- The Exchange48 mins ago
Every year the stock market has its share of turnarounds, and in 2013 a host of household names made notable comebacks. The most unlikely might well have been a Richfield, Minn.-based consumer-electronics seller that investors had left for dead, in a roadside ditch, like so many other defeated American retail giants.
It's Best Buy (BBY), the owner of those sprawling stores carrying TVs, computers, video games and stereo systems. A year ago, its obituary was written. It was a victim of the showrooming phenomenon in which shoppers would check out products on its shelves, then head home and purchase them online at Amazon.com (AMZN).
- The Exchange2 hrs ago
A policy research group that earlier this year pressed for raising the federal minimum wage above $10 an hour is saying in an updated report that doing so would boost, not harm, job creation. The Economic Policy Institute, regularly described as liberal- or left-leaning, says a Congressional bill to hike the federal minimum from the current $7.25 an hour to $10.10 deserves broad support because it would enhance the U.S. economy, which is still wounded following the 2008 financial crisis. The bill, the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013, proposes lifting the minimum wage in three 95-cent increments to $10.10 an hour, with variable, inflation-based increases thereafter. The measure, introduced by two Democrats, U.S. Rep. George Miller of California and Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa, would also raise the base wage for tipped employees. EPI says that since its earlier analysis, several states, including California and New Jersey, have agreed to raise their minimums. "The increases in these states underscore the broad recognition that the current federal minimum wage is too low," EPI says. (A map of the U.S. detailing various state laws can be found here.) [Related: America Isn't Ready for a Real Minimum Wage Debate] The group says an hourly wage of $10.10, a level 39% higher than today, "would return the federal minimum wage to roughly the same inflation-adjusted value it had in the late 1960s." In 1969, the hourly minimum wage was $1.30. The current $7.25 took full effect in July 2009. A history of the changes in federal minimum wage can be seen here, and, for reference, the Bureau of Labor Statistics' inflation calculator indicates $7.25 in 2013 has the same buying power as $1.14 did in 1969. According to EPI's research, a level of $10.10 "would either directly or indirectly raise the wages of 27.8 million workers, who would receive about $35 billion in additional wages over the phase-in period." EPI says the average age of workers who would get the new rate is 35, with around 54% of them working full time. "A lot of states and even a lot of municipalities have all boosted their minimum wages out of a recognition that the federal minimum wage is just too low," EPI's David Cooper and the author of the report said in an interview with the Huffington Post.
- The Exchange21 hrs ago
Ben Bernanke is known as “Gentle Ben” because of his avuncular demeanor and discreet use of words. But the Federal Reserve chairman made one comment in his latest (and last) official press conference that would make many voters angry if it had been expressed in a different manner.
“People don’t appreciate how tight fiscal policy has been,” Bernanke said, in his typical folksy econospeak. Put another way, that means Washington has been hurting the economy and holding back job growth when it should have been doing everything possible to help.
“Fiscal policy” refers to the government’s tax-and-spending plans, which are determined by Congress at the prodding of the president. Monetary policy — pushing interest rates up or down using a variety of measures — is the Fed’s responsibility. And one reason monetary policy has been so aggressive and controversial during much of Bernanke’s 8-year tenure is that fiscal policy has been so weak. With the Fed now starting to rein in one of its key tools — “quantitative easing” — Congress faces more pressure to act like grownups and stop relying on the Fed to do all the heavy lifting on the economy.
- The Exchange1 day ago
Ryan Detrick is the Senior Technical Strategist at . He has the uncanny ability to connect the dots in a market that seldom makes sense.
So we’re up a lot and lot’s of people are bullish. This is a fact. Still, I think there are signs this bull market is far from over and very well can continue well into the first-quarter of next year, until we finally get a meaningful pullback. One of our favorite indicators to measure potential buying pressure is short interest. A lot of shorts represents potential buying pressure, as those bearish shorts will be forced to buy back their bearish bets in a bull market. Well, check out the overall short interest on SPX components. It is up near the highest it has been since June 2012. That sparked a major low in the SPX and a huge rally, probably fueled in part by the shorts covering. Now we are back up there. This is a good sign for the bulls.
Turning to the QQQ, it has had a huge year – up more than 30%. Well, short interest on QQQ components was up 2.3% last period and is actually at it’s highest point since August 2009! That is a huge pile of firewood for a big fire, we just need the match.
- The Exchange1 day ago
Oracle (ORCL) investors partied a day after the database giant released its fiscal second quarter earnings showing big gains for cloud services and some high-end hardware. Shares of Larry Ellison’s baby jumped 6%, surpassing not just the 52-week high from back to March but the May, 2011, post-Internet bubble high as well.
On the surface, Oracle’s overall results were nothing to get so excited about, with revenue up 2% and net income declining 1%. The results just slightly exceeded what analysts expected.
So why the big move in the stock?
Oracle and a few similarly situated big tech stocks like IBM (IBM), Cisco (CSCO) and Microsoft (MSFT) are caught in a battle of investor expectations. Critics and short sellers argue that the shifts to cloud computing and mobile devices are eviscerating the lumbering giants. Backers maintain the companies are successfully, if slowly, responding.
