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Elon Musk's "pipe dream," Kardashians cash in and Sears' latest troubles

Stocks have had an up-and-down day in the first half of the trading session. Investors continue to watch the Nasdaq (^IXIC) as it makes its way toward the 5000 mark. It looked for a time like today might be the day but the tech index is sitting about 16 points from the big round number. Crude, meanwhile, gave back most of yesterday's gains and dipped back below $50 a barrel as investors took a closer look at the weekly supply report.

The leadership trade
As McDonald's (MCD) new CEO prepares to take over this weekend and Gap's (GPS) new CEO readies for his first earnings report after the close today, Yahoo Finance's Jeff Macke took a closer look at stocks with CEO turnover.

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"This trade works best with blue chips," Macke notes, "where Wall Street, for whatever reason, has lost confidence in management. In those situations a change at the top can be a very bullish catalyst, sometimes even without a new executive waiting in the wings."

He notes the trade works with some recent movements at Microsoft (MSFT), Target (TGT), and now McDonald's.

Elon Musk's "pipe dream"
About a two years ago Elon Musk announced a new project - a hyperloop that would allow for overground travel at speedS of more than 700 miles an hour. Now a company aptly named Hyperloop Transportation Technologies has taken up the mantle and is moving forward on the first steps toward making Musk's dream a reality. They'll do it in Quay Valley, CA - a proposed solar powered city about halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Jeff Macke says of Musk: “He can get things done. That’s why people are even believing in this hyperloop in California.”

Related:  Elon Musk wins again

Sears in trouble again
Shares of Sears (SHLD) are getting slashed by more than 6% today. The latest catalyst lower is a quarterly earnings report that shows the embattled retailer lost $159 million in the fourth quarter of 2014.

Sears CEO Eddie Lampert says his firm is moving ahead with its plan to shift from a brick and mortar retailer to what he calls a multi-channel integrated shopping experience for our members.

Yahoo Finance’s Senior Columnist Michael Santoli says the plan is “just a managed liquidation over the very very long span” and that Lampert is simply trying to keep “some level of business activity going while he figures out what the sum of parts asset value might be in the end.”

Kardashians cash in

Kim, Khloe, Kourtney and the rest of the Kardashian clan have apparently negotiated a new deal for their E! network reality shows.  The New York Post is reporting that the contract is worth $100 million over four years, but the Hollywood Reporter says Comcast's (CMCSA) NBCUniversal calls that number "grossly inaccurate."

“The generate an awful lot of income” for E! Jeff Macke argues. “They’re celebrities and their goal is to make money and so everyone loves to talk about what an idiot Kim is… The Kardashians have done an amazing job of monetizing themselves of of very limited ability.”

For the record Macke offered to allow E! to show his posterior for a mere $15 million.

Santoli calls the record sum for a reality show “a sober move by E!” noting, “If the red carpet’s not going to be the huge boon it used to be what else does E! have?”

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