Tag Archives: Dow Jones

Stock Futures Point Higher Ahead of Numerous Earnings Reports

By IBTimes

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Richard Drew/AP

By Sreeja VN

U.S. stock futures point to a higher open Wednesday, ahead of the publication of new home sales data and quarterly earnings statements from major American companies, including Facebook, Ford, PepsiCo, Qualcomm, Visa and Boeing.

Futures on the Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) were up 0.2 percent, while futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 index (^GSPC) were up 0.3 percent and those on the Nasdaq 100 Index were up 0.9 percent.

Investors are expected to focus on new home sales data for June, to be released by the Commerce Department, at 10 a.m. Eastern time. Analysts expect new home sales — the annualized number of new single-family homes that were sold during the previous month — may probably increase to 485,000 in June from 476,000 in the previous month.

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New home sales had recorded a better-than-expected gain in May, helped by a pick-up in demand, while existing home sales data for June, which was released Monday, showed a decline. Analysts attributed the fall to a recent hike in mortgage interest rates and believe new home sales could still increase in June.

“With the NAHB current sales index still rising strongly, we have penciled in an increase in new sales from 476,000 in May to 485,000,” Paul Diggle, an economist with Capital Economics, wrote in a research note.

On the earnings front, a number of major companies, including Caterpillar (CAT), Eli Lilly & Co. (LLY), EMC Corp. (EMC), US Airways Group, (LCC), Ford (F), PepsiCo (PEP) and Boeing (BA), will announce quarterly earnings before market hours. Visa (V), Western Digital (WDC), Qualcomm (QCOM) and Facebook (FB) are to announce their earnings after markets close Wednesday.

Markit Economics’ flash Purchasing Managers’ Index, or PMI, for the manufacturing sector in the month of July, is scheduled to be released at 9 a.m. Eastern time. The index, which measures the activity level of purchasing managers in the manufacturing sector, is expected to show a reading of 52.5 in July, up from the 51.9 recorded in June. A reading below 50 indicates contraction.

European markets were trading higher Wednesday, as investor sentiments were buoyed after flash PMIs for the euro zone’s manufacturing and services sectors beat expectations. The 17-nation eurozone’s manufacturing PMI for July came in at 50.1 compared to 48.8 in the previous month. The services PMI registered a reading of 49.6 compared to 48.3 in June.

Germany’s manufacturing PMI came in at 50.3 in July, up from 48.6 in June while the nation’s services PMI was at 52.5 in July, up from 50.4 in June. Meanwhile, in neighboring France, while the …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance

Stock Futures Point to a Higher Open on Wall Street

By IBTimes

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Richard Drew/AP

By Sreeja VN

U.S. stock index futures point to a higher open on Wall Street on Tuesday, ahead of the publication of the House Price Index and corporate earnings statements from tech majors Apple, AT&T and Electronic Arts.

Futures on the Dow Jones industrial average(^DJI) were up 0.3 percent, while futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 index (^GSPC) were up 0.1 percent and those on the Nasdaq 100 index were up 0.3 percent.

Investors will also be turning their attention to the publication of the Federal Housing Finance Agency House Price Index at 9 a.m. Eastern time. The index provides the monthly average change in house prices across the country or a certain area, using data provided by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The index is expected to nudge up to 0.8 percent in May, from 0.7 percent recorded in the previous month.

In addition, a number of major companies, including United Parcel Service (UPS), Altria Group (MO), Lockheed Martin (LMT), MGIC Investment (MTG), Wendy’s (WEN) will announce quarterly earnings before market hours. Altera (ALTR) and Broadcom (BRCM), along with Apple (AAPL), AT&T (T) and Electronic Arts (EA), will announce their earnings after markets close.

European markets were trading flat after climbing higher earlier Tuesday, as Asian markets rallied following recent reports from China indicating Beijing might take measures to support the country’s economic growth, and the Japanese government upgraded its outlook of the country’s economy for a third consecutive month.

The Stoxx Europe 600 index rose 0.1 percent, London’s FTSE 100 was flat, Germany’s DAX-30 was up 0.1 percent and France’s CAC-40 was trading up 0.05 percent.

In Asia, Chinese stocks led a rally in the region’s markets, with the Shanghai Composite index surging 2 percent while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index soared 2.3 percent. Shares jumped after several local media reported that Premier Li Keqiang, at a cabinet meeting last week, gave an assurance that the government won’t allow China’s economic growth to fall below 7 percent.

