8 reasons the market isn't worse
8 reasons the market isn't worse

Stocks should be crushed by global turmoil, Jim Cramer says. Instead, they're doing fine.

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Research In Motion's shares tumble 11% after a weak financial forecast and another delay for its superphones.

By TheStreet Staff Mar 25, 2011 11:48AM

By Scott Moritz, TheStreet

 

Research In Motion (RIMM) pumped its PlayBook, but investors dumped the stock on a weak financial outlook and the delay of a superphone arrival.

 

RIM posted solid fiscal-fourth-quarter numbers after the bell Thursday but said higher costs for new products like the PlayBook tablet would narrow gross margins to 41% from 44% on lower-than-expected revenue.

 

The dim forecast knocked RIM shares down 11% and helped confirm suspicions that the BlackBerry maker isn't on a quick-turnaround path.

 

Betting with the billionaire John Malone.

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day Mar 25, 2011 11:38AM

By Jim Royal, Ph.D.

 

My Special Situations portfolio follows transactional events that create value for shareholders. And that's what I think I've found with Ascent Media (ASCMA).

 

After being spun off from Discovery Communications (DISCA) in 2008, Ascent is now in a transitional period. It recently disposed of its former media operations entirely and acquired Monitronics, a home security business, from private equity owners. Now Ascent's operations consist solely of Monitronics, and Ascent has left Montironics' managers in charge.

 

The business
Monitronics has an attractive business model in a recessionary-resistant business. The company uses a network of some 450 independent dealers to source customers, who sign multi-year contracts for ongoing service.

 

Durable-goods orders have dropped for 2 months in a row, but a key purchasing index tells a different story.

By Jim J. Jubak Mar 25, 2011 11:25AM
Jim JubakWhich data should you believe when looking at the direction of U.S. economic growth?

Durable-goods orders fell by 0.9% in February. Economists had expected a 1.8% increase in orders.

After supporting a reading that the economy was recovering through most of 2010, durable-goods orders have shown a confusing pattern since October. In the last two quarters, orders have declined in the first month of a quarter, before rebounding in the second and third months of the quarter.

But that pattern hasn’t held this quarter -- the 0.6% drop in February followed on the heels of a 3% decline in January.

The two consecutive monthly drops in durable-goods orders run contrary to an extremely positive increase in the ISM Purchasing Managers Index, to 68 in February. That’s the strongest ISM number since January 2004.
 

Howard Stern takes on Sirius again. RIM's late entry into the PlayBook game. Hackers climb over the New York Times' paywall. Banks remain on skid row.

By TheStreet Staff Mar 25, 2011 10:36AM

Here's some of the dumbest news from business this week:

 

5. Howard Stern suits up against Sirius XM

 

When it comes to Stern and his relationship with management, it's always a matter of when, not if, he'll turn on them -- something current employer Sirius XM (SIRI) may have forgotten.

 

They got a reminder this week when Stern filed suit against his company for allegedly failing to pay stock awards it owed the shock jock in exchange for helping the satellite radio company surpass its subscriber growth target. At the end of December 2010, the company had 20.2 million total subscribers, the highest number of net subscribers in its history. Stern, naturally, believes he played a not-so-small part in making that happen. Read more

 

Sooner or later, the US will embrace energy independence and will need more fuel from its vast reserves. For that, you'll need Enbridge.

By Jim Cramer Mar 25, 2011 9:01AM

jim cramerthestreetYou know oil should be lower. You know it because the second-largest oil producer in the world, Canada, is beginning to ship aggressively into the largest market in the world, the U.S., and it hasn't done anything to dent the price of crude.

 

Last night on "Mad Money" I talked to the CEO of Enbridge (ENB), a perennial 52-week-high builder of multibillion-dollar pipelines that has done more than just about any company to make our nation energy-independent. Unless you are a pipeline aficionado, the only way you might know of these guys is through their two oil spills last year, which have made siting pipelines a major chore.

 

The lack of pipeline is what's keeping all of that oil bottled up in Cushing, Okla. Enbridge is going to solve that. It's going to solve the lack of pipeline coming from the biggest oil discovery in a generation, the Bakken Formation. And Enbridge is going to solve the lack of pipeline out of Eagle Ford, another huge deposit.

 

Walgreen is acquiring one of the largest online retailers for $429 million in cash. With video updates.

By Kim Peterson Mar 24, 2011 2:54PM
Today is a good day to be a Drugstore.com (DSCM) shareholder. The stock has soared 112% to $3.80 on news that the online drugstore would be acquired by Walgreen (WAG).

