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The end of QE2, an economic rebound and more powerful inflationary pressures are set to hit one of the market's favorite havens.
We're on the cusp of some major changes for the economy and the stock market, changes I've covered in recent posts and columns.
The recovery looks ready to re-accelerate. Inflation is rising. The Federal Reserve, which started its two-day policy meeting Tuesday, is set to end its $600 billion money-printing stimulus but keep interest rates pegged near zero. And risk appetites have returned as the situation in Europe moves toward a new solution.
All of this is a perfect recipe for big losses on the one asset class considered to be "risk free": U.S. Treasury bonds. Here's why.
Cable companies hope better service keeps customers from ditching cable for Internet video.
Situations like these hurt Comcast (CMCSA). The cable company won the "worst company in America" crown from the Consumerist website last year, and slow customer service was likely a big factor there.
So Comcast is trying to clean itself up, starting with that nasty four-hour cable guy window. By next year, the cable giant wants to shorten its repair window to two hours or less, Bloomberg reports.
This isn't as easy as it sounds. The company is adding new dispatch technology and giving all of its technicians laptops and handheld devices, Bloomberg reports. It's part of the broader overhaul of the cable system, which Comcast is renaming "Xfinity."
The stock ran hot right out of the box but overheated and plunged, tempting many investors.
By Anders Bylund
Pandora Media (P) took the plunge and hit the public market. Now you, too, can own a piece of your favorite streaming music service. But Mr. Market has hated this stock so far -- if you were first in line to buy shares on Wednesday, you've lost 44% of your investment already.
Fellow Fool Rick Munarriz called it: Amid Pandora's scorching hot IPO, he told you to stay away from the launch. Though revenue is growing like gangbusters, costs are tagging along as well and the company hasn't figured out how to turn a profit. And the share offering price more than doubled from the initial plan as fellow online darling LinkedIn (LNKD) and others threw chum in the IPO waters. LinkedIn hasn't done much better, by the way. Just short of a month into its public life, the stock has taken a 25% haircut from where it opened on its first day.
Security experts say core US infrastructure and even Google could be targeted. Which companies could benefit?
By James Rogers, TheStreet
From Lockheed Martin (LMT) to Citigroup (C) and even the CIA, the list of major organizations falling victim to hackers is growing at an alarming rate, fueling worries that core U.S. infrastructure is the next big target.
"If you are talking about hackers that work for foreign governments, then I think the focus would continue with defense contractors as well as anything related to the U.S. infrastructure," said Jim Stickley of cybersecurity specialist TraceSecurity. "That could include the power grids as well as oil refinery companies and phone systems."
Underlining the importance of this issue, the National Security Agency has reportedly started a project called Perfect Citizen, which aims to monitor key infrastructure such as power grids and nuclear reactors for potential attacks. The NSA has not yet responded to TheStreet's request for comment on this story.
Will the gruesome images make any difference?
The government is requiring that packages show gruesome images designed to remind people of the health dangers of smoking. Those images include corpses, diseased lungs, endangered babies and a man with a tracheostomy hole. (You can see all the images here.)
The images are the first major changes to cigarette warning labels in 25 years. Altria Group (MO), Reynolds American (RAI) and Lorillard (LO) will be watching anxiously to see how the new labels affect sales. Click here to see before and after pictures of how the cigarettes will look on store shelves.
Will the new packaging make any difference?
While the overall market struggles, these shares are ripe for new buying.
The delivery service, which reports its earnings on Wednesday, accounts for 10% of the ETF's index.
By Don Dion, TheStreet
Although much of the economic-related headlines and debate throughout this week will be focused on the comments made during Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's press conference and the troubles facing the European Union, there are a handful of other stories investors will want to keep tabs on in the days ahead.
For instance, on Wednesday, the transportation sector will be interesting to watch as FedEx (FDX), the delivery services titan, steps up to the earnings plate.
ETF investors looking to target FedEx and the rest of the transportation industry during the week will want to turn to the iShares Dow Jones Transportation Average Index Fund (IYT).
The beaten-down sector won't lag the market forever.
By Dan Freed, TheStreet
Financial stocks have underperformed the broader market year to date, which may be a good reason to beef up bets in the sector.
