A Mexican wave for Big Oil?
Mexico opens way for Big Oil

New legislation is allowing foreign companies to finally invest in the country's vast oil reserves.


These companies won't soar like other plays in the sector, but they make for great income sources.

By InvestorPlace Fri 4:08 PM

Credit: © Kris Tripplaar/Rex Features

Caption: The headquarters of Cisco Systems, Inc., in Silicon Valley, San Jose, Calif.By Jeff Reeves

Finding the best tech stocks to buy can be hard in any market, considering the fast-moving nature of the technology sector.

But it's especially hard for income-oriented investors, given that many of the best tech stocks out there are high-growth companies plowing money into expansion instead of dividends.

If you're looking for good dividend stocks in the technology sector, then it's important to acknowledge that these names are naturally not the same as the sexiest small-cap tech stocks out there. Most of these players are older and more mature technology companies, with the largest part of their growth behind them. That maturity isn't a bad thing, though -- just like the dividend stocks among consumer staples stocks or utility stocks, a mature and stable company is frequently the best source of dividends.

Just don't expect 100 percent earnings growth each quarter.


Investors need to rethink that often-repeated belief, because times have definitely changed.

By MSN Money Partner Fri 3:56 PM
Credit: © Image Source/Corbis
Caption: Confused man reading newspaperBy Brett Arends, MarketWatch

Do you believe in magic?

Fifty years after the Lovin' Spoonful first posed the question, we have to ask it yet again. And it seems that for a lot of people on Wall Street the answer is emphatically . . . Yes!

They believed in magic in the late 1990s. Maybe it was the influence of Harry Potter. They believed in magic in 2006. Maybe it was due to "Twilight" and all those vampires. And apparently they believe in magic today. Can we credit "The Walking Dead" and the appearance of zombies on our TV screens? Who knows?

Stock market investors still believe in the supernatural, to judge by their enthusiasm for the Standard & Poor's 500 Index ($INX) at current prices.

Magic? Supernatural? What am I talking about?


A new survey asks employees around the country to rank their company's culture and values. Many in the top 10 were, not surprisingly, in tech.

By MSN Money Partner Fri 2:19 PM
Credit: © David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Caption: The Twitter Inc. company's headquarters in San FranciscoBy Catey Hill, MarketWatch

Employees at companies with self-proclaimed great cultures get a lot of perks -- among them freebies like organic meals, dry cleaning, haircuts and child care; unlimited vacation and stipends for personal trips; complimentary massages and yoga classes; dedicated rooms for napping. 

But do these things make them happier workers?

Job search site GlassDoor.com revealed the results of its "top companies for culture and values" survey on Friday, in which it asked employees at companies around the country to rank their company's culture and values. 


The athletic-wear underdog could be offering a huge contract to the basketball star.

By MSN Money Partner Fri 2:01 PM
Credit: © Sue Ograki/AP Photo
Caption: Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (35) shoots a technical foul shot in the second quarter of Game 4 of the Western Conference finals NBA basketball playoff series against the San Antonio Spurs in Oklahoma CityBy Hayley Peterson, Business Insider

Under Armour (UA) is beefing up its endorsement deals in a crusade to topple Nike's athletic-wear empire.

The Baltimore-based company has been scoring a number of key endorsements lately, including golfer Jordan Spieth.

Now, it's going after one of the biggest stars in basketball -- Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (pictured).

Under Armour is reportedly offering Durant -- who has long been loyal to Nike (NKE) -- a package worth as much as $285 million over 10 years.

It would be Under Armour's biggest endorsement deal, representing about 10 percent of its annual marketing budget, according to ESPN.


So far, the chain is only testing the offering in a few locations. It's ramping up its breakfast menu nationwide, however.

By MSN Money Partner Fri 1:09 PM
Credit: Courtesy of Chick-Fil-A
Caption: Chick-fil-A Chicken and WafflesBy Venessa Wong, Businessweek

Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A is inarguably a Southern chicken chain. Chicken and waffles is (arguably) a popular Southern dish. Chick-fil-A serves chicken, and it's tested waffles before. 

Now, at long last, the chain brings the two together in a chicken-and-waffles test that is going on in central Georgia (Macon, Dublin, and Warner Robins); Memphis, Tenn.; Philadelphia; and Inland Empire, Calif.

It's not a sandwich. The chain describes the new item as "a breakfast portion" of boneless, seasoned chicken breast served alongside a maple syrup-flavored waffle, with a side of honey.

Chick-fil-A, which recently launched a new specialty coffee program to draw in more morning customers, is testing other breakfast items, too, including an egg-white chicken grill sandwich, a Greek yogurt parfait, oatmeal, and cinnamon swirl pastries.