Japan’s Nikkei ended up 0.8 percent after the government said that the recovery in the world’s third-largest economy had turned self-sustaining, MarketWatch reported. South Korea’s KOSPI Composite index rallied 1.3 percent, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 added 0.3 percent and India’s BSE Sensex was trading up 0.8 percent in late-afternoon trade.


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Wall Street Beat: Software a bright spot as tech results bring gloom

Though software sales provided a ray of light in otherwise mixed results this week, gloom settled over the tech sector Friday in the wake of bellwether IT quarterly earnings reports.

The broad Standard & Poor’s 500 Index managed to close Friday at a record high of 1,692.09, but the tech-heavy Nasdaq dropped 23.66 points to 3,587.61, and the Dow Jones industrial average declined 4.65 points to 15,543.89. Of the five tech stocks on the Dow, only Intel traded up slightly, while Microsoft, IBM, Cisco Systems and Hewlett-Packard were down.

“Overall I’d say the earnings confirmed some common themes — software is going to do better than hardware and services,” said Forrester chief economist Andrew Bartels.

In Forrester’s latest forecast for the global tech market, issued last week, Bartels lowered expectations for spending on IT goods and services to 2.3 percent growth measured in U.S. dollars, from the January estimate of 3.3 percent. Calculated in local currencies, the forecast looks better, at a 4.6 percent increase, but recession in Europe and slower growth in China is putting a damper on tech purchases by any measure.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at PCWorld

Stocks Week Ahead: Earnings Season Puts Investors on Edge

By Reuters

new york stock exchange traders earnings season investing

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Jin Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images

By Ryan Vlastelica

NEW YORK — This week marks the first big week of second-quarter earnings, and it is sure to bring both joy and misery to Wall Street.

Investors will concentrate on market fundamentals after weeks when Federal Reserve policies have dominated the market. If they see companies are still struggling, stocks could take a fall.

Even after Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke scared markets in June by telling investors the Fed is likely to reduce monetary stimulus in the coming months, stocks have recovered, with both the Dow Jones industrial average and S&P 500 climbing to all-time highs. In an appearance earlier this week, the Fed chairman said monetary policy was likely to be accommodative for some time.

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“We’re in the terminal stages of a Bernanke-driven bubble,” said Walter Zimmerman, a technical analyst at United-ICAP in Jersey City, N.J. “While a lot of damage has been done to the bear case, eventually bad news like weak earnings growth will start to bear fruit.”

To be sure, the Fed, which has shown a much friendlier face to investors lately, will not be out of the picture. Bernanke will appear before congressional committees Wednesday and Thursday to deliver the semiannual testimony about monetary policy. However, few surprises are expected.

The S&P’s 17.8 percent advance in 2013 is largely attributable to the central bank’s accommodative policies. The major indexes made impressive gains in the week: the Dow (^DJI) up 2.1 percent, the S&P 500 (^GSPC) 3 percent higher and the Nasdaq (^IXIC) up 3.5 percent. It was the third straight week of gains for all three, and the best week for the S&P and Nasdaq since early January.

“The Fed has been able to prevent a big sell-off so far, but eventually the economy will have to catch up to the market or the market will fall back to match the economy,” said Scott Armiger, who helps oversee $5.6 billion as portfolio manager at Christiana Trust in Greenville, Del.

More Focus on Earnings

That analysts are now turning their focus to earnings, believing the Fed’s power to buoy stocks is waning, may not be a positive if the rally is going to continue.

Earnings are seen growing 2.8 percent in the second quarter, according to Thomson Reuters data, a far cry from the 8.4 percent growth forecast by analysts Jan. 1. Revenue is now seen increasing 1.5 percent.

For every company that has said it expects positive earnings, 6.5 have lowered their forecasts, the worst positive-to-negative ratio since the first quarter of 2001.

United Parcel Service (UPS), the world’s largest package delivery company, tumbled Friday after giving a weak profit outlook, citing economic conditions as one …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance

Disappointing Corporate Revenues: A Sign of Trouble Ahead?

By 24/7 Wall St.

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Earnings may be up as U.S. public companies report their quarterly results. Revenues, however, are not. This may be a sign of trouble ahead, perhaps driven largely by a slowing in exports to Europe.

