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Be wary of dire market forecasts

The most likely scenario is that the markets will begin to rise from here -- and that bounce is just beginning to take hold.

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There are three reasons to like LAN Airlines' $3.7 billion purchase of TAM.

By Jim J. Jubak Aug 26, 2010 4:39PM

Jim JubakLAN Airlines (LFL) will buy Brazil's TAM (TAM) for $3.7 billion in a deal that will turn Chile's national airline into a truly South American airline.


Shareholders of LAN will own 70% of the combined company. (TAM will be de-listed, and the new shares for LATAM Airlines will trade in New York; Santiago, Chile, and Sao Paulo, Brazil.)


The acquisition will make LAN, with strong routes and market share in Chile, Peru, Argentina, and Ecuador, a dominant player in the Brazilian market. (TAM had about 42% of the Brazilian domestic market as of the end of the second quarter of 2010.) TAM's revenue last year of $4.9 billion was greater than LAN's revenue of $ 3.7 billion.

 

The company is concerned about cracks that could form in the engines of the affected cars.

By Kim Peterson Aug 26, 2010 2:39PM
Toyota (TM) has announced yet another recall, this time because some of its cars could stall "at any speed, without warning." Yikes. That's about as nightmarish a scenario as one could imagine.

The recall covers about 1.13 million Corolla and Matrix vehicles from the 2005 through 2008 model years. At least three reported accidents were related to an engine defect that has become the focus of the recall, Bloomberg reports.

This has been a terrible year for Toyota, though its share price Thursday dropped only slightly after the recalls were announced. Over the past 12 months, the company has recalled more than 9 million vehicles -- including the latest one -- for problems including faulty pedals, unintended acceleration and floor-mat entrapment. 

New SEC rules make it easier for shareholders to nominate their own candidates for the board.

By Kim Peterson Aug 26, 2010 2:09PM
Boardroom © Getty ImagesIt's now easier for shareholders to get new people onto corporate boards -- but some companies say they want that to change.

The changes come from a close vote this week at the Securities and Exchange Commission. Now, when companies mail ballots before shareholder meetings, they must include the names of all board nominees on them, the Wall Street Journal reports.

In the past, shareholders who wanted a new candidate had to pay for mailing separate ballots. They also had to do their own campaigning. Those barriers were a huge roadblock to getting anyone elected that wasn't hand-picked by the existing board. 

One economist crunches the numbers and says that pricey new homes simply aren't moving.

By Kim Peterson Aug 26, 2010 1:34PM
Home-buying guide © Ingram Publishing / SuperStockPop quiz: How many new homes priced over $750,000 sold in July?

The answer is zero -- for the second month in a row. At least, according to David Rosenberg, chief economist at investment firm Gluskin Sheff.

That figure seems hard to believe, but keep in mind that Rosenberg is talking about new homes, not existing ones. If he's right, that's a shocking statistic. For the housing market, trauma has set in, he says.

Things are unbelievably horrific in housing now, Rosenberg writes (as reported by Zero Hedge).  

The push in 3 states is part of a fast-food trend toward healthful, unprocessed menu items.

By InvestorPlace Aug 26, 2010 10:48AM

Wendy's (WEN) is taking the slogan "Quality is Our Recipe" to a new level with all-natural fries in test markets. 

 

Interestingly, the new recipe comes as Wendy's fries are already popular. A recent Zagat survey ranked Wendy's fries fourth-best, behind those of McDonald's (MCD), Five Guys and In-N-Out Burger. 

So why would Wendy's make the change to an already successful snack? Simple: The move comes amid a flurry of other menu changes at fast-food restaurants that push for higher-quality, healthful and natural ingredients to boost sales. Here are the details on Wendy's latest menu item and where you can buy the skin-on fries:

 

When higher oil prices spark a rally in every sector except oil stocks, the market is broken. It's no wonder investors are going elsewhere.

