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SAN DIEGO (TheStreet) -- Celladon said Sunday that its experimental gene therapy for heart failure, Mydicar, was a total bust. To its credit, management was fully transparent about the mid-stage clinical trial results, even owning up to "negative results" in the headline of the press release. On the primary and secondary endpoints of the heart failure study, Celladon's Mydicar failed to demonstrate any benefit over placebo, the company said.. Shares of Celladon will surely collapse Monday, but more interesting will be seeing what effect the company's blow up has on other high-flying gene therapy stocks -- Bluebird Bio , UniQure , Spark Therapeutics -- if at all. Investor demand for gene therapy stocks has been almost insatiable recently, erasing years of scientific doubts about the technology's ability to cure or even treat disease. No gene therapy stock exemplifies the investor mania more than Bluebird. Since December when Bluebird presented early, preliminary data suggesting its gene therapy might lead to a cure for the rare blood disorders beta thalassemia and sickle cell anemia, the company stock price has shot up 245%. Bluebird went public in June 2013 at a market value of just under $400 million. At Friday's close of $136.26, the company was worth more than $4.4 billion. Gene therapy is an umbrella term describing a technology which uses engineered viruses to replace defective, disease-causing genes. There are important differences in how individual gene therapies are formulated and delivered. Some diseases may be more amenable than others to treatment or cure with gene therapy. Logically, Celladon's Mydicar failure in heart failure doesn't necessarily doom the entire field. But it's also reasonable to ask if valuations of gene therapy stocks have grown too big too fast given the risks that still clearly exist. Celladon's Mydicar is a virus engineered to insert a working gene capable of producing a protein called SERCA2a into heart-failure patients. SERCA2a is responsible for helping heart muscles contract and pump blood more efficiently. Heart-failure patients have low levels of SERCA2a and hearts that do a poor job pumping blood around the body. Celladon was hoping to demonstrate that infusing Mydicar via a one-time infusion into a vein near the heart would lead to higher SERCA2a levels and improved heart function. Those hopes were dashed. In the largest study of a gene therapy in heart failure ever conducted, Mydicar reduced the risk of heart-failure related hospitalization by only 6 percent compared to a placebo. The difference was not statistically significant. Mydicar also failed to demonstrate a benefit over placebo across additional secondary endpoints, Celladon said. Celladon shares closed Friday at $13.68 ahead of Sunday's Mydicar results. The stock traded as high as $27.26 per share on March 19, but fell on concerns about mixed results from a previous Mydicar study and analysis of preclinical data suggesting the gene therapy wasn't potent enough to produce enough functional SERCA2a protein. The company has little else to fall back on now that Mydicar appears to be done in heart failure. The remainder of Celladon's pipeline is still in preclinical stages of development. The company had $85 million in cash at the end of 2014, equal to $3.57 per share. The next clinical catalyst for gene therapy of interest to investors may come in June when Bluebird is expected to present data on its gene therapy for sickle cell disease. The company has not confirmed a sickle cell disease update but abstracts for the European Hematology Association meeting, where the data would be presented, will be made public on May 21.Avalanche Biotechnologies and UniQure are also expected to announce results from gene therapy studies later this year.

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Communication headset manufacturer Plantronics reports results this week and the company is set to disappoint on more than just revenues. Plantronics has already warned Wall Street of a revenue miss, but other myriad issues should give investors pause, including the possibly nefarious destruction of documents related to a lawsuit against the company. Must Read: 10 Stocks David Einhorn's Greenlight Capital Loves Now Expectations is earnings of $0.61 per share on revenues of $200.3 million for the March quarter. Those expectations were revised following the company's March 30 pre-announcement that its revenue for the quarter would be approximately $200 million and earnings would fall "below the previously provided range." Wall Street had been expecting Plantronics to deliver revenue of $207 million for the quarter and earnings of $0.69 per share. That negative prognosis, which follows a December quarter earnings shortfall, notwithstanding, there are several reasons investors should be filled with caution and concern when it comes to Plantronics and its shares. These include a hefty bout of insider selling just several weeks ago and a legal complaint by headset competitor GN Netcom that should to come to a head in the coming weeks. The following list of key executives either exercised options and sold shares or simply exited in February and March: Donald Houston, senior vice president, sales, Marvin Tseu, independent chairman of the board, Joseph Burton, senior vice president of technology, development and strategy and chief technology officer Kenneth Kannappan, president and chief executive officer Interestingly, it was Houston who sold the greatest number of shares during those two months. While there could be several reasons for Houston's selling, the optics of a negative pre-announcement and selling by the senior vice president of sales to the tune of several thousand shares -- or, more than $650,000 -- should put investors on alert. Houston may have other credibility issues, too. Plantronics filings with the Securities Exchange Commission show its involvement in several lawsuits. In October 2012, GN Netcom sued Plantronics, alleging violations of the Sherman Act, the Clayton Act, and Delaware common law. Despite the company's public view denying the allegation, the legal complaint by GN Netcom against Plantronics is coming to a head. From Plantronics 10-Q filed December 27, 2014 the company says this about the lawsuit: In its complaint, GN specifically alleges four causes of action: monopolization, attempted monopolization, concerted action in restraint of trade, and tortious interference with business relations. GN claims that the Company dominates the market for headsets sold into contact centers in the U.S. and that a critical channel for sales of headsets to contact centers is through a limited network of specialized independent distributors ("SIDs"). GN asserts that the Company attracts SIDs through exclusive distributor agreements and alleges that the use of these agreements is illegal. The Company denies each of the allegations in the complaint and is vigorously defending itself. Court documents obtained from Public Access to Court Electronic Records, however, point to embarrassing, possibly nefarious activity inside Plantronics. In the deposition of the sales head Houston in the GN Netcom vs. Plantronics (Case 1:12-cv-01318-LPS), it was revealed that despite the legal hold mandate to preserve documents in the case, Houston "was instructing employees who worked under him to delete e-mails that were clearly relevant and responsive to pending discovery having to do with the distributors that are at issue in this case." Those actions cast doubt on Plantronics position in the GN Netcom lawsuit. On May 11, a teleconference has been scheduled with Magistrate Judge Burke to discuss alternative dispute resolutions between the two companies. While it's nearly impossible to guess the final outcome, at a minimum, and as the court filings show, investors need to re-think management credibility at Plantronics. Must Read: Why Is Carl Icahn Doubling Down on These 3 Struggling Stocks?

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NEW YORK (Real Money) -- Doug Kass of Seabreeze Partners is known for his accurate stock market calls and keen insights into the economy, which he shares with RealMoney Pro readers in his daily trading diary. This past week, Kass said IBM's latest report isn't as rosy as some investors might think. Meanwhile, U.S. automakers are looking like a good value despite U.S. dollar strengthening, which Kass thinks is mostly "behind us." Must Read: Warren Buffett's Top 10 Dividend Stocks IBM Blue Originally published on April 20 at 5:10 P.M. EDT Financial engineering at its best. Despite a 12% revenue decline and a 2.5% fall in net income, IBM's earnings per share beat forecasts! How? 1. Over the last 12 months, the company's fully diluted shares outstanding fell by 50 million shares, to 990 million shares. IBM purchased $1.2 billion of its own stock in the first quarter of 2015. 2. IBM did not purchase any shares in the fourth quarter of 2014 because its debt load became so large that it placed the company close to being downgraded. 3. Net debt dropped by over $2 billion in first quarter of 2015 to $30 billion. This was achieved by a sharp $3.5 billion collection (and drop) in receivables being financed, which reduced the company's total assets and allowed it to buy back stock. 4. EPS were further buoyed by the company's net effective tax rate, which dropped by a full 1% to 19.5% I find it hard to believe that IBM's stock gain will be maintained. I have reestablished my short at $169.20. Must Read: 5 Stocks Warren Buffett Is Selling These Uncertain Times Originally published on April 21 at 3:30 P.M. EDT For nearly three decades, I spoke to Alan Abelson almost every Thursday. Alan routinely told me that he didn't read books of fiction because the real stuff that goes on in Wall Street was far more interesting than what a novelist could fabricate! Case in point: Today's disclosure of the "source" of the Flash Crash. It took five years for the SEC to figure out that one person, trading in his pajamas at his apartment, was responsible for the devastating market drop in May 2010. This does not exactly engender optimism and raises the specter that when "real" selling occurs, the wheels will come off the market -- and it will not be pretty. Err on the side of conservatism during these uncertain times. Starting Long in Ford and GM Originally published on April 20 at 1:35 P.M. EDT For some time I have been concerned about the U.S.dollar's adverse impact on the domestic automobile industry's sales and profits. That said, the shares of the leading manufacturers in the U.S. have flatlined for some time and I suspect that a large portion of the U.S. dollar climb may be behind us now. Moreover, there is now some evidence that some modest green shoots are sprouting in the EU economies. Accordingly, I am taking a starter position long in both Ford and General Motors -- two stocks that are statistically cheap. I have paid for $36.99 for GM and $15.84 for F. Both stocks have reasonable reward vs. risk features (of about 2:1 upside downside), but not enough, in my view, to place on my Best Ideas List. As an aside, Greenlight Capital's (David Einhorn) recently announced a holding in General Motors. It's Greece to Me Originally published on April 22 at 7:11 A.M. EDT "You can knock on a deaf man's door forever." -- Nikos Kazantzakis, Zorba the Greek Yesterday I closed out with a brief post, "Greece Is Cooked," in which I highlighted the dangerously high yields and negative ramifications on Greek debt. Common sense argues that the message of Greece's sky-high sovereign debt yields is that the country has already basically defaulted. Will an insolvent, defaulting Greece have a meaningful impact on the global markets and economies? What is the contagious impact? I am not an expert, but let's take a quick look at the facts. Firstly, over the last 150 years Greece has been in default or restructuring for 92 years, or about 61% of the time. The country accounts for only 0.2% of global GDP. Secondly, Greece's external debt totals about 300 billion euros ($323 billion). According to Zero Hedge, the Greek 2019s were eight times oversubscribed when issued! That run yields over 20% and trades under 61.00 today! (Like Puerto Rico bonds a few years ago, investors in Greek debt were greedy and stupid -- pure and simple. Who in the world could possibly pay par and think it's worth 4.75% to own Greece risk? In all seriousness, that investor should be disqualified from the credit business for life!) Thirdly, the problem, of course, goes beyond the 300 billion euros of Greece debt -- as the market will be concerned with contagion and could perceive that the "soft" Southern sisters are inevitably going next. Bottom line, Greece has danced through insolvency over the last century and a half -- the country and the world have survived. We will all likely survive the current chapter. However, my investment, economic and profit concerns, expressed in Monday's opening missive, transcend Greece's deep rooted debt problems. Must Read: Kass Identifies 12 Big-Picture Factors That May Weigh on Markets, Economy

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NEW YORK (Real Money) -- Jim Cramer fills his blog on RealMoney every day with his up-to-the-minute reactions to what's happening in the market and his legendary ahead-of-the-crowd ideas. This week he blogged on: Why you shouldn't abandon the Four Horsemen, and Four characteristics that define what wins in this market. Click here for information on RealMoney, where you can see all the blogs, including Jim Cramer's -- and reader comments -- in real time. I'm Going to Keep Riding These Horses Posted at 11:22 a.m. EDT on Friday, April 24, 2015 Back away from the Four Horsemen? Are you nuts? Some are questioning on Twitter whether the Biogen quarter miss this morning is enough to have me abandon ship on one of the key Four Horsemen: Biogen, Celgene , Gilead and Regeneron that I wrote about in Get Rich Carefully. While all of these stocks have appreciated well beyond when I was writing the book, the idea that an earnings miss from Biogen -- chiefly because of Tecfidera, an anti-MS formulation -- could have me back away from this company is ludicrous. I actually like it for its Alzheimer's possibilities, and while I don't deny disappointment in the MS drug's numbers, I can't abandon ship ahead of what might be one of the next big blockbusters. Similarly, I see Celgene going higher off rumors that Bristol-Myers might be buying it. I find this a little illogical -- they are about the same size! However, a merger of equals could make sense because they both have fabulous anti-cancer franchises. All that said, I like Celgene on earnings alone, especially when I hear about patent challenges against its key Revlimid drug. The patent seems pretty unassailable to me. Gilead? I don't like additional competition coming into the hepatitis-C space, and that's what it has as of this morning when we learned that Merck's got a new drug joining the fray to compete with Gilead and AbbVie . That said, Gilead's got enough money from its initial monopoly off its miraculous blockbuster that it can reinvent itself and be worth a lot more than it's selling for, which is about half of the market multiple to the S&P 500. Finally, there's Regeneron, which is rallying today because it turns out the company might have a revolutionary anti-muscular-aging compound, for which it just reported encouraging Phase 1 results. Now Phase 1 is really early. But who knew it was even working on this? That means it has a novel anti-cholesterol drug on the way, a potential anti-asthma drug and this, in addition to the amazing strength and superiority of its Eylea drug for macular degeneration of the eyes. Now, one could argue that I am being piggish on all three. After all, I have been recommending Regeneron since it was at $5 and have been pushing Celgene forever and Gilead ever since we saw preliminary signs of the importance of its Pharmasset merger to its future. That's the company that produced its hep-C cure. Biogen's always seemed cheap to me, given its inventive nature and its amazing MS franchise, which isn't damaged in the least by the shortfall this morning, at least in my eyes. The Alzheimer's news did send the stock up 100 points, but I think it could go up huge again on any additional positive data. So, I am sticking by the stocks of the Four Horsemen of the Big Pharma Apocalypse even up here. There's still too much upside to back down now. At the time of publication, Action Alerts PLUS, which Cramer co-manages as a charitable trust, was long MRK and TWTR. Must Read: Why Pinterest Wants More Men and How It Plans to Get Them Tools, Pizza and Shoes: Who Knew? Posted at 5:32 p.m. EDT on Friday, April 23, 2015 Sometimes it's as simple as asking what does this market want? What's it telling you to buy? What's the market's agenda? If you figure that out, you have the key to what's driving things, the real recipe for today's gains, and I think it could continue tomorrow with some of these reports after the bell. But look no further than tonight's Mad Money for the answers behind today's rally, because we happen to have three of the best-performing stocks in the market today, three that define the moment, that are beacons to follow: Snap-On Tools , Domino's and Skechers . At first glance, these three have nothing whatsoever in common. You have a company that develops and sells precision tools for various industries, especially auto repair shops. You have a company that makes, sells and delivers pizza and other foods to your door. And you have a company that makes shoes. Big deal. Pedestrian. I know. But what do they all have in common? How about four characteristics that define what wins in this market? First, they have gigantic and surprising sales and earnings power. Domino's put up19% earnings growth including a 14% comparable-store sales number for the United States. That's incredible, much better than the consensus analysts were looking for. Snap-On delivered 16% earnings growth, selling tools for heaven's sake. This company has a history of delivering these kinds of gains. They are like clockwork. Money managers love clockwork. Skechers put up a phenomenal 40% sales growth number and amazing gross margins. Its earnings increased a staggering 80% year over year. That's just incredible growth. Unworldly. Second criterion: surprise factor. Snap-On's been delivering so consistently that I feared a ho-hum reaction to today's report. Not at all. You got terrific sales and a tremendous increase in the amount of money per sale with amazing organic growth of 9.9% and 12% organic growth specifically for its tool group. That's just stunning. But not as shocking as the comparable-sales numbers that Domino's gave you. Remember, this is a company that primarily sells pizza. Each store sold 14% more pizza than a year ago -- that's right, 14%. I was looking for a 7% comparable number, which would have been pretty darned huge. But 14%? That's the way the old Chipotle used to deliver numbers. That's the fastest growth by far in the category. I don't even know where to begin with Skechers, the surprise is so gigantic. Domestic shoe stores gave you an 8.3% comparable-sales number, international gave you 14.8%. Holy cow. The wholesale business, hugely important, gave you double-digit growth. The operating margin increased 270 basis points. That means they are making a ton more per shoe than they did last year. I don't know if I can recall any apparel company making that much more money per product than it did the previous year. What do earnings and sales surprises do? Three things: First, they allow the analyst machine to go to work raising estimates for both sales and earnings. That combination always gets a stock going. Second, they maintain the momentum of the chart. All three had terrific breakout charts, and that means the world to those who are trying to catch a tiger by the tail. Finally, they get the shorts to cover. Let's spend some time on this last one. There's never been a really serious bet against Snap-On Tools. It's way too quiet a company to attract a lot of hedge funds to bet against it. But Domino's and Skechers? These are short-selling magnets. Domino's was long considered to be a sleepy company before its breakthrough campaign to showcase how the pizza simply didn't taste good, and management, led by CEO Pat Doyle, knew it. The changes were visible because of an amazing campaign that compared their old pizza's taste negatively to cardboard! That got people's attention, including my own. The new pizza tastes outstanding. But somehow the smart hedge fund guys don't get this. They have thought this one's just an accident waiting, endlessly, to happen. It lapped difficult comparisons. The category's not growing that fast. Expectations had gotten too high. Plus, the stock was so extended going into the quarter that it almost seemed due to collapse on its own weight. That's why I first thought it was a typo or I had read the release wrong when I saw a 14% gain in comparable stores. I was looking for 7%. Actually, I was praying for 7%, given how the stock had run so much making it so vulnerable to disappointment and I've been such a strong supporter of it. When you see a gain this big, you know you had plenty of short-side bettors who have no choice but to cover. They've been beaten and they have to buy high just like an owner would have to sell low if the company really did a poor job on the quarter. Then there's Skechers, which is in a short-selling category all by itself. I have loved Skechers forever, having been drawn personally to the comfort level of the shoes and the comfort I feel with chairman/CEO/founder Robert Greenberg and David Weinberg, the chief operating and chief financial officer, two masters of the shoe industry who know how to manufacture and sell what people really want, a comfortable darned shoe. Others, however, are not so enamored of the stock. There are research outfits galore who have tried to call a top in this stock wary of an industry that has frequently produced flame-outs, companies that turn out to be nothing but fads that got hot and then turned cold. You have seen this play out again and again as a boutique research firm would give credence to a weak direct sales number or a West Coast port slowdown, causing a momentary but scary swoon to the stock. But nothing slowed down this quarter. That's how you get such a huge single-day gain. Third necessary ingredient to get a stock moving higher in this market? How about tremendous innovation. You could easily argue that all three of these are actually technology stocks in disguise. Snap-On just keeps creating tool after tool after tool to meet its customers' needs. Lots of their innovation comes from listening to their clients and solving their problems for better diagnostics or superior, more durable hand tools. It's a factory of innovation. Domino's is always coming up with new dishes that whet the appetite. Notice you don't hear this company called Domino's Pizza anymore. It's just Domino's, a testament to all the new entries the company offers. But more important, Domino's is a huge technology innovator. It was the first to embrace technology that would make for easy ordering. The first to embrace your mobile phone as an ordering device. The first to truly embrace social media like Facebook to win over customers and make the process simple. The first to allow payments made online so you don't have to deal with cash when the delivery person shows up at your door. Including the tip. That means mistake-free ordering and fewer people needed to answer the phone at the store. Skechers is an innovation machine. New shoes for all sorts of occasions and all kinds of ages. It's a laboratory. An inventor of new shoes. And it's an amazing embracer of social media to pitch its goods, including the social work, so to speak, of the incredibly popular singer Demi Lovato. With Skechers, it's not just shoe biz, it's show biz. Fourth and final clue of what this market wants? How about no excuses? All three of these companies have large businesses and franchises overseas. They are all saddled with the same strong dollar that so many other companies have been hamstrung by. But go listen to their conference calls. Demand for their products overseas was so great that they didn't skip a beat. The moral of the story? You have the right goods, the strong dollar can't derail you. That in itself may be the most amazing thing about these three companies. So you get a guide up in both sales and earnings, you get a true earnings surprise, you get amazing innovation and robust sales overseas despite the strong dollar, then you've got a winning stock. Snap-On, Domino's and Skechers are winners and will remain winners as long as these management teams stay intact. At the time of publication, Action Alerts PLUS, which Cramer co-manages as a charitable trust, was long FB. Must Read: 5 Sales Tips to Heat Things Up as You Sell Your Home This Summer

