

So should investors consider this sell-off as an opportunity to buy precious metals on the cheap? Or is gold really tarnished for some time to come? Sadly for gold bugs, it’s the latter.

 

There’s always a big argument for gold as the only alternative amid overpriced stocks, a weak U.S. recovery and a fragile dollar that will collapse at any time. If you want to make those arguments in the face of the facts, feel free to scroll down to the comments section and make fun of my receding hairline.

 

But for those interested in reality, it’s important to note how much those arguments have missed the mark over the past few years and how they ignore recent data to the contrary.

 

Chrysler, Honda and Toyota all count the family shuttles among their top-selling vehicles, while Kia is giving its new model a big push.

By TheStreet.com Staff 11 hours ago

Honday Odyssey (c) Toru Hanai/Newscom/ReutersBy Jason Notte, TheStreet


The minivan not only isn't dead, but it's driving some big back-to-school sales for Toyota (TM), Honda (HMC) and Chrysler.


Often considered a boxy relic from the 1980s and the antithesis of "cool" by more discriminating drivers, the minivan was dropped altogether by automakers including Ford (F) and General Motors (GM). Those automakers who stuck with the family shuttle reaped the benefits as recently as last month.


TheStreet.com logoSales of the Toyota Sienna minivan jumped 4.5 percent in August to nearly 12,400 vehicles. In the entire Toyota stable, the Sienna is outsold only by the mid-size Camry, small Corolla, Tacoma pickup and Rav4 small crossover SUV. During the first eight months of 2014, the Sienna ran neck-and-neck with Highlander full-size SUV. In August, the Sienna outsold the Highlander as families headed back to school.

 
Tags: FGMHMCTM

The company and its genuine CEO just may not be too good to be true.

By Jim Cramer 12 hours ago

Alibaba headquarters at nightCall me humbled. That was my immediate reaction Friday morning when I met Jack Ma, the man who built Alibaba (BABA), the company that went public last week, into what may be the most lucrative fast-growing company (not just e-commerce company) on Earth at this very moment.


I didn't want to be humbled -- or awed, for that matter. I wanted to be skeptical, cynical even, as I figured this company's stock would be red-hot, perhaps too hot. And that's exactly what happened with its $92.70 opening -- a huge gap up from it $68 pricing.


I knew that such an opening would smack of the ridiculous premiums we have seen from the openings of the worst deals, not the best ones, meaning deals such as Facebook (FB), which so disheartened a whole new generation of potential investors and made them as sour toward the stock market as their parents have become. Or the dreaded "dot-bombs" from 1999 and 2000 that ended with such heartbreak as well as the losses amounting to trillions of dollars of hard-earned money.


TheStreet.com logoI wanted to express that you could argue that Alibaba's valuation is already too high, given the prospects of this company and the fact that it already has the market cap of Facebook even though it lacks the proprietary runway of that amazing company.

 

As geopolitical tensions threaten to spin out of control, investors are wondering how best to position their portfolios for the global turmoil.

By MSN Money Partner Fri 5:34 PM

Man reading newspaperBy Aaron Katsman, MarketWatch


I can't begin to tell you how many of my clients believe that we are approaching the end of the world. Well maybe not that extreme, but as the geopolitical situation the world-over spins out of control, investors are questioning how best to position their investment portfolio for the global turmoil.


MarketWatch on MSN MoneySyrian genocide, Iranian nuclear proliferation, radical Islamization of Iraq, ISIS and the strengthening of radical Islamist terror groups, Ukranian pro-Russian separatists shoot down a Malaysian airliner, massive but little reported human rights abuses in Venezuela, the sieve that has become the U.S. border and other issues — and let's not forget that the global economy hasn't rebounded from the financial crisis of five to six years ago nearly as strongly as anticipated.


Throw in daily headlines about how the U.S. stock market is so high a crash is imminent, and it's no wonder that investors are nervous. What should investors do?

 

The expected $3.36 billion offering from Citizens Financial Group won't come close to Alibaba's, but it will be an important one for the market.

By MSN Money Partner Fri 12:40 PM

A Citizens Financial Group Inc. bank branch in Boston. © Kelvin Ma/Bloomberg via Getty ImagesBy Jeff Cox for CNBC

 

Investors will get a little time to catch their breath after Friday's record-breaking Alibaba trading debut, but not too long.

 

On the heels of what is the largest initial public offering on record, Wall StreetCNBC.com will be asked to digest what could be the largest bank or thrift IPO ever -- the expected $3.36 billion offering from Citizens Financial Group.

 

The Citizens IPO should price the week of Sept. 22, and while flying below the radar thanks to all the hype over e-commerce superstar Alibaba (BABA), it has substantial market implications.