The USA Today reports on U.S. corporate revenues:

Investors were hoping by this point in the economic cycle, companies would be able to find growth selling new products and services or tapping new customers. But in the first quarter, revenue is coming in 0.6% lower than in the year-ago period, down from the 0.9% growth expected at the beginning of the year, Butters says. Just 44% of companies have beaten revenue estimates, while 56% have missed, making it the third quarter in the past four with more cases of revenue falling short than coming in better than expected.

Much of the revenue weakness is hitting companies that rely most on Europe, says Sam Turner of RiverFront Investment Group. The biggest sources of upside revenue surprises have been sectors such as utilities and telecom, which don’t rely on Europe, while large technology and industrials have been hurt most, Turner says. Of the 23 Dow Jones industrial average components to report so far, 15 have missed expectations, including International Business Machines, Caterpillar and United Technologies, Butters says.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance

Hike in Payroll Taxes Hasn't Halted U.S. Consumer Spending

By The Associated Press

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Spencer Platt/Getty Images

By CHRISTOPHER S. RUGABER

WASHINGTON — This year got off to a sour start for U.S. workers: Their pay, already gasping to keep pace with inflation, was suddenly shrunk by a Social Security tax increase.

Which raised a worrisome question: Would consumers stop spending and further slow the economy? Nope. Not yet, anyway.

On Friday, the government said consumers spent 3.2 percent more on an annual basis in the January-March quarter than in the previous quarter — the biggest jump in two years. It highlighted a broader improvement in Americans’ financial health that is blunting the impact of the tax increase and raising hopes for more sustainable growth.

Consumers have shed debt. Gasoline has gotten cheaper. Rising home values and record stock prices have restored household wealth to its pre-recession high. And employers are steadily adding jobs, which means more people have money to spend.

“No one should write off the consumer simply because of the 2 percentage-point increase in payroll taxes,” says Bernard Baumohl, chief economist at the Economic Outlook Group. “Overall household finances are in the best shape in more than five years.”

Certainly, spending weakened toward the end of the January-March quarter. Spending at retailers fell in March by 0.4 percent, the worst showing in nine months. And more spending on utilities accounted for up to one-fourth of the increase in consumer spending in the January-March quarter, according to JPMorgan Chase (JPM) economist Michael Feroli, because of colder weather.

Higher spending on utilities isn’t a barometer of consumer confidence the way spending on household goods, such as new appliances or furniture, would be.

Americans also saved less in the first quarter, lowering the savings rate to 2.6 percent from 3.9 percent in 2012. Economists say that was likely a temporary response to the higher Social Security tax, and most expect the savings rate to rise back to last year’s level. That could limit spending.

But several longer-term trends are likely to push in the other direction, economists say, and help sustain consumer spending. Among those trends:

Wealth Is Up

Home prices rose more than 10 percent in the 12 months that ended in February. And both the Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) and Standard & Poor’s 500 (GSPC) stock indexes reached record highs in the first quarter. As a result, Americans have recovered the $16 trillion in wealth that was wiped out by the Great Recession. Economists estimate that each dollar of additional wealth adds roughly 3 cents to spending. That means last year’s $5.5 trillion run-up in wealth could spur about $165 billion in additional consumer spending this year. That’s much more than the $120 billion cost of the higher Social Security taxes.

Debt Is Down

Household debt now equals 102

Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance

The Trouble With Earnings: Good Profits, Bad Revenues

By The Associated Press

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By MATTHEW CRAFT

Procter & Gamble had been on a tear.

The company’s stock had climbed 22 percent since the start of the year as the maker of Tide detergent and Crest toothpaste turned in better profits for two quarters in a row. Last Thursday, P&G reported even higher earnings. And its stock immediately dropped 6 percent.

What happened? Like so many other big companies reporting results recently, P&G hit its target for earnings but missed on revenue. Nearly halfway through the first-quarter earnings season, Corporate America is still reporting solid profits, with seven of every ten big companies hurdling over Wall Street‘s expectations. Sales, however, are another story.

Nearly the same proportion of big companies – six out of ten – have fallen short of revenue targets, according to S&P Capital IQ. The tally so far looks grim: Revenue has shrunk 2.4 percent compared with last year.

