The Dow has run up to -- and been turned away from -- 16,000 twice before.
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Early surveys show a seasonally adjusted sales rate of 13.2 million cars for the industry, the highest since August.
By Ted Reed, TheStreet
March is shaping up to be an unusually strong month for car sales, with catalysts including Toyota (TM) incentives and nice weather following a stormy February.
According to Edmonds.com, March sales are on pace to produce seasonally an adjusted annual sales rate for the industry of 13.2 million, the highest since the 13.7 million cars sold in August, reflecting buying inspired by the cash for clunkers program.
As of March 10, Ford (F) had a 19.2% share of the market, while General Motors had 17.8% of the market and Toyota had 15.5%, according to Truecar.com. Ford had a 17.6% share in February and a 14.6% share in March 2009.
A new company resurrects the legendary Commodore name to sell a new line of computers.
A new company, Commodore USA, has licensed the Commodore name and plans to start selling the made-over computer in June, according to PCWorld. But you don't have to dig very far before this starts sounding a little odd.
The new model, called Phoenix by Commodore USA, is an all-in-one system that can support up to 4 gigabytes of memory and 2 terabytes of storage, according to ZDNet.
BP's Prudhoe Bay Trust dropped sharply last week, boosting its yield to a 17% dividend. But is it a buying opportunity?
The BP Prudhoe Bay Royalty Trust (BPT) is a favorite among income-oriented dividend stock investors. The stock offers a hefty yield, and since it’s a “depletion trust” based on the life of its reserves, it’s not as tied to oil prices as other stocks in the energy sector.
But after dropping 13% in two days last week, some are wondering if it is time to cut this stock loose -- or time to buy more now that the dividend yield is now about 17%.
Let’s take a look:
Looking to keep customers, Wal-Mart employs the strategy it knows best: lower prices.
Shares of traditional grocer Safeway (SWY), for example, trade at a mere fraction of prices reached in 2001. Unfortunately for the sector, things are not going to get any easier.
Last week, Wal-Mart confirmed a report that it would slash prices on grocery items in hopes of boosting traffic at its stores.
The king of price rollbacks is set to discount up to 10,000 items beginning April 1.
Would you like Peppy Paneer on that pizza? Domino's, which just opened its 300th store in India, shows no sign of slowing.
Though Peppy Paneer may not be a popular pizza topping in the U.S., Indians are eating up the tofu-esque offering from Domino’s Pizza (DPZ) that caters to regional tastes on the subcontinent. And increasingly at DPZ, it’s what the international pizza crowd wants that matters.
It’s international expansion like this that is fueling Domino’s growth. About 55% of Domino's $5.6 billion in sales last year were in the United States, and that international same-store sales have increased for 64 consecutive quarters (that’s 16 years).
The trend is a little hard to wrap your head around -- an American version of an Italian food selling well in India. But this much is clear: If this keeps up, Domino’s will see the bulk of its revenue come in from outside the U.S. very soon, and it will provide a springboard for growth in the months and years to come.
Right now it's earnings vs. Washington interference -- expect a bit of selling for now.
By Jim Cramer, TheStreet
Why isn't it down more? You will hear that all day. The answer is simple: The pain is in the back years. You will not see the real crimp in purchasing power and job formation until 2011, and then maybe we will be in better shape for it.
In fact, the real balance is between next quarter's earnings and what President Barack Obama has in store for us next. Will it be amnesty, so those who are illegal get a card that entitles them to universal health care? Will it be an energy bill that tacks on costs to companies that pollute and adds a new layer of bureaucracy? Will it be a push to restore the historic power of unions to their "rightful" place in history? Will it be financial legislation that punishes all large banks and Goldman Sachs (GS) in particular because Goldman makes too much money? Will it be rules about how the combinations that the government begged for, JPMorgan (JPM) / WaMu, JPMorgan / Bear Stearns, Wells Fargo (WFC) / Wachovia and Bank of America (BAC) / Merrill Lynch must be broken up and the institutions punished for helping the government?
Every weekend I step back and use the numbers on Barchart to analyze the market action
Value Line Index -- The Index contains 1700 stocks which is much broader than the S&P 500 or the much narrower Dow 30 -- Still looks good
- The Index closed Friday above its 20, 50 and 100 day moving averages
- The Barchart technical indicators still rate the stock as a 72% buy with 10 buy, 2 hold and only 1 sell signal
The smart phone maker is not looking too smart these days. Bankruptcy now a real threat.
The talk now is of a possible bankruptcy and the picture looks bleak. One indicator: Palm shipped some 960,000 units at the end of the third quarter, but only 408,000 ended up in the hands of customers. That leaves significant inventory out there that no one's in a rush to buy.
You can't help but wonder if Palm can survive the phenomenon that is Apple's iPhone, and my view on this dog is unchanged. Sell. Short. Run away. Here's the story.
Pepsi leads the pack of companies planning to buy back shares. Would investors prefer dividends instead?
Case in point: Pepsi (PEP), which said this week it will buy back up to $15 billion in shares in the next three years, including $4.4 billion in 2010. That's the biggest repurchase since the financial crisis hit, the Economist reports. (Pepsi also increased its dividend by 7%).
So far this year, buybacks are in the range of $65 billion, compared to $137 billion for all of last year.
