If everything goes as planned, this week will be the busiest for initial public offerings since 2000.
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Is there finally enough evidence to go after Goldman Sachs?
By Matt Koppenheffer
In a piece earlier this year titled "Why Isn't Wall Street in Jail?" Rolling Stone fire-breather Matt Taibbi began with a quote from a former Senate investigator:
"Everything's [bleeped] up, and nobody goes to jail," he said. "That's your whole story right there. Hell, you don't even have to write the rest of it. Just write that." [Censoring via The Motley Fool.]
The teddy-bear regulators
Many Americans resent the profound dearth of Wall Streeters sent to jail after the horrific financial crisis. It seems to be a particularly sore spot for Taibbi, particularly when it comes to Goldman Sachs (GS), the company he infamously tagged the "great vampire squid."
As selling pressure intensifies, important technical milestones are lost, clearing the way for additional broad market losses.
With Monday's sell-off, the bulls couldn't hold their line of defense, seen most clearly at the Russell 2000's 50-day moving average and the 1,340 level on the S&P 500. The bears are on full attack.
A similar downside breakout was seen back in March during the fallout from the Japanese earthquake and meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. That decline proved to be short-lived and was followed by a quick and decisive rebound.
But things are different this time. We've seen a huge shift out of cyclical sectors into defensives. Sentiment indicators have risen to levels not seen since the end of the last bull market. And we've seen a huge deceleration in the economic growth trend. All suggest this new downturn will last longer than March's speed bump. Here's why.
The lawsuit says that after 3 days of training, the company dismissed an employee who asked to use a step stool.
That's at the heart of a lawsuit filed against Starbucks on behalf of Elsa Sallard, a dwarf hired to work as a barista in El Paso, Tex.
In the lawsuit, Sallard claims she was only allowed to train for three days before she was fired. She wasn't tall enough to do the job, and she asked to use a stool or a small stepladder. The same day, the lawsuit says, she was fired for posing a potential danger to customers and employees.
The company relied on overseas business for its first-quarter profit. With video.
The retail giant reported a solid first quarter Tuesday, beating analysts' expectations with a 3.8% gain in profit. But the store relied on strong overseas business to overcome a sales drop in the U.S. that has stretched for eight straight quarters.
Meanwhile, other retailers in the U.S., including dollar stores and Target (TGT), are eating away at Wal-Mart's market share here. Wal-Mart executives said American shoppers are running out of money faster than before.
Post continues after this video of one investor discussing Wal-Mart's flaws:
Commodities appear headed for volatility, so investors should be careful with resource-related funds.
By Don Dion, TheStreet
At the start of this week, Joy Global (JOYG) stole the headlines with news that the coal mining equipment firm was planning to purchase LeTourneau Technologies from Rowan Companies (RDC) for $1.1 billion.
There are a number of ETFs that will be likely affected as more is learned about this deal.
The most direct way to gain access to the Joy Global deal is through the Market Vectors Coal ETF (KOL), which is designed to track some of the world's largest and most liquid coal-related companies. Currently, shares of JOYG represent 8% of its portfolio, making it the third largest position.
The PC giant says weak sales and slow spending will cut profits.
By Scott Moritz, TheStreet
Shares of HP were down 5% in pre-market trading Tuesday after the No. 1 computer maker was forced to release its earnings a day early due to a leaked memo from CEO Leo Apotheker that warned his management team of "another tough quarter."
The disappointing forecast comes just a week after switching and computer networking rival Cisco (CSCO) cut its outlook for the third straight time on deteriorating sales across several segments of the business.
The sector's outperformance has been surprising, but the current market correction brings risk.
The billionaire investor made few moves and posted just a small gain in the first quarter.
By Frank Byrt, TheStreet
It's the second quarter in a row of little activity for the investment company run by the man dubbed the Oracle of Omaha for the trading prowess that helped him build an estimated net worth of $50 billion over half a century. In the first quarter, former hedge fund manager Todd Combs started working at Berkshire, managing part of the portfolio, as the 80-year-old billionaire selects a succession team.