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- David Wondrich helped launch the cocktail craze in the U.S. with his 2007 book "Imbibe!: From Absinthe Cocktail to Whiskey Smash," and he’s back with a significantly revised edition that’s required reading for cocktail geeks and fascinating stuff for the rest of us. Mixologists will study the dozens of drink recipes that Wondrich has collected from various 19th century sources and reinterpreted in a modern idiom, while students of American history will enjoy Wondrich’s depiction of the raucous, freewheeling culture from which cocktails sprang. Must Read: Everything You Want to Know About Absinthe "Facility with mixing drinks was the first legitimate American culinary art and – along with the minstrel show, but that’s another book – the first uniquely American cultural product to catch the world’s imagination," Wondrich writes. The names of many of the drinks conjure up the era: Sixty-Ninth Regiment Punch, named for a famous New York City Irish-American unit; General Burnside’s Punch, which honors one of the more hapless Union generals of the Civil War; Texian Egg Nogg, first made in 1843 in honor of San Jacinto Day; General Harrison’s Egg Nogg, the drink that celebrates short-lived U.S. president William Henry "Old Tippicanoe" Harrison; and, of course, standards like the Martini and the Manhattan (and the Brooklyn and the Bronx, but not the Staten Island or the Queens, which were still rural in the 19th century and thus not cocktail name material). Wondrich’s vivid historical imagination matches those names. Consider his description of a trip up the Hudson River from Manhattan to Saratoga Springs, which, he writes, was "nineteenth-century New York’s northern equivalent of the Hamptons, only with gambling. How pleasant it must have been to catch the morning steamboat and spent the day sipping cooling drinks from the bar and enjoying the breeze as the still largely agricultural Hudson Valley unspooled its vistas before you. A night on the water, and the next morning you were there. Somehow, eighteen hours on a steamboat seem infinitely preferable to four hours on the Long Island Expressway." Or his comparison of Confederate general Jubal T. Early greeting friends at a Lynchburg, Va. saloon over Manhattan cocktails as akin to "Pat Robertson listening to Boy George." Considerable research underlies Wondrich’s writerly flair. He loads the book with images of cocktail implements and glasses that he has gathered in his years of studying the topic, and he observes very precisely how changes in ingredients affect cocktail recipes. To cite one example, Dutch Genever, that nation’s version of gin, was far more common for most of the 19th century America than its English counterpart. Genever was sweetened and had a richer flavor than dry English gin, whose emergence as the dominant form of the spirit coincided with the rise of the dry Martini in the 1890s. Since the first edition of Imbibe! came out, Wondrich writes, the renaissance in gin distilling has allowed him and other mixologists to recovery many 19th century drinks that featured Genever, including the New Orleans Gin Fizz, invented by master bartender Carl Ramos in the Crescent City. Many of the ingredients in the cocktails Wondrich writes about weren’t commercially available when he wrote the first edition of Imbibe!, so he had to make them himself. To produce the Green Swizzle, a rum drink, he needed wormwood bitters, for which he offers the following recipe: "Put five or six sprigs of wormwood or one ounce dried and the thin-cut peels ofthree tangerines in a clean 750-millileter bottle, fill with so-called Navy-strength gin such as Hayman’s Royal Dock or Wray and Nephew White Overproof rum, let sit for a couple of days, decant and strain." Even though Americans have been making lemonade as long as they’ve had lemons and sweetening agents, Wondrich’s version sounds appetizing even when not combined with rum to make a Boston Rum Punch: "Peel four lemons with a swivel-bladed peeler. Put the peels and 3/4 cup Demerara [brown] sugar (fine-grained, if possible), in a one-pint Mason jar, seal, shake, and let sit overnight in a warm place (or three or four hours in the sun). Carefully open the jar, add 3/4 cup lemon juice, reseal, and shake until the sugar has dissolved. Combine with three cups cold water, straining out the peels, then bottle and refrigerate." The book covers so much ground that it’s not surprising Wondrich offers a new theory about how the term "cocktail" came to refer to an alcoholic beverage. He suggests the term comes from a trick practiced by 18th British horse traders who would put a clove of ginger in a horse's "fundament" to get the animal to cock its tail and get a better price at auction. The British then applied the term to a mixture of spirits, bitters, sugar and water. "A cocktail is something that cocks up your tail," Wondrich writes. "In America, the tails took a little extra cocking." Must Read: A Special Cocktail to Commemorate the Alamo


NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Would you want to live somewhere where crime was high, car accidents were frequent and a too many of your kids' friends had actually been to jail? That doesn't sound like such a safe place for anyone live. Well, some states are safer than others. Some of the most dangerous states are in the South, including Alabama, Texas and others, according to findings by WalletHub, a Web site with personal finance tools and information. The findings were one portion of a new study that measured "taxpayer ROI," or, the quality of services provided by the government compared with the amount paid in taxes. (Check out states with best and worst taxpayer ROI.) Safety was one of six factors considered by WalletHub. To find the safest and most dangerous states, WalletHub measured crime rates per capita as determined by data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It also took into account fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel; sex offenders per capita and state's youth incarceration rates. WalletHub used data from the following sources to create its taxpayer ROI rankings: the U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, National Center for Education Statistics, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Medicare.gov, Manhattan Institute, Families USA, Social Science Research Council, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Missouri Economic Research & Information Center, The Equality of Opportunity Project, Federal Bureau of Investigations, TRIP, Environmental Working Group, America's Health Rankings, Annie E. Casey Foundation, Parents for Megan's Law and the Crime Victims Center, and WalletHub research. Here are the 10 most dangerous states in the U.S. And when you're done be sure to check out the country's safest states to live in. 10. Alabama Violent Crimes per Capita: 0.00432 Median Household Income (2009-2013): $43,253Persons below poverty level (2009-2013): 18.6% With approximately 4.8 million residents, Alabama was named the tenth most dangerous state by WalletHub. Here are other some other facts about the state. Property Crimes per Capita: 0.03362 Fatalities per 100 million Vehicle Miles of Travel: 1.33 Sex Offenders per Capita: 0.00277 Youth Incarceration Rate per 100,000 Inhabitants: 212 Must Read: The 10 Worst States for Spending Your Tax Dollars 9. Texas Violent Crimes per Capita: 0.00414 Median Household Income (2009-2013): $51,900 Persons below poverty level (2009-2013): 17.6% With approximately 27 million residents, Texas was named the ninth most dangerous state by WalletHub. Here are other some other facts about the state. Property Crimes per Capita: 0.03308 Fatalities per 100 million Vehicle Miles of Travel: 1.43 Sex Offenders per Capita: 0.00315 Youth Incarceration Rate per 100,000 Inhabitants: 204 8. Florida Violent Crimes per Capita: 0.00476Median Household Income (2009-2013): $46,956Persons below poverty level (2009-2013): 16.3% With approximately 20 million residents, Florida was named the eighth most dangerous state by WalletHub. Here are other some other facts about the state. Property Crimes per Capita: 0.03142Fatalities per 100 million Vehicle Miles of Travel: 1.27Sex Offenders per Capita: 0.00333Youth Incarceration Rate per 100,000 Inhabitants: 261 Must Read: These 12 Best Companies to Work for Also Make Investors Happy 7. Delaware Violent Crimes per Capita: 0.00496 Median Household Income (2009-2013): $59,878Persons below poverty level (2009-2013): 11.7% With less than 1 million residents, Delaware was named the seventh most dangerous state by WalletHub. Here are other some other facts about the state. Property Crimes per Capita: 0.03095 Fatalities per 100 million Vehicle Miles of Travel: 1.24 Sex Offenders per Capita: 0.00514 Youth Incarceration Rate per 100,000 Inhabitants: 270 Must Read: 10 Dumbest States for Educating Your Kids Before College 6.Alaska Violent Crimes per Capita: 0.00645Median Household Income (2009-2013): $59,878Persons below poverty level (2009-2013): 11.7% With slightly over 700,000 residents, Alaska was named the sixth most dangerous state by WalletHub. Here are other some other facts about the state. Property Crimes per Capita: 0.02907 Fatalities per 100 million Vehicle Miles of Travel: 1.23 Sex Offenders per Capita: 0.0044 Youth Incarceration Rate per 100,000 Inhabitants: 342 Must Read: The 10 Best States for Spending Your Tax Dollars 5. Tennessee Violent Crimes per Capita: 0.00594Median Household Income (2009-2013): $44,298Persons below poverty level (2009-2013): 17.6% With slightly over 6.5 million residents, Tennessee was named the fifth most dangerous state by WalletHub. Here are other some other facts about the state. Property Crimes per Capita: 0.03203 Fatalities per 100 million Vehicle Miles of Travel: 1.42 Sex Offenders per Capita: 0.00323 Youth Incarceration Rate per 100,000 Inhabitants: 117 4. New Mexico Violent Crimes per Capita: 0.00613 Median Household Income (2009-2013): $44,927 Persons below poverty level (2009-2013): 20.4% With 2.1 million residents, New Mexico was named the fourth most dangerous state by WalletHub. Here are other some other facts about the state. Property Crimes per Capita: 0.0371 Fatalities per 100 million Vehicle Miles of Travel: 1.43 Sex Offenders per Capita: 0.0019 Youth Incarceration Rate per 100,000 Inhabitants: 250 Must Read: 13 Companies Paying Employees Higher Wages, Including Gravity Payments, McDonald's, Wal-Mart 3. Louisiana Violent Crimes per Capita: 0.00521Median Household Income (2009-2013): $44,874Persons below poverty level (2009-2013): 19.1% With 4.6 million residents, Louisiana was named the third most dangerous state by WalletHub. Here are other some other facts about the state. Property Crimes per Capita: 0.03601 Fatalities per 100 million Vehicle Miles of Travel: 1.54 Sex Offenders per Capita: 0.00196 Youth Incarceration Rate per 100,000 Inhabitants: 239 2. Arkansas Violent Crimes per Capita: 0.00461Median Household Income (2009-2013): $40,768Persons below poverty level (2009-2013): 19.2% With 3 million residents, Arkansas was named the second most dangerous state by WalletHub. Here are other some other facts about the state. Property Crimes per Capita: 0.03614 Fatalities per 100 million Vehicle Miles of Travel: 1.65 Sex Offenders per Capita: 0.0034 Youth Incarceration Rate per 100,000 Inhabitants: 230 Must Read: 10 Smartest States for Educating Your Kids Before College 1. South Carolina Violent Crimes per Capita: 0.00513 Median Household Income (2009-2013): $44,779Persons below poverty level (2009-2013): 18.1% With 4.8 million residents, South Carolina was named the most dangerous state by WalletHub. Here are other some other facts about the state. Property Crimes per Capita: 0.03663 Fatalities per 100 million Vehicle Miles of Travel: 1.76 Sex Offenders per Capita: 0.00304 Youth Incarceration Rate per 100,000 Inhabitants: 235 Must Read: 10 Safest States


NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- With education being an essential step on the path to financial security, would you want to live in a state where your kids couldn't get the best education? For the vast majority in the U.S., the quality of schools are a major factor in deciding where to live. The worst schools, kindergarten through high school, seem to be concentrated in two geographical areas -- the southwest and along the Gulf Coast, with Mississippi ranked the worst, according to WalletHub, a Web site with personal finance tools and information. The findings are one part of a new study that measured "taxpayer ROI," or, the quality of services provided by the government compared with the amount paid in taxes. (Check out states with best and worst taxpayer ROI.) Quality of schools was one of six factors considered. To find the best and worst states for education, WalletHub analyzed 12 key metrics, from student-teacher ratios and dropout rates to test scores and bullying incident rates. WalletHub points out that in comparing schools, the amount of state funding a school system receives is important, but it's not the only determinant of quality. States with the highest student dropout rates included Alaska, Georgia, New Mexico, Oregon, Nevada and the District of Columbia, while states with the lowest school dropout rates included Iowa, Nebraska, Texas, Wisconsin and Vermont. WalletHub used data to create these rankings from the U.S. Census Bureau, the National Center for Educational Statistics, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the National Education Association, the Kids Count - Anney E. Casey Foundation, the Center for Financial Literacy - Champlain College, Stopbullying.gov, U.S. News & World Report and K12.com. Here are the 10 worst states for K-12 schools. When you're done be sure to check out which states have the best schools. 10. Kentucky With approximately 4.4 million residents, Kentucky was named the tenth worst state for education by WalletHub. Kentucky had 83% of its residents above the age of 25 with at least a high school degree for the five years through 2013, and 21.5% with a bachelor's degree or higher in the same time period, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. The state reported an unemployment rate of 5.1% in March, lower than the national average of 5.5%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Must Read: The 10 Best States for Spending Your Tax Dollars 9. South Carolina With approximately 4.8 million residents, South Carolina was named the ninth worst state for education by WalletHub. Approximately 84.5% of its residents above the age of 25 had at least a high school degree as measured during the five years through 2013, and 25.1% had a bachelor's degree or higher in the same time period, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. The state reported an unemployment rate of 6.7% in March, higher than the national average of 5.5%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 8. Arizona With approximately 6.7 million residents, Arizona was named the eighth worst state for education by WalletHub. Approximately 85.7% of its residents above the age of 25 had at least a high school degree as measured during the five years through 2013, while 26.9% had a bachelor's degree or higher in the same time period, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. Arizona reported an unemployment rate of 6.2% in March, higher than the national average of 5.5%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 7. Arkansas With approximately 3 million residents, Arkansas was named the seventh worst state for education by WalletHub. Approximately 83.7% of its residents above the age of 25 had at least a high school degree as measured during the five years through 2013, while 20.1% had a bachelor's degree or higher in the same time period, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. Arkansas reported an unemployment rate of 5.6% in March, higher than the national average of 5.5%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Must Read: The 10 Worst States for Spending Your Tax Dollars 6. West Virginia With approximately 1.9 million residents, West Virginia was named the sixth worst state for education by WalletHub. Approximately 83.9% of its residents above the age of 25 had at least a high school degree as measured during the five years through 2013, while 18.3% had a bachelor's degree or higher in the same time period, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. West Virginia reported an unemployment rate of 6.6% in March, higher than the national average of 5.5%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 5. New Mexico With approximately 2 million residents, New Mexico was named the fifth worst state for education by WalletHub. Approximately 83.6% of its residents above the age of 25 had at least a high school degree as measured during the five years through 2013, while 25.8% had a bachelor's degree or higher in the same time period, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. New Mexico reported an unemployment rate of 6.1% in March, higher than the national average of 5.5%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Must Read: 13 Companies Paying Employees Higher Wages, Including Gravity Payments, McDonald's, Wal-Mart 4. Nevada With approximately 2.9 million residents, Nevada was named the fourth worst state for education by WalletHub. Approximately 84.6% of its residents above the age of 25 had at least a high school degree as measured during the five years through 2013, while 22.4% had a bachelor's degree or higher in the same time period, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. Nevada reported an unemployment rate of 7.1% in March, higher than the national average of 5.5%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 3. Louisiana With approximately 4.7 million residents, Louisiana was named the third worst state for education by WalletHub. Approximately 82.6% of its residents above the age of 25 had at least a high school degree as measured during the five years through 2013, while 21.8% had a bachelor's degree or higher in the same time period, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. Louisiana reported an unemployment rate of 6.6% in March, higher than the national average of 5.5%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Must Read: These 12 Best Companies to Work for Also Make Investors Happy 2. Alabama With approximately 4.8 million residents, Alabama was named the second worst state for education by WalletHub. Approximately 83.1% of its residents above the age of 25 had at least a high school degree as measured during the five years through 2013, while 22.6% had a bachelor's degree or higher in the same time period, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. Alabama reported an unemployment rate of 5.7% in March, higher than the national average of 5.5%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Must Read: Are These 15 'Green' Companies Also Good Investments? 1. Mississippi With approximately 3 million residents, Mississippi was named the worst state for education by WalletHub. Approximately 81.5% of its residents above the age of 25 had at least a high school degree as measured during the five years through 2013, while 20.1% had a bachelor's degree or higher in the same time period, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. Alabama reported an unemployment rate of 6.8% in March, higher than the national average of 5.5%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Must Read: 10 Smartest States for Educating Your Kids


