The $19 billion WhatsApp deal could become the Facebook founder's legacy . . . or his albatross.
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New rules prohibiting airlines from keeping full planes on runways for more than 3 hours have been a mixed blessing.
By Jeanine Skowronski, Mainstreet
Holiday travelers can expect their flights to arrive on time this holiday season, as long as they aren’t canceled.
New regulations that prohibit airlines from keeping passenger-filled planes on the tarmac for more than three hours have led to fewer flight delays but have also increased the number of cancellations, the Department of Transportation reports.
According to the department's monthly Air Travel Consumer Report, which tracks data from 18 of the largest U.S. airlines, carriers canceled 0.9% of their scheduled domestic flights in September, up from 0.6% in September 2009.
While the rate did improve slightly from August of this year, when it was at 1%, the data represent an approximately 50% year-over-year increase.
This year's recommended books offer sage advice for turbulent times. Part 2 focuses on the wisdom of some of the best investors.
By Vitaliy N. Katsenelson
I originally wrote this list in 2008 and again last year. I intend to keep adding to and revising it every year. This is the second of seven parts in this year's list. Read Part 1 here. Part 3 will be out on Monday.
The following books should help you to think like an investor, forcing you to think beyond stock tickers and focus on what is under the hood: the businesses and the people who run them.
The first book is "The Essays of Warren Buffett," a compilation of Warren Buffett’s annual letters to shareholders dating back to the 1970s. As you might expect, Buffet’s annual reports themselves, are fairly repetitious. His wisdom doesn’t vary that much from year to year. This book organizes main concepts and removes annoying redundancy.
The famed investor violated his own rules this year and has come up on the short end.
By Don Dion, TheStreet
Throughout his wildly successful, decades-long investing tenure, Warren Buffett has offered investors countless nuggets of wisdom that can greatly aid everyday investors in their attempts to navigate any market environment.
So it's no wonder the investor's life and actions have been monitored closely by droves of fans who hang on to his words documented across numerous articles, videos, books and other media.
Abiding by his rulebook has been instrumental in Buffett's ability to create his massive fortune. However, as we have seen just this year, Buffett doesn't always stick to the points he has laid out.
It's tempting to buy stocks on today's weakness, but it's worth pausing to see how the Chinese will respond to surging commodity prices.
A commodities-driven market can take us only so far. That's what we learned in 2008, and that's what it looks like we are going to learn today.
While commodity costs may be less than 10% of our cost of production, it's pretty obvious that for a growth country like China, these days of dizzying heights for oil and copper and cotton can't be sustained.
In 2008 we learned two things. One, you should be thrilled when commodities go up, because it means you aren't going into or aren't having too severe a contraction. And two, you should fear commodities going up, because the Chinese know they are driving commodity costs, and they have enough of a command economy that they won't tolerate endless price hikes.
Troubled countries around the eurozone are sliding once again into the debt abyss.
Last week, I warned that the troubled countries in the eurozone -- Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece, and Spain -- were on the verge of another crisis. Affectionately dubbed the "PIIGS" by Wall Street traders, these countries have seen their borrowing costs spike to record highs over the past week.
There have been a number of catalysts for this. The first was the recent decision by the European Central Bank to reduce its buying of government bonds in an effort to normalize policy. This left the situation vulnerable to the decision by European leaders, led by German chancellor Angela Merkel, to force investors to shoulder heavily losses in any future Greek-style bailout within the eurozone.
Combine all this with an elevated, uncompetitive euro valuation as the dollar has sunk on QE2 efforts from the Federal Reserve, and it became clear that Europe was in trouble. Now, with Europe on the brink, it's the time for investors to take action.
Norway is the fifth-largest oil exporter in the world.
Exchange-traded funds are in the news again today.
Norway is the fifth-largest oil exporter and third-largest gas exporter in the world even though it is not a member of OPEC. The Scandinavian country has generated an extremely large trade surplus and has one of the largest sovereign wealth funds in the world. It also ranks third in GDP per capita, according to the World Bank.
This year's recommended books offer sage advice for investing in turbulent times. Today begins a 7-part series of suggested readings.
In these crazy times, all one could ask for is sanity. Yes, sanity – a clear mind, free of noise, to with which to face the insanity that the volatile, noisy stock market thrusts upon us. We find ourselves glued to our computer screens or CNBC, waiting to find out what the Dow’s next tick is going to be. What do we get out of it? Only a headache and wasted time.