Tags: BKW

Short sellers, expecting a weak fall shopping season, are counting on poor reports from retailers.

By MSN Money Partner Fri 12:59 PM
Credit: © Jeff Greenberg/Alamy
Caption: Back to school sale at a mall in Miami, Fla.By Everett Rosenfeld, CNBC

While many retailers spin humdrum quarters with shining previews of the back-to-school shopping season, short sellers are placing big bets that parents' wallets will not be so open.

Although short positions have grown slightly throughout the entire retail sector, those companies with "more skin in the back to school game" have seen the brunt of these bets, Markit analyst Simon Colvin wrote in a note identifying the trend.


These companies include teen clothing retailers such as American Eagle (AEO) and Aeropostale (ARO), but also include department stores like Kohl's (KSS) and Macy's (M) that have pegged their near-term outlooks to back-to-school success.


A new paper argues that automation is polarizing the labor market, creating more jobs at both ends of the skills spectrum.

By MSN Money Partner Fri 12:38 PM
Credit: © Framck Robichon /EPA/Alamy

Caption: A humanoid robot manufactured by FoxconnBy Jon Hilsenrath, The Wall Street Journal

In an essay in The Wall Street Journal last month, Harvard University economist Lawrence Summers envisioned a world in which computers and machines displace a vast new array of human work, creating an economy that produced few opportunities and sources of income for actual people.

Taxis wouldn't need drivers, nor retailers cashiers or banks financial analysts.


"The challenge for economic policy will increasingly be generating enough work for all who need work for income, purchasing power and dignity," he argued.

David Autor, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology economics professor, argues in a paper to be presented Friday to central bankers at the Kansas City Fed's Jackson Hole symposium that automation is creating a different kind of problem for the economy. 


A tighter tack on monetary policy does not have to be bad for the economy, the president of the St. Louis Fed says.

By MSN Money Partner Fri 12:24 PM
Image: Stock investor © CorbisBy Matthew J. Belvedere, CNBC

Don't fear the hawk. That's what St. Louis Fed President James Bullard told CNBC on Friday -- saying a tighter tack on Fed monetary policy does not have to be bad for the economy.

"It means the committee could be more confident that the economy is going to improve in the future and handle the higher [interest] rates which will eventually come," he said on "Squawk Box," ahead of Fed Chair Janet Yellen's Friday morning address at the central bank's monetary symposium at Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Bullard said he's sticking with his prediction for rate hikes to start late in the first quarter of 2015. He won't be a voting member of the Fed's policy committee again until 2016.

The financial markets have been trading more dovishly than the Fed policy committee's median estimates, he warned -- adding that investors are expecting rates over the long haul to remain lower than the central bank's forecasts.


Putin, not Yellen, will determine what the market does next.

By Jim Cramer Fri 10:57 AM

Ukrainian soldiers in the center of Kiev August 20, 2014 © Gleb Garanich/ReutersIt's too bad that the Jackson Hole conference is today and that Fed chief Janet Yellen is speaking, because that will allow people to be deluded into thinking that it isn't Russia-Ukraine that's driving things but the Fed's machinations about rates.

It's Russia, stupid. It has been from the beginning, because while Europe has only 6 percent of the world's population, it accounts for about 30 percent of the GDP.

TheStreet.com logoThe banks, the employment, the sales -- they are all at risk with Russian trucks moving into Ukraine, which then sends down the European markets, which, even after all of these years, still ding us.

I know the rush into the domestic retailers is, in part, because they are way behind and, in part, because they have nothing to do with overseas. They aren't hurt by the ubiquitous strong dollar.


DineEquity is trying to entice people back into the traditional restaurant setting and sales at its IHOP and Applebee's chains have been improving.

By TheStreet.com Staff Fri 10:55 AM

An IHOP restaurant in Del Mar, Calif. © Mike Blake/ReutersBy Brian Sozzi, TheStreet

It's as if the entire "on-the-go" nation has grown obsessed with grabbing extra-large burritos from Chipotle (CMG) and oversized iced coffees from Starbucks (SBUX), while sidestepping the experience of sitting in a traditional restaurant for a meal.

DineEquity (DIN), which operates 3,600 IHOP and Applebee's locations in some 19 countries, is doing all it can, however, to entice people back into the traditional restaurant setting. By the looks of the company's financial results, especially compared to those from peers Darden (DRI), which owns Olive Garden, and Brinker International (EAT), the operator of Chili's,, efforts by DineEquity management appear to be paying tasty dividends.

