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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- This week U.S. growth and labor figures will be the focal point of financial markets. While many analysts tout the impressive headline readings, the data below the surface may be telling the real story. U.S. nonfarm payrolls have exceeded the 200,000 monthly jobs marker since February and is one of the main contributors to the rapid decline of the unemployment rate. However, U.S. growth declined by 2.9% in the first quarter due to one-off factors such as severe weather. Read More: $25 Billion Deal and JPMorgan Stumble to Aid of Bronx Homeowner Analysts hope growth this quarter will be aided by better-than-expected U.S. corporate earnings and the strong recovery in labor market conditions. However, the part-time employment rate for economic reasons remains historically high. Part-time employment for economic reasons essentially means the person would really prefer full-time work but took a part-time job to pay the bills. The current percentage of part-time workers within the civilian labor force stands at 4.78%, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. This percentage has receded from close to 6% in 2010 following the financial crisis, but remains at historically elevated levels compared to the unemployment rate, which could fall below 6% this month. The situation mirrors the recession experienced in the late 1970s and early 1980s in the United States. During that period the unemployment rate spiked over 10% while the part-time employment rate rose to levels seen in 2010. In the decade after, however, unemployment fell to 5%, while part-time employment declined to 3.75% during Ronald Reagan's presidency. The comparison of the two eras shows that the present day labor market may still have some slack in it, and may not be as healthy as a sub-6% unemployment rate assumes. Slack in the labor market could potentially weigh on long-term growth and wage increases, which will ultimately keep inflation subdued. The Federal Reserve remains committed to ending its stimulus program by years end, but with a continued high percentage of part-time jobs, central bankers may have a tough time significantly increasing interest rates. In this case, interest rate-sensitive assets such as iShares Barclays 20+ Year Treas Bond , iShares S&P National AMT-Free Muni Bd , and PIMCO Investment Grade Corp Bd Index ETF have bullish outlooks, while iShares Dow Jones US Regional Banks , which profits from higher rates, have bearish outlooks. Read More: Why Diversification Doesn’t Always Mitigate Risk Only when both headline and underlying strength returns to the labor market will the economy truly be able to function properly on every level. TLT data by YCharts At the time of publication, the author held no positions in any of the stocks mentioned, although positions may change at any time. Follow @macroinsights 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) -- Shares of Ryanair Holdings Plc are up 3.06% to $54.21 after the Dublin-based airline raised its full year profit forecast as a campaign to improve service pulled more customers away from its struggling rivals, Reuters reports. The airline said first quarter profit more than doubled to 197 million euros, or $264.7 million, beating a consensus forecast of 157 million euros from analysts polled by the company. It raised its profit forecast for the year to March 2015 to 620-650 million euros from 580-620 million. Must Read: Warren Buffett's 25 Favorite Stocks STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more. TheStreet Ratings team rates RYANAIR HOLDINGS PLC as a Buy with a ratings score of B. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate RYANAIR HOLDINGS PLC (RYAAY) 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, good cash flow from operations, growth in earnings per share and increase in net income. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself." Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows: RYAAY's revenue growth trails the industry average of 39.3%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 27.0%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share. The debt-to-equity ratio is somewhat low, currently at 0.94, 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 1.49, which illustrates the ability to avoid short-term cash problems. Net operating cash flow has increased to $994.91 million or 41.64% when compared to the same quarter last year. The firm also exceeded the industry average cash flow growth rate of 16.32%. RYANAIR HOLDINGS PLC has improved earnings per share by 21.4% 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, RYANAIR HOLDINGS PLC reported lower earnings of $2.50 versus $2.52 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($3.40 versus $2.50). The company, on the basis of net income growth from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed compared to the Airlines industry average, but is greater than that of the S&P 500. The net income increased by 23.9% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from -$79.61 million to -$60.59 million. You can view the full analysis from the report here: RYAAY Ratings Report STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- These days, it's clear that balancing a portfolio's exposure to different asset classes provides the potential for winning investments across various market conditions. However, I say it's delusional to think a colorful, balanced asset-class-based pie chart equates to sensible level of risk assumption. No matter how many asset classes are represented, your portfolio may still be riskier than you think. Read More: Amgen Shares Have the Right Prescription for Long-Term Growth Is this heresy? No, it's an evolution in thinking since Harry Markowitz demonstrated the power of diversification in the early 1950s and it represents a more sophisticated approach to investing. Asset Classes Asset classes -- stocks, bonds, and what have you -- are simply legal definitions and nothing more. The classic example of the failure of asset class diversification is the Lehman Brother's employee who held a mix of stocks, options and bonds -- all in one company that failed spectacularly. Even modern investors can inadvertently fall into this trap. Imagine the Google employee with valuable stock and options in the owner of the world's largest search engine. Let's say that person has diversified into stock, bond and index funds choosing, for example, Davis New York Venture Fund , Vanguard Intermediate-term Corporate Bond Fund and Vanguard 500 Index Fund . Davis holds positions in both Google Class A (7.85% net assets) as well as a stake Google Class C Stocks. Vanguard's Intermediate Corporate Bond Fund and its 500 Index fund also hold stakes in Google. However, this is only isolating one type of risk. Risk Types You achieve effective diversification by diversifying across the four major sources of underlying sources of risk: (1) company risk, (2) interest rate risk, (3) purchasing power risk and (4) manager skill risk. Allocating to risks, as opposed to asset classes, is how many institutional investors chose to build their portfolios. Read More: Happy Employees May Mean a Higher Stock Price Each risk exerts itself differently depending on the economic environment. Losses associated with one risk can be offset with gains associated with another. For instance, in the hypothetical Google example, company risk can be mitigated through buying equities and/or corporate bonds to dilute the Google share of the portfolio; interest rate risk can be eased buying the sovereign bonds of the US or other developed countries. Purchasing power risk can be reduced through the use of numerous financial products which offer the ability to purchase inflation protection. Even the Treasury offers Inflation Protected Securities (TIPS). You can review manager skill risk by checking if actively-managed accounts purchased in the past are still being handled by the manager you started with or someone of equal skill. Furthermore, you should diversify among managers with different strategies. Some investment managers espouse equal weighting to each of the different risks, called risk parity. In my opinion, however, it is not always prudent to have a constant weighting to each source of risk. Tactically changing allocations to reflect the opportunities or risks in the market may benefit your portfolio. Read More: GM Isn't Alone in the Race to the 200-Mile Electric Car Of course, there is no guarantee that a diversified portfolio will enhance overall returns or outperform a non-diversified portfolio. Diversification does not protect against market risk. How you approach such diversification, however, is vitally important. If you want to look at your portfolio with fresh eyes, consider examining it from a risk diversification perspective. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in any of the stocks mentioned, although positions may change at any time. This article represents the opinion of a contributor and not necessarily that of TheStreet or its editorial staff. TheStreet Ratings team rates GOOGLE INC as a Hold with a ratings score of C. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate GOOGLE INC (GOOGL) 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, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and reasonable valuation levels. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself, disappointing return on equity and feeble growth in the company's earnings per share."Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows: GOOGL's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 11.5%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 13.1%. 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. Although GOOGL's debt-to-equity ratio of 0.05 is very low, it is currently higher than that of the industry average. Along with this, the company maintains a quick ratio of 4.14, which clearly demonstrates the ability to cover short-term cash needs. The gross profit margin for GOOGLE INC is rather high; currently it is at 63.35%. Regardless of GOOGL'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 21.44% trails the industry average. Despite any intermediate fluctuations, we have only bad news to report on this stock's performance over the last year: it has tumbled by 33.22%, worse than the S&P 500's performance. Consistent with the plunge in the stock price, the company's earnings per share are down 32.58% compared to the year-earlier quarter. Naturally, the overall market trend is bound to be a significant factor. However, in one sense, the stock's sharp decline last year is a positive for future investors, making it cheaper (in proportion to its earnings over the past year) than most other stocks in its industry. But due to other concerns, we feel the stock is still not a good buy right now. The company's current return on equity has slightly decreased from the same quarter one year prior. This implies a minor weakness in the organization. Compared to other companies in the Internet Software & Services industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, GOOGLE INC has outperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500. You can view the full analysis from the report here: GOOGL Ratings Report

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NEW YORK (MainStreet) — A happy workforce can mean two things: 1) Employees are overpaid or underworked, or 2) Workers are efficient, driving customer satisfaction – and perhaps boosting a company's stock price. Alex Edmans, an associate professor of finance at Wharton, believes it just might be the latter – and he's conducted the research to prove it. Compiling lists of the "100 Best Companies to Work For," published by the Great Place to Work Institute in San Francisco, for some 14 countries with at least 10 publically traded "best companies," Edmans and his colleagues studied the relationship between employee satisfaction and equity returns – and found a correlation. Also See: Increasing Interest Rates Brings New Market Returns On Asset Also See: American Investors Still Afraid to Get Into Stocks Also See: Football Scrimmage Line Scam Gets Sacked by the SEC However, one variable does come into play: labor market flexibility. In countries with highly regulated workforces, such as Germany, hiring and firing is more difficult, motivational benefits are lower and a company's stock price is unlikely to be affected. But in countries with "high labor market flexibility," such as the U.K. and the U.S., employee satisfaction is a driver of productivity, retention, and recruitment. The result: "positive abnormal stock returns." "For the typical 20th-century firm, the bulk of its value stemmed from its physical capital," Edmans writes. "In contrast, most modern firms' key assets are their workers – not only senior management, but also rank-and-file employees. For example, in knowledge-based industries such as software, pharmaceuticals, and financial services, non-managerial employees engage in product development and innovation, and build relationships with customers and suppliers, and mentor subordinates. Employee-friendly policies can attract high-quality workers to a firm and ensure that they remain within the firm, to form a source of sustainable competitive advantage." Edmans concludes that in countries with high labor market flexibility, such as in Canada, India, Japan, Korea, the U.S. and the U.K., being listed as a "Best Company to Work For" can drive stock out performance. "These results are consistent with the idea that the recruitment, retention, and motivational benefits of employee satisfaction are most valuable in countries in which firms face fewer constraints on hiring and firing," Edmans writes. --Written by Hal M. Bundrick for MainStreet


