Once you get past the hype, there's little chance for long-term gain with this stock.
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Take the federal purse and divide by 10 million, and you get a picture of an affluent household earning $200,000 each year -- and spending more than $300,000.
By Jeff Reeves, Editor of InvestorPlace.com
The United States budget is broken beyond fixing. We could cut out all the pork, slash entitlements by 30% and still not have enough money to pay the bills.
Here are the cold numbers: This year we will spend about $3.5 trillion while taking in less than $2.2 trillion. Consider that those expenses would buy a brand-new Chevy Volt for one out of every four Americans. Or consider that the deficit alone is only slightly larger than the total GDP of Spain.
These numbers show how truly ugly things are, but they're too big for most folks to make sense of. That's why I decided to do some arithmetic and scale down the bloated federal budget to that of a household that brings in $200,000 a year. Here's what Uncle Sam's "family budget" would look like on this real-world scale:
Bank of Nova Scotia, Canada's third-largest bank, sees profit climb 41% to a record high in its second quarter.
Shares of Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS), Canada's third-largest bank, have modestly lagged the Canadian banking sector in 2011. I think that's about to change. (I think these shares are a good switch if you're holding shares of big U.S. banks, too.)
On May 31, the bank, which does business as Scotiabank, announced that net income for its second quarter (the three months ended on April 30) climbed 41% from the second quarter of 2010 to a record C$1.54 billion ($1.58 billion.)
The surge had two sources.
First, like its peers, Toronto-Dominion (TD) and Bank of Montreal (BMO), Bank of Nova Scotia reduced the amount that it set aside for loan losses in the quarter. Additions to reserves in the quarter fell to C$262 million from C$338 million in the same quarter of 2010. The bank is nearing the inflection point where it stops adding to reserves and instead starts to reduce them and add the cash back to its bottom line.
The retailer announces a huge stock buyback at its annual meeting, and says it will reverse negative sales growth in the US.
The company is trying to cheer up investors, and today announced it will buy back $15 billion in shares. Under a similar plan announced last year, Wal-Mart spent $12.9 billion to buy back 244 million shares.
Executives tried to reassure shareholders at the company's annual meeting at the University of Arkansas, telling them the company is on track to improve U.S. sales, which have slid for two years. "You better get ready, because we're coming," said Bill Simon, who is in charge of Wal-Mart's U.S. business.
Check out this video report from today's shareholder meeting. Post continues after video:
The industry continues to grow despite rising oil prices.
By Sean Williams
Despite popular belief, oil prices, which have been hovering around $100 per barrel for the better part of three months now, have not completely sucked the life force out of the freight sector.
On the contrary, numbers out of UTi Worldwide (UTIW) yesterday suggest that freight companies are becoming more efficient and have been able to successfully pass along higher fuel costs to customers. It's time we stopped being frightened by freight and instead look at the growth story right under our nose.
As mentioned above, UTi Worldwide reported an in-line, one-time costs excluded, EPS figure of $0.13, but the real story was that the company was able to pass along rising fuel costs to its customers, which helped it surpass revenue expectations.
The airline, once the flat-out leader in discount fares, has raised ticket prices 7 times since December.
Southwest used to be the go-to airline for the best fares. With smart fuel hedging and ultra-efficient fleet management, Southwest created savings and passed them on to customers through deep discounts.
But that seems to be changing. Southwest isn't that cheap anymore. Its average ticket price has increased 39% in the past five years, The Wall Street Journal reports. The industrywide fare increase during the same period averaged only 10%.
Now some of its last-minute tickets can top $1,000. And Southwest doesn't always have the lowest prices anymore. I recently booked a trip to Las Vegas on Southwest, only to find later that U.S. Airways (LCC) was a much better deal.
Pushed toward riskier plays by the Fed's money-printing binge, investors have been overlooking these options.
June is here, and with it will come a number of things that should make just about everyone happy: warmer weather, the end of school, and the official start of summer, to name just a few.
For investors, however, June brings with it a giant question mark: the end of the liquidity jolt known as QE2, the Federal Reserve's second round of quantitative easing. One of the results -- or, some folks might say, intentions -- of this huge stimulative policy was a surge in equities. And the biggest beneficiaries appear to have been smaller, speculative stocks. It seems, not surprisingly, that by deluging financial markets with cash, the Fed has encouraged risk-taking in equity markets.
An interesting byproduct of that is that the current bull run has yet to switch gears. In the typical bull, MarketWatch's Mark Hulbert recently noted, lower-quality junk-type stocks lead the market initially but then give way to higher-quality stocks by the time the bull is a year old, if not earlier. We're now more than two years into this bull market, and large, high-quality stocks remain quite cheap compared with smaller, lower-quality plays.
Investors are worried. The economy is slowing. The Fed's $600 billion bond-buying initiative is set to end. But beneath the surface, a groundswell of new support builds.
Rising inflationary pressures and Japanese supply chain woes (which I wrote about back in March) have pulled down factory activity and consumer confidence. Housing is on the slide again. On Friday, we learned that this "soft patch" of growth has hit where it hurts most, in the job market.
The May payroll report was disappointing. Payrolls increased by 54,000, a sharp decline from April's 232,000 gain and well short of the consensus estimate of 170,000. What's worse, Wall Street analysts had just furiously marked down their forecasts. Deutsche Bank cut from 300,000 last week to 225,000 on Tuesday to 160,000 on Wednesday. The unemployment rate jumped to 9.1%, up from 8.8% in March.