“The norm is becoming, beat your earnings, but miss on revenue,” says Scott Freeze, president of Street One Financial.

Two problems persist: Europe‘s ongoing recession and slower economic growth in China. Because nearly half of revenue for Standard & Poor’s 500 companies comes from abroad, it would seem logical to think the problem is just overseas. But many companies with a U.S. focus have also reported disappointing revenue.

Freeze says that revenue presents a more accurate picture of Corporate America‘s health. “You can play with the earnings numbers and have them skewed,” he says. “But you can’t mess with the revenue numbers – they are what they are. If people are not coming in droves to buy your products, your revenue’s going to miss even if your earnings beat.”

Aside from Apple’s falling profit and some other high-profile flops, the headline numbers for first-quarter earnings appear solid. So far, 271 companies in the S&P 500 have said earnings are up 5 percent over the year before. And 189 of them have cleared Wall Street‘s estimates.

Investors say that’s no surprise. They believe companies set the bar so low that it’s easy to jump over it. The 3.6 percent earnings growth analysts expect to see after all the results are tallied works out to $26.36. That’s just $1 more than the same period last year.

As one company after another turned in weak revenue results last week, analysts, investors and economists started raising concerns about the prospect for future profits.

Some of the biggest names in Corporate America have disappointed, including Google, JP Morgan Chase and IBM, which posted its first drop in revenue in three years. In the past week, AT&T, Xerox and Safeway joined their ranks.

Of the 22 corporate giants in the Dow Jones industrial average that have reported results, 15 have missed their revenue targets, according to the data provider FactSet.

If the trend continues, experts see a number of consequences:

– Earnings estimates for the coming

Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance

Stocks On The Mend As Earnings Roll In From Goldman, Coke, J&J

By Steve Schaefer, Forbes Staff

A day after triple-digit losses on the Dow Jones industrial average U.S. equities managed to recoup about half their losses at the opening bell Tuesday, thanks partly to corporate earnings and an upbeat reading on the housing market.

From: http://www.forbes.com/sites/steveschaefer/2013/04/16/stocks-on-the-mend-as-earnings-roll-in-from-goldman-coke-jj/

U.S. Revives Media Probe Into Handling Of Economic Data

By The Huffington Post News Editors

WASHINGTON, April 10 (Reuters) – U.S. law enforcement officials have reversed a decision to wind down an investigation into how news agencies handle the release of economic data to investors, concerned some sensitive information may have leaked into financial markets, a person familiar with the probe said on Wednesday.
The Wall Street Journal reported earlier on Wednesday that Thomson Reuters Corp, the parent of Reuters News, Bloomberg LP and Dow Jones & Co., a unit of News Corp, were among the media companies under investigation.
The source who spoke to Reuters declined to provide details.
Reuters and the Wall Street Journal reported in January that law enforcement authorities had conducted an investigation into whether media companies facilitated insider trading by prematurely releasing market-sensitive data, but decided not to bring charges.
Media organizations are provided sensitive economic data during “lockups” in which they are not supposed to transmit any information until a set embargo time has lifted.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday that the FBI had been frustrated the Commodity Futures Trading Commission had not provided data sought by investigators. Citing officials familiar with the probe, it said the CFTC had since agreed to provide trading data and analysis to help the investigation.
“We are not aware of a current investigation nor any embargo violations,” said Ty Trippet, a spokesman for Bloomberg LP. A spokeswoman for Dow Jones, Paul Keve, said the government had not contacted Dow Jones about any criminal investigation. Thomson Reuters spokesman David Girardin declined to comment.
The FBI and CFTC did not immediately respond to requests for comment, while the SEC declined to comment.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Huffington Post

Why This Important Dow Stock Jumped 1.5% Today

By Anders Bylund, The Motley Fool

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IBM is a giant among Dow stocks. The IT hardware and services veteran accounts for 11% of the Dow Jones Industrial Average index by weight, and its price swings always make a big difference to the Dow’s daily value changes.

This morning, Big Blue‘s shares jumped as much as 1.5% on an analyst upgrade. That’s enough to add 25 points to the Dow’s overall value, thanks to IBM‘s $211 share price, and a major driver of today’s bullish Dow action.

The fuel for this morning’s rocket ride came from star analyst Steve Milunovich, formerly of Merrill Lynch but now a managing director at Swiss powerhouse UBS. Milunovich is the kind of rainmaker who can move even blue-chip mega caps like IBM with a stroke of his pen.