NEW YORK (TheStreet) – With worst-than-expected results coming out from Visa , investors in MasterCard paid dearly on Friday for what is called in the market as "tandem trading." MasterCard stock is around $76, down 9% on the year to date. Investors don't mind locking in gains ahead of the company's earnings report this week. After all, shares of MasterCard have paid investors well, soaring close to 300% over the past five years. MasterCard will announce financial results Thursday. Read More: Auto Sales Stay Frothy in July -- but S&P Spots a Debt Problem As we've seen from Visa, whose shares lost more than 3.5% Friday, why take the chance with all of these gains on the table? Visa credit cards might be "everywhere you want to be" but the stock is not because of geopolitical issues including sanctions on Russia affecting card processing volumes. MasterCard is no exception. Investors would be wise to get out now while there's still time. From a fundamental perspective, MasterCard's stock, which trades at a trailing price/earnings ratio of 28, is not cheap. When looking at the stock based on next year's earnings estimates of $3.60, these shares still trade at a P/E of 21, which is seven points higher than the industry average P/E of 14. Even on the most bullish assumptions, the stock would be fairly priced on next year's estimates. This means there is no point to bidding up the shares today with geopolitical risks on the table. In that regard, in 2013 the company processed 53 billion transactions totaling $4.1 trillion. Trailing only Visa, MasterCard has nearly 1.3 billion credit and debit cards in circulation and is accepted at over 30 million locations. One of these locations happens to be Russia, where sanctions are likely to affect the company's earnings in the coming quarters until a resolution is reached. What management says during its conference call about ongoing payments regulation changes in Russia is what will drive the stock. The Russian parliament, in April, passed a new law that forces both MasterCard and Visa to pay a security deposit of 25% of their average daily turnover in Russia to the central bank. And they have to do this once every quarter. The new law becomes effective Oct. 31 of this year. Visa took the hard stance and ended its relationships with two Russian banks in April, which caused weakness in its cross-border payment volumes. This was one of the reasons Visa's earnings disappointed investors Friday. The question his, how will MasterCard react? Read More: GM Isn't Alone in the Race to the 200-Mile Electric Car If the MasterCard is unable to meet Russian demands, like Visa, it will be shut out of the Russian payment landscape. Unlike Visa, MasterCard seems open to accept the terms offered by the Russian Central Bank. In June, management sought proposals from local Russian payment processors in search for potential partnerships. This could be an encouraging sign. It shows that MasterCard is willing to comply with Russia's requirements to keep domestic processing within the country. If MasterCard is able to secure a partner, this would be the cheaper option that to invest capital to build its own processing facility. Still, this doesn't resolve the 25% security deposit that is required on daily volumes. That is still a hefty ransom that can impact long-term profitability. Investors must also consider is that the entire payment processing landscape is changing. While MasterCard does command 25% of the U.S. credit and debit card transaction volumes, mobile payments are likely to affect position. Apple and Facebook are rapidly entering that payment space, given that they have close to 2 billion combined credit/debit card accounts within their ecosystems. Add Google and potentially Amazon , payment processing can quickly become commoditized. Read More: Galectin Pays Stock Promoters to Entice Retail Investors The good news is, this is not going to happen overnight. MasterCard, and for that matter Visa, have several years left of above-average growth. They have time to form partnerships with the likes of Apple to ensure they remain important names within payment transaction for years to come. For now, however, there is too much risk and too much money on the table to hold shares of either company. At the time of publication, the author was long AAPL. 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. TheStreet Ratings team rates MASTERCARD INC as a Buy with a ratings score of A+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate MASTERCARD INC (MA) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, impressive record of earnings per share growth, increase in net income and expanding profit margins. 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 12.2%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 14.2%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share. MA's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.23 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels. To add to this, MA has a quick ratio of 1.60, which demonstrates the ability of the company to cover short-term liquidity needs. MASTERCARD INC has improved earnings per share by 17.2% 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, MASTERCARD INC increased its bottom line by earning $2.57 versus $2.19 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($3.01 versus $2.57). The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the IT Services industry average. The net income increased by 13.6% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $766.00 million to $870.00 million. The gross profit margin for MASTERCARD INC is rather high; currently it is at 62.38%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 39.96% significantly outperformed against the industry average. You can view the full analysis from the report here: MA Ratings Report

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text Death of a Cannabis Salesman
Mon, 28 Jul 2014 17:19 GMT

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Having spent some time exploring the marijuana dispensaries in Colorado, I can't help but notice how inefficient they truly are. Some feel like you're entering a secret spy base in an alley, while others look like convenience stores that are going out of business. Also See: Obama Marijuana Policy Criticized Also See: Pot Tourism In Washington State Still in Formulative Stages Also See: Are Entrepreneurs Taking Big Risks in Recreational Pot Business? Whether for recreational or medicinal use, cannabis sells itself. The staff in these buildings are, albeit knowledgeable about their product, are really tertiary elements to the transaction. This, paired with the most dubious and discriminatory pricing policies, the federal decriminalization of marijuana will be a boon to everyone in the marijuana industry – except dispensaries. End-Capitalism Once large corporations can sink their money into the marijuana industry, the entire selection and inventory of any dispensary will become a mini-endcap on the counter next to the vaporizers and e-cigarettes. These hidden locations will be competing with every 7-Eleven, Wal-Mart, gas station and grocery store. At that point in time, people looking for a more personalized experience can simply make a purchase in the marijuana room of any smoke or head shop in the country. What it boils down to is these dispensaries won't be able to compete with companies that use every inch of their stores to entice purchases. Lemon-Aid Stand Even if you live in a state where marijuana isn't available recreationally, federal decriminalization will make THC- and CBD- extracts available in pharmacies. Once again, the dispensaries are lemonade stands compared to pharmacy retail giants like CVS and Walgreens. There are so many strains of cannabis available in so many forms that these dispensaries will end up looking as kitschy as an oxygen bar in a Vegas casino. The edibles companies already in full production these days is astounding. Growers are looking to unload bulk product. The efficiency of these archaic brick and mortar representations of the cannabis movement render them unsustainable. Growing Pains At this point in the legalization process, even opening one dispensary is a financial accomplishment. Some investment groups have been able to swing multiple locations. These early pioneers will make a profit off pot tourism, but this is only bound to last until federal decriminalization. Also See: Carolinas Eye Cannabinoid Reform Warily Distribution across state borders will then become legal, and once again, giants like Wal-Mart have a much larger distribution system in place. At that point, even Amazon, (or, the Amazon of Pot that pops up in its absence) will have a shot at delivery. A dispensary that creates its own strands has a chance to sell its products through these channels, but they'd be nothing more than another wine bottle on the shelf of some conglomerate liquor store. Nappy Valley Marijuana penny stocks have become a legislative hot button, and banks are still balking at lending money to cannabis-related businesses. Reports out of both Colorado and Washington show a sentiment of positivity at the legal sale of marijuana; however, most prefer to purchase it from friends. Also See: GWPH Pot Stock Continues to Soar Despite these challenges, entrepreneurs, investors, and early adopters eagerly keep their eye on the budding industries in Colorado and Washington. There are thousands of great small businesses across the country succeeding in the pot trade. Just don't count on dispensaries to be one of them. --Brian Penny is a former Operations Manager and Business Analyst at Bank of America turned whistleblower. He's a frequent contributor to Cannabis Now, Huffington Post, Money Side of Life, and Fast Company.


NEW YORK (TheStreet) – Dai-ichi Life Insurance's $5.7 billion acquisition of Protective Life in June not only represents a 37% premium from where the Alabama-based life insurer was trading a month before the deal, but shows the potential value in other U.S. insurance companies. The deal values Protective Life at a price-to-earnings ratio of 13.04x (2015 estimates), price-to-sales ratio of 1.36x and price-to-book ratio of 1.28x. This compares with the $13.9 billion market cap of Lincoln National , which trades at a forward P/E ratio of 8.79x, P/S ratio of 1.14x and a P/B ratio of 0.97x. Following an 86% rally in 2013, shares of Lincoln National, a life insurance and retirement services company, have underperformed against the broader market through the first seven months of the year (3.31% gain compared with the S&P 500's year-to-date gain of 7.03%). Lincoln as a whole may not be a potential target of Dai-ichi, given that Protective Life was the largest Japanese purchase of a U.S. insurance company, but segments of Lincoln could be attractive to other Japanese insurers as they struggle with a smaller market due to an aging population. Read More: Zillow Bought Trulia Because the Stars Aligned Wall Street remains bullish on Lincoln National, with an average analyst price target of $59 (11.7% above the current share price). Even at $59, the stock would still be trading under a forward P/E ratio of 10x with 8.7% earnings per share growth (9.9% this year) and 4.7% revenue growth (6.7% this year). In the three most recent analyst price target changes, Raymond James maintained its strong buy rating on 7/17 ($58 -> $63), Sterne Agee maintained its neutral rating on 7/17 ($58 -> $59), and Deutsche Bank maintained its buy rating on 7/14 ($56 -> $60). Lincoln authorized up to a $1 billion share repurchase program in May and raised its quarterly dividend from $0.12 to $0.16 per share late last year (current dividend yield of 1.21%). The company expanded into auto insurance and this year added the Presidential Managed Risk Moderate Fund (which provides protection in volatility periods of the stock market), which will further diversify the business and be earnings accretive in the years to come. Read More: $25 Billion Deal and JPMorgan Stumble to Aid of Bronx Homeowner Lincoln reported first-quarter EPS of $1.34 vs. the Wall Street consensus estimate of $1.29. This marked the fourth consecutive EPS beat, and the seventh of the last two years. Total revenue rose 11% year over year to $3.18 billion, with the annuity segment revenue climbing 17% to $909 million. Second-quarter earnings are due out after the bell on July 30. Call Buyers Bet on a Strong Fall On June 30, someone purchased 5,000 Oct $55 calls for $1.29-$1.39 each. The call-to-put ratio was 26:1. Call activity was nine times the average daily volume. On the same day, implied volatility rose 4.9% to 23.95. The open interest in these calls is nearly double that of the second-largest option (5,607 contracts, compared with the Jan 2015 $35 put's open interest of 2,871 contracts). The breakeven for the big buyer is $56.34, or 6.25% above the current share price, on October options expiration. Bullish Setup on the Charts Lincoln National Options Trade Idea Buy the Oct $55 call for $1.50 or better Stop loss- None 1st upside target- $3.00 2nd upside target- $4.00 At the time of publication, the author was long LNC, although positions may change at any time. Follow @MitchellKWarren // 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. Now let's look at TheStreet Ratings' take on some of these stocks. TheStreet Ratings team rates LINCOLN NATIONAL CORP as a Buy with a ratings score of A-. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate LINCOLN NATIONAL CORP (LNC) 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, growth in earnings per share, increase in net income and good cash flow from operations. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins."Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows: LNC's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 7.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 11.9%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share. Powered by its strong earnings growth of 40.69% and other important driving factors, this stock has surged by 28.46% 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, LNC should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed a very nice gain in the past year. LINCOLN NATIONAL CORP has improved earnings per share by 40.7% 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, LINCOLN NATIONAL CORP increased its bottom line by earning $4.53 versus $4.46 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($5.54 versus $4.53). The company, on the basis of net income growth from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly outperformed against the S&P 500 and exceeded that of the Insurance industry average. The net income increased by 37.6% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $239.00 million to $329.00 million. Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 204.78% to $263.00 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, LINCOLN NATIONAL CORP has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of -5.26%. You can view the full analysis from the report here: LNC Ratings Report

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Alliance Resources Partners L.P. are higher by 5.04% to $50.10 in early afternoon trading on Monday after the company reported a 32.3% growth in net income to $137.7 million, or $1.37 per share for the 2014 second quarter, compared to $104.2 million for the year ago quarter. The coal producer and marketer said revenue increased 8.1% to $598.6 million from $553.6 million, or 98 cents per share for the 2013 second quarter. Must Read: Warren Buffett's 25 Favorite Stocks STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more. Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates ALLIANCE RESOURCE PTNRS -LP as a Buy with a ratings score of A. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate ALLIANCE RESOURCE PTNRS -LP (ARLP) 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, attractive valuation levels and expanding profit margins. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow." ARLP data by YChartsSTOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- D.R. Horton shares are down -2.2% to $21.14 on Monday following reports that pending home sales in the month of June fell after three months of growth.The National Association of Realtors' pending home sales index showed that pending home sales fell 1.1%. Analysts had expected a 0.3% increase in the index. Must Read: Warren Buffett's 25 Favorite Stocks STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more. TheStreet Ratings team rates D R HORTON INC as a Buy with a ratings score of A-. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate D R HORTON INC (DHI) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, reasonable valuation levels and increase in stock price during the past year. 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 11.0%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 26.8%. 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. The debt-to-equity ratio is somewhat low, currently at 0.69, and is less than that of the industry average, implying that there has been a relatively successful effort in the management of debt levels. D R HORTON INC's earnings per share declined by 23.8% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has suffered a declining pattern of earnings per share over the past year. However, we anticipate this trend reversing over the coming year. During the past fiscal year, D R HORTON INC reported lower earnings of $1.34 versus $2.74 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.72 versus $1.34). The change in net income from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the Household Durables industry average, but is less than that of the S&P 500. The net income has decreased by 22.4% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, dropping from $145.90 million to $113.20 million. You can view the full analysis from the report here: DHI Ratings Report STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Cliffs Natural Resources was gaining 2% to $16.41 Monday after Macquarie upgraded the stock to "neutral" from "underperform" ahead of the company's annual general meeting. The analyst firm raised its price target for the company to $17 from $10. Macquarie analysts expect positive results from Cliffs' proxy battle with Casablanca Capital. The activist investor could gain control of Cliffs' board of directors and replace its CEO at the company's annual general meeting Tuesday. Macquarie also cited Cliffs' guidance for the recovery of its U.S. iron ore division, and cost reduction in its eastern Canada mine. Must read: Warren Buffett's 25 Favorite Stocks STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more. TheStreet Ratings team rates CLIFFS NATURAL RESOURCES INC as a Sell with a ratings score of D+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate CLIFFS NATURAL RESOURCES INC (CLF) a SELL. This is driven by multiple weaknesses, which we believe should have a greater impact than any strengths, and could make it more difficult for investors to achieve positive results compared to most of the stocks we cover. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself, unimpressive growth in net income, poor profit margins, weak operating cash flow and generally high debt management risk." Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows: The share price of CLIFFS NATURAL RESOURCES INC has not done very well: it is down 17.87% and has underperformed the S&P 500, in part reflecting the company's sharply declining earnings per share when compared to the year-earlier quarter. Looking ahead, other than the push or pull of the broad market, we do not see anything in the company's numbers that may help reverse the decline experienced over the past 12 months. Despite the past decline, the stock is still selling for more than most others in its industry. The company, on the basis of change in net income from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500 and the Metals & Mining industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 92.5% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $146.00 million to $10.90 million. The gross profit margin for CLIFFS NATURAL RESOURCES INC is rather low; currently it is at 21.56%. It has decreased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 0.99% significantly trails the industry average. Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to -$41.90 million or 110.11% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing to the industry average, the firm's growth rate is much lower. Despite currently having a low debt-to-equity ratio of 0.57, 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 CLF's debt-to-equity ratio is mixed in its results, the company's quick ratio of 0.57 is low and demonstrates weak liquidity. You can view the full analysis from the report here: CLF Ratings Report STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