The company suffers a huge hit to its stock price after detailing numerous challenges in its first quarter.
As I listened to the earnings call Wednesday, I was struck by how many times executives used the word "challenges." It was like every mention took the stock down a little further in after-hours trading.
Now the transcript is available on Seeking Alpha and I can get an official count. Number of times "challenges" was used: 26.
Light-duty trucks outsold cars by a wide margin last month. Economists see this as a sign of how people feel about big-ticket purchases.
Last month, trucks outsold cars by a higher margin than we've seen in five years, with light-duty trucks -- pickups, minivans and SUVs -- nabbing 54% of new-vehicle sales, The Associated Press reports.
These sales are important to economists, who view them as a measure of how people feel about spending on big-ticket items. Consumers could always buy used or try to get more life out of their current vehicles, so buying a new truck shows some confidence in jobs and the economy.
The government's plan to add larger warnings to cigarette packs could create an investment opportunity -- or have no impact at all.
By Andrea Tse, TheStreet
The Department of Health and Human Services on Wednesday unveiled a proposal for larger and more graphic health warnings for cigarette packages and advertisements.
The announcement has left investment advisers and analysts with strong opinions on how the move could affect tobacco stocks.
Stephanie Link, the director of research for TheStreet, said the news could offer investors a reason to cash in on the rising prices of tobacco stocks. Altria (MO), which has gained 50% since Link began a position in July 2009, may have hit its upper price limit, Link says.
The summit in Seoul will be all about bashing Bernanke and the dollar, which means you want to be in gold.
Tough to play the G-20. You know why? Because I think the only way to make money off the conference is to bet that it won't go well, or that it will be reported as not going well. That means buy gold.
Gold has been on a tear of late. I am sure there is a propensity to believe that the run is done or has to be done soon. But meetings like the G-20's are going to be all about the U.S. telling the world: "Look, this is how it is going to be. We are not going to allow you to take our markets, have us defend you militarily, let you dump goods on us and tell us what to do." We are in a "new sheriff in town, and his name is Bernanke" mode.
That's a prescription for people who own dollars to move into the only currency that will hold its value no matter what, one that has increased in value for a decade: gold.
Westpac Banking, one of Australia's big four banks, has raised its dividend as profits climb.
They have banks in Australia, too -- strong banks -- and a stronger economy and an appreciating currency against the U.S. dollar.
And no government constraints on raising dividends if a bank wants to signal its confidence in the future.
I'm going to use the weakness in Australian stocks over the last few days -- when China sniffles, Australia's stocks take to their sickbeds -- to buy one for my Jubak's Picks Portfolio.
Large stocks as a group may be cheaper than small stocks, but there are still plenty of little guys worth a look.
In recent months, several top strategists have been saying that large-cap stocks are offering exceptional bargains. Having substantially lagged their smaller peers for years -- the S&P 600 small-cap index has returned more than 7% annually over the past decade vs. 0.46% for the S&P 500 -- large-caps are now much cheaper than small stocks, investing gurus like Donald Yacktman and Barton Biggs have said.
And they may be right. Many blue-chip-type companies' stocks, which usually trade at a premium because of the firms' visibility and popularity, are indeed selling at bargain-basement prices. But as an investor, it's always important not to fall into the trap of generalization -- just because large-caps may be cheaper as a group than small stocks, that doesn't mean you should ignore the little guys.
Crosscurrents in the currency and credit markets are creating opportunities in US stocks.
The main driver of stock market weakness this week has been the resurgence of the U.S. dollar, which has put pressure on gold, silver and emerging-market stocks. The dollar gained 1% Tuesday, topping a three-day gain of 2.5%. That's the best performance for the dollar since August.
Adding to the sense of unease among investors has been the growing chorus of criticism over the Fed's $600 billion QE2 announcement. Leaders worldwide have had plenty to say about the strategy ahead of the G-20 meeting in South Korea later this week. And in addition to the flak coming from political operatives like Sarah Palin, a growing list of Federal Reserve officials are coming out against QE2.
The FDA unveils its new packaging requirements. Will the disturbing images help smokers quit?
Yes, says the U.S. Food and Drug Association. The FDA is making huge changes to cigarette boxes, plastering gruesome warnings on half of the front and back of each pack.
The FDA is considering 36 label possibilities and has posted them here. The labels have large images on them, many of which are disturbing, frightening and sad -- and that's exactly what the FDA wants.
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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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