Posts by Rebecca Stropoli

  • A volatile week for bitcoin

    Rebecca Stropoli at Yahoo Finance 3 mths ago

    After an extended period of relative calm, bitcoin has experienced some considerable swings to the downside over the past couple of weeks, and even saw its own mini “flash crash” Monday. For a brief moment on the BTC-e exchange, the value of bitcoin plummeted to $309, although it quickly recovered from the drop some speculated may have been linked to margin trading, which the exchange introduced in November. Meanwhile, the Coindesk Bitcoin Price Index tumbled $60 to a low of $435.60; it has since recovered to trade at around $480 on Tuesday afternoon. This was the first time since May that bitcoin saw its trading price go below $500. Lesser-known cryptocurrencies litecoin and darkcoin were also hit during Monday’s rout. There was no one particular peg to Monday’s downward movement for bitcoin, although the price has seen declines since July, when New York became the first state to propose firm regulations for cryptocurrencies. Last week the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau also issued a warning on bitcoin, noting, “Virtual currencies may have potential benefits, but consumers need to be cautious and they need to be asking the right questions.” This kind of volatility is hardly ...

  • What else could Ballmer buy with $2 billion?

    Rebecca Stropoli at Breakout 5 mths ago

    Not long after the TMZ audio leak that made Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling an instant pariah, it became clear he was unlikely to hold onto the NBA team for long.

    The question then was not so much “who wants to buy the L.A. Clippers?” as “who doesn’t?” Folks including Magic Johnson, Larry Ellison, Oprah Winfrey, David Geffen, Matt Damon and even Frankie Muniz expressed interest in releasing the team from the clutches of an owner perceived by many as a repugnant racist.

  • Amid 'Blackfish' controversy, SeaWorld beats on earnings

    Rebecca Stropoli at The Exchange 8 mths ago

    Seaworld (SEAS) on Thursday reported fourth quarter 2013 earnings that beat analyst expectations, noting a loss of 13 cents a share and revenue of $272 million versus analyst estimates of a 15-cent loss and revenue of $271.42 million. Looking ahead, the company sees fiscal year 2014 revenue of $1.49 billion to $1.52 billion, versus a consensus of $1.53 billion.

    The Orlando-based SeaWorld, which has 11 parks total and three SeaWorld locations, has been the subject of much controversy since the 2013 release of the documentary “Blackfish,” which claims to tell the true – and deeply unsettling – story behind the company’s practices regarding captive orcas, often referred to as killer whales. The film, which reached a wide audience when CNN broadcast it last October, is highly critical of SeaWorld and its treatment of both its animals and employees. In particular, it focuses on the ill-famed orca Tilikum, who was tied to the deaths of three people, most recently in 2010 when trainer Dawn Brancheau was killed in front of a horrified crowd of SeaWorld attendees.

  • Bitcoin: Oh, what a wild, wild ride it's been

    Rebecca Stropoli at The Exchange 8 mths ago

    News of the Mt. Gox bankruptcy filing on Friday capped off a tumultuous week — and month — for bitcoin. Once the leading exchange for trading of the virtual currency, Mt. Gox is officially closed for business — and it’s reportedly taken a huge chunk of bitcoins down with it.

    So what happened? The Tokyo-based Mt. Gox has been generating negative headlines since early February, when it stopped allowing withdrawals, citing technical problems that, at least at first, seemed they might be temporary. But this explanation didn’t sit well with bitcoin investors or Mt. Gox customers. The currency’s price, always extremely volatile, plunged and some customers even began to protest outside the company’s Japan offices, wielding signs that asked, “Where’s our money?”

    It seems they are now unlikely to see that money again, as Mt. Gox says hacking of its flawed computer system could be the almost half-a-billion-dollar-draining culprit.

    Graphics/research by Siemond Chan

  • Weight Watchers stock continues to shed points

    Rebecca Stropoli at The Exchange 9 mths ago

    If Weight Watchers (WTW) customers were shedding pounds as fast as the stock is shedding points, this would be considered a great success.

    Shares are getting hit again Tuesday following Friday’s massive 28% Valentine’s Day decline in the wake of disappointing earnings. In late-day trading, the stock was down more than 4% to $21.13. Year to date, Weight Watchers shareholders have seen 35% of their investment decline, whereas in the past year the stock has lost more than half its value.

    Barclays downgraded the stock following its sluggish quarter, taking it from equal weight to (ironically) underweight, cutting its price target from $31 to $15.