By Jim Cramer Aug 26, 2010 8:27AM

jim cramerBy Jim Cramer, TheStreet

 

Technology makes a run off of oil's rally but not the oil stocks. Health care rallies on oil but not oil stocks. Retail rallies on oil. But not the oil stocks. Food stocks leap on a turn in oil. But not the oil stocks. That's how things played out all Wednesday afternoon. Will it play out that way today?

 

Excuse me for sounding like Dr. Seuss, but what a joke this market has become. Food and retail, both incredibly sensitive to rising oil prices, rally on oil getting better because oil's upturn is a sign that the consumer is feeling better? What hogwash. Rising oil prices hurt the food companies because it is their biggest expense, more than the food commodities they package.

 

Retail? Rising oil prices are demonstrably bad for them. Tech? There is no correlation in real life whatsoever. However, we are not in real life. We are in some sort of bizarre world where the only correlations we can find are the wrong ones.

 

Chinese online travel company Ctrip.com saw shares drop after its earnings report -- for a reason.

By Jim J. Jubak Aug 25, 2010 8:20PM

Jim JubakIt's tempting to say that the 6% drop in Ctrip.com International's (CTRP) shares on Aug. 10th -- a day after its second-quarter earnings report -- was just the usual selling on the news by momentum investors unhappy the company only beat estimates by 2 cents a share and didn't raise guidance.  


But when you're looking at a stock trading at 43.5x projected 2010 earnings per share, I'm not sure there's any "just" about an earnings report that didn't shoot out the lights. 


There's just enough in the numbers to concern any investor counting on the company to keep growing earnings by 30% -- at a minimum. 


Here's what the company reported. 

 

The new editor has taken a nastier, more celebrity-focused tone, jarring some accustomed to a friendlier paper.

By TheWrap Aug 25, 2010 4:22PM
Who’s the bitch now? Taking a page from her reign at Us Weekly, Janice Min has been making her presence felt on the Hollywood Reporter website.


Many inside the industry were shocked at a lead story on Tuesday that felt like a broadside against the generally liked Jennifer Aniston:


"'Switch' a Bitch for Jennifer Aniston," read the headline, above a story that criticized the movie’s underperformance, but then backtracked to say it "wasn’t necessarily a setback" to her career.

 

The online retail juggernaut reassures investors that its Kindle is coping with the threat posed by Apple's iPad.

By TheStreet Staff Aug 25, 2010 3:01PM

technology, stock and business news from the streetUpdated at 6:12 p.m. ET

 

By James Rogers, TheStreet

 

Amazon (AMZN) clearly wants to reassure investors that its Kindle e-book reader is coping with the threat posed by Apple's (AAPL) iPad, but actual Kindle sales numbers are still hard to come by.

 

In a statement released today, Amazon said the latest versions of the Kindle, launched in late July, are the fastest-selling Kindles ever. The Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk websites have sold more of the new Kindle and Kindle 3G than any other products during the last four weeks, according to the online retail giant.

Amazon's true Kindle performance, however, remains clouded in secrecy. Despite plenty of hype over the last few years, the retailer has not released any actual sales figures for its e-book device, although a company spokeswoman told TheStreet in an e-mail today that Amazon has sold "millions of Kindles overall."

 

Gmail users will soon be able to make calls from their computers. But the service won't be free forever.

By Kim Peterson Aug 25, 2010 2:38PM
Damaged cell phone © Nick Koudis / Getty ImagesPretty soon you'll see bright red phone booths at airports and universities. Inside, people will be able to make free long-distance domestic and international calls.

Google (GOOG) is installing the phone booths to introduce people to Google Voice. The company is also making a splash this week by offering free voice calls through Gmail.

For the rest of the year, calls to the U.S. and Canada will be free. Calls to other countries start at 2 cents a minute.

Here's how it works: 

While US equities retest their July lows, emerging-market issues are outperforming. Can the good news continue?

