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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Sirius XM Holdings rose Thursday after the satellite radio provider reported first-quarter earnings that surpassed analysts' expectations. The company posted an 11% year-over-year revenue increase to $997.7 million from $897.4 million thanks to additional subscribers that remained with the service after a promotional period. This figure beat the estimate of $994.6 million from analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Net income dropped to $93.9 million, or 2 cents a share, from $123.6 million, or 2 cents a share, in the same period one year earlier. The company added 173,480 net self-pay subscribers in the quarter, which increased the total subscriber number to 25.8 million. The stock was up 0.63% to $3.19 at 9:41 a.m. on Thursday. Must Read: Warren Buffett's 10 Favorite Growth Stocks SELL NOW: If you own any of the 900 stocks that TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified as a 'Sell'...you could potentially lose EVERYTHING in the next 6-12 months. Learn more. ---------- Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates SIRIUS XM HOLDINGS INC as a "hold" with a ratings score of C+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate SIRIUS XM HOLDINGS INC (SIRI) 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, good cash flow from operations and expanding profit margins. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity and premium valuation." Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows: SIRI's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 3.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 12.1%. This growth in revenue does not appear to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, displayed by a decline in earnings per share. Net operating cash flow has increased to $358.58 million or 22.28% when compared to the same quarter last year. The firm also exceeded the industry average cash flow growth rate of -2.16%. The gross profit margin for SIRIUS XM HOLDINGS INC is rather high; currently it is at 60.37%. Regardless of SIRI's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 6.51% trails the industry average. 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 Media industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 58.3% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $156.25 million to $65.20 million. You can view the full analysis from the report here: SIRI Ratings Report STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet's Stocks Under $10 has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12-months. Learn more.

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Caterpillar shares are up 3.7% to $107.17 in early market trading following the release of the company's earnings report on Thursday.The construction and mining equipment manufacturer posted first quarter revenue of $13.24 billion, beating analysts expectations of $13.14 billion.The company posted a first quarter profit of $922 million, or $1.61 (excluding restructuring costs), beating analysts estimates by 37 cents.Caterpillar also raised its full year profit outlook to $6.10 up 25 cents from its previous outlook, citing growing demand from builders as a reason for the more optimistic guidance.Must Read: Warren Buffett's 10 Favorite StocksSELL NOW: If you own any of the 900 stocks that TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified as a 'Sell'...you could potentially lose EVERYTHING in the next 6-12 months. Learn more. TheStreet Ratings team rates CATERPILLAR INC as a Buy with a ratings score of B+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate CATERPILLAR INC (CAT) 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 solid stock price performance, increase in net income, good cash flow from operations and growth in earnings per share. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had generally high debt management risk by most measures that we evaluated." Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows: Looking at where the stock is today compared to one year ago, we find that it is not only higher, but it has also clearly outperformed the rise in the S&P 500 over the same period. Although other factors naturally played a role, the company's strong earnings growth was key. Turning our attention to the future direction of the stock, it goes without saying that even the best stocks can fall in an overall down market. However, in any other environment, this stock still has good upside potential despite the fact that it has already risen in the past year. The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has exceeded that of the S&P 500 and greatly outperformed compared to the Machinery industry average. The net income increased by 43.9% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $697.00 million to $1,003.00 million. Net operating cash flow has increased to $2,580.00 million or 30.36% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, CATERPILLAR INC has also modestly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of 27.90%. CATERPILLAR INC has improved earnings per share by 48.1% 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, CATERPILLAR INC reported lower earnings of $5.75 versus $8.49 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($5.90 versus $5.75). Regardless of the drop in revenue, the company managed to outperform against the industry average of 17.2%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 10.4%. The declining revenue has not hurt the company's bottom line, with increasing earnings per share. You can view the full analysis from the report here: CAT Ratings Report STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet's Stocks Under $10 has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12-months. Learn more.

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- U.S. markets opened higher Thursday, with the Nasdaq bolstered by a rise in shares of Apple and Facebook after their upbeat earnings reports. Caterpillar and General Motors were contributing to the strength after beating Wall Street's bottom-line estimates. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was rising 0.18% to 16,531.90 while the S&P 500 was up 0.38% to 1,882.58. The Nasdaq was 0.92% higher to 4,165.67. The March headline number for durable goods orders rose more than expected, up 2.6% vs. the average estimate of 2%. Jobless claims for the week of April 19 increased by 24,000 to a more-than-expected 329,000 from upwardly revised prior week levels. The four-week moving average edged up by 4,750 to 316,750. Apple shares were popping more than 8% after the tech behemoth posted fiscal second-quarter earnings that beat Wall Street estimates, and announced a 7-for-1 stock split. Facebook was adding on 3.19% after the social media giant reported first-quarter earnings and revenue that topped expectations as advertising revenue grew more than expected. Thursday is heavy on corporate earnings announcements, with Amazon and Microsoft being among companies set to report after the closing bell. Amazon is expected to post first-quarter earnings of 23 cents a share on revenue of $19.43 billion. Microsoft is expected to report fiscal third-quarter earnings of 63 cents per share on revenue of $20.39 billion. General Motors was gaining 3.61% after producing first-quarter earnings per share that topped estimates by 2 cents at 6 cents. Caterpillar was advancing more than 3% after posting quarterly earnings that exceeded expectations by 20 cents at $1.44 a share. Verizon was off 0.44% as quarterly revenue beat estimates; earnings per share were 3 cents below expectations at 84 cents. General Electric was down 0.04% following a Bloomberg report that the company is in talks to buy Alstom, the French builder of trains and power plants. International markets were mixed on Thursday. The Hang Seng closed up 0.24% while the Nikkei slipped 0.97%. Germany's DAX was dropping 0.17% while the U.K. FTSE was gaining 0.54%. Major U.S. stock markets slipped Wednesday amid tepid Chinese economic data and a 14.5% month-over-month drop in U.S. new-home sales. -- By Jane Searle in New York

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Tsakos Energy Navigation stock is tumbling on Thursday after the company announced it intends to offer 11 million shares of common stock in a public offering. By market open, shares had tanked 11.9% to $7.36. The company's largest shareholder, Tsakos Holdings Foundation, said affiliated entities would likely purchase up to 10% of common shares sold in the offering. Additionally, underwriters have been granted a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional 1.65 million common shares. In a statement, the company said it plans to use net proceeds to "finance the expansion and modernization of its fleet through its vessel acquisition program, including installment payments on its existing crude oil carrier newbuilding program pursuant to its strategic partnership with a well-known oil major." Morgan Stanley, UBS and Wells Fargo are acting as joint book-running managers of the offering. Must Read: Warren Buffett's 10 Favorite Growth Stocks SELL NOW: If you own any of the 900 stocks that TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified as a 'Sell'...you could potentially lose EVERYTHING in the next 6-12 months. Learn more. TheStreet Ratings team rates TSAKOS ENERGY NAVIGATION LTD as a Hold with a ratings score of C-. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate TSAKOS ENERGY NAVIGATION LTD (TNP) a HOLD. The primary factors that have impacted our rating are mixed -- some indicating strength, some showing weaknesses, with little evidence to justify the expectation of either a positive or negative performance for this stock relative to most other stocks. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, solid stock price performance and expanding profit margins. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including unimpressive growth in net income, generally higher debt management risk and weak operating cash flow." Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows: The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 7.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 4.7%. This growth in revenue does not appear to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, displayed by a decline in earnings per share. Compared to its closing price of one year ago, TNP's share price has jumped by 112.60%, exceeding the performance of the broader market during that same time frame. Regarding the stock's future course, our hold rating indicates that we do not recommend additional investment in this stock despite its gains in the past year. TSAKOS ENERGY NAVIGATION LTD 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. But, we feel it is poised for EPS growth in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, TSAKOS ENERGY NAVIGATION LTD continued to lose money by earning -$0.72 versus -$0.90 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.28 versus -$0.72). The company, on the basis of change in net income from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed against the S&P 500 and did not exceed that of the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 45.9% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from -$24.40 million to -$35.59 million. The debt-to-equity ratio of 1.38 is relatively high when compared with the industry average, suggesting a need for better debt level management. You can view the full analysis from the report here: TNP Ratings Report STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet's Stocks Under $10 has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12-months. Learn more.

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DELAFIELD, Wis. (Stockpickr) -- Professional traders running mutual funds and hedge funds don't just look at a stock's price moves; they also track big changes in volume activity. Often when above-average volume moves into an equity, it precedes a large spike in volatility. >>6 Stocks With Big Insider Buying Major moves in volume can signal unusual activity, such as insider buying or selling -- or buying or selling by "superinvestors." Unusual volume can also be a major signal that hedge funds and momentum traders are piling into a stock ahead of a catalyst. These types of traders like to get in well before a large spike, so it's always a smart move to monitor unusual volume. That said, remember to combine trend and price action with unusual volume. Put them all together to help you decipher the next big trend for any stock. >>QE5 Is Coming -- Here Is What It Means to Your Portfolio With that in mind, let's take a look at several stocks rising on unusual volume recently. MacroGenics , a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, focuses on discovering and developing monoclonal antibody-based therapeutics for the treatment of cancer and autoimmune diseases. This stock closed up 7.5% to $20.65 in Wednesday's trading session. Wednesday's Volume: 634,000 Three-Month Average Volume: 231,645 Volume % Change: 145% From a technical perspective, MGNX ripped sharply higher here right above its 52-week low of $18.35 with strong upside volume. This stock has been downtrending badly for the last month, with shares plunging lower from its high of $38.55 to that low of $18.35. During that move, shares of MGNX have been consistently making lower highs and lower lows, which is bearish technical price action. That said, shares of MGNX have now started to bounce higher off oversold levels, since its current relative strength index reading is 31. Traders should now look for long-biased trades in MGNX as long as it's trending above its 52-week low of $18.35 and then once it sustains a move or close above Wednesday's high of $21.24 to $22 with volume that hits near or above 231,645 shares. If that breakout gets underway soon, then MGNX will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $24.50 to $28. Air Methods , together with its subsidiaries, provides air medical emergency transport services and systems in the U.S. This stock closed up 2.7% at $53.59 in Wednesday's trading session. Wednesday's Volume: 638,000 Three-Month Average Volume: 363,385 Volume % Change: 148% From a technical perspective, AIRM trended higher here right off some near-term support at $50 and back above its 50-day moving average of $52.87 with strong upside volume. This stock recently formed a double bottom chart pattern at $49.43 to $49.35. Since forming that bottom, shares of AIRM have started to spike higher back above its 50-day and it's now moving within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit if AIRM manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance levels at $55.63 to $56.97 with high volume. Traders should now look for long-biased trades in AIRM as long as it's trending above $50 or those double bottom support zones and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that this near or above 363,385 shares. If that breakout materializes soon, then AIRM will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance level at its 52-week high of $59.07. Any high-volume move above that level will then give AIRM a chance to trend north of $60. Medallion Financial is engaged in originating, acquiring and servicing loans that finance taxicab medallions and various types of commercial businesses. This stock closed up 8.1% at $14.23 in Wednesday's trading session. Wednesday's Volume: 681,000 Three-Month Average Volume: 167,197 Volume % Change: 315% From a technical perspective, TAXI gapped sharply higher here back above its 50-day moving average of $13.67 with heavy upside volume. This move is quickly pushing shares of TAXI within range of triggering a major breakout trade. That trade will hit if TAXI manages to take out its 200-day moving average of $14.29 and then once it clears more key resistance levels at $14.38 to $14.51 with high volume. Traders should now look for long-biased trades in TAXI as long as it's trending above Wednesday's low of $13.52 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 167,197 shares. If that breakout starts soon, then TAXI will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $15.50 to $16. Any high-volume move above $16 will then give TAXI a chance to re-fill some of its previous gap-down-day zone from last December that started near $17.50. To see more stocks rising on unusual volume, check out the Stocks Rising on Unusual Volume portfolio on Stockpickr. -- Written by Roberto Pedone in Delafield, Wis. RELATED LINKS: >>3 Big Tech Stocks Getting Big Attention >>3 Stocks Under $10 Making Big Moves >>5 Stocks Set to Soar on Bullish Earnings Follow Stockpickr on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Qualcomm has had its price target increased to $84 from $79, Oppenheimer said Thursday. The firm also increased its earnings estimates to $5.19 a share from $5.10 a share over fiscal 2014. Full-year 2015 earnings estimates were bumped to $5.67 a share from $5.52 a share. "Qualcomm remains the best positioned to capitalize from the eventual ramp of 4G-LTE in China. We still see this as a potential upside source, albeit later in the year," analyst Ittai Kidron wrote in the report. Must Read: Warren Buffett's 10 Favorite Growth Stocks SELL NOW: If you own any of the 900 stocks that TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified as a 'Sell'...you could potentially lose EVERYTHING in the next 6-12 months. Learn more. ------------------------------- TheStreet Ratings team rates QUALCOMM INC as a Buy with a ratings score of A. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate QUALCOMM INC (QCOM) 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, notable return on equity, good cash flow from operations and solid stock price performance. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income." You can view the full analysis from the report here: QCOM Ratings Report STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet's Stocks Under $10 has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12-months. Learn more.

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text 3 Stocks Spiking on Unusual Volume
Thu, 24 Apr 2014 13:30 GMT