TAIPEI, Taiwan (TheStreet) -- China's latest drive to censor the Internet could prove to be a double-edged sword for U.S. technology companies. While some companies have previously provided hardware and software to help China censor Web sites the government doesn't like, others have sold technology that allows the Chinese people to get around it. Playing both sides may be good for business in such a huge market, but it carries risks as well. In a program described by Internet watchers as the "Great Cannon," China launched attacks for two weeks in March against GreatFire.org's rented Web sites to stop the censorship watchdog from making government-banned website content accessible to people in China, according to the University of Toronto's Citizen Lab. A similar attack hit U.S. code-hosting service provider GitHub, which GreatFire.org was using then. Must Read: 5 Tech Stocks George Soros Loves for 2015 Widely compared to the U.S. National Security Agency's Quantum servers, the Cannon as described by the Lab uses third-party Web content from China to blot out targeted Web site material not protected by password. If China expands this system into a full-scale extension of its 22-year-old censorship scheme, hardware providers could gain as well as lose from new business, while Internet content providers could be dragged in as unwitting victims and Google may see a risky new source of traffic.Beijing's authorities will need technical help building up the cannon to the level of its Golden Shield and Great Firewall efforts, which involve multiple government agencies as well as the country's chief Internet content and service providers.It's unclear what involvement, if any, U.S. tech companies have had so far in this latest censorship drive. But China would likely seek their help because of their previous help and the fact that U.S. companies offer the most advanced technology. Earlier efforts by U.S. tech firms to help China's censorship have generated some backlash. Hardware developer Cisco Systems was sued twice in the U.S. in 2011, with Chinese activists accusing it of designing the Golden Shield project. The suits are still pending. Cisco declined to comment. Must Read: Microsoft's Strong Quarter Led by the Cloud -- 3 Biggest Takeaways Software giant Microsoft also sold China a software package in 2005 to stop bloggers from posting sensitive words, according to media reports at the time. Microsoft wouldn't comment either. U.S.-listed Chinese Internet content providers could also turn up as the source of Javascript that replaces the unencrypted content in Cannon attacks. Servers under Beijing-based web services firm Baidu , which receives much of its traffic from outside China, was a source of script for the move against GreatFire.org, the university found. "After a thorough investigation we determined that Baidu itself was not breached or hacked," company international communications director Kaiser Kuo said. "We notified authorities and began working with security organizations to get to the bottom of it." Other major Chinese Internet service providers that get of inbound traffic from offshore include Nasdaq-traded Sina -- under fire last year over allegations of spreading online porn -- and Sohu.com . Sohu's investor relations consultant said the company could not comment and called the issue "a fairly sensitive topic." Sina also declined comment. The Great Cannon scheme could technically go after company websites that include information that China considers hostile, but so far the American and European chambers of commerce in Beijing are quiet, indicating low odds of any major business risks. If the Cannon becomes a regular part of China's Internet censorship work, foreign companies and their staff members would rely increasingly on virtual private networks, or VPN. Those tools would ensure any sensitive content stays encrypted and invisible to censorship tools. "Internet users are not able to stop governments and hackers from snooping, so the best tool for users now is to always use a VPN," said Danny Levinson, chief executive officer of VPN service provider Kovurt.com. Most VPNs are offered by small companies, but brands such as American computer giant IBM are also in the market. Many sell the network software through the Google Play Store, a potential source of traffic for Google as it hopes to expand in China. But Chinese authorities might ask it to block those apps if too popular, especially among local people, adding trouble for the Silicon Valley icon after other disputes with Beijing. Google did not provide comment. "In corporate social responsibility, we always talk about the notion of 'Who is the stakeholder?'" Levinson said. "In China the ultimate stakeholder is always going to be the government." Must Read: 3 Big Tech Companies to Add to Your Portfolio Right Now

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Investors need to be careful when looking for hot new trends, as they can be tough to identify at first sight. Too many people mistake one example of something new as a trend, said Rohit Bhargava, author of "Non-Obvious," a book geared at thinking differently and curating ideas. Must Read: Warren Buffett's Top 10 Stock Buys Instead, Bhargava says he looks for a series of examples across several different industries to form what he would consider a trend. For one example of a possible new trend, investors can look at Disney's MagicBand technology. Visitors at the park wear these bracelets - MagicBands. Not only are the MagicBands customizable in look, but they allow customers to unlock their hotel door, purchase merchandise, enter theme parks and redeem FastPast+ selections. But many investors may not think of the implications that this type of technology can have on other businesses, mainly in retail, Bhargava said. The technology allows Disney to greet customers by name. Retail locations may use the same technology to provide similar treatment. In turn, customers can pay, make requests and be treated like "superstars" throughout their experience, Bhargava said. SPDR S&P Retail ETF XRT data by Charts Many investors, particularly on the technology side, have likely heard of big data analytics. However, there's a much smaller, lesser known discussion around small data. Small data is consumer-owned data, generally information that is collected at their home or office with personal devices, or ones that are connected to the Internet. Companies can use big and small data to create value, Bhargava said. Must Read: 10 Stocks Billionaire John Paulson Loves

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Search Jim Cramer's "Mad Money" trading recommendations using our exclusive "Mad Money" Stock Screener. NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Did you miss last night's "Mad Money" on CNBC? If so, here are Jim Cramer's top takeaways for today's trading. CLB data by YCharts Core Labs : Cramer spoke with David Demshur, chairman, president and CEO of Core Labs to find out how this scientist in the oil patch could have a stock that's up 40% in just the past three months. Demshur explained that when it comes to Core Labs' reservoir mapping services, these are multi-year, multi-billion-dollar projects that don't simply go away based on the short-term fluctuations in oil prices. That's how Core Labs continues to post strong, consistent earnings. Turning to U.S. oil production, Demshur said the current output of 9.2 million barrels a day will likely fall below nine million barrels by the end of 2015, with much of that decline stemming from shale wells, which deplete more rapidly than traditional wells. That will lead to a V-shaped recovery for oil prices, Demshur predicted, with West Texas oil prices returning to $70 a barrel. CBSH data by YCharts Commerce Bancshares : Cramer spoke with David Kemper, chairman and CEO of Commerce Bank, a regional bank serving the midwest that is posting solid gains as it awaits higher interest rates from the Federal Reserve. Kemper said the business environment is good in the areas the bank serves, with lower energy prices helping to triple their loan growth in recent months. While others are pulling out of markets such as Oklahoma and Colorado, Commerce is expanding operations. Kemper also said that Commerce has a strong core deposit base, along with the size and agility to offer their customers a better value proposition than the competition. QLIK data by YCharts In a third "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer sat down with Lars Bjork, CEO of Qlik Technologies , maker of user-driven business intelligence products. Shares of Qlik rose 4.8% on the day to new 52-week highs and are up 25% since Cramer last checked in with the company 13 months ago. Bjork explained that Qlik has a relentless focus on making products that are easy to use. If they're not easy to use, people won't use them, he continued, and that's why Qlik can beat companies like IBM nine times out of 10. In addition to selling to customers directly, Qlik also employs over 1,700 partners in 100 countries around the globe to help get the products in the hands of customers. That's why even in Europe, sales are strong. There's no better time to optimize your company than when things are slow, Bjork added. Cramer reiterated his buy recommendation on Qlik. To read a full recap of "Mad Money" on CNBC, click here. To watch replays of Cramer's video segments, visit the Mad Money page on CNBC. To sign up for Jim Cramer's free Booyah! newsletter with all of his latest articles and videos please click here.

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Nasdaq surged to another record high on Friday but some tech stocks weren't feeling the love. Chipmakers have struggled and Guy Adami, managing director of stockmonster.com, wasn't upbeat. It's likely that Qualcomm will remain a "disaster" and Intel has traded poorly, too, he said on CNBC's "Fast Money." Broadcom seems like the best play and has an attractive valuation, but the recent rally seems to have gone too far, too fast. If Broadcom hits resistance near $48, investors should take profits, Adami cautioned. Must Read: 5 Stocks Warren Buffett Is Selling Steve Grasso, director of institutional sales at Stuart Frankel, says Micron may have bottomed but his attention was on Microsoft , which rallied 10.5% on Friday. The stock is now a "dramatic" sell after such a drastic rally, he reasoned. Tim Seymour, managing partner of Triogem Asset Management, agreed, adding Microsoft is getting close to resistance. With its analyst meeting next week and a huge move on Friday, there's no reason for investors to buy the stock right now. He thinks Google has the best risk-to-reward setup in big-cap tech. Google looks good and so does Akamai Technologies , according to David Seaburg, managing director and head of sales trading at Cowen & Company. Investors were "caught off guard" by Microsoft's surprisingly good results. Because they're so underweight the stock though, they were forced to buy on Friday's big rally. He agreed investors should avoid shares of Microsoft but he thinks Amazon's current rally is likely to continue. Grasso said Google is likely to pull back on antitrust concerns, which could give investors another chance to buy the stock at lower prices. Investors are gearing up for Apple's earnings, which will be released after the close on Monday. Both Grasso and Adami said investors can stay long the stock headed into the report because shares seem likely to head higher. Grasso added that he's looking for the company to return more capital to shareholders. Seymour was more cautious, saying he is long but is being realistic with his expectations. While he loves the company, he's waiting for a pullback to $122 and $112 before buying more stock. Must Read: 3 Big Tech Companies to Add to Your Portfolio Right Now Over the long term, Apple is a great stock to own, Seaburg said. However, he's not buying the stock ahead of earnings, saying expectations are relatively high. The conversation turned to Comcast and Time Warner after their failed $45 billion merger. Both stocks traded higher on the news and there is already speculation Charter Communications will acquire Time Warner. Time Warner seems to be in the best spot, Grasso said. The company has quality assets and the stock seems likely to "go much higher from here." Comcast is the best standalone company of the three, Seymour added. If it doesn't end up making a deal in the near future, management could always consider buying back stock. Charter looks the best of the three to Seaburg. When the company reports earnings on April 28, it may have an unexpected announcement. Adami said his top pick is Disney . For their final trades, Seaburg is buying HomeAway and Grasso is a buyer of Salesforce.com . Adami is buying Freeport-McMoRan and Seymour said to take some profits in Vale . Follow TheStreet.com on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook. Must Read: Gold to $5,000 in Five Years? Charts Say It Could Happen

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Search Jim Cramer's "Mad Money" trading recommendations using our exclusive "Mad Money" Stock Screener. NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Stop moaning about poor earnings, Jim Cramer commanded his Mad Money viewers Friday. There are still plenty of companies doing well this quarter and investors need to take advantage of the opportunities when they see them. Cramer's game plan for next week's trading starts on Monday with the quintessential Apple , a stock Cramer owns for his charitable trust, Action Alerts PLUS. After rising 15% over the past three months, he urges you to continue to own, not trade, Apple. Must Read: 5 Stocks Warren Buffett Is Selling Next, on Tuesday, Cramer will be watching Bristol-Myers Squibb , along with UPS , T-Mobile , Kraft Foods and Twitter , another Action Alerts PLUS name. Cramer is bullish on all these names, except UPS, where he said another bad quarter would send that company to his wall of shame. For Wednesday, Cramer's attention turns to Fiat Chrysler , where he expects a strong quarter, Spirit Airlines , his favorite among the group, GrubHub , an out-of-favor stock he thinks could surprise to the upside, and Marriott , another solid performer. Thursday brings earnings from just Exxon Mobil and Columbia Sportswear . Cramer remains a fan of the stealth tech play that is Columbia, and is also curious to hear Exxon's take on the future of oil prices. Finally, on Friday, CVS Health reports earnings. Cramer said buying call options would be a good way to play this drugstore giant. Also on Friday is Chevron , a stock investors can use to compare and contrast against Exxon's world view. Executive Decision: David Demshur For his "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer welcomed David Demshur, chairman, president and CEO of Core Labs , the scientist of the oil patch with a stock that's up 40% in just the past three months. Demshur explained that when it comes to Core Labs' reservoir mapping services, these are multi-year, multi-billion-dollar projects that don't simply go away based on the short-term fluctuations in oil prices. That's how Core Labs continues to post strong, consistent earnings. Turning to U.S. oil production, Demshur said the current output of 9.2 million barrels a day will likely fall below nine million barrels by the end of 2015, with much of that decline stemming from shale wells, which deplete more rapidly than traditional wells. That will lead to a V-shaped recovery for oil prices, Demshur predicted, with West Texas oil prices returning to $70 a barrel. Cramer said if Demshur is bullish on oil, then investors should be, too. Must Read: Microsoft's Strong Quarter Led by the Cloud -- 3 Biggest Takeaways Everything Going Right It's a rare event when everything goes right for multiple companies on a single day, but that's exactly what happened when Amazon.com , Microsoft , Google and Starbucks , the latter two Action Alerts PLUS holdings, reported spectacular earnings that surprised even the most bullish of investors on Wall Street. In the case of Amazon, which has been historically vague on about its operations, the company offered investors some clarity on its Web Services division, which apparently is growing like a weed. The company also cited positives in India and China, two markets that had seen a ton of investment, but little in the way of profits. As for Google, the company proved that it's actually a lot more profitable than many investors realized, meaning they don't have to hope for the monetization of YouTube after all. When Microsoft blew its quarter last time around, expectations were universally reset lower, making this time around an easy blow out. The company offered clear, concise guidance and investors cheered. Finally, there was Starbucks, a company that astonished even Cramer with how strong its earnings can be. Executive Decision: David Kemper In his second "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer sat down with David Kemper, chairman and CEO of Commerce Bancshares , a regional bank serving the midwest that is posting solid gains as it awaits higher interest rates from the Federal Reserve. Kemper said the business environment is good in the areas the bank serves, with lower energy prices helping to triple loan growth in recent months. While others are pulling out of markets such as Oklahoma and Colorado, Commerce is expanding operations. Kemper also said that Commerce has a strong core deposit base, along with the size and agility to offer customers a better value proposition than the competition. When asked about competition, particularly from up-and-coming online-only lenders, Kemper said he's skeptical of these upstarts because it's hard to be in tune with your customers without having face-to-face interactions. Must Read: 3 Big Tech Companies to Add to Your Portfolio Right Now Lightning Round In the Lightning Round, Cramer was bullish on Six Flags and Whole Foods Markets . Cramer was bearish on Peabody Energy , Royal Dutch Shell , Netflix , SeaWorld Entertainment and Frontier Communications . Executive Decision: Lars Bjork In a third "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer sat down with Lars Bjork, CEO of QLik Technologies , maker of user-driven business intelligence products. Shares of Qlik rose 4.8% on the day to new 52-week highs and are up 25% since Cramer last checked in with the company 13 months ago. Bjork explained that Qlik has a relentless focus on making products that are easy to use. If they're not easy to use, people won't use them, he continued, and that's why Qlik can beat companies like IBM nine times out of 10. In addition to selling to customers directly, Qlik also employs over 1,700 partners in 100 countries around the globe to help get their products in the hands of customers. That's why even in Europe, sales are strong. There's no better time to optimize your company than when things are slow, Bjork added. Cramer reiterated his buy recommendation on Qlik. Must Read: Gold to $5,000 in Five Years? Charts Say It Could Happen To watch replays of Cramer's video segments, visit the Mad Money page on CNBC. To sign up for Jim Cramer's free Booyah! newsletter with all of his latest articles and videos please click here.

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Amazon.com hit a record high on Friday after the e-commerce giant scored a number of analyst upgrades following its disclosure for the first time of how its cloud business was faring. Xerox tanked as the company cut its 2015 revenue and earnings forecast. Microsoft soared on an analyst upgrade. Amazon surged 14.1% to end the day at $445.10. Read More: 11 Safe High-Yield Dividend Stocks for Times of Volatility and Uncertainty The e-commerce giant soared following upgrades from Janney Montgomery Scott, Raymond James and J.P. Morgan, according to an Investor's Business Daily report. But perhaps an even bigger draw for investors was the price target increases by a number of analysts that exceeded $500 a share. J.P. Morgan, for example, increased its price target to $535 from $375, while Goldman Sachs raised it to $510 from $450 and Deutsche Bank upped it to $500 from $410, according to a MarketWatch report. Amazon closed far above its past all-time high intra-day high of $408.06, which it reached in January 2014, MarketWatch noted. The financial performance of the company's cloud business, Amazon Web Services, drove the upgrades and increased price targets. Amazon broke out the figures for its cloud business for the first time when it reported its earnings on Thursday. Xerox tanked 8.8% to end the session at $11.99, on a day when the broader markets gained.The printer and copier company took a hit after missing analysts first- quarter revenue estimates and cutting its 2015 outlook. During the quarter, which was reported before the markets opened Friday, Xerox posted an adjusted net income of 21 cents a share on revenue of $4.47 billion. Analysts were expecting a profit of 21 cents on revenue of $4.6 billion.Xerox also cut its 2015 earnings forecast, saying it now expects an adjusted profit of 95 cents to $1.01 a share for its full-year, rather than its previous estimate of $1 to $1.06, according to a Reuters report. Analysts had been anticipating a profit of $1.02 a share, prior to Xerox's revised forecast. Microsoft soared 10.5% to close at $47.87.The software giant received an upgrade from Nomura to a buy from neutral. Nomura noted in a research note that Microsoft's revenue will likely accelerate in 2016. During the third quarter, Microsoft earned 61 cents on $21.73 billion, beating analysts' estimates of a net profit of 51 cents a share on revenue of $21.06 billion.According to the Nomura report, cited by Benzinga, the analysts said: "By calendar 2016, we believe organic [complementary currency] growth returns to low single digits with growing cloud business and earnings growth can potentially be restored to 10% or so with the leverage of share repurchase, and continued strong cash flow generation." Read More: Warren Buffett's Top 10 Dividend Stocks

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Investors looking for a solid, closed-end fund with attractive yields don't have to go far, said John Cole Scott, portfolio manager for Closed-End Fund Advisors. Scott listed his top picks. Must Read: You’re Just Too Old and You Just Don’t Get the Apple Watch Municipal bonds are an asset most investors are familiar with and Scott suggested buying the BlackRock Long-Term Municipal Advantage Trust . The fund boasts a 6.3% dividend yield and while it's not as liquid as some other muni bond funds, it has superior performance and 99% earnings coverage. While its earnings coverage is above average, the fund also boasts moderate to low leverage, Scott said. Even better, 93% of its portfolio is made up of investment grade bonds. Turning to MLPs, he likes the Nuveen Energy MLP Total Return Fund . BlackRock Long-Term Municipal Advantage Trust BTA data by YChartsMany MLPs have been sold off along with other energy stocks, but for the most part, the pipeline business is unaffected by oil prices. That makes the group attractive and specifically, the JMF fund looks good with its 7% yield and superior performance to its peers, Scott said. BDCs, or business development companies operate with more leverage and issue private loans, Scott explained. Medley Capital is one way investors can gain exposure to BDCs. The fund pays a yield of nearly 13% and has about two-thirds of first lien loans, which include borrowings such as a mortgage. First lien loans are the good loans to issue, Scott reasoned, adding that about three-quarters of these loans are done on variable rates, meaning they will benefit from an eventual rise in interest rates. Finally, he also likes the Eaton Vance Tax-Managed Diversified Equity Income Fund . It pays an attractive dividend yield of 8.8%, has below-market volatility, and investors don't have to worry about bond durations. Must Read: Warren Buffett's Top 10 Dividend Stocks