 

Only one of these troubled companies is worth owning.

By Jim Cramer Fri 11:49 AM

In this Dec. 15, 2009 file photo, a customer enters a Rite Aid store in Detroit. (c) AP Photo/Paul SancyaHow could they have screwed up that badly? And is it terminal, or is a comeback possible?


Those are the questions I am asking about Sears (SHLD) and Rite Aid (RAD), which were both down badly Thursday. I have to tell you that while both deserve the punishment meted out, I think only one is worth owning.


First, Rite Aid screwed up again Friday morning. After having a terrific run off its bottom, Rite Aid has now made a series of miscues that are breathtaking.


Management totally got their pharmacy business wrong. Totally. They have now estimated incorrectly several times how much reimbursement they would get from the pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) they work with. They also completely botched the schedule of drugs going generic to the point that they had to guide down immensely --10 percent -- from the previous guide down, which was not that long ago.


This calls into question how well they are running the pharmacy, and I think the answer is: quite poorly.

 

Lifting a page from its smaller rival's playbook, Facebook is adjusting its algorithms to prioritize posts about live TV, sports and other timely, trending topics.

By TheStreet.com Staff Fri 11:03 AM

Facebook mobileBy Jenn Van Grove, TheStreet


Facebook (FB) Thursday said it has updated its News Feed ranking algorithm to improve surfacing content that's relevant and timely for users.


The change is the latest salvo in Facebook's ongoing battle against Twitter (TWTR), as the social media behemoths swap strategies in an attempt to appeal to more advertisers, and give audiences both topical and timely content whenever they log on.


"We've heard feedback that there are some instances where a post from a friend or a Page you are connected to is only interesting at a specific moment, for example when you are both watching the same sports game, or talking about the season premiere of a popular TV show," Facebook engineers Erich Owens and David Vickrey wrote in an announcement on the change.

 

Traders might want to bite on BABA, but long-term investors have reasons to wait.

By InvestorPlace Thu 3:23 PM

Employees walk past a logo at the company's headquarters in China. (c) ReutersBy Tom Taulli, Editor, IPO Playbook


When the Alibaba IPO finally hits public markets on Friday, Wall Street will be privy to one of the largest offerings (if not the largest) in U.S. history. Shares in the Chinese e-commerce conglomerate, which will trade as BABA, are expected to raise more than $24 billion, which would represent more than half the proceeds for all offerings this year.


At this point, the Alibaba IPO is the darling of Wall Street. Everyone knows about it. Many investors are thinking about it. You might be, too. If so, the biggest question on your mind likely is, "Should I buy the Alibaba IPO?"


The answer? Well ... it depends.

 

Despite its size, the IPO will create just two new members of the 10-figure club from its executive ranks. A few others could net hundreds of millions.

By MSN Money Partner Thu 10:58 AM

By Robert Frank for CNBC

Alibaba founder Jack Ma (c) Imagechina/CorbisAlibaba's initial public offering will unleash a flood of wealth for founder Jack Ma and his partner Joseph Tsai.CNBC on MSN Money But unlike some other recent tech IPOs, the big money isn't being spread around the company.

 

According to regulatory filings, Ma's 206.1 million shares could be worth between $13.6 billion and $14 billion at an estimated share price of $66 to $68. Even after Ma cashes in more than $850 million of shares in the IPO, the value of his remaining Alibaba stake will still be greater than Rupert Murdoch's entire net worth.

 

Alibaba's second biggest individual windfall will be for Tsai, Alibaba's vice chairman. His 83.5 million shares will be worth between $5.5 billion and $5.68 billion at the current price range. And he's selling around $300 million worth of shares.

 

Yet beyond Ma and Tsai, there doesn't appear to be any other director or executive set to become a new billionaire. According to the filing, all of the other 10 top directors and executive officers hold a combined 52.3 million shares, or about 2 percent of the company.

 

Fed keeps important 'considerable time' language in reference to short-term interest rates, but dissents and dots leave doubts.

By InvestorPlace Wed 5:19 PM

Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange © Spencer Platt/Getty ImagesBy Anthony Mirhaydari


It was another seemingly make-or-break Federal Reserve day, with all eyes on the September policy meeting statement hints as to what's next for interest rates. Heading in, speculation was high that the Federal Reserve would drop its "considerable time" phrase in reference to when short-term interest rates might start rising.

That would be sometimes after the Fed's QE3 bond buying program ends, likely in October. A language change would have been seen as moving up the timing of this rate hike from around September 2015 to June 2015, or maybe even sooner.