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text Why Apple (AAPL) Stock Is Up Today
Mon, 28 Jul 2014 17:03 GMT

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Apple rose slightly Monday after re/code reported the tech giant bought radio app Swell for $30 million. Swell, described as "Pandora for talk radio," takes various podcasts and shows and delivers personalized recommendations to users. Swell raised $7.2 million from investors. The app will be shut down as part of the deal, but much of Swell's team will join Apple. The site reports Swell's UI lends itself to in-car listening and could engage fans, but the app could not reach many users. This marks the latest Apple acquisition after Beats for $3 billion and the book recommendation service BookLamp for between $10 million and $15 million. Must Read: Warren Buffett's 25 Favorite Stocks STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more. The stock was up 0.74% to $98.39 at 1:03 p.m. 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 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, notable return on equity, expanding profit margins and solid stock price performance. Although the company may harbor some minor weaknesses, we feel they are unlikely to have a significant impact on results." 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 8.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 6.0%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share. Although AAPL's debt-to-equity ratio of 0.26 is very low, it is currently higher than that of the industry average. 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. 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 Computers & Peripherals industry and the overall market, APPLE INC's return on equity exceeds that of the industry average and significantly exceeds that of the S&P 500. 44.56% is the gross profit margin for APPLE INC which we consider to be strong. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 20.69% is above that of the industry average. 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 54.18% 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, AAPL should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed a very nice gain in the past year. You can view the full analysis from the report here: AAPL Ratings Report STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) - Amazon.com stock was on a momentum run-up from its May 9 low at $284.38 to its pre-earnings high at $364.85 on July 24. Investors immediately began to dump shares like a crashing drone after the closing bell on July 24 on a huge earnings miss. The company missed analysts earnings per share estimates by 14 cents reporting a loss of 27 cents. This hurts when a stock has a 12-month trailing price to earnings ratio at 853.7 and does not pay a dividend. Amazon appears to be over-expanding in constructing fulfillment centers. I live in Tampa Bay, Fla., and back in October the company announced that it would build two warehouses in the area. One warehouse is just off I -75 in Ruskin and will soon be delivering small consumer products from books to electronics. The second is being built in Lakeland and will focus on backing and shipping large items such as TVs. Read More: 5 Rocket Stocks to Buy for August Gains The good news is that Amazon began hiring employees for these fulfillment centers in May and as many as 1000 jobs will be created. The bad news is that Floridians shopping on-line through Amazon.com have been paying sales taxes since May 1. Time will tell whether or not sales will be hurt by taxes. These fulfillment centers remain under construction and jobs are still available. Let's take a look at Amazon's daily chart: Courtesy of MetaStock Xenith Looking at the right side of the daily chart for Amazon ($318) the stock was well above its 200-day simple moving average at $349.61 with a close at $358.61 on July 24. The open on July 25 was below its 21-day, 50-day and 200-day simple moving averages at $341.43, $328.04 and $349.61, respectively. Amazon began 2014 setting an all-time intraday high at $408.06 on Jan. 22. Investors first became concerned about valuation as the stock fell below its 200-day SMA on April 3 to a 2014 low at $234.38 on May 9. From high to low was a decline of 33%. Momentum returned to the stock and reversed on a dime after the close on July 24. Let's take a look at Amazon's weekly chart: Courtesy of MetaStock Xenith The weekly chart for Amazon is negative with its five-week modified moving average at $329.72 with its 200-week simple moving average shown in green at $250.51 The 12x3x3 weekly slow stochastic is declining at 73.01 but would have become overbought above 80.00 on a positive reaction to earnings. The stock opened on July 25 below semiannual and annual pivots at $344.36 and $334.95. Read More: Amazon Fire Phone Review: That's All Ya Got? Investors looking to buy Amazon shares should be patient and consider using a good 'til canceled limit order to buy weakness to annual value level at $259.67. Investors looking to sell Amazon shares should consider using a good 'til canceled limit order to sell strength to the annual pivot at $334.95. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in any of the stocks mentioned, although positions may change at any time. Follow @Suttmeier This article represents the opinion of a contributor and not necessarily that of TheStreet or its editorial staff TheStreet Ratings team rates AMAZON.COM INC as a Hold with a ratings score of C. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate AMAZON.COM INC (AMZN) 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 unimpressive growth in net income 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 0.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 23.1%. 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. Although AMZN's debt-to-equity ratio of 0.29 is very low, it is currently higher than that of the industry average. AMAZON.COM INC 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, AMAZON.COM INC turned its bottom line around by earning $0.58 versus -$0.10 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.09 versus $0.58). Net operating cash flow has declined marginally to $862.00 million or 2.04% when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite a decrease in cash flow AMAZON.COM INC is still fairing well by exceeding its industry average cash flow growth rate of -16.40%. 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 Internet & Catalog Retail industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 1700.0% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from -$7.00 million to -$126.00 million. 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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Grade school education in the United States has some well documented problems. Of 21 industrialized countries, the U.S.'s 12th graders rank 19th in math, 16th in science and last in advanced physics.The gulf between what is expected by college-level faculty and high school teachers is indicated by the fact that 44% of college faculty say that incoming freshman aren't ready for college level writing, while 90% of high school teachers say graduating seniors are well prepared.The gulf between the reading and math proficiency standards of the National Assessment of Educational Progress and the states' own standards are quite wide in some cases, leading to matriculating students who aren't necessarily ready for the next level.In the U.S., an average of only 55.5% of college students graduate within six years, while just 69% of students earn their high school diploma.Despite these grim numbers, a report released by the America's Promise Alliance said the country is on the right track, estimating that by 2020 the high schools in the country will be able to achieve a 90% graduation rate.The American Legislative Exchange Council recently published the 18th edition of its state education rankings the Report Card on American Education. The Report Card "is a comprehensive overview of educational achievement levels, focusing on performance and gains for low-income students" and ranks states based on several criteria including state academic standards, private school choice programs, charter schools, teacher quality and online learning opportunities.Just because a state has a low overall education grade doesn't necessarily mean that their education policy is not on the right track. Oklahoma is ranked as the 9th worst state on this list, but its overall education grade of "B+" indicates that its policy is on the right track, according to the ALEC.Here is a list of the 10 states ranked last in the report.10. NebraskaEducation Policy Grade: DTeacher Quality and Policies Grade: D-Per Pupil Expenditure: $10,825 (ranked 20th)In Nebraska, 91.87% of 8th graders in 2010 were proficient in math according to the state test. According to NAEP standards, only 34.6% of students were proficient, leaving a standards gap of 57.23%. Nebraska ranks 25th in country with 55.1% of college students graduating with a bachelor's degree within six years. Of the students who graduate high school and go on to college, 77.8% of Nebraska's college freshman go on to their sophomore year, ranking the state 20th in the country for college retention rates.9. OklahomaEducation Policy Grade: B+Teacher Quality and Policies Grade: B-Per Pupil Expenditure: $9,075 (ranked 43rd)In Oklahoma, 61% of 8th graders are proficient in math according to state standards, however that number is 37.18% off of the NAEP's proficiency standards. Oklahoma ranks 42nd in the nation with 44.1% of college students graduating with a bachelor's degree within six years. Only 69.1% of Oklahoma college freshman continue through to their sophomore years, meaning that the state ranks 45th in the country when it comes to retention rates.8. Tennessee Education Policy Grade: CTeacher Quality and Policies Grade: B-Per Pupil Expenditure: $8,242 (ranked 46th)In 2010, 90.1% of Tennessee's 8th grade students were proficient in math, according to the state's own standards test. The NAEP's standards test placed that number at 25.2%, a standards gap of 64.92%, the largest gap in the country. Tennessee ranks 31st in the nation with 51.5% of college students graduating with a bachelor's degree within six years. The state's college freshman retention rate of 72.9% ranks 36th in the country.7. ArkansasEducation Policy Grade: CTeacher Quality and Policies Grade: CPer Pupil Expenditure: 9,353 (ranked 33rd)In Arkansas, 61% of 8th graders were proficient in math in 2010, according to the state standards test. NAEP's test put that number at 27%, a difference in standards of 34%. Arkansas ranks 46th in the nation with 41.2% of college students graduating with a bachelor's degree withing six years. The state's 69.9% retention rate ranks 44th in the country.Must Read: 10 Dumbest States in America6. MichiganEducation Policy Grade: B-Teacher Quality and Policies Grade: B+Per Pupil Expenditure: $10,833 (ranked 28th)In Michigan, 74.5% of 8th graders were proficient in math according to the state's own measures. The NAEP's test put that number at 30.5%, a difference in standards evaluation of 44%. Michigan ranks 26th in the Nation with 54.8% of college students graduating within six years. Its 79.8% retention rate ranks 12th in the nation.5. MissouriEducation Policy Grade: CTeacher Quality and Policies Grade: DPer Pupil Expenditure: $9,410 (ranked 31st)Missouri seems to have one of the more stringent standards policy's in the country with only 47% of 8th graders being rated as proficient in math. The NAEP's measure put the number at 35.5% representing one of the lowest gaps in standards measurement of 11.5%. Missouri ranks 23rd in the nation with a 55.8% of students graduating with a college degree within six years. The state's college freshman retention rate of 73.9% ranks 29th in the country.Must Read: 10 Dumbest States in America4. MississippiEducation Policy Grade: C-Teacher Quality and Policies Grade: D+Per Pupil Expenditure: $9,542 (ranked 38th)According to the state, 53.9% of Mississippi 8th graders are proficient in math. According to the NAEP, only 15.2% of students are proficient. Mississippi ranks 33rd in the nation with 51.5% of college students earning a bachelor's degree in six years. The states freshman retention rate of 75.9% ranks it 24th in the country.3. LouisianaEducation Policy Grade: BTeacher Quality and Policies Grade: C-Per Pupil Expenditure: $12,454 (ranked 19th)In Louisiana, 59% of 8th graders are considered proficient at math, according to the state test. The NAEP test puts Louisiana's proficiency rate at 20.3%, a difference of 38.7%. Louisiana ranks 47th in the nation with 40.7% of college students earning their bachelor's within six years. Its 72.9% college freshman retention rate ranks 35th in the country.Must Read: 10 Dumbest States in America2. South CarolinaEducation Policy Grade: CTeacher Quality and Policies Grade: C-Per Pupil Expenditure: $9,877 (ranked 35th)South Carolina has an 8th grade math proficiency rate of 62.7%, according to state standards, while the NAEP puts that rate at 30.2%. South Carolina ranks 19th in the country with 57.6% of students earning their bachelor's degree within six years. The gamecock state's 73.9% freshman retention rate ranks 28th in the country.1. West VirginiaEducation Policy Grade: D+Teacher Quality and Policies Grade: D+Per Pupil Expenditure: $14,147 (ranked 11th)West Virginia's 8th grade math proficiency rate is 51.23%, according to the state test. The NAEP test rates that 19.4% of 8th grade students are proficient in math. West Virginia ranks 43rd in the country with 43.8% of college students getting a bachelor's degree within six years. West Virginia's 68.3% retention rate ranks 48th in the country. Must Read: 10 Dumbest States in America


