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feed text 10 Sandwiches to Have Before You Die
Sat, 22 Nov 2014 20:19 GMT

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The sandwich is such a beautifully simple idea. Put deliciousness on bread and enjoy. From the most basic ham and cheese on white bread to the most curated charcuterie and camembert on ciabatta, a good sandwich never disappoints. Americans eat close to 200 sandwiches per year on average, according to PBS. Think about how many sandwiches you had this past month? Probably a few. There are many opinions on what makes the best sub or hoagie, but as James Beard, the "father of American-style gourmet cooking," once said, "too few people understand a really good sandwich." Beard also said the sandwich is "one of the great American arts, which varies from being a triumph to being a disaster." With that in mind, we set out on the hunt to understand (or at least admire) a few "triumphant" sandwiches that have won over the stomachs of people across the world. We've dug in to give you a few deep cuts of some sandwiches you should really try, if you haven't already. So, before you take off to lunch, feast your eyes on this list. We bet these are the 10 sandwiches you'll want to eat next... 10. Bánh Mì A culinary embodiment of French colonial rule in Vietnam, banh mi sandwiches are composed equally of French and Vietnamese parts, Jared Michelman, a food blogger for the New York Times noted. "They all begin with a whole baguette, preferably baked in-house and dressed with an aioli spread infused with pork, garlic and fish sauce. These ingredients then hold a wide variety of fillings: barbecue pork, fried tofu and thick-sliced ham are the most common options, along with pork pâté, grilled chicken, meatballs, sauteed vegetables and, occasionally, whole sardines," he said. Must Read: The Drunkest States in America 9. Croque-Monsieur A ham-'n-cheese sandwich with a French twist. The classic croque monsieur, "darling of cash-poor tourists and French folk-on-the-go, is buttered bread, Gruyère cheese, and lean ham, fried in clarified butter," according to the James Beard Foundation blog. In "the good old days", it was served as an hors d'oeuvre, a tea sandwich, or the main event in a light lunch, the blog noted. 8. Philly Cheesesteak A cheesesteak is "a long, crusty roll filled with thinly sliced sautéed ribeye beef and melted cheese," according to Visitphilly.com. Generally, the cheese of choice is Cheez Whiz, but American and provolone are also common choices, the site said. The art of cheesesteak preparation lies in "the balance of flavors, textures and what is often referred to as the 'drip' factor," they added. 7. Luke's Lobster Roll Luke's rolls are made with "sweet claw and knuckle meat served in a top-split griddled bun with nothing but a thin swipe of mayo and a sprinkle of lemon butter, along with a shake of their 'special seasoning,' Seriouseats.com wrote. 6. The Cubano For the uninitiated, a Cuban sandwich is "shredded pork, glazed ham, Swiss cheese, yellow mustard, and dill pickles - served either cold or hot-pressed on Cuban bread," NPR said. Think of it as the ham-and-cheese for the "guayabera-wearing set," they added. 5. The Po-Boy Poor boy sandwiches represent "bedrock New Orleans," according to the Poboyfest.com. "The shotgun house of New Orleans cuisine, Po-boys are familiar but satisfying. The sandwich is as diverse as the city it symbolizes. The crisp loaves have served as a culinary crossroads, encasing the most pedestrian and exotic of foods: shrimp, oyster, catfish, soft-shell crabs as well as French fries and ham and cheese. Comfort food in other cities seldom reaches such heights," the site said. 4. Calamari on a Squid Ink Baguette Calamari on your sandwich seem a bit weird? Apparently, "no trip to Madrid is complete without tasting the city's most famous sandwich, the bocadillo de calamares, or fried squid sandwich," according to Madridfoodtour.com. In Japan, there is even a burger called kuro, which means black in Japanese, and features black buns, black cheese and a black sauce made from squid ink, the Wall Street Journal reported in September. Time to catch up. 3. Hand-Massaged Wagyu Beef on Sourdough The correct term for Japan's "ultrarich, ultratender and ultra-expensive beef is Wagyu (pronounced WAG-yoo); Kobe is but one producing area for Wagyu beef. Calling all of Japan's luxury beef Kobe is like referring to all Bordeaux wines as Margaux," according to the New York Times. "All the talk about special diets for the breed of black cattle, the massages and the beer are true. The result is meat with much greater marbling than American beef, making it buttery and tender, with a sweetly beefy flavor," the New York Times added. 2. Umami Burger The Umami Burger is a "six-ounce patty of coarsely ground, loosely packed, steak-quality beef seasoned just so and served on a soft, Portuguese-style roll," the New York Times wrote. "With little exception, they are supremely delicious, each juicy, messy bite enhanced by a carefully chosen combination of toppings," according to the New Yorker. 1. Katz's Pastrami Jake Dell, the third generation owner of Katz's Deli on Houston street in New York City, told Seriouseats.com there are eight (not so) easy steps to make the iconic pastrami that they outlined as: the beef, the cure, the rub, the smoke, the boil, the steam, the slice, the sandwich. The beef is key. "Like other cured meat, pastrami began as a way for poor folk (in this case Jewish immigrants) to preserve and improve the flavor and texture of cheap cuts of meat. While plenty of pastrami is made with any cut of beef brisket, aficionados will tell you that the real deal comes specifically from the navel end. Navel is particularly fatty and stands up well to the long cooking to come; save the rest of the brisket for corned beef," Seriouseats.com wrote. Must Read: The Drunkest States in America


NEW YORK (TheStreet) --For years, red wine has been lauded as the singular alcoholic beverage that can be beneficial to your health. In fact, scientists say that a glass of red wine with dinner each night can reduce your bad cholesterol, lower your risk of coronary heart disease, and reduce blood clotting, according to the Yale-New Haven Hospital website. On the other hand, beer, a drink popular at house parties, ball games, and on summer evenings, has a stigma for making one fat, and contributing to a person's poor health. People have been consuming beer for a large part of our collective history. In fact scholars have found circumstantial evidence that supports the theory humans were growing and storing grain for beer before cultivating it for bread, according to Jefferey Kahn, a clinical associate professor at New York Presbyterian Hospital, writing in the New York Times. Beer in the ancient world would have been vastly different from what we know today as "its alcohol content would have been sharply limited", the Times article said. Through the course of history beer has evolved into an alcoholic beverage used to unwind after a long day, and to bring friends together. Beer is not likely going to be the first libation that comes to mind when a person wonders what beverage they should be drinking in order to contribute to their overall health. As it turns out, drinking beer in moderation could be as beneficial to one's health as that nightly glass of red wine. However, the Mayo Clinic website cautions that "alcohol use can be a slippery slope. Moderate drinking can offer some health benefits. But heavy drinking can have serious consequences." The following is a list of 8 reasons why beer drinking in moderation could be good for your health... 1. Prevents Heart Disease Drinking alcohol in moderation can lower your risk of developing and dying from heart disease, the mayoclinic.org says. Drinking in moderation means one drink per day for an adult woman of any age and men older than 65 years. For adult men age 65 and below that means two drinks per day, the mayoclinic.org added. Must Read: 10 Drunkest States in America 2. Strengthens Bones Beer has a high silicon content, which is a nutrient that helps to strengthen the bones, Discovery.com writes. 3. Cleans the Kidneys Have you ever noticed that sudden urge to "go" right after drinking a beer? That reaction is due to the beer's diuretic properties. Diuretics, also known as water pills, help your body get rid of salt. Diuretics work by making the kidneys put more sodium into your urine, also taking with it water from your blood. This decreases the amount of fluid moving through your blood vessels, and lowers the pressure on the walls of your arteries, the mayoclinic.org writes. 4. Fights Cancer The hops most commonly used in brewing beer contains a flavonoid compound called xanthohumol, which has been used in the chemoprevention of cancers. A study in the Molecular Cancer Therapeutics journal says xanthohumol has an "exceptional broad spectrum of inhibitory mechanisms at the initiation, promotion, and progression stage of carcinogenesis." 5. Beauty Benefits Beer is high in Vitamin B. This antioxidant is said to aid in the maintenance of healthy skin and eyes, according to the mayoclinic.org. 6. Improved Brain Power and Creativity Guzzling down six or seven beers in one night probably won't lead you to make the smartest of decisions. However, moderate beer drinking may increase your creativity. Menshealth.com cites a study published in the journal Consciousness and Cognition that says when 40 men were given verbal puzzles, those that had a blood alcohol level of .075 solved the problems seconds faster than their sober counterparts. 7. Lowers Chances of Getting Diabetes A study published on the American Diabetes Association website found that its research "suggests an ~30% reduced risk of type 2 diabetes in moderate alcohol consumers, whereas no risk reduction is observed in consumers of ≥48 g/day." 8. Prevents Stroke Alcohol consumption can be a tricky thing when it comes to your health. While too much can cause irreparable damage, alcohol in moderation can have its benefits. The Mayo Clinic says that "drinking small to moderate amounts of alcohol may help prevent ischemic stroke and decrease your blood's clotting tendency." Must Read: 10 Drunkest States in America


NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- 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: PPG's Mexico deal, and The market's amazing run. Click here for information on RealMoney, where you can see all the blogs, including Jim Cramer's -- and reader comments -- in real time. PPG Is Spot-On With Its Mexico Deal Posted at 7:02 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2014 You can only own so many industrials, because they carry worldwide economic risk, execution risk, and sector risk. You portfolio cannot consist only of 3M , Honeywell , Dow Chemical , United Technologies , and PPG Industries . I pick these stocks because they are regarded as deep-value industrials with terrific buybacks, growing dividends, and fantastic management teams. In the case of Dow, activist investor Dan Loeb disagrees with my view, despite the outperformance of the stock. Consider what Chuck Bunch is doing as the CEO at PPG. He is manufacturing almost 100% value-added products: the dominant play in coatings. I felt strongly for the company, after interviewing him about the prospects for PPG's Mexican acquisition, Comex. This deal has made his company the largest paint company in North America. This chain of 3,800 paint stores is going to be a huge profit driver in an already tight market, where prices are rising and raw costs are falling. Chuck Bunch is almost unlike any other executives I have spoken with. He recognizes that Mexico might be the cheapest place on earth to manufacture things. The country's cheap labor, relatively loose environmental controls, and state-provided health care contribute to its attractiveness. Must Read: Does Tiger Woods' Latest Disgrace Mark a New Low for the Golf Business? Mexico's economy is a growth economy that's the hub of on-shoring. A Mexican worker costs you well below the $7.50-per-hour that Chinese workers require. The stock has had a terrific run off the worldwide slowdown and the Ebola scare from October. After talking to Bunch, I am confident that this company could exceed the $11.17 earnings-per-share estimates for next year. The stock deserves 20x multiple for its superior growth characteristics, huge buyback, terrific dividend and excellent management. I pushed this stock hard in the $180s, when the company reported the quarter. The stock traded down immediately, before people realized that the macro environment was not bad, and was in fact improving. Many were worried about Europe, but North America is doing well, and Asia is still strong. PPG's stock trades quite poorly. It offers a terrific opportunity during some extraneous selling program. I would consider buying it when that selling happens. At the time of publication, Action Alerts PLUS, which Cramer co-manages as a charitable trust, was long DOW and UTX. The Hazards of Skepticism Posted at 4:04 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2014 On days like today I want to be negative. I really do. The market has run so much. We have not received new data points of any consequence. We are simply paying more and more for the same news and same insights. Yet it doesn't seem to matter. Your negativity isn't rewarded except in a handful of situations, like the funk in social media or the endless pain in the autos and the relentless decline in the mineral stocks and the offshore oil drillers. It's downright amazing. The market's even punishing what I regard as healthy skepticism. Let me give you some concrete examples of what I am talking about. This morning on "Squawk on the Street" I started talking about how buoyant the market was, how resiliently bullish things are. Exhibit A: The continued run in Actavis , the acquisitive drug company that is paying a huge premium for Allergan , $219, even though that price is widely acknowledged as being way too expensive by most traditional standards. This is a $66 billion dollar deal with a lot of stock involved and you would think, given the massive issuance, that there would be some pressure shares of Actavis. Heaven knows there has been a lot written about how the moniker of Merger Monday, which is so richly deserved after the $100 billion in deals that were done yesterday. They include, of course, the astounding bid by the second largest oil service company, Halliburton , to buy the third largest, Baker Hughes , which has to signal some sort of top. You just don't get these dramatic overpays vs. where stocks were a short time ago without wondering about the wisdom of these acquisitions. Must Read: Better Than Money, #GivingTuesday Sees Global Impact on Culture of Caring A New York Times article put the skepticism best: "Yet there are some dark corners in the dazzling successes of Wall Street's deal makers. Even as companies spend on mergers and acquisitions they are not spending in other areas. Wage growth is sluggish and hiring is growing only moderately." Moreover, the article continued with: "Whether mergers are even positive for the economy -- and for the companies striking them -- remains a subject of debate." But Actavis has now rallied 23 points, or 10%, since announcing the deal just yesterday. If you stay skeptical, you lose -- at least in the short term. However, though, in the long-term, who cares? We who invest are not necessarily in the business of making long-term decisions about how a merger works. We are in the business of capturing legal points where they can be had. If you thumbed your nose at Actavis on the deal, or if you dismissed the possibility of $25 in earnings power for Actavis a couple of years ago (which Brent Saunders, the talented CEO of Actavis says the combined companies aspire to), what did you accomplish besides missing a terrific opportunity? Are you supposed to be proud of that? I can't be. It takes years for some stocks to make moves like that. If I can claim the benefits now, why wouldn't I? And if I miss them in the name of prudence and cynicism, what have I really succeeded in doing other than making less money? When you put it like that, you have to question your questioning, don't you? It's funny, even as I was asking my morning partners if I am too bullish in describing the positive reaction to Actavis buying Allergan, the stock climbed relentlessly. It went from being a question I needed answered to a rhetorical one in about 10 minutes flat. Here is a second example: David Faber pointed out that Blackstone Group , which had been an incredibly shrewd buyer of real estate during the Great Recession now seems to be selling off properties left and right -- including the just-announced disposal of a Manhattan office tower for $2.25 billion. That is an astounding price tag that may be slated to produce very low returns given that purchase price. I immediately chimed in that Blackstone announced that it is selling 20 million shares of Pinnacle Foods , a company that it had cobble together and then brought public not all that long ago. This is the private equity firm' s second tranche of sales, as Pinnacle failed to sell itself to Hillshire Brands not that long ago. These two dispositions come right after the sale of $2.6 billion dollars in Hilton stock (Hilton is a publicly traded company controlled by Blackstone), and the nearly $2 billion sale of the storied Waldorf Astoria, a Hilton property, to a Chinese insurance company. David wondered aloud how you have to give pause when you hear about a really smart buyer who is now offloading properties for what he must believe is a return too good to pass up. I found myself saying that I regarded that as a worrisome sign. But is it? Isn't Blackstone's job to buy and sell stock properties? Maybe the non-cynical takeaway is to just go and buy the stock of Blackstone, which I have been recommending for ages. Must Read: Simple Ways to Stay Healthy and Still Enjoy This Thanksgiving My third example about the hazards of skepticism concerns the airlines. There was a moment, in the height of the Ebola scare, where the airlines could do nothing right despite the decline in fuel costs. Now, though, they can do nothing wrong, and a dollar decline in oil immediately translates to gigantic gains in all of the stocks. You know I have been a huge fan of this group, but I thought it was worth expressing a bit of a jaundiced eye about the Virgin America initial public offering brought to you by professional showman Richard Branson. I wanted you to stick with my faves, notably American Airlines and Spirit Airlines . Hmm. How did that work? Given that VA was priced at $23, immediately went to $27 at the opening and now trades at $36, my jaundiced eye's got nothing but a sharp stick in it to show for my prudence. However, lest you think aha, stay critical of the oil stocks, they are enjoying a very strong rebound. Frankly, even as I can be a stock contortionist, I have no explanation whatsoever about why stocks these are running except to say that this is what happens when you are in this phase of the bull market. Over the last few days of backing and filling in this market, we saw a couple of real stall-outs in some hot areas: health insurance companies, international manufacturers and biotechs. Typically, one could say, that the waning of momentum in these three groups means we should look out below. I have seen time and again that the biggest rollovers start just like that. Instead, what happens? They explode higher all at once -- three groups that usually trade in very different directions. I reiterate that I remain fond of United Health and WellPoint , see plenty to like in 3M , Honeywell and United Technologies and remain devout in support of Celgene and Regeneron , just to name a few gravity-defying examples. But I wish I had data points to explain their surge today. I don't. Finally, there is the wretched excess brigade. Shorts have been all over GoPro for so long that it is hard to believe it hasn't choked them to death yet. But they were in their glory last week when the company announced that 10 million shares, from insiders and the company itself, were filed for sale in a long-awaited secondary. Usually, that depresses a stock. What happened this time? How about a non-stop run as word gets around that the offering is well-spoken for before it even occurs. That's why the stock's been moving up. That and early word that holiday sales are very encouraging for the most expensive of the new GoPro models. I would like to put a GoPro on the heads of the researchers who suggested shorting this one to their bosses -- if only to watch the pummeling that comes from being on the wrong side of a trade. Of course, there is an obvious takeaway from this screed: When someone decries being too skeptical, that defines the top. I say, go ahead, use me as a foil. Nevertheless, know that I want to be more questioning and more critical of this market. But, then again, that's like being skeptical of the damage that an 18-wheeler going 70 miles an hour can do to you as you stand in the middle of I-95. I think I would rather take my chances jumping to the shoulder rather than just take one for the skeptical team. At the time of publication, Action Alerts PLUS, which Cramer co-manages as a charitable trust, was long UTX.