IHOP's system-side same-restaurant sales have increased for five consecutive quarters, rising 3.2 percent in the second quarter, while Applebee's rose a more modest 0.6 percent but halted three quarters of declines. Darden's Olive Garden has posted four quarters straight of same-restaurant sales declines, capped by a 3.5 percent fall in the most recent quarter. Chili's had a 2.5 percent same-restaurant sales increase in the second quarter.

Applebee's has outperformed the same-restaurant sales industry average by 150 basis points in the past five quarters, according to Bloomberg.


New legislation is allowing foreign companies to finally invest in the country's vast oil reserves.

By Zacks.com Thu 4:44 PM

Credit: © Omar Torres/AFP/Getty Images

Caption: Aerial view of the Centenario exploration oil rig working for Mexico's state-owned oil company PEMEX, in the Gulf of MexicoBy Swarup Gupta 


Last week, Mexican President Pena Nieto signed legislation which ended state control over the nation's oil sector, giving private players access to the nation's oil reserves for the first time since 1938.

During that year, the Mexican government expropriated the resources and facilities of private players. These actions led to the creation of state-owned oil company Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex.

Since then, the company has emerged as the world's seventh largest oil producer and dominated the Mexican energy space. The new legislation, which received legislative approval in December, goes a long way in diminishing Pemex's dominance.

On the other hand, it provides an opening to foreign companies which can now invest in Mexico's vast oil reserves. This includes behemoths like ConocoPhillips (COP) and Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A).


For long-term holdings, there is no better strategy.

By MSN Money Partner Thu 4:12 PM
Image: Money © MedioImages/Jupiterimages​By Max Levin, MainStreet

A long-term investment is a position used by investors who are predicting upside in the market down the road. 

This is a technique used by people, from the average Joe to the top hedge fund advisors, who are banking on robust returns down the road. 

But whatever your timeline -- whether you hold a stock for a year or 10 years -- you should be collecting a dividend. 

Why? Well, here are three compelling reasons:

The market is closing in on some other important milestones. Here's what to know about the history-making numbers.

By MSN Money Partner Thu 3:19 PM
Credit: © Lucas Jackson/Reuters
Caption: A trader points to a stock chart on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shortly before the closing bell in New York July 2, 2014By Ian Salisbury, Money.com

At the market's open Thursday, a few more zeros turned over on the Dow Jones Industrial Average's ($INDU) odometer, and the index is likely to be bouncing around 17,000 all day. 

Sure, the number itself doesn't matter much -- it's not like you get a bonus added to your retirement every time you hit a round figure. 

But it is a chance to pause and look at just how far the market has come in this bull market, and what that might mean about where it's going. 

It's also a moment to look at some other milestones that may be coming up soon. (Spoiler: Keep your eye on the Nasdaq.

The models are much cheaper than what you would get from Apple. The newest iPhone is expected to be unveiled next month.

By MSN Money Partner Thu 2:55 PM
Credit: © Andrew Burton/Getty Images
Caption: The iPhone 5C is seen on display at the Fifth Avenue Apple store in New York CityBy Lisa Eadicicco, Business Insider

Wal-Mart (WMT) is practically giving away iPhones. 

As part of a new promotion, the retail giant is now selling the iPhone 5c (pictured) on a two-year contract for just 97 cents. The iPhone 5s is also getting a significant price cut to $79 down from $99. 

Although the iPhone 5s costs only $20 less than Wal-Mart's previous price, it's still much cheaper than what you would get through the Apple Store. 

Apple (AAPLis still selling the entry-level 16GB iPhone 5s for $199 on a two-year contract. Engadget was the first to spot the promotion on Wal-Mart's website on Wednesday, reporting that the deal was valid for 90 days.

Both home improvement retailers are beating Street estimates, but 1 stands out from the other.

By InvestorPlace Thu 2:44 PM

Caption: Home Depot store in Williston, Vt.
Credit: © Toby Talbot/APBy Dan Burrows

Lowe's (LOW) and Home Depot (HD) reported earnings this week, and business did pick up as promised after a cold start to spring.

But that still doesn't make make either stock a slam-dunk buy.

Spring is the most important part of the year for home improvement retailers, so weak first-quarter results -- hurt by unseasonably cold weather -- was not a good way to get the stocks moving in a down year.

Happily for anyone holding Home Depot or Lowe's stock, sales picked up in the second quarter, as did profits . . . but serious headwinds still remain.



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[BRIEFING.COM] The major averages punctuated a solid week with a subdued Friday session. The S&P 500 shed 0.2% to narrow its weekly gain to 1.7%, while the Nasdaq Composite (+0.1%) displayed relative strength. The tech-heavy index finished the week in line with the benchmark average.

Market participants went into today's session expecting to hear some new insight from Fed Chair Janet Yellen, who delivered the keynote address at this year's Jackson Hole Symposium. Unfortunately, the ... More


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