In this case, Milunovich boosted IBM from “hold” to “buy” with a $235 price target. That would be a 12% upside to Tuesday’s closing prices.

He paints Big Blue as a company in transition, “well positioned” to become a leader in so-called “IT-as-a-service” cloud computing. That’s a model where businesses kick their IT operations out as a stand-alone business or divisions, moving a traditional cost center into the realm of flexible and potentially profitable operations.

These IT-focused entities are often powered by advanced cloud-computing solutions and big outsourcing contracts — two areas where IBM is both huge and growing.

Milunovich calls this a “sound strategy,” and it’s hard to disagree.

IBM has been heading in this direction for many years now, but the IT-as-a-service trend is primed for massive growth in the near future as the idea enters the mainstream. IBM stock has already crushed its Dow Jones peers over the last five and 10 years, and it’s likely to keep on keeping on.

IBM data by YCharts.

So this man among Dow stock boys looks primed for further gains. Milunovich sees a 12% return for the next year, and I believe that’s an appropriate long-term growth rate for the next five years as well. In fact, I just started a long-term outperform CAPScall on IBM to underscore the comprehensive power of IBM‘s cloud-focused industry muscle.

The amount of data we store every year is growing by a mind-boggling 60% annually! To make sense of this trend and pick out a winner, The Motley Fool has compiled a new report called “The Only Stock You Need to Profit From the NEW Technology Revolution.” The report highlights a company that has gained 300% since first recommended by Fool analysts but still has plenty of room left to run. To get instant access to the name of this company transforming the IT industry, click here — it’s free.

The article Why This Important Dow Stock Jumped 1.5% Today originally appeared on Fool.com.

Fool contributor Anders Bylund holds no position in any company mentioned. Check out

Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance

Alcoa's First-Quart Profit Rises, Beats Wall Street Expectations

By The Associated Press

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Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images Alcoa CEO Klaus Kleinfeld gives President Barack Obama a tour of the company’s factory in Bettendorf, Iowa, in June 2011. The aluminum manufacturer Monday reported first-quarter earnings that beat analyst forecasts.

NEW YORK — Alcoa kicked off earnings season Monday by reporting a larger first-quarter profit than analysts expected, helped by strong demand for aluminum used to make airplanes and automobiles.

The company still sees demand for aluminum growing 7 percent in 2013, with gains cutting across many industries.

Alcoa Inc. (AA) is the first company in the Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) to report first-quarter results. Because its products wind up in so many things, from cars and buildings to soda cans, investors study Alcoa’s results for hints about earnings at companies in other industries.

Alcoa said net income in the first quarter was $149 million, or 13 cents a share, compared with $94 million, or 9 cents a share, a year earlier.

Excluding special items, the company said it would have earned 11 cents a share, beating analysts’ forecast of 8 cents a share, according to FactSet.

Revenue fell to $5.83 billion from $6.01 billion a year earlier and was below the $5.91 billion that analysts predicted. Alcoa blamed lower aluminum prices and curtailed production in its European primary metals business.

Over the past decade, Alcoa has shifted more of its business away from mining and refining and into the production of parts for industry. The company is benefiting as airplanes and autos get lighter for better fuel efficiency by using more aluminum parts.

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Airlines have been ordering new planes to reduce their spending on fuel, the largest cost for many of them. That trend should continue for several years, making aerospace a growing aluminum market, chairman and CEO Klaus Kleinfeld said in a conference call with analysts.

U.S. auto sales are booming, too, as customers who put off purchases during the recession trade in their aging vehicles. In March, sales hit 1.45 million vehicles, the highest total since August 2007, according to Autodata Corp.

Alcoa believes that government fuel standards and customer demand for better mileage will push car makers to use more lighter materials like aluminum. Some drivers think heavy vehicles are safer in a crash — truck sales were a major factor in the strong March figures — but Kleinfeld argued that lighter cars can brake to a stop faster, potentially avoiding accidents.

Sales of aluminum for nonresidential construction is finally recovering in North America and will grow much faster in China, Kleinfeld said.

Alcoa released its earnings after the markets closed. Its shares rose 15 cents to close at $8.39 in the regular session. They fell 12 cents in after-hours trading.