The good news is that the Fed kept the language in. And initially, stocks reacted by rallying hard, pushing the S&P 500 to new record highs. But then, into the closing bell, stocks wilted as investors realized there was some bad news, too.

 
Tags: DBC

It's time for a reality check in advance of the Chinese e-commerce giant's much anticipated initial public offering.

By MSN Money Partner Wed 12:28 PM

An employee is seen behind a glass wall with the logo of Alibaba at the company's headquarters on the outskirts of Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, April 23, 2014. © CHANCE CHAN/Newscom/ReutersBy Paul J. Lim, Money


Everything about Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce giant, seems larger than life.

Its initial public offering, slated for Sept. 19, is expected to be the biggest IPO in U.S. history, raising possibly $25 billion.


Money on MSN MoneyThe company is also China's largest retailer, not to mention the biggest e-commerce player in the world, dwarfing U.S. companies like eBay (EBAY) and Amazon.com (AMZN). Indeed, in the media, Alibaba has been described as Chain's eBay, Amazon and Google (GOOG) all rolled into one. Wow.


Of course, whenever there's a convergence of three of the market's favorite topics -- tech investing, Chinese stocks and IPOs -- hyperbole has a way of creeping in. So here's a realistic look at the biggest myths about Alibaba that will help you put the stock in perspective.

 

Investors should note whether this phrase gets dropped from the Federal Reserve's policy statement after its September meeting.

By MSN Money Partner Wed 11:53 AM

In this July 16, 2014, photo, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen removes her glasses as she testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington. © AP Photo/Pablo Martinez MonsivaisBy Greg Robb, MarketWatch


When the Federal Reserve concludes a two-day meeting, traders will focus on two words in its policy statement.


MarketWatch on MSN MoneySince March, the Fed has promised that it intends to hold rates steady for a "considerable time" after it stops buying bonds, now on track to end in October.


Specifically, the Fed said: "The Committee continues to anticipate, based on its assessment of these factors, that it likely will be appropriate to maintain the current target range for the federal funds rate for a considerable time after the asset purchase program ends, especially if projected inflation continues to run below the Committee's 2 percent longer-run goal, and provided that longer-term inflation expectations remain well anchored."


Fed watchers think it is a close call on whether this language gets dropped from the policy statement.

 

An interest rate tease in The Wall Street Journal sends the market into an optimistic tizzy -- but one that doesn't end quite at the top.

By InvestorPlace Tue 6:09 PM

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. © Spencer Platt/Getty ImagesBy Anthony Mirhaydari


Markets had been drifting lower over the last few days in anticipation of a more hawkish outcome from the Federal Reserve's latest two-day policy meeting, due to wrap up on Wednesday.


Given the robust performance of the economy over the summer, investors are preparing for the Fed to confirm this by ending the QE3 bond-buying program in October and moving forward the timing of its first short-term interest rates hike since 2006 into the middle of 2015.


This was a change from the September 2015 timing that Wall Street analysts had penciled in.


So the dialogue was all about the end of the steady flow of cheap-money stimulus.


That changed on Tuesday, sending the Dow Jones Industrial Average ($INDU) to record intraday highs -- although the Standard & Poor's 500 Index ($INX) couldn't close above the 2,000 level once again.

 

Longtime market bull Jeremy Siegel says investors could realize the market is behind the curve on interest rates.

By MSN Money Partner Tue 3:23 PM
Credit: © Matt Stroshane/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Caption: Jeremy Siegel, the Russell E. Palmer Professor of Finance at the Wharton SchoolBy Matthew J. Belvedere, CNBC

Stocks could be in for a rough ride in the next week or so as investors come to realize that the market is a "little behind the curve" on interest rates, longtime stock market bull Jeremy Siegel (pictured) said Tuesday as the Federal Reserve began its two-day policy meeting.


But in the long-run, stocks should continue their march higher, the Wharton School professor added in an interview on CNBC's "Squawk Box."


"If you look at the Fed Funds futures market, they are below the rates the FOMC [Federal Open Market Committee] members believe are going to prevail at the end of the 2015 and 2016," Siegel said. "We usually think the Fed is behind the curve."


He's among the market watchers who believe the Fed will drop the phrase "considerable time" in its policy statement Wednesday when referring to how long the central bank will keep interest rates low.

 

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[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market began the new trading week on the defensive note with small-cap stocks pacing the retreat. The Russell 2000 (-1.4%) and Nasdaq Composite (-1.1%) displayed relative weakness, while the S&P 500 lost 0.8% with all ten sectors ending in the red.

Global equities began showing some cracks overnight after China's Finance Minister Lou Jiwei poured cold water on hopes for new stimulus measures. Specifically, Mr. Lou said the government has no plans to change ... More


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