Did Alibaba IPO signal a market top?
Did Alibaba IPO signal a market top?

Some investment advisers are entertaining that possibility, especially in light of Monday's triple-digit loss in the Dow.


The young woman who designed the iconic image received a $35 check for her work. Nike made up for that later.

By Kim Peterson Jun 24, 2011 2:31PM
Forty years ago, a young graphic designer showed Nike (NKE) executives a new shoe logo she had designed. They weren't all that thrilled.

"I don't love it," chairman Phil Knight said at the time, according to The Oregonian, "but maybe it will grow on me."

And it did. The curvy, uplifting swoosh logo became Nike's signature mark. The image is now so powerful that it's instantly recognized around the world as the symbol of the athletic gear company. 

These funds allow broad investment at a level of risk appropriate to each investor.

By TheStreet Staff Jun 24, 2011 1:49PM

By Roger Nusbaum, TheStreet


For the last few months, most of my articles for TheStreet have mentioned the narrow industry ETFs like the Global X Fishing Industry (FISN) or the small-cap country funds like the Market Vectors Small Cap Russia (RSXJ) or even small-cap specialized funds like the Global Agribusiness Small Cap (CROP).


The latest flurry, however, has been with broad-based domestic-index funds offering slight variations on indices like the S&P 500 ($INX) and the Russell 1000. A few weeks ago PowerShares debuted the S&P 500 High Beta Portfolio (SPHB), which owns the 100 most volatile stocks in the S&P 500, and the S&P 500 Low Volatility Portfolio (SPLV) which own the 100 least volatile stocks in the S&P 500.


In the last few days, index provider Russell Investments launched a suite of 10 ETFs similar to the two PowerShares funds but with more granularity for its own large-cap Russell 1000 Index and small-cap Russell 2000 Index:


General Mills' cereal sales have been soggy lately, but the popularity of one of America's favorite breakfast staples endures.

By Kim Peterson Jun 24, 2011 1:49PM
Cheerios, a staple at breakfast tables throughout the U.S., turns 70 years old this year and is going stronger than ever.

It's still the best-selling cereal on the shelves. Well, technically, Honey Nut Cheerios is tops, but that still counts. One of every eight cereal boxes sold at U.S. stores is in the Cheerios family, The Associated Press reports.

To celebrate the big birthday, the city of Buffalo, N.Y., is holding a special Cheerios breakfast near the General Mills (GIS) plant that makes the cereal. You might associate Buffalo with the chicken wing, but the city has had a longer relationship with Cheerios. It's been making them at its waterfront plant since 1941, and the Buffalo chicken wing, the little youngster, has been around only since 1964. 

Research In Motion's CEOs engage in awkward semantic debate. Netflix battles tech woes. CenturyLink puts its name on a stadium.

By TheStreet Staff Jun 24, 2011 1:39PM

By Gregg Greenberg, TheStreet


Here is this week's roundup of the dumbest actions on Wall Street.


5. RIM's silly semantics


Research In Motion (RIMM) reported its fiscal first-quarter results late last week, beating analysts' earnings estimates by 1 cent while missing sales estimates by an ugly $200 million. Research In Motion also significantly lowered its outlook for the full year. The lowered guidance had traders unloading RIM's stock -- it's down nearly 20% since last Friday and sitting near multiyear lows -- almost as quickly as customers are abandoning its gadgets in favor of Apple's (AAPL) iPhone and devices powered by Google's (GOOG) Android operating system.


Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis, the company's co-CEOs, didn't help things when they engaged in a semantics debate on a call with analysts. After announcing a wide-reaching plan to overhaul its organization through new product launches, cutbacks and layoffs, Balsillie challenged an analyst for referring to his reforms as a "restructuring." Read more


Shares tank after the company reports a decline in hardware revenue, but analysts say the worry is overblown. With video on Oracle's quarterly financial results.

By TheStreet Staff Jun 24, 2011 12:38PM

By James Rogers, TheStreet


Investors bugged by Oracle's (ORCL)fourth-quarter hardware numbers should rest easy, as the database giant's falling hardware revenue is just a small part of a bigger, positive picture.


Oracle shares tanked after the results, released after market close Thursday. Investors reacted negatively to the decrease in hardware systems revenue, which dipped 6% to $1.2 billion. Oracle's overall revenue, however, climbed 12% to $10.8 billion.


The hardware number "spooks investors, but I believe they're reaching the wrong conclusion," Richard Davis, an analyst at Canaccord Genuity, wrote in an email to TheStreet.