DELAFIELD, Wis. (Stockpickr) -- Professional traders running mutual funds and hedge funds don't just look at a stock's price moves; they also track big changes in volume activity. Often when above-average volume moves into an equity, it precedes a large spike in volatility. >>6 Stocks With Big Insider Buying Major moves in volume can signal unusual activity, such as insider buying or selling -- or buying or selling by "superinvestors." Unusual volume can also be a major signal that hedge funds and momentum traders are piling into a stock ahead of a catalyst. These types of traders like to get in well before a large spike, so it's always a smart move to monitor unusual volume. That said, remember to combine trend and price action with unusual volume. Put them all together to help you decipher the next big trend for any stock. >>QE5 Is Coming -- Here Is What It Means to Your Portfolio With that in mind, let's take a look at several stocks rising on unusual volume recently. Insmed , a biopharmaceutical company, focuses on developing and commercializing inhaled therapies for patients with serious lung diseases. This stock closed up 3.3% at $14.51 in Wednesday's trading session. Wednesday's Volume: 1.56 million Three-Month Average Volume: 823,433 Volume % Change: 165% From a technical perspective, INSM trended higher here with strong upside volume flows. This stock recently collapsed from its high of $20.04 to its low of $11.90. During that downtrend, shares of INSM have been consistently making lower highs and lower lows, which is bearish technical price action. That said, shares of INSM have now started to form a V-shaped bottom off that $11.90 low as the stock has spiked back to its current price of $14.50. Market players should now look for a continuation move higher in the short-term if INSM manages to take out Wednesday's high of $15.07 to its 200-day moving average of $15.76 with high volume. Traders should now look for long-biased trades in INSM as long as it's trending above Wednesday's low of $13.50 or above $13 and then once it sustains a move or close above $15.07 to $15.76 with volume that's near or above 823,433 shares. If that move kicks off soon, then INSM will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at its 50-day moving average of $17.54 to $18. SunEdison develops, manufactures and sells silicon wafers to the semiconductor industry. This stock closed up 1.3% at $20.33 in Wednesday's trading session. Wednesday's Volume: 25.25 million Three-Month Average Volume: 12.94 million Volume % Change: 405% From a technical perspective, SUNE trended modestly higher here and broke out above some near-term overhead resistance at $20.30 with monster upside volume. This move is quickly pushing shares of SUNE within range of triggering a much bigger breakout trade. That trade will hit if SUNE manages to take out some key near-term overhead resistance levels at $21.76 to its 52-week high at $21.93 with high volume. Traders should now look for long-biased trades in SUNE as long as it's trending above its 50-day at $18.45 or above $18 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that's near or above 12.94 million shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then SUNE will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that breakout are $25 to $30. Illumina develops, manufactures and markets life science tools and integrated systems for the analysis of genetic variation and function in North America, Europe, Latin America, the Asia-Pacific, the Middle East and South Africa This stock closed up 3.8% at $153.69 in Wednesday's trading session. Wednesday's Volume: 5.51 million Three-Month Average Volume: 2.24 million Volume % Change: 186% From a technical perspective, ILMN gapped up notably higher here with heavy upside volume. This move briefly pushed shares of ILMN back above its 50-day moving average of $157.25, before the stock closed just below that level at $153.69. This spike higher on Wednesday is starting to push shares of ILMN within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit if ILMN manages to take out Wednesday's high of $158.50 to some more near-term overhead resistance at $162.21 with high volume. Traders should now look for long-biased trades in ILMN as long as it's trending above Wednesday's low of $149.31 or above $146.50 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that's near or above 2.24 million shares. If that breakout kicks off soon, then ILMN will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $167 to $170. Any high-volume move above those levels will then give ILMN a chance to tag its 52-week high at $183.30. To see more stocks rising on unusual volume, check out the Stocks Rising on Unusual Volume portfolio on Stockpickr. -- Written by Roberto Pedone in Delafield, Wis. RELATED LINKS: >>3 Big Tech Stocks Getting Big Attention >>3 Stocks Under $10 Making Big Moves >>5 Stocks Set to Soar on Bullish Earnings Follow Stockpickr on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- HMS Holdings was upgraded to "outperform" from "perform" by Oppenheimer Thursday. The firm set a price target of $20 for the company. According to Oppenheimer analysts HMS stock has completely discounted the risk associated with an RAC renewal. Must read: Warren Buffett's 10 Favorite Growth Stocks SELL NOW: If you own any of the 900 stocks that TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified as a 'Sell'...you could potentially lose EVERYTHING in the next 6-12 months. Learn more. -------------- Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates HMS HOLDINGS CORP as a Hold with a ratings score of C. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate HMS HOLDINGS CORP (HMSY) a HOLD. The primary factors that have impacted our rating are mixed -- some indicating strength, some showing weaknesses, with little evidence to justify the expectation of either a positive or negative performance for this stock relative to most other stocks. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its reasonable valuation levels, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and expanding profit margins. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including disappointing return on equity, weak operating cash flow and a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself." Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows: Despite currently having a low debt-to-equity ratio of 0.47, it is higher than that of the industry average, inferring that management of debt levels may need to be evaluated further. Even though the debt-to-equity ratio shows mixed results, the company's quick ratio of 3.07 is very high and demonstrates very strong liquidity. 41.50% is the gross profit margin for HMS HOLDINGS CORP which we consider to be strong. Regardless of HMSY's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, HMSY's net profit margin of 9.12% compares favorably to the industry average. Net operating cash flow has declined marginally to $25.98 million or 7.61% when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite a decrease in cash flow HMS HOLDINGS CORP is still fairing well by exceeding its industry average cash flow growth rate of -21.40%. The company's current return on equity has slightly decreased from the same quarter one year prior. This implies a minor weakness in the organization. When compared to other companies in the Health Care Technology industry and the overall market, HMS HOLDINGS CORP's return on equity is below that of both the industry average and the S&P 500. You can view the full analysis from the report here: HMSY Ratings Report STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet's Stocks Under $10 has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12-months. Learn more.

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Chicago (TheStreet) -- United reported a loss in a quarter when its two principal rivals reported record profit. United said severe winter weather was only partially to blame. Excluding items, the carrier lost $489 million, or $1.33 a share. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters had estimated a loss of $1.35. Revenue fell 0.3% to $8.7 billion, in line with estimates. Severe winter weather widened the first quarter loss by approximately $200 million, United said, as the carrier's mainline on-time arrival rate was 74.3%. Including $120 million in special items, the first-quarter loss was $609 million, or $1.66 a share. "This quarter's financial performance is well below what we can and should achieve. We are taking the appropriate steps with our operations, network, service and product to deliver significantly better financial results," said CEO Jeff Smisek in a prepared statement. "The entire United team is sharply focused on accomplishing the goals we have laid out for long-term financial success." In a note, Cowen and Co. analyst Helane Becker wrote, "United continues to frustrate us (and investors) with their inability to match the PRASM results of Delta (and the industry for that matter). We continue to believe that United as significant PRASM potential, but it appears the company has done little to achieve it." American and Delta both reported record first-quarter results. Becker noted that United is forecasting current quarter PRASM growth of 1% to 3%, compared to her estimate of up to 3.2%. During the quarter, United's consolidated passenger revenue per available seat mile fell 2%. Winter-related cancellations accounted for 1.5 points of the decline. Consolidated passenger revenue fell 2.3% to $7.4 billion, while ancillary revenue gained 7.6% to more than $21 per passenger. Domestic PRASM rose 1.4%, but PRASM declined in every international region, with Pacific PRASM showing the biggest dip at 6.3%. "We recognize that we have lagged on revenue and are taking the necessary actions to remedy that," said Jim Compton, chief revenue officer, in a prepared statement. On the cost side, cost per available seat mile excluding fuel and special items increased 3.1% on a consolidated capacity reduction of 0.3%. Overall CASM gained 1%. "We are making good progress in reducing costs and delivering sustainable efficiencies, all while improving the product for our customers," said Chief Financial Officer John Rainey. "While we are not pleased with our first-quarter financial results, we are building a strong foundation that will result in improved financial performance." United ended the first quarter with $6 billion in unrestricted liquidity, including $1 billion of undrawn commitments under a revolving credit facility. Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, N.C. To contact this writer, click here.Follow @tedreednc

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Athlon Energy was upgraded to "buy" by Miller Tabak Thursday. The firm set a price target of $50 for the company. Athlon's acquisitions should add to earnings according to Miller Tabak analysts. Must read: Warren Buffett's 10 Favorite Growth Stocks SELL NOW: If you own any of the 900 stocks that TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified as a 'Sell'...you could potentially lose EVERYTHING in the next 6-12 months. Learn more. "Athlon Energy Inc., is an independent exploration and production company. The Company is a holding company and its sole assets are controlling equity interests in Athlon Holdings LP and its subsidiaries. The Company is focused on the acquisition, development and exploitation of unconventional oil and liquids-rich natural gas reserves in the Permian Basin. The Permian Basin spans portions of Texas and New Mexico and consists of three primary sub-basins: the Delaware Basin, the Central Basin Platform and the Midland Basin. The Company's properties are located in the Midland Basin. In February 2014, Athlon Energy Inc announced that subsidiary, Athlon Holdings LP completed the acquisition of certain oil and natural gas properties and related assets in the Midland Basin of West Texas." ATHL data by YCharts STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet's Stocks Under $10 has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12-months. Learn more.

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Halliburton's "buy" rating was reiterated by analysts at Argus. The firm raised the company's price target to $79 from $58.The increase follows the oilfield services company's positive first quarter earnings report. The company posted $622 million in net income during the quarter, helped by rising revenue in the Middle East and Asia.Halliburton is up 0.6% to $65.12 in pre-market trading.Must Read: Warren Buffett's 10 Favorite StocksSELL NOW: If you own any of the 900 stocks that TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified as a 'Sell'...you could potentially lose EVERYTHING in the next 6-12 months. Learn more. ---------- Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates HALLIBURTON CO as a Buy with a ratings score of A-. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate HALLIBURTON CO (HAL) 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, good cash flow from operations, solid stock price performance and growth in earnings per share. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity." Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows: Despite its growing revenue, the company underperformed as compared with the industry average of 8.3%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 4.8%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share. Despite currently having a low debt-to-equity ratio of 0.58, it is higher than that of the industry average, inferring that management of debt levels may need to be evaluated further. Despite the fact that HAL's debt-to-equity ratio is mixed in its results, the company's quick ratio of 1.75 is high and demonstrates strong liquidity. Powered by its strong earnings growth of 42.85% and other important driving factors, this stock has surged by 52.43% over the past year, outperforming the rise in the S&P 500 Index during the same period. Looking ahead, the stock's sharp rise over the last year has already helped drive it to a level which is relatively expensive compared to the rest of its industry. We feel, however, that other strengths this company displays justify these higher price levels. HALLIBURTON CO has improved earnings per share by 42.9% 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, HALLIBURTON CO reported lower earnings of $2.37 versus $2.77 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($3.92 versus $2.37). Net operating cash flow has slightly increased to $1,898.00 million or 9.01% when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite an increase in cash flow, HALLIBURTON CO's cash flow growth rate is still lower than the industry average growth rate of 23.52%. You can view the full analysis from the report here: HAL Ratings Report STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet's Stocks Under $10 has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12-months. Learn more.

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Apple has had its earnings estimates increased after a strong March quarter, Oppenheimer said Thursday. The firm increased its full-year 2014 earnings estimate to $44.38 a share from $42.85 a share. Full-year 2015 earnings estimates were bumped to $46.57 a share from $44.68 a share. "The iPhone strength more than offset disappointing iPad shipments and suggests Apple can ride emerging market expansion through at least one more product cycle," Ittai Kidron wrote in the report. Must Read: Warren Buffett's 10 Favorite Growth Stocks SELL NOW: If you own any of the 900 stocks that TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified as a 'Sell'...you could potentially lose EVERYTHING in the next 6-12 months. Learn more. -------------------------- Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates APPLE INC as a Buy with a ratings score of B+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate APPLE INC (AAPL) 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, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, solid stock price performance, expanding profit margins and growth in earnings per share. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income." You can view the full analysis from the report here: AAPL Ratings Report STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet's Stocks Under $10 has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12-months. Learn more.

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- MicroStrategy Incorporated was upgraded to "buy" from "hold" at Deutsche Bank on Thursday. The firm said it raised its rating for the global provider of enterprise software platforms for business intelligence due to improvements in visibility and management communication. Must Read: Warren Buffett's 10 Favorite Growth Stocks SELL NOW: If you own any of the 900 stocks that TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified as a 'Sell'...you could potentially lose EVERYTHING in the next 6-12 months. Learn more TheStreet Ratings team rates MICROSTRATEGY INC as a Hold with a ratings score of C+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate MICROSTRATEGY INC (MSTR) 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 impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income and revenue growth. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including disappointing return on equity and relatively poor performance when compared with the S&P 500 during the past year." Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows: MICROSTRATEGY INC reported significant earnings per share improvement in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. We feel that this trend should continue. This trend suggests that the performance of the business is improving. During the past fiscal year, MICROSTRATEGY INC increased its bottom line by earning $2.35 versus $2.00 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.45 versus $2.35). The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Software industry. The net income increased by 96.0% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $8.24 million to $16.15 million. The gross profit margin for MICROSTRATEGY INC is currently very high, coming in at 84.21%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Despite the strong results of the gross profit margin, MSTR's net profit margin of 9.73% significantly trails the industry average. In its most recent trading session, MSTR has closed at a price level that was not very different from its closing price of one year earlier. This is probably due to its weak earnings growth as well as other mixed factors. Looking ahead, the stock's rise over the last year has already helped drive it to a level which is relatively expensive compared to the rest of its industry, implying reduced upside potential. The company's current return on equity has slightly decreased from the same quarter one year prior. This implies a minor weakness in the organization. When compared to other companies in the Software industry and the overall market, MICROSTRATEGY INC's return on equity is below that of both the industry average and the S&P 500. You can view the full analysis from the report here: MSTR Ratings Report STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet's Stocks Under $10 has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12-months. Learn more.

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text 3 Stocks Rising on Big Volume
Thu, 24 Apr 2014 13:18 GMT

DELAFIELD, Wis. (Stockpickr) -- Professional traders running mutual funds and hedge funds don't just look at a stock's price moves; they also track big changes in volume activity. Often when above-average volume moves into an equity, it precedes a large spike in volatility. >>6 Stocks With Big Insider Buying Major moves in volume can signal unusual activity, such as insider buying or selling -- or buying or selling by "superinvestors." Unusual volume can also be a major signal that hedge funds and momentum traders are piling into a stock ahead of a catalyst. These types of traders like to get in well before a large spike, so it's always a smart move to monitor unusual volume. That said, remember to combine trend and price action with unusual volume. Put them all together to help you decipher the next big trend for any stock. >>QE5 Is Coming -- Here Is What It Means to Your Portfolio With that in mind, let's take a look at several stocks rising on unusual volume recently. Natus Medical Wednesday's Volume: 636,000 Three-Month Average Volume: 393,673 Volume % Change: 104% From a technical perspective, BABY spiked sharply higher here back above its 50-day moving average of $25.35 with strong upside volume. This move pushed shares of BABY into breakout territory, since the stock took out some near-term overhead resistance at $25.94. Shares of BABY are now starting to trend within range of triggering a much bigger breakout trade. That trade will hit if BABY manages to clear some more near-term overhead resistance levels at $27 to its 52-week high at $27.71 with high volume. Traders should now look for long-biased trades in BABY as long as it's trending above Wednesday's low of $24.32 or above $24 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 393,673 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then BABY will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that breakout are $33 to $35. SodaStream International Wednesday's Volume: 8.17 million Three-Month Average Volume: 1.58 million Volume % Change: 477% From a technical perspective, SODA exploded higher here and broke out above some near-term overhead resistance at $42.25 with heavy upside volume. Shares of SODA also flirted with some more near-term overhead resistance at $45.20, before it closed just below that level at $44.76. Market players should now look for a continuation move higher in the short-term if SODA manages to take out Wednesday's high of $47.30 with high volume. Traders should now look for long-biased trades in SODA as long as it's trending above $42.25 and then once it sustains a move or close above $47.30 with volume that hits near or above 1.58 million shares. If that move kicks off soon, then SODA will set up to re-fill some of its previous gap-down-day zone from January that started above $50. Any high-volume move above $52 to $52.50 will then give SODA a chance to tag $55. Medidata Solutions provides cloud-based clinical development solutions for life sciences in the U.S. and internationally. This stock closed up 7.9% at $43.93 in Wednesday's trading session. Wednesday's Volume: 4.41 million Three-Month Average Volume: 920,495 Volume % Change: 409% From a technical perspective, MDSO ripped sharply higher here right above its recent low of $37.15 with heavy upside volume. This stock recently gapped down sharply from over $52 to $37.15 with heavy downside volume. Following that gap down, shares of MDSO have started to rebound sharply and move back into that gap-down-day zone with strong upside volume. Market players should now look for a continuation move higher in the short-term if MDSO manages to take out Wednesday's high of $44.30 with high volume. Traders should now look for long-biased trades in MDSO as long as it's trending above Wednesday's low of $40.36 and then once it sustains a move or close above $44.30 with volume that hits near or above 920,495 shares. If we get that move soon, then MDSO will set up to re-fill some of its previous gap-down-day zone that started near $52. Some possible upside targets if MDSO gets into that gap with volume are $47 to $50, or even its 200-day moving average at $53.40. To see more stocks rising on unusual volume, check out the Stocks Rising on Unusual Volume portfolio on Stockpickr. -- Written by Roberto Pedone in Delafield, Wis. RELATED LINKS: >>3 Big Tech Stocks Getting Big Attention >>3 Stocks Under $10 Making Big Moves >>5 Stocks Set to Soar on Bullish Earnings Follow Stockpickr on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Barclays cut its price target for Brinker International to $60 Thursday. The firm reiterated its "overweight" rating for the stock. Barclays analysts cited negative comps as dining fundamentals remain unchanged as cause for the price target cut. Must read: Warren Buffett's 10 Favorite Growth Stocks SELL NOW: If you own any of the 900 stocks that TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified as a 'Sell'...you could potentially lose EVERYTHING in the next 6-12 months. Learn more. ------------ Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates BRINKER INTL INC as a Buy with a ratings score of B+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate BRINKER INTL INC (EAT) 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, notable return on equity, solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth and increase in net income. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had generally high debt management risk by most measures that we evaluated." Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows: EAT's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 3.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 2.1%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share. Investors have apparently begun to recognize positive factors similar to those we have mentioned in this report, including earnings growth. This has helped drive up the company's shares by a sharp 33.78% over the past year, a rise that has exceeded that of the S&P 500 Index. Regarding the stock's future course, although almost any stock can fall in a broad market decline, EAT should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed a very nice gain in the past year. BRINKER INTL INC has improved earnings per share by 16.0% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, BRINKER INTL INC increased its bottom line by earning $2.21 versus $1.89 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.72 versus $2.21). The company's current return on equity greatly increased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of significant strength within the corporation. Compared to other companies in the Hotels, Restaurants & Leisure industry and the overall market, BRINKER INTL INC's return on equity significantly exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500. The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has exceeded that of the Hotels, Restaurants & Leisure industry average, but is less than that of the S&P 500. The net income increased by 6.9% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $37.18 million to $39.74 million. You can view the full analysis from the report here: EAT Ratings Report STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet's Stocks Under $10 has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12-months. Learn more.