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text The Drunkest States in America
Sat, 22 Nov 2014 16:37 GMT

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- In 2012, 87.6% of Americans 18 and older reported that they drank at some point in their lifetime, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), with 71% of Americans reporting that they had an alcoholic beverage in the past year and 56% saying they had one in the past month. Although every state in the country has set the drinking age at 21, 51.3% of adults 18 and over are current regular drinkers, or have had at least 12 drinks in the past year, according to a Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) survey. Comparatively, 13% of adults surveyed are current infrequent drinkers, consuming 1 to 11 drinks in the past year. Bloomberg put together a list of the drunkest states in the country based on adults 26 years and older who reported binge drinking in the 30-days prior to a survey. The survey: The National Survey on Drug Use and Health sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The survey polled 67,500 individuals across the country from 2011 and 2012 and defined binge drinking as consuming five or more alcoholic drinks in one sitting. This is a list of the 10 heaviest drinking states in America... 10. Illinois Binge Drank in the Last Month: 24.9% Total Economic Cost of Binge Drinking: $9.33 billion Cost per Capita: $728 9. Louisiana Binge Drank in the Last Month: 25% Total Economic Cost of Binge Drinking: $3.40 billion Cost per Capita: $794 8. Massachusetts Binge Drank in the Last Month: 25.05% Total Economic Cost of Binge Drinking: $5.11 billion Cost per Capita: $794 7. Iowa Binge Drank in the Last Month: 25.8% Total Economic Cost of Binge Drinking: $1.85 billion Cost per Capita: $622 6. Minnesota Binge Drank in the Last Month: 25.9% Total Economic Cost of Binge Drinking: $3.54 billion Cost per Capita: $687 5. Wisconsin Binge Drank in the Last Month: 26.71% Total Economic Cost of Binge Drinking: $4.18 billion Cost per Capita: $752 4. South Dakota Binge Drank in the Last Month: 27.3% Total Economic Cost of Binge Drinking: $542 million Cost per Capita: $693 3. Rhode Island Binge Drank in the Last Month: 27.9% Total Economic Cost of Binge Drinking: $827 million Cost per Capita: $775 2. North Dakota Binge Drank in the Last Month: 27.9% Total Economic Cost of Binge Drinking: $419 million Cost per Capita: $660 1. District of Columbia Binge Drank in the Last Month: 30.1% Total Economic Cost of Binge Drinking: $966 million Cost per Capita: $1,662 Must Read: The Lightest Drinking States in America


text The Least Violent States in America
Sat, 22 Nov 2014 15:28 GMT

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- One of the most important factors in determining where to live is the crime, or lack thereof, in the neighborhood, city or state in which you plan to reside. The safer the area, the more inclined one would be to live there with their loved ones. According to the FBI, crime is declining nationwide. The agency estimates that 1,163,146 violent crimes occurred across the U.S. in 2013, a 4.4% decrease from the 2012 estimate. After factoring in 5-year and 10-year trends, the 2013 estimate was 12.3% less than the 2009 level and 14.5% less than the 2004 level. The FBI calculated an estimated 367.9 violent crimes per 100,000 population in 2013, a 5.1% decline from the 2012 estimated rate. Aggravated assaults made up 62.3% of violent crimes reported to law enforcement in 2013, while robbery offenses accounted for 29.7%, rape for 6.9%, and murder for 1.2%. Thankfully, violent crime is not a major problem in many states throughout the U.S. But which are the least violent states in the country? To determine the top 10, we used the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting tool to retrieve the estimated 2012 violent crime rate (the most recent year for which data was available) in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. The states with the least total violent crime rate per 100,000 population made the list. So let's take a look at the top 10 least violent states in the U.S., according to the FBI's data... 10) Hawaii Total violent crime rate (per 100,000): 239.2 Murder and non-negligent manslaughter rate (per 100,000): 2.1 Forcible rape rate (per 100,000): 20.5 Robbery rate (per 100,000): 74.7 Aggravated assault rate (per 100,000): 141.9 Total population: 1,392,313 Must Read: The Drunkest States in America 9) Minnesota Total violent crime rate (per 100,000): 230.9 Murder and non-negligent manslaughter rate (per 100,000): 1.8 Forcible rape rate (per 100,000): 30.5 Robbery rate (per 100,000): 64.6 Aggravated assault rate (per 100,000): 134 Total population: 5,379,139 8) Kentucky Total violent crime rate (per 100,000): 222.6 Murder and non-negligent manslaughter rate (per 100,000): 4.5 Forcible rape rate (per 100,000): 29 Robbery rate (per 100,000): 80.7 Aggravated assault rate (per 100,000): 108.4 Total population: 4,380,415 7) Idaho Total violent crime rate (per 100,000): 207.9 Murder and non-negligent manslaughter rate (per 100,000): 1.8 Forcible rape rate (per 100,000): 30 Robbery rate (per 100,000): 15.2 Aggravated assault rate (per 100,000): 160.9 Total population: 1,595,728 6) Utah Total violent crime rate (per 100,000): 205.8 Murder and non-negligent manslaughter rate (per 100,000): 1.8 Forcible rape rate (per 100,000): 33 Robbery rate (per 100,000): 38.5 Aggravated assault rate (per 100,000): 132.5 Total population: 2,855,287 5) Wyoming Total violent crime rate (per 100,000): 201.4 Murder and non-negligent manslaughter rate (per 100,000): 2.4 Forcible rape rate (per 100,000): 26.7 Robbery rate (per 100,000): 10.6 Aggravated assault rate (per 100,000): 161.7 Total population: 576,412 4) Virginia Total violent crime rate (per 100,000): 190.1 Murder and non-negligent manslaughter rate (per 100,000): 3.8 Forcible rape rate (per 100,000): 17.7 Robbery rate (per 100,000): 57.5 Aggravated assault rate (per 100,000): 111.1 Total population: 8,185,867 3) New Hampshire Total violent crime rate (per 100,000): 187.9 Murder and non-negligent manslaughter rate (per 100,000): 1.1 Forcible rape rate (per 100,000): 34 Robbery rate (per 100,000): 35.7 Aggravated assault rate (per 100,000): 117 Total population: 1,320,718 2) Vermont Total violent crime rate (per 100,000): 142.6 Murder and non-negligent manslaughter rate (per 100,000): 1.3 Forcible rape rate (per 100,000): 19.3 Robbery rate (per 100,000): 17.9 Aggravated assault rate (per 100,000): 104.2 Total population: 626,011 1) Maine Total violent crime rate (per 100,000): 122.7 Murder and non-negligent manslaughter rate (per 100,000): 1.9 Forcible rape rate (per 100,000): 28 Robbery rate (per 100,000): 31.8 Aggravated assault rate (per 100,000): 61 Total population: 1,329,192 ---------- Did your state make the list? Let us know in the comments section. Must Read: The Drunkest States in America


NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Google's Android operating system has made significant improvements over the years, leading to some incredibly beautiful phones, with some rivaling and surpassing the iPhone in both ease of use and aesthetics. TheStreet has compiled a list of five of the best Android-based smartphones to buy for the holidays. In some cases, they're big and expensive, but if you're in the market for a smartphone, these 5 best devices are capable of providing a user with the best hardware and Android software combination to date. 5 - LG G3 This is LG's latest flagship smartphone and as such you would expect a terrific performing device. You won't be disappointed. Read Now: Google Nexus 6: How It Stacks Up Against the iPhone 6 Plus and the Competition This big Android phone has a Qualcomm 801 processor mated to 2GB of RAM for the 16GB model or 3GB for the 32 GB model, a high-resolution, 5.5-inch HD touchscreen, and a great 13MP camera inside with optical image stabilization and "phase detection/laser autofocusing." The G3 is capable of delivering 4160 by 3120 pixels videos. Lightweight, fast and beautiful (LG boasts about the phone's minimal bezel which takes almost nothing away from the amazing-looking screen) the LG G3 is one of the best Android devices you can choose this holiday season. The G3 is available from the top U.S. carriers. Currently, prices range from $199.99 at AT&T and $149.99 from Verizon to zero down and approximately $25 per month at T-Mobile . Sprint's version is available to select retailers nationwide. Read Now: Warren Buffett's Top 10 Dividend Stocks 4 - OnePlus One OnePlus is an offshoot of China's Oppo Electronics best known in this country for making great home video equipment, but they're also making great smartphones. The OnePlus One phone has been in short supply since its release because it offers an amazing price and performance bargain. Basically, it's big competition for the other phones discussed here but at a much lower price. It has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor, 3 GB of RAM, a 5.5-inch HD touchscreen, a 13 megapixel camera on the back, a big 3100 mAh battery. Spec wise, it's a good match for the other top-five Androids. One of the phone's big selling point is that it runs a paired-down, super-fast version of the Android operating system called Cyanogen. In months of testing we found the system to be nearly flawless. The One is a GSM phone which means it will work on AT&T and T-Mobile in the U.S. But, the best feature is the One's price. The white model with 16GB of storage sells for $299 and the black phone with 64 GB of storage is $349. Those are the full, retail prices. Demand for the OnePlus One has been through the roof and OnePlus is working overtime to make more handsets. If you're interested, check the company's Website for the latest information. Read Now: 17 New Hollywood Movies You Will Want to See Over the Holidays 3 - Samsung Galaxy Note 4 The Galaxy Note 4 is Samsung's fourth-generation Android phablet, which comes with a huge screen - 5.7-inches in this case - along with a 2.7 GHz, quad-core Snapdragon 805 processor, 3 GB of RAM inside plus a 16MP camera capable of 2160p video at 30 fps. This 2014 model offers a new level of class and sophistication. Many of Samsung's branded apps are still inside, but this time around they seem to be better integrated into the system rather than dominate it. The new Galaxy Note also comes with a stylus which adds another dimension to what you can do with a large, modern smartphone. The Galaxy Note 4 is one of the pricier phones on this list, with AT&T and Verizon charging $299.99 for the Galaxy Note 4 on contract. Sprint and T-Mobile charge no money down and approximately $30 per month for two years. You can read our full review here. Read Now: 10 Stocks Carl Icahn Loves in 2014 2 - Moto X (2014 Edition)/Verizon Droid Turbo Motorola has had a busy 2014, introducing several new phones, and the Moto X Droid Turbo Edition is one of the best Android phones out there. The new X is a huge improvement over the original X, as the HD screen now measures 5.2-inches, it comes with a 2.5 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor, mated to 2GB of RAM and either 16 or 32GB of internal storage. The camera on the back is 13MP similar to the one on the Nexus 6 but without optical stabilization feature. The Verizon Droid version ups the ante with a faster Snapdragon processor, 3 GB of RAM and double the storage plus a 21 MP back shooter. These are terrific smartphones and, along with the new Nexus, support the notion that Motorola is in the top echelon of Android manufacturers. You can create your own Moto X on the Motomaker https://www.motorola.com/us/motomaker Website ($99.99 and up with contract) or buy from local retailers. Verizon's Droid Turbo starts for $199.99 also with a service contract. Both models are expected to receive the Android 5.0 upgrade in the very near future. Read our full review of the 2104 Moto X here. Read Now: 10 Stocks George Soros Is Buying 1 - Nexus 6 The Google Nexus 6 is the just released, top-of-the-line Android phablet from Google and Motorola, and it's already in short supply. The 6 is the first smartphone to run Android 5.0 Lollipop, which offers all new, updated options to explore. The Nexus 6 has a nearly 6-inch screen (5.95 inches to be exact) but weighs less than 6-and-a-half ounces. It comes with a super-fast (2.6 GHz), quad-core, Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 processor, 3 GB of RAM and a nifty 13 megapixel rear camera with optical stabilizers. Android 5.0 is also the first version of the OS to feature 64-bit architecture which means it can handle more memory and perform more complex feats. WIth the Nexus 6 one model fits all. Out of the box, it can operate on all major U.S. cellular carriers. It retails for $649 (with 32GB of storage) or $699 for the 64GB model. The 6 is currently the best Android smartphone you can buy. You should read our full review here. Read Now: 10 Best Apple Products Ever -- Written by Gary Krakow in New York. To submit a news tip, send an email to tips@thestreet.com.

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The list of great business books coming out during the shortened Thanksgiving week may be be brief, but is no less compelling. If it's not enough, don't forget to take a peek at Doug Kass on the Market: A Life on TheStreet, released last week. Real Money Pro's Kass shares anecdotes with some of Wall Street's most famous like Berkshire Hathaway's Warren Buffett, Omega Advisors' Leon Cooperman and, of course, TheStreet's Jim Cramer. The titles were chosen by TheStreet staff from among all the business books coming out this week listed by Barnes & Noble and Amazon. They are both new hardcovers and the first issue of paperback titles. TheStreet has selected the releases with the widest appeal. Click to see last week's books and click through below to see the books you should look out for this week. Title: How To Deal With Difficult People: Smart Tactics for Overcoming the Problem People in Your Life (paperback) Author: Gill Hasson Publisher: Wiley Why You Should Read It: From bad managers to annoying colleagues to overly critical family members, this book shares lessons on how to best handle those that are hard to get along with. Release Date: Nov. 24 Price: $18 Title: Life in the Financial Markets: How They Really Work And Why They Matter To You Author: Daniel Lacalle Publisher: Wiley Why You Should Read It: Get the real story on how the financial markets operate with senior portfolio manager Daniel Lacalle, who provides clarity on some of the banking system's hot button issues like the debt market, quantitative easing, derivatives and high frequency trading, among others. Release Date: Nov. 24 Price: $50 Must Read: 10 Surprising Things That Are Worth Less Than Apple Title: Family Entrepreneur: Easier Said Than Done (paperback) Author: Fred Dawkins Publisher: Dundum Press Why You Should Read It: The second book in the Entrepreneurial Series, is for aspiring entrepreneurs, new business owners or those who just want to manage their career better by sharing the story of frustrated employees involved in family businesses who set to change their career course by enrolling in an entrepreneurship course. Release Date: Nov. 25 Price: $19.99 Must Read: The 23 Countries With the Most Extreme Income Inequality Title: Degrowth: A Vocabulary for a New Era (paperback) Author: Giacomo D'Alisa (Editor), Federico Demaria (Editor), Giorgos Kallis (Editor) Publisher: Taylor & Francis Why You Should Read It: This political title advocates a new definition of a healthy economy, one with lower consumption and production. Release Date: Nov. 26 Price: $40.95 Title: The Blind Decades: Employment and Growth in France, 1974-2014 Author: Philippe Askenazy, foreword by Richard Freeman Publisher: University of California Press Why You Should Read It: Understanding France's economy means leaving aside policy issues like demands for less state control and more flexibility in the labor market, but rather emphasizing the construction a long-term industrial strategy. Release Date: Nov. 27 Price: $65 Must Read: If You're a Baby Boomer, Here Are the 12 Worst Cities to Retire Title: Doug Kass on the Market: A Life on TheStreet Author: Douglas A. Kass, foreword by James J. Cramer Publisher: Wiley Why You Should Read It: One of the most renowned traders in the world, hedge fund manager and infamous short seller, Doug Kass shares his strategies and insights on savvy investing. Release Date: Nov. 17 Price: $29.95 More Slideshows You Might Like 12 Hottest Chili Peppers in the World and the Three Best for Cooking Chili 10 Best Countries in the World: Germany Dethrones U.S. in Nation Brands Index Survey 10 Best MBA Programs for Minting Billionaires -Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York. Follow @LKulikowski // 0;if(!d.getElementByIdid)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs"); // ]]>


NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Human compassion may be woefully absent on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but it's set to bounce back the following Tuesday stronger than ever. Dubbed #GivingTuesday, this year's event on Dec. 2 is expected to smash old records for charitable donations as it has each of the last two years, a result of the marketing and social media muscle surrounding the event. Must Read: If You're a Baby Boomer, Here Are the 12 Worst Cities to Retire Founded in 2012 by New York Jewish community center the 92nd Street Y, and the U.N. Foundation, #GivingTuesday is a simple idea that dedicates the day after Cyber Monday to charitable works. Online giving on the day has risen 270% since 2011 -- 50% from 2011 to 2012 and another 90% year over year from 2012 to 2013. More importantly, according to Asha Curran, director of the 92nd Street Y's Center for Innovation and Social Impact, #GivingTuesday has started an important international conversation about caring. "The number of dollars raised is really important," Curran told TheStreet, emphasizing that the founders of the movement want to see all charitable groups succeed in their fundraising goals. "But I think that seeing people talk about giving in a whole new way and seeing them talk about it all kinds of different contexts and in all kinds of different geographic locations is equally meaningful." That conversation itself speaks to #GivingTuesday's success in answering a deeper human need. Like the famously viral ice-bucket challenge, #GivingTuesday offers people an opportunity to do good in any way they can. That impact can be impossible to measure but hints of it exist in real dollars, as donations to the charities that carry the torch of our concern for one another have shot up in the last two years. According to The NonProfit Times, donations on #GivingTuesday in 2013 amounted to $32.33 million processed on five online platforms: Blackbaud, PayPal, Razoo, Network for Good and DonorPerfect. Blackbaud, which handles contributions for large nonprofits, reported that it processed $19.2 million in online donations on the day, a 90% increase over the prior year. Blackbaud also reported the average donation it processed rose by 40% in 2013 to $142 from $102 in 2012. Must Read: 3 Policy Shifts the World Bank Says Will Save the World #GivingTuesday had more than 2,500 partner entities in 2012. That shot to more than 10,000 global partners in 2013 and greater than 16,000 partners in the U.S. and more globally. Quoted in The NonProfit Times, Blackbaud's director of corporate citizenship and philanthropy Rachel Hutchisson said #GivingTuesday "didn't just borrow. It didn't take people's giving on December 31 and have it happen earlier. The data strongly suggests that #GivingTuesday was additive" to most groups' fundraising efforts. In addition, the event has caught fire beyond U.S. borders, where it is often more about community service and caring than about dollar donations. In the U.S., a big part of #GivingTuesday's appeal is as an antidote to the rampant consumerism of the biggest U.S. holiday shopping weekend of the year. But its popularity overseas proves it is more than that. "Global expansion has been really inspiring, especially because it shows that creating a shared day for giving has a role in places where Black Friday and Cyber Monday don't even exist," Curran said, emphasizing that the invitation to help one another strikes an important chord in people everywhere. "A lot of those global examples are not based around fundraising, but are entirely volunteer efforts," she said. Designed from the outset to be a decentralized movement rather than a PR campaign led by 92Y, #GivingTuesday last year outstripped Cyber Monday for mentions on social media, Curran said. "That is working exactly as it should be," Curran said, "people really taking it on themselves to spread the word." High-powered backers have lent important support, like #GivingTuesday co-founder the U.N. Foundation and the White House. But Curran said much remains to be done. Studies show the annual event is still in its infancy, with only between 15% and 20% of the U.S. population aware of it. "We would obviously like to see that grow a lot this year," Curran said. Still, 15% to 20% national recognition in only two years is huge accomplishment. People respond in part because it is human nature to want to help others, in part because it is a social participation event, and in part because it is open-ended. Must Read: #GivingTuesday Plans a Generosity Celebration "Each year we are continually surprised by the imagination of the campaigns that people keep coming up with," Curran said. Using the day to drive fundraising for a specific charity is one way, but companies use it as a way to galvanize support for their operations within communities where they operate, and individuals find countless ways help that don't necessarily involve money. As the word spreads, companies, nonprofits and individuals are starting to flock to the #GivingTuesday campaign. Hyatt Hotels signed on this year, using the event to raise awareness of its community grants program, where 31 grants worth between $5,000 to $20,000 are donated to organizations in communities where its hotels are located, nominated by local staff. H&M department stores has launched an effort to donate $7.5 million worth of clothing to people in need, in partnership with K.I.D.S./Fashion Delivers, an organization that delivers donated clothing to more than 800 charities. H&M is also using the day to raise money through in-store donations to K.I.D.S./Fashion Delivers. Crowdfunding site IndieGogo, this year offered reduced fees and added support for customers participating on its platform for their own #GivingTuesday campaigns. Currently the site has 175 active #GivingTuesday-branded campaigns, with a total raised so far of $5.5 million. Discover has pledged to add 2% to all cashback bonus donations and donations made with Discover to its cashback bonus charitable partners. Discover will also add to its employees' donations to any charity on Dec. 2. Microsoft , an important early partner for #GivingTuesday, has been building its involvement, ramping up its activities each year. This year, the company's YouthSpark #GivingTuesday campaign is reaching out to U.S. and international organizations listed on www.globalgiving.org and www.globalgiving.co.uk, offering $350,000 in funds to match up to $500 per donor per project. One of the more exciting aspects to develop, Curran said, is the use of state governments using #GivingTuesday, including Arizona and Maryland -- the latter grew out of Baltimore's successful 2013 #GivingTuesday campaign, which raised more than half a million dollars beyond its goal. Along with the growing involvement of Microsoft and other companies, such activity "shows me that these campaigns are not only great in and of themselves, but they have a great opportunity to scale," Curran said. Must Read: Met Opera's Loftiest Goals for 'Live in HD' Remain Elusive -- Written by Carlton Wilkinson in New York Follow @CarltonTSC // 0;if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs"); // ]]>

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Tiger Woods was in the news again this week, and on the surface, it had nothing to do with golf -- or even an authentic story, for that matter. Golf Digest published a mock interview where the writer projected his own thoughts as if they were Tiger Woods' comments. Dan Jenkins never spoke to Woods; he simply satirized Tiger on a lot of touchy subjects, from his failed marriage to Elin Nordegren to his tipping habits. Must Read: Warren Buffett's Top 10 Dividend Stocks It was pretty nasty. Why is this relevant to the investor? Well, this may mark the bottom for the golf business. Or it may show just how bad things are in the golf business, and how far they have to go to recover. Tiger Woods is, basically, this generation's only household golf name -- sorry, Phil Mickelson. And he has slipped so far down the respect continuum that he is getting ridiculed in national publications by reputable writers. And unfortunately, it's not a bottom. It's only fitting that next week is the fifth anniversary of the night Tiger was chased out of his home as his seemingly ideal life crumbled. News was breaking about a string of extra-marital affairs, and his soon-to-be ex-wife wasn't happy about it. The bloom was off Woods' Sunday rose-red Nike golf shirt. The image of Tiger Woods would be damaged forever, and maybe his is game too -- and maybe the entire game of golf as well. (Woods has not won a major tournament since that fateful Florida night.) And the business of golf is in free fall. And participation is no longer growing. Must Read: Pro Golfers Like Mickelson Hit Hole in One on Investing Tips According to Bloomberg, last year Americans played the fewest rounds of golf since 1995 -- ironically, the year before Tiger turned pro. Courses are closing faster than they are opening by a ratio of better than 10-to-1. And despite the macro-economic rebound from the Great Recession, spending on the game is weak. For Tiger, it may be as much about injuries as it is karma, but one thing is for sure: without the old Tiger Woods -- winning and reputation included -- golf is a niche sport that cannot grow. It appears to be more secular than cyclical. That means companies involved in golf are tricky investments -- some would say toxic. Start with the safest play: Nike. Behind Tiger's initial rise to greatness, the company built a golf business that is pushing $800 million a year in revenue. The brand is now established and respected in golf, and the loss of Tiger has been softened by the game's new star: Rory McIlroy. The segment won't grow at previous rates at Nike, but Rory and their other businesses are strong enough to compensate. That's not true for some other companies. Callaway Golf isn't involved with any Tiger Woods sponsorship, but if you want to know what a basically Tiger-less golf year looks like, Callaway could be the case study. In terms of the stock, on a 52-week basis, as the S&P 500 has gained about 15%, Callaway is down about 10%. This year? The broader index is up more than 10%, while ELY is down 5%. You get the point. Then there is Dick's Sporting Goods . Its stock is down more than 15% year to date, and golf is widely considered the biggest drag on business. And Dick's stand-alone Golf Galaxy stores saw same-store sales drop close to 9%, and this past quarter is not the first in which this happened. Must Read: 41 Billionaires: Meet the Richest Person in Every U.S. State Although the company says the golf business remains profitable, there is much less patience in the flagship Dick's stores. The company is actively taking retail square footage away from golf and giving it to children's and women's apparel. If you want a bull case, it is Under Armour . Its apparel -- in both style and fit -- appeal to the younger demographic, and to that end, the company sponsors some of the game's best and youngest American stars, like Jordan Spieth. Right now, Rory McIlroy might be more accomplished. But boy, there is something about an American-born golfing superstar. Isn't that right, Tiger? Must Read: 17 New Hollywood Movies You Will Want to See Over the Holidays At the time of publication, the author held no positions in any of the stocks mentioned. This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

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Search Jim Cramer's "Mad Money" trading recommendations using our exclusive "Mad Money" Stock Screener. NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Here's what Jim Cramer had to say about some of the stocks callers offered up during the Mad Money Lightning Round Friday evening: Tekmira Pharmaceuticals : "The technology is terrific but doesn't justify that valuation. This will be range-bound." Wendy's : "I'd rather own Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen . That one's better." Dynavax Technologies : "That's not a high-quality stock. I can't recommend it." Ford Motor : "These are plays on worldwide growth. Every dog will have its day. I like General Motors more." Pembina Pipeline : "No, you want to be in Kinder Morgan ." Noble Energy : "This is one of the best independent oil plays. You need to hold it." 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. -- Written by Scott Rutt in Washington, D.C. To email Scott about this article, click here: Scott Rutt

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The S&P 500 climbed 0.52% on Friday following positive stimulus comments from the European Central Bank and China's surprise decision to cut interest rates. Thanks to China's decision, investors can buy emerging market stocks as well as copper, according to Tim Seymour, managing partner of Triogem Asset Management. Must Read: 10 Stocks Carl Icahn Loves in 2014 The Chinese economy is obviously slowing, said Brian Kelly, founder of Brian Kelly Capital. The jump in commodities prices will be short-lived. He is a buyer of the iShares 20+ Treasury Bond ETF and a seller of oil. Investors have been worrying about a slowdown in China for years, said Guy Adami, managing director of stockmonster.com. So far those worries haven't come to fruition. However, Japan's economic issues seem worrisome and for that reason, investors can stay long the TLT exchange-traded fund. The OPEC meeting is scheduled to take place Nov. 27. The question is, will OPEC decide to slash oil production? The group will likely want to push up oil prices, said Steve Grasso, director of institutional sales at Stuart Frankel. However, it seems unlikely OPEC will cut production. It will, however, make positive comments to push up those prices, he added. Production will probably be cut by half a million barrel per day, Seymour said. The cut, while small, will probably be enough to give the oil markets a slight rally. It looks likes shares of Schlumberger are poised to break out, Adami said. He is a buyer of the stock. Caterpillar is a big beneficiary of Chinese economic activity. An analyst at Stifel Nicolaus upgraded the stock to buy and assigned a $22 price target. The company is a lot better than it was a few years ago, Seymour reasoned, but the global economy is not that strong. He is not a buyer. Must Read: Buffett and Other Billionaires Give Their Best Investing Advice Both Caterpillar and Deere are making a series of higher lows, Grasso said, which is bearish price action. He is a not a buyer of either stock. That wasn't the only analyst note issued on Friday -- Microsoft was initiated as a sell at Jefferies with a $40 price target while Amazon caught an upgrade to buy at Nomura Securities along with a $410 price target. Kelly said he is a buyer of Microsoft on a pullback to $44. Adami added that if shares of Microsoft were actually to decline to $40 it would likely mean that the rest of the market took a big stumble, too. He is not a buyer of Amazon. Microsoft is a "neutral" right now, Seymour reasoned. The stock doesn't have many near-term catalysts to push it higher, but it does have an attractive dividend. Steve Carley, CEO of Red Robin Gourmet Burgers , was a guest on the show. The company's remodeled restaurants are helping accelerate customer traffic, as is the company's loyalty program. Lower gas prices should help sales but it's difficult to estimate how much of an impact it will have, he said. The stock's valuation is actually attractive for its industry, Seymour said. Margins are improving and the stock trades well. It looks "interesting on the long side." Wait for a pullback to $60, Kelly said. Grasso is cautious, saying the stock needs to find support near its 200-day moving average at $65 after shares rallied 46% in the past month. If that level holds, then investors can buy the stock. For their final trades, Grasso is buying Magnum Hunter Resources and Kelly reiterated his buy call of the iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF. Adami said to buy Comcast and Seymour is buying put options on the iShares Russell 2000 ETF . Must Read: Dan Loeb Wins Again as Dow Settles Dispute with Third Point -- Written by Bret Kenwell Follow @BretKenwell

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Search Jim Cramer's "Mad Money" trading recommendations using our exclusive "Mad Money" Stock Screener. NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- "Their weakness is not our weakness," Jim Cramer told his Mad Money viewers Friday. The U.S. economy is a lot stronger than Europe, China and Japan, and that means sticking with what's working right here in the good old USA. Cramer said he is still a fan of stocks like General Motors , a stock he owns for his charitable trust, Action Alerts PLUS, along with Ross Stores and Celgene . As for next week's trading, Cramer said that he'll be listening to Palo Alto Networks and Workday when they report Monday, but unfortunately he likes the companies a lot more than the stocks, which are now both too expensive. Must Read: 10 Stocks Carl Icahn Loves in 2014 On Tuesday, DSW should report a bullish quarter, but Cramer urged caution. He was also bearish on Tiffany , which has exposure to Japan. On the bright side, Cramer had positive comments for Hewlett-Packard and Cracker Barrel . Then, on Wednesday, John Deere and SeaDrill report. Cramer said Deere is another company that's better than its stock, while SeaDrill is just "dangerous" with new rigs coming online and oil prices falling. What about those cheap international stocks you were considering? Cramer closed by saying that investors need to curb their enthusiasm until Europe implements actual stimulus, China starts growing again or there's resolution in Ukraine. A Tribute to Pop In a heartfelt tribute to his father, Ken Cramer, who passed away Wednesday at the age of 92, Cramer offered some insights on the many things Pop taught him over his lifetime. Cramer recalled that Pop was always working, having run his own business for 50 years selling gift wrap, tape, boxes and ribbon to retailers and jewelers. When that business got too tough, Cramer said Pop "pivoted" and sold high-end doggie bags to restaurants instead, always putting the customer first. From those days, Cramer said, he learned that inventory is the bane of a retailer's existence -- always watch the inventory. Cramer said Pop loved the stock market, loved Mad Money, loved his country, loved Eagles football and loved working out and staying active, all tenets Cramer shares. Pop was lucid and offering stock advice right up until a few hours before he passed, his son said. He will be greatly missed by the entire "Mad Money" family. Must Read: Buffett and Other Billionaires Give Their Best Investing Advice Riding With Harley Investors looking to take the temperature of the American consumer need look no further than with discretionary products, Cramer told viewers, those products no one needs to have but want to have. When it comes to discretionary stocks, Cramer said the best in show are Harley Davidson , yacht maker Brunswick and the off-road vehicle king, Polaris Industries . Harley shares have soared from $58 to $69 a share in recent weeks, thanks to a recent 9-cents-a-share earnings beat with stronger gross margins and low inventory levels at its dealers. Meanwhile, Brunswick, the number one maker of boats of all sizes along with billiard tables and fitness equipment, also delivered a 5-cents-a-share earnings beat on better-than-expected revenue up 13%. Shares of Brunswick are just off their 52-week highs. Finally, Cramer noted that Polaris, makers of off-road vehicles, motorcycles, snowmobiles and more, has also been roaring higher over the past month, thanks in part to a 4-cents-a-share earnings beat where the company raised its usually conservative guidance. Cramer said with all of these stocks heading higher, it's clear the American consumer is doing a lot better than in years past. Executive Decision: Juan Ramon Alaix For his "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer sat down with Juan Ramon Alaix, CEO of Zoetis , the animal health company that seen its stock rise 37% since Cramer last checked in back in June. Alaix attributed Zoetis' recent success, in part, to people having more pets. He explained that Zoetis supplies medicines and vaccines for eight different species, including cattle, swine, poultry and sheep, as well as dogs cats and fish. Zoetis now plays an important role in keeping livestock healthy, Alaix noted, while in the pet market, people are simply taking better care of their animals. When asked about Zoetis' recent conversations with activist investor Bill Ackman, Alaix said Zoetis and Ackman have the shareholders in mind and want to create value for them, which is why his company recently announced a $500 million share repurchase program to aid in that goal. Cramer said there's a lot to like at Zoetis. Lightning Round In the Lightning Round, Cramer was bullish on Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen , Kinder Morgan and Noble Energy . Cramer was bearish on Tekmira Pharmaceuticals , Wendy's , Dynavax Technologies , Ford Motor and Pembina Pipeline . Executive Decision: Kevin Conroy In his second "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer sat down with Kevin Conroy, chairman and CEO of Exact Sciences , a stock that's up 107% since Cramer last spoke to Conroy in January 2013. The rise is thanks to the company's recent FDA approval for Cologuard, a non-invasive test for colon cancer that uses only a stool sample, yet is 90% accurate. Conroy said colon cancer is a big problem, one that we spend $14 billion a year to treat because only 50% of patients opt to be screened via a colonoscopy, which was the only available option. Yet, at the same time, colon cancer is 98% treatable if caught early, Conroy noted, but only 10% treatable at the later stage four. Cologuard is on track to do $2 million in revenue, according to Conroy, but his company has a team of people spreading the word to physicians. One big early win for Exact Sciences was Medicare reimbursement, which came simultaneously with FDA approval. Conroy said that other insurers will be falling in line soon to pay for this vital test. Cramer said that Exact Sciences is a great story, but it's also a long-term story as it will take time for doctors and insurers to get on board with this terrific new screening test. Must Read: Biotech Stock Mailbag: Northwest Bio, Celldex, Puma, MannKind 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. -- Written by Scott Rutt in Washington, D.C. To email Scott about this article, click here: Scott Rutt Follow Scott on Twitter @ScottRutt or get updates on Facebook, ScottRuttDC