Berkshire Hathaway's 26-stock investment portfolio was valued at $53.6 billion as of March 31, up $1 billion, or 2%, from the end of 2010, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission report that the hedge fund filed late Monday. Buffett isn't required to publish foreign holdings. The benchmark S&P 500 Index ($INX) rose 5.4% in the first quarter.
Evercore may be smaller than big investment banks, but it's well-positioned to get a piece of the buyout biz in 2011.
After the 2008 financial crisis, merger-and-acquisition activity plunged. But recently, things have perked up. Just look at Microsoft (MSFT) last week, which paid a hefty $8.5 billion for Skype, or the recent plan from AT&T (T) to acquire T-Mobile from Deutsche Telekom for $39 billion. (Microsoft owns and publishes MSN Money.)
No doubt, the deal making has boosted the fortunes of investment banks. But your best bet to cash in on the M&A boom isn’t one of the big players. It's a smaller buyout shop that is doing big business despite its size.
That stock is Evercore Partners (EVR).
One is a cheap stock that has simply run out of buyers, while the other is undisciplined and lacks a growth catalyst.
I'll begin with Apple because we own it for Action Alerts Plus. It's a cheap stock that just happens to be out of buyers. It seems that everyone who wants it already owns it, and the angst factor is causing selling.
I think the stock is cheap even if you don't back out the cash, and I also think that if Steve Jobs were healthy, the price would be higher. I just get the sense that so many people have one foot out the door that it can't rally.
Abbott is about as balanced as it gets in the pharmaceutical sector, and an increase in sales and profit is likely this year.
The search giant plans its first-ever bond offering for later this afternoon, and demand is riding high.
The funny thing is that the bonds aren't exactly paying well; there are definitely better ways to make money. But this is Google we're talking about, and that's enough to get investors plenty worked up.
"People aren't going to do very much credit analysis, they're going to look at the balance sheet, and look at the cash, and say 'This is ridiculous' and put their orders in, and probably big orders," one money manager told Bloomberg. "It will be scooped up like nobody’s business."
As part of a lawsuit settlement, the satellite radio company says it will not raise subscription prices through the end of the year.
The news, announced in a regulatory filing, comes as part of a lawsuit settlement that Sirius agreed to last week. Through the end of the year, Sirius won't raise the price of its basic satellite radio service, its other programming packages or its Internet streaming services. In addition, it won't increase its U.S. Music royalty fee or decrease its multi-radio discount.
Current subscribers can renew their subscriptions at those rates before the end of the year. Shares of Sirius fell nearly 3% on the news to $2.17 in midday trading. The stock has made a remarkable turnaround as the auto sector has recovered, rising 18% in the past year.
Post continues after video about Sirius' recovery this year:
The company's charitable foundation runs three donation-based restaurants, which have raised money for surrounding communities. With video.
Customers place orders as they would at any other Panera, but the cashiers simply tell customers the suggested payment amounts for their orders. What customers actually put into the donation box is up to them.
Panera has opened three such specialized cafes, which raise money for charities. It plans to open a new one every three months, The Associated Press reports. Yes, there was that time when three college students paid $3 and received $40 worth of food, but mostly people are generous with their wallets, the company says.
Post continues after this video about whether Panera's nonprofit concept will work:
Funds that hold commodities or rely on complicated strategies used to occupy a small niche in the fund industry, but that's changing.
By Stan Luxenberg, TheStreet
During the past year, inflows into alternative mutual funds and exchange-traded funds have totaled $25 billion, according to Morningstar. Now the category has $151 billion in assets and includes 540 funds.
Morningstar recently announced that it would begin tracking new categories of alternative funds, including inverse debt and managed futures. "It's clear that alternative funds are here to stay," said John Rekenthaler, vice president of research for Morningstar.
Alternative funds aim to diversify portfolios by focusing on investments that don't necessarily track stocks or bonds. The funds hold commodities or use complicated strategies, such as trading futures or selling stocks short.
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