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text Why Aetna (AET) Stock Is Higher Today
Thu, 24 Apr 2014 13:17 GMT

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Aetna Inc. are up 5.94% to $73.00 in pre-market trading after the health insurer reported 2014 first quarter results this morning. Net income was up 36%, helped by higher membership and revenue, after acquiring Coventry Health Care in 2013. The company raised its full-year operating earnings forecast to $6.35 to $6.55 a share from a prior view of at least $6.25 a share. Aetna's first quarter profit was $665.5 million, or $1.82 a share, up from $490.1 million, or $1.48 a share, a year ago. Excluding miscellaneous items, its per share operating earnings climbed to $1.98 from $1.56. Operating revenue, which excludes net realized capital gains and losses, was up 47% to $13.97 billion. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters forecast operating earnings of $1.55 a share on revenue of $13.72 billion. Must Read: Warren Buffett's 10 Favorite Growth Stocks SELL NOW: If you own any of the 900 stocks that TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified as a 'Sell'...you could potentially lose EVERYTHING in the next 6-12 months. Learn more. TheStreet Ratings team rates AETNA INC as a Buy with a ratings score of A+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate AETNA INC (AET) 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, solid stock price performance, growth in earnings per share, compelling growth in net income and attractive valuation levels. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity." Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows: The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 10.5%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 32.8%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share. Looking at where the stock is today compared to one year ago, we find that it is not only higher, but it has also clearly outperformed the rise in the S&P 500 over the same period. Although other factors naturally played a role, the company's strong earnings growth was key. Turning our attention to the future direction of the stock, it goes without saying that even the best stocks can fall in an overall down market. However, in any other environment, this stock still has good upside potential despite the fact that it has already risen in the past year. AETNA INC reported significant earnings per share improvement in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past year. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, AETNA INC increased its bottom line by earning $5.35 versus $4.78 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($6.34 versus $5.35). The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Health Care Providers & Services industry. The net income increased by 94.0% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $190.10 million to $368.90 million. You can view the full analysis from the report here: AET Ratings Report STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet's Stocks Under $10 has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12-months.Learn more.

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Facebook has had its price target increased to $79 from $70, Oppenheimer said Thursday. The firm said the company is seeing higher ad monetization and gross margins. An "outperform" rating was reiterated. Must Read: Warren Buffett's 10 Favorite Growth Stocks SELL NOW: If you own any of the 900 stocks that TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified as a 'Sell'...you could potentially lose EVERYTHING in the next 6-12 months. Learn more. ------------------------ Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates FACEBOOK INC as a Hold with a ratings score of C. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate FACEBOOK INC (FB) 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 impressive record of earnings per share growth. However, as a counter to these strengths, we find that the stock itself is trading at a premium valuation." You can view the full analysis from the report here: FB Ratings Report STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet's Stocks Under $10 has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12-months. Learn more.

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Texas Instruments received three price target increases on Thursday after the company reported its first-quarter earnings on Wednesday afternoon. Sterne Agee increased its price target to $44, increased its estimates and set an "underperform" rating given the company's new guidance. Credit Suisse increased its price target to $48, increased its estimates and set a "neutral" rating given the company's new guidance. Barclays increased its price target to $43 and set an "equal weight" rating, as the firm believes the seasonal uplift furthers leverage story. The stock was up 3.31% to $48 in pre-market activity on Thursday. Must Read: Warren Buffett's 10 Favorite Growth Stocks SELL NOW: If you own any of the 900 stocks that TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified as a 'Sell'...you could potentially lose EVERYTHING in the next 6-12 months. Learn more. ---------- Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates TEXAS INSTRUMENTS INC as a "buy" with a ratings score of A-. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate TEXAS INSTRUMENTS INC (TXN) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income and notable return on equity. Although no company is perfect, currently we do not see any significant weaknesses which are likely to detract from the generally positive outlook." Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows: TXN's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 1.5%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 1.7%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share. Powered by its strong earnings growth of 100.00% and other important driving factors, this stock has surged by 26.51% over the past year, outperforming the rise in the S&P 500 Index during the same period. Regarding the stock's future course, although almost any stock can fall in a broad market decline, TXN should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed a very nice gain in the past year. TEXAS INSTRUMENTS INC reported significant earnings per share improvement in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, TEXAS INSTRUMENTS INC increased its bottom line by earning $1.92 versus $1.50 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.09 versus $1.92). The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Semiconductors & Semiconductor Equipment industry. The net income increased by 93.6% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $264.00 million to $511.00 million. 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 Semiconductors & Semiconductor Equipment industry and the overall market, TEXAS INSTRUMENTS INC's return on equity exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500. You can view the full analysis from the report here: TXN Ratings Report STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet's Stocks Under $10 has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12-months. Learn more.

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Boeing stock rating was reiterated at a "buy" by analysts at Sterne Agee. The firm maintained its $164 price target on the company's shares.Sterne Agee pointed to $19 billion in revenue from new orders that exceeded analysts expectations as a reason for the rating. Boeing is up 0.3% to $131 in pre-market trading on Thursday.Must Read: Warren Buffett's 10 Favorite StocksSELL NOW: If you own any of the 900 stocks that TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified as a 'Sell'...you could potentially lose EVERYTHING in the next 6-12 months. Learn more. TheStreet Ratings team rates BOEING CO as a Buy with a ratings score of A-. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate BOEING CO (BA) 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 impressive record of earnings per share growth, revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, compelling growth in net income and solid stock price performance. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow." Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows: Despite its growing revenue, the company underperformed as compared with the industry average of 7.2%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 6.6%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share. BOEING CO has improved earnings per share by 25.8% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past year. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, BOEING CO increased its bottom line by earning $5.97 versus $5.12 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($7.38 versus $5.97). The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has exceeded that of the Aerospace & Defense industry average, but is less than that of the S&P 500. The net income increased by 26.1% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $978.00 million to $1,233.00 million. Powered by its strong earnings growth of 25.78% and other important driving factors, this stock has surged by 45.05% over the past year, outperforming the rise in the S&P 500 Index during the same period. Looking ahead, the stock's sharp rise over the last year has already helped drive it to a level which is relatively expensive compared to the rest of its industry. We feel, however, that other strengths this company displays justify these higher price levels. The debt-to-equity ratio is somewhat low, currently at 0.65, and is less than that of the industry average, implying that there has been a relatively successful effort in the management of debt levels. Even though the company has a strong debt-to-equity ratio, the quick ratio of 0.43 is very weak and demonstrates a lack of ability to pay short-term obligations. You can view the full analysis from the report here: BA Ratings Report STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet's Stocks Under $10 has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12-months. Learn more.

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Wells Fargo removed Johnson Controls from its Priority Stock List Thursday. Wells Fargo analysts said the company now has less upside potential. "Relative to our prior expectation, we believe the company has less potential to outperform earnings expectations in the next couple of quarters," analyst Richard M. Kwas wrote. "As such, share price appreciation over the next 612 months is more modest than originally thought. We believe the shares have potential catalysts (on going portfolio transformation, better operating execution, recovery in the institutional construction markets, etc.) that could drive outperformance relative to the market over the next year. We maintain our Outperform rating." Must read: Warren Buffett's 10 Favorite Growth Stocks SELL NOW: If you own any of the 900 stocks that TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified as a 'Sell'...you could potentially lose EVERYTHING in the next 6-12 months. Learn more. -------------- Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates JOHNSON CONTROLS INC as a Buy with a ratings score of B+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate JOHNSON CONTROLS INC (JCI) a BUY. This is driven by some important positives, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, solid stock price performance, growth in earnings per share and increase in net income. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow." Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows: Despite its growing revenue, the company underperformed as compared with the industry average of 12.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 4.7%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share. The current debt-to-equity ratio, 0.58, is low and is below the industry average, implying that there has been successful management of debt levels. Despite the fact that JCI's debt-to-equity ratio is low, the quick ratio, which is currently 0.59, displays a potential problem in covering short-term cash needs. Powered by its strong earnings growth of 32.69% and other important driving factors, this stock has surged by 39.82% over the past year, outperforming the rise in the S&P 500 Index during the same period. We feel that the stock's sharp appreciation over the last year has driven it to a price level which is now somewhat expensive compared to the rest of its industry. The other strengths this company shows, however, justify the higher price levels. JOHNSON CONTROLS INC has improved earnings per share by 32.7% 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, JOHNSON CONTROLS INC reported lower earnings of $1.71 versus $1.79 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($3.25 versus $1.71). The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has exceeded that of the Auto Components industry average, but is less than that of the S&P 500. The net income increased by 30.6% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $359.00 million to $469.00 million. You can view the full analysis from the report here: JCI Ratings Report STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet's Stocks Under $10 has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12-months. Learn more.

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Yum! Brands has had its price target increased to $75 from $70, Jefferies said Thursday. The firm said it believes the company will deliver in its China business over fiscal 2014. The firm reiterated a "hold" rating. Must Read: Warren Buffett's 10 Favorite Growth Stocks SELL NOW: If you own any of the 900 stocks that TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified as a 'Sell'...you could potentially lose EVERYTHING in the next 6-12 months. Learn more. -------------------------- Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates YUM BRANDS INC as a Buy with a ratings score of B+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate YUM BRANDS INC (YUM) 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 revenue growth, good cash flow from operations, increase in stock price during the past year 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: YUM Ratings Report STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet's Stocks Under $10 has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12-months. Learn more.

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Citigroup increased its price target on Hasbro to $64, increased its estimates through 2016 and set a "buy" rating. The firm noted the company is seeing higher retail demand. The stock closed at $55.04 on Wednesday. Must Read: Warren Buffett's 10 Favorite Growth Stocks SELL NOW: If you own any of the 900 stocks that TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified as a 'Sell'...you could potentially lose EVERYTHING in the next 6-12 months. Learn more. ---------- Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates HASBRO INC as a "buy" with a ratings score of B+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate HASBRO INC (HAS) a BUY. This is driven by a few notable 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 expanding profit margins, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and solid stock price performance. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income." Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows: The gross profit margin for HASBRO INC is rather high; currently it is at 52.36%. Regardless of HAS's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 10.12% trails the industry average. HASBRO INC' earnings per share from the most recent quarter came in slightly below the year earlier quarter. The company has suffered a declining pattern of earnings per share over the past two years. However, we anticipate this trend to reverse over the coming year. During the past fiscal year, HASBRO INC reported lower earnings of $2.17 versus $2.54 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($3.19 versus $2.17). HAS, with its decline in revenue, slightly underperformed the industry average of 0.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 0.1%. The declining revenue appears to have seeped down to the company's bottom line, decreasing earnings per share. HAS's debt-to-equity ratio of 0.83 is somewhat low overall, but it is high when compared to the industry average, implying that the management of the debt levels should be evaluated further. Regardless of the somewhat mixed results with the debt-to-equity ratio, the company's quick ratio of 1.32 is sturdy. Compared to where it was a year ago today, the stock is now trading at a higher level, regardless of the company's weak earnings results. The stock's price rise over the last year has driven it to a level which is somewhat expensive compared to the rest of its industry. We feel, however, that other strengths this company displays justify these higher price levels. You can view the full analysis from the report here: HAS Ratings Report STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet's Stocks Under $10 has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12-months. Learn more.

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- U.S. stock futures were pointing to a higher open on Wall Street Thursday, bolstered by a rise in shares of Apple and Facebook after their upbeat earnings reports, and a stronger-than-expected gain in durable goods orders. Caterpillar and General Motors were also contributing to the strength after beating Wall Street's bottom-line estimates. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were up 35 points, or 62.35 points above fair value, to 16,495, S&P 500 futures were up 8.25 points, or 12.11 points above fair value, to 1,881.25, and Nasdaq futures were up 60 points, or 66.36 points above fair value, to 3,614.5. The March headline number for durable goods orders rose more than expected, up 2.6% vs. the average estimate of 2%. Jobless claims numbers were offsetting some of the premarket strength. Jobless claims for the week of April 19 increased by 24,000 to a more-than-expected 329,000 from upwardly revised prior week levels. The four-week moving average edged up by 4,750 to 316,750. Apple shares were popping more than 8% in premarket trading after the tech behemoth posted fiscal second-quarter earnings that beat Wall Street estimates, and announced a 7-for-1 stock split. Facebook was adding on 5.36% after the social media giant reported first-quarter earnings and revenue that topped expectations as advertising revenue grew more than expected. Thursday is heavy on corporate earnings announcements, with Amazon and Microsoft being among the companies set to report after the closing bell. Amazon is expected to post first-quarter earnings of 23 cents a share on revenue of $19.43 billion. Microsoft is expected to report fiscal third-quarter earnings of 63 cents per share on revenue of $20.39 billion. General Motors was gaining 2.33% after producing first-quarter earnings per share that topped estimates by 2 cents at 6 cents. Caterpillar was advancing more than 4% after posting quarterly earnings that exceeded expectations by 20 cents at $1.44 a share. Verizon was edging up 0.51% as quarterly revenue beat estimates; earnings per share were 3 cents below expectations at 84 cents. General Electric was also moving higher in premarket trading, up 0.53%, following a Bloomberg report that said that GE is in talks to buy Alstom, the French builder of trains and power plants. Major U.S. stock markets slipped Wednesday amid tepid Chinese economic data and a 14.5% month-over-month drop in U.S. new-home sales. -- By Andrea Tse in New York

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Fortinet has had its price target increased to $26 from $25, Jefferies said Thursday. The firm said its revision was driven by growth reacceleration with outperformance in service provider sales and traction with enterprise large deal flow. Jefferies reiterated a "buy" rating. Must Read: Warren Buffett's 10 Favorite Growth Stocks SELL NOW: If you own any of the 900 stocks that TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified as a 'Sell'...you could potentially lose EVERYTHING in the next 6-12 months. Learn more. ------------------------- Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates FORTINET INC as a Hold with a ratings score of C. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate FORTINET INC (FTNT) 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 expanding profit margins. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity and weak operating cash flow." You can view the full analysis from the report here: FTNT Ratings Report STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet's Stocks Under $10 has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12-months. Learn more.

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- UBS increased its price target on Dr. Pepper Snapple Group to $59 and set a "neutral" rating. The firm noted positive sales volume positive, but a decline in BCS volumes. The stock closed at $54.48 on Wednesday. Must Read: Warren Buffett's 10 Favorite Growth Stocks SELL NOW: If you own any of the 900 stocks that TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified as a 'Sell'...you could potentially lose EVERYTHING in the next 6-12 months. Learn more. ---------- Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates DR PEPPER SNAPPLE GROUP INC as a "buy" with a ratings score of A-. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate DR PEPPER SNAPPLE GROUP INC (DPS) 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 reasonable valuation levels, good cash flow from operations, expanding profit margins, increase in stock price during the past year and notable return on equity. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income." Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows: Net operating cash flow has increased to $250.00 million or 28.86% when compared to the same quarter last year. The firm also exceeded the industry average cash flow growth rate of -1.19%. DR PEPPER SNAPPLE GROUP INC' earnings per share from the most recent quarter came in slightly below the year earlier quarter. 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, DR PEPPER SNAPPLE GROUP INC increased its bottom line by earning $3.06 versus $2.96 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($3.40 versus $3.06). The gross profit margin for DR PEPPER SNAPPLE GROUP INC is rather high; currently it is at 61.79%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Regardless of the strong results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 10.66% trails the industry average. Compared to where it was 12 months ago, the stock is up, but it has so far lagged the appreciation in the S&P 500. Turning our attention to the future direction of the stock, it goes without saying that even the best stocks can fall in an overall down market. However, in any other environment, this stock still has good upside potential despite the fact that it has already risen in the past year. You can view the full analysis from the report here: DPS Ratings Report STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet's Stocks Under $10 has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12-months. Learn more.