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SAN FRANCISCO ( TheStreet) –- U.S. consumers are expected to dole out an average of nearly $769 on smartphones, laptops, tablets, game consoles and other electronics this holiday season, according to a survey released Friday by research firm IHS . But for investors, the more interesting nugget is which retailer stands to score this holiday season. Four retailers stand to attract the greatest attention from shoppers, according to the survey. Amazon.com leads the way, with 76% of 800 survey respondents planning to purchase at least one thing from the online retailer. Wal-Mart Stores is a close second with 73%, followed by Best Buy at 66% and Target at 63%. Best Buy and Target are trying to narrow the gap with Amazon as the big box retailers try to become more Internet savvy for their shoppers. Must Read: Warren Buffett's Top 10 Dividend Stocks There is a lot of money at stake, given the National Retail Federation is projecting a 4.1% increase this holiday shopping season over last year. What this increase translates into is anticipated sales of $616.9 billion this holiday spending season. "While the fourth quarter is always the most dynamic in terms of sales, mostly due to holiday spending, this year consumer confidence is very high," said Veronica Gonzalez-Thayer, senior analyst for consumer electronics at IHS Technology, in a statement. She added that U.S. shoppers have also changed the way they shop for consumer electronics. The survey found that 15% of consumers only plan to purchase consumer electronics online, while 15% only expect to purchase items in a brick-and-mortar store. However, nearly two thirds of survey respondets, or 67%, plan to purchase consumer electronics both online and in an actual store. And what are they buying? TVs are expected to capture the interest of shoppers this year, especially if there's a price war. The survey found 34% of respondents said they plan to buy at least one TV set during the holidays and 66% of those folks say they plan to buy a Samsung , Vizio, Sony or LG Electronics TV. More than a third of consumers surveyed expect to to make at least one electronics purchase on Black Friday, while 32% will do likewise on Cyber Monday, the survey found. Must Read: Buffett and Other Billionaires Give Their Best Investing Advice At the time of publication, the author held no positions in any of the stocks mentioned, although positions may change at any time. This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage. TheStreet Ratings team rates AMAZON.COM INC as a Sell with a ratings score of D+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate AMAZON.COM INC (AMZN) a SELL. This is driven by a number of negative factors, 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 deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity, generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself, poor profit margins and feeble growth in its earnings per share." You can view the full analysis from the report here: AMZN Ratings Report

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- With a slew of housing data on tap for next week, what should investors expect? According to Hollis Greenlaw, CEO of real estate investment trust United Development Funding, the data should continue to gradually improve. He told TheStreet TV's Jill Malandrino that the month-to-month data will likely be volatile but should improve throughout 2015. Housing starts may climb as much as 15% to 20%. However, that depends on where you are because there are three variables driving the housing market: wage growth, credit and household formation. Must Read: 12 Stocks Warren Buffett Loves in 2014 Household formation has been lacking, Greenlaw said, but that's because there hasn't been enough wage growth and credit has been too hard for many would-be homebuyers to obtain. SPDR Homebuilders ETF XHB data by YCharts The headline employment numbers look pretty good, with the unemployment rate falling below 6%. However, if investors look at the U6 number (which counts people without work seeking full-time employment but those working part-time for economic reasons), they'll see the results are elevated because Americans have either accepted a part-time job because they couldn't find full-time work or have given up looking for a job altogether. Some states, particularly Texas, Florida, North Carolina and South Carolina, have seen a faster-than-expected acceleration in household formations because these states are spurring economic activity and generating jobs. Unlike other parts of the U.S., these regions have seen a drop in excess Americans looking for work. Too many job seekers means stagnant wages. As those jobs are filled, wages begin to climb, making it easier to obtain mortgages and thus buy homes, he said. This effect should continue to spread through the country in 2015. Must Read: Dan Loeb Wins Again as Dow Settles Dispute with Third Point -- Written by Bret Kenwell Follow @BretKenwell

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- In a world of one-hit video wonders, JumpStart will stay relevant as long as there are children who need to learn their letters and numbers, CEO David Lord said Friday. Lord explained to TheStreet TV's Jill Malandrino the company has continued to build better educational games. Parents need to feel that their children are getting value with the company's products since mobile and online platforms have a huge impact on what children watch. Online exposure helps spread the company's reach from local to global, Lord said, and 80% of the games are used on mobile. Must Read: Warren Buffett's Top 10 Dividend Stocks King Digital KING, Glu Mobile GLUU and Dreamworks Animation DWA data by YCharts Another way the company is trying to maintain its 20-year leadership status in learning-based games is its partnership with Dreamworks Animation . This is an incredible opportunity to take a powerful brand and apply it to learning, Lord said. JumpStart has the exclusive licensing rights to create learning-based games for Dreamworks' popular films including How to Train Your Dragon and the Penguins of Madagascar. "We're trying to provide educational value that lasts for the long term. There's value to Mom and gameplay to kids," he concluded. Must Read: Buffett and Other Billionaires Give Their Best Investing Advice -- Written by Bret Kenwell Follow @BretKenwell

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Target-date funds have been growing in popularity. That's a good thing for the average investor, according to James Lauder, CEO of Global Index Advisors, sub-adviser to Wells Fargo Advantage Funds. He told TheStreet TV's Gregg Greenberg that by using target-date funds, firms encourage investors to save more money for retirement and to stop trying to be professional investors. Must Read: 12 Stocks Warren Buffett Loves in 2014 Wells Fargo Advantage DJ Target Date 2040 R4 Fund WTFRX data by YCharts Target-date funds are supposed to make investing easier, since the investor can simply chose the approximate date of their retirement and invest in the fund accordingly. The fund managers and advisers handle the rest of the legwork. What about risk tolerance? Some investors want more risk, while others prefer to play it safe. "We're a bit more conservative as we get closer to retirement," he said. "We don't want to see people have large setbacks." However, if investors decide they do want to take on additional risk, they can always chose a target-date fund for a later year. The closer the fund is to the target retirement date, the more conservative it tends to be. Of course, these funds aren't solely invested in equities. For instance, Wells Fargo's funds have exposure to a basket of stocks with direct exposure to commodities, such as gold miners. In the short term, these companies may have a high correlation to the broader market, he said, but over the long term, they tend to be more highly correlated to the underlying commodity. This strategy works better for the investor, he said, rather than direct exposure to the commodity contracts. The fund also invests in fixed income as a way to reduce its correlation to equities. Lauder says that fixed income and cash tend to be better investments for the funds, rather than liquid alternative assets, since investors tend to be more familiar with them. Must Read: Jack Bogle on Warren Buffett, Bill Gross and How to Invest in a Volatile Market -- Written by Bret Kenwell Follow @BretKenwell // 0;if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs"); // ]]>

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Wall Street netted record closing highs to end its fifth consecutive week of gains thanks to its friends in the central banks of China and Europe. The record-making push over Friday's session embedded the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average firmly in double-digit-gains territory for the year. Notching all-time highs wasn't too difficult, though, given fresh records were set a day earlier. The S&P 500 closed 0.52% higher, just 10 points shy of its highest trading mark set over the morning session. The Dow added 0.5%, while the Nasdaq surged 0.24%, near 14-year highs. Market gains were triggered early in the day after decisive monetary easing action out from the European Central Bank and People's Bank of China soothed investors' concerns of wilting global growth. Must Read: Warren Buffett's Top 10 Dividend Stocks "Easier money responds well," Croft Funds' portfolio manager Kent Croft told TheStreet. "Europe and China are the two biggest worries, given the size of their economies, and have been for some time so any incremental good news coming out of those countries is very positive for the markets." The European Central Bank announced it had started buying asset-backed securities in a move to resuscitate growth in the eurozone which has teetered on the cusp of deflation. ECB President Mario Draghi also reaffirmed his commitment to direct action at a banking conference in Frankfurt. "It is essential to bring back inflation to target and without delay," Draghi addressed the crowd, promising that the ECB was prepared to do "what we must to raise inflation and inflation expectations as fast as possible." That leaves the central bank open to a number of policy options. "The next steps are likely sovereign bond buying, and it looks as though, barring an unexpected turn around in the data, the ECB will take that tack within the first few months of 2015 (if not in December)," said BMO Capital Markets' Benjamin Reitzes in a research note. It was a double-whammy of good news after China cut its interest rates by 25 basis points to 2.75%, its first rate cut in two years, as a solution to stalled growth in the world's second-largest economy. China's growth had slowed to a worrying five-year low of 7.3% last quarter. The move helped China-exposed stocks to rally. Heavy machinery and construction company Caterpillar spiked 4.3% on news of China's stimulus measures. The company gleans 20% of total revenue from the Asia/Pacific region. Joy Global , which manufactures mining equipment, popped 2.5%. Prior to Friday, investors had attempted to ignore worrying data out this week from the two troubled regions, training a laser focus on a resilient domestic economy to ease those concerns. On Thursday, for example, China's latest manufacturing PMI fell to a six-month low, while eurozone PMI fell to a 16-month low. "The U.S., despite the fact that we can't seem to get out of this 2% GDP range, is certainly on firmer footing or the strongest bet on an international basis," said Sterne Agee's chief economist Lindsey Piegza in a call. Retail stocks were mixed after celebrating a rally on Thursday. GameStop plunged 13.1% after the games retail chain reported a 2.3% drop in comparable-store sales, due to the delayed launch of popular game "Assassins Creed Unity." Ross Stores , the best performer on the S&P, climbed 7.3% after profits came in higher than forecast, while Gap tumbled 4.2% on reduced guidance estimates. As for next week, though shortened due to Thanksgiving, it will be a busy one. The economic calendar includes GDP numbers, consumer confidence figures, personal income and spending reports, and durable goods. "The stars are aligning for a surge in consumer confidence plunging gasoline prices, lower unemployment, and the rebound in stocks," said Credit Suisse analysts in a report. The firm forecasts a minor downgrade to third-quarter GDP growth to 3.4% from 3.5% and fourth-quarter GDP of 2.5%. Piegza, and firm Sterne Agee, were slightly less optimistic for the year-ending quarter. "We're looking for around 1.5% in the final quarter of the year," she said. "We are looking for a sizeable fall-off at the end of the year as Christmas sales are likely to come in very disappointing." Must Read: 10 Stocks Billionaire John Paulson Loves in 2014 -- Written by Keris Alison Lahiff in New York.

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The end of 2014 is quickly approaching and investors need to be aware of how the end of the year will affect their investments and retirement accounts. For starters, investors should do their best to max out retirement contributions before the end of the year, Ed Slott, founder of Ed Slott & Company, told TheStreet TV's Gregg Greenberg. Must Read: Warren Buffett's Top 10 Dividend Stocks Also, if you're over the age of 70-1/2, don't forget to take mandatory distributions if it's required. Slott says if these mandatory distributions aren't taken before the end of the year, investors will be subject to a penalty fee of 50% of the distribution amount. SPDR S&P 500 ETF SPY data by YCharts So what account doesn't have mandatory distributions? Roth IRAs. Slott reasoned that investors with this account can allow their savings to grow tax-free as well. "If you have tax-free, you'll always have more, because tax-free money grows the fastest," he said. And if that's the route you plan on taking, make sure you convert to a Roth before the end of the year. Beginning in 2015, investors will only be able to do one rollover per year. Anymore than that and the account will be subject to taxes, which would completely defeat the purpose, he said. Finally, don't forget to update your beneficiary forms. This part of the account usually slips through the cracks and investors generally forget about them. But remembering to update this information once a year is very important. "It's like the will for your retirement savings," he insisted. In fact, the beneficiary form overrides an actual will. For example, if an investor were to get a divorce and leave the beneficiary form in their previous partner's name, that's who would inherit the proceeds in the event of a death, Slott concluded. Must Read: 12 Stocks Warren Buffett Loves in 2014 -- Written by Bret Kenwell Follow @BretKenwell

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Alibaba Group are up 1.17% to $111.10 after the company "wowed the markets" on Thursday with the largest U.S. dollar bond sale on record from an Asian company, pricing its $8 billion debut at levels even highter than some of the world's best-known issuers, Reuters reports. The Chinese e-commerce giant, which listed in New York in September through a $25 billion IPO, amassed more than $55 billion of orders for the long-awaited six-tranche deal, one of the world's largest investment-grade bonds of the year, Reuters said. "The narrow pricing marked a milestone for a Chinese company, comfortably beating higher-rated state-owned issuers and offering investors no compensation for the perceived risks associated with Chinese investments," Reuters added. Must Read: Warren Buffett's 25 Favorite Stocks STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more. BABA data by YCharts STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Stock markets were eyeing even more record closes on Friday afternoon, even though some of the earlier momentum had abated. Benchmark indices remained in the green, though some of the day's enthusiasm cooled after Europe and China took decisive monetary easing action earlier Friday. The S&P 500 climbed 0.46% to 2,062.16, around 10 points lower than its all-time high set right after market open earlier. The Dow Jones industrial Average added 0.47% and the Nasdaq gained 0.26%. Even if stocks fall further, any gain will net the S&P and Dow new record closing highs after lifting the bar again on Thursday. "Easier money responds well," Croft Funds' portfolio manager Kent Croft told TheStreet. "Europe and China are the two biggest worries, given the size of their economies, and have been for some time so any incremental good news coming out of those countries is very positive for the markets." Must Read: Warren Buffett's Top 10 Dividend Stocks The European Central Bank announced it had started buying asset-backed securities in a move to ease monetary policy and resuscitate growth in the eurozone. European markets rocketed higher, with Germany's DAX up 2.6%, as the ECB made its announcement. Markets were already on a tear after ECB President Mario Draghi talked of monetary easing policies in a speech. Addressing a banking conference in Frankfurt, Draghi said the eurozone's inflation was proving challenging and that the ECB was prepared to do "what we must to raise inflation and inflation expectations as fast as possible." The eurozone has been a lingering threat to global economic strength as troubled pockets of the region teeter on the cusp of deflation, most recently seen in the weakening growth in its largest economy Germany. "The next steps are likely sovereign bond buying, and it looks as though, barring an unexpected turn around in the data, the ECB will take that tack within the first few months of 2015 (if not in December)," said BMO Capital Markets' Benjamin Reitzes in a research note. "The question is when will Draghi be able to get enough of the governing council on board to start buying government debt?" Boosting Asian markets, China cut its interest rates by 25 basis points, its first rate cut in two years, as a solution to stalled growth in the world's second-largest economy. The Shanghai Composite closed 1.4% higher. Heavy machinery and construction company Caterpillar spiked 3.8% on news of China's stimulus measures. The company gleans 20% of total revenue from the Asia/Pacific region. Joy Global , which manufactures mining equipment, popped 2.4%. Prior to Friday, investors had attempted to ignore worrying data out this week from the two troubled regions, training a laser focus on a resilient domestic economy to ease those concerns. On Thursday, for example, China's latest manufacturing PMI fell to a six-month low, while eurozone PMI fell to a 16-month low. "The U.S., despite the fact that we can't seem to get out of this 2% GDP range, is certainly on firmer footing or the strongest bet on an international basis," said Sterne Agee's chief economist Lindsey Piegza in a call. Brazilian stocks were gaining in anticipation that former banking executive Joaquim Levy will be named the country's finance minister and herald the beginning of market-friendly initiatives for the nation. President Dilma Rousseff's pick will be named later Friday. Steelmaker Vale surged 9.5% while oiler Petrobras spiked 11.8%. GameStop was plunging 13% after the games retail chain reported a 2.3% drop in comparable-store sales, due to the delayed launch of popular game "Assassins Creed Unity." Software companies Splunk and Autodesk were popping 3.8% and 6.8%, respectively, after posting better-than-expected third-quarter results. As for next week, though shortened due to Thanksgiving, it will be a busy one. The economic calendar includes GDP numbers, consumer confidence figures, personal income and spending reports, and durable goods. "The stars are aligning for a surge in consumer confidence plunging gasoline prices, lower unemployment, and the rebound in stocks," said Credit Suisse analysts in a report. The firm forecasts a minor downgrade to third-quarter GDP growth to 3.4% from 3.5% and fourth-quarter GDP of 2.5%. Piegza, and firm Sterne Agee, were slightly less optimistic for the year-ending quarter. "We're looking for around 1.5% in the final quarter of the year," she said. "We are looking for a sizeable fall-off at the end of the year as Christmas sales are likely to come in very disappointing." Must Read: 10 Stocks Billionaire John Paulson Loves in 2014 -- Written by Keris Alison Lahiff in New York.