So are these buybacks a good thing?
Union Pacific expects good things in the second half of 2010 and could be a good way to capture momentum.
Union Pacific (UNP) historically hasn't been an especially well-run railroad, but it is run well enough so that the transcontinental road will get a big boost from the recovering U.S. economy in the first half of 2010 -- and expectations for further improvement in the second half.
I'm not convinced that expectations for second-half growth will prove out, which is why I'm keeping this buy on a very short-term leash.
Billionaire corporate raider makes bold play for studio.
Billionaire corporate raider Carl Icahn has upped his offer to buy Lions Gate Entertainment (LGF), offering to acquire all of the studio’s outstanding shares.
"The Icahn Group is now offering to purchase UP TO ALL of Lionsgate's outstanding common shares. In addition, the expiration date of the Offer has been extended to April 30, 2010," he said in a news release.
The offer comes on the very day that Lionsgate is poised to bid in the final round of the expected sale of MGM, a deal that Icahn opposes. Lionsgate has been struggling with what price to set for the debt-laden MGM, and is bidding against better-funded and larger rivals, Time-Warner and Access Industries.
Last week, Lionsgate rejected Icahn’s offer to acquire 13.2 million shares -- about 30% of Lions Gate -- for $6 per share, or nearly $80 million.
Stock-picking models based on writings of Ken Fisher and Joel Greenblatt point to a couple of intriguing plays.
While many investors -- including John Paulson and George Soros -- have been keying on gold lately, Kenneth Fisher recently offered some words of caution to investors looking to ride the gold wave. In his latest Forbes column, Fisher says that while gold has averaged annual returns of about 7.1% since the downfall of the Bretton Woods exchange-rate system 37 years ago, the gains have come in bursts -- gold has gained ground in just 66 of the 433 months in that period. So, "if you aren't an exquisite timer, or very lucky, gold isn't a great place to aim your money," he warns.
Instead, Fisher says he is currently targeting stocks of firms with good growth potential. I think he's wise to do so, and I recently came across two such stocks -- thanks in part to the Guru Strategy I base on Fisher's early writings.
The two picks came to my attention through the new "Trade Alerts" feature on my Validea Professional Web site. The Trade Alerts are issued by my Guru Strategies, each of which is based on the approach of a different investing great. Developed after extensive historical testing, the alerts are issued when my models detect a series of high-conviction buy signals that, when previously reached by individual stocks, have tended to be followed by strong performance.
Synovus needs to raise equity and cut debt. And then the common stock will be a winner.
By Jim Cramer, TheStreet
Crunch time for Synovus (SNV). SunTrust put the kibosh on the stock Thursday, citing its recent run and its need to raise more capital to repay the nearly $1 billon in TARP money that it took. In many ways, Synovus represents the last of the lottery tickets for the bank turn, one that we saw first with Fifth Third (FITB), then Huntington Bancshares (HBAN), Regions (RF), KeyCorp (KEY) and Zions Bancorp (ZION).
First, let me say I am not a fan of Synovus. But I wasn't a fan of Zions and that didn't stop me from making money here. Throughout the run from $13 to $23, Zions needed capital. The company, however, made a point of not raising it, instead letting the common stock run and that judgment was right. It can raise a ton of money now and get on even footing if it wants to. It can exchange debt for equity. It has a myriad ways out of its jam.
With the U.S. prison population down 6%, publicly traded correction companies have fallen on hard times
In an era of runaway government spending and uncertainty on Wall Street, publicly traded corrections companies may have seemed like a good idea to some investors. With a literally captive customer base, revenue seemed reliable.
Well chalk up private sector prisons as just one more industry that’s fallen on hard times. According to The New York Times, for the first time since 1972 we have seen a reduction in the U.S. prison population instead of an increase. That means less overcrowding of state and federal facilities – and less need for private sector help to take care of the overflow inmates.
With state budgets getting leaner on lower tax revenue, the expense of “outsourcing” prisoners is hard to justify. When you look at how staggering the cost is, it’s easy to see why elected officials are ending these contracts.
Ford's stock price climbs to its highest level since January 2005 after Moody's boosts its credit rating.
By Andrea Tse, TheStreet
Ford stock hit an intraday high of $14.15 a share, a level not seen since January 2005. Some equity analysts say Ford has the potential to keep climbing, but it still faces formidable competition from Toyota Motor (TM), which has been weakened by recent recalls.
"The success of some of the new vehicles has surpassed even my expectations,” says Wall Street Strategies analyst David Silver, who owns Ford shares. “Stronger sales coupled with the improving cost structure bode extremely well for Ford in the coming quarters. General Motors indicated it could earn a profit during 2010, and if that is true, then Ford will be even stronger."
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The offering could become the second-biggest this year if underwriters exercise an option to buy more shares.
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[BRIEFING.COM] Equity indices settled on their lows following a steady, session-long slide. Similar to yesterday, small-caps paced the retreat as the Russell 2000 fell 1.6%, extending its December loss to 3.6%. The S&P 500 settled lower by 1.1%, widening its month-to-date decline to 1.3%.
There was no specific news catalyst behind today's slide, which had the markings of broad-based profit-taking. Seven of ten sectors settled with losses of 1.0% or more while only two groups ... More
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