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text Is It Time to Buy Russian Stocks?
Thu, 24 Apr 2014 13:02 GMT

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Since Russian President Vladimir Putin began to threaten Ukraine, Russian markets have sunk. During the past three months, iShares MSCI Russia Capped Index Fund has dropped 15.9%, according to Morningstar. Now Russian stocks have reached levels that haven't been seen since the global financial crisis. The forward price-to-earnings ratio of the iShares Russia exchange-traded fund is four, compared with 16 for the S&P 500. "Russian stocks are among the cheapest in world," says Vitali Kalesnik, head of equity research for Research Affiliates, which operates the RAFI benchmarks used by such ETFs as PowerShares FTSE RAFI Emerging Markets. Kalesnik says that bargain hunters should turn their attention to Russia, because investors have overreacted to the political problems. Soon markets are likely to rebound. To gain a rough idea of how Russian stocks might perform, Research Affiliates looked at market performances during eight earlier conflicts, including Russia's wars with Chechnya in 1999 and Georgia in 2008. On average, stocks fell 14% in the first three months of the conflict. Then after several more months of bouncing on the bottom, the stocks began to rebound. Within eight months of the start of the war, markets had recovered fully. "At the moment when the military action starts, investors pay a lot of attention to the conflict," Kalesnik says. "After a while, investors stop paying attention to the news and begin looking for cheap opportunities." How should investors play a Russian rebound? Kalesnik says that his own RAFI funds are likely to excel when Russia revives. While typical emerging markets index funds have 5% of assets in Russia, the PowerShares FTSE RAFI Emerging Markets ETF has 11% in the country. Schwab Fundamental Emerging Markets Large Company Index -- which also uses the RAFI system -- has 13% in Russia. Lately the RAFI funds have paid a price for their Russian exposure. This year the Schwab ETF has lost 1.9%, while Vanguard Emerging Markets Stocks Index has returned 0.3%. The RAFI funds hold big Russian positions because the benchmark weights stocks according to a mix of fundamental measures, such as total revenue and dividends. Under this fundamental system, a company is given more weight if it has more revenue. That is very different from the traditional benchmarks, such as the S&P 500, which weight stocks according to their market capitalizations. Under the traditional approach, a stock weighs more as the share price rises. In the Russian market, the fundamental benchmark gives considerable weight to stocks with huge revenue and relatively small market values. Gazprom, a giant gas provider, accounts for 4.6% of assets in the PowerShares RAFI Emerging Markets fund. But the stock is only 0.9% of Vanguard Emerging Markets ETF, which tracks a FTSE benchmark that is weighted by market capitalization. Because they don't give extra weight to hot growth stocks, the fundamental benchmarks tend to emphasize troubled value stocks. The shaky value stocks often do poorly during the downturns that follow the start of military campaigns, RAFI's Kalesnik says. As a result, the fundamental benchmarks trailed in the early stages of conflicts. But when the rebounds began, the fundamental approach snapped back fast as investors gained confidence and bought stocks that had been excessively depressed. During the 24 months after the start of the eight conflicts that RAFI studied, fundamental benchmarks outperforrmed the standard indexes by wide margins. The RAFI researchers concede that it is impossible to predict exactly how the current conflict will unfold. But they contend that Russian prices have slipped below the long-term means. At some point, markets will revert to the old patterns. At the time of publication, the author had no position in any of the funds or stocks mentioned. Follow @StanLuxenberg // 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.

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Updated from 7:54 a.m. to include comments from Cantor Fitzgerald analyst/ NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- For now, Apple has its mojo back. Its stock mojo, anyway. Apple reported fiscal second-quarter results that topped Wall Street expectations, as iPhone shipments blew away consensus estimate. Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple reported second-quarter earnings of $11.62 a share on $45.6 billion in revenue. The company shipped 43.7 million iPhones, 16.4 million iPads, and 4.1 million Macs during the quarter. Gross margin, a highly watched level for Apple, came in at 39.3%. Wall Street consensus was around 37 million iPhones for the quarter, but strength in several markets, including China, Japan and others really drove the results. "iPhone was key in driving our stronger-than-expected results," CEO Timothy D. Cook said on the earnings call Wednesday. He noted that demand for each of the three iPhones (4S, 5c, and 5s) was stronger than their predecessors, and helped Apple in a variety of different geographies. "We gained smartphone share in many developed and emerging markets including the U.S., the U.K., Japan, Canada, Germany, France, Vietnam and Greater China, just to mention a few. In fact, we established a new all-time record for total iPhone sales in the BRIC countries." On the conference call, Cook also noted there are more than 800 million iTunes accounts, up from a previous number of around 600 million. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected Apple to earn $10.18 a share on $43.53 billion in revenue in the quarter. Shares of Apple were surging in pre-market trading, gaining 8.5% to $569.49. For the fiscal third quarter, Apple said it expects revenue between $36 billion and $38 billion, with gross margins between 37% and 38%. Operating expenses will be between $4.4 billion and $4.5 billion, and it will have a tax rate of 26.1%. Apple also announced that it was upping its capital allocation program to more $130 billion by the end of calendar year 2015. As part of the program, Apple's board increased its share repurchase authorization to $90 billion from $60 billion, and boosted its quarterly dividend by 8% to $3.29 a share. "The company also plans to increase its dividend on an annual basis. With annual payments of $11 billion, Apple is among the largest dividend payers in the world," the company said in the release.From August 2012 through March 2014, Apple has spent $66 billion in cash on its capital return program. The board also announced a seven-for-one stock split, effective June 2, 2014. Shares will will begin trading on a split-adjusted basis on June 9.On the conference call, Cook noted Angela Ahrendts, the former CEO of Burberry, would be joining Apple's executive team next week, as she helps to lead Apple's retail stores. Following the earnings results and the better-than-expected guidance, analysts were exceptionally bullish on Apple as it appears to be back on track, thanks in part to the iPhone and its strength in various geographies. There were a few upgrades to Apple, with several price target raises. Here's what a few analysts had to say: UBS analyst Steve Milunovich (Buy, $625 PT) "Apples quarter was far better than we expected and June guidance not as weak as we feared. It appears there is more life in the iPhone opportunity than recognized. In addition, Tim Cook indicated that Apple is expanding the things it is working on and has room to monetize services, suggestive of new product categories. The Mar/Jun dip in the road has turned into a downhill run with new products likely in fall. We have increased our estimates to $44.21 in F14 and $47.97 in F15." Barclays Capital analyst Ben Reitzes (Equal Weight, $590 PT) "Hats off to Apple and that iPhone figure - and being able to guide pretty close to consensus with demand slowing ahead of a new product cycle. Long term, we continue to believe that the overall smartphone subsidy structure could be challenged and we are not sure any new categories move the needle like the iPad did. Also, we'd like to see Apple assert itself more in web/social/payments and other services to meet the long-term challenges presented by Google. Our estimates and target move modestly higher ($590) based on higher iPhone units near term - and we also now include some assumptions for the iWatch starting in C4Q13 in our estimates. Maintain EW." BMO Capital Markets analyst Keith Bachman (Outperform, $610 PT) "We are maintaining our target multiple range of 12x-13x our FY15 EPS estimate, and increasing our target price from $565 to $610. We are going to the high-end of our target multiple range, since we think the wearable category will be introduced before year-end, and we have not included this in our estimates. A P/E multiple of 13x would be between 1.0-1.5 standard deviations above Apple's average multiple since the beginning of 2012. We maintain our Outperform rating. We believe catalysts include a new large screen iPhone, wearable category, and (longer-term) more services, including payments." Oppenheimer analyst Ittai Kidron (Perform, No PT) "Apple delivered strong March-quarter upside on the back of better than expected iPhone sales. The iPhone strength more than offset disappointing iPad shipments and suggests Apple can ride emerging market expansion through at least one more product cycle. Near-term focus however is likely to be on Apple's shareholder friendly capital moves, increasing its buyback authorization and dividend and announcing a 7-for-1 stock split. We're incrementally positive on these moves and see good support for the shares until June's WWDC. That said, the onus is still on successful TAM expansion into new product areas (TV, wearables) to extend investor enthusiasm. Maintain Perform w/positive bias. Raising estimate on better results/guide." Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Brian White (Buy, $777 PT) "Last night, Apple reported a strong 2Q:FY14 with significant upside in the iPhone and offered up a muted 3Q:FY14 outlook; however, we believe the market had factored in a much weaker forecast and thus we believe was pleasantly surprised last night. As we indicated going into the call, we thought the rollout of the iPhone 6 and entry into a new product category with the iWatch this year would prove more important than last night's financial results. With Apple's print out of the way and WWDC on the horizon in June, we believe investors will be getting more actively involved with the name ahead of this product cycle during what we have dubbed as the "Year of Innovation."" -- Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York >Contact by Email. Follow @Chris_Ciaccia // 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) -- Scotts Miracle-Gro Company was upgraded to "outperform" from "market perform" at BMO Capital . The firm said it upgraded the lawn and garden products manufacturer and marketer company after reading positive consumer surveys. Must Read: Warren Buffett's 10 Favorite Growth Stocks SELL NOW: If you own any of the 900 stocks that TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified as a 'Sell'...you could potentially lose EVERYTHING in the next 6-12 months. Learn more TheStreet Ratings team rates SCOTTS MIRACLE-GRO CO as a Buy with a ratings score of B-. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate SCOTTS MIRACLE-GRO CO (SMG) a BUY. This is driven by a number of 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 notable return on equity, growth in earnings per share, solid stock price performance and increase in net income. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had generally high debt management risk by most measures that we evaluated." Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows: 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. When compared to other companies in the Chemicals industry and the overall market, SCOTTS MIRACLE-GRO CO's return on equity exceeds that of the industry average and significantly exceeds that of the S&P 500. SCOTTS MIRACLE-GRO CO's earnings per share improvement from the most recent quarter was slightly positive. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, SCOTTS MIRACLE-GRO CO increased its bottom line by earning $2.56 versus $1.79 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($3.20 versus $2.56). Investors have apparently begun to recognize positive factors similar to those we have mentioned in this report, including earnings growth. This has helped drive up the company's shares by a sharp 29.66% over the past year, a rise that has exceeded that of the S&P 500 Index. We feel that the stock's sharp appreciation over the last year has driven it to a price level which is now somewhat expensive compared to the rest of its industry. The other strengths this company shows, however, justify the higher price levels. SMG, with its decline in revenue, underperformed when compared the industry average of 12.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 4.6%. The declining revenue has not hurt the company's bottom line, with increasing earnings per share. The company, on the basis of net income growth from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500 and the Chemicals industry. The net income increased by 3.1% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from -$67.70 million to -$65.60 million. You can view the full analysis from the report here: SMG Ratings Report STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet's Stocks Under $10 has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12-months. Learn more.

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Facebook has had its price target increased to $85 from $80, Jefferies said Thursday. The firm said its revision was driven by accelerating revenue and soaring mobile ad business. "FB continues to impress with the 4th straight quarter of accelerating revenue, a soaring mobile ad business (+258% Y/Y to $1.3B), meaningful margin expansion (82% gross mgn, +980bps Y/Y), the most users ever (1.28B), and the highest engagement ever (63% of users log in daily)," analysts wrote in the report. Must Read: Warren Buffett's 10 Favorite Growth Stocks SELL NOW: If you own any of the 900 stocks that TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified as a 'Sell'...you could potentially lose EVERYTHING in the next 6-12 months. Learn more. --------------------------- Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates FACEBOOK INC as a Hold with a ratings score of C. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate FACEBOOK INC (FB) 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 impressive record of earnings per share growth. However, as a counter to these strengths, we find that the stock itself is trading at a premium valuation." You can view the full analysis from the report here: FB Ratings Report STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet's Stocks Under $10 has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12-months. Learn more.

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Ciena was upgraded to "buy" from "neutral" by UBS Thursday. The firm set a price target of $27 from the company. UBS analysts said the upgrade was driven by a strong optical product cycle, a reasonable valuation, and improved market position. Must read: Warren Buffett's 10 Favorite Growth Stocks SELL NOW: If you own any of the 900 stocks that TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified as a 'Sell'...you could potentially lose EVERYTHING in the next 6-12 months. Learn more. ----------- Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates CIENA CORP as a Hold with a ratings score of C-. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate CIENA CORP (CIEN) a HOLD. The primary factors that have impacted our rating are mixed ? some indicating strength, some showing weaknesses, with little evidence to justify the expectation of either a positive or negative performance for this stock relative to most other stocks. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, solid stock price performance and impressive record of earnings per share growth. However, as a counter to these strengths, we find that the company's profit margins have been poor overall." Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows: The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 1.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 17.8%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share. Powered by its strong earnings growth of 68.08% and other important driving factors, this stock has surged by 27.31% over the past year, outperforming the rise in the S&P 500 Index during the same period. Regarding the stock's future course, our hold rating indicates that we do not recommend additional investment in this stock despite its gains in the past year. Net operating cash flow has increased to -$37.16 million or 18.73% when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite an increase in cash flow, CIENA CORP's average is still marginally south of the industry average growth rate of 20.01%. 45.29% is the gross profit margin for CIENA CORP which we consider to be strong. Regardless of CIEN's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, CIEN's net profit margin of -2.98% significantly underperformed when compared to the industry average. You can view the full analysis from the report here: CIEN Ratings Report STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet's Stocks Under $10 has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12-months. Learn more.

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Credit Suisse downgraded Xilinx to "neutral" from "outperform" and set a $50 price target. The firm believes the company may struggle to achieve guidance. The stock was down 5% to $49.80 in pre-market activity on Thursday. Must Read: Warren Buffett's 10 Favorite Growth Stocks SELL NOW: If you own any of the 900 stocks that TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified as a 'Sell'...you could potentially lose EVERYTHING in the next 6-12 months. Learn more. ---------- Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates XILINX INC as a "buy" with a ratings score of A. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate XILINX INC (XLNX) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, solid stock price performance, notable return on equity, expanding profit margins and good cash flow from operations. Although no company is perfect, currently we do not see any significant weaknesses which are likely to detract from the generally positive outlook." Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows: The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 1.5%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 15.1%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share. Powered by its strong earnings growth of 60.52% and other important driving factors, this stock has surged by 38.70% over the past year, outperforming the rise in the S&P 500 Index during the same period. Regarding the stock's future course, although almost any stock can fall in a broad market decline, XLNX should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed a very nice gain in the past year. 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 Semiconductors & Semiconductor Equipment industry and the overall market, XILINX INC's return on equity exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500. The gross profit margin for XILINX INC is currently very high, coming in at 71.51%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 29.97% significantly outperformed against the industry average. Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 76.54% to $216.39 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, XILINX INC has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of -71.56%. You can view the full analysis from the report here: XLNX Ratings Report STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet's Stocks Under $10 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 Zimmer Holdings Inc. are soaring, up 16.57% to $106.60 in pre-market trade, after the joint replacement technologies company n">said it would buy orthopedic products company Biomet Inc. for about $13.35 billion. Zimmer will pay $10.35 billion in cash and issue $3 billion in shares to Biomet shareholders, Reuters reports. Biomet was taken private for $11.4 billion in 2007 by a private equity consortium that included Blackstone Group, Goldman Sachs Capital Partners , Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. and TPG. Must Read: Warren Buffett's 10 Favorite Growth Stocks SELL NOW: If you own any of the 900 stocks that TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified as a 'Sell'...you could potentially lose EVERYTHING in the next 6-12 months. Learn more. TheStreet Ratings team rates ZIMMER HOLDINGS INC as a Buy with a ratings score of A-. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate ZIMMER HOLDINGS INC (ZMH) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, growth in earnings per share, increase in net income, revenue growth and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity." Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows: Looking at where the stock is today compared to one year ago, we find that it is not only higher, but it has also clearly outperformed the rise in the S&P 500 over the same period. Although other factors naturally played a role, the company's strong earnings growth was key. Turning our attention to the future direction of the stock, it goes without saying that even the best stocks can fall in an overall down market. However, in any other environment, this stock still has good upside potential despite the fact that it has already risen in the past year. ZIMMER HOLDINGS INC reported significant earnings per share improvement in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, ZIMMER HOLDINGS INC increased its bottom line by earning $4.43 versus $4.29 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($6.21 versus $4.43). The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Health Care Equipment & Supplies industry. The net income increased by 54.4% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $152.80 million to $235.90 million. Despite its growing revenue, the company underperformed as compared with the industry average of 7.3%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 5.1%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share. ZMH's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.27 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels. Along with this, the company maintains a quick ratio of 2.66, which clearly demonstrates the ability to cover short-term cash needs. You can view the full analysis from the report here: ZMH Ratings Report STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet's Stocks Under $10 has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12-months.Learn more.