NEW YORK (TheStreet) –– Trulia shares jumped 13.2% to $63.75 following the confirmation of its acquisition by Zillow . The companies announced this morning that Zillow, the largest online real estate website, would acquire Trulia, the second-largest, for $3.5 billion in stock. As part of the deal, every Trulia shareholder will receive 0.444 shares of Zillow’s Class A Common Stock; in total, Trulia shareholders will own one third of the new combined company. The deal is expected to close next year. Trulia CEO Pete Flint will retain his title and report to Zillow’s CEO, Spencer Rascoff. Flint and a second member of Trulia's Board of Directors will join the board of the combined company.How Will Zillow (Z) Stock Be Affected By Its Acquisition of Trulia (TRLA)? Zillow Bought Trulia Because 'the Stars Aligned' Will BlackBerry (BBRY) Stock Be Helped By CEO Chen's Turnaround Comments? In June, Zillow reported 83 million unique users, while Trulia reported 54 million. The two sites have limited overlap; according to the press release, half of Trulia’s monthly visitors do not use Zillow and two-thirds of Zillow’s monthly visitors do not use Trulia. "Consumers love using Zillow and Trulia to find vital information about homes and connect with the best local real estate professionals," Rascoff said in the press release. "Both companies have been enormously successful in creating compelling consumer brands and deep industry partnerships, but it's still early days in the world of real estate advertising on mobile and Web. This is a tremendous opportunity to combine our resources and achieve even more impressive innovation that will benefit consumers and the real estate industry." Zillow shares fell 1.5% to $156.43 on the news. BlackBerry shares fell 3% to $9.96 after CEO John Chen said that the company had no buyout offers. Chen admitted in a Bloomberg Television interview that the company has no acquisition offers. "I don’t have any offers on my desk," Chen told Bloomberg’s Emily Chang. "If people would like to talk, I mean, talk is not an offer." Nonetheless, Chen said that the company would turn itself around independently, and that its chances of success were "better than 80/20." The CEO said in the interview that BlackBerry would be profitable by March 2016. "I am comfortable with where the company is today, how we managed our technology, our businesses, the margins, the distribution channel or the new products that's coming out," he said. "Whether it's going to be good enough to be iconic again, OK, that's something I need to chew on. I don't know the answer to that question." Chen became CEO of the Waterloo, Ontario-based company in November. He has tried to turn around BlackBerry by cutting costs, selling property in Canada, and building revenue from business services and BBM messaging service to compensate for flagging handset sales. Shares increased 52% year-to-date until July 15, when Apple and IBM announced a partnership to collaborate on business services. The following day, BlackBerry shares fell 12%. Following the deal, UBS analyst Amitabh Passi wrote, "BlackBerry now finds itself competing against much larger and established enterprise vendors, as well as smaller, but better capitalized, vendors e.g. MobileIron (post-IPO)." RW. Baird’s William Power wrote, "This deal could be a meaningful negative for BlackBerry as it attempts to leverage its remaining enterprise clout to turn around the business." Twitter shares fell 1.3% to $37.65 ahead of tomorrow's earnings release. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expect that the social media company will lose 1 cent on $283.07 million in revenue. Last quarter, Twitter broke even on earnings per share, exceeding analysts' expectations of a net loss of 3 cents per share, and beat analyst expectations on revenues; however, the stock tanked on guidance below consensus. Analyst reports this morning were largely optimistic. Rob Sanderson of MKM Partners reiterated his "buy" rating and $55 price target. He notes that while the consensus estimate of $283 million in revenues exceeds guidance, and while he only projects $275 million, he still thinks consensus is achievable. "TWTR has very high activations, but also very high leakage after only a few tries. We see user growth improvement in two stages: (1) narrowing high attrition rates with gradual improvements, then (2) a substantial overhaul of user experience," he wrote. Twitter reports its second-quarter earnings tomorrow after the bell. --Written by Laura Berman in New York >Contact by Email.

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- WPCS International was gaining 12.6% to $1.08 Monday after announcing the launch of Celery, a service that lets users buy digital currency, and providing an update on BTX Trader. The company's new Celery service lets users easily purchase digital currency and store it in an online wallet. The service uses bank transfers to make it easy to use. Celery is currently focused on Bitcoin and Dogecoin cryptocurrencies. WPCS International also announced that BTX Trader's web app is available to 5,000 users with more than 1,500 unique visitors each month. Must read: Warren Buffett's 25 Favorite Stocks STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more. TheStreet Ratings team rates WPCS INTERNATIONAL INC as a Sell with a ratings score of D-. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate WPCS INTERNATIONAL INC (WPCS) a SELL. This is driven by a few notable weaknesses, which we believe should have a greater impact than any strengths, and could make it more difficult for investors to achieve positive results compared to most of the stocks we cover. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity, poor profit margins and generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself." Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows: The company, on the basis of change in net income from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500 and the IT Services industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 189.9% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from -$1.22 million to -$3.55 million. Return on equity has greatly decreased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of major weakness within the corporation. Compared to other companies in the IT Services industry and the overall market, WPCS INTERNATIONAL INC's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500. The gross profit margin for WPCS INTERNATIONAL INC is rather low; currently it is at 24.93%. It has decreased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of -42.77% is significantly below that of the industry average. WPCS's stock share price has done very poorly compared to where it was a year ago: Despite any rallies, the net result is that it is down by 80.46%, which is also worse that the performance of the S&P 500 Index. Investors have so far failed to pay much attention to the earnings improvements the company has managed to achieve over the last quarter. Naturally, the overall market trend is bound to be a significant factor. However, in one sense, the stock's sharp decline last year is a positive for future investors, making it cheaper (in proportion to its earnings over the past year) than most other stocks in its industry. But due to other concerns, we feel the stock is still not a good buy right now. The debt-to-equity ratio is somewhat low, currently at 0.64, and is less than that of the industry average, implying that there has been a relatively successful effort in the management of debt levels. Although the company had a strong debt-to-equity ratio, its quick ratio of 0.79 is somewhat weak and could be cause for future problems. You can view the full analysis from the report here: WPCS Ratings Report STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The times, they are a-changin' for marijuana, as long-time prohibition laws risk going up in flames. Over the weekend, The New York Times advocated for legalization of pot at a national level, arguing that the "social costs" of the current prohibition laws are vast -- unreasonable prison sentences, a judicial system skewed against minority groups and the disadvantaged, the turning of law-abiding citizens into petty criminals. While the road to legalizing and regulating marijuana use will not be one without challenge, The Times (the first mainstream media outlet to issue an opinion so strong) remains optimistic that creating the systems for the "manufacture, sale and marketing" of the drug are solvable problems. Already, calls for legalization are growing louder, albeit at a state-by-state level rather than federal. Colorado was the first state to pass and implement legal marijuana laws with its first sale on January 1 this year; next was Washington which opened the doors to legal recreational pot stores on July 8. Meanwhile, in the rest of the country, grassroots activists fight and campaign, while politicians teeter on whether to relax laws. According to a national survey by Pew Research Center earlier this year, 75% of Americans believe the sale and use of marijuana will eventually be legal nationwide, a majority opinion even among those who oppose its use. It's a lucrative move for states to legalize the drug, too. Since Colorado embraced legalization, the state's coffers have gotten fuller. In the first quarter of the year, Colorado generated nearly $11 million from tax and licensing fees on recreational marijuana sales alone, a figure likely to grow as kinks in the supply chain are teased out. Even President Obama has weighed in on the debate of whether or not to legalize. In an interview with The New Yorker earlier this year, Obama supported Colorado and Washington's legalization efforts but stopped short of making any statement on whether it could play out on a federal level. "It's important for it to go forward because it's important for society not to have a situation in which a large portion of people have at one time or another broken the law and only a select few get punished," he told the publication. The dominoes are stacked but which will be the next to fall? TheStreet investigates the five states likely to next embrace marijuana law reform... Oregon Possibly swayed by its northern-border state Washington, Oregon is making strides to make recreational cannabis use legal. The northeastern state already has both medical and decriminalization laws in force. Oregonians are due to vote on the Control, Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act in November 2014. If passed, the law would allow for cannabis to be sold and used by adults over 21 beginning July 2015. A recent report by ECONorthwest estimates the state will generate $38.5 million in excise tax revenue over the first fiscal year of recreational sales. Alaska Cannabis reformers in Alaska have been committed and they've been loud, managing to turn a predominantly red state into the next likely region to allow recreational pot use. Alaska's citizen-run group Campaign to Regulate Marijuana currently has three initiatives which will be voted on in the November general election. One statewide ballot initiative proposes legalizing possession of limited amounts of marijuana for those 21 years and older, while cultivation and sales will be regulated in a way similar to alcohol. "The proposed initiative will take marijuana sales out of the underground market and put them in legitimate, taxpaying businesses," said Tim Hinterberger, one of the campaign's major activists and sponsors, in a January statement. "Replacing marijuana prohibition with a system of taxation and sensible regulation will bolster Alaska's economy by creating jobs and generating revenue for the state." The initiative was originally for the August ballot, but has since been moved to November. Decriminalization and legalization of medical marijuana was passed in 1998 after a majority 59% of Alaskan voters approved the measures. New York New York State is the latest to vote in favor of medicinal marijuana legislation. On July 8, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the Compassionate Care Act, a law which allows doctors to prescribe non-smokable forms of marijuana to those with serious ailments, including cancer, AIDS, and Parkinson's disease. A month earlier, the bill was passed by the State Assembly and Senate. "There is no doubt that medical marijuana can help people," Cuomo said in a statement. "We are here to help people. And if there is a medical advancement, then we want to make sure that we're bringing it to New Yorkers." Minnesota Minnesota has one of the most restrictive medical cannabis laws but it's still a step forward. The legislation passed this year provides access to medical marijuana for a narrow scope of conditions, including cancer and epilepsy. The law authorizes the end products will only be available from a mere eight dispensaries statewide. The passing of the bill was a compromise between House, Senate and Democrat Governor Mark Dayton, restricting use to those with the medical conditions covered by the law. Florida In early May, the Florida House overwhelmingly voted in support of a bill to exempt patients with cancer and other severe conditions from criminal laws pertaining to the use of medicinal marijuana. The bill will allow limited access to cannabinol, or CBD, for treatment of such illness. Governor Rick Scott signed the bill on June 16. Separately, November's Florida ballot will include an amendment on the legalization of medical marijuana thanks to a public petition campaign. If that amendment receives 60% support, the 2015 Legislature will need to determine legislation on how a medical marijuana program would operate. Read Also: The 10 Dumbest States in America Read Also: The 10 Drunkest States in America


NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Tesla rose, then dipped slightly on Monday amid news of the electric car maker's delivery of right-hand Model S vehicles in Hong Kong. The Chinese models do not have onboard navigation thanks to the country's issues with Google services, according to Engadget. But the company said it is working on a solution to support Chinese voice and text recognition and plans to update its Chinese models with navigation features later this year. Tesla delivered the first right-hand models in the U.K. in June. Must Read: Warren Buffett's 25 Favorite Stocks STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more. Tesla also announced the opening of two Supercharger stations in Hong Kong. The stock was flat at $223.54 at 12:38 p.m. Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates TESLA MOTORS INC as a "hold" with a ratings score of C-. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate TESLA MOTORS INC (TSLA) 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 solid stock price performance, revenue growth and notable return on equity. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including unimpressive growth in net income, weak operating cash flow and poor profit margins." Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows: This stock has managed to rise its share value by 83.68% over the past twelve months. 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. TSLA's revenue growth trails the industry average of 21.5%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 10.4%. 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. TESLA MOTORS INC's earnings have gone downhill when comparing its most recently reported quarter with the same quarter a year earlier. 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, TESLA MOTORS INC continued to lose money by earning -$0.71 versus -$3.70 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.20 versus -$0.71). Net operating cash flow has declined marginally to $60.64 million or 5.36% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing the cash generation rate to the industry average, the firm's growth is significantly lower. 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 Automobiles industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 542.7% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $11.25 million to -$49.80 million. You can view the full analysis from the report here: TSLA Ratings Report STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