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Reliance Steel and Aluminum soared this week to a high not seen in more than four months after the country's top metal-processing firm delivered on Thursday better-than-expected top- and bottom-line results for the first quarter of fiscal 2015 as well as a stronger second-quarter outlook. The sudden 10% jump in the stock's price on Thursday (and further rise on Friday) is only drawing further attention to its recent rebound -- and prompting investors to take a closer look at a company whose shares were wallowing at a two-year low as recently as February. On Friday, Reliance share price reached $64.02, almost as high as their Dec. 8 level of $64.09. At the market's close, the stock was at $63.14, a rise of more than 3% thus far this year. Must Read: 10 Stocks Billionaire John Paulson Loves The question now is, Can Reliance's rally continue? According to analyst Nathan Littlewood of Credit Suisse, the answer is yes. He currently has an outperform rating and a price target of $77 a share. "Our view is that this thing is undervalued," Littlewood said. "They're in the metals and mining index, but this is not a steelmaking company and it has much better earnings quality than the steel makers." Unlike most steel producers that have only a handful of production facilities, Reliance operates a network of more than 300 metals service centers in 39 states and 12 countries where it turns out more than 100,000 different products for an array of different customers. Credit Suisse's Littlewood said Reliance Steel is not only a company that could benefit from a name change or a rebranding effort. But he also said Reliance stands out in contrast with industrial distributors such as Anixter International , W.W. Grainger and MSC Industrial . Littlewood is optimistic about continued deleveraging by Reliance, which he said has already begun to spend less on acquisitions and more on share buybacks. Reliance reported a 17% increase in first-quarter earnings, to $1.30 a share, beating estimates of $1.02. Revenue rose 2.4% to $2.61 billion, slightly above forecasts. The company also said it expects second-quarter earnings of $1.10 to $1.15 a share, which can be compared with analysts' estimates polled by Briefing of $1.10. "The gross margin performance was spectacular," said Keybanc analyst Phil Gibbs, who currently has a sector weight rating on the stock. "Revenues were exactly in line with my forecast, but what was materially different was the gross margins. I think that was pretty shocking to everyone." For its part, Reliance credited its focus on "quick-turn orders, value-added processing and strong operational execution" for being able to maintain gross profit margins of about 25% despite a challenging environment that saw the average selling price decline 3.6% from year-ago levels. Going forward, the key issue that investors will have to address is whether the global metals pricing environment will worsen or improve. Analysts say some signs of improvement are already being seen for iron ore, but that has yet to spread to other areas like aluminum or steel. Reliance is expecting its margins will come down in the second quarter but, even so, Keybanc's Gibbs pointed out that, if nothing else, the first-quarter results "clearly showed they can manage through a pretty challenging environment." The question, he said, is whether or not that's "sustainable." When the next quarter's numbers are released in July, this will be under the supervision of a new chief: COO Gregg Mollins is set to become president and CEO as of May 20. Must Read: 5 Stocks Warren Buffett Is Selling

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- It looks as though Petrobras is finally starting to turn the corner, but is the stock worth considering? The Brazilian oil and gas company released its highly anticipated, audited financials on Wednesday. It reported a $16.8 billion writedown including more than $2 billion from a massive corruption scandal. In the fourth quarter of 2014, it posted an $8.8 billion loss. Must Read: 10 Stocks Carl Icahn Is Buying Petrobras shares have risen since then as investors seem appear to be encouraged that the company finally came clean. PBR continued to climb Friday after Chief Financial Officer Ivan Monteiro said the company would take "any opportunity" to raise cash at a competitive cost in debt markets as early as this year. Still, investors should remain wary about a company with such a troubled history. "I think we can say that the company is turning in the right direction," said Daniel Marques, head of research at consulting firm Gradual Investimentos, headquartered in Sao Paulo. "But the point is, there is a very, very long way to go until the company recovers, in a complete way, the trust of the markets." Petrobras CEO Aldemir Bendine has promised to present revised strategic business plan for the company within 30 days. Some analysts think investors might want to take a chance on Petrobras, an integrated oil and gas company based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil."While the Petrobras story is one of the ugliest in large-cap energy, investors with very high risk tolerances might consider this as a high risk/high reward way to play a rebound in oil prices given that shares today look undervalued," wrote Morningstar analyst Allen Good in a note on Thursday. Morningstar expects continued steady growth and notes that Petrobras' downstream operations have returned to profitability. "But then there's the risks," Good wrote. "The company is highly leveraged and has recently had its credit ratings downgraded. In addition, the corruption scandal clouds will loom for some time to come." Must Read: U.S. Crude Oil Export Ban Really Coming to an End? Dream On Credit Suisse analysts Andre Sobreira and Vinicius Canheu said that while the writedowns are "big enough to instill some credibility," the numbers laid out by Petrobras executives indicate that the company "will continue to be more of the same." They maintained their underperform rating on the stock and $5 price target. Deutsche Bank kept its hold rating on Petrobras and $10 price target, and analyst Alexander Burgansky acknowledged that, excluding the writedown, underlying fourth-quarter results were ahead of estimates. However, he is unconvinced capital spending cuts to $29 billion in 2015 and $25 billion in 2016 will be enough. "While lower capex is positive, the savings won't be sufficient to start deleveraging in 2016 particularly in light of reduced growth plans; hence we expect liquidity will tighten even further," he said. Morgan Stanley analyst Bruno Montanari perceived the move to suspend dividends for the year as positive from a cash preservation perspective. Some investors, however, may still expect payment from preferred shares. Investors, meanwhile, should pay attention to what happens on two main fronts: divestment and governance. At the start of April, Petrobras announced the sale of Argentine onshore exploration and production assets to Cia. General de Combustibles for $101 million, putting in motion a $13.7 billion divestment plan approved in February. What else Petrobras will be unloading, however, remains unknown. Petrobras has recently denied considering putting some of its deepwater pre-salt blocks for sale, but Eurasia Group analysts say such a sale remains a possibility. Pre-salt oil refers to reserves of oil capped by a thick layer of salt. Marques believes it is more likely to lean toward selling inactive pre-salt oil fieldsover active ones. "I think [selling active fields] would not be well received by the market as the company already invested a lot of money and time there," he said. Petrobras will probably be selling companies, or parts of them, as well. Speculation has been focused on two main entities: Braskem - a petrochemical company of which Petrobras is part owner - and Petrobras Distribuidora - the subsidiary responsible for distributing oil and gas through refineries and gas stations. On the governance front, Petrobras will also have to take vast measures to recover investor confidence. Company CFO Monteiro discussed this issue with CNBC's Michelle Carruso-Cabrera on Thursday. "It's impossible to have a normal relationship with investors because there's no transparency without the numbers," he said. A new set of recommendations to improve corporate governance of state-run companies in Brazil put out by BM&F Bovespa, the country's stock exchange operator, have spurred some optimism. News of the new rules gave Petrobras stock a boost in early April, and on Wednesday, more details came to light on exactly what they will entail. The recommendations -- to which adherence will be voluntary -- may have an impact on Petrobras. But according to Marques, it won't be in the short term. As the Petrobras story continues to unfold in the weeks and months to come, investors may have more answers. But with so many unknowns, those investing in Petrobras do so at their own risk. "The markets need ... information to decide whether to buy or sell the stock," Marques said. Petrobras declined to comment. Must Read: Dicker and Cramer: Blackstone Could Be Your Best Energy Investment

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Another year has passed by and we're already preparing for an exciting run at the horse racing's Triple Crown, when one horse wins the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes in a single year. It hasn't happened for decades and it all starts in May with the Kentucky Derby. And this year, getting to the race could cost you more than ever. Every year, there's a chance for history to be made, even if it's only slight. Consider that just 11 horses have found a way to claim all three events. It hasn't been done since the horse Affirmed shocked the world back in 1978. Horse racing fans were even spoiled during that run, as Affirmed gave the sport its second straight Triple Crown winner. Now, nearly 40 years later, we're still waiting for it to happen again. Must Read: Warren Buffett's 7 Secrets to Dividend Investing The excitement of "the fastest two minutes in sports," as the Kentucky Derby is known, has pumped up the value of tickets: The first leg of the 2015 Triple Crown could cost you an average of $1,226 to attend if you buy tickets on the secondary market, according to Doug Dearen at DerbyBox.com, the premier ticket and travel packages provider for the Kentucky Derby. Cheap seats can be had for just $58, but grandstand seats range from $580-to-$3,000. Derby Box has a significant portion of tickets under $1,000. For over thirty years, Dearen has been attending the Kentucky Derby and this year's demand has been particularly high, compared to years past, especially for Kentucky Derby hotel packages. While getting to the event is pricey, staying in town could be even more expensive. Louisville's most renowned hotels are the distinguished downtown spots The Seelbach and The Brown. Fans from all over the country will try to grab a room at one of these establishments, but Derby weekend is very popular and therefore costly. A regular room at the Seelbach, renowned for inspiring regular visitor F. Scott Fitzgerald to write "The Great Gatsby," costs around $249 per night. During Kentucky Derby weekend, those prices skyrocket towards $1,500. At The Brown, where personalities such as Harry Truman, Elizabeth Taylor, Muhammad Ali, and Barack Obama have all stayed, rooms will cost approximately $1,600, compared to a typical $250 per night fee on any other weekend. Even with the high room rates, both hotels will be packed to the brim. There's no telling how the Kentucky Derby will shake out, but the excitement is already building and horse racing fans will want to be on site so they can say they were a part of history, should a horse finally win the Triple Crown again this year. Must Read: 11 Safe High-Yield Dividend Stocks for Times of Volatility and Uncertainty


NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Alamos Gold finished the day in the red, closing down by 1.61% to $6.71 on Friday afternoon, as the gold mining sector took a hit due to the slump in the price of the precious metal. Gold weakened as equities improved, ending lower for the third consecutive week. The price of the yellow metal was in the red today as global equities strengthened, shifting interest from the safe haven metal, Reuters reports, adding that world stocks hit all-time highs on Friday due to corporate updates from Europe and "a post-dotcom-boom peak" for the NASDAQ, which sparked investor optimism. Gold is down by 1.35% to $1,178.20 per ounce on the COMEX this afternoon. "People just aren't very interested in gold at the moment. Stocks are a better bet at the moment to invest in, and bonds too, so gold is not in people's minds," LBBW analyst Thorsten Proettel told Reuters. Toronto, ON.-based Alamos Gold is a mid-tier gold producer with operations in the U.S., Mexico, and Turkey. Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates ALAMOS GOLD INC as a Sell with a ratings score of D. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate ALAMOS GOLD INC (AGI) a SELL. This is driven by several weaknesses, which we believe should have a greater impact than any strengths, and could make it more difficult for investors to achieve positive results compared to most of the stocks we cover. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its disappointing return on equity and generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself." Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows: Current return on equity is lower than its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a clear sign of weakness within the company. Compared to other companies in the Metals & Mining industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, ALAMOS GOLD INC underperformed against that of the industry average and is significantly less than that of the S&P 500. AGI's stock share price has done very poorly compared to where it was a year ago: Despite any rallies, the net result is that it is down by 30.75%, which is also worse that the performance of the S&P 500 Index. Investors have so far failed to pay much attention to the earnings improvements the company has managed to achieve over the last quarter. Naturally, the overall market trend is bound to be a significant factor. However, in one sense, the stock's sharp decline last year is a positive for future investors, making it cheaper (in proportion to its earnings over the past year) than most other stocks in its industry. But due to other concerns, we feel the stock is still not a good buy right now. ALAMOS GOLD INC has improved earnings per share by 25.0% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. This company has not demonstrated a clear trend in earnings over the past 2 years, making it difficult to accurately predict earnings for the coming year. During the past fiscal year, ALAMOS GOLD INC swung to a loss, reporting -$0.02 versus $0.30 in the prior year. 37.60% is the gross profit margin for ALAMOS GOLD INC which we consider to be strong. Despite the high profit margin, it has decreased significantly from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, AGI's net profit margin of -7.30% significantly underperformed when compared to the industry average. Regardless of the drop in revenue, the company managed to outperform against the industry average of 18.5%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 14.4%. The declining revenue has not hurt the company's bottom line, with increasing earnings per share. You can view the full analysis from the report here: AGI Ratings Report Must Read: Warren Buffett's Top 25 Stocks for 2015

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Apple Inc finished Friday's regular session higher by 0.48% to $130.29, ahead of the tech titan's latest quarterly financial results, scheduled to be released on Monday after market close. For the second-quarter, Wall Street expects earnings of $2.16 per share on revenue of $56.1 billion, according to analysts polled by Thomson Reuters. TheStreet's Jim Cramer, Portfolio Manager of the Action Alerts PLUS Charitable Trust Portfolio says he's watching Apple earnings for Apple Watch orders, updates on Apple Pay as well as Apple TV, and the iPhone -- which he thinks will post "remarkable" results. "Here's the key thing about Apple. It's still a very low multiple stock, and that's why I stay drawn to it," Cramer added. This morning, the company officially launched the Apple Watch. Cupertino, CA-based Apple designs, manufactures and markets mobile communication and media devices, personal computers, and portable digital music players, as well as a variety of related software, services, peripherals, networking solutions, and applications. Insight from TheStreet's Research Team: Apple is a core holding of Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS Charitable Trust Portfolio. During the most recent weekly roundup, this is what Jim Cramer, Portfolio Manager & Jack Mohr, Director of Research - Action Alerts PLUS had to say about the stock: Apple (AAPL:Nasdaq; $124.75; 820 shares; 3.93%; Sector: Technology): The shares traded lower this week, although the Apple Watch got off to a strong start last weekend, with roughly 1 million consumers pre-ordering the smartwatch on Friday alone, according to data compiled by Slice Intelligence. On average, customers ordered more than one watch (1.3), spending an average $503.83 a watch, with roughly 62% purchasing the less-expensive Sport model. We are encouraged by the initial demand and believe the Watch will quickly become embedded within Apple's already-robust ecosystem.Given Apple's powerful iPhone cycle, the momentum we see around the iPhone in China, and the launch of the Apple Watch, we believe there is still plenty to look forward to at Apple during this transformational cycle. At the same time, we believe Apple's valuation has room to expand from depressed levels (10x FY'16 EPS estimates, ex-cash) and reiterate our $150 target. - Jim Cramer and Jack Mohr, 'Weekly Roundup' originally published 4/17/2015 on ActionAlertsPLUS.com. Want more information like this from Jim Cramer and Jack Mohr BEFORE your stock moves? Learn more about ActionAlertsPLUS.com now. Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates APPLE INC as a Buy with a ratings score of A+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate APPLE INC (AAPL) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income, revenue growth and notable return on equity. Although the company may harbor some minor weaknesses, we feel they are unlikely to have a significant impact on results." You can view the full analysis from the report here: AAPL Ratings Report Must Read: Warren Buffett's Top 25 Stocks for 2015

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NEW YORK ( TheDeal) -- British defense contractor BAE Systems on Friday, April 24, announced a strategic review of its parts of its U.S. business serving the U.S. government, bringing in external advisers and effectively putting them on the block. The businesses concerned are the U.S.-based manpower and services businesses of BAE Systems' U.S. intelligence and security division. The review will encompass the unit which controversially won the contract for maintaining the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile two years ago. Must Read: Buffett's Top 10 Dividend Stocks However, it does not include the I&S Geoint-ISR geospatial intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance business, which is more focused on data-processing technology and data-management tools. Nor does it involve the separate unit, BAE Systems Applied Intelligence, which is involved in cyber security and intelligence. The London-based aerospace and defense group said the move followed "external interest and a number of inquiries." The manpower business provides expert analysts for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance analysis. In the company's 2014 report BAE Systems said its global analysis and operations unit had ongoing contracts worth over $400 million, including the services of over 400 analysts supporting mission-critical activities. Among them was a five-year contract worth up to $145 million to provide an intelligence community customer with counter-terrorism analysis services. The intelligence and security services businesses on the block are the IT solutions unit, which runs secure database systems for various U.S. government departments, as well as the nuclear weapons stockpiles management company. In 2013, the unit was awarded the $534 million contract to maintain the readiness of the nation's intercontinental ballistic missiles, grabbing the deal from Northrop Grumman for the first time since 1954. The BAE Systems unit provides engineering, integration, testing, logistics and other services to support the missile, ground and launch systems for the Minuteman III weapons systems. Asked if there had been political pressure behind the decision to review the nuclear weapons stockpile servicing contract, a company spokeswoman said, "It's just an evaluation of the portfolio. It's not a political decision, it's more a portfolio-shaping decision." Her comment echoed the line from the company's earlier announcement that BAE Systems regularly reviews its business portfolio and operations to remain optimally aligned with key markets and to maximize value for customers and shareholders" Must Read: 10 Stocks George Soros Is Buying

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- DTE Energy shares showed volatility today, closing trading down only 0.01% to $82.81 on Friday after the energy company reported mixed first quarter earnings and revenue results.The company reported first quarter net income of $273 million, or $1.65 per diluted share on an adjusted basis, on revenue that fell 23.5% year over year to $2.98 billion. Analysts on average were expecting the company to report earnings of $1.48 per share on revenue of $3.2 billion.For the year the company provided earnings guidance between $4.48 and $4.72 per share. TheStreet Ratings team rates DTE ENERGY CO as a Buy with a ratings score of A. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate DTE ENERGY CO (DTE) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, reasonable valuation levels, compelling growth in net income, good cash flow from operations and notable return on equity. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had generally high debt management risk by most measures that we evaluated." Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows: You can view the full analysis from the report here: DTE Ratings Report DTE data by YChartsMust Read: Warren Buffett's Top 25 Stocks for 2015

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Yamana Gold closed down 2.54% to $3.83 in Friday's regular trading session, as gold-related stocks fell as global equities hit all-time highs, Reuters reports. The price of the precious metal is in the red today as global equities strengthen, offsetting a falling dollar, Reuters added. Spot gold was steady at $1,178.22 an ounces as of 4:06 p.m. ET today, while gold futures for June delivery was down 1.37% to $1,177.90 per ounce as of 3:56 p.m. ET. Canada-based Yamana is a gold producer, engaged in gold production, gold development stage properties, exploration properties and land positions in Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Mexico and Colombia. Insight from TheStreet's Research Team: Yamana Gold is a core holding of David Peltier's Stocks Under $10 Portfolio. During the most recent weekly roundup, this is what Dave had to say about the stock: Yamana Gold (AUY; $4.02; 1,350 shares; 2.88%; Inflection Point; $12.50 price target): This gold-and-copper exploration company operates seven mines and several ongoing development projects in Brazil, Argentina and Chile. The stock added more than 3% to recent gains this week. The underlying price of gold appears to have stabilized and we believe that Yamana can continue to cut costs in the coming quarters. - David Peltier, 'Stocks Under $10 Weekly Roundup' originally published 4/17/2015 on Stock Under $10.. Want more information like this from David Peltier BEFORE your stock moves? Learn more about Stocks Under $10 now. AUY data by YCharts Must Read: Warren Buffett's Top 25 Stocks for 2015