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FORT WORTH, Texas (TheStreet) -- American reported record first-quarter net income on Thursday that beat Wall Street estimates. It was the airline's first full quarter following a merger with US Airways. American followed Delta in reporting record results in the first quarter, once a period when airlines were expected to lose money due to generally low winter travel. Excluding items, American reported net profit of $402 million, or 54 cents a share. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters had estimated 48 cents. Revenue rose 5.6% to $10 billion, in line with estimates. "For the first quarter, I'm pleased to report a record first quarter net profit of $402 million excluding net special credits," said CEO Doug Parker, in a message to employees. "In the entire history of American Airlines, we have never earned $400 million in the first three months of a year, but in the first three months since the merger, we did." In the same period a year earlier, excluding items, the carrier reported a combined net profit of $62 million for American Airlines and US Airways. Including items, net profit in the first quarter of 2014 was a record $480 million, compared with a net loss of $297 million in the first quarter of 2013, when AMR Corp. was operating under bankruptcy court protection. During the quarter, capacity increased 2%. Combined consolidated passenger revenue per available seat mile rose 2.9% to a record 13.67 cents. On the cost side, mainline cost per available seat mile excluding fuel and special charges rose 4% to 8.96 cents. Including fuel and special items, Mainline CASM fell 2.7% including fuel and items. As of March 31, American had approximately $10.6 billion in total cash and short-term investments, of which $947 million was restricted. Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, N.C. To contact this writer, click here.Follow @tedreednc

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Zynga shares surged after the social game maker posted revenue that was better than forecast and founder Marc Pincus announced he was stepping down from chief product officer at the company, allowing CEO Don Mattrick to take over the San Francisco-based company entirely. San Francisco-based Zynga lost a penny a share on $161 million in revenue for the quarter, at the company's high end of its previous guidance, as the company achieved sequential growth across bookings, adjusted EBITDA, audience and mobile bookings mix for first time in 2 years. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters were looking for a loss of 1 cent a share on $147 million in bookings. "In Q1 our teams delivered a solid start to the year against our strategic frame of growing and sustaining our franchises, creating new hits and driving efficiencies. We have established a strong base for 2014 and believe we are pacing well for a year of growth," said Don Mattrick, CEO Zynga in the press release. "For the first time in two years, our teams delivered sequential growth across our key performance metrics including bookings, Adjusted EBITDA, mobile bookings mix and audience." Separately, Zynga announced founder Mark Pincus would step down from his role as chief product officer, but would still continue to be chairman of the board. Shares of Zynga surged in pre-market trading, gaining 5.9% to $4.68. The results come just a few short days after Zynga announced FarmVille 2: Country Escape, a new mobile game that will allow players to connect both on and off line to play the new game, any way they want, anytime they want. Zynga gave second-quarter guidance, saying it expects revenue to be between $140 million and $160 million, with bookings between $175 million and $195 million. The company expects adjusted EBITDA to be between $10 million and $20 million, with non-GAAP earnings between breakeven and a 1 cent gain. Analyst surveyed by Thomson Reuters are expecting the company to be breakeven for the quarter, on $182.2 million in sales.For 2014, Zynga expects bookings to be between $770 million and $810 million, with adjusted EBITDA between $70 million and $100 million. The company expects non-GAAP earnings to be between 1 and 3 cents a share. Zynga did not give revenue guidance for the full year. Analysts are expecting Zynga to generate $780.4 million in revenue for the quarter, earning 1 cent share on a non-GAAP basis. Following the earnings call and the guidance, analysts were positive on the company, as the focus shifts to the back half of 2014. Several analysts raised their price targets following the results. Here's what a few of them had to say. Canaccord Genuity analyst Michael Graham (Hold, $5 PT) Amidst a backdrop marked by pockets of business pressure, Zynga reported another in a string of quarters with solid execution relative to guidance. Bookings grew sequentially for the first time in 5 quarters despite major shrinkage from Farmville. We believe management deserves high marks for stabilizing the business; while investor focus will quickly shift to how the company can hope to achieve dramatic growth acceleration for the balance of the year. We remain optimistically cautious pending evidence of successful game launches. BMO Capital Markets analyst Edward Williams (Market Perform, $4.50 PT) The performance was driven by better-than-expected bookings from key franchises and higher-than-expected gross margins from the closure of a data center. The company returned to growth a quarter earlier than generally anticipated, posting q/q growth across bookings, adjusted EBITDA, audience metrics, and mobile bookings mix for the first time in two years; we expect sequential growth in each successive quarter throughout the rest of 2014 driven the company's key franchises. We believe FarmVille 2: Country Escape is off to a strong start on mobile with four million installs six days after launch - the title has reached the No. 1 free game in 40 countries and has broken into the top 20 grossing charts on both the iPad and iPhone in the US. Barclays Capital analyst Christopher Merwin (Equal Weight, $5 PT) The recovery appears to be very much on track for Zynga, as 1Q bookings of $161M and EBITDA of $14M came in ahead of our expectations. Most encouragingly, audience growth across all metrics improved sequentially in the 1Q, as did gross bookings for core titles Words With Friends and Zynga Poker. While discussion about the product pipeline was limited, management did say that they plan to step up spend on marketing for new titles, which may drive slight q/q margin compression in 2Q. We are modestly raising our 2014 bookings estimates and also increasing our price target to $5 from $4.50, in order to reflect our improving outlook for bookings, particularly on mobile. --Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York >Contact by Email. Follow @Chris_Ciaccia // 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) -- Shares of Xerox Corp. are up 0.92% to $12.07 in pre-market trade after Susquehanna initiated coverage of the company with a "positive" rating and a $14 price target. Must Read: Warren Buffett's 10 Favorite Growth Stocks SELL NOW: If you own any of the 900 stocks that TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified as a 'Sell'...you could potentially lose EVERYTHING in the next 6-12 months. Learn more. TheStreet Ratings team rates XEROX CORP as a Buy with a ratings score of B+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate XEROX CORP (XRX) 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 solid stock price performance, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, attractive valuation levels and expanding profit margins. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity." Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows: Compared to its closing price of one year ago, XRX's share price has jumped by 26.79%, exceeding the performance of the broader market during that same time frame. Regarding the stock's future course, although almost any stock can fall in a broad market decline, XRX should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed a very nice gain in the past year. The debt-to-equity ratio is somewhat low, currently at 0.63, and is less than that of the industry average, implying that there has been a relatively successful effort in the management of debt levels. Along with the favorable debt-to-equity ratio, the company maintains an adequate quick ratio of 1.18, which illustrates the ability to avoid short-term cash problems. XEROX CORP' earnings per share from the most recent quarter came in slightly below the year earlier quarter. 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, XEROX CORP increased its bottom line by earning $0.93 versus $0.88 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.13 versus $0.93). 36.09% is the gross profit margin for XEROX CORP which we consider to be strong. Regardless of XRX's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 5.49% trails the industry average. You can view the full analysis from the report here: XRX Ratings Report STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet's Stocks Under $10 has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12-months.Learn more.

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- RATINGS CHANGES Apple was upgraded to buy from outperform at CLSA. Twelve-month price target is $695. Earnings momentum poised to accelerate with 300 million-plus iPhone installed base upgrade cycle, CLSA said. Altera was downgraded to hold at TheStreet Ratings. Athlon Energy was upgraded at Miller Tabak to buy. Twelve-month price target is $50. Acquisitions should add to earnings, Miller Tabak said. Ciena was upgraded at UBS to buy from neutral. Driven by strong optical product cycle, reasonable valuation and improved market position, UBS said. Twelve-month price target is $27. HMS was upgraded at Oppenheimer to outperform from perform. Twelve-month price target is $20. Stock has completely discounted the risk associated with an RAC renewal, Oppenheimer said. Microstrategy was upgraded at Deutsche Bank to buy from hold. Twelve-month price target is $150. Management communication and visibility are improving, Deutsche Bank said. [Read: Zynga Jumps: What Wall Street's Thinking] M&T Bank was upgraded at Deutsche Bank to buy from hold. Twelve-month price target is $136. Stock has lagged its peers and fears about the Hudson deal are overblown, Deutsche Bank said. ServiceNow 12-month price target, EPS estimates were raised at UBS. Driven by huge billings growth with relatively little competition, UBS said. $70 price target and buy rating. Scotts Miracle-Gro was upgraded at BMO Capital to outperform from market perform. Twelve-month price target is $67. Estimates were also increased following positive consumer surveys, BMO Capital said. [Read: My Victory Lap After What I See as Apple's Best Quarter Ever] Siri XM Radio was downgraded to hold at TheStreet Ratings. Xilinx was downgraded at Credit Suisse to neutral from outperform. Twelve-month price target is $50. Company may struggle to achieve guidance, Credit Suisse said. Stock Comments / EPS Changes Amphenol 12-month price target was raised at UBS. Driven by broad-based strength across several end markets, UBS said. Twelve-month price target is $96. Neutral rating. Boeing estimates, 12-month price target were raised at J.P. Morgan. Price target is now $167. Estimates were also increased as the company is realizing higher margins, J.P. Morgan said. Overweight rating. [Read: Consumers Staying Away From Stock Market Despite Record Highs] Dr Pepper Snapple price target was raised at UBS. Sales volume positive, but BCS volumes declined, UBS said. Twelve-month price target is $59. Neutral rating. Brinker International 12-month price target was cut at Barclays. Negative comps as dining fundamentals remain challenged, Barclays said. $60 price target and overweight rating. Facebook estimates, 12-month price target were increased at Oppenheimer. Estimates were raised through 2015. Company is seeing higher ad monetization and gross margins, Oppenheimer said. Outperform rating and new 12-month price target of $79. Facebook 12-month price target, EPS estimates were increased at Jefferies. Driven by accelerating revenue and soaring mobile ad business, Jefferies said. Twelve-month price target is $85. Buy rating. F5 Networks 12-month price target was raised at UBS. Gaining traction in adjacent markets and better growth profile overall, UBS said. Twelve-month price target is $112. Neutral rating. Fortinet 12-month price target was raised at Jefferies. Driven by growth reacceleration with outperformance in service provider sales and traction with enterprise large deal flow, Jefferies said. $26 price target and Buy rating. Johnson Controls was cut from the Priority Stock List at Wells Fargo. Company has less earnings-upside potential, Wells Fargo said. LPL Financial Holdings 12-month price target was cut at UBS. Company missed on revenue with marginally higher expenses, UBS said. Twelve-month price target is $53. Neutral rating. Procter & Gamble 12-month price target, EPS estimates were increased at UBS. Driven by strong execution on productivity plans, UBS said. Twelve-month price target is $84. Neutral rating. Texas Instruments numbers were boosted at Sterne Agee. Twelve-month price target is now $44. Estimates were also increased, given the company's new guidance, Sterne Agee said. Underperform rating. Yum! Brands 12-month price target, EPS estimates were raised at Jefferies. China business is solid for fiscal 2014. $75 price target and hold rating. Follow TheStreet on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook