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NEW YORK (Real Money) -- Sometimes you just say, "I don't have an edge," and you just take a seat and watch the action unfold. That's how I am approaching Twitter's report tomorrow. I just think there are too many factors at work to be informed both about how the company's really doing and how the company's stock is going to do with that report. All through this earnings period we have seen the stocks of companies go higher that beat on the top and the bottom lines, meaning companies that exceed revenue and earnings estimates, and then guide higher for both sets of numbers. Companies that beat only on the top and bottom lines, but didn't guide up have not done well if they have moved higher ahead of the report. Companies that have failed to beat on the top line and guided down -- let's call that the Xilinx example -- have been crushed to smithereens. Read More: Auto Sales Start Frothy in July, but S&P Spots a Debt Problem What's so amazing about this earnings season is that many companies have beaten all metrics and then raised all metrics, which his precisely why we have hit high after high in the S&P 500. There are always what I call record deniers, who say that revenues aren't that great or profits are boosted by job cuts, but the record deniers are in some parallel universe where what matters is being disputatious or political and not informative and helpful. They are brimming with bogus insight. Now, into this revenue/earnings gauntlet steps Twitter, a company with no earnings and revenue growth that, while fast, is decelerating (an important point meaning that yes, yes, it is growing, but no, no, it is not growing as fast as it was). The estimates show that it could make a little money this year and then earn 26 cents a shares in 2015 and 64 cents in 2016. It would be terrific if this company turned a profit this year. Those estimates give you a superior profit trajectory. But consider it against Facebook . I think Facebook should be able to do $3 a share in 2016 and it is selling for a little more than 25x 2016 numbers. Let's say Twitter does better than that 64 cents a share. Let's say it earns 70 cents, a very nice beat, and you slap on that Facebook price-to-earnings ratio and you get a $17 stock. Relevant? Certainly as one way to value the stock. The way that people have begun to do ever since the March selloff in high-multiple-to-sales stocks where we have returned to reward companies with solid earnings growth more bountifully than we have companies with excellent sales growth. But let's value it the way that I think many people view see as more correct, even as I totally disagree with it, using monthly average user growth. If this is reaccelerating after a leveling off of growth after the company's first public quarter, then I think it can go higher in the way that many of the cloud and e-commerce plays bounced after they reported. They didn't skyrocket back to where they were before the slaughter, but they went nicely higher. Read More: $25 Billion Deal and JPMorgan Stumble to Aid of Bronx Homeowner And if the trajectory doesn't reaccelerate? I think it goes back to $30, where it did when the stock was overwhelmed with insider selling. That, to me, is about as even a risk/reward as I have seen in some time. That makes this one a dangerous and impenetrable battleground that I want to avoid. What's difficult for so many people out there is that because they like the product so much they demand an opinion. That's needless pressure. Does anyone demand an opinion on any of the Dow stocks? Really? Does anyone put a gun to your head and ask you about Pfizer or Lilly or 3M or Exxon ? No, and that's why they are easier to figure out. The trajectory of those stocks relates directly to the company's financial future. That's not the case with Twitter. Users love it and they want it to go higher, but they do not control enough stock to combat institutional selling. What would change my mind about Twitter and cause me to want to overlook the near-term worries? Twitter bulls need to see some discipline and stability up top. They need Anthony Noto to assert himself as a strong chief financial officer. They need to show us which advertisers are using them and what percentage of the digital pie are they taking. Is it growing? Growing faster than Facebook? Than Google ? These comparisons and a calming at the top would go a long way toward making this stock more investable. Why? Because you would be able to craft a scenario where if this current team can't figure out how to make money off all of those users, another team, some flush company that can buy them. Yahoo! after Alibaba, or Microsoft or Apple can do so. Many of the people in these companies like Twitter as part of a daily routine and many regard it as a news source. The pressure for many news people to actually break news on Twitter attests to that, and in a David Carr column in today's New York Times he writes about a foreign correspondent who defends herself from charges she isn't tweeting enough because she is spending time trying to write for paid readers. They believe that Twitter can be another interface to bring in and lock up members into their own ecosystems. That possibility tips me into the camp that wants to buy Twitter on weakness toward the low end of its range, even as I can't countenance recommending it ahead of the earnings because I fear the earnings expectations as being too high, the opposite, for example, of the expectations going into Facebook's number. Read More: The Best Android Phone in the World and 9 Runner Runner-Ups So, if you are a Twitter junkie and you insist on playing it, recognize the 50/50 nature of it and that there are many seasoned stocks out there with much better odds, a calculation that I regard as incredibly important that many say to me is simply irrelevant. Random Musings: Dollar Tree's buying of Family Dollar is huge for Dollar Tree because Family Dollar's been so poorly run and Dollar Tree is a great operator. More importantly, companies in play get bought in this bountiful era. Action Alerts PLUS, which Cramer co-manages as a charitable trust, is long AAPL, FB, GOOGL and XLNX. This article was originally published on Real Money at 6:45 a.m. on July 28.

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Wendy's Co. are down -0.24% to $8.25 after it was reported that the company is leaving the Russian market after three years, following a change in the local franchisee's management, Bloomberg reports. The country's eight Wendy's outlets are being shut down, a spokesman for Wendy's said by e-mail in a response to Bloomberg questions. Wenrus Restaurant Group, a former unit of Moscow-based Food Service Capital, had agreed in 2010 to open 180 restaurants under the format across Russia within a decade, Bloomberg said. Must Read: Warren Buffett's 25 Favorite Stocks STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more. TheStreet Ratings team rates WENDY'S CO as a Buy with a ratings score of B-. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate WENDY'S CO (WEN) 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 increase in stock price during the past year, growth in earnings per share, compelling growth in net income, reasonable valuation levels and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow." Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows: Compared to where it was a year ago today, the stock is now trading at a higher level, reflecting both the market's overall trend during that period and the fact that the company's earnings growth has been robust. Looking ahead, unless broad bear market conditions prevail, we still see more upside potential for this stock, despite the fact that it has already risen over the past year. WENDY'S CO 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, WENDY'S CO increased its bottom line by earning $0.12 versus $0.02 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.35 versus $0.12). The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Hotels, Restaurants & Leisure industry. The net income increased by 2070.8% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $2.13 million to $46.30 million. WEN, with its decline in revenue, slightly underperformed the industry average of 6.5%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 13.3%. 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: WEN Ratings Report STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- MGM Resorts International was gaining 1.2% to $26.71 Monday following a positive note about Macau gaming trends from Nomura Securities. Average daily table wins were about 886 million Hong Kong dollars for the week ending July 27 according to Nomura analysts Louise Cheung and Harry C. Curtis. That's higher than the daily average of 815 million Hong Kong dollars in the rest of July. "We believe mass trends remained strong during the week and VIP roll improved but VIP revenues were impacted by below average win rate," the analysts wrote. "We further believe Galaxy and MGM may have held low during the week." The analysts noted that July gaming revenue from Macau could be down between -5% and -2% from the year-ago month, compared to a consensus range of -7% to flat. Other casinos operating in Macau including Las Vegas Sands , Melco Crown Entertainment , and Wynn Resorts were also gaining from the report according to Barron's. Must read: Warren Buffett's 25 Favorite Stocks STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more. TheStreet Ratings team rates MGM RESORTS INTERNATIONAL as a Hold with a ratings score of C+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate MGM RESORTS INTERNATIONAL (MGM) 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 impressive record of earnings per share growth. However, as a counter to these strengths, we find that the company has favored debt over equity in the management of its balance sheet." Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows: The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 6.5%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 11.8%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share. Powered by its strong earnings growth of 2000.00% and other important driving factors, this stock has surged by 61.66% 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. 37.27% is the gross profit margin for MGM RESORTS INTERNATIONAL which we consider to be strong. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Despite the strong results of the gross profit margin, MGM's net profit margin of 4.11% significantly trails the industry average. 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, MGM RESORTS INTERNATIONAL's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500. The debt-to-equity ratio is very high at 2.98 and currently higher than the industry average, implying increased risk associated with the management of debt levels within the company. Along with the unfavorable debt-to-equity ratio, MGM maintains a poor quick ratio of 0.78, which illustrates the inability to avoid short-term cash problems. You can view the full analysis from the report here: MGM Ratings Report STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- TheStreet's Jim Cramer answers Twitter questions from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, and the first one asks where Walmart stands in the wake of Family Dollar's deal with Dollar Tree . Cramer calls Dollar Tree a "juggernaut" and tells Walmart to look out. The low end, which used to be Walmart's, is now Dollar Tree's and Cramer loves the store. He finds the prices are great and the selections are terrific and he prefers to go there over Walmart. The next question asks if suppliers such as GT Advanced Technologies or service providers would benefit when the new iPhone comes out. Cramer responds with Skyworks and notes Cirrus Logic has come down, but he does not like to out-think these situations. If investors like Apple off an iteration, then they should buy the stock. Must Watch: Walmart, Family Dollar, Coach Top Cramer's Twitter Q&A STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more. The next question deals with Coach , which reports earnings after the bell Monday. Cramer calls it "a very troubled institution" and he does not see any relevance there. He thinks there could be a bit of a bounce but says Michael Kors led the handbag business, and he has stayed away from this group ever since TheStreet's Herb Greenberg wrote Kors has been slowing. Therefore, he does not want to touch Coach. In the biotech space, Cramer notes Celgene came down and he thought the quarter was excellent. He says CEO Bog Hugin was not promotional and this is a stock that goes up on announcements of new drugs. He likes this stock, but he also likes Biogen Idec secondarily because Tecfidera is a maintenance drug that people do not have to take all their lives. Cramer says Gilead's problem is new competition and insurers possibly balking, but he still likes the stock. Finally, Cramer says Regeneron must make its anti-cholesterol pill work because Eylea has taken the company as far as it could, but he thinks founder, president and CEO Leonard Schliefer will make it happen. Lastly, a recent college graduate who has $10,000 in mutual funds and has started a 401k asks Cramer for a stock recommendation, and he does not hesitate to recommend Facebook . He thinks the stock will earn $3 in 2016 and could climb to $90 with a 30 multiple. STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- In an announcement putting a charge into the automobile industry, BMW said Monday it is launching a free supercharger network for its electric car buyers. What we usually mean by "supercharger" is an electric car charger using DC power instead of AC power. DC charging is much faster, hence "super." The idea is this: Plug in for 30 minutes and get an 80% charge. Read More: Auto Sales Stay Frothy in July -- but S&P Spots a Debt Problem This is what BMW will first launch in California later this week, and the stations are free to use until the end of 2015. It seems obvious this charging network will be built out in areas outside California over time, but there is nothing to report at this time. Stay tuned. In terms of BMW's superchargers being free to use "only" until the end of 2015, I assume that BMW does not want to over-promise from Day One. No charger is truly "free" -- there is a cost involved, and someone has to pay it. The question is only how. One can simply bake the cost of free lifetime charging into the price of the car. This would be like selling someone a house with free lifetime electricity included. One might think that this would be very unfair and induce heavy use, i.e., waste. As such, it is probably more rational to have people simply pay for whatever they use. We do this with electricity at home, so why not also for the car? It's not as if there is a billing problem. You have a card, and you swipe it. After all, when you buy a regular gasoline or diesel car, you don't get free gasoline or diesel for life either. For the economically illiterate, "free gas" might sound nice, but it's so obviously a disaster for reasons that should be clear to any person after a couple of seconds thinking about it. In any case, BMW is kicking off its supercharger rollout by offering free service until the end of 2015. I predict that a more rational pricing model will be introduced by then, so that some BMW electric car customers don't run around subsidizing their neighbors or those who don't have the ability or need to plug into one of these superchargers as often. Read More: Zillow Bought Trulia Because 'the Stars Aligned' Opening the door for a far more resourceful infrastructure buildout, BMW has joined with Ford , General Motors , Chrysler (Fiat, etc.), Mercedes and the Volkswagen Group (Audi, Porsche) on its technical standard. This was already announced in May 2012, but few people outside the "inside baseball" industry observers appeared to pay attention. One can therefore surmise huge economies of scale as these companies pool their resources in the months ahead. BMW launched its i3 electric car in Europe with deliveries commencing Nov. 16, 2013,, and in the U.S. in May 2014. BMW sold approximately 350 cars each in May and June 2014, in the United States. The July numbers will be available in early August. World-wide, BMW sold over 5,000 cars in the first half of 2014. BMW was not the first to the electric car market. GM, Nissan and Mitsubishi have the been the market's volume leaders in most geographies to date. However, just like the U.S. was hit at Pearl Harbor having been late in entering the war, the U.S. came back with a vengeance. Likewise, while BMW arrived later than the volume leaders GM, Nissan and Mitsubishi, I think today's watershed announcement in the electric car world shows that BMW is gunning for market leadership over time. The market leaders GM, Nissan and Mitsubishi should worry. Then again, Volkswagen -- which is one of BMW's main partners in terms of the technical standard for supercharging -- has also promised to become the electric car volume leader within the next three to five years. Volkswagen recently made this very compelling presentation that everyone interested in electric cars must study. Read More: Big Swing Trade Ideas for July 28: Apple, Goldcorp, Tower Group In only a few short months, VW has introduced more plug-in electric cars -- pure and hybrid combined -- than any other automaker, and is now offering more models. For VW to obtain market leadership over companies such as Nissan and GM by 2017-2019 seems potentially within reach. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in any of the stocks mentioned, although positions may change at any time. Follow @antonwahlman // 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) -- You will be hard-pressed to find a stronger name than Amgen in the biotech/pharma space. The stock closed Friday at $122.84, up 0.47%; by noon on Monday they were down another 0.7% to $121.99. Shares are up just shy of 7% on the year to date, trailing the health care sector's 13% gain. The company reports second-quarter earnings on Tuesday. Investors are unsure of what to make of the stock, which doesn't appear to present any long-term value. To those skeptics, I say, let's widen the scope. Read More: It May Be Tech's Turn; A Genuinely Nutty Idea: Jim Cramer's Best Blogs With a price-to-earnings ratio of close to 20, Amgen doesn't cheap to some. But in the near-term, Amgen should continue to benefit from efficient cost controls and stable market share gains. The company's management has done and will continue to do exactly what they were told they couldn’t -- manage growth and profits. This has become the perfect formula for a higher stock price. This means that around $122 per share, Amgen stock can still do well for investors looking for exposure in the biotech space. On the basis of improving cash flow and positive clinical trial data, these shares should reach $130 by the end of the year and $135 in the next six to 12 months. The trailing P/E of 20 may not present an obvious value, but on a forward-looking basis, that P/E drops to 14. So I wouldn't consider the stock expensive until it reaches at least $130, which is still 6% above current value. And even assuming Amgen does report a strong quarter on Tuesday, investors still may not realize the company's true value until one to two years down the line. This is because Amgen recently disclosed successful results for its phase-3 thyroid drug product AMG 416. It was discovered that the drug met both primary and secondary endpoints for hyperparathyroidism. With close to 13 million people being affected by hyperparathyroidism (kidney failure), AMG 416 can become a lucrative drug for Amgen in the coming years. Read More: Another Heavy Earnings Week on Tap, as Pfizer, UPS, 5 Others Set to Report What's more, due to expanding margins, the company is consistently growing its operating income. Analysts underestimated the extent to which management would reconcile prior concerns about Amgen's competitive position -- particularly in terms of its pipeline. That, plus stronger capital expense controls for three consecutive quarters, places Amgen in the top tier of profit generators within the sector. Regarding the pipeline, there is still the threat from the likes of Teva Pharmaceuticals , which is working on a rival product to Amgen's cancer drug Neulasta. For that matter, advances made from companies like Gilead and Celgene are keeping Amgen investors awake at night. Given that Neulasta accounts for 25% of Amgen's revenue, these are valid concerns. But it also assumes that Amgen management would just allow their market to be taken away. Teva and other rivals would need a much bigger marketing and distribution infrastructure before Amgen, an established market leader, could be dethroned. Despite the naysayers, Amgen continues to invest in strong growth areas like oncology. The company's $10 billion deal for Onyx Pharmaceuticals demonstrates how committed management is towards preserving Amgen's market position. Read More: 5 Ways to Hike Your IRA Contributions The way I see it, it's only a matter of time before the Onyx buy begins to pay off. And that's not going to happen in just one quarter or two. Making a play here on Amgen is about the future. That's where a focus on the fundamentals become important. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in any of the stocks mentioned, although positions may change at any time. 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 is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage. TheStreet Ratings team rates AMGEN INC as a Buy with a ratings score of A+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate AMGEN INC (AMGN) 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, reasonable valuation levels, good cash flow from operations, increase in stock price during the past year and expanding profit margins. 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: AMGN's revenue growth trails the industry average of 36.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 6.7%. 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. Net operating cash flow has slightly increased to $1,142.00 million or 8.86% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, AMGEN INC has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of -71.74%. 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. 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. AMGEN INC's earnings per share declined by 25.5% 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, AMGEN INC increased its bottom line by earning $6.65 versus $5.51 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($8.10 versus $6.65). You can view the full analysis from the report here: AMGN Ratings Report