"We do not want to overreact to trends in a business representing 10% of Oracle's revenue mix," Karl Keirstead, an analyst at BMO Capital Markets, said in a note released Friday. "The other 90% of Oracle is performing well."


There's always time to look at the bright side of life.

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day Jun 24, 2011 11:38AM

By Rick Aristotle Munarriz


If you're feeling good about the market, you're not alone. Take my hand as we go over some of this week's more uplifting headlines.


1. Sirius horsepower
General Motors (GM)
is the latest carmaker to milk more money from its used cars through Sirius XM Radio (SIRI).


Buyers of pre-owned cars sold through GM dealers that have deactivated XM receivers -- regardless of the original manufacturer -- will now come with three-month trials to the premium radio service.


It's a win-win-win deal that Sirius XM has been inking with leading auto manufacturers. Used-car buyers get three months of free satellite radio. Sirius XM has an easier way to woo new paying subscribers with minimal investments, since the dormant receivers are already in the cars. The automakers get a piece of the action from Sirius XM for any drivers who sign up as paying subscribers.


The decision to tap the Strategic Petroleum Reserve will shake out speculators and help consumers.

By Jim Cramer Jun 24, 2011 9:12AM

the streetthe streetAll people did Thursday when I asked them about this Strategic Petroleum Reserve gambit was tell me how silly it was, how it won't work and how it is just a sign of desperation.


To which I say that we have thrown trillions of dollars and euros all over the place to get this world's economy moving again, and it is failing in large part because the price of oil is too high. Is it really such a nutty idea to hit the market with enough oil that the nonconsumers who are hoarding it get blown out and the price falls? Is it really so crazy that we should criticize it when it's already working?


Sometimes people have to recognize the beauty of this. If all it takes to destroy the price is the release of a couple of days' supply of oil from our reserve to the marketplace, can't you see how phony the whole thing is? The critics would let us be hostage to that situation instead of having this artificial and easily manipulated market be brought to heel.


The electric-car market hasn't taken off like some expected, and that leaves a dearth of customers for A123 Systems.

By Jim J. Jubak Jun 23, 2011 4:56PM
By Peter Butkus

It's time to remove A123 Systems (AONE) from Jim’s Watch List.

A short-term trade could work, maybe, on hopes that projected second-half revenue will materialize. But long-term, the company -- a developer and manufacturer of lithium-ion batteries for electric cars and the smart utility grid -- has a serious chicken-and-egg problem.

No matter how good the company’s battery technology may be, the electric-car market has been much slower than expected in getting off the ground -- and without that market, A123 Systems just doesn’t have enough customers to sell to.

A123 Systems went public in 2009. Investors immediately bid up the stock, believing that the company had revolutionary technology and that rising oil prices would lead consumers to adopt electric cars.

A stronger greenback is shaking Wall Street traders, but it's exactly what Main Street consumers need.

By Anthony Mirhaydari Jun 23, 2011 4:08PM

Since Osama bin Laden was taken out on May 1, the U.S. dollar has stabilized and moved higher.  I guess that after years of seemingly endless wars, terrorist threats, economic stagnation and financial crisis, the clean kill half a world away restored some of America's honor. It couldn't come soon enough.


Between June 2010 and May 1, the dollar lost nearly 18%. While that was good news from the perspective of Wall Street traders and multinational CEOs, it was terrible for average consumers. Gas prices spiked and crude oil soared on currency effects and supply concerns. And import prices climbed as a weaker dollar helped import Chinese inflation. All of this contributed to the current soft patch in the economy.


But things are changing now. It started with bin Laden's death. Now the Federal Reserve's decision this week to end its $600 billion money-printing operation without a followup has added to the dollar's tailwind. That's just the thing to get the recovery back on track -- even if it makes Wall Street a little uncomfortable.


Netflix chief executive Reed Hastings becomes a Facebook director, paving the way for more partnerships between the companies.

By Kim Peterson Jun 23, 2011 2:17PM
Netflix (NFLX) may have just secured a big weapon for its arsenal: Facebook.

The chief executive of Netflix, Reed Hastings, has joined the board of the social-networking giant. Hastings is also on the board of Microsoft (MSFT). Note: MSN Money is owned by Microsoft.

So what does this mean? Netflix is already trying to integrate itself into Facebook, and I imagine the partnership will continue to flourish. Now, Netflix will have more opportunity to become a primary video streaming source for Facebook users.