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The Nasdaq and S&P 500 hit an all-time highs thanks to an earnings-driven rally in shares of Amazon , Google and Microsoft . The S&P 500 hit an intraday high of 2,120 mid-afternoon Friday, but pared some of those gains by the day's end. The benchmark index closed 0.23% higher for the day and up 1.8% for the week. The Nasdaq bounced 0.71% higher to close at a record 5,092. The tech-heavy index had notched an intraday record of 5,100 earlier Friday and closed at records on Thursday for the first time in 15 years. Time Warner Cable spiked nearly 5% on reports Charter Communications is considering making a bid, according to Dow Jones. This follows Comcast's announcement earlier Friday that it was dropping its $45 billion bid for Time Warner Cable. The cable giant dropped its offer for Time Warner Cable after facing opposition from the Justice Department on antitrust concerns. Mylan jumped 3.5% after filing a legally binding commitment to acquire Perrigo for $205 in cash and stock, or around $33 billion. Perrigo rejected Mylan's unsolicited bid. Amazon climbed 14.3% on Friday and hit an all-time high earlier in the day. The tech giant reported a first-quarter loss that was narrower than expected. A loss of 12 cents a share beat by a penny, while revenue jumped 15.1% to $22.72 billion. Second-quarter guidance of $20.6 billion to $22.8 billion was in-line with forecasts. Amazon also revealed details of its cloud computing business, known as AWS, reporting that it had turned a profit during the quarter. Juniper Networks gained 8.9% as the company beat earnings estimates in the first quarter and provided an upbeat outlook for its current quarter. Google was up 3% despite missing earnings and sales estimates in its first quarter. The search giant said sales were hurt by a strong dollar with growth of 12% in actual dollars and 17% in constant currency. Microsoft moved 10.2% higher after reporting strong growth in hardware and cloud computing. The tech company recorded net income of 61 cents a share, a dime better than expected, while sales of $21.73 billion climbed 6.5% and beat estimates. Starbucks surged 4.8% after the coffee chain reported profit of 33 cents a share, in-line with forecasts. Sales of $4.56 billion were up 17.8% year over year and beat estimates as store traffic increased worldwide. Xerox tumbled 8.8% after cutting its profit outlook on a stronger dollar. The company said it expects earnings of 95 cents to $1.01 a share over the full year, down from previous guidance of $1 to $1.06 a share. Biogen fell 6.7% after missing estimates on its top- and bottom-line. The biopharmaceutical company earned $3.82 a share in its first quarter, 9 cents short of estimates, while revenue surged nearly 20% to $2.55 billion but missed by $110 million. Domestic crude oil retreated from Thursday's rally, though tensions in the Middle East continued to support Brent crude. West Texas Intermediate closed down 1% to $57.15 a barrel. Saudi Arabian-led coalition warplanes resumed airstrikes in Yemen on Thursday, less than two days after the Saudi government said it would scale back air operations against its Middle Eastern neighbor. Saudi Arabia had launched airstrikes against Iranian-allied rebel groups that had overthrown the Yemeni government. "A weaker dollar (aka a stronger euro) is also encouraging the crude complex higher, as ongoing negotiations between European ministers and Greece are raising hopes of an extension to its refinancing plan," said Schneider Electric commodity analyst Matt Smith. "WTI is kept somewhat in check by the ongoing supply glut in the U.S., while the rest of the complex strides on." The number of U.S. drilling rigs declined 4.2% for the week, down 56.3% from its peak in October. The count was down 31 rigs to a total 703 rigs. Durable goods orders in the U.S. jumped 4% in March, primarily driven by orders for autos, commercial jets and military hardware. Excluding aircraft and military goods, core orders fell 0.5%. Economists had expected a 0.9% increase after a 1.4% decline in February. "The fall in core orders suggests that the outlook for business investment in equipment remains weak after a likely contraction in the first quarter," said Adam Collins, assistant economist at Capital Economics. On the economic calendar in the week ahead, investors will get their first look at first-quarter growth with GDP out on Wednesday, while the Federal Reserve will meet on Tuesday for their two-day meeting. In earnings, Apple will report on Monday, and Twitter , Ford Motor , JetBlue and GoPro are due for Tuesday. Yelp will report on Wednesday, DreamWorks , Expedia and Exxon Mobil on Thursday, and VF Corp on Friday.

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of United Continental Holdings are getting a lift, up 1.32% to $63.63 in late afternoon trading Friday, following the airline's better than expected first quarter earnings results, released yesterday. For the first quarter, United Continental earned $1.52 per share, higher compared to the analysts' consensus estimate of $1.44 per share, according to analysts polled by Thomson Reuters. Revenue came in at $8.6 billion for the period, compared to the $8.62 billion analysts were expecting for the quarter ended March 2015. In the same quarter of last year, United Continental reported a loss of $1.33 per share on revenue of $8.7 billion. The company also lowered its capacity forecast for 2015 to between 1% to 2%, adding that the strong dollar has been weakening demand abroad, Reuters noted. United also said it now expects passenger unit revenue to fall between 4% to 6%, compared with competitor Delta Air Lines Inc's forecast of a 2% to 4% decline. Chicago, IL-based United Continental Holdings is a holding company operating under its subsidiaries United Air Lines and Continental Airlines. The company transports people and cargo through its mainline operations. It also has contractual relationships with various regional carriers. Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates UNITED CONTINENTAL HLDGS INC as a Hold with a ratings score of C+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate UNITED CONTINENTAL HLDGS INC (UAL) a HOLD. The primary factors that have impacted our rating are mixed, some indicating strength, some showing weaknesses, with little evidence to justify the expectation of either a positive or negative performance for this stock relative to most other stocks. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its notable return on equity, good cash flow from operations and solid stock price performance. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including unimpressive growth in net income, generally higher debt management risk and poor profit margins." You can view the full analysis from the report here: UAL Ratings Report UAL data by YCharts Must Read: Warren Buffett's Top 25 Stocks for 2015

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Alibaba were gaining 3% to $84.71 Friday after the Chinese e-commerce company announced it will work with China Telecom to bring mobile phones with online shopping apps to people in rural areas of China. The phones will be called "Tianyi Taobao Shopping Handsets," according to Alibaba-owned news site Alizila. The new phones either come with the Mobile Taobao shopping app pre-installed or will run Yun OS, a mobile OS developed by Alibaba, depending on the user base. Users who buy the phones will also be eligible to receive four months of free 2G data services from China Mobile. A total of 14 models of the Tianyi Taobao Shopping Handsets will be available through China Telecom stores across rural China. The six more expensive smartphones in the lineup will be made by Coolpad, Hisense, and TCL and will have the Mobile Tabao app installed. The remaining models will be made by smaller brands such as Uniscope, Cyton, and Kingsun, and will run Yun OS. BABA data by YCharts Must Read: Warren Buffett's Top 25 Stocks for 2015

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Eldorado Gold are down by 3.98% to $4.70 in late afternoon trading on Friday, as some stocks within the mining sector tumble due to the declining price of gold. The price of the precious metal is in the red today as global equities strengthen, shifting interest from the safe haven metal, Reuters reports. Gold for June delivery is lower by 1.38% to $1,177.80 per ounce on the COMEX this afternoon. "People just aren't very interested in gold at the moment. Stocks are a better bet at the moment to invest in, and bonds too, so gold is not in people's minds," LBBW analyst Thorsten Proettel told Reuters. Eldorado Gold will release its 2015 first quarter earnings results after the market close on April 30. The company is a low cost gold producer with mining, development, and exploration operations in Turkey, China, Romania, Greece, and Brazil. Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates ELDORADO GOLD CORP as a Sell with a ratings score of D+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate ELDORADO GOLD CORP (EGO) a SELL. This is driven by multiple weaknesses, which we believe should have a greater impact than any strengths, and could make it more difficult for investors to achieve positive results compared to most of the stocks we cover. Among the areas we feel are negative, one of the most important has been a generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself." Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows: EGO has underperformed the S&P 500 Index, declining 12.70% from its price level of one year ago. Looking ahead, other than the push or pull of the broad market, we do not see anything in the company's numbers that may help reverse the decline experienced over the past 12 months. Despite the past decline, the stock is still selling for more than most others in its industry. The company's current return on equity greatly increased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of significant strength within the corporation. Compared to other companies in the Metals & Mining industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, ELDORADO GOLD CORP underperformed against that of the industry average and is significantly less than that of the S&P 500. 48.51% is the gross profit margin for ELDORADO GOLD CORP which we consider to be strong. It has increased significantly from the same period last year. Regardless of the strong results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 5.37% trails the industry average. ELDORADO GOLD CORP reported significant earnings per share improvement in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past year. During the past fiscal year, ELDORADO GOLD CORP turned its bottom line around by earning $0.14 versus -$0.91 in the prior year. The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Metals & Mining industry. The net income increased by 102.0% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from -$687.55 million to $13.92 million. You can view the full analysis from the report here: EGO Ratings Report Must Read: Warren Buffett's Top 25 Stocks for 2015

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Perrigo shares are falling, down 3.8% to $193.78 after the company officially rejected Mylan's second bid for the company this week saying that the $33 billion bid "substantially undervalues Perrigo and its growth prospects."Mylan has been vocal about its intentions to acquire the generic and over the counter drug manufacturer for weeks, announcing earlier this month that it would place a bid for Perrigo. On Tuesday the Mylan made an offer that totaled $29 billion dollars, which the company also rejected, before announcing its $33 billion cash and stock offer earlier today.Complicating matters is Israeli pharmaceutical company Teva's unsolicited interest in acquiring Mylan. Industry watchers see Mylan's bid for Perrigo as doubling as a deterrent to any potential bid from Teva.On Tuesday, Perrigo reported its third quarter earnings results, tallying a 41% year over year increase to $1.85 per diluted share that topped analysts expectations by 7 cents per share.Teva shares are up 1.55% to $64.23, while Mylan shares are climbing 3.03% to $75.93 in afternoon trading today. TheStreet Ratings team rates PERRIGO CO PLC as a Buy with a ratings score of B. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate PERRIGO CO PLC (PRGO) a BUY. This is driven by some important positives, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, good cash flow from operations, expanding profit margins and solid stock price performance. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income." Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows: You can view the full analysis from the report here: PRGO Ratings Report MYL data by YCharts Must Read: Warren Buffett's Top 25 Stocks for 2015

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The S&P 500 hit an intraday record and the Nasdaq was hovering at record highs by late Friday, boosted by a rally in shares of Amazon , Google and Microsoft . The S&P 500 added 0.19%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.05%, and the Nasdaq bounced 0.66% higher to 5,089. The Nasdaq had notched an intraday record earlier Friday and closed at records on Thursday for the first time in 15 years. Time Warner Cable spiked 5% on reports Charter Communications is considering making a bid, according to Dow Jones. This follows Comcast's announcement earlier Friday that it was dropping its $45 billion bid for Time Warner Cable. The cable giant dropped its offer for Time Warner Cable after facing opposition from the Justice Department on antitrust concerns. Domestic crude oil retreated from Thursday's rally, though tensions in the Middle East continued to support Brent crude. West Texas Intermediate closed down 1% to $57.15 a barrel. Saudi Arabian-led coalition warplanes resumed airstrikes in Yemen on Thursday, less than two days after the Saudi government said it would scale back air operations against its Middle Eastern neighbor. Saudi Arabia had launched airstrikes against Iranian-allied rebel groups that had overthrown the Yemeni government. "A weaker dollar (aka a stronger euro) is also encouraging the crude complex higher, as ongoing negotiations between European ministers and Greece are raising hopes of an extension to its refinancing plan," said Schneider Electric commodity analyst Matt Smith. "WTI is kept somewhat in check by the ongoing supply glut in the U.S., while the rest of the complex strides on." The number of U.S. drilling rigs declined 4.2% for the week, down 56.3% from its peak in October. The count was down 31 rigs to a total 703 rigs. Exxon Mobil , Royal Dutch Shell , Total , and ConocoPhillips slipped, while the Energy Select Sector SPDR ETF fell 0.73%. Amazon climbed 14.6% on Friday and hit an all-time high earlier in the day. The tech giant reported a first-quarter loss that was narrower than expected. A loss of 12 cents a share beat by a penny, while revenue jumped 15.1% to $22.72 billion. Second-quarter guidance of $20.6 billion to $22.8 billion was in-line with forecasts. Amazon also revealed details of its cloud computing business, known as AWS, reporting that it had turned a profit during the quarter. Juniper Networks was the second-best performer on the S&P 500, trailing Amazon. Shares rose as the company beat earnings estimates in the first quarter and provided an upbeat outlook for its current quarter. Google was up 3.2% despite missing earnings and sales estimates in its first quarter. The search giant said sales were hurt by a strong dollar with growth of 12% in actual dollars and 17% in constant currency. Microsoft moved 10.1% higher after reporting strong growth in hardware and cloud computing. The tech company recorded net income of 61 cents a share, a dime better than expected, while sales of $21.73 billion climbed 6.5% and beat estimates. Mylan jumped 3.1% after filing a legally binding commitment to acquire Perrigo for $205 in cash and stock, or around $33 billion. Perrigo rejected Mylan's unsolicited bid. Starbucks surged 5.1% after the coffee chain reported profit of 33 cents a share, in-line with forecasts. Sales of $4.56 billion were up 17.8% year over year and beat estimates as store traffic increased worldwide. Xerox tumbled 8.5% after cutting its profit outlook on a stronger dollar. The company said it expects earnings of 95 cents to $1.01 a share over the full year, down from previous guidance of $1 to $1.06 a share. American Airlines was higher after beating earnings estimates. Profit rose to a record high as the drop in fuel costs boosted profitability, though foreign exchange challenges persisted. Biogen fell 6.6% after missing estimates on its top- and bottom-line. The biopharmaceutical company earned $3.82 a share in its first quarter, 9 cents short of estimates, while revenue surged nearly 20% to $2.55 billion but missed by $110 million. Durable goods orders in the U.S. jumped 4% in March, primarily driven by orders for autos, commercial jets and military hardware. Excluding aircraft and military goods, core orders fell 0.5%. Economists had expected a 0.9% increase after a 1.4% decline in February. "The fall in core orders suggests that the outlook for business investment in equipment remains weak after a likely contraction in the first quarter," said Adam Collins, assistant economist at Capital Economics.

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) --Shares of Target are up by 1% to $82.75 in late afternoon trading on Friday, after analysts at Bank of America/Merrill Lynch upgraded their rating on the retail giant to "buy" from "neutral" this morning. The firm said it raised its rating on Target based on the company's improving initiatives and its belief that the company is in a good position to benefit from an improvement in its middle-income core consumer base. "We believe the company is well positioned to benefit from an improving mid-cycle consumer backdrop given its middle-income ($64k median income) core customer base. We believe Target will continue to see increased spending at its stores and online as average retail prices are also increasing as customers trade-up to more expensive items or were more willing to pay full price. We expect these trends to continue as the economic recovery broadens in mid-cycle," Bank of America/Merrill Lynch said in an analyst note. The firm raised its price target on Target to $92 from $86. "We believe TGT's new initiatives are showing early positive results and should support acceleration in TGT's same-store sales and gross margin expansion through a favorable mix shift. The customer appears to be responding well to TGT's renewed focus on improved assortment and merchandising in higher-margin signature categories, such as style (apparel and home), baby, kids, and wellness," Bank of America/Merrill Lynch added. Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates TARGET CORP as a Buy with a ratings score of A-. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate TARGET CORP (TGT) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth, revenue growth, attractive valuation levels and good cash flow from operations. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income." Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows: Powered by its strong earnings growth of 83.95% and other important driving factors, this stock has surged by 36.73% over the past year, outperforming the rise in the S&P 500 Index during the same period. Turning to the future, naturally, any stock can fall in a major bear market. However, in almost any other environment, the stock should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed nice gains in the past year. TARGET CORP reported significant earnings per share improvement in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past year. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, TARGET CORP increased its bottom line by earning $3.84 versus $3.07 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($4.55 versus $3.84). Despite its growing revenue, the company underperformed as compared with the industry average of 2.0%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 1.1%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share. Net operating cash flow has increased to $2,389.00 million or 35.20% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, TARGET CORP has also modestly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of 25.89%. You can view the full analysis from the report here: TGT Ratings Report Must Read: Warren Buffett's Top 25 Stocks for 2015

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Canadian mining company Teck Resources rose 5.56% to $14.25 in afternoon trading Friday as BHP Billiton , the world's largest mining company, announced plans to reduce its expansion, which could ease a global oversupply. Iron ore miners such as Vale and BHP had committed to increasing production despite a worldwide glut, but BHP's announcement has alleviated some concern that global production would outpace demand and worsen the oversupply. The news lifted mining stocks higher on Friday. The benchmark, ore with 62 percent content at Qingdao, rose 5.5% to $57.81 a dry metric ton on Friday, the highest since March 16, according to Bloomberg. More than 4.7 million shares had changed hands as of 3:08 p.m., compared to the daily average volume of 4,672,870. Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates TECK RESOURCES LTD as a Hold with a ratings score of C-. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate TECK RESOURCES LTD (TCK) a HOLD. The primary factors that have impacted our rating are mixed - some indicating strength, some showing weaknesses, with little evidence to justify the expectation of either a positive or negative performance for this stock relative to most other stocks. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its reasonable valuation levels and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including disappointing return on equity, poor profit margins and feeble growth in the company's earnings per share." Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows: Despite the weak revenue results, TCK has outperformed against the industry average of 18.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 2.9%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to not be hurting the bottom line, shown by stable earnings per share. Despite currently having a low debt-to-equity ratio of 0.49, it is higher than that of the industry average, inferring that management of debt levels may need to be evaluated further. Regardless of the somewhat mixed results with the debt-to-equity ratio, the company's quick ratio of 1.39 is sturdy. The company's current return on equity has slightly decreased from the same quarter one year prior. This implies a minor weakness in the organization. Compared to other companies in the Metals & Mining industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, TECK RESOURCES LTD underperformed against that of the industry average and is significantly less than that of the S&P 500. The gross profit margin for TECK RESOURCES LTD is currently lower than what is desirable, coming in at 33.84%. It has decreased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 3.35% trails that of the industry average. You can view the full analysis from the report here: TCK Ratings Report Must Read: Warren Buffett's Top 25 Stocks for 2015