Investors are once again clamoring for more policy stimulus from the Federal Reserve. But because of bubbling inflationary pressures and the damage it's causing via higher energy and import prices, another big round of long-term asset purchases is unlikely. With the $600 billion QE2 initiative started last November coming to its end, a QE3 appears to be off the table.
Yet the Federal Reserve still has a few cards to play. In fact, a "stealth stimulus" is already under way.
The charts of 3 funds in particular look the strongest, and bullish signs from another potential standout sector are emerging.
By Tom Aspray, MoneyShow.com
The second quarter has been a tough one for the major averages, and the first day of trading in June has many people concerned about how the quarter will end. There have been only a few bright spots among the major market sectors, as four of the nine are currently underperforming the S&P 500.
On April 15, I analyzed the major sectors and used relative performance, or RS analysis, to identify Two New Market-Leading Sectors. Those were health care, as represented by the Select Sector SPDR - Health Care (XLV), and consumer staples, as tracked by the Select Sector SPDR - Consumer Staples (XLP).
Real-estate securities yield as much as 19% at a time when equities are about to lose some of the Fed's support.
By Jake Lynch, TheStreet
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has indicated that the hurdle for QE3 is very high. Other Fed governors have echoed this sentiment and, given the QE2-backlash from politicians and the recent ramp in commodity prices, the Fed wouldn't consider more easing unless deflation emerged and a double-dip recession loomed.
As QE2 ends, there are other significant headwinds facing the economy. In the past two weeks, every single economic report has missed its consensus projection. Consumer confidence posted a disconcerting drop and the S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index fell to an all-time low.
In many ways, the issues that caused the Great Recession are still prevalent and dogging growth. In this environment, with the government tackling budget cuts and employment stagnating, the Fed funds rate is likely to remain at zero, longer than previously expected.
Users of the deal-a-day site stand to save even more money on heavier discounts. Includes video.
By Miriam Marcus Reimer, TheStreet
Groupon is looking to raise $750 million through its impending IPO, giving the company capital to continue to build its business and providing a windfall for its owners.
Nokia makes an 'Elop flop.' Zuckerberg starts killing his own meat. The safety of mobile phones remains in question after major WHO announcement. Goldman Sachs' Libya dealings come to light.
Here is this week's roundup of the dumbest actions on Wall Street.
5. Nokia takes the Elop flop
Nokia's rough road to recovery got even rockier Tuesday as the phone giant cut its second-quarter sales forecast due to weak demand.
Stocks have been trading in lockstep with the dollar-euro relationship, but this market needs good news out of Europe, not more bad news from the US.
The CurrencyShares Euro Trust (FXE) has been a terrific barometer of the action for several months now. On Thursday it was a good one that just turned bad.
When the dollar plunged on the Moody's warning, of course sending the FXE higher, the Dow shot up to even instantly. There are clearly buy programs that kick in automatically. Did anyone think that, by now, in a world dominated by high-frequency trading, there would be anything different?
But then the market came right back down, a recognition, perhaps, that we don't want the dollar to weaken on a default basis, and that anything short of a real debt deal and a real cut in the budget will actually send rates higher and derail what, until recently, had been considered an anemic recovery to begin with.
The mining equipment maker impresses in its second quarter, and investors push up shares more than 5%.
Revenue climbed 19% from the second quarter of fiscal 2010 to $1.06 billion. That was slightly above the consensus forecast of $1.03 billion.
Another increase in guidance for the full 2011 fiscal year: For fiscal 2011, the company now sees earnings of $5.30-$5.60 a share (former guidance was $5.10-$5.40). Wall Street analysts had been projecting earnings per share of $5.41.
Revenue, the company now projects, will total $4.1 billion-$4.3 billion. That's above former guidance of $4 billion-$4.2 billion. (The Wall Street consensus was $4.17 billion.)
The daily deals site wants to raise $750 million in an IPO, trading under the symbol 'GRPN.'
The site, which offers daily discounts at local shops and restaurants, filed plans today to raise $750 million in an initial public offering, creating a new wave of anticipation among investors who want to cash in on social media.
Groupon had been on this path ever since it rejected a $6 billion offer from Google (GOOG) last December. The company pioneered the daily-deals business, and was rewarded by seeing a rash of competitors and clones. Google, Facebook, LivingSocial and Amazon (AMZN) have all jumped into the pool, offering customers discounts at hair salons, photography studios, restaurants and other stores.
Post continues after this video about Groupon's IPO filing:
At least one major cable company said that the focus should be more on Internet than anything else.
But times have changed. As the economy turned sour, people were open to ditching the digital phone. And some have cut the cable cord, too, relying on Hulu and Netflix (NFLX) instead.
But the one part of that triple play that people absolutely can't live without is their Internet connection. And that's causing cable companies to shift their focus from triple play to selling the single play of broadband Internet.
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The Fed may start tapering in just a few months. Here are a few of the likely winners and losers.
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[BRIEFING.COM] A solid November employment report translated into a solid day of gains for the major averages. While there was some talk that the encouraging job growth raised the odds of the Fed announcing a tapering at its December meeting, the message of the markets today was either that it didn't believe there would be a tapering this month or that it doesn't fear a tapering this month.
It was just one day, yet there was ample meaning wrapped up in the connection that the 10-yr ... More
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