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PORTLAND, Ore. (TheStreet) -- If your brewery brewed beer with maize when it opened because it was the best option available, somehow managed to survive Prohibition and avoided being bought out by the bigger breweries afterward, should it be considered craft? For years, the Brewers Association craft beer industry group has said no. It didn't like the use of maize, corn or rice as adjuncts, it didn't feel that manner of brewing was "traditional" and it felt that the brewers who ran the Great American Brewing Festival and the American Homebrewers Association were well within their rights to keep brewers out of their club regardless of how long they'd been brewing. That left many of the oldest breweries in the country out of the loop and, embarrassingly, left brewers with "craft" in their name on the outside looking in. It also left beer drinkers scratching their heads over which beers qualified as craft beer and which didn't. That's over now, thanks to a whole lot of soul searching and a big change of heart by the Brewers Association. After taking a look at its hard-and-fast rules defining craft brewers -- which already flexed in 2010 to raise the production limit for small brewers from 2 million barrels to 6 million to accommodate Samuel Adams producer Boston Beer -- the Brewer Association's Board of Directors decided that perhaps its was being a bit tough on the older brewers. Back in February, the board decided to soften its stance against the use of rice and corn as adjuncts and whittled down the "traditional" pillar of its craft brewer definition. Also see: Nitro Battle Bursts Craft Beer's Bubble>> As a result, brewers including Pottsville, Pa.-based D.G. Yuengling & Son (the oldest in the U.S., founded in 1829); St. Marys, Pa.-based Straub Brewing (1872); New Ulm, Minn.-based August Schell Brewing (1860); Monroe, Wis.-based Minhas Craft Brewery (1845 as Blumer Brewing) and others will be considered "craft beer" from this point on. "My understanding with those companies is that they have their own licenses and produce their own beer and are under 6 million barrels and are independently owned, so they would fit based on my understanding," says Paul Gatza, director of the Brewers Association. While the new definition technically won't go into effect until the Brewers Association compiles its stats for 2014 in February, the mere fact that it's changing is a huge deal for the group and the craft beer community in general. The Brewers Association's Board of Directors includes some of the most influential names in craft beer, including Sierra Nevada founder Ken Grossman, New Belgium Chief Executive Kim Jordan, Dogfish Head creator Sam Calagione, Deschutes Brewing leader Larry Fish and Allagash head Rob Tod. Those are some of the longest-tenured individuals in this corner of the industry, and their craft brewer definition's impact on small legacy brewers likely wasn't lost on them. Of course, the fact that many of those brewers were on the Brewers Association membership rolls probably didn't escape anyone's notice either. The biggest motivation, however, likely came from those pre-Prohibition brewers themselves. They were hurt not only by the "Craft vs. Crafty" op-ed that the Brewers Association had penned for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in 2011, but by the accompanying graphic that called out those breweries by name. Jace Marti, a sixth-generation brewer from August Schell, would have none of it and took the Brewers Association to the woodshed in a written response. Marti reminded BA that August Schell and other, older breweries like it were using maize to compensate for subpar, four-row U.S. barley and that such improvisation and dedication to quality were what craft beer was supposed to be about. That caught somebody's attention. The board started asking its member brewers what they thought and revisiting not only the craft brewer definition, but the association's mission, purpose, core values and beliefs. As it turned out, the use of adjuncts not only wasn't a huge deal, but was something that some craft brewers had been dabbling in anyway. The consensus was that craft beer wasn't supposed to be Germany and that beer recipes shouldn't be limited by laws that once held that country's beer ingredient list to water, hops and barley. "One of the arguments that I think was pretty convincing was that the idea that adjuncts don't fit into craft brewing is largely sort of a loose reinheitsgebot kind of concept like the 16th and 17th Century Bavarian and brewing tradition, yet our core values and beliefs talk about how we are stewards of 10,000 years of brewing history," Gatza says. "They didn't really jibe." Also see: Beer Mailbag: SweetWater and New Belgium Ring In Spring>> In short, craft beer was supposed to stand in opposition to homogenous large-scale brewing such as that conducted by Anheuser-Busch InBev, MolsonCoors and SABMiller. It wasn't supposed to ban rice or corn or wage war against lager and pilsner. "As craft brewers have innovated and explored new recipes, the idea that we should take rice and corn out of that toolbox didn't fit with our spirit of innovation either," Gatza says. "I think there are a few high-profile craft brands out there that probably are using rice and corn or some other simpler sugar." One of the bigger issues, however, was that the Brewers Association's stance was causing some fracturing among small brewers at a time craft beer could least afford it. The Brewers Association had been sponsoring the Small BREW Act in Congress and pushing for tax breaks for brewers that produce 6 million barrels or less. Meanwhile, the Washington-based Beer Institute industry lobbying group had been supporting the competing BEER Act that would give tax breaks to all brewers, but in various increments based on production. The Brewers Association's proposal draws a firm line between "craft" and importers/big brewers, but it looked shaky when BA was actively deriding small brewers as "crafty." The board of directors knew it needed those small brewers' support but, according to BA's statement, "to change horses in the middle of the Congressional session could have burned the association's ability to get Congressional co-sponsors for any legislation, perhaps for a couple of decades." The political implications of this tweak shouldn't be overlooked. The Brewers Association acknowledges that it is trying to take 10% of the beer market by volume in 2014 and changed its mission statement to reflect a new goal of 20% market share by 2020. By bringing Yuengling on board, BA just added a brewer that produced 2.79 million barrels in 2012 -- more than any craft brewer. August Schell, meanwhile, made 132,000 barrels that year. That's more than the total for midrange craft brewers including SweetWater (110,000), Full Sail (110,000), Summit (113,000), Anchor (117,000), Firestone Walker (119,000), Long Trail (120,000) and Great Lakes (120,000). That said, it doesn't mean that the Brewers Association is willing to bring in any brewery with less than 6 million barrels of U.S. production. The "independent" portion of its craft brewer definition still applies, and still excludes any brewer that sells more than a 25% stake of their operation to a member of the alcohol industry that isn't a craft brewer. That means historic Mendocino Brewing is still out, since it's owned by big Indian brewer United Breweries. That leaves out Fordham and Old Dominion as well, as those Delaware-based brewers are 49% owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev. Perhaps most significantly, that still excludes the Craft Brew Alliance and its Kona, Omission, Square Mile Cider, Redhook and Widmer Brothers brands. Never mind that Redhook has been brewing beer since 1981 and that Kurt and Rob Widmer are celebrating 30 years of brewing this year: Craft Brew Alliance is 32% owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev. What difference those six percentage points make is unclear to even some who've long observed the craft beer industry, but it's a point that the Brewers Association still refuses to budge on. The same applies to its import threshold. Burlington, Vt.-based Magic Hat, Seattle-based Pyramid and Portland-based Portland Brewery were all once craft brewers, but had the misfortune of being lumped into the North American Breweries parent company. They're out not because NAB was sold to Cerveceria Costa Rica, a subsidiary of Florida Ice & Farm, for $388 million in 2012, but because the volume of NAB-imported Labatt's -- an Anheuser-Busch InBev product produced in Canada, is greater than the amount of beer that NAB produces in the U.S. That doesn't mean they can never be craft again, mind you. It just means that Magic Hat, Pyramid and Portland have to hope that demand for Labatt's wanes a bit. For example, Boulevard Brewing in Kansas City and Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown, N.Y., are owned by Belgian brewer Duvel Mortgaat, but each is still considered craft because Duvel imports relatively little beer into the United States. Portland-based BridgePort and Shiner, Texas-based Shiner, meanwhile, only gained "craft" status in 2006 when parent company Gambrinus lost the right to import Corona. That still muddies the definition of "craft beer" a bit, but Gatza and the Brewers Association seem confident the term means a lot more today than it did when some of the country's longest-tenured brewers didn't fit under its umbrella a year ago. "The association is stronger when it includes some of the older brewers in this country who are still small brewers." -- Written by Jason Notte in Portland, Ore. >To contact the writer of this article, click here: Jason Notte. >To follow the writer on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/notteham. >To submit a news tip, send an email to: tips@thestreet.com. RELATED STORIES: >>5 Best Major League Soccer Craft Beer Partnerships >>Brew Your Own Beer: Our Beer Writer Does >>Beer Mailbag: SweetWater and New Belgium Ring In Spring

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DETROIT (TheStreet) -- GM's first-quarter net income fell 86% as the company took a first quarter $1.3 billion charge for recalls associated with a faulty ignition switch. But the results still beat Wall Street estimates. Net income excluding items was $125 million, or 6 cents a share. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg estimated 4 cents. Revenue rose 1% to $37.4 billion. Analysts had estimated $38.4 billion. In the same quarter a year earlier, GM earned $900 million, or 58 cents a share.In premarket trading, GM shares were trading up $1.03 to $35.42.The automaker's results were clouded by special items. GM took a pretax charge of $1.3 billion, or 48 cents a share, for recall costs. Also, GM took a net loss from special items, primarily related to setting an exchange rate for Venezuelan assets, of $419 million, or 23 cents a share. Also, the company had $300 million in restructuring costs, mainly in Europe. "The performance of our core operations was very strong this quarter, reflecting the positive response of customers to the new vehicles we are bringing to market," said CEO Mary Barra, in a prepared statement. "Our focus remains on creating the world's best vehicles with the highest levels of safety, quality and customer service, while aggressively addressing our business opportunities and challenges globally." GM said earnings before interest and tax adjusted was about $500 million, including the impact of the $1.3 billion pretax charge for recall-related costs and $300 billion in restructuring costs. In the first quarter of 2013, EBIT-adjusted was $1.8 billion. During the quarter, GM reported automotive cash flow from operating activities of $2 billion and automotive free cash flow of about $200 million. "Our revenue and cash flow improved this quarter and our underlying business performance remains on plan," said Chief Financial Officer Chuck Stevens, in a prepared statement. "Executing flawless launches and using our strength in the U.S. and China to restructure key global operations will continue to be our focus this year," Stevens said. Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, N.C. To contact this writer, click here.Follow @tedreednc

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Apple (AAPL) has been upgraded to "buy" from "outperform," CLSA said Thursday. The firm said earnings momentum is poised to accelerate with a 300 million-plus iPhone-installed base upgrade cycle. CLSA gave a $695 price target. Must Read: Warren Buffett's 10 Favorite Growth Stocks SELL NOW: If you own any of the 900 stocks that TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified as a 'Sell'...you could potentially lose EVERYTHING in the next 6-12 months. Learn more. -------------------- Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates APPLE INC as a Buy with a ratings score of B+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate APPLE INC (AAPL) 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, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, solid stock price performance, expanding profit margins and growth in earnings per share. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income." You can view the full analysis from the report here: AAPL Ratings Report STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet's Stocks Under $10 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 Under Armour Inc. are up 2.52% to $55.81 in pre-market trade as the athletic goods company reported 2014 first quarter results this morning. Net revenues increased 36% to $642 million compared compared to net revenues of $472 million in the prior year's period. Net income increased 73% to $14 million compared to $8 million in the prior year's period. Diluted earnings per share were $0.06 per share on weighted average common shares outstanding of 217 million compared, with $0.04 per share on weighted average common shares outstanding of 214 million in the prior year's period. Diluted earnings per share calculations for both periods reflected the company's two-for-one stock split that was effective on April 14. For 2014, the company now expects revenue between $2.88 billion and $2.91 billion, compared with a previousr forecast of $2.84 billion to $2.87 billion. Must Read: Warren Buffett's 10 Favorite Growth Stocks SELL NOW: If you own any of the 900 stocks that TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified as a 'Sell'...you could potentially lose EVERYTHING in the next 6-12 months. Learn more. TheStreet Ratings team rates UNDER ARMOUR INC as a Buy with a ratings score of B+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate UNDER ARMOUR INC (UA) a BUY. This is driven by a few notable 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, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income and good cash flow from operations. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company is trading at a premium valuation based on our review of its current price compared to such things as earnings and book value." Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows: The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 15.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 35.0%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share. UA's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.15 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels. Along with the favorable debt-to-equity ratio, the company maintains an adequate quick ratio of 1.31, which illustrates the ability to avoid short-term cash problems. UNDER ARMOUR INC has improved earnings per share by 25.5% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, UNDER ARMOUR INC increased its bottom line by earning $0.75 versus $0.61 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.93 versus $0.75). The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the Textiles, Apparel & Luxury Goods industry average, but is less than that of the S&P 500. The net income increased by 28.0% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $50.13 million to $64.17 million. Net operating cash flow has increased to $232.41 million or 12.94% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, UNDER ARMOUR INC has also modestly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of 9.92%. You can view the full analysis from the report here: UA Ratings Report STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet's Stocks Under $10 has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12-months.Learn more.

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text 5 Cars That Made America Argue
Thu, 24 Apr 2014 12:15 GMT

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- You can't hit a home run in either baseball or automotive design without swinging for the fences and risking a strikeout -- and here's a look at some controversial models from the past decade that did just that. "There are people in the industry who believe that a vehicle needs to be emotionally stirring in some way to be a success, and I think there's a lot of truth to that," says Joe Wiesenfelder of Cars.com, which recently named the 10 Most-Polarizing Cars of recent history. Wiesenfelder and Cars.com's other editors created their ranking by considering all models from the past decade or so that had both vocal supporters and opponents among auto critics and the public alike. Widely panned models such as the 2001-05 Pontiac Aztek sport utility vehicle didn't make the list because they had plenty of enemies, but few friends. "The term 'polarizing' suggests that there are two poles -- supporters and detractors -- but the Aztek was just ugly," Wiesenfelder says. The expert believes automakers sometimes create polarizing vehicles by accident, developing what they think are sure-fire "winners" but finding out after a car reaches the market that part of the public loathes it. Other times, Wiesenfelder says, manufacturers deliberately OK polarizing designs because they figure cars that some buyers love and others hate will sell better than those that neither inspire nor upset. "When people go to automakers' focus groups and see a car that's just kind of OK, they might give it a score of five out of 10 across the board -- but a polarizing car might get a mix of sevens and threes," he says. "The final scores look the same on paper, but the reality is that people who give a vehicle a seven or higher will buy it." Read on to check out the five polarizing vehicles at the top of Cars.com's rundown. Years shown in parentheses refer to the model years when a given car was available, while dollar figures refer to 2014 manufacturers' suggested retail prices for base versions of those vehicles still in production. Fifth-most-polarizing car: Ford Flex (2009-present) Ford rolled out the boxy-looking Flex large crossover SUV at a time when square cars were all the rage (the equally boxy Kia Soul and Nissan Cube premiered in the same model year). Some buyers hated the Flex instantly, but the model continues to have its proponents even though Ford redesigned the Explorer (its traditional-looking large crossover) in 2011. Wiesenfelder thinks the Flex endures because its boxy design offers more interior room than regular SUVs. "I think people who buy the Flex like how practical and roomy it is and don't primarily think about styling." If you're flexible enough to go for a Flex, 2014 models start at $29,910. Also see: 5 Biggest Auto Flops of the Past Decade>> Fourth-most-polarizing car: Toyota Prius (2001-present) Eco-friendly drivers have made the fuel-efficient Prius the bestselling hybrid in America, but the model also has detractors who see it as the poster child for a leftist, tofu-and-granola lifestyle that they hate. South Park even devoted an entire 2006 episode to slamming a car that looked suspiciously like the Prius for reducing America's smog problem but increasing "smug" -- the smugness that some hybrid owners display toward those with less-efficient rides. "Prius drivers can be polarizing," Wiesenfelder says. If you're a Prius proponent, the model's 2014 version starts at $25,010. Third-most-polarizing car: Chrysler PT Cruiser (2001-10) Critics and some car buyers fell in love with the PT Cruiser as soon as the retro model hit the market for 2001. A cartoonish take on 1930s and '40s cars, the wagon won that year's prestigious North American Car of the Year award and other honors before eventually going on to sell more than 1 million units. General Motors even unveiled the similarly styled Chevrolet HHR in the 2006 model year. But for every car buyer that loved the PT Cruiser, it seemed like someone else hated it. "Some people really liked the design and some people really didn't," Wiesenfelder says. He says Chrysler and GM killed off the PT Cruiser and HHR once the "fad" they represented ran its course. "That's one of the risks of dramatically styled vehicles," Wiesenfelder says. "They don't always have staying power." Also see: 5 Best 'Mom-Mobiles' for Parents Who Hate Minivans>> Second-most-polarizing car: The entire Hummer line (1992-2010) Just as the Toyota Prius has a "green" image that some people like and others don't, the now-dead Hummer brand had a gas-guzzling, right-wing persona that inspired both love and hate. A Hummer fan club continues to this day, while the site fuh2.com (now defunct) once encouraged people to post selfies of themselves giving Hummer drivers the finger. The brand's gargantuan size, horrible fuel efficiency and accolades from famous Hummer owner (and noted Republican) Arnold Schwarzenegger made buying one as much a political statement as an auto purchase. "The Hummer was a political hot potato -- the poster vehicle for inefficiency," Wiesenfelder says. AM General premiered the original Hummers in 1992 as civilian versions of the High Mobility Multi-Purpose Wheeled Vehicle (or "Humvee") that the firm had been building for the U.S. military since the 1980s. General Motors then licensed the Hummer name in 1999 and added smaller H2 and H3 versions to the original H1 model. The high-priced, high-margin vehicles made GM tons of money at first, but rising gas prices -- and, Wiesenfelder believes, the U.S. military's declining image amid the increasingly unpopular Afghan and Iraq wars -- eventually hurt sales. Ultimately, GM killed off the brand when the automaker downsized after its 2008 bankruptcy filing.


NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The media has lost its ability to think for itself. Something happens -- whatever it is -- and intuition immediately fuels tweet after tweet and story after story of echo chamber regurgitation. It's groupthink at its worst. Almost to the person you get the same stale -- for want of a better word -- opinion on everything. Case in point -- the deal that brings select three-year old Home Box Office (HBO) (a division of Time Warner ) programming to Amazon.com Prime customers. Here's what matters: The addition of some HBO programming makes Amazon Prime more attractive. Obviously. But you can say this about dozens of other improvements Amazon constantly makes to its ecosystem. The deal highlights the fragility of Netflix's business model. It also underscores what a horrible CEO -- despite his smoke and mirrors and seductive way with the media -- Reed Hastings is. Had he approached competition with HBO differently (e.g., with some humility), he might be getting this deal rather than Amazon. There's no question in my mind he would love to have it. Expect more of this type of thing from HBO. They're in the early stages of what will be/is a move fast when necessary, ever-evolving digital strategy. And, as per a popular talking point, more "young people" will be exposed to HBO programming, thus -- so the theory goes -- motivating them to find a way to catch the network's current slate. Because, of course, that's what most "young people" do these days -- clamor for ways to watch "The Wire" through their Amazon Prime account. Another thing I'm hearing ... The HBO/Amazon hookup angers cable. Um. No. In fact, it's pretty much the polar opposite. If indeed watching old -- and not even completely top tier -- HBO programming via Amazon intrigues people, cable companies could stand to benefit. But, that aside, they already are benefiting in a big way. If you watch television at all, you may have noticed an uptick in the number of commercials selling you on cable with HBO as the main hook. Here in Southern California, Time Warner Cable's is pushing them hard. I watch stations in Comcast markets (during baseball and hockey telecasts) and see the same. However, I cannot attest to the frequency outside of my home market. In any event, cable realizes now more than ever that HBO is a way to sell people. It's not something to hide as a cost. Rather it's a valuable benefit made even more attractive by the emergence of HBO GO and smash hit originals such as "Game of Thrones" and "True Detective." (And, unlike Netflix, HBO has and reports the numbers to support the "smash hit" claim). The relationship between cable and HBO, as far as I know, has never been better. But that's it. Just a small step forward by HBO doing what it has always done. Without diluting it, HBO monetizes its content as effectively as possible. That's something Netflix cannot do because it doesn't have long-term rights to its originals. And, even if it did, it's not in the position to, say, hold back "Sex and the City." That's the impressive part. HBO's so powerful it can create a media spectacle by licensing its second and third tier stuff three years after it first aired. And, I stress, it's not finished. It doesn't take a rocket scientist or Elon Musk to figure that out. What's lost on a lot of people through constant Netflix hype is that this nimble display of dominance isn't new for HBO. Even as the love affair with Netflix raged, HBO has been operating at the top of its game. Even head Netflix cheerleader David Carr of The New York Times acknowledged this in a recent column: Right now, in spite of all the competitors who are trying to eat its lucrative lunch, the premium cable service is crushing it. 2014 will be go down as the year the media and the stock market's free love tryst with Netflix cooled and, quite possibly, ended. HBO will have the last laugh. That's what you should take away from this Amazon/HBO deal. It's not a Netflix killer, but it's a deep flesh wound. You should be able to ascertain the old and new media that operates from a position of strength and the one that only acts as if ... Follow @rocco_thestreet // 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"); // ]]> --Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.