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Charter Communications shares are up 0.13% to $183.81 in afternoon trading on Friday after advisers for the pay television company contacted Time Warner Cable about a possible merger, according to Bloomberg, after Comcast rescinded its $45 billion offer for Time Warner Cable earlier today.Charter wants to buy the company quickly and the company has already approached banks about financing the deal, sources told the news organization, though talks are still in the early stages and no numbers have been exchanged.Comcast withdrew its bid for the company earlier today as signs mounted that regulators would not approve a deal that would bring together the two largest pay television providers in the country.Time Warner shares are up 5.8% to $157.40, while Comcast shares are up 0.88% to $59.75. TheStreet Ratings team rates CHARTER COMMUNICATIONS INC as a Hold with a ratings score of C. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate CHARTER COMMUNICATIONS INC (CHTR) a HOLD. The primary factors that have impacted our rating are mixed - some indicating strength, some showing weaknesses, with little evidence to justify the expectation of either a positive or negative performance for this stock relative to most other stocks. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, solid stock price performance and expanding profit margins. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income, generally higher debt management risk and disappointing return on equity." Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows: CHTR's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 7.3%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 9.9%. This growth in revenue does not appear to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, displayed by a decline in earnings per share. Compared to its closing price of one year ago, CHTR's share price has jumped by 61.17%, exceeding the performance of the broader market during that same time frame. Regarding the stock's future course, our hold rating indicates that we do not recommend additional investment in this stock despite its gains in the past year. Net operating cash flow has slightly increased to $630.00 million or 5.88% when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite an increase in cash flow, CHARTER COMMUNICATIONS INC's cash flow growth rate is still lower than the industry average growth rate of 47.79%. The debt-to-equity ratio is very high at 143.99 and currently higher than the industry average, implying increased risk associated with the management of debt levels within the company. Along with this, the company manages to maintain a quick ratio of 0.18, which clearly demonstrates the inability to cover short-term cash needs. Return on equity has greatly decreased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of major weakness within the corporation. Compared to other companies in the Media industry and the overall market, CHARTER COMMUNICATIONS INC's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500. You can view the full analysis from the report here: CHTR Ratings Report Must Read: Warren Buffett's Top 25 Stocks for 2015

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- It may have taken longer than expected, but consumer discretionary stocks will soon reap the dividend from lower energy prices, says Doug Roman, portfolio manager of PNC's Large Cap Growth Fund. "There has been some disappointment because the expectation was that lower energy would immediately translate into positive surprises on the consumer end," says Roman. "It happened slightly in the restaurant business, but not too much overall. I think it's coming in this quarter." Must Read: High-Yield Small-Cap Dividend Stocks to Consider Right Now Roman's fund overweights consumer cyclical stocks, putting 21% of his assets in the sector versus a category average of 17% as of March 31, according to fund-tracker Morningstar. Aside from the leverage from lower gas prices, Roman also likes the wide range of consumer discretionary stocks which "run from the Dollar Store to Tiffany's, as well as homebuilders, automakers and travel." The PNC Large Cap Growth Fund has returned over 6% so far this year, more than double the S&P 500 return of 2.6%. Roman's fund is in the top fourth percentile of large cap growth funds tracked by Morningstar over the past year. Meanwhile, Roman says he continues to be underweight energy stocks after presciently lightening up on the sector last year. "We went from having more drillers at the start of 2014 toward more integrated oils by the end of the year, which was more defensive," says Roman. "That's been helpful to us, but that trade is likely coming to an end." And while Roman is a so-called 'bottom up' stockpicker, he does acknowledge the tailwind he is getting from investor preference for growth stocks over value in the past year. "Growth has been beating value this year by more than 5% but that wide spread can't last forever," says Roman. "You are seeing a lot of negative revisions in growth sectors this earnings season." Finally, speaking of earnings season, Roman says first-quarter results have been fairly strong thus far, but worries that the strong dollar's impact on foreign sales continues to mute investor reaction even to large earnings beats. "We've seen an average upside surprise of around 5% and the average growth rate ex-energy is 5%," says Roman. "This is not as negative as a lot of people had previously thought. However, a lot of companies have missed on the revenue line, showing the difficulty they face from the strong dollar. That's really the big story coming out." Must Read: 11 Safe High-Yield Dividend Stocks for Times of Volatility and Uncertainty

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Starbucks Corp are rallying, higher by 4.84% to $51.82 on heavy volume in afternoon trading Friday, following the specialty coffee chain's fiscal second-quarter earnings release late yesterday. For the quarter, Starbucks earned 33 cents per share on revenue of $4.56 billion. It matched the consensus earnings estimate of 33 cents, and surpassed the $4.53 billion in revenue analysts were expecting for the period, according to Thomson Reuters. In the same period a year ago, the company posted earnings of 28 cents on $3.87 billion in revenue. Starbucks also reported that second quarter global same-store sales, a key restaurant metric, rose 7%. The figure was higher compared to the rise of 5% analysts were expecting for the period. About 16.09 million shares of Starbucks have exchanged hands as of 2:58 p.m. ET today, compared to its average trading volume of about 8.7 million daily shares. Seattle, WA-based Starbucks is a roaster, marketer and retailer of specialty coffee in the world, operating in 62 countries, selling a variety of coffee and tea products. Insight from TheStreet's Research Team: Starbucks is a core holding of Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS Charitable Trust Portfolio. In a recent alert, this is what Jim Cramer, Portfolio Manager & Jack Mohr, Director of Research - Action Alerts PLUS had to say about the stock: After recently expanding to 600 stores in the Pacific Northwest, Starbucks was "delighted" with the results of mobile ordering and is expanding the platform nationwide. Importantly, mobile ordering has been instrumental in driving increased My Starbucks Rewards (MSR) membership and app usage, and incremental opportunities for direct-to- consumer targeted marketing, offering the right message to the right person at the right time. Mobile pay now comprises 20% of transactions, demonstrating the power of SBUX's digital ecosystem and the "flywheel effect" all of the underlying parts have on each other to drive growth incrementally and reinforce customer engagement. Overall, we are ecstatic about the quarter and are raising our price target to $56, reflecting 30x 2016 EPS of $1.86. - Jim Cramer and Jack Mohr, 'We're Ecstatic About Starbucks' originally published 4/24/2015 on ActionAlertsPLUS.com. Want more information like this from Jim Cramer and Jack Mohr BEFORE your stock moves? Learn more about ActionAlertsPLUS.com now. Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates STARBUCKS CORP as a Buy with a ratings score of A+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate STARBUCKS CORP (SBUX) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income and notable return on equity. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins." You can view the full analysis from the report here: SBUX Ratings Report Must Read: Warren Buffett's Top 25 Stocks for 2015

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Snap-on hit a 52-week high of $154.23 on Friday after CEO Nick Pinchuk appeared on Jim Cramer's Mad Money on CNBC. The tool manufacturer reported its eighth consecutive earnings beat before the market open Thursday. Pinchuk explained that the company has succeeded simply by producing tools that make mechanics' jobs easier. To do this, Snap-on consistently observes mechanics in action to identify and fix their frustrations. "One of the big tailwinds behind Snap-on is the changing technology in the marketplace. We go into those workplaces and see what will make work easier for mechanics, technicians and professionals and we translate that back to our product development people, and it brings out new products," Pinchuk said. He added one of the biggest growth areas for Snap-on has been in diagnostics, and also noted the company's 3,000 vans, its moving retail spaces, have helped drive success. Cramer called Snap-on a great American company and said he thinks the stock has more room to go higher. Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates SNAP-ON INC as a Buy with a ratings score of A+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate SNAP-ON INC (SNA) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income and expanding profit margins. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow." SNA data by YCharts You can view the full analysis from the report here: SNA Ratings Report Must Read: Warren Buffett's Top 25 Stocks for 2015

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Updates with report that Charter Communications has offered to talk with Time Warner Cable about a merger. New York (TheStreet) -- Comcast CEO Brian Roberts is ready to put the failed $45 billion deal with Time Warner Cable behind him. "We're moving on," Roberts said Friday on CNBC, the cable channel that his company owns, shortly after Comcast pulled the deal from government consideration after the Federal Communications Commission opted not to approve it. Must Read: High-Yield Small-Cap Dividend Stocks to Consider Right NowYet while Comcast removed its merger proposal, Charter Communications contacted Time Warner Cable officials on Friday in an effort to begin negotiations on their own potential deal, reported Bloomberg. Charter would like to buy Time Warner Cable quickly, according to the report, avoiding the drawn out, costly process that dogged Comcast's pursuit of its would-be merger partner.Shares of Time Warner Cable spiked on the news, extending its gain on the day to 5.5% to $156.90 while Charter shares were slipping 0.1% to $183.20.As for whether Charter will be able to convince government regulators to allow the St. Louis-based broadband company to acquire Time Warner Cable, only time will tell. Roberts said he didn't want to "speculate" as to why the government didn't warm to Comcast's attempt to create a company that would've controlled more than 50% of the country's commercial broadband network. But the Federal Communications Commission's Tom Wheeler was more forthcoming about the government's decision not to back a proposal that would have combined the country's two largest cable-TV providers."Comcast and Time Warner Cable's decision to end Comcast's proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable is in the best interests of consumers," Wheeler said in an e-mailed statement. "The proposed transaction would have created a company with the most broadband and video subscribers in the nation alongside the ownership of significant programming interests. The proposed merger would have posed an unacceptable risk to competition and innovation, including to the ability of online video providers to reach and serve consumers."In effect, the government said Comcast was already too large and too powerful to allow it to get any bigger. Comcast's acquisition of NBC/Universal gave the country's largest cable-TV provider both television and movie content to feature on its many platforms. Roberts acknowledged that Comcast remains in an enviable position, in effect saying that it doesn't need Time Warner Cable to continue to be profitable. "The thing that I am most proud of is that for the last 14-15 months, we've had record quarters every single quarter," Roberts said. "We move forward from here, and there's no looking back."Comcast shares were rising 1.1% on Friday to $59.85. Must Read: 10 Stocks George Soros Is Buying

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of LookSmart are surging higher by 28.75% to $2.06 on very heavy volume in mid-afternoon trading on Friday, following the digital advertising solutions company's announcement that it will merge with the privately held Pyxis Tankers Inc. and spin off its existing business into a new entity called LookSmart Group Inc. Pyxis Tankers is a newly formed maritime transportation company that focuses on the tanker sector. So far today 6.80 million shares of LookSmart have exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 135,000 shares. Under the terms of the agreement, LookSmart will combine with and into Maritime Technologies Corp., which will be the surviving corporation in the merger and will continue to act as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Pyxis. Once the merger is completed each share of LookSmart's common stock issued and outstanding immediately prior to the merger will be exchanged for the right to receive a certain number of shares of Pyxis' common stock equal to $4 million as adjusted for the price and number of LookSmart's outstanding common stock as of the date that the merger becomes effective, the company said. Pyxis will become a publically listed company following the deal. "We are very pleased to give our stockholders this value enhancing transaction. Our stockholders will have an opportunity to also own shares in Pyxis without diluting their existing ownership in LookSmart and its subsidiaries including Clickable Inc., all of which will be transferred into a new entity called LookSmart Group Inc.," LookSmart CEO Michael Onghai said in a statement announcing the deal. "This transaction enables LookSmart Group to remain public with lower costs of being public and more flexibility for its fast-growing subsidiaries to raise capital with alternative sources of financing such as venture capital. At the same time, this transaction offers Pyxis a chance to be listed on a major stock exchange," Onghai added. Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates LOOKSMART LTD as a Sell with a ratings score of D-. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate LOOKSMART LTD (LOOK) a SELL. This is driven by a few notable weaknesses, which we believe should have a greater impact than any strengths, and could make it more difficult for investors to achieve positive results compared to most of the stocks we cover. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its disappointing return on equity and generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself." Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows: Return on equity has greatly decreased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of major weakness within the corporation. Compared to other companies in the Internet Software & Services industry and the overall market, LOOKSMART LTD's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500. LOOK's stock share price has done very poorly compared to where it was a year ago: Despite any rallies, the net result is that it is down by 62.07%, which is also worse that the performance of the S&P 500 Index. Investors have so far failed to pay much attention to the earnings improvements the company has managed to achieve over the last quarter. Naturally, the overall market trend is bound to be a significant factor. However, in one sense, the stock's sharp decline last year is a positive for future investors, making it cheaper (in proportion to its earnings over the past year) than most other stocks in its industry. But due to other concerns, we feel the stock is still not a good buy right now. LOOKSMART LTD has improved earnings per share by 27.3% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. This company has not demonstrated a clear trend in earnings over the past 2 years, making it difficult to accurately predict earnings for the coming year. During the past fiscal year, LOOKSMART LTD reported poor results of -$1.12 versus -$0.93 in the prior year. The revenue fell significantly faster than the industry average of 18.9%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 38.1%. The declining revenue has not hurt the company's bottom line, with increasing earnings per share. LOOK has no debt to speak of therefore resulting in a debt-to-equity ratio of zero, which we consider to be a relatively favorable sign. Even though the company has a strong debt-to-equity ratio, the quick ratio of 0.30 is very weak and demonstrates a lack of ability to pay short-term obligations. You can view the full analysis from the report here: LOOK Ratings Report Must Read: Warren Buffett's Top 25 Stocks for 2015

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Voltari are surging, up 3.89% to $11.47 on heavy volume in afternoon trading Tuesday, adding further gains from the past three weeks on reports that billionaire investor Carl Icahn increased his stake in the company. On March 31, Icahn disclosed that he acquired 4 million additional shares of Voltari at an average price of $1.36 per share. He now owns a 52.3% stake, according to Reuters. Since March 31, shares of Voltari have soared more than 1,272%. Icahn first bought 678,203 shares of Voltari during the second quarter of 2013. About 6.79 million shares have exchanged hands as of 2:40 p.m. ET today, compared to its average trading volume of about 5.78 million shares a day. New York City-based Voltari is a mobile technology company that provides merchandising, digital marketing and advertising solutions, primarily over smartphones and other mobile devices. The company is focused on its digital media business and plans to expand its product offerings to add online and display solutions to its suite of mobile data marketing services. VLTC data by YCharts Must Read: Warren Buffett's Top 25 Stocks for 2015

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BALTIMORE (Stockpickr) -- Put down the 10-K filings and the stock screeners. It's time to take a break from the traditional methods of generating investment ideas. Instead, let the crowd do it for you. From hedge funds to individual investors, scores of market participants are turning to social media to figure out which stocks are worth watching. It's a concept that's known as "crowdsourcing," and it uses the masses to identify emerging trends in the market. Must Read: Warren Buffett's Top 10 Stock Buys Crowdsourcing has long been a popular tool for the advertising industry, but it also makes a lot of sense as an investment tool. After all, the market is completely driven by the supply and demand, so it can be valuable to see what names are trending among the crowd. While some fund managers are already trying to leverage social media resources like Twitter to find algorithmic trading opportunities, for most investors, crowdsourcing works best as a starting point for investors who want a starting point in their analysis. Today, we'll leverage the power of the crowd to take a look at some of the most active stocks on the market today. Must Read: 5 Toxic Stocks to Stay Away From Amazon.com Nearest Resistance: N/A¿Nearest Support: $390¿Catalyst: Q1 Earnings E-commerce behemoth Amazon.com is up more than 14% on huge volume this afternoon, the end-result of strong first-quarter earnings numbers from the world's biggest online storefront. That's good enough to make Amazon the biggest single gainer on a percentage basis in the entire S&P 500. AMZN lost 12 cents per share last quarter, coming right in line with expectations, but the real pop is being driven by the double-digit top-line growth the firm achieved last quarter. That growth is continuing to accelerate, and management expects a small profit in the second quarter. The news was good enough to send shares of AMZN to a new 52-week high. Making new highs is significant from an investor psychology standpoint because it means that everyone who has bought shares in the last year is sitting on gains. As a result, the "back to even" mentality is less of a concern than it would be for a name with a higher proportion of shareholders sitting on losses. For traders who want to ride the bullish momentum, there's still time to build a position in AMZN now. Must Read: 10 New Stocks Billionaire David Einhorn Loves Pandora Media Nearest Resistance: 19¿Nearest Support: $17¿Catalyst: Q1 Earnings Internet radio stock Pandora Media is seeing a big-volume move today, up about 2% this afternoon following the firm's first quarter numbers release. Pandora lost less money than expected during the quarter, shedding 12 cents per share versus average estimates of 17 cents. While the reaction is pretty muted this afternoon, Pandora's chart looks solid. Shares have been in a downtrend for most of the last year, but this stock is finally showing signs of a turnaround, with a well-defined uptrend in play now. Shares touched trend line support at $17 at the open this morning, and they've been gaining steam over the course of the session. That makes now a good opportunity to be a buyer. Must Read: 10 Stocks Carl Icahn Is Buying Starbucks Nearest Resistance: $52¿Nearest Support: $48¿Catalyst: Q2 Earnings Last up on our list of high-volume movers is Starbucks . This mega-cap coffee chain is up almost 5% in this afternoon's trading, boosted by second-quarter earnings results. Starbucks hit its earnings estimates dead-on, bringing in profits of 33 cent per share. The firm also reaffirmed its full-year earnings forecast of $1.55 to $1.57, a range that also fell in line with what Wall Street was looking for. From a technical standpoint, SBUX has been in a textbook uptrend going back to October. Even with today's big bounce higher, shares remain squarely in that price channel right now. There isn't a lot of upside room between where SBUX sits now and $52 resistance. If you're looking for a buying opportunity, wait for a pullback to trend line support before jumping in. Must Read: Warren Buffett's Top 10 Dividend Stocks

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- After making its first record close in 15 years, the Nasdaq rose 1.4% Friday on strong earnings from some of its largest components including Amazon , Google , Microsoft and Starbucks . Microsoft had the most impressive results, Jon Najarian, co-founder of optionmonster.com and trademonster.com, said on CNBC's "Fast Money Halftime." The company's revenue rose 6.5% year over year and topped analysts' EPS estimates by a whopping 19.6%. As a result, shares are up over 9%. Perhaps even more impressive is the stock's valuation, which is "very, very attractive," Najarian said. Must Read: 10 New Stocks Billionaire David Einhorn Loves Expectations for old-school technology stocks like Microsoft, Qualcomm , and IBM were very low, added Jim Lebenthal, president of Lebenthal Asset Management. That's helping these companies to top earnings estimates. It doesn't hurt that the valuations for many of these companies are very attractive, Lebenthal said. However, investors need to be careful not to invest too much money into one sector. Amazon has a lot of growth initiatives and that should propel the stock higher. Lebenthal is not a buyer on Friday's near 16% rally, but says investors can stay long. Part of Amazon's big revenue growth is coming from its cloud business, but if investors want an alternative cloud play, they should stick with Microsoft, which is "knocking it out of the park," Najarian reasoned. Josh Brown, CEO and co-founder of Ritholtz Wealth Management, said he likes a combination of both old-tech and new-tech. He pointed out Amazon is having its second best trading day since 2009, while Microsoft is having its best day in five years so what's not to like? Shawn Milne, managing director at Janney Capital Markets, recently upgraded Amazon to buy with a $488 price target. The Amazon Web Services business has incredible growth, while margins for the retail business continue to improve, he said. Must Read: 3 Big Tech Companies to Add to Your Portfolio Right Now Despite the big moves higher, the technology sector still trades at a discount to the overall market, according to Rob Sechan, an institutional consultant at UBS Private Wealth Management. It remains one of Sechan's favorite sectors and investors should stay long. Monday will feature earnings from another tech titan: Apple . Toni Sacconaghi, senior analyst at Sanford Bernstein, recently upped his price target from $135 to $142 to go along with his outperform rating. He expects Apple to report strong gross margins of 39.8%, ahead of analysts' expectations of 39.5%. The iPhone 6 cycle remains "robust," while higher average selling prices will increase margins, he said. Later in the year, Apple will face tough comparable results, as the introduction of the iPhone 6 got off to such a strong start last year. Perhaps the Apple Watch will be able to boost revenue slightly, as well as margins, the latter of which seems more important to investors. Najarian said the first Apple Watch will be not much of a game changer. However, successive generations of the device could be a big deal. Brown agreed, adding that Apple tends to take on new markets -- wearable devices in this case -- and do a better job than the rest of its competitors. Also making news on Friday was the failed $45 billion merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable . Brown says Time Warner Cable still has a great business even without the merger and continues to maintain "incredible assets." Must Read: Warren Buffett's Top 10 Dividend-Paying Stocks for 2015