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- President Barack Obama's immigration plan will help the economy. It may not help a ton, but it will help a little bit -- at the margins. Regardless of what you feel about its impact on citizenship, or even the rule of law, there are three good reasons to support this plan. First, the economy needs more workers. Second, those workers need larger raises. And third, the tepid recovery needs more consumer spending. A few million more workers will help with these problems, at least some. Not one of these issues will be changed dramatically by legalizing about two million workers, who are likely already employed, in a work force of around 156 million. So let's look at these issues in more depth. Must Read: 10 Stocks Billionaire John Paulson Loves in 2014 1. The economy needs more skilled workers. It's not just you; America is getting old. And that is hampering how fast the economy can grow. Morgan Stanley chief economist Vincent Reinhart says the aging workforce reduces the economy's natural growth rate by 0.5 percentage points a year -- that's a drop from 2.5% to 2%, or a 20% reduction in growth simply due to aging. Immigrants, on the other hand, tend to be young and looking for work. The Federal Reserve figures that half of the decline in workforce is because Baby Boomers are retiring, and that's probably too low. (The percentage of adults working has dropped almost 4 percentage points, to 62.8%, in seven years.) Here's how legalizing immigrants will help some. About 65% of them work, according to the Migration Policy Institute, and 28% are out of the work force, while 7% are unemployed. A true immigration reform that opens up the U.S. to younger workers would be even better. That's especially true for technology companies that need highly specialized workers, which is addressed by a part of Obama's plan. You can't spend much time in Silicon Valley without noticing how many Asians and Indians make the place go. A large number of them end up starting companies of their own. A 2007 study by Stanford professors found that half of the Valley's startups were founded by immigrants, but Stanford researcher, Neesha Bapat, says that proportion has been dropping. This plan should help reverse that. It's hard to go wrong in admitting people who are so skilled. If one of them helps to start the next Facebook or Google , all the better. There's plenty of precedent for it, from Sun Microsystems to Pinterest. Sergey Brin, after all, was born in Moscow. Must Read: Warren Buffett's Top 10 Dividend Stocks 2. Workers need a raise. Immigration will help (some of) them to get it. Studies show the 1986 immigration reform, signed into law by President Ronald Reagan, helped previously illegal workers get raises of about 6%. Libertarians at the Cato Institute argue that newly legalized immigrants will also be willing to invest more in training to boost their job skills. A full legalization of all undocumented immigrants would add $700 billion to the economy over a decade, Cato says, citing a study by researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles. The effect on overall wages would not be large, but it would make a difference, writes Adam Omizek of Moody's Analytics. "States where the impact will be greatest include California, Texas, Florida, New York and Nevada, where undocumented workers make up 10.2% of the workforce," the Moody's Analytics economist writes. "Wage gains for immigrants are unlikely to be large enough to noticeably affect aggregate wage measures, although some states may see small increases," he said. Must Read: What's the Best Investment Strategy Now as Fed Bond Buying Ends? 3. More income means more spending. It's obvious on some level that putting more money in more pockets will lead to more spending. This will prime the pump that is capitalism. Consumer spending has risen at an annual rate of about 1.8% this year. It's clear that that figure could use some help. As with wages, the impact of immigration reform on spending won't be huge. But especially at lower-end stores like Walmart , it ought to be there. And since 63% of undocumented immigrants lack health insurance, the potential to help companies from UnitedHealth to HCA is pretty clear. None of this addresses the arguments the President's critics have made about whether illegal immigration undermines the rule of law, or whether he has the authority to make the changes he has made without congressional approval. Elections settle questions like those. But Obama's actions will have the eventual effect of putting a little more money in American pockets. Must Read: Intel's Mobile Future Seems on Track After Analyst Day: What Wall Street's Saying

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The news of the day includes a rate cut by the People's Bank of China and a commitment by the European Central Bank to expand its asset purchase programs. Earlier in the week the Bank of Japan announced increased quantitative easing measures. The result is new stock market highs. But the performance of the Nikkei 225 over the last 25 years suggests money printing creates bubbles that eventually break, which is why 10-year bond yields stay low in Japan and the U.S. Must Read: Warren Buffett's Top 10 Dividend Stocks Let's begin by comparing the performance of the Nikkei 225 to the S&P 500 since March 2009. The Nikkei 225 rebounded 150% from its March 2009 low of 7022 to its Nov. 14 high at 17520, while the S&P 500 surged 210% from 666.80 in March 2009 to an all-time intraday high at 2071.46 as of noon on Nov. 21. The long-term graph of the Nikkei 225 should be viewed as a warning that money-printing does not work and that asset bubbles always pop. Courtesy of MetaStock Xenith The above graph shows monthly bars for the Nikkei 225 (17357) going back to 1980. From 6850 in October 1982 the Nikkei 225 surged 469% to the all-time intraday high at 38957.14 set on Dec. 29, 1989. When this year ends it will be the 25th anniversary of this bubble peak. The post-bubble low was 6995.90 set in October 2008 so the top to bottom decline was 82%. The green line is the 120-month simple moving average which is now a key level to hold at 12473. Must Read: Buffett and Other Billionaires Give Their Best Investing Advice Note that the Nikkei has had four major rebounds over the last 25 years but to lower highs; in June 1996, March 2000 (when the Nasdaq bubble popped), in Feb. to July 2007 (as the U.S. averages began to peak before the Crash of 2008) and the current rally. The horizontal blue lines are the Fibonacci Retracements. As long as the U.S. averages continue to set new highs the Nikkei 225 should trade between its 23.6% Fibonacci Retracement at 14529 and its 38.2% retracement at 19,195. As a comparison, let's look at the monthly chart for the S&P 500. Courtesy of MetaStock Xenith The monthly chart for the S&P 500 shows the ups and downs since 1980. Look at the blip just before the year 1988. That's the "Crash of 1987," which looks so small compared to the ups and downs since then. The first major decline is from the March 2000 high to the July-October lows in 2002. Then there's the "Crash of 2008" to the March 2009 low at 666.80. The rally since then is an inflating bubble but predicting when and from what level it will pop cannot yet be determined. Must Read: Dan Loeb Wins Again as Dow Settles Dispute with Third Point Another comparison to look at is between the Japanese 10-year note yield and the yield on the U.S. Treasury 10-year note. This will show the consequence of what can happen if the U.S. stock bubble pops. As the Nikkei 225 began its historic plunge the yield on the JGB 10-Year yield traded up to 8% as the 1990s began. This yield steadily declined as the Nikkei declined and this yield has been below 2% since the twenty-first century began. Despite the recent rally for the Nikkei this yield is currently trading at 0.45%. Let's look at the monthly chart for the U.S. Treasury 10-Year yield. Courtesy of MetaStock Xenith The yield on the U.S. Treasury Note has been declining since the early-1980's from above 15%. In mid-1985 this yield declined below its 120-month simple moving average then at 10.5% and this important trend has been tested four times; Dec. 1994 at 8%, Jan. 200 at 6.6%, and April 2006 at 5.1% and June 2007 at 4.9%. The all-time intraday low yield is 1.386% set on July 24, 2012 with the high end of the range since then was set at 3.041% on Jan. 2, 2014. This year's low yield has been 1.865% set on Oct. 15. There are no signs that this yield is ready to rise with its 120-month SMA now at 3.31%. Must Read: Biotech Stock Mailbag: Northwest Bio, Celldex, Puma, MannKind At the time of publication the author held no positions in any of the stocks mentioned. Follow @Suttmeier This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.


NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- U.S. equities made new all-time highs on Friday after European central banker Mario Draghi discussed quantitative easing and China's central bank unexpectedly cut interest rates. Investors had expected Draghi's announcement but stocks really started to move higher after the unexpected Chinese news, Mike Murphy, founder of Rosecliff Capital, said on CNBC's "Fast Money Halftime." Investors can buy Joy Global and Caterpillar as a result. Must Read: 10 Stocks George Soros Is Buying Jon Najarian, co-founder of optionmonster.com and trademonster.com, said he is a buyer of basic material stocks as well Devon Energy , Halliburton and Baker Hughes . Investors should look to the iShares MSCI Europe Financials ETF and the WisdomTree Europe Small Cap Dividend ETF , according to Josh Brown, CEO and co-founder of Ritholtz Wealth Management. Also, agriculture stocks appear to be breaking out, he said. Investors can buy the Market Vectors Agribusiness ETF and the Materials Select Sector SPDR ETF if they believe the rally will continue. U.S. stocks will likely continue to grind higher into year's end, said Stephanie Link, chief investment officer of TheStreet and co-manager of the Action Alerts PLUS portfolio. However, international stocks will likely play a bigger role in 2015, she said. She likes industrial and consumer cyclical stocks as well as U.S. companies with international exposure such as FedEx , Yum! Brands and Cummins . Many investors like the retail sector heading into the end of the year. Brown is one of those investors, saying holiday spending is likely to be strong. He advised investors to stay long the SPDR S&P Retail ETF . Link likes Lululemon Athletica and Panera Bread Company . Murphy is buying Under Armour and Najarian is staying long Michael Kors . Must Read: Buffett and Other Billionaires Give Their Best Investing Advice The retail industry has struggled until recently but can continue to rally, according to Dana Telsey, CEO and chief research officer at Kelsey Advisory Group. Kors, Under Armour, Best Buy , Nike , Tiffany & Co. and Limited Brands should do well. Telsey added that Lulemon could be a potential turnaround story in 2015, but expects teen retailers and women's apparel companies to continue struggling. Overall, the retail companies are stronger headed into this year's holiday, she concluded. The analyst community was out with several big technology stock downgrades on Friday. CLSA downgraded Intel to sell with a price target of $31. Najarian disagreed with the call, pointed out the company's strong guidance and higher dividend. Intel is "hitting on all cylinders" right now, he added. There's nothing wrong with taking profits in Intel, which is up 39% on the year, Link said. However, the valuation is still somewhat attractive. Evercore Partners downgraded eBay to a sell and assigned a price target of $49. Brown said the downgrade is reasonable, given that the payments space is getting "crowded," which could hurt eBay's PayPal business. Perhaps shares of eBay will trade better as the PayPal spinoff gets closer, Link reasoned. Jefferies initiated coverage on Microsoft with a sell rating and $40 price target. "We added to our position," Link said, referring to Action Alerts PLUS. The stock is up 29% for the year to date, but it still only trades at 16 times 2015 earnings estimates. The company can easily afford to raise its dividend and buyback program as well. "There's a lot more companies out there I'd be telling you to sell before Microsoft," Murphy said. For their final trades, Link is buying Dollar General and Murphy is a buyer of Hertz Global Holdings . Brown said to buy the Financial Select Sector SPDR ETF and Najarian is buying Realogy Holdings . Must Read: Dan Loeb Wins Again as Dow Settles Dispute with Third Point -- Written by Bret Kenwell Follow @BretKenwell

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Oil and gas expert and former Eni executive Leonardo Maugeri believes analysts remain wrong on the prospects for the shale oil and gas boom in the U.S. "The dire warnings have returned in recent weeks, " Maugeri writes in a recent analysis, "Why U.S. Shale Keeps Booming." Many predict the fall of oil prices will slash production of shale oil and gas, he says, adding, "Yet the U.S. shale oil and gas revolution will likely continue to defy gloomy forecasts." Must Read: Oil Prices Stuck in 'Gray Zone' for Years and Could Fall Further, Expert Says Maugeri has been a lone voice in the news for the last few years. In 2012, he accurately predicted the fall in oil prices that has occurred since June, based similarly on assumptions overlooked by most analysts. Maugeri is currently the senior officiate with the Geopolitics of Energy Project at Harvard's Kennedy School. Previously he worked for 17 years in the industry as a top manager at Italy's Eni, serving as vice president and as chairman of Eni's petrochemical unit, Polimeri Europa. The Bright Future for U.S. Shale Production A simultaneous boom in fossil fuel extraction technology and the low cost of production in the Marcellus Shale in particular are behind Maugeri's reasoning. Drilling costs are coming down and productivity per well is increasing, dynamic factors that most analytical models fail to take into account. "From almost zero in 2000, shale gas production has dramatically ramped up, reaching about 35 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d, equal to 365 Bcm per year) in July 2014," Maugeri writes. Since 2008, when gas production should have been under pressure from falling prices, it instead "increased almost six-fold," even as the number of drilling rigs fell. Must Read: Low Oil Prices Driving Instability in Putin's Russia Technological advancements drove drilling costs down by 40% since 2010, he writes. Meanwhile activity at the relatively cheap Marcellus Shale increased. By July 2014, it accounted for almost 40% of shale gas production in the U.S. "This powerful combination of increased productivity and Draconian cost reduction explains why the shale gas revolution thrived in spite of plummeting U.S. gas prices," Maugeri writes. "It also explains why shale oil production will likely continue to grow in the near future. The combination results from a dramatic advancement of knowledge of shale formations and the technology used to develop them. Analyses that underestimate the actual evolution of U.S. shale oil and gas production seem to have ignored the impact of those two factors." Another dynamic element that analysts tend to overlook, Maugeri writes, is the break-even point of a particular area. Differences in productivity are striking between areas within the same formation. To estimate how competitive production at a particular shale formation will become at a given price level, it is necessary to be very specific about the area in question. "For example, McKenzie County, N.D., is the most prolific production area of the Bakken-Three Forks formation, with an average output of almost 350,000 barrels per day, or, more than one third of total Bakken production of 1.132,000 bd as of August 2014," Maugeri writes. "The McKenzie break-even point (including a 10% internal rate of return) is $28 per barrel. "Conversely, in August, Divide County, N.D. (also in the Bakken), produced slightly more than 35,000 bd, but with a break-even point of $85 per barrel. Overall, 80% of Bakken oil now has a break-even point below $42 per barrel. "Finding these numbers is hard, so most analysts resort to oversimplified models," he adds. Maugeri doesn't attempt to predict how production will fare 10 years from now, but notes that history and a detailed analysis seem to indicate much more room to run. Indeed he feels external pressures to limit drilling sites in proximity to populated areas will provide a "the real limit to shale expansion across the U.S. and the world." Must Read: Warren Buffett's Top 10 Dividend Stocks


NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Deteriorating crude oil prices could slow down Bonanza Creek Energy , which has been growing its oil and gas production twice as fast as the industry's average. But the company's low-cost asset base puts it in a good position to weather a tough market. Bonanza Creek increased production at an average annual rate of 84% between 2010 and 2013 and has a production growth target of almost 50% for 2014, says James Masters, investment relations manager at the company. Must Read: 10 Stocks George Soros Is Buying This growth, which comes mainly from the company's wells at Wattenberg field in Colorado's Niobrara formation, is significantly higher than the industry's average of around 20%, Bonanza Creek said in a November presentation, but it's in line with Colorado peers such as Bill Barrett and PDC Energy . Gabriele Sorbara, an analyst at Topeka Capital Markets, projects a 43% increase in the company's production in 2015. This will allow Bonanza Creek to grow its earnings to $2.26 a share in 2015 from $1.71 a share in 2013, Sorbara estimates in a Nov. 7 report. Prolonged weakness in crude oil prices, which have fallen by more than 20% over the last three months, can hurt Bonanza Creek's performance, however. Sorbara has said his projections are based on the assumption that the average price of a barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude oil will be $86 in 2015, higher than the current price of about $76. If the average price is less than $80 next year, Bonanza Creek's management is likely to reduce spending levels in order to maintain its financial strength, Sorbara said. Some oil and gas producers, such as Continental Resources and ConocoPhillips , already have announced cuts in capital spending for next year, while others, such as Halcon Resources , are scaling back drilling activity. For Bonanza Creek, a reduction in spending could result in lower-than-expected growth. This year, Bonanza Creek expects capital expenditures of between $630 million and $680 million, up from $465.2 million last year. Masters did not provide any guidance for next year as the company is in the planning process, but he did say that Bonanza Creek will look to "preserve balance sheet flexibility" and "will adjust capital spending accordingly". Must Read: Dan Loeb Wins Again as Dow Chemical Settles Dispute With Third Point That said, Bonanza Creek is better positioned to weather a tough market in the future, since it is a low-cost oil and gas producer. The company's core operating area, the Wattenberg field at Niobrara, is one of the most economical oil and gas producing regions of the U.S., in terms of internal rate of returns, said a July Credit Suisse research report. For Bonanza Creek, Niobrara assets could remain profitable even if WTI crude oil prices were to drop to between $60 and $65 a barrel, Sorbara wrote, although no exploration and production company will find it lucrative to drill near break even. Masters says Bonanza Creek also benefits from having an "efficient operating program," which was reflected in 14% lower lease operating and general and administrative expenses per barrel of oil equivalents in the previous quarter, compared with last year. The company also has access to extensive surface infrastructure, such as pipeline networks, which allows Bonanza Creek to gather, process and transfer its products to the market. Masters also said that the company's cash costs for production were just over $19 a barrel of oil equivalents, significantly lower than the company's average sales price, excluding the impact of derivatives, of $66.64 a barrel of oil equivalent. This translates into a healthy cash margin of more than 70%. The margin can act as a cushion in the future, softening a blow coming from lower oil prices. Must Read: Biotech Stock Mailbag: Northwest Bio, Celldex, Puma, MannKind At the time of publication, the author held no positions in any of the stocks mentioned. Follow @Sarfaraz_A_Khan // 0;if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs"); // ]]> This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage. TheStreet Ratings team rates BONANZA CREEK ENERGY INC as a Buy with a ratings score of B-. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate BONANZA CREEK ENERGY INC (BCEI) 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 robust revenue growth, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income, good cash flow from operations and expanding profit margins. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had generally high debt management risk by most measures that we evaluated." You can view the full analysis from the report here: BCEI Ratings Report