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Updated from 6:38 a.m. EDTHere are 10 things you should know for Thursday, April 24:1. -- U.S. stock futures were rising and European shares gained as two U.S. technology giants posted strong earnings.Stocks in Tokyo slipped after talks between Japan's prime minister and visiting President Obama failed to finalize a trade agreement. The Nikkei 225 fell 1%. 2. -- The economic calendar in the U.S. on Thursday includes weekly initial jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. EDT, and durable-goods orders for March at 8:30 a.m. 3. -- U.S. stocks on Wednesday slipped amid tepid Chinese economic data and a 14.5% month-over-month drop in U.S. new-home sales.The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.08% to close at 16,501.65, while the S&P 500 closed off 0.22% to 1,875.39. The Nasdaq declined 0.83% to 4,126.97.4. -- Apple , the iPhone and iPad maker, reported fiscal second-quarter earnings that topped Wall Street estimates, and it announced a 7-for-1 stock split. Apple reported earnings of $11.62 a share on revenue of $45.6 billion. The company shipped 43.7 million iPhones, 16.4 million iPads, and 4.1 million Macs during the quarter. Gross margin, a highly watched level for Apple, came in at 39.3%. For the fiscal third quarter, Apple said it expects revenue of between $36 billion and $38 billion, with gross margins between 37% and 38%. Apple also announced that it was raising its capital allocation program to more than $130 billion by the end of calendar year 2015. As part of the program, Apple's board increased its share repurchase authorization to $90 billion from $60 billion, and boosted its quarterly dividend by 8% to $3.29 a share.The stock was up 8.7% in premarket trading to $570.15. 5. -- Social media giant Facebook posted first-quarter earnings and revenue that topped expectations as advertising revenue grew more than expected. "Facebook's business is strong and growing, and this quarter was a great start to 2014," said founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg in the earnings statement. "We've made some long-term bets on the future while staying focused on executing and improving our core products and business. We're in great position to continue making progress towards our mission." Revenue for the first quarter was $2.5 billion, an increase of 72% from the first quarter of 2013. First-quarter revenue of $2.36 billion was expected by analysts.Non-GAAP earnings in the quarter were 34 cents a share; analysts expected 24 cents.Facebook shares rose 4.9% in premarket trading to $64.36.6. -- Shares in French train and equipment manufacturer Alstom spiked on reports that General Electric is considering making a bid for the company.Alstom said in a statement Thursday that it has not been "informed of any potential public tender offer for shares of the company."GE is in discussions to pay more than $13 billion for Alstom, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday, citing people with knowledge of the matter said yesterday. GE shares rose 0.6% in premarket trading to $26.57. 7. -- Internet retailing giant Amazon is expected by analysts on Thursday to report first-quarter earnings of 23 cents a share on revenue of $19.43 billion.Amazon announced on Wednesday that it inked an exclusive multi-year online-only subscription deal for select HBO programming to bring some of its most popular shows to Amazon Prime Members.8. -- Wall Street expects software maker Microsoft to report fiscal third-quarter profit of 63 cents a share on revenue of $20.39 billion.9. -- General Motors reported profit of 6 cents a share in the first quarter on revenue of $37.4 billion. Analysts forecast earnings of 4 cents a share on sales of $38.4 billion.GM shares rose 2% to $35.10 in premarket trading. 10. -- Online game maker Zynga's founder Mark Pincus is stepping down as chief product officer, less than a year after he was replaced as the company's CEO, as the company's sales slide.Zynga said Wednesday that Pincus will remain chairman of the company he founded in 2007.Zynga shares rose 5% to $4.64 in premarket trading on Thursday. -- Written by Joseph Woelfel To contact the writer of this article, click here:Joseph Woelfel To submit a news tip, send an email to:tips@thestreet.com.Follow @josephwoe58

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BALTIMORE (Stockpickr) -- Don't let the latest press releases from the Fed fool you -- we're headed on a collision course with another big round of stimulus in 2014. Yes, QE5 is coming. Are you ready for it? Today, I'll show you why the Fed isn't showing you the whole quantitative easing picture and how to position yourself on the right side of this unmistakable trend. >>5 Rocket Stocks to Buy This Week "Interest rates are headed higher. Uh, just kidding!" That's effectively what Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen announced in her first quarter as the big boss of the big bank. Just over a week after shocking investors with news that the Fed could begin ratcheting interest rates higher as soon as six months after the end of their bond-buying smorgasbord, Yellen assured us that the Fed would continue to provide stimulus cash for "some time to come." Welcome to the latest round of Fed minutes, my possible by Plausible Deniability and viewers like us. The markets reacted like they always do to Fed decisions: like clockwork. >>5 Stocks Set to Soar on Bullish Earnings Yellen's surprisingly hawkish interest rate speech basically called a top in the S&P 500 in the middle of March -- and the backpedaling a week later give the big index one final push higher before jobs numbers yanked the floor out at the start of this month. But if you think that Mr. Market's reactions to the Fed's public-facing comments were just side effects, think again. The Fed is using every carefully calculated comment it delivers as a powerful market-shaping tool in its arsenal. But when words fail to get things done, there's always more quantitative easing. And the there's one chart that's been a spectacular indicator of the Fed's stimulus plans. No, it's not stock prices, jobs numbers or any of the other economic stats that most investors are fixated on right now. It's inflation. Or, more specifically, the Fed is targeting a pretty narrow definition of inflation: a 2.2% minimum in a metric the Fed calls its five-year forward inflation rate. Since 2008, every time five-year forward inflation has slipped below that 2.2% line in the sand, the Fed has announced a major stimulus package. Take a look: Put a different way, the chart above has never crossed the 2.2% mark without the Fed's immediately announcing a far-reaching QE initiative. In my view, that makes the chart above pretty important to investors. And right now, that QE-meter is closer to that critical 2.2% level than it's been in a year. >>3 Stocks Spiking on Big Volume That chart says a lot about the Fed's strategy right now. In 2012, the Fed suddenly got more aggressive with its stimulus programs, announcing QE3 and QE4 before rates fully pulled back to the 2.2% line. Then, last summer, the Fed's taper announcement proved that a surprising press release could have a bigger effect on inflation than $85 billion a month in bond purchases. Who'd have thunk it? With that context, Yellen's surprise rate-hike talk in March makes a lot more sense. Talk is cheap, but QE isn't -- so the Fed was trying to give rates a boost with a positive spin on the economy. Thing is, our chart shows that it didn't work. Inflation is the Holy Grail for central bankers because deflation is a terrifying prospect for a heavily indebted economy. No economist wants to be at the helm when the U.S. slips into deflation. That's why Ben Bernanke fought to aggressively to keep five-year forward inflation above 2.2%, and it's why you can count on Janet Yellen to do the same. Don't confuse what I'm telling you with some kind of political or moral statement. I'm not championing the Fed here. Not even close. Too many investors worry about what the Fed should do, when the only way to make money is to focus on what they will do. We're on a collision course with the exact same signal that's brought us big QE programs every other time it's triggered/ That makes QE5 look forthcoming. >>Side-Step the Selling With These 5 Big Trades Even if you have a problem with what's going on in Washington right now, don't fight the Fed's moves unless you don't mind getting your portfolio steamrolled. Positioning for QE5 So how do you position yourself for QE5? Simple: Buy stocks. Despite all of the bearish cases that keep getting brought up in 2014, I'll fall back on the exact same argument I've been making for more than a year here: Stocks are still the most attractive asset class out there by virtue of the fact that investors have no other choice. Thats not the most exciting driver of a rally, but its reality. Broad market ETFs such as the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY) and the PowerShares QQQ Trust (QQQ) remain some of the most attractive ways to get exposure to the trend right now. But this is still a stock pickers market. Names with increasing relative strength will continue to be the best way to buy stocks in the near-and-long term. Yes, the market is correcting right now. That means that it pays to be tactical about your entry into equities. But tune out the deafening noise about crash risk in this market, and the biggest takeaway is the fact that the primary trend is still up. We're still indisputably in a textbook "buy the dips market." The tough part is having the guts to buy those dips in 2014. Another tough trade is staying away from betting on an interest rate hike. >>3 Big Stocks on Traders' Radars If you'd asked a room full of professional investors where rates were heading in 2009, almost ever guy in the room have said, "Up!" Where else could they go? But five years later, rates are basically unchanged. In fact, fixed income has been one of the best-performing asset classes in 2014. If a Fed action is really as imminent as it appears, going short bonds (or betting against rate-sensitive stocks such as REITs, MLPs and utilities) is probably the worst thing you could do. The assets that have worked best in the last five years are the ones you should keep buying 2014. Nothing has changed here. And that's exactly what we've seen over the course of the most recent correction in stocks. March and April weren't the "flight to quality" that so many market professionals think they were. Instead, the correction was a "flight to yield." That's why assets such as emerging market bonds, munis and high-yielding stocks have been some of the best-performing asset classes year-to-date. None of those are synonymous with safety. Instead, enough "high quality" stocks pay big dividends that everyone is confusing this yield rally for a blue chip rally. The distinction may be blurry in some cases, but it's absolutely there. That's why the most fundamentally unsound high-yield stocks have participated in upside alongside the blue chips. That distinction is critical in keeping your portfolio safe this year: Income-generating names are still the place to be when anxiety ramps back up in 2014. What's in a Name? Don't get fixated on "QE5" as the name for the next round of stimulus from the Fed. With the Fed's newfound marketing fixation, I expect it'll actually get a name without the negative connotations that previous stimulus packages have. In fact, maybe they'll avoid naming it altogether and just call it "more QE3." My point is that the name doesn't matter. All that matters is the Fed action and the market result. Quantitative easing by any other name would smell just as sweet for investors in 2014. The data indicates that rate hikes are much further out than the Fed would have you believe. -- Written by Jonas Elmerraji in Baltimore. RELATED LINKS: >>2 Biotech Stocks to Trade (or Not) >>5 Stocks Under $10 Ready to Explode >>5 Financial Stocks to Trade for Gains Follow Stockpickr on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.


DELAFIELD, Wis. (Stockpickr) -- The market is struggling to find buyers after key economic data was released that showed new-home sales plunged in March by 14.5%. The March data missed expectations, since most economists were looking for a bump up in new-home sales from February. >>Hedge Funds Love These 5 Health Care Stocks -- but Should You? Despite the weak action in the market off that terrible new-home-sales data, there are still plenty of stocks that are showing up on my scans that have favorable technical setups and aren't going down with the rest of the market today. Some of these stocks also have a lot of shorts involved in the names, and if the bears can't gain any traction on down days, then you could have a stock that's in high demand with buyers. One stock that recently had some strong fundamental news and is not going down today is biopharmaceutical player Agios Pharmaceutical , which focuses on the development and commercialization of therapeutics in the field of cancer metabolism and inborn errors of metabolism in the U.S. Agios Pharmaceutical has a market cap of $1.5 billion and an enterprise value of 1.1 billion. This company has over $190 million in cash on its balance sheet and zero debt. This stock has been on a tear so far in 2014, with shares up huge by over 100%. Agios Pharmaceutical recently released some bullish drug trial data, after the company reported that its blood cancer drug, AG-221, showed promising clinical activity for the treatment of cancers with the IDH2 mutation. Agios' trial only showed data from seven patients with acute myeloid leukemia, but six of those patients responded well to AG-221, and three of them had zero traces of cancer in their blood after 28 days on the drug. Wall Street celebrated the results earlier this month, and the stock closed up over 27% on big volume the day of the announcement. >>3 Biotech Stocks Under $10 in Breakout Territory These early trial results for AG-221 are just that: early. But Agios could be on to something big here if it can show positive cancer treatment data in larger trials. If that happens, then this stock could trend significantly higher from current levels. The reasons investors are so excited about AG-221 is due to those three patients that showed no cancer in their blood. That's the type of data that makes Wall Street sit up and listen. Complete remission with a cancer drug is the golden goose for biotech investors and traders. This company recently announced a number of stock offerings that aimed to raise over $75 million in cash. Those offerings are being done so Agios Pharmaceutical can fund its clinical and research development activities for its cancer metabolism drugs AG-221, AG-120 and AG-348. Investors should celebrate the offerings since they haven't hurt the stock price that much and the overall float for the stock is still very small, so they have not been that dilutive. A small float is important to keeping shares of AGIO attractive if demand for this equity can continue to go up. It's just simple supply and demand: If more people want in and there's little supply in the market, then shares can make giant spikes higher -- especially off any positive cancer drug trials, like we saw earlier this month for Agios Pharmaceutical. The positive fundamental news is one reason to like shares of AGIO, but in the short term I am really liking the technical setup for the stock. I also really like that there are a lot of shorts involved in this name as the stock is quickly approaching all-time-high territory. No smart short-seller wants to be short a stock that starts to trend into new all-time-high territory, because you just never know how much higher it could go. It's a dangerous game for a short-seller. >>2 Biotech Stocks to Trade (or Not) If you take a glance at that chart for Agios Pharmaceutical, you'll see that this stock has been uptrending very strong for the last six months, with shares moving higher from its low of $15.77 to its recent all-time high of $49.79 a share. During that uptrend, shares of AGIO have been consistently making higher lows and higher highs, which is bullish technical price action. Shares of AGIO recently pulled back off its high of $48.98 a share to its 50-day moving average. The stock held that test of its 50-day and it's now starting to spike higher and move within range of triggering a major breakout trade. Traders should now look for long-biased trades in AGIO as long as it's trending above its 50-day at $38.61 and then once it breaks out above some near-term overhead resistance levels $48.98 to its all-time high at $49.79 a share with high volume. Look for volume on that breakout that registers near or above its three-month average action of 404,026 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then AGIO will set up to enter new all-time-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that breakout are $60 to $70 a share in the short-term, and possibly well north of $100 a share in the longer-term if we get more favorable drug cancer data. Make note that shares of AGIO are heavily shorted, since the current short interest as a percentage of the float for the stock is 13.4%. Even after all of the recent stock offerings, AGIO still has a very low tradable float of fewer than 20 million shares. This is a great recipe for a large short-squeeze if AGIO can take out its all-time highs soon with strong volume. What's great about a heavily shorted stock that breaks out into new all-time-high territory is that all the people who are betting against the shares are going to feel huge pressure to cover their positions since they have made zero profits on their trades. This is why AGIO could squeeze pretty hard and see a sharp move higher very quickly if the stock close into new all-time-high territory soon.