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Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance

Pop the Champagne — Earnings Season Is Here

By Travis Hoium, The Motley Fool

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For investors, the seasons aren’t marked by the changing leaves or first snowfall; earnings season is kicked off every three months by aluminum maker Alcoa . Today, after the closing bell, Alcoa opens first-quarter earnings season, and investors are approaching it with skepticism today. Stocks dropped in early trading, but as of 3:15 p.m. EDT the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up a meager six points, while the S&P 500 has gained 0.29%.

Alcoa is always the first major company to report quarterly earnings, and it’s viewed as a bellwether for the rest of the season. Analysts are expecting Alcoa to report $5.89 billion in revenue and an $0.08 per-share profit. An earnings beat would have investors in a good mood tomorrow, and a miss would have them singing the blues. Beyond the numbers, be on the lookout for management’s comments about future demand, because investors are always looking for clues about what the next earnings season will look like.

Johnson & Johnson dropped 1.5% to lead the decliners today. The stock was downgraded by analysts at JPMorgan Chase — though, ironically, they also increased their price target from $77 to $83. Analysts can have a short-term impact on stocks, but the market won’t care about this rating for long, and I would pay more attention to Johnson & Johnson’s earnings release next week than I would to this rating.

Coca-Cola jumped 1.7% today after Wells Fargo said energy drinks would help grow the beverage industry overall. Growth of the beverage industry is great, but Coca-Cola has had a hard time gaining significant market share, so it may miss out on some of that upside. Next week, Coke will release first-quarter earnings, so we’ll learn more about beverage growth and what Coke is going to do about the energy craze.

Coca-Cola’s wide moat has helped provide its shareholders with superior gains in the past, but the company faces some new threats to its continued market dominance. The Motley Fool recently compiled a premium research report containing everything you need to know about Coca-Cola. If you own or are considering buying shares in the company, you’ll want to click here now and get started!

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance

Don't Put Too Much Stock In Alcoa For Earnings Season Insight

By Steve Schaefer, Forbes Staff

Bearded driver uses phone

Alcoa will provide the informal kickoff to first-quarter earnings season Monday afternoon as the first Dow Jones industrial average component to report figures for the January-March period. But investors shouldn’t count on the aluminum producer’s results as any kind of crystal ball for the rest of Corporate America‘s report cards. …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Forbes Latest

2 Highflying Dow Stocks to Buy Today

By Anders Bylund, The Motley Fool

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Past performance is never a guarantee of future success. But some stocks rise for good reason. Here are two Dow Jones stocks that are chasing all-time highs as we speak — without getting expensive in the process. These are momentum stocks of exceptionally high quality, and they may never be this cheap again.

If you need another indication that the market is firing on all cylinders, consider this: 15 of the 30 Dow components trade within 10% of their all-time highs right now.

Health insurance giant UnitedHealth set its all-time record in December of 2005. Then the company was hit with an options-backdating scandal that ultimately displaced its CEO, an industrywide bout of investor skepticism, and, of course, the pitch-black recession shared by the rest of the known universe.

Now UnitedHealth is back in record-level neighborhood and looking stronger than before. You can — and probably should — buy this stock right now.

UNH data by YCharts.

Since its fall from the original summit, UnitedHealth has reshaped its business plan, increased dividend payments nearly eightfold, and finally joined the elite Dow index. It’s a longtime and extremely successful recommendation of two Foolish newsletters and has a perfect five-star CAPS rating to boot. The reasons to buy this stock pile up to the rafters of Wall Street and Main Street alike.

Walt Disney is a more obvious success story. This stock hit its lifelong peak as recently as last month and has crushed the Dow by more than tripling in price over the last decade. Is the Mouse bound to run out of steam, or can you still buy the stock at current prices?

DIS data by YCharts.

I think it’s pretty obvious that the best is yet to come. Disney thrives on game-changing acquisitions like its Pixar and Marvel buyouts. Pixar still churns out surefire hits like clockwork, the benefits of the Marvel buy are still unfolding, and now Han Solo has joined the party in the recent Lucasfilm buyout. It’s like pouring nitroglycerin on the fire.

Mickey Mouse is shrinking in the Disney universe as he becomes surrounded by equally powerful consumer-attention magnets. The character stable is becoming as diversified as the business operations, which include movies, TV content, cruise ships, theme parks, lunch boxes, and more. It’ll take a meltdown of epic proportions to stop this gravy train.