Walgreen is spending $429 million in cash on the deal -- a 112% premium to drugstore.com's close on Wednesday. Since it's getting Drugstore.com's $20 million cash hoard, the buyout price is essentially $409 million. Walgreen's share price rose less than 1% to $40.09 in afternoon trading.

Why did Walgreen want Drugstore.com? First and foremost, Walgreen has a terrible online presence. Its website is unattractive and sluggish (check out its "clothing" link). Compare Walgreen's first-aid site with Drugstore.com's first-aid site, and you'll see why Walgreen needed to make this deal.

Check out this video of Drugstore.com's chief executive discussing her business: 

Online retailers make shipping charges a thing of the past. Will competitors follow?

By InvestorPlace Mar 24, 2011 2:39PM

Everyone loves a good deal when shopping online. But everyone also hates to find a bargain, only to get gouged on shipping.


L.L. Bean hopes those two factors will work in its favor as it launches a marketplace where online shoppers no longer have to suffer a dime in shipping fees. Like Amazon.com (AMZN) and its dedicated shoe site Zappos, L.L. Bean hopes the lack of fees is offset by the new customers it will win over with the deal.

 

It's a bold move. The question now, of course, is how many online retailers are going to follow. The answer may surprise you: Many.

 

The company boosts its share price with a reverse split, opening its stock to new buyers. But no one's fooled.

By Jim J. Jubak Mar 24, 2011 1:49PM
Jim JubakIt's a cynical, totally transparent ploy -- but it’s our ploy. If you own the shares, as I do, I’m sure you hope it works.

Citigroup (C) has announced that it will engineer a reverse 1-for-10 stock split and then resume payment dividends at a rate of a penny a share.

The two moves will finally get the shares above $10 (they’ve been stuck at $5 for months), the cutoff level for some institutional investors. That, plus the new dividend -- some institutional investors can’t buy shares without dividends -- will expand the stock’s potential ownership pool.

Not that anyone is going to be fooled, by these moves, into thinking that shares of Citigroup are anything but the slowly-recovering equity of the U.S. bank that got the biggest taxpayer bailout.
 

Every major carmaker will feel the impact from the disaster, analysts say. Japanese automakers have been hit the hardest.

By Kim Peterson Mar 24, 2011 1:14PM
The earthquake and tsunami in Japan are still disrupting the auto industry worldwide, and it could be harder to find that car you want as a result.

Toyota (TM) says it will probably idle a truck plant in Texas because it can't get enough parts, according to Reuters. "It is likely that we will see some nonproduction days coming," a spokesman said. "At this point, we are still not sure of when those might hit or, if they do it, what the duration may be."

The entire sector is feeling aftershocks from the tragedy. Even American automakers are not immune, as they import parts from Japan. General Motors (GM) temporarily stopped production at a plant in Louisiana and laid off more than 50 workers at a plant in New York.

But the Japanese automakers are the hardest hit, with recovery efforts hampered by widespread power outages.

Post continues after video about Toyota and Honda production:
 
Tags: gm

Easter sales aren't as widespread as those of the winter holidays, but they give shoppers the sugar high they need to snap out of their cold spell.

By TheStreet Staff Mar 24, 2011 12:11PM

TheStreetBy Jason Notte, TheStreet

 

The Easter bunny may look fluffy and cute, but retailers know there's a lot of consumer-toned muscle beneath that fuzzy exterior.

 

Easter may not have the profile of other holidays, but the bunny is a retail beast. Easter brought in more than $14 billion last year, accounting for 6.1% of all holiday spending, according to IBISWorld. That  makes it fifth among its holiday cohorts, falling behind the winter holidays (59.2%), Thanksgiving (13.4%), Valentine's Day (7.5%) and Mother's Day (6.5%).

 

Last year, the 79.6% of Americans who celebrated Easter spent an average of $118.60. Most of that spending went into Easter baskets as food ($37.45), gifts ($18.16) and candy ($17.29). For such companies as Tootsie Roll (TR), Hershey's (HSY) and Kraft (KFT) -- which is on its second year of making Cadbury Creme Eggs -- Easter is a $1.9 billion basket of goodies, with candy sales second only to Halloween's $2 billion, according to the National Confectioners Association.

 

Higher margins and lower tariffs signal salad days ahead. With video of Chiquita's chief discussing the business.

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day Mar 24, 2011 10:44AM

By Alex Pape

 

Shareholders of Chiquita Brands (CQB) have been on a banana boat ride, bouncing all over the place. In the three short months since the Young Gun Portfolio bought shares in the banana master, we've seen shares jump 23%, give it all back, and then jump up another 5%. Such are the vagaries of short-term market prices.