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Aereo filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which means its assets are likely for sale. Having been shutdown by the Supreme Court in June, Aereo was left with a network of tiny antennas which functioned simultaneously to retransmit over-the-air broadcast signals to its customers. The technology allowed subscribers to bypass traditional cable operators and watch TV for as little as $8 a month. Broadcasters complained the company was in effect stealing their programming. Aereo executives weren't immediately available to comment. But the network may be worth buying for a start-up or even one of the media companies that fought its technology and business model. In its Chapter 11 filing Thursday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York the company, based in Boston, listed assets of $20.5 million and debt of $4.2 million. Must Read: Netflix Still Dominates Web traffic Even as Amazon Keeps Growing One possible buyer: Aereo's chief sponsor, IAC Interactive Chairman Barry Diller, who was always more than an Aereo defender. Just prior to the Supreme Court's ruling, he lashed out at its critics for charging that the company was stealing private property. IAC wasn't immediately available for comment. "I'm really tired of being accused of stealing anyone else's programming when we're not and I'd never be part of any service that was doing so," Diller said in an April conference call with investors. "We are no more stealing programming than the person who puts up an antenna to receive the signals he's entitled to receive. Kind of obnoxious for broadcasters to take away the signals they promised the public that they could receive directly simply because they want to squeeze every dollar they can from consumers." Fighting words even though the Supremes thought differently. At its peak, Aereo's service was only available in about a dozen U.S. markets, including New York, Atlanta and Houston. But its engineer-turned-CEO, Chet Kanojia, did create an interface that made for seamless movement between broadcast channels. The service spoke to consumer frustration with the cable-TV bundle: The requirement that to access the dozen or so channels watched by the average consumer, he or she had to pay for hundreds of channels. The Supreme Court didn't buy Diller's argument thereby forcing IAC to write-off its investment in Aereo. In July, IAC recognized five losses totaling $66.6 million, of which it said Aereo was the largest. The Supreme Court ruling, Aereo said in a statement, created substantial "regulatory and legal uncertainty," that in turn created challenges that were "too difficult to overcome." Following the court ruling, Aereo tried to win regulatory approval to be recognized as an online multi-channel distributor, same as any cable-TV or satellite-TV provider. The court did rule that because Aereo was "substantially similar to" a cable system, it was eligible for the same statutory licenses that pay-TV companies pay in order to carry the signals of broadcast-TV to their subscribers. Under pressure from the same collection of media companies that opposed Aereo in court -- 21st Century Fox , Disney's ABC, Comcast's NBC and CBS -- the Federal Communications Commission rejected its application for licenses. While Aereo has filed for bankruptcy, its model of distributing TV programming outside traditional cable channels is continuing to grow as more viewers, especially young folks, turn to Netflix , Google's YouTube and Amazon Prime for their entertainment. Traditional media companies including CBS, Time Warner and Viacom are creating stand-alone digital options to appeal to consumers uninterested in pay TV. CBS has started its All Access service and Time Warner is preparing to offer HBOGO as an online subscription service next year while Viacom is readying an online service with Sony For one of them, or a start-up, Aereo's network might make for a nice acquisition. Must Read: Why Google Won't Lose Sleep Over Yahoo!'s Search Deal With Firefox Written by Leon Lazaroff in New York Contact by Email. Follow @LeonLazaroff // 0;if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs"); // ]]>

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NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- I was talking to Jim Cramer about some of the financial inputs into the price of oil, which are often totally overlooked. But the massive changes in the financial markets surrounding oil have had at least as much effect on the downturn in energy prices, and the possibility of a rebound, as any pertaining to the supply chain of oil from the Middle East or here in the U.S. Must Read: 12 Stocks Warren Buffett Loves in 2014 In 2011, I wrote a book outlining the most important of these financial influences on oil titled Oil’s Endless Bid. And while I’m not willing to say that the "endless bid" has disappeared forever, it has proved able to take a very long vacation recently. Part of the reason for that is that the investment banks, which I pointed to as the strongest engine of the endless bid, have greatly reduced their engagement with the oil markets. Morgan Stanley , Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase , along with the other large banks, have greatly reduced their oil desk activity or sold them outright. Much of their work included finding institutional and retail investors into the energy markets. That impetus is now largely gone. And passive investment into oil has also taken a hiatus. In light of a rallying dollar and the deepest commodity deflation I have ever seen in a non-recessionary environment, more than $17 billion of investment in commodity index funds have disappeared already in 2014. Gold is down, as is copper and almost all of the grains. Oil is not immune from this ‘flight from the commodity trade’ as well. And now, with oil under $80 a barrel, there are more sellers to add to an already lessening number of buyers. Oil exploration and production companies are forced to aggressively sell every rally in oil, trying to hedge out production in 2015 and 2016 that they previously thought would be buoyed by a $100 a barrel oil world. Now, they are frantically trying to find strategies to survive an $80 oil winter. I told Jim that I don’t expect oil to recover anytime soon. Watch more of my conversation with him in the video above. Must Read: Buffett and Other Billionaires Give Their Best Investing Advice At the time of publication, Dicker owned shares of EOG Resources and Cimarex Energy. Follow @dan_dicker // This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Hertz Global Holdings are up 5.45% to $23.99 after the car and equipment rental company hired John Tague as its new CEO, appointing the manager credited with boosting sales at United Airlines to restore investors' confidence in the company plagued by an aging fleet and sloppy accounting, Bloomberg reports. Tague, 52, who was formerly president and chief operating officer of United Airlines, will also become Hertz's president when he takes over today, the Naples, FL-based company said in a statement. A 25-year veteran of the airline industry, Tague boosted United's revenue at a crucial juncture: just before it merged with Continental, Bloomberg noted. Must Read: Warren Buffett's 25 Favorite Stocks STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more. Described by a former employee as a "customer-focused" executive, he was most recently CEO of transportation provider Cardinal Logistics Holdings, Bloomberg said. HTZ data by YCharts STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Strength from homebuilder stocks following this week's improving housing data gives investors an opportunity to book gains of 19% to 33% from levels in October. The trading ranges may widen with some higher highs, but the housing data weren't strong enough to sustain technical breakouts for these stocks. Here are the current trading ranges. Must Read: Warren Buffett’s Top 10 Dividend Stocks D.R. Horton ($25.30) rebounded by 33% from its Oct. 13 low of $19.29 to $25.59 on Thursday, crossing above its 200-day simple moving average of $22.54, with its May 15, 2013 high at $27.74. This stock is up 13% year to date. KB Home ($17.36) rebounded by 28% from its Oct. 13 low of $13.75 to $17.66 on Thursday, crossing above its 200-day SMA of $17.01, with its July 2 high at $18.98. This stock is down 4.5% year to date Lennar ($46.97) rebounded by 26% from its Oct.13 low of $37.50 to a multiyear intraday high at $47.20 on Thursday, crossing above its 200-day SMA of $40.33. This stock is up 19% year to date. PulteGroup ($21.36) rebounded 30% from its Oct. 13 low of $16.56 to $21.48 on Nov.19, crossing above its 200-day SMA of $19.18, with its Feb. 26 high at $21.65. The stock is up 4.9% year to date. Ryland Group ($38.37) rebounded 28% from its Oct. 13 low of $30.33 to $38.71 on Wednesday, crossing above its 200-day SMA of $37.89, with its July 1 high at $40.35. The stock is down 12% year to date. Toll Brothers ($34.21) rebounded 19% from its Oct. 13 low of $28.92 to $34.49 on Thursday, which was still below its 200-day SMA of $34.77, with its Sept. 2 high at $35.94. This stock is down 7.5% year to date. This week's news on the housing market was not as robust as the positive moves for the homebuilder stocks. The National Association of Home Builders has stated that housing affordability slipped in the third quarter. Assuming that the U.S. median family income is $63,900, 61.8% of new and existing homes were sold to families earning $63,900 in the third quarter, down from 62.6% in the second quarter. The median home price rose 3.3% to $221,000 in the third quarter from $214,000 with the average 30-Year fixed rate mortgage down to 4.35% from 4.44%. Homebuilder confidence rose by four points in November to 58. The NAHB cited improving consumer confidence. The Housing Market Index has been above the neutral 50 reading for five consecutive months, and the NAHB expects momentum will continue into 2015. Must Read: U.S. Stocks at All-Time Highs as China, Europe Make Stimulus Moves The important statistic from the housing starts data are single-family starts, which rose 4.2% in October to an annual rate of 696,000 units. Single-family permits increased 1.4% to 640,000 units. The graph below shows the NAHB HMI (blue line) rise of four points to 58 in November, while single family starts (red line) is not updated to the annual rate of 696,000 in Oct. Single family starts remain well below the normal rate of 1.1 million to 1.2 million units. ¿ Let's look at the weekly chart for the PHLX Housing Index which has 19 components including the six homebuilders covered in this post. 10 components are homebuilders while nine are companies that support the housing industry. Courtesy of MetaStock Xenith The busting of the housing bubble began with the housing index in July 2005. The index crashed 82% to its March 2009 low. The breakout above the 200-week SMA (green line) in January 2012 triggered strength to the top horizontal dashed line in May 2013. This line is called the 61.8% Fibonacci retracement of the decline from the July 2005 high to the March 2009 low. The trading range since May 2013 has been primarily between the 50% retracement at 173.80 and the 61.8% retracement at 202.05, with a low at 164.03 in August 2013 and a high of 213.81, which is being approached again this week. Must Read: 10 Stocks Carl Icahn Loves in 2014 At the time of publication, the author held no positions in any of the stocks mentioned. Follow @Suttmeier // 0;if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs"); // ]]> This article represents the opinion of a contributor and not necessarily that of TheStreet or its editorial staff TheStreet Ratings team rates D R HORTON INC as a Buy with a ratings score of A. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate D R HORTON INC (DHI) 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, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, attractive valuation levels, good cash flow from operations and solid stock price performance. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity." You can view the full analysis from the report here: DHI Ratings Report

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Two years ago, Encana , which became Canada's largest gas producer by drilling wells in more than 25 different areas, said that it was going to focus on just five higher-margin oil and natural-gas-liquid-rich regions. It has continued that transition and, despite double-digit drops in crude prices over the last three months, is not slowing down. Must Read: Warren Buffett's Top 10 Dividend Stocks This year, the Calgary company purchased properties from Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold for $3.1 billion and acquired Athlon Energy for $7.1 billion. Both of these purchases were revealed at a time when WTI crude oil prices were trading at over $90 a barrel, compared with current levels of around $76 a barrel. In hindsight, the two acquisitions appear poorly timed. But Doug McIntyre, Encana's spokesman told TheStreet in an email interview that while the commodity price cycles are "very difficult to predict," the two acquisitions have allowed the company to add the "top two resource plays in Canada, the Montney and the Duvernay, and the top two resource plays in the U.S., the Eagle Ford and the Permian" in Texas to its portfolio. Due, in part, to these acquisitions, Encana will "achieve 75% of its operating cash flow from liquids production in 2015, which is two years ahead of plan." With the sale of $9 billion of lower margin gas-focused assets, Encana has "more than adequate" cash to fund the acquisitions and pay dividends, despite cutting this year's cash flow guidance by 7% in its third-quarter results last week, said RBC Capital Market's analyst Matthew Kolodzie in a recent report. Eventually, Encana seeks to have up to 50% of its total production in 2017 as liquids, as opposed to just 10% in 2013. While the possibility of prolonged weakness in crude prices in the $70-$80 a barrel window has prompted some oil and gas companies, like Continental Resources and Halcon Resources to scale back their oil and gas drilling activity, Encana is not delaying its transition goals. Must Read: Buffett and Other Billionaires Give Their Best Investing Advice This is because, according to McIntyre, Encana sees the "current oil prices as an annoyance rather than a threat." The company's gas-to-oil transition plans are based on "economic thresholds that create returns well below current commodity prices." Further, Encana is not completely abandoning natural gas, choosing to stick with some of lucrative properties. "This diversified commodity mix [of both oil and gas assets] has us well positioned to deliver sustainable, profitable growth in any price cycle," McIntyre added. Encana has won over some analysts. The company's stock, at around $19, has fallen by around 17% over the last three months and is up only 4% for the year to date because of declining oil prices. But this decline offers "a good entry point" to investors, Kolodzie wrote. Similarly, Sameer Uplenchwar, analyst at Global Hunter Securities said in a recent report that Encana "is moving in the right direction" by focusing on fewer core liquid rich areas that, at current price levels, generates "higher return than natural gas." So far, Encana's quarterly results have been hit by asset sales and divestitures, which makes it difficult to measure its performance. Investors will have to wait until the first quarter of the next fiscal year to get, what Uplenchwar termed, the "first clean quarter." Must Read: 'Tubular Bells' Offshore Project Begins But There's No Reason to Invest Now TheStreet Ratings team rates ENCANA CORP as a Buy with a ratings score of B-. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate ENCANA CORP (ECA) a BUY. This is driven by multiple strengths, 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 robust revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, notable return on equity, attractive valuation levels and expanding profit margins. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow." You can view the full analysis from the report here: ECA Ratings Report At the time of publication, the author held no positions in any of the stocks mentioned. This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

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Months after Facebook Inc. closed its purchase of virtual reality startup Oculus VR Inc., there is little tangible evidence, at least to outsiders, of what exactly Mark Zuckerberg got for $2 billion. While Oculus sells a developers kit with a barebones version of its Rift virtual reality headset, the company has no commercially available product. During a conference Thursday at the Paley Center for Media Summit, Facebook vice president of partnerships Dan Rose explained that the deal's value becomes clearer once someone tries on the headset. "Once you have done that, it's not too hard to explain," he said. "It really is like looking into the future." Oculus will debut a consumer product in the coming weeks, said Rose and Oculus head of worldwide studios Jason Rubin. Samsung Group manufactured the hardware for the product, while Oculus developed the software. Samsung's Note 4 mobile phone clips into the headset, and serves as the screen and the engine for the virtual reality experience. The barebones verstion of the headset will run "a few hundred dollars" but will not convey the full sense of "presence" that Oculus' higher-end Rift headset will deliver, Rubin said. Oculus will develop the hardware and the software for the more immersive headset, which will work with Apple Inc.'s Macs and with PCs. The Samsung headsets, demonstrated at the Paley Center, give the sense of stepping inside a reticulated image. The footage replicated the experience of floating in space above the Earth, sitting with a family in a Mongolian yurt and standing on stage during a performance by Cirque du Soleil. Rose said that the virtual reality headsets are a natural stage in the evolution of computing, which went from mainframes to desktops to laptops and mobile devices. "The next computing platform will move closer to our bodies," Rose said. "Our bet is that virtual reality will be the on ramp for ocular computing." Facebook is not the only big name staking out a position in the market. Sony Corp. is developing the Project Morpheus virtual reality headset that will plug into its PlayStation game systems. Google Inc. , which markets its Glass computerized eyewear, has a do-it-yourself alternative called Cardboard. After downloading a mobile app, users can make their own headsets a piece of cardboard and simple materials. A Velcro flap holds the user's phone in front of two eye holes in what is essentially a pair of makeshift goggles. While virtual reality has long been fodder for science fiction, Rose said that recent advances in mobile phone screens have made projects like Oculus possible. One hang up for early adopters of virtual reality headsets is the dearth of content. Cameras with 360 degree camera lens that could capture every point of view as a user turns his or her head up or down, or side to side, do not exist. New cameras are in development, and VR videographers can rig multiple cameras together. As proof that content is in the works, Rose cited Palo Alto, Calif., startup Jaunt Inc.'s Thursday release of a virtual reality video of Sir Paul McCartney performing at San Francisco's Candlestick Park. The video will play on the Rift and on Google's Cardboard. "Feel as though you're by Sir Paul's side as he plays 'Live and Let Die' — see it in 360-degree, stereoscopic 3D, hear it with ambisonic audio, and immerse yourself in cinematic VR," Jaunt's marketing materials urge. Jaunt has raised more than $34 million in venture financing from Highland Capital Partners, Google Ventures, Redpoint Ventures, British Sky Broadcasting and tech veterans Peter Gotcher and Blake Krikorian. Live events, sports and games are likely the most immediate uses. However, Rose and Rubin described other applications, such as remote medical diagnoses and school trips that would allow Midwestern elementary students to visit the Colosseum in Rome. A conference participant asked if he and his wife could view, say, the Super Bowl using the headsets, and whether they would have the experience of being together. Initially, Rubin said, you would see an avatar rather than a lifelike replication of your spouse. "Eventually, yes, it will look like your friends, your family," he said.

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Wearable technology isn't just for early-adopting hipsters and extreme athletes. Police departments, once skeptical of wearable cameras, are now using them to document their activities, says Rick Smith, the CEO and founder of Taser International . The manufacturer of electroshock weapons also makes wearable cameras for law enforcement. Last quarter, orders for its cameras and related technology totaled $15 million, three times what they were a year before. Thirteen major cities are moving forward with the cameras, Smith says. Must Read: 12 Stocks Warren Buffett Loves in 2014 The cameras are designed to document what takes place in encounters between police and civilians and dispel inaccurate allegations by either side. "We protect both the community and the officer by preserving a record of every interaction that officer has," says Taser's Smith. "So if there's ever an allegation that something was improper, we can go back and show the world exactly what happened." The cameras cost $399 each and can be mounted on an officer's collar or sunglasses and connect to a smartphone. By documenting exactly what happens, they can save police departments from costly liability payments, Smith said, adding that the New York City Police Department has spent $1 billion on such payouts over the past 10 years. "We could be talking about hundreds of millions of dollars in savings, which is more than the cost of the camera and software," he adds. Must Read: Intel's Mobile Future Seems on Track After Analyst Day: What Wall Street's Saying -- Written by Scott Gamm in New York.