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BALTIMORE (Stockpickr) -- Put down the 10-K filings and the stock screeners. It's time to take a break from the traditional methods of generating investment ideas. Instead, let the crowd do it for you. From hedge funds to individual investors, scores of market participants are turning to social media to figure out which stocks are worth watching. It's a concept that's known as "crowdsourcing," and it uses the masses to identify emerging trends in the market. Must Read: Warren Buffett's Top 10 Stock Buys Crowdsourcing has long been a popular tool for the advertising industry, but it also makes a lot of sense as an investment tool. After all, the market is completely driven by the supply and demand, so it can be valuable to see what names are trending among the crowd. While some fund managers are already trying to leverage social media resources like Twitter to find algorithmic trading opportunities, for most investors, crowdsourcing works best as a starting point for investors who want a starting point in their analysis. Today, we'll leverage the power of the crowd to take a look at some of the most active stocks on the market today. Must Read: 5 Toxic Stocks to Stay Away From Microsoft Nearest Resistance: $47Nearest Support: $44Catalyst: Q3 Earnings Up first is software giant Microsoft , a stock that's up more than 8% this afternoon following its third quarter earnings call. Microsoft earned profits of 62 cents per share, excluding one-time items. That stomped the 53-cent earnings that Wall Street was hoping for. Microsoft's transition to cloud software was a big factor in exceeding analysts' expectations, which had been muted thanks to weakening Windows revenues and a strong dollar's impact overseas. MSFT has been looking strong from a technical standpoint for a while now, forming a double bottom pattern that's finally breaking out on the strength of this stock's fundamental performance this afternoon. MSFT's next-nearest resistance level is relatively weak up at $47. Consider today a buy signal. Must Read: 10 Stocks George Soros Is Buying Petrobras Nearest Resistance: $11Nearest Support: $9Catalyst: Q4 Earnings Brazilian national oil company Petrobras is catching a bid in a big way this afternoon, up more than 6% following the firm's fourth-quarter earnings call. PBR stomped weak earnings estimates for the quarter, critically wiping out a big chunk of the huge impairments the firm took from falling oil prices devaluing unfinished projects and a costly corruption probe. After spending much of the last year trending lower, PBR has finally established an uptrend in 2015, making new relative highs in today's session. If you're looking for an excuse to get into this stock, now's as good a time as any, but I'd recommend keeping a protective stop on the other side of $9 support. PBR has typically been a volatile name in the past. Must Read: 10 New Stocks Billionaire David Einhorn Loves Vale Nearest Resistance: $8Nearest Support: $6.50Catalyst: Iron Ore Rally Brazilian iron ore giant Vale is rallying this afternoon, up more than 10% thanks to an ongoing rally in iron ore prices and a general rally in the country's Ibovespa market index. Reduced expansion plans from competitor BHP Billiton helped drive iron ore prices higher, which has a direct impact on VALE's bottom line. With a strong dollar acting as a major hamstringing factor in VALE's performance, the iron ore rally is finally a major tailwind for shares. While VALE has been in a downtrend in the long-term, that finally broke this week with shares' move above the 50-day moving average. From here, shares could have a lot further to run. Buy the dips in VALE. Must Read: 10 Stocks Carl Icahn Is Buying Cliffs Natural Resources Nearest Resistance: $6Nearest Support: $4Catalyst: Iron Ore Rally Small-cap iron ore and coal producer Cliffs Natural Resources is another stock that's seeing a rally this afternoon thanks to the broad-based rally in the iron ore market. Thing is, the downtrend in CLF is still very much intact right now. While shares are testing the top of their channel this afternoon, they haven't managed to actually exit the channel. That means that, if you're looking for the best way to get exposure to the rebound in hard commodities, it makes sense to buy VALE over CLF. Must Read: Warren Buffett's Top 10 Dividend Stocks

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- After taking the helm of bailed-out auto lender Ally Financial in February, Jeffrey Brown vowed to pull in more new business than what's being lost as Chrysler and General Motors drive away. On Tuesday, investors get their first look at how he's doing. Must Read: >High-Yield Small-Cap Dividend Stocks to Consider Right Now Ally's first-quarter earnings report, scheduled for that morning, will be Brown's first as CEO. He joined the company in 2009 after 10 years at Bank of America , where he had most recently been corporate treasurer.All eyes will be on Brown's plans to fuel growth as separation agreements with long-time customers GM and Chrysler continue to take effect. Chrysler dropped Ally's exclusivity rights in favor of Santander Consumer USA in 2013. Last year, GM followed suit, shifting its financing operations to subsidiary GM Financial. To replace that business, Ally is eyeing customers such as Nissan and Maserati for new business as well as considering products such as mortgages and credit cards. The company also operates the Ally Bank subsidiary, which has about 784,000 customers. GM and Chrysler still supply the majority of Ally's business, primarily from dealership financing services, but the sales numbers are dropping quickly. Ally's share of GM's wholesale financing decreased from 71% in 2012 to 64% last year, while portion at Chrysler dropped from 58% to 45% in the same period. "You have a situation where GM is shifting business to its captive GM Financial, forcing Ally Financial to aggressively shift its business to non-GM, non-Chrysler business," said Mark Palmer, an analyst with BTIG. "The company anticipates there will be no impact on its 2015 results," Palmer said. "Its strategy has been rapid growth in non-GM, non-Chrysler sales. What we don't know is just when GM will shift more of its business to GM Financial." New loans unrelated to GM or Chrysler increased 45% to $8.3 billion in 2014 from the previous year, according to Ally's annual filing with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission. They now account for about 20% percent of total consumer vehicle loans, compared with 15% in 2013. Customers included Ford , Toyota and Honda."Over the past several years, we have increased our focus on the Non-GM/Chrysler channel, which has resulted in increased new standard-rate, used-, and leased-vehicle financing volume," Ally said in the filing. "We also seek to broaden and deepen the Ally Bank franchise, prudently growing stable, quality deposits while extending our foundation of products and providing a high level of customer service." Managers have begun signaling other new roads for Ally's growth, too. Must Read: GM Has Rising Stake in China's Fast-Growing Car Market "A couple days after Jeff Brown became CEO, he hosted a conference call and said one potential source of growth is being more aggressive with credit quality," said Christopher Donat, a managing director of equity research with Sandler O'Neil and Partners. That means Ally would turn more toward subprime loans, made to buyers with lower credit scores, which generate higher interest rates but also have a higher risk of default. Some investors may balk at that approach, especially since Ally is still licking its wounds from the 2008 financial crisis. Then known as GMAC, an acronym for General Motors Acceptance Corp., the company received $5 billion in government bailout money in late 2008, and an additional $7.5 billion in 2009, through the sale of preferred stock to the U.S. Treasury Department, according to the Treasury's Office of Financial Stability. GMAC was renamed Ally Financial in 2010. In November 2013, Ally completed the repurchase of all remaining preferred stock held by Treasury, according to the SEC filing. And last April, when Ally went public, the Treasury sold an additional 10 million shares of common stock. The department continued to hold roughly 11% of Ally's shares. "In December 2014, Treasury sold all of its remaining shares of Ally common stock," Ally said in the filing. That market the company's exit from the government's Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, set up to stabilize the financial system during the 2008 crisis. Since its IPO, Ally shares have fallen 16%, and at the end of last year, Ally was saddled with $21 billion in total long-term debt, against $2 billion in cash and $44 billion in total assets, according to the filing. Brown also discussed getting Ally back into mortgages, personal loans, and even credit cards, according to Palmer. The company stands to benefit from the convenience of its mix of insurance and financial operations for car dealers, who can find a complete package of services in a single phone call. "We'll also be looking at how gas prices can affect consumers this quarter," said Donat. "This is really the first quarter of low gas prices, and lower gas prices usually mean more dollars in the hands of customers, and it makes the overall cost of owning a car a little cheaper." Tuesday's earnings call will also highlight how Brown's approach differs from his predecessor, Michael Carpenter, according to David Hilder, a senior equity analyst with Drexel Hamilton. "Brown knows the business very well. He spent a year in dealer relationships and before that was in financials, so he knows the operating business and the financials. He is an engaging and capable leader and well-qualified to say more on an earnings call." Must Read: Oil and Gas Executives Resign Themselves to Years of Low Prices

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text 3 Big Stocks Spiking on Big Volume
Fri, 24 Apr 2015 18:00 GMT

DELAFIELD, Wis. (Stockpickr) -- Professional traders running mutual funds a.0nd hedge funds don't just look at a stock's price moves; they also track big changes in volume activity. Often when above-average volume moves into an equity, it precedes a large spike in volatility. Major moves in volume can signal unusual activity, such as insider buying or selling -- or buying or selling by "superinvestors." Must Read: 5 Stocks With Big Insider Buying Unusual volume can also be a major signal that hedge funds and momentum traders are piling into a stock ahead of a catalyst. These types of traders like to get in well before a large spike, so it's always a smart move to monitor unusual volume. That said, remember to combine trend and price action with unusual volume. Put them all together to help you decipher the next big trend for any stock. With that in mind, let's take a look at several stocks rising on unusual volume recently. Must Read: Warren Buffett's Top 10 Stock Buys Google Google , a technology company, builds products and provides services to organize the information. This stock is trading up 3.1% to $564.33 in Friday's trading session. Friday's Volume: 2.90 million Three-Month Average Volume: 1.86 million Volume % Change: 250% From a technical perspective, GOOG is gapping up sharply higher here back above both its 50-day moving average of $549.01 and its 200-day moving average of $550.07 with strong upside volume flows. This sharp gap to the upside on Friday is now starting to push shares of GOOG within range of triggering a major breakout trade above some key near-term overhead resistance levels. That trade will trigger if GOOG manages to take out some key near-term overhead resistance levels at $574.59 to $577.91 with high volume. Traders should now look for long-biased trades in GOOG as long as it's trending above Friday's intraday low of $557.25 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 1.86 million shares. If that breakout takes off soon, then GOOG will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $590 to $596.50. Time Warner Cable Time Warner Cable , together with its subsidiaries, provides video, high-speed data and voice services in the U.S. This stock is trading up 152.69 % to $152.68 in Friday's trading session. Friday's Volume: 8.18 million Three-Month Average Volume: 2.81 million Volume % Change: 564% From a technical perspective, TWC is jumping higher here right above its 200-day moving average of $146.13 with strong upside volume flows. This stock recently formed a double bottom chart pattern at $145.99 to $145.44. Following that bottom, shares of TWC have started to uptrend and it's now moving within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit if TWC manages to take out its 50-day moving average of $152.75 with high volume. Traders should now look for long-biased trades in TWC as long as it's trending above Friday's intraday low of $149 and then once it sustains a move or close above its 50-day at $152.99 with volume that registers near or above 2.81 million shares. If that breakout hits soon, then TWC will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $157.50 to $160, or even its 52-week high of $161.14. Must Read: 10 Stocks Carl Icahn Is Buying Whole Foods Market Whole Foods Market operates as a retailer of natural and organic foods. This stock is trading up 2.6% to $49.50 in Friday's trading session. Friday's Volume: 6.12 million Three-Month Average Volume: 3.36 million Volume % Change: 241% From a technical perspective, WFM is bouncing notably higher here off some past support at $48 with strong upside volume flows. This stock has been downtrending badly for the last three months, with shares falling off its high of $57.42 to its current intraday low on Friday of $47.98. During that downtrend, shares of WFM have been consistently making lower highs and lower lows, which is bearish technical price action. That said, shares of WFM are now starting to bounce off that past support at $48, which could be marking a near-term bottom bounce play. Traders should now look for a continuation move to the upside in the near-term if WFM manages to clear some near-term overhead resistance at $50 with high volume. Traders should now look for long-biased trades in WFM as long as it's trending above some near-term support at around $48 and then once it sustains a move or close above $50 with volume that hits near or above 3.36 million shares. If that move gets started soon, then WFM will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $52 to its 50-day moving average of $53.25. Must Read: Warren Buffett's Top 10 Dividend Stocks

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Goldcorp are down by 2.46% to $19.04 in early afternoon trading on Friday, as some mining and related stocks fall along with the price of gold. Gold is down today, making its way towards a third weekly loss in a row, as global equities strengthen shifting interest from the safe haven metal, Reuters reports. Gold for June delivery is lower by 1.47% to $1,176.80 per ounce on the COMEX this afternoon. "People just aren't very interested in gold at the moment. Stocks are a better bet at the moment to invest in, and bonds too, so gold is not in people's minds," LBBW analyst Thorsten Proettel told Reuters. Other gold mining stocks slipping today include Yamana Gold , down by 2.42% to $3.84, Alamos Gold , lower by 2.49% to $6.65, and Gold Fields Limited , down by 3.73% to $4.13 this afternoon. Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates GOLDCORP INC as a Sell with a ratings score of D+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate GOLDCORP INC (GG) a SELL. This is driven by some concerns, which we believe should have a greater impact than any strengths, and could make it more difficult for investors to achieve positive results compared to most of the stocks we cover. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its unimpressive growth in net income, weak operating cash flow and generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself." Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows: The company, on the basis of change in net income from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500 and the Metals & Mining industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 120.0% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from -$1,089.00 million to -$2,396.00 million. The share price of GOLDCORP INC has not done very well: it is down 16.64% and has underperformed the S&P 500, in part reflecting the company's sharply declining earnings per share when compared to the year-earlier quarter. The fact that the stock is now selling for less than others in its industry in relation to its current earnings is not reason enough to justify a buy rating at this time. Net operating cash flow has decreased to $274.00 million or 10.74% when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite a decrease in cash flow GOLDCORP INC is still fairing well by exceeding its industry average cash flow growth rate of -51.48%. The return on equity has improved slightly when compared to the same quarter one year prior. This can be construed as a modest strength in the organization. Compared to other companies in the Metals & Mining industry and the overall market, GOLDCORP INC's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500. Regardless of the drop in revenue, the company managed to outperform against the industry average of 18.5%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 13.9%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share. You can view the full analysis from the report here: GG Ratings Report Must Read: Warren Buffett's Top 25 Stocks for 2015

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text 4 Stocks Breaking Out on Unusual Volume
Fri, 24 Apr 2015 17:55 GMT

DELAFIELD, Wis. (Stockpickr) -- Professional traders running mutual funds a.0nd hedge funds don't just look at a stock's price moves; they also track big changes in volume activity. Often when above-average volume moves into an equity, it precedes a large spike in volatility. Major moves in volume can signal unusual activity, such as insider buying or selling -- or buying or selling by "superinvestors." Must Read: 5 Stocks With Big Insider Buying Unusual volume can also be a major signal that hedge funds and momentum traders are piling into a stock ahead of a catalyst. These types of traders like to get in well before a large spike, so it's always a smart move to monitor unusual volume. That said, remember to combine trend and price action with unusual volume. Put them all together to help you decipher the next big trend for any stock. With that in mind, let's take a look at several stocks rising on unusual volume recently. Must Read: Warren Buffett's Top 10 Stock Buys Altisource Portfolio Solutions Altisource Portfolio Solutions operates as a marketplace and transaction solutions provider for the real estate, mortgage and consumer debt industries in the U.S. This stock is trading up 6.1% to $23.87 in Friday's trading session. Friday's Volume: 904,000 Three-Month Average Volume: 613,136 Volume Change: 272% From a technical perspective, ASPS is spiking sharply higher here with strong upside volume flows. This stock recently soared higher right off its 50-day moving average of $18.29 with strong upside volume flows. That move also pushed shares of ASPS into breakout territory, since the stock took out some near-term overhead resistance at $21.37. Shares of ASPS are now trending within range of triggering another breakout trade. That trade will hit if ASPS manages to take out some past overhead resistance levels at $25.68 to $26.74 with high volume. Traders should now look for long-biased trades in ASPS as long as it's trending above Friday's intraday low of $22.04 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that registers near or above 613,136 shares. If that breakout kicks off soon, then ASPS will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $32.88 to $35. Must Read: 5 Toxic Stocks to Stay Away From Pandora Media Pandora Media provides Internet radio services in the U.S. This stock is trading up 3.4% to $18.38 in Friday's trading session. Friday's Volume: 10.51 million Three-Month Average Volume: 6.60 million Volume % Change: 319% From a technical perspective, P is spiking higher here right off its 50-day moving average of $16.05 with strong upside volume flows. This move to the upside is now quickly pushing shares of P within range of triggering a breakout trade above some past overhead resistance. That trade will hit if P manages to take out some past resistance at $18.90 with high volume. Traders should now look for long-biased trades in P as long as it's trending above $17 or above its 50-day at $16.05 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that registers near or above 6.60 million shares. If that breakout hits soon, then P will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $20 to its 200-day moving average of $20.31, or even $22. Must Read: 10 New Stocks Billionaire David Einhorn Loves Rave Restaurant Group Rave Restaurant Group , together with its subsidiaries, operates and franchises pizza buffet, delivery and carry-out and express restaurants under the Pizza Inn trademark in the U.S. and internationally. This stock is trading up 10.4% to $15.69 in Friday's trading session. Friday's Volume: 156,000 Three-Month Average Volume: 95,861 Volume % Change: 225% From a technical perspective, RAVE is soaring higher here and breaking out above some near-term overhead resistance at $14.45 with above-average volume. This strong surge to the upside on Friday is now quickly pushing shares of RAVE within range of triggering another big breakout trade. That trade will hit if RAVE manages to clear some key near-term overhead resistance levels at $15.65 to its 52-week high of $16.20 with high volume. Traders should now look for long-biased trades in CECE as long as it's trending above Friday's intraday low of $14.27 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 95,861 shares. If that breakout begins soon, then RAVE will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that move are $20 to $22 a share. Must Read: 10 Stocks Carl Icahn Is Buying Natural Health Trends Natural Health Trends , a direct-selling and e-commerce company, provides wellness, beauty and lifestyle products for consumers or business builders under the NHT Global brand name. This stock is trading up 2.1% to $22.86 in Friday's trading session. Friday's Volume: 184,000 Three-Month Average Volume: 149,748 Volume % Change: 219% From a technical perspective, NHTC is trending modestly higher here right above some near-term support at around $21 with above-average volume. This stock has been uptrending for the last few weeks, with shares moving higher from its low of $19.49 to its current intraday high on Friday of $23.20. During that uptrend, shares of NHTC have been consistently making higher lows and higher highs, which is bullish technical price action. This move is now starting to push shares of NHTC within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will trigger if NHTC manages to take out its 52-week high of $25.17 with high volume. Traders should now look for long-biased trades in NHTC as long as it's trending above some near-term support levels at $21 or near $20 and then once it sustains a move or close above its 52-week high of $25.17 with volume that hits near or above 149,748 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then NHTC will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that move are $30 to $33. Must Read: Warren Buffett's Top 10 Dividend Stocks

