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After months of ambling along, equities, crude oil and other risky assets are falling hard on poor economic data. It's set to continue.

By Anthony Mirhaydari May 4, 2012 1:24PM

In my post here Thursday, I warned that the little dollar-driven rebound rally of late April was ending and would be replaced with something much uglier.


In fact, the head-and-shoulders reversal pattern traced out by the NYSE Composite ($NYA) suggested stocks could very well be headed for mid-December levels -- a drop of more than 5% from current levels. Peak to trough, that would be a 10% drop from the March high.

 

Stocks slide on a disappointing nonfarm payrolls report.

By MSN Money Partner May 4, 2012 1:04PM
Information provided by Theflyonthewall.com

Insurer American International Group (AIG) reported earnings that beat estimates but its stock slid almost 4% during today's session after rising fairly steadily during the past week.

Among other companies reporting earnings Friday, advancers included LinkedIn (LNKD) and CareFusion (CFN); decliners included Southwestern Energy (SWN), Warnaco (WRC) and CF Industries (CF). 

Brick-and-mortar stores are using different strategies to ward off competition from online retailers.

By Trefis May 4, 2012 11:57AM
Trefis LogoWith the growing dominance of online retailers like Amazon (AMZN) and eBay (EBAY), the dynamics of the retail industry have changed.

The world's largest brick-and-mortar retailers, including Wal-Mart (WMT), Target (TGT), and Best Buy (BBY), are working hard to develop their online presence.  

The media giant's dependence on the cartoon character is scary.

By Jonathan Berr May 4, 2012 11:48AM
Image: Watching television (© Frare/Davis Photography/Brand X/Corbis)When Viacom Inc. (VIA.B) renewed "SpongeBob SquarePants" for a ninth season last year, the media network's Nickelodeon channel called it "a testament to creator Stephen Hillenburg's vision, comedic sensibility and his dynamic, lovable characters."

What was left unsaid, however, is that this may be the last hurrah for the Bikini Bottom gang. 

The social network for professionals is profitable and making a savvy acquisition.

By InvestorPlace May 4, 2012 11:11AM

By Tom Taulli


Forget about Facebook. The hot social media stock of the moment is LinkedIn (LNKD).


Thanks to strong earnings and a recent buyout that was well-received by investors, shares soared by double-digits Friday.


So does that mean brighter days are ahead for all social media stocks and the big Facebook IPO coming up in a few weeks? Maybe. But maybe not.

 

Health Net is upgraded to 'buy' at Goldman, and Hasbro is downgraded to 'underperform' at BMO Capital.

By MSN Money Partner May 4, 2012 11:00AM
Information provided by Theflyonthewall.com

Friday's noteworthy upgrades include:  
  • Allstate (ALL) upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Barclays
  • Health Net (HNT) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Goldman
  • SunPower (SPWR) upgraded to Hold from Sell at ThinkEquity
  • Whole Foods (WFM) upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at JPMorgan
  • Weight Watchers (WTW) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Auriga
 

But which credit card stock looks better going forward?

By InvestorPlace May 4, 2012 10:36AM

By Charles Sizemore

 

Credit card rivals MasterCard (MA) and Visa (V) released earnings this week, and both knocked the ball out of the park.

 

We'll start with MasterCard. This smaller of the two rivals enjoyed earnings growth of 25% in the first quarter and a 17% increase in worldwide purchase volumes. Not to be outdone, Visa announced a 30% rise in earnings per share on an 11% rise in payments volume.

 

The Oracle of Omaha also says the hype does not signal a tech bubble.

By MSN Money Partner May 4, 2012 10:21AM
Warren Buffett, the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A, BRK.B), won't invest in Facebook, but he does understand the excitement surrounding its coming initial public offering.

Despite the hype, he doesn't think we're in a bubble similar to the dot-com craze of the late 1990s early 2000s. Listen to what he has to say: 

The hedge-fund star who blew up Herbalife shares with a few innocent questions on Tuesday owes some answers of his own.

By MoneyShow.com May 4, 2012 10:02AM

By Igor Greenwald, MoneyShow.com

 

I bought some Herbalife (HLF) call options Tuesday. I write this up front so that you won't mistake me for a disinterested observer. And also so you won't misinterpret the rest as advice to buy Herbalife, sell Herbalife, or use its diet pills as suppositories.

 

In making this disclosure, I've already been infinitely more forthcoming than noted hedge-fund manager and short-seller David Einhorn. Einhorn's surprise cameo on the Herbalife earnings conference call set the stock back 20%, or $543 million in market cap lost for each of his three leading questions. The stock lost a record 34% of its value in three days, as of Thursday's close.