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of New York Mortgage Trust are down 4.89% to $7.78 after the self-advised real estate investment trust (REIT) announced today that it priced an underwritten public offering of 13 million shares of its common stock at a public offering price of $7.94 per share. NYMT also granted the underwriters an option to purchase up to an additional 1,950,000 shares of common stock. The offering is expected to close on November 26, 2014, subject to customary closing conditions. UBS Investment Bank, Deutsche Bank Securities, Barclays, RBC Capital Markets and Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC are acting as joint bookrunning managers for the offering. JMP Securities and Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, Inc., a Stifel Company, are acting as co-lead managers for the offering. Ladenburg Thalmann, Maxim Group LLC and MLV & Co. are acting as co-managers for the offering. Must Read: Warren Buffett's 25 Favorite Stocks STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more. NYMT intends to use the net proceeds of this offering to fund a portion of the purchase price of a pool of residential mortgage loans. If such acquisition is not completed, NYMT intends to use the net proceeds to fund the acquisition of its targeted assets and for general working capital purposes. The offering is not contingent on the completion of the acquisition of the residential mortgage loan pool. TheStreet Ratings team rates NEW YORK MORTGAGE TRUST INC as a Hold with a ratings score of C. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate NEW YORK MORTGAGE TRUST INC (NYMT) 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, notable return on equity and attractive valuation levels. However, as a counter to these strengths, we find that the growth in the company's earnings per share has not been good." Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows: NYMT's very impressive revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 13.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues leaped by 54.3%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share. 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 Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry and the overall market, NEW YORK MORTGAGE TRUST INC's return on equity exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500. The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry. The net income increased by 116.1% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $18.39 million to $39.73 million. NEW YORK MORTGAGE TRUST INC reported significant earnings per share improvement in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. But, we feel it is poised for EPS growth in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, NEW YORK MORTGAGE TRUST INC reported lower earnings of $1.11 versus $1.25 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.28 versus $1.11). You can view the full analysis from the report here: NYMT Ratings Report STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

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Activist investor Jana Partners LLC is looking to turn up the heat on pet products retailer PetSmart Inc. , as private equity firms KKR & Co. LP and Clayton, Dubilier & Rice LLC are apparently preparing a joint offer. Jana, a hedge fund holding a 9.8% stake in the Phoenix, Ariz.-based retailer, is pressing PetSmart to sell the business. The activist has lined up nominees for PetSmart's board in the event of a proxy contest, according to a 13D filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday evening. Those nominees include Edwin Crawford, previously a chairman of pharmacy operator CVS Caremark Inc.; Julian Day, former chairman and CEO of electronics retailer RadioShack Corp.; Thomas Dickson, former CEO of Harris Teeter Supermarkets Inc.; Susan Feldman, co-founder of online furniture retailer One Kings Lane; and Lawrence Jackson, formerly president and CEO of global procurement for discount department store operator Wal-Mart Stores Inc. Jana may also reserve the right to field a candidate from the firm, totaling six nominees, enough to control a 10-member board if it were to fully succeed in a proxy contest. Jana would propose the slate if the retailer does not complete its strategic review to Jana's satisfaction, a source said. The filing was made as both KKR and Clayton, Dubilier & Rice have been conducting due diligence, people familiar with the matter confirmed. These people added that a bid could come within the next two weeks. A person even suggested that there could still be multiple bids and that Leonard Green & Partners LP and TPG, the two PE firms that back rival pet supplies chain Petco Animal Supplies Inc., could end up making an offer of their own for PetSmart once KKR and Clayton, Dubilier & Rice submit their offer. Leonard Green and TPG have not been allowed by PetSmart to conduct due diligence for competitive reasons, but could base their offer on what other PE firms think PetSmart is worth, the source suggested. But an industry watcher said that a Leonard Green and TPG acquisition of PetSmart would face antitrust problems. Apollo Global Management LLC and BC Partners were also said to be taking a look at PetSmart's financials, according to a person familiar with the situation. Another source, however, said there was still a question about PetSmart's intentions, as it appears to be making optimistic projections and taking short-term actions to clean up its balance sheet. This person said PetSmart was either positioning itself to get the best valuation possible in a sale or attempting to push up its stock price to make the retailer too expensive for an LBO. Reuters first reported that KKR and Clayton, Dubilier & Rice could make an offer for the pet retail giant. The math on a leveraged buyout of PetSmart has been appealing to private equity firms. When Jana revealed its stake in late July, the retailer had an enterprise value of about 6.7 times Ebitda, well within the range of what PE firms look for when considering buyouts. — Sarah Pringle contributed to this report.

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of On Track Innovations were falling 15.3% to $1.61 Friday after the mobile payments company announced the pricing for its 6.25 million share public offering. On Track Innovations priced the 6.25 million ordinary shares in the public offering at $1.60 a share. The company granted the underwriter of the offering a 30-day option to by 937,500 ordinary shares to cover any over-allotments. The company said it expects to receive net proceeds of about $9.1 million from the public offering. The offering is expected to close on or about Nov. 26, 2014. Must Read: Warren Buffett's 25 Favorite Stocks STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more. TheStreet Ratings team rates ON TRACK INNOVATIONS as a Sell with a ratings score of D. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate ON TRACK INNOVATIONS (OTIV) 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 unimpressive growth in net income, disappointing return on equity and feeble growth in its earnings per share." 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 Computers & Peripherals industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 214.2% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $1.75 million to -$2.00 million. 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 Computers & Peripherals industry and the overall market, ON TRACK INNOVATIONS's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500. ON TRACK INNOVATIONS has experienced a steep decline in earnings per share in the most recent quarter in comparison to its performance from the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. We feel it is likely to report a decline in earnings in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, ON TRACK INNOVATIONS continued to lose money by earning -$0.21 versus -$0.54 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 42.9% in earnings (-$0.30 versus -$0.21). OTIV, with its decline in revenue, underperformed when compared the industry average of 13.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 3.7%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share. Despite currently having a low debt-to-equity ratio of 0.53, 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 1.05 is sturdy. You can view the full analysis from the report here: OTIV Ratings Report STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- TheStreet's Jim Cramer, co-manager of the Action Alerts PLUS portfolio, had a lot to say about retail stocks on Friday. And there is a "shoe bull market" now, he said on Friday's segment of CNBC's "Cramer's Stop Trading." Look at Foot Locker and Deckers , he said, which topped revenue and earnings per share estimates in their most recent earnings reports. Both companies saw gross margins expand as well. Must Read: 12 Stocks Warren Buffett Loves in 2014 Nike NKE data by YCharts Furthermore, Nike also beat on top- and bottom-line estimates when it reported its results in late September. Then on Thursday, the company boosted its annual dividend to $1.12 per share, up over 16% from its prior dividend. The shoe market is less price sensitive and more personalized than investors thought, Cramer reasoned. And although shares of Nike seem rich in valuation, the company is worth the premium. The stock will go higher, Cramer said, because of its strong brand and impressive performance in China and Western Europe. Must Read: Real Money's Brian Sozzi: A Primer on Investing in Retail Stocks -- Written by Bret Kenwell Follow @BretKenwell // 0;if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs"); // ]]> TheStreet Ratings team rates FOOT LOCKER INC as a Buy with a ratings score of A+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate FOOT LOCKER INC (FL) 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, solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth and compelling growth in net income. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins." You can view the full analysis from the report here: FL Ratings Report

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Vale S.A. rose 8.52% to $9.53 in morning trading Friday amid reports that Brazil could appoint a new finance minister today. Brazil's economy was a significant point of contention during the nation's presidential election in October, as many investors were displeased with incumbent Dilma Rousseff's intervention in the economy. The appointment of a new finance minister could mark a move away from those policies. One of three reported finalists for the position is Joaquim Levy, the CEO of Bradesco Asset Management, a part of Banco Bradesco , according to Reuters. Many investors credit Levy, who trained at the University of Chicago, with helping Brazil earn its investment credit grade during a previous tenure as treasury secretary. Must Read: Warren Buffett's 25 Favorite Stocks STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more. The other two reported contenders are central bank president Alexandre Tombini and Nelson Barbosa, a professor at the São Paulo School of Economics. Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates VALE SA as a "sell" with a ratings score of D. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate VALE SA (VALE) 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 deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity, weak operating cash flow, generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself and feeble growth in its earnings per share." 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 140.3% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $3,565.05 million to -$1,437.00 million. Despite any intermediate fluctuations, we have only bad news to report on this stock's performance over the last year: it has tumbled by 43.53%, worse than the S&P 500's performance. Consistent with the plunge in the stock price, the company's earnings per share are down 140.00% compared to the year-earlier 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. 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 Metals & Mining industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, VALE SA has outperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500. Net operating cash flow has decreased to $2,940.00 million or 36.54% when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite a decrease in cash flow VALE SA is still fairing well by exceeding its industry average cash flow growth rate of -55.48%. VALE SA has experienced a steep decline in earnings per share in the most recent quarter in comparison to its performance from the same quarter a year ago. The company has reported a trend of declining earnings per share over the past two years. However, the consensus estimate suggests that this trend should reverse in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, VALE SA reported lower earnings of $0.01 versus $0.94 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.24 versus $0.01). You can view the full analysis from the report here: VALE Ratings Report STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Endurance International Group Holdings , a provider of cloud-based solutions, are up 9.75% to $16.10 on heavy volume trading after the company today announced the pricing of an underwritten public offering of 13 million shares of its common stock at a public offering price of $14.50 per share. In the offering, Endurance is selling 3 million shares of common stock, with net proceeds to Endurance of approximately $41.3 million, after deducting underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses, and certain existing stockholders are selling 10 million shares of common stock. In addition, certain selling stockholders have granted the underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional 1,950,000 shares of common stock. Endurance will not receive any proceeds from the sale of shares of common stock by the selling stockholders. The offering is expected to close on or about November 26, 2014, subject to customary closing conditions. Must Read: Warren Buffett's 25 Favorite Stocks STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more. Endurance expects to use the net proceeds from the offering for general corporate purposes, which may include the repayment and refinancing of debt, working capital and capital expenditures. In addition, Endurance believes that opportunities may exist from time to time to expand its current business through acquisitions of or investments in complementary companies, businesses, products or technologies. While Endurance has no current agreements, commitments or understandings for any specific acquisitions or investments at this time, Endurance may use a portion of the net proceeds for these purposes. EIGI data by YCharts STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Aruba Networks were falling 11.2% to $19.36 after the communication devices company issues a light guidance for the fiscal second quarter. Aruba Networks said it expects earnings of 26 cents to 27 cents a share and revenue of $208 million to $212 million for the fiscal second quarter. Analysts expect the company to report earnings of 27 cents a share and revenue of $211.8 million for the quarter. For the fiscal first quarter Aruba Networks reported earnings of 26 cents a share, beating analysts' estimates of 25 cents a share for the quarter. Revenue grew 29.1% to $207.8 million, above analysts' estimates of $204.3 million. Must Read: Warren Buffett's 25 Favorite Stocks STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more. TheStreet Ratings team rates ARUBA NETWORKS INC as a Hold with a ratings score of C. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate ARUBA NETWORKS INC (ARUN) 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, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and solid stock price performance. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including disappointing return on equity and weak operating cash flow." You can view the full analysis from the report here: ARUN Ratings Report ARUN data by YCharts STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Investors' high spirits were palpable on Friday as U.S. stocks rocketed to all-time highs on decisive action from Europe and China to stimulate flagging growth in their regions. The S&P 500 was up 0.73%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was gaining 0.74%, and the Nasdaq was at its highest level in 14 years, up 0.63%. If momentum can be sustained through to the market close, the S&P and Dow will net new record closing highs after lifting the bar again on Thursday and would close out a fifth week of gains. Must Read: Warren Buffett's Top 10 Dividend Stocks The European Central Bank announced it had started buying asset-backed securities in a move to ease monetary policy and resuscitate growth in the eurozone. European markets were rocketing higher, with Germany's DAX gaining as much as 2.1%, as the ECB made its announcement via Twitter. "Following publication of legal act on the implementation of the ABS purchase programme, the Eurosystem has started the purchases on 21/11/2014," the central bank said. Markets were already on a tear after ECB President Mario Draghi talked of monetary easing policies in a speech. Addressing a banking conference in Frankfurt, Draghi said the eurozone's inflation was proving challenging and that the ECB was prepared to do "what we must to raise inflation and inflation expectations as fast as possible." The eurozone has been a lingering threat to global economic strength as troubled pockets of the region teeter on the cusp of deflation, most recently seen in the weakening growth in its largest economy Germany. Boosting Asian markets, China cut its interest rates by 25 basis points, its first rate cut in two years, as a solution to stalled growth in the world's second-largest economy. The move comes a day after the country's latest manufacturing PMI numbers fell to a six-month low. The Shanghai Composite closed 1.4% higher. Heavy machinery and construction company Caterpillar spiked 4.7% on news of China's stimulus measures. The company gleans 20% of total revenue from the Asia/Pacific region. Joy Global , which manufactures mining equipment, popped 4.5%. Oil prices eased from earlier session highs following the announcement of the stimulus measures. West Texas Intermediate crude futures for January delivery spiked 0.75% to $76.42 a barrel. Oil prices have been down in the dumps over the past few weeks as global oversupply outstripped demand. Brazilian stocks were gaining in anticipation that former banking executive Joaquim Levy will be named the country's finance minister and herald the beginning of market-friendly initiatives for the nation. President Dilma Rousseff's pick will be named later Friday. Steelmaker Vale surged 9% while oiler Petrobras spiked 7.5%. GameStop was plunging 14.1% after the games retail chain reported a 2.3% drop in comparable-store sales, due to the delayed launch of popular game "Assassins Creed Unity." Software companies Splunk and Autodesk were popping 5.6% and 7.5%, respectively, after posting better-than-expected third quarters. Must Read: 10 Stocks Billionaire John Paulson Loves in 2014 -- Written by Keris Alison Lahiff in New York.

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Some retailers simply execute better than others, said TheStreet's Jim Cramer, co-manager of the Action Alerts PLUS portfolio. And that's evident in Gap's disappointing earnings results. On Friday, Gap shares fell slightly more than 5% after it missed on third quarter revenue and earnings per share estimates, and provided weaker-than-expected full-year guidance. Gap has a market cap of $17.5 billion. Must Read: 10 Stocks Carl Icahn Loves in 2014 "They just don't have it," Cramer said on CNBC's "Cramer's Mad Dash" segment. Gap doesn't have the right assortment and merchandise, and is failing to execute at a high enough level. GameStop is another company struggling in this environment. Shares are down 13% following a top- and bottom-line miss, as well as weaker-than-expected guidance. While video game companies like Take-Two Interactive Software and Activision Blizzard are doing well, as is home entertainment retailer Best Buy , GameStop is struggling due to video games moving away from a physical disk and into a downloadable form. "You can't own the ones that did badly," Cramer said. "They don't come back." Instead, try owning the retailers that are doing well, like Target and Foot Locker . "There's a big bull market in footwear," he said, as Foot Locker beat on revenue and EPS estimates. Cramer also pointed out that Nike boosted its dividend by over 16% on Thursday, after topping analysts' estimates in the most recent quarter. Must Read: Retailers Could Get a Welcome Shot in the Arm This Holiday Season -- Written by Bret Kenwell Follow @BretKenwell // 0;if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs"); // ]]> TheStreet Ratings team rates GAMESTOP CORP as a Buy with a ratings score of B-. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate GAMESTOP CORP (GME) 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, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income, reasonable valuation levels and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins." You can view the full analysis from the report here: GME Ratings Report