The Financial Select Sector SPDR (XLF), a popular exchange-traded fund that tracks financial stocks, was down 6.7% year to date as of Monday's close, versus a more than 4% gain for the Dow Jones Industrial Average ($INDU).
Which financial stocks do analysts like best? One ranking system offers an answer.
As the market slides, the iPad maker is looking more attractive, prompting this safety-first researcher to add it to its 5-star-stock list.
By Jake Lynch, TheStreet
Morningstar covers more than 1,700 stocks, and only 45 receive five-star rankings. That number has increased quite a bit in the past few weeks as the equity market has slid. Morningstar says Apple, which is down to $315 from a 52-week high of $365, is now at an attractive discount price.
During the second quarter, Apple roughly doubled its operating income and boosted sales by 83%. Such growth is remarkable, especially considering the company already has a market value of $290 billion. IPhone revenue surged 126%, Mac revenue climbed 32%, iTunes revenue increased 23%, software sales stretched 17%, and peripherals sales advanced 23%. IPod sales declined 14%. The iPad has no year-over-year comparison, but it delivered $2.3 billion in quarterly sales. Put simply, business is booming.
In this market, investors want stocks that pay a reliable yield to cushion the blows of volatility.
What separates the winners from the losers in this market? Often it is one simple concept: a viable dividend that is unlikely to be cut. Specifically, a dividend that has a nice yield after taxes, one that will cushion it from the vicissitudes of daily market swings.
It's your best defense against forces like a troubled Europe, a tightening China and a sinking Japan.
How powerful is it? All you need to do is examine some of the weakest sectors to know. Let's take the case of defense stocks. Here's a group that's being butchered by the Department of Defense. We all know that spending is coming down. But the stocks have been huge winners this year, and much of that, I believe, is yield protection.
Lockheed Martin (LMT) has been in the cross hairs of the U.S. government cutbacks for months. Has the stock gone down? It is up an astounding 15% for the year, in large part, I believe, because it yields 3.7% and, of course, throughout that rally had a much higher yield.
Callifornia regulators stop automatic delivery of the white pages. Are the Yellow Pages next?
Verizon will still hand out the Yellow Pages as well as government white pages and business listings. But just cutting the residential listings will save about 1,870 tons of material, reports the Matter Network.
California isn't alone here. Other states are granting similar requests by phone companies, who don't like the books because they're unprofitable and generally advertising-free, USA Today reports. People can pretty much get the information they need on the Internet now.
There is plenty of political rhetoric surrounding a second rescue package.
The share price has fallen below key technical support levels, yet some analysts say now is the time to buy.
Why is Apple struggling? Analysts have a median price target of $450 on the stock, with 50 urging a "strong buy" or "buy." Investors apparently disagree.
Apple is trading well below its 50-day moving average of $338.98 and below its 200-day moving average of $325.91. Its market value has fallen below $300 billion -- back to where it was at the beginning of the year.
The valuations of these companies argue against it.
By Jordan DiPietro
A few weeks ago, a friend asked what I thought about the future of a Facebook IPO. My short response was that retail investors would most likely get in the way after the smart money made its way on to the table, so it was hard to recommend a buy.
His response: "Buy, buy, buy!"
Here comes another bubble?
When investors start getting so involved in story stocks and ideas that they ignore fundamentals and valuations, it's very easy for a bubble to form.
Recently there's been an onslaught of tech companies coming to the market or filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission for upcoming IPOs, and the hype around these companies has become quite phenomenal.
From cereal to soda, food marketers are reviving the past to stir shoppers' emotions.
That's the hope of food companies, at least. Companies such as Pepsi (PEP) and General Mills (GIS) have jumped on the retro food bandwagon, dusting off old designs in an effort to take shoppers down memory lane.
Check out the following video for good examples of how everything old is new again on supermarket shelves. For some products, this trend is becoming a permanent look.
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[BRIEFING.COM] Stocks entered the weekend on a mixed note as the S&P 500 shed 0.1% while the Dow ended with a gain of 0.1%.
The major averages began the day on a lower note as nine of ten sectors saw losses of more than 0.5%.
The consumer staples sector was the lone exception as the group spent the entire day in positive territory thanks to the relative strength of Dow component Procter & Gamble (PG 81.89, +3.19). The second-largest staple stock advanced ... More
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