By Anthony Mirhaydari Aug 25, 2010 2:36PM

MirhaydariTo be sure, American stocks have been in the doghouse. The Russell 2000 small-cap index is within a hair of its July and February lows and is trading at levels first reached last September. Over the past few months, there has been absolutely no progress.

 

Not so with emerging-market stocks. The iShares Emerging Markets (EEM) is up 12.9% from its May low and has outpaced the Russell 2000 by a whopping 16.7%. Widening the scope, the MSCI Emerging Markets Index has outperformed the MSCI Developed World Index by 6.7% year to date and by 10.7% since the May 25 low.

 

Foreign equities, along with defensive utility names, have been one of the few refuges for stock market investors over the past few months. But can the performance continue? Sakthi Siva, who heads the global emerging-markets team for Credit Suisse, believes they can and gives four important reasons.

 

The coffee chain is opening more mini-cafes inside supermarkets and other stores. Smart move?

By Kim Peterson Aug 25, 2010 1:53PM
Credit: (© Michael Conroy/AP)
Caption: Customer in a Starbucks storeStarbucks (SBUX) knows more about the real-estate downturn than most chains.

A few years ago, the company's real-estate moves were brazen bordering on reckless. It opened stores within blocks of each other and expanded too quickly in underperforming areas. The economic crisis forced Starbucks to shut down 600 stores in 2008, leaving the battered company to rethink its strategy.

Now, Starbucks has seized upon a new expansion idea, one that removes much of its real-estate risk. Forget the responsibility from a stand-alone location. Why not plant more mini-cafes in Safeway(SWY) and Target (TGT) stores? 

Large anchor spots have been losing department stores, and Costco is looking to move in.

By InvestorPlace Aug 25, 2010 9:34AM

By Jeff Reeves, InvestorPlace.com


Almost everyone feels a bit overwhelmed when experiencing a Costco (COST) store for the first time. The size, the crush of people, the bizarre variety of items.


And that's just the view from the parking lot.


Well, if Costco has its way, the mob scene taking place at its cavernous stores will soon be on the move -- to the oversized mall spaces known as "anchor" positions, which have long been the turf of big-box retailers and department stores.

 

The issue isn't foreclosures, gluts or average home prices. It's jobs and the economy.

By Jim Cramer Aug 25, 2010 8:23AM

jim cramer of thestreet.comBy Jim Cramer, TheStreet

 

Thank you, Bob Toll, for once again telling the truth.

 

The executive chairman of homebuilder Toll Brothers (TOL) has been spot on during this housing crisis, being the first to tell you the good and the bad. He basically told you to sell housing stocks a couple of months ago when he didn't like the trends he saw. He is a straight shooter, and sometimes it can be painful.

 

His comments this morning really say it all for the part of the market that wasn't dominated by the tax credit, which basically gave buyers a free year of interest payments (the average price of a home's mortgage interest in year one is what buyers got with the credit).

 

McDonald's is now a familiar brand name in China, and used that status to sell bonds there.

By Jim J. Jubak Aug 24, 2010 5:42PM
Jim JubakOn Thursday, McDonald’s (MCD) became the first foreign, non-financial company to sell yuan-denominated bonds in Hong Kong.

The US company sold 200 million yuan (about $30 million) of 3% notes due in September 2013.

The sale marks another step in China’s plan to create a financial system on a par with the markets in Tokyo and New York. That will eventually require China to turn the yuan into a freely exchangeable currency, and China is certainly not willing to go there yet. But in February, foreign companies became eligible for the first time to sell yuan-denominated bonds in Hong Kong.
 

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[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market ended the holiday-shortened week on a mixed note as the Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 0.1%, while the S&P 500 added 0.1% with seven sectors posting gains.

Equity indices faced an uphill climb from the opening bell after disappointing quarterly results from Google (GOOG 536.10, -20.44) and IBM (IBM 190.04, -6.36) weighed on the early sentiment. Google reported earnings $0.15 below the Capital IQ consensus estimate on revenue of $15.42 ... More


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