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  • Sony pulls plug on 'The Interview'; Oracle finally gets a lift from the cloud; Rite Aid soars

    Kathy Cherpelis at Hot Stock Minute 13 hrs ago

    Sony (SNE) tops our list of stocks to watch this morning. 

    The company's movie studio is pulling the plug on the planned Christmas release of "The Interview" after major theater chains abandoned plans to show the film amid terror threats. Meanwhile, U.S. officials reportedly concluded that North Korean government was involved in the hacking of Sony's corporate computer systems. Shares of Sony were higher on the news in early trading

    Hertz (HTZ) shares jumped after billionaire investor Carl Icahn disclosed he raised his stake in the rental car company once again. Icahn's stake now stands at 11.3%

    Oracle (ORCL) rose ahead of the bell. The business software maker's earnings and revenue topped estimates for the first time this year thanks to growth in its cloud service business.

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  • Wealth gap biggest in history

    Bill McColl at Hot Stock Minute 13 hrs ago

    The difference between the “haves” and the “have nots” is larger than it’s ever been.

    That’s according to a Pew Research Center report, which finds the median wealth of upper-income families is almost seven times that of middle-income ones, and nearly 70 times more than low-income families.  Pew defines wealth as the difference between the value of a family's assets and its debts.

    Pew looked at 2013 data from the Federal Reserve, which shows the top bracket coming in at $639,400. That compares to $96,500 for the middle and just $9,300 for the low end.   Pew says that’s the biggest divide between both upper and middle and upper and lower since the Fed began recording such data a generation ago. 

    Yahoo Senior Columnist Michael Santoli says the stock market boom is a big reason for the increasing separation.

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    Santoli feels growth in what folks take home in their paychecks is needed to change the equation.

     

  • Fed-fueled rally continues; Fallout from threat to Sony not over; U.S. companies eye Cuba

    Bill McColl at Hot Stock Minute 14 hrs ago

    Stocks are in rally mode once again this morning as Wall Street hangs on to the Federal Reserve’s pledge  to be “patient” in raising interest rates in 2015 and oil prices show signs of stablizing after a steep drop. 

    Yahoo Finance Senior Columnist Michael Santoli says investors are betting that the year-end rally is back on and we may even see the markets challenge the highs of a few weeks ago.

    Sony ( SNE ) continues to grab headlines.

    The company's movie studio is pulling the plug on the planned Christmas release of "The Interview" after major theater chains abandoned plans to show the film amid terror threats. Meanwhile, U.S. officials reportedly concluded that North Korean government was involved in the hacking of Sony's corporate computer systems.  Shares of Sony were higher on the news.

    Related: Sony pulls plug on 'The Interview'; Oracle finally gets a lift from the cloud; Rite Aid soars

  • Hollywood's real-life horror movie

    Bill McColl at Hot Stock Minute 1 day ago

    Hackers are targeting the movie industry…with possibly monumental financial consequences.

    Sony (SNE) says it is canceling the Christmas Day release of its new comedy, “The Interview,” after a group calling itself the Guardians of Peace threatened to attack movie houses that run the film.  Sony's move comes after major theater chains--  including the 278-outlet Carmike Cinemas (CKEC)-- decided not to show "The Interview," which depicts the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jung Un. 

    Guardians of Peace launched a cyber attack on Sony Pictures last month, exposing private company emails and documents and demanding “The Interview” be pulled from theaters.   That has led to a selloff of Sony shares this month.

    Yahoo Finance Editor in Chief Aaron Task says the potential loss of revenue from this threat is staggering.

    “It’s definitely a major liability,” he points out. “It obviously could be tens, if not hundreds of millions of dollars for Sony and also hitting the movie chains.”

  • FedEx fails to deliver; General Mills' mixed results; American Apparel back in vogue

    Kathy Cherpelis at Hot Stock Minute 1 day ago

    Earnings back in focus on Wall Street this morning.

    FedEx (FDX) shares fell in early trading. The giant shipping company reporting second quarter profit and revenue that fell short of analysts' estimates.  FedEx says while package volume in the U.S. increased, revenue per package dropped because of a lower fuel surcharge and lighter-weight deliveries.  The company is also reiterating its estimate of moderate growth over the next six months.

    Some mixed results from General Mills (GIS). The maker of Cheerios cereal and Betty Crocker cake mixes reporting earnings that beat Wall Street views, but revenue was slightly below forecasts. Sales fell 3.5% from a year earlier as it continues to struggle with weak demand in the U.S. and slowing growth in Europe and Canada.  Shares of General Mills were slightly higher on the news ahead of the bell.