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Editor's note: Jim Cramer's father, Ken Cramer, passed away earlier this week. The following piece is Jim's tribute to him. NEW YORK (Real Money) -- Pop loved seven things: his business, the stock market, his independence, his workouts, his country, the Eagles and his family. He talked about them until he died Wednesday night at a hospital in Philadelphia. Pop worked all his life. He was supposed to have retired when he turned 90, a little more than two years ago, but he couldn't bring himself to stop working. He had built a jobber business over 50 years, which was first called National Gift Wrap & Box Company and then International Packaging Products. He changed the name because it encompassed more products and sounded bigger. He sold gift wrap, tape, stretch bands, boxes, mostly 5-by-9-inch, and ribbon and everything else retailers needed -- mostly to men's and women's apparel shops and jewelry stores. When most of his customers were wiped out by the big-box chains like Wal-Mart and Target, he switched to an idea that he knew would work: doggie bags. He said Philadelphians were thrifty -- actually he said they were cheap -- and would always take home leftovers from fancy restaurants. So he sketched restaurant logos, knocked on doors and sold them bags. He got them made in China -- the Chinese loved him -- and in his 70s he rebuilt his business with beautiful takeout bags. Most of his gift-wrap mills that he repped went out of business, wiped out by takeovers or the Chinese. Same with the boxes and bags. He was an if-you-can't-beat-'em-join-'em kind of guy, though, so he worked with a Chinese mill. His last order was for Bar San Miguel, my restaurant in Brooklyn. People love the bags. He said I bought the second-highest-quality one he sold, after the Four Seasons in Philadelphia. He officially closed shop in 2012, but I caught him trying to type an invoice earlier this year, even as his fingers started failing him. He said he didn't want to let his customers down. He got an MBA from Temple University after the war, and he taught me everything about business, as I made sales calls with him for years and years. Some people treated my father terribly, especially at Christmas time. He worked seven days a week from Thanksgiving until Christmas. We never saw him during that period. We had many lean years. His customers were always going under, getting him stuck with printed bags that he had bought on credit for them. For years I used lunch bags from "Moana," some deadbeat women's-clothing store that stiffed my dad and wrecked his year. That's how it works with small businesses. Inventory was the bane of his existence. Too much Christmas wrap after the holidays meant it was hard to put food on the table. Rich people should know that's how real business works. It's why you should hate recessions and love anyone who tries to make things better for the economy. He thought former Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke did a great job. Didn't care for the other pols. Pop loved the stock market. He loved CNBC and TheStreet.com. He watched Mad Money and Squawk on the Street religiously. He loved Mark Haines. He loved all our shows, and was thrilled when he got to meet anchors like Scott Wapner and David Faber, Brian Sullivan and Carl Quintanilla and many others. He followed hundreds of stocks. He loved the interviews. We talked at 7:01 p.m. many nights to go over the show. On his last night he told me to be careful of Priceline because Trivago had more compelling ads. I won't reveal a name, but he told me a recent guest was a big phony and didn't know his stuff and that his company's stock should be sold. He loved that my nephew, Cliff Mason (my sister Nan's kid), wrote Mad Money with me. He took Action Alerts PLUS and thought co-portfolio manager Stephanie Link was terrific, and he stayed active watching the network all day with his computer by his side, reading the alerts as they came out. He was a CNBC junkie, for sure, and loved the bosses for treating me right, and also loved my lawyer Bruce Birenboim and my agent Henry Reisch for keeping me out of trouble. He loved when I was on the Today Show and he hated a certain comedian who embarrassed me for no reason. I won't mention his name, either. He thought Regina Gilgan, our executive producer, was amazing. I am sorry if I left anyone else out. My mom died in 1985, but he still loved her and never remarried. He talked lovingly about her the night he died and wished she had been there. He thought she was an angel, which, of course, she was. But he took his independence seriously and lived alone in Society Hill Towers in Philadelphia for almost 30 years. He bought that long-term care insurance so he could be independent. When he had a stroke three years ago and needed round-the-clock help, we had to fight those sons of bitches who wrote the policies to get the money they owed him to pay the nurse. I hate those guys because they tried to beat their obligations. We wouldn't let them get away with it, but don't tell Pop, because getting them to keep their word cost us almost as much as what the reimbursement was worth. I won't mention the company's name, but it was a disgrace, and if you have that insurance or your loved ones do, be prepared for them to try to screw you. I hope they won't. But many will try. I know that now. My father loved working out. He did so almost every day until his mid-80s, and he was strong as an ox. They called him The Animal, and he had a huge number of friends from the gym. If you are old, keep working out. If your parents are old, buy 'em a gym membership. Do that today. He also had to lift all of the boxes and bags that came from the mill. The truckers were unionized, and they usually didn't help. Even in his 80s. Thanks for nothing, guys -- except you kept him strong. My Pop loved his country. He volunteered for World War II and made nine hot landings in the Pacific. I went through his papers yesterday and I found his honorable discharge and learned he had won the Bronze Star for valor in the battle to retake the Philippines. I didn't know that. He didn't talk about the war. He said it was too horrible and that they had to kill too many people. He was part of the occupying force in Tokyo, and he said the Japanese were humbled and very respectful. He liked that. He met Tyrone Power, then a soldier, in Kyoto, and Power was nice to him. He never forgot that. He liked that war remembrance. Pop loved going to the Eagles games with me. We had season tickets with my buddy Tom McGrath. Pop got pneumonia sitting outside during a playoff game in 2005. He never wore more than a light jacket. He was real sick when we went to the Super Bowl in Jacksonville, Fla., to see us lose to the Pats. He wasn't going to miss it. After his bout with pneumonia, Tommy and I split a box so he wouldn't get cold again. We didn't like to miss games. He couldn't go this year, as he was too frail, but three weeks ago he told me he was going to the Titans game this Sunday and that he would be willing to use his walker or a wheelchair. We sat next to each other every game and he loved cheering, especially on their third down, so the opposing quarterback wouldn't be able to think. He loved the crowd in the box, including the CNBCers I brought. Especially the crew. He loved the crew guys. And the anchors. He always said, "Call me Ken," but they always called him Mr. Cramer. He will always be Mr. Cramer. I will always be Jimmy. We buried him with his Eagles hat. Most of all, he loved me and my sister and his grandkids, as well as my sister's husband Todd Mason and my wife-to-be Lisa Detwiler. Nan took care of him much better than I did. We were at his bedside when he died at 1:40 a.m. on Nov. 20. He was lucid to the end and, at 10:30 p.m., he said, "Now we know why Sanchez was just the backup quarterback to Foles." He was upset that his last game was the Packer beat-down. He told me former Florida Governor Jeb Bush could win the presidency if he ran. He knew politics well. He gave me some concrete ideas about business two hours before he died, even though he had an oxygen tube in his mouth, which he hated. My sister and I slept on couches next to Pop at the hospital. He said he was glad he had his pals around him and that he loved us. We said the same. It was the last thing we said other than, "See you in the mernin'," which is how he always pronounced it. But we didn't see him. We went to sleep and when we awoke he was no longer alive. Our last day together was our best one. That's how it should be. Strong to the end. So long, Pop. We love you. At the time of publication, Action Alerts PLUS, which Cramer co-manages as a charitable trust, had no positions in the securities mentioned.


NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of oil and natural gas drilling contractor Nabors Industries rose 4.21% to $17.06 in morning trading Friday as oil prices recovered following a multi-week slide. Oil futures rose 0.87%, or 66 cents, to $76.51 on Friday morning. Brent crude oil futures climbed 1.05%, or 83 cents, to $80.16. Oil prices climbed Friday after the People's Bank of China announced surprise interest rate cuts, a sign that the world's most populous nation is taking steps to address its stalling economy. Must Read: Warren Buffett's 25 Favorite Stocks STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more. The People's Bank of China trimmed its one-year deposit rate by 0.25% and its one-year loan rate by 0.4%. It also announced it would allow more flexibility in deposit rates. Prior to China's move, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi indicated that the bank was prepared to increase asset buying. Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates NABORS INDUSTRIES LTD as a "hold" with a ratings score of C+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate NABORS INDUSTRIES LTD (NBR) 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, compelling growth in net income and attractive valuation levels. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself and poor profit margins." Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows: NBR's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 15.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 16.9%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share. NABORS INDUSTRIES LTD reported significant earnings per share improvement in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. But, we feel it is poised for EPS growth in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, NABORS INDUSTRIES LTD reported lower earnings of $0.51 versus $0.80 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.20 versus $0.51). NBR has underperformed the S&P 500 Index, declining 5.63% from its price level of one year ago. Looking ahead, we do not see anything in this company's numbers that would change the one-year trend. It was down over the last twelve months; and it could be down again in the next twelve. Naturally, a bull or bear market could sway the movement of this stock. The gross profit margin for NABORS INDUSTRIES LTD is currently lower than what is desirable, coming in at 34.83%. It has decreased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 5.84% trails that of the industry average. You can view the full analysis from the report here: NBR Ratings Report STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of GameStop were falling 14.8% to $37.39 Friday after the video game retailer missed analysts' estimates for the third quarter and lowered its full year guidance. GameStop reported earnings of 57 cents a share for the third quarter, below the 61 cents a share that analysts expected for the quarter. Revenue fell 0.9% year over year to $2.09 billion, below analysts' estimates of $2.2 billion. GameStop said it now expects to report earnings of $3.40 to $3.55 a share for the full year, down from its previous estimate of $3.40 to $3.70 a share for the year. Analysts expect earnings of $3.68 a share for the year. Must Read: Warren Buffett's 25 Favorite Stocks STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more. The video game retailer said that comp able sales fell 2.3% from the year-ago quarter due to delay of Assassin's Creed: Unity. New hardware sales grew 147.4% in the quarter, though new software fell 34.4% from the year-ago quarter. TheStreet Ratings team rates GAMESTOP CORP as a Buy with a ratings score of B-. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate GAMESTOP CORP (GME) 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, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income, reasonable valuation levels and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins." You can view the full analysis from the report here: GME Ratings Report GME data by YCharts STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Net Element continue to soar, up 12.09% to $2.04, in morning trading Friday after IFS Securities issued a third-quarter update on the mobile payments technology company on Thursday. The firm reiterated its "strong buy" rating with a price target of $5.50. "The company's strategic transition toward mobile payment processing and value-added transactional services continue to drive improved performance during Q3 2014," said Alex McKenzie, IFS Securities President and CEO, in a research note. Must Read: Warren Buffett's 25 Favorite Stocks STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more. "Additionally, the significant debt reduction initiatives undertaken by management lowered its outstanding total debt balance by $13.7 million to $3.3 million at the end of Q3 2014," McKenzie added. More than 3.3 million shares had changed hands as of 10:32 a.m., compared to the average daily volume of 2,564,550. NETE data by YCharts STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) - Roughly 700,000 Toyota vehicles have been recalled because of the Takata air-bag issue. But as Robert Carter, Toyota's senior vice president of automotive operations, explained to TheStreet TV, the automaker already began recalling its own vehicles for that issue as early as April 2013. At the Los Angeles Auto Show, Carter told TheStreet's Ruben Ramirez that vehicles in high humidity environments tend to be at more risk for Takata's faulty air-bag inflators -- a product that is affecting other large automakers such as Ford , General Motors and Honda . Must Read: Warren Buffett’s Top 10 Dividend Stocks Toyota is working with Takata and other suppliers to get high-quality inflators to customers. Toyota Motors TM data by YCharts Carter also spoke about hydrogen fuel cells. Toyota plans to launch its hydrogen fuel cell car in the fall of 2015, and is working with the state of California and private parties to build the required infrastructure. The vehicle takes only three to five minutes to fill and has a range of about 300 miles, while the only emission is water vapor. Toyota is also working on an off-board generation system that would allow the car to power a customer's home for up to a week, should he lose power, Carter explained. Carter acknowledged that building the required infrastructure will take a while and said that the industry is at a "turning point" with the new fuel. "I think it's the way of the future," he said of hydrogen fuel-cell cars. Shifting gears, he said that "it's a wonderful time to buy in the car business," in regards to the overall auto market. U.S. auto sales have done well in 2014, and Toyota expects to sell about 2.3 million vehicles with its three brands, Toyota, Lexus and Scion. That's 100,000 more vehicles than it sold in 2013, Carter added. The gain is being driven by strong Highlander and RAV4 sports-utility vehicle sales. Demand has been so strong, the company has invested more money in its plant in Indiana that produces the Highlander. The move will boost production and add 400 additional jobs to the area, Carter concluded. Must Read: 17 New Hollywood Movies You Will Want to See Over the Holidays -- Written by Bret Kenwell Follow @BretKenwell TheStreet Ratings team rates TOYOTA MOTOR CORP as a Buy with a ratings score of A-. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate TOYOTA MOTOR CORP (TM) 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, growth in earnings per share, increase in net income 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." You can view the full analysis from the report here: TM Ratings Report

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Dow Chemical Co. and Third Point LLC announced a truce Friday, with the chemicals giant adding four new independent directors to its board and the activist fund agreeing to a one-year standstill. Midland, Mich.-based Dow said that Robert S. Miller, chairman of American International Group Inc. , US Bancorp CEO Richard Davis, one-time Foster Wheeler AG CEO Raymond J. Milchovich and former IBM Co. chief financial officer Mark Loughridge will join its board in 2015. Third Point will vote in favor of the company's nominees, and pledged to withhold further criticism of Dow for one year. Milchovich and Miller were both on an unofficial advisory board Third Point created to advise the company. The agreement follows an increasingly heated dispute between the company and its shareholder, culminating with Third Point last week launching a web site critical of Dow's plans. The site appeared to have been taken down on Friday morning. Dow has been involved in an ongoing transformation that began in 2008 when it purchased Rohm and Haas Co. for $18.8 billion. The company in the years since has divested numerous assets and reworked joint ventures, pledging earlier this month to sell a total of $8.5 billion in assets and repurchase upwards of $14.5 billion in shares. Third Point, led by CEO Daniel Loeb, has pushed the company to go further and explore separating its commodity chemical operations from its specialty products business. A chemicals source said the agreement between Dow and Third Point likely also envisions Dow eventually replacing CEO Andrew Liveris, the architect of the company's many moves over the last decade and a target of criticism from the activist. Dow and Third Point in a statement said they "both are pleased to have resolved the matter amicably and to have arrived at an agreeable path forward," saying neither side will make any further public comment.

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The United Kingdom has surrendered in its fight against European Union-wide banker bonus caps, abandoning a legal challenge at the EU's highest court but urging global regulators to study the growing trend of inflated salaries. The climbdown by Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne came hours after a top adviser to the Court of Justice of the European Union in Luxembourg recommended that judges dismiss the U.K.'s challenge, though a decision had not been expected until next year. In an open letter from Osborne to Bank of England Governor Mark Carney, who chairs the G20's Financial Stability Board, the Conservative politician wrote that even though the EU bonus clampdown risked pushing "base" salaries up, "it now looks clear that there are minimal prospects for success with our legal challenge, so we will no longer pursue it." "But that should not stop us from pursuing our objective of ensuring a system of remuneration that encourages responsibility instead of undermining it," he added. The measure in question, passed by EU governments in 2013, prohibits bonuses of more than twice fixed salary, part of stricter bank and liquidity rules known as the Capital Requirements Directive IV, or CRD IV. Unable to stop the measure from going ahead, the U.K. took its battle to court, arguing that the bonus ceiling oversteps the EU's powers. In Thursday's opinion, EU Court of Justice advocate general Niilo Jääskinen recommended that judges reject the U.K.'s entire case and dismiss its action. Jääskinen said the bonus restriction is legally sound and didn't equate to an EU-wide fixing of pay limits, and noted that there is no limit anyway to basic salary or total pay. Although there was no certainty the Court would follow the opinion, it does so in the large majority of cases.


NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The former central bank chiefs of the U.S. and U.K. reportedly told a private audience earlier this week the global economic recovery has taken a lot longer than either expected. Speaking at a CME Group conference in Florida, former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and ex-Bank of England Governor Mervyn King expressed pessimism about a recovery in Europe, with King more bearish than Bernanke. Must Read: Warren Buffett's Top 10 Dividend Stocks The views of the former central bank chiefs were expressed at a closed-door session Monday. Their remarks were recounted to TheStreet by commodities industry executives who were in attendance. The session was moderated by Financial Times Managing Editor Gillian Tett. King, interviewed by TheStreet following the session, declined to discuss what he and Bernanke had said. A representative for Bernanke at the Washington Speakers Bureau did not respond to emails or a phone call. Six years since the financial crisis, the U.S. economy has mostly recovered. Europe, in contrast, continues to struggle in many respects, with high unemployment and GDP growth for the euro area stubbornly below 1%. In an interview with Bloomberg Television at the same event in Florida, King said stagnation in the eurozone poses the biggest risk to a global recovery because "I don't think the leaders in the euro area actually have a true vision of how to cope with the problem." He said Europe's leaders are trying to put in place structural reforms "but that is not going to be sufficient to generate a recovery. They also need to have macroeconomic stimulus." Economics data last week showed Germany and France posted growth in the third quarter, Bloomberg News reported, but Italy's economy shrank in the second quarter. Read More: El-Erian Sees Potential Disruption, Shrinkage, for Big U.S. Banks At the CME session, Bernanke and King also talked about bitcoin. Asked by an audience member about the crypto currency, both former central bank chiefs agreed bitcoin is a bad investment. King said one of the lessons from the financial crisis is not investing in things you don't understand. He said the algorithm used to help determine the value of bitcoin may prove problematic. Bernanke, meanwhile, said the potential for bitcoin to be used to fund illegal activities means it would probably result in regulators shutting it down if its use became widespread. King also joked about being asked for investment advice by an audience member, saying the only other person who had asked him for investment advice was a taxi cab driver. Bernanke said the Federal Reserve could handle rising interest rates without sustaining major losses to its bond portfolio. The two also discussed remarks by former French President Nicholas Sarkozy made during an earlier session at the meeting. Sarkozy said the 18 countries that have adopted the euro as their common currency need to work harder to form a more solid union than they have currently, and to distance themselves from the 10 European Union countries that have not yet adopted the euro. Bernanke and King were impressed, saying they had never heard a European politician make such a statement. Sarkozy said he didn't think Ukraine should be admitted to the European Union because a buffer zone is needed between the European Union and Russia. A representative for Sarkozy, also at the Washington Speakers Bureau, did not respond to emails or a phone call. Read More: CFTC Chief Massad: Futures Industry Is Healthy and I'm Keeping It That Way Follow @dan_freed

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) - If you're of a certain age and thinking about retirement, don't let warm weather be the deciding factor in where to spend your golden years. That's because some of the worst cites for retirees are in warm weather states like Florida and Arizona, according to a new report by the Milken Institute, an independent, economic think tank based in Santa Monica, Calif. The report ranks the 100 largest U.S. metropolitan areas based on criteria important to seniors: health care, crime rates, economic and job conditions, housing, transportation and, yes, weather. The study comes as more than 75 million baby boomers are either retired or on the verge of retirement. If you're among them, click through to see which places you might want to avoid. Also check out the surprising list of best cities for retirement. 12. Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, Pa.-N.J. 11. Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Ariz. Must Read: 10 States With the Highest Taxes: Economic Powerhouses Lead Way 10. North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, Fla. 9. Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, Fla. Must Read: 10 States With the Lowest Taxes: Cheap Places to Launch Businesses, Buy Goods 8. Cape Coral, Fort Myers, Fla. 7. Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, Nev. Must Read: 10 Expensive Neighborhoods Where People Want to Live but Can't Afford It 6. Fresno, Calif. 5. Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, Fla. Must Read: The 23 Countries With the Most Extreme Income Inequality 4. Lakeland-Winter Haven, Fla. 3. Bakersfield, Calif. Must Read: 14 Best Places in the World to Live and Work If You Are an Expat 2. Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif. 1. Stockton-Lodi, Calif. Must Read: 12 Best Business Schools That Will Help You Get a Great Job More Slideshows You Might Like 12 Hottest Chili Peppers in the World and the Three Best for Cooking Chili 10 Best Countries in the World: Germany Dethrones U.S. in Nation Brands Index Survey 10 Best MBA Programs for Minting Billionaires --Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York. Follow @LKulikowski // 0;if(!d.getElementByIdid)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs"); // ]]>