The bottom line: A short-term trade is setting up here for AGIO that could be a great trading opportunity of the stock breaks out into new all-time-high territory. For the longer term, shares of AGIO could also be very attractive if the company can release more positive cancer drug data. The low float and large short interest makes this a compelling name to watch and trade, so make sure to keep it on your trading radar. -- Written by Roberto Pedone in Delafield, Wis. RELATED LINKS: >>A Beaten-Down Biotech Stocks Poised to Perk Up >>5 Rocket Stocks to Buy This Week >>5 Stocks With Big Insider Buying

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Atlanta (TheStreet) --Delta and Hawaiian shares showed big gains Wednesday, after the carriers led the parade of airline earnings reports. Four more major carriers will report on Thursday, while Alaska will report Friday. In trading Wednesday, Hawaiian shares led the industry with a 7% gain, rising 94 cents to $14.63. The carrier reported, following the close on Tuesday, that its adjusted first-quarter loss, which excludes fuel costs, was 2 cents share, narrower than consensus estimate of a 12-cent-loss. Delta shares rose 6%, gaining $2.14 to $37.09, after the carrier reported a record first-quarter profit excluding items of $281 million, beat estimates and guided toward a strong current quarter, with April passenger revenue per available seat mile up 6% and similar numbers expected in May and June. Imperial Capital analyst Bob McAdoo wrote Wednesday that he was pleased by Hawaiian's move of aircraft "from unprofitable Asia routes to more profitable West Coastroutes," with service to Maui from San Jose and Los Angeles replacing service to Fukuoka, Japan, and Tapei.McAdoo maintained a $16 price target, based on an earnings multiple of eleven. Cowen & Co. analyst Helane Becker raised her price target to $14 from $13. "We've seen yields improve as the company has slowed its international growth," Becker wrote. "We believe PRASM will continue to improve on international routes as long as the Japanese yen and Australian dollar remain at current levels." Meanwhile, Deutsche Bank analyst Mike Linenberg and JPMorgan analyst Jamie Baker both raised estimates for Delta following the carrier's earnings call. "Given the March quarter beat and Delta's continued cost control/ better-than-expected revenue trends, we are raising our full year 2014 EPS forecast to $2.85 (vs. consensus of $2.65)," Linenberg wrote late Wednesday. He raised his price target to $40 from $37. Baker raised his estimate to $47 from $40. That is because Delta's guidance toward a current quarter operating margin between 14% and 16%, if it is applied to the remaining three quarters, should boost consensus full-year estimates by 50 cents, he said. Since Delta trades at 10 times earnings, "the mere $1.70 intraday increase in Delta's share price on Wednesday strikes us as insufficient," Baker wrote.Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, N.C. To contact this writer, click here.Follow @tedreednc Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors, reporters and analysts from holding positions in any individual stocks.

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text Indecent Exposure [to Commodities]
Thu, 24 Apr 2014 10:30 GMT

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Before there were alternative investments ("alts") or hedge funds, having some exposure to commodities, served as a good way to diversify a portfolio against stock market volatility. Historical correlations to the stock market are rather low, or at least sporadic, and owning commodities can also be seen as a hedge against inflation (higher costs of raw goods). However, since the price of crude oil cratered from $150 per barrel all the way down to $40 back in 2008, the commodities asset class as a whole has been more or less shunned. Despite the price of oil having somewhat recovered -- it currently trades around $100 -- now might be a good time to un-shun. Below is a chart reflecting the PowerShares DB Commodity Index over the past five years, including 20-, 50- and 200-day moving averages. If moving averages aren't part of your regular analysis, just keep in mind that a shorter-term moving average crossing a longer-term moving average to the upside is a bullish signal. You can see that recently the 20-day crossed both the 50- and 200-day, and now the 50-day has crossed the 200-day. DBC data by YChartsFollowing technicals alone is sometimes sufficient for a trader, but let's look a little deeper at the fundamental argument for commodities... An important piece of information that gets too little attention (if it gets any at all) is that, almost without exception, commodities around the globe are priced in U.S. dollars. This means that their price per unit -- in addition to supply and demand factors -- depends largely on the strength, or weakness, of the greenback. If the dollar is weaker or weakening, it takes more of them to buy the same amount of goods. That means the price, in dollars, for said goods should go up. Inverse Correlation An inverse correlation is defined as: "A contrary relationship between two variables such that they move in opposite directions." Meaning, if items A and B are inversely correlated, when A moves up, B moves down by roughly the same percentage. And vice versa. Below is a chart of the U.S. dollar over the past five years, as tracked by the PowerShares DB U.S. Dollar Index Bullish : UUP data by YCharts While many in the financial media have been calling for the U.S. dollar's precipitous decline to worthlessness thanks to the Federal Reserve's quantitative easing, clearly that has not been the case. But we have seen a slow and steady weakening which is evident in the chart above. The simple argument only makes sense, then, for dollar-denominated commodities to cost more (in dollar terms) in the world of a weakening dollar. What's inverse correlation got to do with me?Below is a chart reflecting the dollar (UUP) versus the commodity index (DBC) over the past five years. UUP data by YCharts As I mentioned here a few weeks ago, fears about slowing global growth may well be overstated. From the supply/demand side of the argument, this fear is a big part of the reason DBC is inexpensive right now. Take advantage of this and get a favorable entry point to an asset class that belongs in your portfolio anyway. At the time of publication, the author was long DBC. Follow @ArgyleCapital // 0;if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElements);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.

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Well, where do I begin? As a long-time Apple shareholder and a second-generation "fanboy," I don't know if Apple has ever produced a quarter that brought more vindication to everything I've said leading up to Wednesday's report. Over the past couple of weeks, I've outlined a series of articles to help TheStreet's investors prepare for what was (and still is) the best bargain on the market. But first, I had to come to the defense of Tim Cook, Apple's embattled CEO, who former Wall Street Journal writer Yukari Iwatani Kane has called a "stage manager." I wonder what she would say to Tim Cook today. Following that article, I offered several reasons why the stock was heading to $650. Comments on that article said I was delusional. So I offered examples of how Apple was still demolishing its rivals. Bears disagreed. I then issued a swift response to Forbes writer who penned one of the dumbest Apple articles I've ever read. It was suggested I had become "too attached." I then pointed out that it was analysts -- not me -- who didn't understand Apple's direction. Bears insisted that Apple's only direction was down. Following that article, I told you how analysts focus too much on Apple's margins and not enough of on the potentially strong quarter to come. A commenter responded that Apple's iPhones are not good enough to justify such high margins. There are other examples of bearishness. But given all of the unnecessary hatred towards Apple and undue criticism Tim Cook has had to endure, at the risk of extreme hyperbole, Wednesday's results were by far the best damn quarter in Apple's history. I will gladly defend this statement to anyone, and it has nothing to do with the reality that the stock soared 8% following the report. Apple hit on every single metric that I suggested was necessary leading into the quarter. Apple's earnings rose 7% year over year to $10.2 billion, or $11.62 per share. Consider, aside from beating estimates by 14%, this number would already exceed what most technology companies make in an entire year. Revenue climbed 5% year over year to $45.6 billion, also topping estimates by 5%. But as I said on Monday, the biggest issue would be iPhone unit sales. Analysts were modeling for 38.5 million, but Apple demolished that number by 13%, reaching 43.7 million, or 17% growth year over year. Note, I was modeling for 40 million. During the conference call, Luca Maestri, who will become the company's chief financial officer later this year, said the strong unit number was boosted by strong demand in China, the U.S., Western Europe and Japan. Tim Cook also rewarded investors with an additional $30 billion buyback plan and raised Apple's quarterly dividend by 8% to $3.29, two more things I told you would happen. The company is now earmarking $90 billion for buybacks, which makes reaching $600 per share a sure thing. But that's not all. For the first time in nine years, Apple said it will split it stock 7:1, effective sometime early in June. While the total value of the company won't change, the split will dramatically decrease the per-share price of the stock, which closed Wednesday at $524.75. In after-hours trading Wednesday, Apple stock traded well of $565, up close to 8%. Tim Cook just confirmed the new era of Apple and in the process, he's upgraded his status from stage manager to director. The lights are on him, the camera is watching and he just yelled "action." At the time of publication, the author was long AAPL and held no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Follow @Richard_WSPB // 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.

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Investopedia defines "max pain" as the point at which options expire worthless. The term max pain stems from the Maximum Pain theory, which states that most traders who buy and hold options contracts until expiration will lose money. According to the theory, this is due to the tendency for the price of a underlying stock to gravitate towards its "maximum pain strike price" -- the price where the greatest dollar value of those options will expire worthless. I take a little bit of a different approach. Instead of looking for a "pin" point where the greatest number of options expire worthless based on the total dollar value of the options, I find it more helpful to look for a pin where the greatest number of options themselves expire worthless. Here is an example taken from the April 19 expiration of Twitter . Here is a look at what the TWTR open interest looked like on April 19, the last day of the week to trade the options (note: typically the last day to trade these options is Friday, but markets were closed on Good Friday). You can see that the $45 strike has even more open option positions that could expire worthless. TWTR closed that day at $45.01. How Did That Happen?: Many people think this pinning effect is due to manipulation. That theory is definitely up for debate. I imagine most market makers who are controlling large amounts of stock do have a vested interest in keeping as much premium as they can without having to give up anything in return. However, I believe that most of the time pinning is actually due to the market mechanics of buying and selling options. When calls or puts are purchased, there has to be a seller. Most of the time the seller is likely a market maker. Selling those options carries risk to the market maker and in order to hedge that risk they either sell short or buy the stock outright in order to maintain a delta-neutral position. To put it another way, market makers will adjust their position of the underlying stock they are selling an option for in order to have zero risk no matter which way the stock goes. As the stock fluctuates in price the market maker will continue to sell short or buy more stock to remain neutral. As expiration approaches and options begin closing out in higher frequency the market makers' rebalancing (buying and selling of the stock) pressures the stock to a certain price point or "pins" the stock. The higher the open interest on a stock, the larger the volume of stock the market maker hedges with and the greater odds of pressure being put on the stock on expiration day. Hence, the higher-beta, more-liquid momentum stocks are more prone to pin on expiration day. The most frequent type of pinning you will see is a stock closing where the most amount of options expire worthless (as opposed to where the greatest dollar amount expires worthless as mentioned above). How You Can Benefit: Looking at the open interest throughout the week, especially on Friday morning, can help you determine where a stock might pin. If you know where a stock has odds of pinning you can use that to make winning trades. Using the above example, when TWTR popped to $46.55 the first half hour of Friday morning you could have purchased TWTR puts, sold TWTR calls or shorted TWTR stock under the presumption that it would close near $45 as it did. It's true that the calls and puts of a stock that trade on expiration day can shift the open interest and thus, anticipating where it will pin has its limitations. Stocks don't always pin and often other factors will play a larger role in where a stock closes on expiration day. These factors include earnings releases, news events, large volume based on accumulation or distribution of a stock, and the overall market conditions. However, after over two years of following the open interest on high-momentum stocks I have seen this type of pinning more times than not. To learn more about options pinning, please visit the education section of my Web site. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in any of the stocks mentioned. Follow @Sassy_SPY // 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.

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text Analysts' Actions: AGN AOS COG ETFC LLY
Wed, 23 Apr 2014 12:31 GMT

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- RATINGS CHANGES Air Lease was upgraded to hold at TheStreet Ratings. Allergan was upgraded at J.P. Morgan to overweight from neutral. Twelve-month price target is $190. Value in a potential transaction with Valeant, J.P. Morgan said. AO Smith was upgraded to buy at Sterne Agee. Twelve-month price target is $58. Company boosted guidance once again, Sterne Agee said. AO Smith was upgraded at Wedbush to outperform from neutral. Twelve-month price target is $53. Growth outlook remains encouraging, Wedbush said. AO Smith was upgraded at BMO Capital to outperform from market perform. Twelve-month price target is $57. China should continue to drive the company's growth, BMO Capital said. AthenaHealth was upgraded at Morgan Stanley to overweight from equal-weight. Twelve-month price target is $192. See growth potential in both the core ambulatory business and expansion into the inpatient market, Morgan Stanley said. Brown & Brown was downgraded at Compass Point BRO was downgraded from Buy to Neutral, Compass Point said. $33 price target. Company could face near-term margin pressure. [Read: 3 Stocks Under $10 to Trade for Breakouts] Cabot was upgraded at Societe Generale to buy. Twelve-month price target is $43. Stock has lagged year-to-date, but fundamentals remain attractive, Societe Generale said. Equifax was upgraded at Credit Suisse to outperform from neutral. Twelve-month price target is $80. Organic revenue growth should accelerate, Credit Suisse said. E*Trade was upgraded at Wells Fargo to outperform from market perform. Bank should continue to generate excess capital, Wells Fargo said. [Read: Boeing Beats Estimates on Higher Deliveries, but Defense Revenue Drops] GlaxoSmithKline was upgraded at Argus to buy from hold. Asset swap with Novartis is attractive, Argus said. Illumina was upgraded at Maxim Group to buy from hold. Twelve-month price target is $205. Clinical customers are accelerating adoption and the company is seeing better penetration of HiSeq X Ten, Maxim Group said. Eli Lilly was downgraded at Leerink Swann to neutral from buy. Twelve-month price target is $61. Company lacks near-term catalysts and made an expensive acquisition of Novartis' animal health business, Leerink Swann said. Quality Systems was downgraded at Morgan Stanley to underweight from equal-weight. Twelve-month price target is $15. Company will be hurt from consolidation of its customer base, Morgan Stanley said. [Read: How 'Having It All' Really Works for Parents] Nacco was upgraded to hold at TheStreet Ratings. Rexnord was downgraded at Bank of America/Merrill Lynch to underperform. Valuation call, based on a 12-month price target of $29, Bank of America/Merrill said. Sunpower was upgraded at Bank of America/Merrill Lynch to buy. Valuation call, based on a 12-month price target of $37, Bank of America/Merrill said. TECO Energy was upgraded at UBS to neutral from sell. Driven by group recovery, deal savings and better coal outlook, UBS said. Twelve-month price target is $17. UGI was initiated with an equal weight rating at Barclays. LOB generates excess cash flow, with estimated growth earnings at around 6% CAGR, Barclays said. Twelve-month price target is $47. Vitamin Shoppe was upgraded to buy at Sterne Agee. Twelve-month price target is $57. Same-store sales and margins appear to be at an inflection point, Sterne Agee said. Stock Comments / EPS Changes Amgen estimates, price target were raised at Nomura. Twelve-month price target is now $129. Estimates were also reduced, as the company lacks visibility with its latest guidance, Nomura said. Neutral rating. Amgen price target, EPS cut at Jefferies AMGN lowered its numbers, Jefferies said. Lower product sales impacted by historical patterns and inventory drawdown. $142 price target and Buy rating. Centene price target, estimates raised at Jefferies CNC lifted its numbers across the board, Jefferies said. Higher revenue trajectory from Duals, Medicaid expansion. $69 price target and Hold rating. Cree estimates, price target were cut at Sterne Agee. Twelve-month price target is now $65. Estimates were also reduced, as the company is realizing lower lighting margins, Sterne Agee said. Buy rating. Intuitive Surgical price target lowered at Jefferies ISRG cut its number, Jefferies said. Volume deterioration while near term growth is challenging. $465 price target and Buy rating. Intuitive Surgical numbers were reduced at Sterne Agee. Twelve-month price target is now $360. Estimates were also cut, given weak procedure growth, Sterne Agee said. Underperform rating. Illinois Tool Works price target, EPS raised at Jefferies Shares of ITW reaching $98, according to Jefferies. Upside driven with reacceleration in revenue and margin improvement. Estimates also raised. Buy rating. Eli Lilly price target, EPS bumped up at Jefferies LLY raised its numbers, Jefferies said. Driven by accretive NAH acquisition. $60 price target and Hold rating. Medidata Solutions price target, EPS cut at Jefferies MDSO lowered its numbers, Jefferies said. Backlog coverage decline. $50 price target and Buy rating. Skyworks estimates, 12-month price target were raised at Canaccord Genuity. Price target is now $47. Estimates were also increased, given the company's new guidance, Canaccord Genuity said. Buy rating. United Technologies numbers were boosted at Credit Suisse. Twelve-month price target is now $135. Estimates were also increased, given a higher growth outlook, Credit Suisse said. Outperform rating. Follow TheStreet on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook

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