- Bill McColl at Hot Stock Minute15 hrs ago
Big credit card companies are hoping to take advantage of a new opportunity to get into the Chinese market. The big question is: Can they?
China says it is putting an end to its monopoly on credit card operators in the country. Previously, only one provider-- state-run China UnionPay-- was allowed to handle bank card clearing. Officials now say foreign firms will be able to apply to provide such services.
That could be a major breakthrough for companies such as Visa (V) and MasterCard (MA) hoping to tap into China’s massive consumer market. However, Yahoo Finance Senior Columnist Michael Santoli says the devil is in the details.
“We have to see the actual details of what the competitive setup will be,” he says. “There’s a lot of talk that it’s not going to be completely level where Visa and MasterCard can compete exactly on the same terms as the state-approved monopoly.”
Santoli notes the Chinese government could make it very tough on foreign firms looking to break through.
- Bill McColl at Hot Stock Minute17 hrs ago
The now old-line software company is trying to get its “cool” on by taking on the King of Cool in the gadget department.
Starting today, Microsoft is selling a smartwatch called “Microsoft Band” to compete with Apple Watch.
However, Yahoo Finance Senior Columnist Michael Santoli says “compete” might be too strong a word.
“It’s great from a Microsoft sense to have an entry in all these little emerging areas…it’s finally the newer, somewhat-quicker-moving Microsoft,” he says. “But I don’t necessarily think we’re going to be talking about the Microsoft device against the Apple Watch.”
One selling point for Microsoft: the pricetag for Microsoft Band comes in at just $199, whereas Apple Watch starts at $349. And Microsoft is gaining an advantage by getting its product out before the big holiday shopping season. Apple Watch won’t hit store shelves until early next year. Still, Santoli doesn’t think the head start will make a huge difference in demand because of the difference in the two devices.
- Kathy Cherpelis at Hot Stock Minute18 hrs ago
Another earnings bonanza on Wall Street.
Visa (V) shares were higher in early trading. The world's largest processor of debit and credit card payments reported earnings and revenue that topped Wall Street forecasts. Revenue was up nearly 9% from a year earlier as consumer spending picked up thanks to an improving labor market. Visa said that mobile payments will be a big driver of growth going forward. However, the company cited some potential headwinds heading into next year, including the modest pace of the economic recovery and geopolitical concerns.
Rival MasterCard (MA) shares also got a boost in pre-market trading after reporting earnings and sales that beat Wall Street views. Revenue rose more than 12% from a year earlier as more people used their credit cards for purchases.
- Yahoo Finance at Hot Stock Minute19 hrs ago
It's a case of good news may be bad news on Wall Street. Stocks are wobbly this morning after the U.S. economy grew at a faster-than-expected rate in the third quarter, sparking speculation that the Federal Reserve may raise interest rates sooner rather than later.
Gross Domestic Product grew at 3.5% rate in the third quarter according to the Commerce Department. That was above the 3% economists were looking for, but it was lower than the 4.6% growth we saw in the second quarter of the year.
Meantime, the number of people filing for first-time unemployment benefits rose for a second week in a row. The Labor Department said initial jobless claims rose by 3,000 to 287,000 last week.
- Bill McColl at Hot Stock Minute1 day ago
Investors in space travel likely won’t be deterred despite yesterday’s launch failure of an Antares rocket owned by Orbital Sciences (ORB). But they may be slowed down a bit.
Shares of the company sank after the early evening crash just after liftoff at the Wallops Island, Virginia launch pad. The unmanned vehicle was carrying supplies to the International Space Station.
Yahoo Finance Editor in Chief Aaron Task believes Orbital Sciences, as well as other space investors such as Elon Musk of SpaceX and Alliant Techsystems (ATK), will just move on from here.
“Orbital Sciences and NASA don’t have to go back to the drawing board, but they are going to need to take a lot of time to figure out what went wrong and that’s going to delay and make more expensive future launches.”
NASA has been farming out its space operations to private firms for several years, and Task says that hasn’t necessarily made space travel that much better.