 

OK, so you don't have to aim for millions. But time and a little savvy can really pay off as your child grows. Here are 8 expert picks and some tips on where to begin.

By Kim Peterson May 4, 2012 9:32AM
Credit: Kim PetersonForrest Gump hit the jackpot when a friend invested his money in "some kind of fruit company" -- also known as Apple (AAPL). The stock went public at a split-adjusted price of $2.75 and is now worth nearly $600.

Wouldn't it be great to give a newborn the same stock market bonanza? If only.

In today's volatile markets, perhaps the most we can do is invest some cash in a reliable, well-priced stock and hope it goes somewhere.

The right choice might turn into a college tuition in a couple of decades. Or a down payment. We just have to figure out what to pick. 

This high-flyer -- up 30-fold over the past decade -- still offers long-term value.

By TheStockAdvisors May 4, 2012 9:16AM

By Jack Adamo, Insiders Plus

I've been enthusiastic about Chile ever since I started looking into it a few months ago. It has had some of the most consistent growth in the world over the last decade and its government has the highest rating for honesty of any government in South America.

Our latest recommendation, LAN Airlines S.A. (LFL), serves 76 destinations connecting Latin America to North America, Europe, and the South Pacific, as well as 93 additional international destinations through various code share agreements. It has strategic alliances with American Airlines, Iberia, and Qantas.

 
Tags: LFLtravel

The energy company tops expectations. The social network rallies 10% on bullish guidance and an acquisition.

By TheStreet Staff May 4, 2012 8:33AM

By Joseph Woelfel and Alexandra Zendrian

 

Duke Energy (DUK) reported first-quarter earnings Friday of $295 million, or 22 cents a share, down from year-earlier earnings of $511 million, or 38 cents. Adjusted earnings for the latest quarter were 38 cents a share. Analysts expected a profit of 36 cents a share on revenue of $3.62 billion.

 

LinkedIn (LNKD), the business social network, topped Wall Street's expectations for its first quarter. The company also gave a bullish forecast for the current quarter and said it has agreed to acquire privately held SlideShare, a service that allows professionals to share presentations, for $118.75 million in cash and stock.

 

Right now, it's because that's what the company says it's worth. But investors will have their say.

By Charley Blaine May 3, 2012 11:14PM
Updated: 9:17 a.m. ET, Friday

There was a lot of excitement Thursday afternoon when social-networking site Facebook said it might price its shares from $28 to $35 -- or as much as $11.81 billion -- when it goes public. It could mean Facebook is worth between $59.9 billion and $96 billion. The initial public offering price is expected to be set May 17, with trading set to start on May 18.

The next question is whether $28 to $35 makes sense. This is a judgment call that can be made only by the buyers of the IPO and investors once trading starts. Right now, the assumptions that would make those numbers possible suggest a pricey stock.  

While everyone giggles with glee now that Apple is throwing off a dividend, this company has been doing the same thing for almost a decade, and is well-positioned for decades to come.

By MoneyShow.com May 3, 2012 7:45PM

By Charles Carlson, DRIP Investor


While Apple's (AAPL) announcement that it is initiating a dividend has garnered a lot of attention, one tech stock that has been ahead of the curve in terms of giving its shareholders dividends is Qualcomm (QCOM).


The company has been paying a quarterly dividend since 2003. Reflecting strong operating performance, the company recently boosted its dividend 16% to a quarterly rate of 25 cents per share.

 

The retail giant is dumping Kindle products in the latest round of an increasingly bitter battle between the online retailer and brick-and-mortar stores.

By TheWeek.com May 3, 2012 6:11PM
Image: Target © Bloomberg/Getty ImagesTarget (TGT) announced this week it would stop selling Amazon's (AMZN) Kindle devices, which include the Kindle e-reader, the Kindle Fire tablet computer, and all the Kindle's accompanying accessories.

Target is reportedly dropping the Kindle over a cryptic "conflict of interest," but the big-box retailer will continue to carry Barnes & Noble's (BKS) Nook e-reader and Apple's (AAPL) iPad. The seemingly aggressive move has fueled speculation that Target is targeting Amazon, which has emerged as an existential threat to physical retailers.

Is Target at war with Amazon? 

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[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market finished the Wednesday session on a modestly lower note, but it is worth mentioning today's retreat took place after six consecutive gains. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (-0.1%) and S&P 500 (-0.2%) settled not far below their flat lines, while the Nasdaq Composite (-0.8%) lagged throughout the session.

Equity indices started the day in the red, with the Nasdaq showing early weakness as large cap tech names and biotechnology weighed. The technology ... More


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