Facebook has been experimenting with streaming movies. 

The release of 60 million barrels from reserves is pushing crude oil prices down. Will that mean less pain at the pump?

By Kim Peterson Jun 23, 2011 1:03PM
The U.S. led the push Thursday to release 60 million barrels of crude reserves from stockpiles, replacing some of the losses that resulted when Libya went offline.

The move had an immediate impact on oil prices, as benchmark crude in the U.S. dropped $5 a barrel to $90. And in the futures markets, gasoline fell 14 cents a gallon.

So does that translate into cheaper gas? Unfortunately, that's a little iffy.

Gas prices have already been tumbling, and no one's sure how much more they can drop. Today's nationwide average for a gallon of regular is $3.61, according to the AAA Fuel Gauge Report. That's down from $3.69 a week ago and $3.83 a month ago. 
Tags: oilopec

It's time for the Russell index rebalancing act.

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day Jun 23, 2011 11:42AM

By Dan Caplinger


A lot of investors are going to be surprised by the huge spikes in volume that many stocks are going to see near the close this Friday. Some will wonder whether it's another sign of market manipulation. But don't worry: It's all perfectly normal, although it does give you an opportunity to get in on some interesting stocks before the investing masses do.


Playing index games one more time
Every June, Russell Investments, which is the company behind the well-known small-cap benchmark Russell 2000 index, changes its lists of component stocks for several of its indexes. Inevitably, the index reconstitution leads to some up-and-coming companies making it into the benchmarks, replacing those companies that no longer qualify for inclusion.


Given that this happens every year, you'd think that everyone would treat it as a non-event. But with nearly $4 trillion of institutional investments tied to Russell's indexes, there's a ton of money at stake -- and with the many index funds and other money managers that have to follow Russell's moves, you can expect to see substantial volatility as the changes become final on June 24.


Author JK Rowling announces that the e-books will be sold exclusively through her Pottermore website.

By Kim Peterson Jun 23, 2011 11:37AM
Pottermore has been revealed, and the secret is a bit of a letdown.

J.K. Rowling announced Thursday that her Harry Potter books will be available as audio downloads and digital e-books in October. The mysterious Pottermore website, which had teased Harry Potter fans for days, will be the only place to buy them.

The announcement falls a little flat for fans who had expected breakthrough news, perhaps maybe an online Harry Potter role-playing game. But Pottermore will have some new material: Rowling has reportedly written 18,000 words for the site, which will also feature games, social networking and an online store. 

Here are five funds for investors who are looking for yield in a shaky market.

By TheStreet Staff Jun 23, 2011 11:29AM

By Don Dion, TheStreet


Although the U.S. markets have enjoyed some small doses of strength over the course of the week, caution remains warranted as we look ahead.


With Greece's debt woes still dominating headlines and weighing on sentiment, the need for protection is essential. There are a number of ways investors can use ETFs in order to both defend against the market's current shakiness and prepare for strength on the horizon.


Dividend-paying equities and other income-oriented investing options, for instance, may appeal to investors looking to construct such an all-weather portfolio. Here are five ETF options investors may want to consider when attempting to target yield.


Technology and semiconductors have been lagging the S&P 500, and even strong earnings aren’t likely to reverse the negative outlook.

By MoneyShow.com Jun 23, 2011 11:13AM
By Tom Aspray, MoneyShow.com

It has been a rough few weeks for the semiconductor stocks as the Semiconductor HOLDRs Trust (SMH) is down 13% from the early-May highs. This tech industry group has seen several wide swings so far in 2011.

The decline in the semiconductors has been greater than that of the S&P technology sector, which through last week’s lows was down 10% from the early-May highs. During the same period, the S&P 500 was down just over 8%.

The tech earnings so far in 2011 have been stronger than most expected, but the technology sector has continued to lag the overall market. Therefore, as we enter a new earnings season, it will be important to see if the relative performance of the tech sector can improve.


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[BRIEFING.COM] The S&P 500 (-0.5%) remains pressured as every uptick has been met with selling activity. This morning, the health care sector (-0.6%) was an early source of weakness in reaction to concerns about the impact of new rules on tax inversion deals.

Over the past 30 minutes, Bloomberg reported that Pfizer (PFE 30.01, -0.17) has approached Actavis (ACT 242.88, +7.02) about a potential acquisition. Actavis, which traded with a slim loss ahead of the reports, has ... More


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