 

I don't pay much attention to the short-term movements, but I do look to new information to strengthen or discredit my thesis. I recently did just that with the company's 2010 annual report.

 

Infrasturcture needs to be replaced, and Chicago Bridge and Iron is ready.

By Jim Van Meerten Mar 24, 2011 10:21AM
Lately I've been looking for a way to get in on the building boom that is bound to happen after this Japanese quake.  A company that keeps getting mentioned is Chicago Brigde and Iron (CBI)


It came up when I was comparing companies that have had at least 10% growth in sales and earnings, and are expected to continue growing, against the Barchart technical indicators, and Chicago Bridge and Iron (CBI) was near the top of the list.

CBI designs, builds, repairs and modifies steel tanks and other structures and associated systems. The company designs and builds petroleum terminals, refinery pressure vessels, low-temperature and cryogenic storage facilities and elevated water storage tanks for clients internationally.  It also sells to the wastewater-treatment, mining and nuclear industries. Japan needs these infrastructure goods and services.
 

These North Dakota producers are some of the best stories out there.

By Jim Cramer Mar 24, 2011 8:54AM

jim cramerthestreetThe illogic is pretty stunning: Every day, on nothing new, oil goes higher. Every day. Same news. We are attacking Libya, a country with relatively small oil production. Yet every day this futures market is starved for oil. That's one reason Chevron (CVX), widely perceived to be a quick beneficiary of that price, is doing so well. It is also a reason to like ConocoPhillips (COP).

 

But I think the best plays, the best bangs for the buck, are these three North Dakota producers, which also have holdings outside of North Dakota: EOG Resources (EOG), which produced 17 million barrels last year, followed by Whiting (WLL), which produced 13.7 million, and Continental Resources (CLR), with 12 million barrels.

 

These are truly astounding numbers, and you can only imagine how much they are making each day on these holdings.

 

North Dakota is an amazing story. It produced 113 million barrels in 2010, a staggering gain over the production just three years before, which was 46 million barrels.

 

The legendary actress used her wits and fame to build a fortune, and her perfume is still the best-selling celebrity fragrance.

By Kim Peterson Mar 23, 2011 2:03PM
Credit: (© Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)
Caption: Elizabeth Taylor circa 1960On Wednesday the world said goodbye to Elizabeth Taylor, an actress who grew up in front of an adoring public and became a larger-than-life icon. She epitomized beauty and passion, with a tempestuous personal life that fascinated and sometimes appalled America.

She was one of the last great glamorous stars. And she used her fame and wits to build an empire the likes of which few starlets had previously seen.

Oh, sure, everyone from Jessica Simpson to Miley Cyrus' little sister is jumping onto the merchandising bandwagon, but Elizabeth Taylor did it early and did it right. Her White Diamonds perfume is still the best-selling celebrity fragrance in the world, Fashionista reports, ringing up $77 million in sales in 2010.

And you gotta love the White Diamonds holiday commercial, which showed that even in her later years, Taylor could still pull it off. 

Even amid European debt woes, Mideast unrest and a nuclear scare, the market has proved resilient.

By Jim Cramer Mar 23, 2011 8:55AM

jim cramerthe streetWhen you get offline with CEOs around the country, you know what they want to know? How can this market keep going up? I always say the same thing: look at your balance sheet; look at your book of business; look at your prospects. Aren't they the best in years?

 

The vast majority say yes. Some -- for instance, the oil and gas drillers or the truckers or the farm equipment companies or those involved in climate control, safety or medical equipment -- say they can't even handle the business.

 

The companies that are temporarily lulled by the (temporary) communications glut or the Japanese supply chain snafus are still bullish out several quarters. I remember another time when terrible tech balance sheets used to cause companies to go belly-up. Now they are just hiccups!

 

Sure, there are places that aren't so hot. Guess? (GES), Urban Outfitters (URBN) and Nike (NKE) can't crow. The first two remind me of why J. Crew (JCG) wanted to go private. Who can handle this month-to-month and quarter-to-quarter nonsense? Nike was bad.

 

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[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market maintained a narrow trading range on Thursday before ending the session essentially where it began. The S&P 500 added less than a point, while the small-cap Russell 2000 (-0.2%) underperformed.

Equity indices displayed early strength thanks in part to an overnight boost from better than expected economic data in China and Europe. Specifically, China's HSBC Manufacturing PMI surged to an 18-month high (52.0 from 50.7), while Eurozone Manufacturing PMI ... More


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