Some companies hit all-time records last month, while others missed forecasts.
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Here are some of the numbers behind the effort, plus the current dynamics at 3 industry giants.
By Karen Riccio
Fast-food workers are going on strike Thursday for the second time this year with hopes that the likes of McDonald’s (MCD), KFC, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut (YUM) and Wendy’s (WEN) will raise their pay from an average $9 hourly to $15 an hour.
The united effort in 100 cities is indeed admirable but unlikely to spur changes in this thinly margined industry. The August version certainly didn’t.
This isn’t a matter of whether fast food workers deserve to be paid more, rather its whether the industry at large would or could survive paying employees $15/hour. And, if companies were forced to do so, what would the impact be on jobs and food prices?
People snapped up 600,000 of the iconic cars a year in the 1960s, but fewer than 72,000 have been delivered in 2013. A new version debuts Thursday.
Here's a bit of startling news, especially if you're a Baby Boomer: the Ford (F) Mustang turns 50 next year.
Ford is launching a full-court press campaign for its iconic pony car starting on Thursday, when the new, sixth-generation Mustang is unveiled on ABC's "Good Morning America" program.
There are currently more than 600 Mustang owner clubs around the world -- and as part of the anniversary Ford is inviting people to talk about the car on Facebook (FB) and other social media platforms.
“Everybody has a Mustang story,” Jim Farley, executive vice president of Ford global marketing, sales and service and Lincoln, noted in a press statement, “and the emergence of social media has helped the Mustang community share and connect these personal moments in not just words, but photography and video.”
There's more than the taste of Coke or Pepsi to consider when deciding which brand is the better investment.
The debate has raged for decades now about which is the better tasting cola – Coke or Pepsi.
Pepsi even created an advertising campaign out of it during the 1980s, known as the Pepsi Challenge. But while the argument about which soft drink tastes better will probably never be settled, there may be some agreement about which company has the better stock value.
Forget the gloom-and-doomers. Here's what will drive the ascent in the new year.
By Jamie Dlugosch
It has been a glorious time for investors, at least those that believed in the market.
I’ll admit to having some skepticism heading into 2013. When I offered my Top Stocks to Own in 2013, it was on the heels of my 2012 picks generating 40% for the year. I have enough respect for the market to know how difficult it would be to repeat that performance. So, I hedged by suggesting that I would do only half as well in 2013.
Now, 11 months later, that list of 10 stocks for 2013 stands at an aggregate gain of 57%. It’s enough to make your head spin. More importantly, one can rightly question if such good fortune can continue.
If I was hedging my bets in 2013, I will surely hedge my bets for 2014, right? Not so fast. The animal spirits are stirring and one can easily conjure a scenario for more gains ahead.
People are drinking more of it -- and they're buying the fancy stuff, too. Here are some ways to cash in on the trend.
Yeah, the holidays. The wonderful time of the year when we force ourselves to have conversations with family and artificially act like we care. Other than hearing the occasional entertaining tale about a cousin sleeping with his secretary, most stories are a dud.
But, thank God we have booze to get through it!
Alcohol aficionados like to point out the celebratory mood of many as being the reason for a pop in consumption as we close out the year; and that may very well be. But one thing is for certain: Regardless of the reasons, people love to drink during the holidays, and wine seems to be the beverage of choice.
For example, in the weeks leading up to Christmas last year, wine sales increased by 67 percent. But for wines priced between $15 and $20, wine sales more than doubled. And, for the fine quality bottles priced greater than $20, sales nearly tripled.
Shareholders roar with approval as an activist fund calls for Michael Jeffries' ouster, sending the stock up.
By Kyle Woodley
"Off with his head!" So proclaimed activist fund Engaged Capital on Tuesday, asking for the ouster of Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) CEO Michael Jeffries.
Investors roared with approval, sending the stock 6% higher in hopes of something that might turn around the struggling retailer. The stock was unchanged Wednesday.
If you already hold Abercrombie shares, you likely agree with the sentiment.
Michael Jeffries, who took over in 1988 to put a spark into Abercrombie & Fitch, has led the teen-focused retailer on a roller-coaster ride ever since ANF hit the markets in September 1996. Abercrombie, which priced at $16, reached as high as $84 and change during its pre-crisis heyday.
If you want to invest long-term in J.C. Penney, just make sure you understand what you're buying.
By Rocco Pendola
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- While everybody else was tied up fangirling over J.C. Penney's (JCP) increase in comparable store sales, TheDeal's Richard Collings was busy providing much-needed context via Twitter. "$JCP Q4 sales last year dropped by 28.4% from $5.43 billion to $3.88 billion, and comps were down 31.7%. November comps up 10.1%."
For JCP management to put out an announcement that basically says -- "We don't suck quite as bad as we did when we hit rock bottom" -- was, in and of itself, absurd. But the way the company colored its press release further illustrates why long-term investors should read nothing into this so-called news:
Disappointing earnings from Express highlight the uncertainty currently surrounding the retail sector.
Express (EXPR)? Say it ain't so. This terrific chain of 630 stores has delivered and delivered and delivered. It sure didn't deliver Wednesday, and the company was abject when Michael Weiss, one of the best merchants out there, said, "Results did not meet our expectations."
