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Up next: Biggest bank IPO ever

It's no Alibaba, but the Citizens Financial Group offering is important to the market.


Antipiracy bills under consideration in Congress are flawed, but their goal is valid.

By Jonathan Berr Jan 18, 2012 5:10PM
Image: Couple with laptop (© Daly and Newton/OJO Images/Getty Images)Google (GOOG) and other Internet companies may win the battle against antipiracy bills being debated in Congress, but they may ultimately lose the war.

Though the bills lawmakers are considering -- the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and its Senate companion, the Protect IP Act (PIPA) -- are deeply flawed, that doesn't change the fact that pirated content is a serious problem. Exactly how serious, though, is up for debate. The Freakonomics blog did a solid job recently showing that estimates of the scope of the piracy were inflated, but the problem is still real. 
Tags: GOOG

Investors are seeing a mixed bag of quarterly results as banks reel from weak trading revenue.

By Kim Peterson Jan 18, 2012 4:09PM
Image: Bank Vault (© Radius Images/Jupiterimages)Bank of America (BAC) is next up in what's turning out to be a series of unpredictable earnings reports this week.

And if the other reports are any indication, Bank of America's earnings report Thursday may not be pretty. Many of the nation's largest banks and regional banks reported declines for the fourth quarter, battered by weak trading revenue.

Citigroup (C) announced an unexpected drop in fourth-quarter earnings this week as trading revenue declined. 

It's all a matter of perspective.

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day Jan 18, 2012 4:01PM

By Evan Niu


Last year saw many overhyped IPOs, and Zynga (ZNGA) probably takes the cake -- although it may have to compete for that title with Groupon (GRPN), which is trading slightly above its $20 offering price.


Still, the month since Zynga shares started changing public hands has been a pretty lackluster one. After the offering priced at $10, shares broke that threshold on just the first day and have remained in single-digit territory ever since. But in a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal, CEO Mark Pincus added some detail on why he considers the offering a success.


With so many global opportunities to take advantage of $100-a-barrel crude, drilling stocks like Schlumberger are too cheap to ignore.

By Jim Cramer Jan 18, 2012 3:09PM

Will the drillers catch up with crude? Or will crude go down to where the drillers are?


Every day I ponder how oil can be up so big and the drillers be so heavy, especially given the fact that there's no real sense that oil is going to come down soon. Despite the fact that oil usage diminished last quarter, I don't see pricing coming down because of the Iranian Strait of Hormuz threat, because of the potential for more unrest in Nigeria and the Mideast, but most importantly because of a return to faster growth in China and the United States, which will offset the European recession that clearly is on the horizon.


Given its brand name, marketing muscle and distribution network, the soft drink and snack maker has maintained healthy margins even with low pricing.

By Trefis Jan 18, 2012 2:52PM
Image: Potato chips (© Image Source/Getty Images)Although PepsiCo (PEP) is increasing its marketing spending to boost flagging soft drink sales, the stock's true value is likely to come from its snack business via the Frito-Lay segment. PepsiCo's recent acquisitions in strategically key locations give it a strong platform and ensure long-term growth.

What many investors will find surprising is that Frito-Lay's contribution to the overall stock price is almost half of the value, while the soft drink segments make up a far smaller percentage, according to our analysis.  

New bottom formations on the charts for two embattled emerging ETFs signal better days may be coming.

By Jan 18, 2012 2:04PM

By Tom Aspray,

On Tuesday, economic data out of China encouraged traders and helped boost the stock market. Even though the data reflected a contracting economy, it was not as weak as most expected. Foreign direct investment declined in November for the first time since 2009 and further lowering of bank reserves is likely in the coming months.

Brazil's rate cut in August caught the markets by surprise and likely avoided pushing the Brazilian economy into a technical recession. That nation's economy seems to be turning the corner, as November's data on economic growth beat forecasts. The market is now expecting another rate cut later Wednesday.


The cost advantage of the solar panel maker has eroded because of lower prices across the polysilicon-based PV module supply chain.

By Trefis Jan 18, 2012 1:47PM
Image: Solar energy (© Mick Roessler/Corbis)First Solar (FSLR), the world's largest player in the thin cell photovoltaic (PV) segment, has been subject to intense price competition from Chinese manufacturers over the past few quarters. 

First Solar's thin cell Cd-Te technology gave the company a cost advantage over its competition, but that has eroded considerably of late mainly because of lower prices across the polysilicon-based PV module supply chain.  

Markets may be swayed by fear and hope, but when it comes to events like this, they just aren't sentimental.