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  • Stocks rise ahead of Fed rate news; Consumer prices post biggest drop in six years

    Yahoo Finance at Hot Stock Minute 1 day ago

    Stocks rebounding after yesterday’s rocky session as investors await word from the Federal Reserve on when policymakers plan to raise interest rates. 

    Consumer prices unexpectedly fell in November. The Labor Department reported its Consumer Price Index recorded its biggest drop in six years, down 0.3%, due mainly to the big drop we’ve seen in oil prices.

    When you strip out the volatile food and energy costs, so-called core prices rose 0.1%

    Yahoo Finance Editor in Chief Aaron Task says the weaker-than-expected consumer price data means the Fed doesn’t have to worry about inflation, but policymakers will be looking at some deflationary pressures.

    “The drama that is going on in Russia and emerging markets; the steep drop in oil prices and the recent volatility in financial markets” are among them, he says.

    Task points out that the Fed will also weigh the fact U.S. economic data has been gaining momentum in the last six months.

    Earnings also back in focus on Wall Street this morning.

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  • Google says shop here, not Amazon!

    Bill McColl at Hot Stock Minute 2 days ago

    Google (GOOGL) may be ready to fire a big shot across the bow of Amazon.com (AMZN). 

    The Wall Street Journal saying the world’s biggest search engine is considering two possible ways to steal business away from Amazon and get consumers onto its own shopping site. Google reportedly is looking into adding a "buy" button, which would be similar to Amazon's popular "one-click" ordering plan.  Also, Google is said to be pondering free two-day shipping for products bought through its service for an annual fee, like Amazon Prime.

    Yahoo Finance Senior Columnist Michael Santoli says it’s all about keeping you from clicking away from Google.

    Santoli notes that while Google is best known as a search engine, it really is a player in the retail space.

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    “It’s so obvious that Google wants to neutralize Amazon’s advantage in this,” he notes.

     

     

     

  • Boeing gains altitude; Coke fizzles; Talisman Energy soars on Repsol takeover

    Kathy Cherpelis at Hot Stock Minute 2 days ago

    Topping our list of stocks to watch this morning. 

    Boeing (BA) shares gained some altitude in early trading. The plane manufacturer is increasing its quarterly dividend by 25% and boosting its share buyback to $12 billion.

    Coca-Cola (KO) shares fell ahead of the bell. The world's biggest soft-drink maker said its profit growth for 2015 will be about the same as this year when adjusted for currency fluctuations.  The 4 to 5 percent increase is below the company's long term target.  In addition, a minority stakeholder is calling for CEO Muhtar Kent to be ousted.

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  • Stocks fall as oil prices continue decline, Russia's big rate hike fails to halt ruble plunge

    Bill McColl at Hot Stock Minute 2 days ago

    Volatility is back on Wall Street. The S&P 500 (^GSPC) and Dow (^DJI) have managed to erase earlier losses as oil prices continue their downward spiral after factory activity in China fell to seven month low in December.

    Russia’s ruble also resumed its plunge despite a massive rate hike (17% from 10.5%) by the country’s central bank.

    Yahoo Finance Senior Columnist Michael Santoli points out a couple of reasons why capital is fleeing out of a Russia.

    “The crash in oil prices has compromised Russia’s official revenues and basically it puts their government budget in some kind of peril; and obviously, the sanctions against Russia dating back from last winter when the invasion of Ukraine happened are really biting.”

    Investors also waiting to see whether or not the Federal Reserve will pledge to keep interest rates near zero for a “considerable period of time." The Fed issues their policy decision on Wednesday when they wrap up a two day meeting. 

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  • Goodbye car dealers?

    Bill McColl at Hot Stock Minute 3 days ago

    You can add Volvo to the growing list of companies offering vehicles online.

    The Chinese-owned Swedish automaker says it will gradually build up its web offerings...and eventually it wants to have every model available on the internet. Just last week AutoNation (AN) announced it was moving to online sales. General Motors (GM) and Toyota (TM) have started their own pilot programs on the web. And of course electric carmaker Tesla (TSLA) has been the model for buying cars in a non-traditional way.

    Yahoo Finance Editor in Chief Aaron Task feels Volvo’s move is a logical one.

    “That’s how millennials want to shop,” he points out. “And it’s the kind of thing you should be able to buy online.”

    Volvo is shifting its focus to selling online as part of an effort to find ways to compete with rivals who have more financial resources. Along with the new emphasis on web sales, the company also will skip many of the major auto shows around the world to save on costs.