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Yingli Green Energy Holding Co. are lower by -2.71% to $3.40 in late morning trading on Monday, as Chinese solar stocks are falling after the U.S. Commerce Department issued additional penalties on the companies, saying they shipped solar products to the U.S. below cost, Market Watch reports. The Commerce Department imposed taxes on the solar companies ranging from 10.74% to 55.49%, on top of the anti-subsides duties it issued last month. Yingli said these taxes will "increase the price of solar energy in America" which runs the risk of jeopardizing growth in the industry, Market Watch added. Must Read: Warren Buffett's 25 Favorite Stocks STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more. Other Chinese solar stocks declining include JA Solar Holdings Co. , down -0.77% to $9.45, and Rene Sola Ltd. , lower by -1.20% to 2.47. Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates YINGLI GREEN ENERGY HLDGS CO as a Sell with a ratings score of D. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate YINGLI GREEN ENERGY HLDGS CO (YGE) a SELL. This is driven by multiple weaknesses, which we believe should have a greater impact than any strengths, and could make it more difficult for investors to achieve positive results compared to most of the stocks we cover. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its generally high debt management risk, disappointing return on equity, poor profit margins and generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself." Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows: The debt-to-equity ratio is very high at 105.47 and currently higher than the industry average, implying increased risk associated with the management of debt levels within the company. To add to this, YGE has a quick ratio of 0.50, this demonstrates the lack of ability of the company to cover short-term liquidity needs. Return on equity has greatly decreased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of major weakness within the corporation. Compared to other companies in the Semiconductors & Semiconductor Equipment industry and the overall market, YINGLI GREEN ENERGY HLDGS CO's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500. The gross profit margin for YINGLI GREEN ENERGY HLDGS CO is rather low; currently it is at 15.68%. Despite the low profit margin, it has increased significantly from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, YGE's net profit margin of -12.72% significantly underperformed when compared to the industry average. YGE has underperformed the S&P 500 Index, declining 12.35% from its price level of one year ago. The fact that the stock is now selling for less than others in its industry in relation to its current earnings is not reason enough to justify a buy rating at this time. YINGLI GREEN ENERGY HLDGS CO has improved earnings per share by 44.4% 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. This trend suggests that the performance of the business is improving. During the past fiscal year, YINGLI GREEN ENERGY HLDGS CO continued to lose money by earning -$2.05 versus -$3.13 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings (-$0.46 versus -$2.05). You can view the full analysis from the report here: YGE Ratings Report STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Compass Minerals International shares are tanking, down -9.1% to $85.98, on Monday after reporting second quarter earnings of 13 cents per diluted share, 14 cents short of analysts' consensus guidance.While revenue for the quarter rose 7.4% over the previous year to $186.6 million, it fell short of analysts expectations of $196.94 million. Must Read: Warren Buffett's 25 Favorite Stocks STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more. TheStreet Ratings team rates COMPASS MINERALS INTL INC as a Buy with a ratings score of B+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate COMPASS MINERALS INTL INC (CMP) 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, growth in earnings per share, notable return on equity, good cash flow from operations and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins."CMP data by YChartsSTOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) --Digital Power Corp was gaining 22.4% to $1.53 Monday after winning a $2 million defense export order. The company secured the $2 million order from the Republic of Korea to provide uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems for Military Afloat Reach and Sustainability tankers. The tankers will be built by Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering. Each of the four tankers requires a total of eight UPS systems of various ratings. "After nine months of hard work by our Republic of Korea partner, C&A Electric, and us, we are pleased to have secured this important contract," managing director of Digital Power Limited Jake Moir said in a press release. "This order will be a major part of our forward order book for the next two years and provides us with a platform to develop additional new products for customers worldwide. Our defense business continues to grow with customers in markets that include Spain, France, Australia, India and now South Korea." Must read: Warren Buffett's 25 Favorite Stocks STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more. TheStreet Ratings team rates DIGITAL POWER CORP as a Sell with a ratings score of D+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate DIGITAL POWER CORP (DPW) a SELL. This is driven by several weaknesses, which we believe should have a greater impact than any strengths, and could make it more difficult for investors to achieve positive results compared to most of the stocks we cover. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its feeble growth in its earnings per share, deteriorating net income and disappointing return on equity." Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows: DIGITAL POWER CORP has experienced a steep decline in earnings per share in the most recent quarter in comparison to its performance from the same quarter a year ago. The company has reported a trend of declining earnings per share over the past two years. During the past fiscal year, DIGITAL POWER CORP reported poor results of -$0.09 versus -$0.05 in the prior year. 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 Electrical Equipment industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 247.7% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $0.11 million to -$0.16 million. Return on equity has greatly decreased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of major weakness within the corporation. Compared to other companies in the Electrical Equipment industry and the overall market, DIGITAL POWER CORP's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500. DPW, with its decline in revenue, slightly underperformed the industry average of 6.0%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 6.9%. The declining revenue appears to have seeped down to the company's bottom line, decreasing earnings per share. 40.40% is the gross profit margin for DIGITAL POWER CORP which we consider to be strong. 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 -7.75% is in-line with the industry average. You can view the full analysis from the report here: DPW Ratings Report STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- At $74 per share and down 22% for the year to date while sporting a dividend yield of 3.7%, Tupperware Brands stock is a bargain. Tupperware Brands got trounced last week on disappointing second-quarter sales and the company's reduction in its full-year earnings per share expectation to $5.40-$5.50, down from $5.66-$5.81. The company reported $1.47 cents of earnings per share for the second quarter, in line with expectations. Sales for the quarter came in at $674 million, less than expected sales of $687 million. As a result, shares of the stock fell sharply, down 11% on the news. Read More: Walmart Is in BIG Trouble as Family Dollar and Dollar Tree Merge Tupperware is a global, direct-selling, consumer products company offering storage and serving solutions for the kitchen and home as well a line of personal care products. It operates in almost 100 countries and utilizes an independent sales force of 2.9 million representatives. Emerging markets account for two-thirds of the company's sales. CEO Rick Goings blamed the lackluster sales on unrest in Ukraine and Russia as well as an unusually high number of long holiday weekends in Germany causing people to go away rather than host or attend Tupperware parties. A large part of the 3% reduction in earnings expectations is due to Venezuelan price controls and currency devaluation. Whatever the reason, Tupperware is still a solid company and is currently priced to buy. You get a great product line that competes against other consumer product companies both through direct sales -- the famous Tupperware "party" -- and on the Internet. Read More: Big Swing Trade Ideas for July 28: Apple, Goldcorp, Tower Group The emerging market business is seeing 10% revenue growth. At $74, shares have a price-to-earnings ratio of 16 which is a big discount compared to other consumer product companies. For instance, shares of competitor Newell Rubbermaid. , at $31, currently sell at a price-to-earnings ratio of 19.2. A great product, solid business model, strong growth in emerging markets, nice dividend yield, and now a good price, Tupperware is worth adding to your portfolio. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in any of the stocks mentioned, although positions may change at any time. This article represents the opinion of a contributor and not necessarily that of TheStreet or its editorial staff. TheStreet Ratings team rates TUPPERWARE BRANDS CORP as a Buy with a ratings score of B+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate TUPPERWARE BRANDS CORP (TUP) 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 notable return on equity, good cash flow from operations and expanding profit margins. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had generally high debt management risk by most measures that we evaluated."Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows: Current return on equity exceeded its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a clear sign of strength within the company. Compared to other companies in the Household Durables industry and the overall market, TUPPERWARE BRANDS CORP's return on equity significantly exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500. Net operating cash flow has slightly increased to $60.70 million or 5.56% when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite an increase in cash flow, TUPPERWARE BRANDS CORP's cash flow growth rate is still lower than the industry average growth rate of 38.87%. TUPPERWARE BRANDS CORP's earnings per share declined by 35.0% 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, TUPPERWARE BRANDS CORP increased its bottom line by earning $5.18 versus $3.43 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($5.47 versus $5.18). The gross profit margin for TUPPERWARE BRANDS CORP is rather high; currently it is at 66.53%. Regardless of TUP's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, TUP's net profit margin of 7.05% compares favorably to the industry average. TUP, with its decline in revenue, underperformed when compared the industry average of 11.0%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 2.0%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share. You can view the full analysis from the report here: TUP Ratings Report