Shares of the company plunged more than 23% as a result.
This one's shocking. I have come to think of Express as that terrific mid-range player with the best duds for younger professionals. The company is right when it claims itself to be the "premier fashion authority for our demographic." Express is too good for me to be thinking that it screwed up this badly. To me it says the demographic isn't spending.
This report is a remarkable affirmation of just how impossible retail is to invest in right now. As consistent as Express has been of late, Ascena (ASNA) has been inconsistent. The umbrella company for Dress Barn, Maurices and Justice had been like the old chain of woman retail fashion, Hit or Miss, especially since it bought Charming Shoppes not that long ago.
The donut maker's third-quarter results were decent, but guidance has investors running for the exits. The stock fell 20% Tuesday.
The market absolutely battered the donut maker after it reported third-quarter earnings late Monday. Krispy Kreme saw a scrumptious 34% jump in profit, as well as a more modest increase in revenue. So why'd the stock dive 20% Tuesday?
The company isn't saying, but the acquisition could be helpful with advertising, iTunes and maybe even Siri.
By Tim Parker
Never heard of Topsy? If you're looking to analyze all of the Twitter data since 2006, Topsy is (or was) your company of choice.
You could figure out how often a term is tweeted, measure the reach of an ad campaign, track down new and powerful hashtags or find an expert on a specific subject. Topsy is one of those companies in the business of big data. With more than 500 million tweets daily, there is a wealth of insightful data within the vast sea of tweets but without companies like Topsy, it was difficult to work with all of it.
Topsy was one of the few companies that had access to the now-called "fire hose" -- all of the Twitter data since 2006.
Shares are up nearly 30% this year, fueled by impressive organic growth, cost-cutting initiatives and strong capital deployment.
By Zacks Equity Research
Shares of Wells Fargo & Company (WFC) have recorded a year-to-date return of 29.8%.
Impressive organic growth, expense reduction initiatives and strong capital deployment activities of the company acted as the positives behind this growth story. However, we are not very optimistic about these positives translating to further price appreciation down the road as there will be significant pressure on its top line.
After analyzing its fundamentals following third-quarter 2013 earnings release, we would suggest to stay invested in it but not to further add it to your portfolio.
The company's messaging system will be pre-loaded on devices from other manufacturers, according to reports.
BlackBerry's (BBRY) new strategy includes a venture with numerous Android smartphone manufacturers.
Instead of trying to sell its most popular features to consumers through the sale of BB10-specific handsets, the company will soon pre-load its messaging application on other manufacturers' products.
According to AllThingsD, this key feature from BlackBerry's ill-fated OS will soon appear on Android phones from Micromax, Celkon, Zen, Mito and Nexian, among others.
Investors may not recognize those manufacturers. They may also wonder why Samsung, the world's largest producer of Android smartphones, is not on the list.
The industrials were sliding lower Tuesday and lost their 20-day moving average for the first time since September.
Well, that didn't last long.
After inching above the 16,000 level two weeks ago to great fanfare, the Dow Jones industrials ($INDU) were sliding lower Tuesday as they lost their 20-day moving average for the first time since September.
Technically, this isn't all that unexpected. Last week featured multiple "hammer" candlestick patterns -- indicated by intra-day rallies that were reversed into the closing bell -- that are representative of buying exhaustion. Breadth also has been disappointing, with the percentage of NYSE stocks above their 50-day moving average at just 60% now versus 85% in October.
So the Dow Jones' push above 16,000 was on relatively narrow support that is petering out quickly.
The largest wireless carrier in the world is finally moving to sell the device, according to reports.
DeWitt has a screengrab of an iPhone pre-order site from a China Mobile subsidiary which is in Suzhou, a city west of Shanghai. The site has since been taking down.
DeWitt says Suzhou is a good place for an iPhone launch because it has 5 million people, and it's one of the richest cities in China. Therefore its people will be able to afford iPhones.
China Mobile is very important for Apple's (AAPL) iPhone business. It has about 700 million subscribers. Selling iPhones to that new customer base should result in a nice pop in iPhone sales.
The stock rose 14% after regulators found no defects in fire incidents involving the Model S.
The German regulator had reviewed the Model S fire incidents in Seattle, Tennessee, and Mexico. It said: "According to the documents, no manufacturer-related defects. . . could be found. Therefore, no further measures under the German Product Safety Act."
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The retailer labels the character's fake memoir as non-fiction. This comes weeks after it categorized the the Bible as fiction.
Top Stocks provides analysis about the most noteworthy stocks in the market each day, combining some of the best content from around the MSN Money site and the rest of the Web.
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[BRIEFING.COM] The drive for five continued today and it was a success. For the fifth straight session, the S&P 500 ended lower. Like the previous four sessions, though, the losses were fairly modest in scope. The S&P 500 declined 0.4%, bringing its total loss for the five sessions to 22 points or 1.2%. All in all, that still qualifies as a pretty tame slide considering the S&P 500 had risen 150 points, or 9.1%, over the previous eight weeks.
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