By The Fiscal Times Jan 18, 2012 12:54PM
CruiseBy Suzanne McGee, The Fiscal Times

Like the rest of the world, investors and traders may have gasped in horror at the images of one of Carnival Cruise Lines' (CCL) largest ships lying on its side along the Italian coast after its captain allegedly sailed too close to the rocks. And like the rest of the world, investors and traders may have recoiled at the news of the victims who couldn't get off the boat in a timely manner.

But that's not why investors and traders spent Tuesday busily dumping Carnival stock, which lost nearly 14%.  

This speculative biotech is a leading player in the race to commercialize genome sequencing.

By TheStockAdvisors Jan 18, 2012 12:37PM
Image: Scientists monitoring computers in control room © Martin Barraud/OJO Images/Getty ImagesBy Mark Skousen, Forecasts & Strategies

We want to start the year off with a great speculative opportunity -- Illumina (ILMN).

This San Diego biotech firm and medical instrument maker specializes in DNA sequencing and the genetic research that is so valuable in detecting and curing diseases. 
Tags: ILMN

OfficeMax, Office Depot, RadioShack are upgraded at Barclays. LinkedIn is initiated with 'outperform.'

By MSN Money Partner Jan 18, 2012 11:54AM
Information provided by

Wednesday's noteworthy upgrades include:
  • OfficeMax (OMX) upgraded to Equal Weight from Underweight at Barclays
  • Office Depot (ODP) upgraded to Equal Weight from Underweight at Barclays
  • RadioShack (RSH) upgraded to Equal Weight from Underweight at Barclays
  • MGM Resorts (MGM) upgraded to Neutral from Underperform at Credit Suisse

Investment banking business continues to struggle, but expenses trimmed.

By Jonathan Berr Jan 18, 2012 11:27AM

Adam Gault/OJO Images/Getty ImagesShares of Goldman Sachs (GS) rose in early trading after the venerable Wall Street firm posted large quarterly earnings and revenue drops that nonetheless beat expectations. Many see reasons for optimism, especially since the company was able to trim operating expenses by 14% to $22.64 billion in 2011.

Net income in the three-month period ended Dec. 31, 2011 plunged 58% to $1.01 billion, or $1.84 a share, surpassing the $1.23 a share average estimate of 26 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

Tags: GS

Though short-sellers have targeted the company, Silvercorp is one of the best ways to play the expected silver spring rally.

By TheStockAdvisors Jan 18, 2012 10:56AM
Photodisc/SuperStockBy Brien Lundin, Gold Newsletter

Silvercorp Metals (SVM) has mounted a vigorous defense against a massive "short and distort" scheme directed at the company.

These efforts appear to be paying dividends and the company has continued to conduct business as usual. 
Tags: SVM

Investing for yield isn't timid. It's downright smart.

By InvestorPlace Jan 18, 2012 10:34AM

 Image Source/CorbisBy Jeff Reeves

Think dividends are for lazy, below-average investors who are content with simply tracking the market? Think again. Dividend investing could be the only way to preserve your wealth right now.

But more important, dividend stocks don't just preserve wealth, they can constantly build your retirement funds through a steady stream of income. Don't underestimate the power of a regular payday, especially if the yield is 5%, 6% or more. Who in his right mind would pass up 6% annual returns in this choppy market?


This fund plays on continuing weakness in a downtrending sector.

By Jan 18, 2012 10:14AM

Medioimages/Getty ImagesBy Doug Fabian, ETF Trader

The beginning of the year is a great time to take stock of what you're doing with your money. It's also a good time to reiterate the goals and objectives of your various assets and portfolio holdings.

In this business, our goal is to swing for the fences and chase home-run trades. I'm talking about double-digit percentage gainers at a minimum, with the aim of achieving 20% to 40% gains on the positions that we take.


Bottom line: It's a clear signal that the Internet pioneer is up for sale.

By InvestorPlace Jan 18, 2012 9:49AM

Jerry Yang's abrupt departure Tuesday from Yahoo (YHOO) is a clear signal that the company he co-founded is on the block. A flashing neon "For Sale" sign would be less subtle, and that's the problem.

Pressure is so intense from shareholders -- including activists such as Daniel Loeb -- that Yahoo has little choice but to quickly sell anything that isn't nailed down.



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[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market began the new trading week on the defensive note with small-cap stocks pacing the retreat. The Russell 2000 (-1.4%) and Nasdaq Composite (-1.1%) displayed relative weakness, while the S&P 500 lost 0.8% with all ten sectors ending in the red.

Global equities began showing some cracks overnight after China's Finance Minister Lou Jiwei poured cold water on hopes for new stimulus measures. Specifically, Mr. Lou said the government has no plans to change ... More


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