     

    CEO Jim Chambers, who has led the company since last summer, conceded in the earnings call that the company has an innovation issue.

    Meanwhile, even as Weight Watchers shareholders are feeling indigestion, there must be some happy shorts out there. The short interest in the stock is at a very substantial 64% of the float, according to Yahoo Finance data.

  • 3D printing shares are seeing red

    Rebecca Stropoli at Yahoo Finance 10 mths ago

    As the broad market rallies Wednesday, with the S&P 500 hitting a record intraday high amid positive data and strong earnings, some 3D printing stocks are seeing red.

    The serious bleeding started after hours on Tuesday for 3D printer maker ExOne (XONE), which sank more than 13% in extended trading hours Tuesday after the company revised its 2013 revenue guidance to the downside, citing delayed sales approvals overseas. ExOne said its 2013 revenue would come in at $40 million to $42 million, which was down from its previous estimate of $48 million (and below analyst estimates of $48.32 million).

    ExOne saw a downgrade to Hold from Buy, with a price target cut to $55 from $75, Wednesday at Canaccord Genuity.

    [See related: With 3D Printing, the Future Is Now]

  • Lattes for Everyone! The Pay-It-Forward Economy

    Rebecca Stropoli at Daily Ticker 11 mths ago

    ‘Tis the holiday season -- a time for joy, giving and, of course, crass commercialism and Scrooge-like cynicism. But for now, let’s focus on the giving.

    Over the past year, long before Christmas carols were clogging the radio airwaves, stories about drive-through generosity have been reported across North America. From a doughnut shop in Amesbury, Mass., to a bagel seller in Tulsa, Okla., to a Tim Hortons in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and, just last week, a Starbucks in Reno, Nev., customers are employing the “pay it forward” method to provide their comrades-in-automobiles with a gratis meal or beverage.

    Related: The worst Christmas gifts of 2013

  • iRobot Shares Rise as Google Makes Fresh Robotics Deal

    Rebecca Stropoli at Yahoo Finance 11 mths ago

    Robots may someday rule the universe, rendering humans a subjugated underclass beholden to their automated masters. But, for now at least, they’re just ruling some headlines. News broke over the weekend that Google (GOOG) has acquired Boston Dynamics, an engineering firm with military ties that’s widely known for its manufacture of extremely speedy, disconcertingly animal-like robots including the BigDog, WildCat and Cheetah. The sum of the acquisition has not been disclosed; this is the eighth robotics company search-giant Google has acquired in the past year, and the first one with a military connection. 

  • Is Barbie's Allure on the Wane?

    Rebecca Stropoli at The Exchange 1 yr ago

    Are there cracks in the facade of Barbie's Dreamhouse? Mattel's (MAT) second-quarter earnings report did not, on the surface, tell a pretty tale regarding the iconic fashion doll's global sales, which were down 12% for a fourth straight quarter of declines.

    Mattel CEO Bryan Stockton noted that Barbie still reigns as the largest doll brand in the world, and its annual revenue is at around $1.3 billion. But the eternally youthful, improbably proportioned, always well-dressed Barbie, who celebrated her 50th birthday four years ago, may be showing some signs of fatigue. On the plus side for Mattel, doll sales as a whole are "one of the fastest-growing parts of the toy industry," up 11% in the U.S. and 4% in Europe through May, Stockton noted. Yet Barbie, sold in some 150 countries, appears to be going in the wrong direction. What's behind it all?

    The American Girls step up

    A digital push

    Lacking cultural relevance?

  • Food Stamp Issue Derails Farm Bill as Recipients at Record High

    Rebecca Stropoli at The Exchange 1 yr ago

    Last week's dramatic defeat of the farm bill in the House put a fresh emphasis on the issue of food stamps in the U.S., just as the number of recipients for the program sits at a record high.

    The 195-234 vote against the $500 billion farm policy bill, a version of which the Senate passed earlier this month, came amid congressional disagreements regarding cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. Keen focus was placed on an amendment put forth by Republican Rep. Steve Southerland, which required beneficiaries to sign up for employment-training programs in order to continue receiving food stamps. Many Democrats, who may have been willing to OK the $20 billion in food-stamp cuts the House version included, balked at the amendment, and only 24 ultimately voted for passage of the bill. Another dysfunctional-family blame game between the GOP and Democrats ensued as the defeat provided a serious blow to House Speaker John Boehner.

    As the article points out, the relaxed rules are "one reason why SNAP appears to have evolved from a program that rose and fell with the unemployment rate to a more permanent feature of the landscape."