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- TheStreet's Jim Cramer says he is watching Twitter's quarterly earnings report this week. He notes the chatter that the social media site's average monthly user growth acceleration has ended. Cramer says the growth will continue, but the rate of rate of growth, the second derivative, is key and a lot of people feel that it has slowed. He believes Twitter must find a way for people to want to be on the service without tweeting and that it must become a person's own news source. The company has yet to do this, and Cramer says he is not expecting anything great from the quarter and does not expect this to be a Facebook situation. He reiterates that investors should buy Twitter if it gets to $29. Must Watch: Cramer: Watch Reports From Twitter, UPS and Whole Foods Next Week STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more. FedEx reported a strong quarter, but Cramer notes UPS has missed the boat recently. Still, he thinks the risk/reward here is terrific and suggests putting half the position on first. If UPS makes downbeat commentary, as they tend to do, then buy the second half. UPS tends to go down and then creep back up, while FedEx goes down and then soars up again. But Cramer thinks UPS is a great safe stock to put away. TheStreet Ratings team agrees, as it rates UPS a "buy" with a ratings score of A. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate UNITED PARCEL SERVICE INC (UPS) 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, 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: UPS Ratings Report Finally, Cramer likes Whole Foods long term but the company has reported some lackluster earnings recently. Cramer says people will ask if this is a broken stock or a broken company, and he thinks it is the former. He believes Whole Foods needs to look at itself and consider the possibility that it is growing too quickly, that there is too much competition and it might need to differentiate itself. Cramer thinks there is a long-term story here, but the competition is fierce. He suggests a loyalty program, more overseas activity and the creation of other ways to entice people to enter new stores in order to beat the competition. Right now, the space is crowded and Cramer is worried about Whole Foods. STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Today's top swing picks are Apple , Goldcorp and Tower Group . 1. First, let look Apple, the mega-computer company. Apple traded up 0.66% on Friday, closing at $97.67. Friday's range: $96.64 - $97.84 52-week range: $62.89 - $97.88 Friday's volume: 43,533,519 Three-month average volume: 61,167,300 Apple is a great stock to swing trade. It has great volume and moves a lot. FDA Rejects AcelRx Painkiller Dispensing Device Last week, Apple reported positive earnings, and as a result, the stock continues to rise. The day after the earnings report, the chart formed a doji gap up, which is known as a trader's best friend. The sentiment is clear that when a doji gap up appears -- a doji shows a struggle between the bulls and bears -- the gap up shows the winner, and in this case, the bulls won. Following the doji gap up, Friday's candlestick was a bullish engulfing signal, which also implies that the stock will continue to rise today. The stock will likely reach the $100 level in the near future. Look for an entry anywhere above the t-line, which is at $95.99. I'd set my stop at Friday's low of $96.64, maybe a few pennies below that. Target the $100 level to start, and then add to the position on the dips. The next targets are $104, $108 and $110. Trading Apple is as safe as the computer the company has created. Stay long until you see a confirmed sell signal or a close below the t-line. GM Isn’t Alone in the Race to the 200-Mile Electric Car 2. Now, let's look at miner Goldcorp. Goldcorp traded up 3.52% on Friday, closing at $28.20. Friday's range: $27.15 - $28.24 52-week range: $20.54 - $32.15 Friday's volume: 4,951,942 Three-month average volume: 4,523,520 The mining sector has been working well. Take a look at SPDR S&P Metals and Mining , an exchange-traded fund. The chart implies continued bullish sentiment, which adds to the appeal of Goldcorp's chart. On Friday, Goldcorp formed a large bullish engulfing signal. The candlestick engulfed the previous seven trading days and closed above the 20-day simple moving average and the t-line. The price is up 23% in the last 52 days, and has been consolidating for the last month, and so now let's watch for another breakout. The breakout level is at about $28.88. The current trading level is a strong resistance level, and so I'd keep my stop tight. I'd like an entry above the 20-day simple moving average, at $27.75, and I'd set my stop just below that, at about $27.70, which is the t-line. I would target the most recent highs, starting with around the $30 level, and then $31.90-ish, which is 6% and 13% higher respectively. Stay long until you see a confirmed sell signal or a close below the t-line. 3. Lastly, let look at Tower Group International, an insurance and reinsurance company. Tower Group had a big bullish day on Friday and traded up 8.21%, closing at $2.11 Friday's range: $1.95 - $2.20 52-week range: $1.62 - $22.30 Friday's volume: 1,640,504 Three-month average volume: 1,239,570 Tower Group looks good technically, as it is a rounded-bottom breakout and has 42% potential to the upside. The chart appeared on my scanner on Friday when it closed above the 50-day SMA. We need to see some follow-through today, and continued trading above the 50-day SMA to remain interested in this chart. The rounded-bottom breakout is an attempt at catching a bottom that has turned around. This stock hasn't been above the 50-day SMA with any conviction since August 2013. With that, I would set my stop just below the 50-day SMA at $2, and move my stop up as the price action moves up. This is the way to secure profits and mitigate losses. There is overhead resistance at $2.41, $2.70, $2.85 and again at the 200-day SMA. So, I would use these levels as my targets. Ideally, I would stay long and shoot for the 200-day simple moving average, which is roughly 42% gain to the upside. Stay long until you see a confirmed sell signal or a close below the t-line. How Walmart Can Get the Well-Off Customers It Needs to Grow Come see me at my second home and sign up for the two-week trial. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in any of the stocks mentioned. Follow @aarongallaher // 0;if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs"); // ]]> This article represents the opinion of a contributor and not necessarily that of TheStreet or its editorial staff. TheStreet Ratings team rates 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 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, notable return on equity, expanding profit margins and solid stock price performance. Although the company may harbor some minor weaknesses, we feel they are unlikely to have a significant impact on results."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 8.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 6.0%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share. Although AAPL's debt-to-equity ratio of 0.26 is very low, it is currently higher than that of the industry average. 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. 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 Computers & Peripherals industry and the overall market, APPLE INC's return on equity exceeds that of the industry average and significantly exceeds that of the S&P 500. 44.56% is the gross profit margin for APPLE INC which we consider to be strong. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 20.69% is above that of the industry average. 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 54.18% 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, AAPL should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed a very nice gain in the past year. You can view the full analysis from the report here: AAPL Ratings Report

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Lincoln Electric Holdings Inc. are higher by 3.98% to $69.43 in mid-morning trading on Monday after the company reported an increase in net earnings to $77.3 million, or 96 cents per diluted share for the most recent quarter, compared to $72.6 million, or 87 cents per diluted for the 2013 second quarter. The company, which manufacturers welding, cutting, and blazing products, said adjusted net income was $81.5 million, or $1.01 per diluted share versus $75.7 million, or 91 cents per diluted share for the same period last year. Lincoln Electric's revenue for the 2014 second quarter increased slightly to $728.5 million from $727.4 million for the comparable 2013 period. Must Read: Warren Buffett's 25 Favorite Stocks STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more. Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates LINCOLN ELECTRIC HLDGS INC as a Buy with a ratings score of A-. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate LINCOLN ELECTRIC HLDGS INC (LECO) 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 largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, notable return on equity, expanding profit margins, good cash flow from operations and increase in stock price during the past year. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income. LECO data by YCharts STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

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text Why Duke Energy (DUK) Stock Is Up Today
Mon, 28 Jul 2014 15:16 GMT

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Duke Energy was gaining 1% to $73.95 Monday after announcing it will purchase generating assets from North Carolina's Eastern Municipal Power Agency. The company will pay $1.2 billion for the generating assets. The power agency serves about 270,000 customers and owns partial interests in several Duke Energy plants throughout North Carolina which represent about 700 MW of its generating capacity. Duke Energy will enter a 30-year wholesale power contract to continue service the plants' customers. Must read: Warren Buffett's 25 Favorite Stocks STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more. TheStreet Ratings team rates DUKE ENERGY CORP as a Buy with a ratings score of B. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate DUKE ENERGY CORP (DUK) 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 and good cash flow from operations. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income." Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows: DUK's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 10.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 12.6%. 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 $1,373.00 million or 25.84% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, DUKE ENERGY CORP has also modestly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of 18.54%. DUKE ENERGY CORP 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, DUKE ENERGY CORP increased its bottom line by earning $3.73 versus $3.06 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($4.57 versus $3.73). The gross profit margin for DUKE ENERGY CORP is currently lower than what is desirable, coming in at 34.48%. Regardless of DUK's low profit margin, it has managed to increase from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of -1.46% trails the industry average. In its most recent trading session, DUK 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. We feel, however, that the other strengths this company displays justify these higher price levels. You can view the full analysis from the report here: DUK Ratings Report STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of BlackBerry Ltd. are down -1.17% to $10.15 after CEO John Chen said the company has no acquisition offers on the table as he seeks to remake the company, Bloomberg reports. Instead, the handset and mobile software-and-services provider, is focused on turning its troubled business around independently, and its chances of success are "better than 80/20," Chen told Bloomberg Television. Must Read: Warren Buffett's 25 Favorite Growth Stocks STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more. TheStreet Ratings team rates BLACKBERRY LTD as a Sell with a ratings score of D. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate BLACKBERRY LTD (BBRY) a SELL. This is driven by some concerns, which we believe should have a greater impact than any strengths, and could make it more difficult for investors to achieve positive results compared to most of the stocks we cover. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its feeble growth in its earnings per share, disappointing return on equity and weak operating cash flow." Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows: BLACKBERRY 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. The company has suffered a declining pattern earnings per share over the past two years. During the past fiscal year, BLACKBERRY LTD reported poor results of -$11.17 versus -$1.20 in the prior year. Return on equity has greatly decreased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of major weakness within the corporation. Compared to other companies in the Computers & Peripherals industry and the overall market, BLACKBERRY LTD's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500. Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to $302.00 million or 52.06% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing to the industry average, the firm's growth rate is much lower. BBRY, with its very weak revenue results, has greatly underperformed against the industry average of 8.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues plummeted by 68.5%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share. Despite currently having a low debt-to-equity ratio of 0.36, 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 BBRY's debt-to-equity ratio is mixed in its results, the company's quick ratio of 2.11 is high and demonstrates strong liquidity. You can view the full analysis from the report here: BBRY Ratings Report STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

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text Why Rite Aid (RAD) Stock Is Down Today
Mon, 28 Jul 2014 15:05 GMT