- The Exchange1 day ago
You have to go back nearly a decade, to 2005, to rediscover a time when the forthcoming year looked as if it would be a prosperous one. Little did most people know back then that a steroidal housing boom would peak in 2006 and enter a savage, six-year bust, followed by a financial panic and the worst economic downturn since the 1930s.
Forecasters are once again cautiously optimistic about the next 12 months. “All in all, the outlook appears balanced and better,” economists at Bank of America Merrill Lynch wrote in a recent preview of 2014. “For the first time in several years, we approach the new year with no major cloud on the horizon.”
A lot, for once, seems to be going right, or at least not going wrong. U.S. employers are slowly but consistently adding jobs, housing is picking up, Europe’s debt woes finally seem contained, the stock market has soared and there’s even a budget deal of sorts in the madhouse known as Washington, D.C. There’s still too much debt in the global economy, and other wounds need to heal, but the stage seems set for calm markets and modest growth in 2014.
- The Exchange2 days ago
Despite filling your shopping cart with dozens of brands every week, your grocery-store experience is being controlled by an increasingly small handful of big companies. That lack of diversity, says a new report from advocacy group Food & Water Watch, is preventing competition and keeping prices higher. In “Grocery Goliaths: How Food Monopolies Impact Consumers,” Food & Water Watch makes a call for more oversight of mergers between grocery store chains and between food companies. It also seeks greater regulation of food marketing. Here are some of the highlights, showing how a few companies are capitalizing on consumer habits and their ability to scoop up smaller competition. We’re all shopping at the same place Americans spent approximately $603 billion on groceries in 2012. More than half of those sales filled the tills of just four retailers: Walmart (WMT), Kroger (KR), Target (TGT) and Safeway (SWY). You can’t control your impulse buying Americans may be spending a lot of time and money at grocery stores, but they aren’t sticking to a list when it comes to what they’re shopping for. A study from Point of Purchase Advertising International found that 55% of the things consumers buy during their grocery trip are made on impulse. Food & Water Watch likens the experience of grocery shopping to that of a casino, noting the “bright lights, Muzak, colorful displays and endless ways to spend your money before you can reach the exit.” Attacking your senses boosts sales The Food & Water Watch report delves into the ways grocery stores appeal to your senses in an effort to help you keep making those impulse buys. Something as simple as the choice of music matters. “Supermarkets know that music with slower tempos tends to decrease the flow of store traffic and increase sales volumes. Louder and faster music encourages customers to shop more quickly and purchase less,” according to the report. Shopping for wine? Well, if they’re playing classical music in that area you’re more likely to buy the more expensive wines. You know, because just hearing classical music makes you more of a Mr. Fancy Pants. That smell of fresh-baked bread coming from the bakery? Probably fake, says the report. “The bakery department pumps aromas of freshly baked bread to get consumers’ stomachs involved in the shopping decisions, even though most in-store bakeries use prepared foods and frozen dough.” Companies specialize in creating these scents. Like the bakery, it should come as no surprise that, even though no one is washing their linens in the vicinity, the aisle of laundry products has a heavy smell of fresh laundry hanging over it. Brand choice is an illusion You may see dozens of different brands when you walk down the cereal or drinks aisle, but the reality is most categories are ruled by a couple corporate giants. Food & Water Watch examined 100 grocery categories, finding that 63.3% of sales were controlled by the biggest food companies. Kellogg (K), General
- The Exchange3 days ago
The main question this year about the Federal Reserve’s extraordinary easy-money policy has been when it will begin curtailing $85 billion in monthly purchases of bonds. If it doesn’t happen soon, at the end of the Fed’s in-progress mid-December meeting, the betting money is on a decisive move at the gathering in March.
But that binary set of options — "tapering" or not, to use Wall Street’s overworked term — is a vastly oversimplified view of the Fed’s options.
Many critics feel quantitative easing, as the Fed’s bond-buying policy is known, has failed to achieve its goal of jump-starting the economy and helping create jobs, even though the unemployment rate has fallen from a peak of 10% in 2010 to 7% today. Those folks would like to see the policy rolled back as quickly as possible, since it may be contributing to an overinflated stock market and other economic distortions.
- The Exchange3 days ago
Buffalo Wild Wings (BWLD) made a shrewd decision this year, one that will be critical in determining how successful the chicken seller will be in the months and years to come.
Instead of plying guests with 12 wings counted out, the Minneapolis-based restaurant operator now serves up fare based on weight. That means you don't go in and order a dozen wings today. Instead, if you want around that amount, you'd order a small, translating to "at least 10," or a medium, totaling "at least 15."
- The Exchange3 days ago
The field of robotics is zooming past the lumbering assembly line machines of today, quite literally with machines that can run, jump and climb. But the new breed of robots uses vast amounts of data about the world in addition to their high-tech motors, springs and sensors.
That’s likely why Google (GOOG) is getting into the business. The search giant last week bought Boston Dynamics, marking its eighth acquisition of a robotics company in the past six months, the New York Times reported over the weekend. But while Google’s previous acquisitions were companies that made bits and parts of robots, the Boston Dynamics deal makes clear that Google’s true ambition is human-like robots interacting with ordinary people.
Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4