So if you’re looking for stocks to buy right now, you really can’t go wrong with these two winners. They’re rising for a reason and won’t be going back down.

It’s easy to forget that Walt Disney is more than just the House of Mouse. Much of Disney’s allure for investors lies in its diversity, and The Motley Fool’s premium research report lays out the case for investing in Disney today. This report includes the key items investors must watch, as well as the opportunities and threats the company faces going …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance

Where US economy has, and hasn't, yet recovered

From household wealth to spending at stores, many of the U.S. economy’s vital signs have recovered from the damage done by the Great Recession.

Home foreclosures and layoffs have dropped to pre-recession levels. Economic output has rebounded. And the Dow Jones industrial average is in record territory.

So is the economy back to full health? Not quite.

Not with unemployment at 7.7 percent and with 3 million fewer jobs than when the recession began. And while the housing market is improving, that engine of economic growth and job creation still has far to go before it can be declared healthy.

Perhaps the best way to think about the U.S. economy is this: After five painful years, it’s nearly back to where it started when the recession began. What’s different now is that the trends are much healthier. Gone are the fears that the economy could fall into another recession.

“We’ve made a lot of progress,” says Michael Gapen, senior U.S. economist at Barclays Capital.

The recession officially began in December 2007. It ended in June 2009. Here’s a look at ways in which the economy has returned to pre-recession levels and ways it hasn’t:

WHAT’S BACK:

— HOUSEHOLD WEALTH: Americans lost $16 trillion in wealth during the recession, mainly because home values and stock prices sank. Those losses have now been reversed. Household “net worth” reached $66.1 trillion in the final three months of 2012, according to the Federal Reserve. That was just 2 percent below the peak reached in the fall of 2007. And steady increases in stock prices and home values so far this year have allowed Americans as a whole to regain all their lost wealth, though many individual families have yet to recover. Increased net worth is vital to the economy because it typically drives more spending. Net worth equals the value of homes, investments, bank accounts and other assets, minus debts such as mortgages, student loans and credit card balances.

— RETAIL SALES. Just as household wealth has recovered, so has consumers’ willingness to spend more to shop, eat out or go on vacation. That trend has spurred job growth at retailers and restaurants. Retail sales totaled $421.4 billion in February. Adjusted for inflation, that was nearly 18 percent above the recession low and …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox US News

Uneven Recovery Leaves Job, Housing Markets Behind

By The Associated Press

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Richard Drew/AP

By CHRISTOPHER S. RUGABER

WASHINGTON — From household wealth to spending at stores, many of the U.S. economy’s vital signs have recovered from the damage done by the Great Recession.

Home foreclosures and layoffs have dropped to pre-recession levels. Economic output has rebounded. And the Dow Jones industrial average is in record territory.

So is the economy back to full health? Not quite.

Not with unemployment at 7.7 percent and with 3 million fewer jobs than when the recession began. And while the housing market is improving, that engine of economic growth and job creation still has far to go before it can be declared healthy.

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Perhaps the best way to think about the U.S. economy is this: After five painful years, it’s nearly back to where it started when the recession began. What’s different now is that the trends are much healthier. Gone are the fears that the economy could fall into another recession.

“We’ve made a lot of progress,” says Michael Gapen, senior U.S. economist at Barclays Capital.

The recession officially began in December 2007. It ended in June 2009. Here’s a look at ways in which the economy has returned to pre-recession levels and ways it hasn’t:

What’s Back:

  • Household Wealth: Americans lost $16 trillion in wealth during the recession, mainly because home values and stock prices sank. Those losses have now been reversed. Household “net worth” reached $66.1 trillion in the final three months of 2012, according to the Federal Reserve. That was just 2 percent below the peak reached in the fall of 2007. And steady increases in stock prices and home values so far this year have allowed Americans as a whole to regain all their lost wealth, though many individual families have yet to recover. Increased net worth is vital to the economy because it typically drives more spending. Net worth equals the value of homes, investments, bank accounts and other assets, minus debts such as mortgages, student loans and credit card balances.
  • Retail Sales. Just as household wealth has recovered, so has consumers’ willingness to spend more to shop, eat out or go on vacation. That trend has spurred job growth at retailers and restaurants. Retail sales totaled $421.4 billion in February. Adjusted for inflation, that was nearly 18 percent above the recession low and just 0.7 percent below the record level in November 2007.
  • Layoffs. The job market remains weak by some measures. But consider this: If you have a job, you’re less likely to lose it than at any other point in at least 12 years. That marks a sharp turnaround from the depths of the recession, when layoffs soared – from 1.8 million in December 2007 to 2.6 million in January 2009. In January this year, employers cut 1.5 million jobs – the lowest monthly total in …read more

    Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance

Bank Stocks Drag Down the Dow

By Travis Hoium, The Motley Fool

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It took a few hours to sink in, but investors sold off stocks after some weak economic data was reported this morning. ADP payroll data for March showed a 158,000 increase in jobs, which fell far short of both February’s 237,000 and the estimate of 200,000. So far we’re overlooking the fact that ADP revised February numbers higher by 39,000 and projecting the possibility of a weak jobs report on Friday.

The other data point worrying investors is ISM‘s nonmanufacturing index, which fell to 54.4 in March, below the 55.8 estimate. This still signals expansion but shows more weakness in the economy than it did a month ago and adds to weak manufacturing readings over the past few weeks. With about half an hour left in the trading day, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has fallen 0.68%, and the S&P 500 is down 1%.

Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase have done the most damage to the Dow, falling 3% and 2.6%, respectively. One of the concerning numbers in ADP‘s report was a slowdown in construction hiring, which has driven a lot of the economic recovery. Both megabanks are tied closely to housing, and increased construction signals a healthy housing market, so a slowdown is troublesome. Keep in mind that this is just one data point, and many economists weren’t expecting the economy to really pick up steam until the second half of the year, when the impact of tax increases and the sequester are no longer on the minds of consumers and businesses.

Merck is one of just four Dow components moving higher today, up 1.1%. There are likely two factors driving Merck higher today. First is the increase in Medicare Advantage reimbursements announced yesterday, which should keep Merck from feeling a bigger pinch from insurers. The second factor is that Merck is in a business that sees few swings in demand based on the economy. Investors are fleeing to stocks that won’t be hurt if the economy slows over the next few quarters, and Merck is a beneficiary of that flow of money today.

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var FoolAnalyticsData = FoolAnalyticsData || []; …read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance

First Republic Bank Announces First Quarter 2013 Earnings and Conference Call Date

By Business Wirevia The Motley Fool

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First Republic Bank Announces First Quarter 2013 Earnings and Conference Call Date

SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)– First Republic Bank (NYS: FRC) , a leading private bank and wealth management company, today announced it will release first quarter 2013 results before the market opens on Monday, April 15, 2013. First Republic will conduct a conference call to discuss the results at 11:00 a.m. PT / 2:00 p.m. ET the same day.

To access the event by telephone, please dial (855) 224-3902 approximately 10 minutes prior to the start time (to allow time for registration) and use conference ID #29911559. International callers should dial (734) 823-3244.

The call will also be broadcast live over the Internet and can be accessed in the Investor Relations section of First Republic‘s website at www.firstrepublic.com. To listen to the live webcast, please visit the site at least 15 minutes prior to the start of the call to register, download and install any necessary audio software. A replay of the call will also be available for 90 days on the website.

For those unable to participate in the live presentation, a replay will be available beginning April 15, 2013, at 2:00 p.m. PT / 5:00 p.m. ET, through April 22, 2013, at 8:59 p.m. PT / 11:59 p.m. EST. To access the replay, dial (855) 859-2056 (U.S.) and use conference ID #29911559. International callers should dial (404) 537-3406 and enter the same conference ID number.


About First Republic Bank

First Republic Bank (NYS: FRC) and its subsidiaries provide private banking, private business banking and private wealth management. Founded in 1985, First Republic specializes in exceptional, relationship-based service offered through preferred banking or wealth management offices primarily in San Francisco, Palo Alto, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Newport Beach, San Diego, Portland, Palm Beach, Boston, Greenwich and New York City. First Republic offers a complete line of banking products for individuals and businesses, including deposit services, as well as residential, commercial and personal loans. First Republic is a component of the S&P Total Market Index, the Wilshire 5000 Total Market IndexSM, the Russell 1000®, Russell 3000® and Russell Global indices and six Dow Jones indices.