- Kathy Cherpelis at Hot Stock Minute1 day ago
Another blast of corporate earnings hit Wall Street.
Facebook (FB) shares fell in early trading after the social network company said it would ramp up spending dramatically next year and projected revenue in the current quarter would slow. That took the shine off of Facebook's better-than-expected earnings and revenue, which were fueled by strong growth in mobile advertising.
Hershey (HSY) shares turned sour ahead of the bell. The maker of Hershey Kisses and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups reported earnings and revenue that missed analysts' estimates. The company also cut its earnings outlook for the year because of weaker-than-expected sales growth overseas.
Wall Street looks to end of Fed bond buying; Facebook shares drop on future outlook; Orbital Sciences stock crashes after rocket crashYahoo Finance at Hot Stock Minute1 day ago
Stocks are mixed this morning. Investors are playing it close to the vest as Wall Street awaits word that the Federal Reserve will put an end to its bond buying program.
Yahoo Finance Editor-in-Chief Aaron Task said what the markets will be watching for in the Fed’s statement later this afternoon (2 p.m. EST) is, “Do they change the language about labor utilization and slack and the timing of when they might think about raising rates.”
The technology sector feelling the pressure from Facebook ( FB ) shares, which fell in early trading. The social network company said it would ramp up spending dramatically next year and projected revenue in the current quarter would slow. That took the shine off of Facebook's better-than-expected earnings and revenue, which were fueled by strong growth in mobile advertising.
- Bill McColl at Hot Stock Minute2 days ago
Wal-Mart (WMT) is hearing the call of duty…early!
The world’s biggest retailer will have the newest version of GameStop’s (GME) “Call of Duty” series on its shelves ahead of the competition. Walmart will offer “Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare” 24-hours before the November 4 th release date. In addition, Walmart will be selling used video games at about half its stores that offer them. The company has been buying up used games from the public since the spring.
Yahoo Finance Senior Columnist Michael Santoli likes what Wal-Mart is doing with its video game offerings.
“It’s very smart,” he says. “It’s one of the few areas of physical retail that remains relatively thriving.”
Research firmNPD says consumers spent a total of $15.39 billion on video game content in the U.S. last year.
Santoli thinks these moves are also well timed.
- Bill McColl at Hot Stock Minute2 days ago
The operator of the self-styled “World’s most famous arena” may be looking to cash in on the value of the New York Knicks following the $2 billion dollar sale of the Los Angeles Clippers NBA franchise.
Madison Square Garden Company (MSG) says it is considering splitting its business into two units-- one would operate the Knicks, New York Rangers and the teams’ cable networks, while the other would be home to Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall and its other entertainment properties.
Yahoo Finance Senior Columnist Michael Santoli says the recent sale of the Clippers to former Microsoft (MSFT) boss Steve Ballmer might make this the ideal time to pull off such a move.
“That’s one historically lousy franchise that doesn’t even own its own building and is worth $2 billion,” he notes. “That must mean the New York Knicks, hidden inside MSG, must have a higher value, especially since the entity owns the very profitable building the team plays in.”
Twitter's wings get clipped; Kohl's shares marked down; Madison Square Garden scores on news of splitKathy Cherpelis at Hot Stock Minute2 days ago
Earnings still grabbing investors' attention this morning.
Twitter (TWTR) shares tanked in early trading. The online messaging service forecast that sales in the current quarter could miss Wall Street views as its user base continued to expand at moderate pace and a key metric that measures engagement fell last quarter. However, earnings per share came in right in line with analysts' estimates and revenue topped expectations.
We are also keeping an eye on shares of Coach (COH). The luxury apparel retailer reported earnings and revenue that topped forecasts thanks to strong sales overseas. However, sales fell nearly 10% from a year ago as it continues to struggle with weakness in North America.
Elsewhere in the retail space, Kohl's (KSS) stock took a hit ahead of the bell. The department store chain warned profit for this year will be at the low-end of its guidance due to soft sales at the end of October. The company is scheduled to hold an annual investor conference tomorrow.