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Spectranetics shares are down 20.75% to $27.50 on heavy volume in afternoon trading on Friday after the single use medical device manufacturer reported a first quarter loss after the closing bell yesterday. The Colorado Springs, CO-based company reported a first quarter net loss of $27.3 million which, adjusted for one time costs and losses, comes to an EPS loss of 30 cents per diluted share. Revenue for the period climbed 45% to $57.4 million in the period.For the year the company provided EPS guidance between a net loss of $1.07 to 97 cents per share one revenue between $258 million and $265 million. TheStreet Ratings team rates SPECTRANETICS CORP as a Hold with a ratings score of C. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate SPECTRANETICS CORP (SPNC) a HOLD. The primary factors that have impacted our rating are mixed - some indicating strength, some showing weaknesses, with little evidence to justify the expectation of either a positive or negative performance for this stock relative to most other stocks. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, solid stock price performance and expanding profit margins. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity and weak operating cash flow." Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows: You can view the full analysis from the report here: SPNC Ratings Report SPNC data by YCharts Must Read: Warren Buffett's Top 25 Stocks for 2015

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LOS ANGELES (TheStreet) -- After sparring for much of the past year, Comcast and Netflix now have a chance to work together even as they compete for video subscribers. With its $45.2 billion merger with Time Warner Cable off the table, Comcast has an opportunity to take full advantage of Netflix's popularity -- in effect, to become its "frenemy." Must Read: Warren Buffett's 7 Secrets to Dividend Investing Revealed Comcast, like all cable TV providers, needs to grow its broadband business to compensate for the loss of cable TV customers who are fast transitioning to Internet-based streaming services, most notably those from Netflix and Amazon . With the Time Warner Cable deal removed, the relationship between the country's largest cable TV operator, Comcast, and the popular Netflix streaming service may improve. Comcast could even be incentivized to work with Netflix to boost its broadband subscribers. In the fourth quarter, Comcast signed up just 375,000 new broadband customers, a 0.8% decline from the same period a year earlier. Analysts had expected Comcast to add 384,000 Internet customers. Meanwhile, growth at its pay-TV business is almost nonexistent. Comcast added just 6,000 video subscribers in the quarter compared to 46,000 for the same quarter a year earlier. Clearly, Comcast's future is broadband. And Netflix is currently the biggest user of broadband in homes across the country in nearly every evening of every day of the year. "I think they're definitely going to be looking at (broadband) as a hedge," said Steve Ridge, president of the media strategy group at consultant Frank N. Magid Associates, in reference to Comcast's post-Time Warner Cable plans. "It's going to be silly not to sink sufficient dollars into hedging the bet rather than being locked into a single strategy." Broadband speed has long been at the root of the animosity between broadband companies and Netflix, with the House of Cards maker complaining that companies such as Comcast choke Netflix traffic, causing inconsistent service. Comcast and other Internet service providers counter that they haven't been slowing service to Netflix, which commands large amounts of bandwidth. It may be shrewd for cable companies to play nice with Netflix as the streaming service's 40 million U.S. subscribers eat into traditional TV usage. Netflix contributed to 43% of the total decline in traditional TV viewing in the U.S. during the first quarter of 2015, MoffettNathanson said. "Netflix's U.S. total streaming hours relative to traditional TV will steadily rise to the low double-digit range over the next four year, representing the majority of the declines in traditional TV viewing," the firm's Michael Nathanson said in an April 24 report. Must Read: Warren Buffett's Top 10 Dividend Stocks Comcast can leverage the demand for streaming services by selling faster Internet packages, a business with higher profit margin than cable, said Christopher Marangi, an analyst at Gabelli. "The cable industry has always had an opportunity to align themselves with Netflix," Marangi said. "There are some elements of a 'frenemy' relationship to the extent that Netflix [is] pushing ultra HD [high-definition] incentives to subscribers to take higher broadband speeds." Comcast's failed bid for Time Warner Cable, which would have combined the country's two largest cable and Internet providers, frees Comcast to pursue new ways to both compete with streaming video providers, as well as to gradually increase rates on those that use a lot of video. Such is the advantage of being both a broadband provider and an owner of a large and profitable content company, NBCUniversal. Another option on the table for companies such as Comcast to stem the flow of subscribers to Netflix and other online streaming platforms could be to offer the service itself as part of its TV-Internet package, Marangi said. "Other distributors, including Charter, have spoken publicly about distributing Netflix, wholesaling Netflix as they do with HBO," Marangi said. With streaming TV and small bundles of channels to be offered by the likes of Apple , DISH Network and other major TV networks, it may be wise to profit with the trend, said Ridge. "There doesn't have to be collusion for a business to leverage their strategy with the strategy of a competitor," he added. Must Read: 11 Safe High-Yield Dividend Stocks for Times of Volatility and Uncertainty

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of ARRIS Group were falling 5.3% to $35.33 on heavy trading volume Friday, giving back some gains after the telecommunications equipment company announced it will acquire English set-top box maker Pace plc. About 4 million shares of ARRIS were traded by 1:15 p.m. Friday, above the company's average trading volume of about 1.9 million shares a day. On Thursday ARRIS announced it will acquire Pace for $2.1 billion in an effort to expand its operations outside of North America. "This transaction is another example of ARRIS's ongoing strategy of investing in the right opportunities to position our company for growth," ARRIS CEO Bob Stanzione said in a statement. "Adding Pace's talent, products and diverse customer base will provide ARRIS with a large scale entry into the satellite segment, broaden our portfolio and expand our global presence." The deal is expected to close sometime in late 2015. TheStreet Ratings team rates ARRIS GROUP INC as a Buy with a ratings score of B+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate ARRIS GROUP INC (ARRS) a BUY. This is driven by several positive factors, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income and notable return on equity. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins." Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows: ARRS's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 0.0%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 5.4%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share. Compared to where it was a year ago today, the stock is now trading at a higher level, reflecting both the market's overall trend during that period and the fact that the company's earnings growth has been robust. Turning our attention to the future direction of the stock, it goes without saying that even the best stocks can fall in an overall down market. However, in any other environment, this stock still has good upside potential despite the fact that it has already risen in the past year. ARRIS GROUP INC reported significant earnings per share improvement in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, ARRIS GROUP INC turned its bottom line around by earning $2.20 versus -$0.39 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.68 versus $2.20). The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Communications Equipment industry. The net income increased by 6942.7% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from -$2.82 million to $192.76 million. The company's current return on equity greatly increased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of significant strength within the corporation. Compared to other companies in the Communications Equipment industry and the overall market, ARRIS GROUP INC's return on equity exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500. You can view the full analysis from the report here: ARRS Ratings Report Must Read: Warren Buffett's Top 25 Stocks for 2015

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Looking for yield? Look no further than stocks making news this earnings season, as scores of companies post quarterly results and trading activity tends to be more volatile. What dividend investors are most focused on in earnings is growth. The ability to grow earnings and cash flow allows a company to grow its dividend over time. By reinvesting these dividends, investors can develop a portfolio that can outperform the broader market over time with less overall risk. With that in mind, here are the three best S&P 500 dividend stocks to post results so far for the first quarter of 2015. Each stock yielded at least 2%, exceeded earnings and sales estimates and is showing positive earnings growth. These companies can continue to grow their dividends and outperform their peers over the next several quarters. (See more solid dividend stocks to invest in at Dividend Stock Advisor.) 1. Hasbro Hasbro posted better-than-expected quarterly results on Monday. The toy maker earned $0.21 a share in the first quarter, as revenue grew 5% year over year, to $713.5 million. This growth came despite a $62.6 million impact from foreign exchange, as the company generates 51% of its sales outside of North America. Management has been able to offset some of this impact by raising prices. Hasbro boosted its quarterly dividend in February for the sixth consecutive year to $0.46 a share giving it a 2.6% yield. Investors at the close of trading on April 28 will qualify for the latest payment on May 15. Management is set to grow earnings more than 3% in 2015, to $3.26 a share, which is enough to cover the current dividend. In addition, the company has $475 million remaining in its stock buyback program, which at current prices would amount to a buyback of 6.6 million shares. Hasbro shares have gained a sizable 30% year to date. That said, the company has strong operating momentum and is gaining both market share and investor mindshare from chief competitor Mattel , which may have to cut its own 5.4% dividend yield in the next year. 2. Linear Technology Linear Technology, a manufacturer of semiconductor components, delivered quarterly results on last week that exceeded consensus analyst estimates. The company earned $0.55 a share for the third quarter of fiscal 2015 that ended March 31, as revenue increased 7% year over year, to $372 million. Growth was driven by higher demand in key markets such as in the industrial and automotive sectors. Linear also booked more future orders in the quarter than it billed as revenue, which is a key metric in the chip business. In addition, the company expanded its operating margin by 180 basis points from the quarter that ended on Dec. 28. Linear increased its quarterly dividend for the 23rd consecutive year in January, to $0.30 a share, giving it a 2.5% yield. Investors at the close of trading on May 12 will qualify for the new payment on May 27. In addition, management consistently repurchases stock. The company is expected to grow earnings more than 8% in for all of the fiscal 2015 year, which will end June 30, to $2.34 a share. The stock has kept pace with the broader market year to date. Management should continue to deliver consistent growth in the coming quarters. Linear should be able to outperform the broader market for the remainder of 2015. 3. Reynolds American Reynolds American announced better-than-expected quarterly results last week. The tobacco producer earned $0.86 a share in the first quarter as revenue grew 6%, to $2.06 billion, from the tally in the previous year's period. The growth was driven by higher pricing. The company is in the process of merging with tobacco producer Lorillard , which is best known for its Newport brand. The deal is expected to close by the end of June. The increased scale should allow the combined company to better compete with Altria . Reynolds has increased its dividend for five straight years and Lorillard just boosted its payout in February. The combined company should deliver steady dividend growth over time. Reynolds is set to post 12.5% earnings growth in 2015, which would result in earnings of $3.85 a share. This is enough to cover the current quarterly dividend of $0.67 a share, resulting in a 3.5% yield for the stock. The stock price of Reynolds has gained more than 18% year to date and recently touched a new record high. As Reynolds and Lorillard begin to realize the synergies of their pending merger, the combined company will continue to outperform the broader market.

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SAN DIEGO, CALIF. (TheStreet) -- We've all heard the same story: Google is struggling to keep up with consumers' shift to mobile devices. Mobile, logic stands to reason, is the impetus for slowing growth in the core search business. Company executives set out to kill that line of thinking once and for all on Thursday, when they addressed Wall Street during the first-quarter earnings conference call. "Many commentators are incorrectly assuming that the growth trends in [paid] clicks [on Google properties] and [cost-per-clicks] are primarily due to difficulties monetizing search on mobile," outgoing CFO Patrick Pichette said, "but that's, in fact, not the case." Must Read: Why Apple May Be Targeting Canada for Its Next Apple Pay Launch Google's first-quarter report came in soft, in part because of foreign exchange rates. The company earned $6.57 per share on revenue of $17.26 billion, with the U.S. dollar adversely impacting revenue by $795 million. Wall Street was looking for earnings of $6.60 per share on revenue of $17.5 billion. Google's first-quarter revenue after traffic acquisition costs of $3.35 billion was $13.9 billion, less than the $14.03 billion analysts were anticipating. In aggregate, paid clicks, one of the metrics thought to be impacted by mobile, grew 13% over last year, but growth decelerated from 14% in the previous quarter. Paid click growth for Google sites, which excludes network sites, was 25% in the first quarter -- down from 28% in the previous quarter. In aggregate, cost-per-clicks (CPC), or ad prices, were down 7% from the year-ago quarter and 5% from the previous quarter. CPCs on Google sites were down 13% from the previous year, and down 3% from the previous quarter. Normally, these would be the stats tied to a weakness in mobile, making it seem as if Google needs to get better at serving consumers on smartphones. It's these customers who are thought to be increasingly turning to apps -- instead of Google -- for queries. Pichette's remarks were meant to instruct otherwise. Read More: Warren Buffett's Top 10 Dividend Stocks Pichette countered the popular mobile-is-the-problem narrative with information not usually provided by the company. YouTube's TrueView ad unit, which only charges advertisers for ads that are watched, are actually the culprit for slowing growth. The ads, he said, take longer to spin off money to Google than the ads that appear on Google.com. As a result, as YouTube's viewership grows, so too does the lower monetized TrueView ad views. What this means is that these lower monetized video ad views will increasingly represent a larger slice of Google’s core advertising business. "Excluding the impact of YouTube TrueView ads, growth in site clicks would be lower but still positive, and our CPCs would be healthy and growing year over year," he said. Google, he said, has two positive stories to tell this quarter: strength in mobile search as well as significant growth in YouTube viewership and TrueView ad views. Chief Business Officer Omid Kordestani also emphasized mobile as a point of strength, saying that Google stands to benefit from the proliferation of mobile devices. "For example, more than eight in 10 smartphone users use their phone to research a product decision they're about to make in store," Kordestani said. "These moments include small things like looking for a movie review, and really big decisions like researching a new home purchase or figuring out what car you want to buy next. So people expect to get exactly what they want, when they want it." Kordestani also rattled off Google's portfolio of mobile apps, with an emphasis on the Google Chrome browser app that has a monthly audience of 400 million people. Google, he added, also has indexed more than 30 billion links within apps. So mobile pay not be the problem -- but YouTube is. The digital video property is rumored to have broken even last year on $4 billion in revenue, and management did not try to dissuade that its strategy is to spend to grow YouTube's footprint. "If you just want to make YouTube profitable tomorrow morning, it's very easy. You put on the breaks on growth, and then it just turns into a profitable business," Pichette said. Must Read: 3 Biggest Takeaways From Facebook's Solid First Quarter

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Chipotle wants to make it easier for its legions of faithful burrito lovers to place an order, so the popular fast food chain is seeking to score a little space on their wrists. That is, if a person hankering for a burrito or salad bowl has the flashy, hard-to-get new Apple Watch. Read More: Warren Buffett's Top 10 Dividend Stocks On Friday, coinciding with Apple's official launch of its Apple Watch, Chipotle announced that it will be among the first restaurant companies to release an app to support the new wearable device. "Convenience is important to our customers and mobile ordering apps allow for easy access on the go," said Chris Arnold, Chipotle's communications director, in a statement. "With the app's availability now on the Apple Watch, existing app users have an even more efficient mobile ordering experience available to them."To build its Apple Watch app, Chipotle said it has updated and optimized its existing iPhone app, meaning there are no substantially new features, save for a "countdown clock" that ticks off the seconds to when your order is ready (the iPhone app does tell you what time your order will be ready, however). Customers using the Apple Watch app will be able to locate the closest Chipotle, save their favorite orders, and pay for the items using a stored credit card before picking up the food, similar to what they can do on an iPhone.Chipotle joins restaurant tech pioneer Starbucks in having an app ready on day one of the Apple Watch launch. Starbucks' Apple Watch app offers most of the same features available on its smartphone app, including locating the closest location, viewing their loyalty rewards and mobile payment. Domino's Pizza earlier this year released an app that supports mobile ordering on Google Android and Pebble smartwatches, and will likely have an Apple Watch app of its own soon, too. A host of other fast food competitors are likely to follow suit in coming months, as they seek to capitalize on the smartwatch's ability to speed up lines via mobile ordering and offer more personalized marketing and food options. Read More:11 Safe High-Yield Dividend Stocks for Times of Volatility and Uncertainty For Chipotle, its early release of an Apple Watch app marks a change of pace in terms of how quickly it has embraced new technology. Chipotle has sought to be in the mix in offering mobile features, such as mobile ordering, which is now an option, and mobile payment, which isn't, but executives have said in the past that the company doesn't need to be on the "bleeding edge" of technology. There are several reasons for that stance. First, Chipotle prefers that consumers interact with its often friendly, well-trained employees inside of the restaurant. By doing so, the thinking goes that customers become more loyal to the brand. Another reason is Chipotle's relentless focus on improving ingredient sourcing for the items on its menu -- for example, finding new outlets for "responsibly raised" beef and pork and removing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) from its ingredient list . Hence, taking advantage of technology, while important, isn't a top priority. But the company's stance may be changing, albeit slowly, as Chipotle seeks more ways to keep its sales humming. On Wednesday, its shares fell more than 7% as the burrito giant reported that its same-store quarterly sales grew 10.4% in the first quarter, down from 16.1% growth in the previous quarter. In addition to the Apple Watch app, Arnold shared in a Mar. 19 interview with TheStreet, Chipotle will have an update "out soon" for its mobile app. Yet, it still won't offer mobile payment -- the device will continue to be linked to old fashioned credit cards instead of a newer payment method such as Apple Pay or Google Wallet. Chipotle founder and co-CEO Steve Ells has commented previously on the fact that implementing mobile payment isn't that easy. "There are considerable technological constraints implementing it, just based on the way payments are processed with our system," he said on Chipotle's Oct. 20 earnings call. Chipotle's Chief Creative and Development Officer Mark Crumpacker reinforced this view on an April 21 earnings call. "The restaurants currently are not set up to accept mobile pay, although with Apple Pay, in particular, the investment on the hardware side is relatively minimal, so that's not a significant barrier -- the main challenge there is making the point of sale (POS) software compliant with Apple Pay -- so we're working on that," Crumpacker said. For Chipotle, embracing tech innovation to a larger degree should make its notoriously long lines during lunch and dinner move more quickly and prevent customers from leaving before ordering. Chipotle is already credited with some of the fastest "throughput" times, an industry term for how quickly a customer moves through the line. In the first quarter, Chipotle increased its average transactions by 21 per day as executives implemented new reporting tools that better measure employee performance. "So we're getting faster and faster, and we think that we're not sort of close to being at the point where we can't get faster -- that is to say, there is sort of a lot of runway on our ability to get faster," admitted Chipotle CFO Jeff Hartung on the earnings call. Unleashing the power of the Apple Watch should aid in Chipotle's drive towards extra speedy lunch and dinner lines, hopefully leading to continued sales growth. Read More: 10 Stocks George Soros Is Buying

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