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Rite Aid fell Monday after investor David Einhorn announced his hedge fund, Greenlight Capital, had sold its position in the drugstore chain last quarter. Einhorn said Greenlight made the move because Rite Aid's sales and profits rose just as the hedge fund had expected and the stock reached a fair value. The stock was down 4.54% to $6.73 at 11:05 a.m. Must Read: Warren Buffett's 25 Favorite Stocks STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more. Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates RITE AID CORP as a "hold" with a ratings score of C. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate RITE AID CORP (RAD) 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 solid stock price performance. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income and poor profit margins." Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows: RAD's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 4.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 2.7%. 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. Net operating cash flow has increased to $239.75 million or 29.98% when compared to the same quarter last year. The firm also exceeded the industry average cash flow growth rate of 13.02%. RITE AID CORP 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, RITE AID CORP increased its bottom line by earning $0.22 versus $0.12 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.35 versus $0.22). 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 Food & Staples Retailing industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 53.8% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $89.66 million to $41.45 million. The gross profit margin for RITE AID CORP is currently lower than what is desirable, coming in at 29.48%. It has decreased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 0.64% trails that of the industry average. You can view the full analysis from the report here: RAD Ratings Report STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Sterne Agee downgraded shares of DSW Inc. from hold to sell, while issuing a $23 price target. On CNBC's "Cramer's Stop Trading" segment, TheStreet's Jim Cramer, co-manager of the Action Alerts PLUS portfolio, said the downgrade will have a short-term negative impact on the stock. However, "women are back buying shoes," he reasoned, based on Deckers Outdoors' and Sketchers USA's recent earnings reports. Therefore, "do not sell DSW." Turning to Anadarko Petroleum , an Action Alerts PLUS holding, Credit Suisse boosted its price target on the stock to $134 from $122 a day ahead of its scheduled earnings release. The stock has a lot of ways to create shareholder value, including through M&A and consolidation, Cramer said. However, shareholders should own Anadarko Petroleum because "it's an inexpensive stock." -- Written by Bret Kenwell in Petoskey, Mich. Follow @BretKenwell

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- A lot of investors are going to be taking a second look at the low, low end of retailing today with Dollar Tree's announced acquisition of Family Dollar . Smart investors will ignore the hype and put some more money into Dollar General . Taken together, Dollar Tree and Family Dollar have quarterly sales of about $2.25 billion, with a little more than $150 million per quarter in net income and about $6.4 billion in assets. Dollar General, by itself, produced more than $4.52 billion in sales for its most recent quarter, with $222.4 million in net income on assets of $10.6 billion. Read More: 10 Bricks-and-Mortar Stores That Beat Online While Dollar Tree and Family Dollar appear similar -- they both have the word "dollar" in their names -- they are in fact quite different. Dollar Tree is a classic $1 store, with most merchandise priced at about $1. Family Dollar is a low-end general merchandise store, more like Dollar General. The Deal's Jon Marino and Amanda Levin talk Dollar Tree and Family Dollar: WATCH: More market update videos on TheStreet TV If you were in Family Dollar, like Carl Icahn, you're making out like a bandit here. You're getting $59.60 in cash, just about what the shares were trading at Friday, and stock worth $14.90, a premium of 22.8%. But you're probably going to want to dump that stock as soon as you get it, again because of Dollar General. Family Dollar also admits to being broken. CEO Howard Levine, who has run Family Dollar for a decade, admitted at an April investor conference: "We lost our way." This was followed by Icahn buying 9% of the common stock and demanding a sale. So Icahn will make out great in this deal. Will anyone else? I say it will be investors in Dollar General. On my recent vacation I stopped to see relatives near Limon, Colo., who had a severe complaint for me. They were losing their old Family Dollar. Dollar General had opened up a unit there and blew the Family Dollar away. On another trip, to Mississippi, I found a friend who was driving 10 miles out of her way to shop at a small Dollar General, and avoiding a closer Walmart whenever she could, because it was easier to get in and out. These may be anecdotes, but the numbers don't lie either. Dollar General is simply a better operator. The stock is also on sale. Dollar General has been falling in price for the last month, since CEO Rick Dreiling announced his retirement. Dreiling's predecessor, David Perdue, won the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in Georgia last week. TheStreet still calls Dollar General a buy. Read More: How Walmart Can Get the Well-Off Customers It Needs to Grow Dollar General's method for competing with companies like Wal-Mart is to site stores carefully, in small markets that are too small for a Wal-Mart Supercenter, and in urban neighborhoods away from its larger rival, then offer targeted discounts, like a recent deal on diapers. Given that Family Dollar and Dollar Tree are different, there aren't going to be many synergies in their merger. There will be some in merchandising, and maybe some managers will go away, including CEO Levine, who makes $6.88 million. Mashing together two chains that buy different things and operate in different ways isn't 1+1=3. At best it's 1+1=2. Putting them together will also take time. That's time Dollar General can use to manage a succession and continue to grow. Its top line should rise nearly 10% this year, and its bottom line should grow as well. Its debt-to-assets ratio of 25% is well in line with industry averages, and it generates more than $1 billion in cash flow each year. If you like retailers, this is a bargain. Follow @danablankenhorn // 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"); // ]]> At the time of publication, the author held no positions in any of the stocks mentioned, although positions may change at any time. This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage. Now let's look at TheStreet Ratings' take on this stock. TheStreet Ratings team rates DOLLAR GENERAL CORP as a Buy with a ratings score of A-. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate DOLLAR GENERAL CORP (DG) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, growth in earnings per share, increase in net income, notable return on equity and good cash flow from operations. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins."Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows: The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 6.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 6.8%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share. DOLLAR GENERAL CORP has improved earnings per share by 7.5% 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, DOLLAR GENERAL CORP increased its bottom line by earning $3.17 versus $2.86 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($3.51 versus $3.17). The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Multiline Retail industry average. The net income increased by 1.1% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $220.08 million to $222.40 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 Multiline Retail industry and the overall market, DOLLAR GENERAL CORP's return on equity exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500. Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 70.79% to $251.46 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, DOLLAR GENERAL CORP has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of -79.53%. You can view the full analysis from the report here: DG Ratings Report

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Gilead Sciences shares are up 1.2% to $90.90 on Monday after having its price target increased to $127 from $112 by analysts at Maxim Group, who also reiterated their "buy" rating on the biotech company's stock. The company's new price target represents 41% upside from its opening price today. Must Read: Warren Buffett's 25 Favorite Stocks STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more. TheStreet Ratings team rates GILEAD SCIENCES INC as a Buy with a ratings score of A. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate GILEAD SCIENCES INC (GILD) 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, notable return on equity, attractive valuation levels, expanding profit margins and solid stock price performance. Although the company may harbor some minor weaknesses, we feel they are unlikely to have a significant impact on results." Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows: GILD's very impressive revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 36.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues leaped by 136.1%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share. 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 Biotechnology industry and the overall market, GILEAD SCIENCES INC's return on equity significantly exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500. The gross profit margin for GILEAD SCIENCES INC is currently very high, coming in at 85.85%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 55.93% significantly outperformed against the industry average. Powered by its strong earnings growth of 378.26% and other important driving factors, this stock has surged by 51.20% 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, GILD should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed a very nice gain in the past year. You can view the full analysis from the report here: GILD Ratings Report STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- There are 513,000 401(k) plans in the U.S., with 73 million plan participants accounting for $3.8 trillion in total assets. Of those investors, way too many keep making the same mistakes over and over again -- mistakes that could easily reduce the value of their 401(k) plans. What's worse, the list of mistakes goes on and on. "From failing to take advantage of matched contributions to hidden fees that add up, there is more to a 401(k) than saving money," says Nicole Mayer, a financial adviser at RPG Life Transition Specialists. Here's the Only Way You Should Borrow From Your 401(k) Young Americans Prefer Bank Investments, Not Stock Market Debt Is Dragging Down the American Dream Also see: Here's the Only Way You Should Borrow From Your 401(k)>> The worst of the bunch are the ones that can really curb your savings, Mayer says. Here is her list of top mistakes that threaten the financial future of millions of 401(k) savers: Failing to consider an IRA: "Leaving money in a former employer's 401(k) could add up to thousands of dollars in administrative fees over the long term," Mayer says. "Shifting the savings to an IRA will not only provide a diversified range of investment funds; it is less expensive than those that are actively managed." Ignoring a matching offer: On the other hand, if a current employer offers to match 401(k) contributions of up to a certain sum, it would be a mistake to not leverage that benefit. "Most employers will match a percentage of your contributions into their employee's accounts," she says. Becoming too conservative too soon: As retirement approaches, 401(k) investors may be tempted to reduce risk by limiting their plan's stock exposure. "Many investors fail to account for the fact that they will live another 25 years or more," Mayer says. "They will either need to alter their lifestyle or grow their portfolio." Also see: Young Americans Prefer Bank Investments, Not Stock Market>> Forgetting to rebalance: Rebalancing a 401(k) on an annual or semi-annual basis is a must. "Actively managing how savings are divided will prevent funds from becoming one-sided, which could spell trouble for when it is time to withdraw money," she says. Relying on company stock: if you're offered company stock as part of your compensation, that's often a big help to your retirement plan. Just don't overweight your plan with company stock. If the stock goes south, it could take your retirement savings with it. Avoid those land mines with your 401(k) and maximize the value of your retirement fund -- and keep your fund assets from blowing up.


NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Armstrong World Industries Inc. are down by -7.51% to $51.21 on heavy volume in mid-morning trading on Monday after the company reported adjusted diluted earnings per share of 60 cents for the 2014 second quarter, below the Capital IQ consensus estimate of 66 cents. The company, which is a global producer of flooring products and ceiling systems, reported a 0.5% growth in revenue to $710 million for the most recent quarter, falling short of the consensus estimate of $727.12 million. Armstrong lowered its 2014 full year estimates to between $2.15 and $2.40, from $2.55 to $2.80. Analysts are expecting earnings of $2.60 for the year. Must Read: Warren Buffett's 25 Favorite Stocks STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more. Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates ARMSTRONG WORLD INDUSTRIES as a Buy with a ratings score of B. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate ARMSTRONG WORLD INDUSTRIES (AWI) 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, increase in net income, reasonable valuation levels, increase in stock price during the past year and growth in earnings per share. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow." AWI data by YChartsSTOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- American Airlines shares are down -3.2% to $40.34 after analysts at CRT Capital lowered their price target to $48 from $52 while reiterating their "buy" rating on the company's stock.The analysts made a value call on the airline's shares. Must Read: Warren Buffett's 25 Favorite Stocks STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.AAL data by YChartsSTOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Citigroup raised its price target on shares of Chipotle Mexican Grill from $648 to $793, according to TheStreet's Jim Cramer, co-manager of the Action Alerts PLUS portfolio. On CNBC's "Cramer's Mad Dash," he explained that the company's 17% comparable-store sales is "remarkable," and the stock deserves the highest valuation in its industry. Read More: GM Isn't Alone in the Race to the 200-Mile Electric Car "If you like Chipotle," Cramer said, play Chipotle by being long the stock. Don't look for substitutes. Cramer suggested investors use caution when jumping into a stock like El Pollo Loco , even though it has acted well since its IPO last week. However, the stock's not necessarily cheaper than Chipotle, based on valuation, Cramer concluded. -- Written by Bret Kenwell in Petoskey, Mich. Follow @BretKenwell // 0;if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs"); // ]]> Read More: El Pollo Loco Stock Surges 60% on IPO, but Is It a Buy?

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- TheStreet Ratings team reiterates its "hold" rating on Facebook with a ratings score of C. The stock was down 0.65% to $74.70 at 10:47 a.m. on Monday. 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." Must Read: Warren Buffett's 25 Favorite Stocks STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more. Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows: FB's very impressive revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 11.5%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues leaped by 60.5%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share. FB's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.02 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 12.48, which clearly demonstrates the ability to cover short-term cash needs. Net operating cash flow has slightly increased to $1,341.00 million or 1.43% when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite an increase in cash flow, FACEBOOK INC's cash flow growth rate is still lower than the industry average growth rate of 17.73%. Current return on equity exceeded its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a clear sign of strength within the company. When compared to other companies in the Internet Software & Services industry and the overall market, FACEBOOK 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: FB Ratings Report STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

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Updated from 9:55 a.m. ET to include opening share prices and analyst commentary in the tenth paragraph. NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- After more than a half-century under family management, Family Dollar CEO Howard Levine, son of company founder Leon Levine, will turn over the company's reins to Dollar Tree through a $8.5 billion cash and stock merger of the two discount store chains. Perhaps, Monday's deal allows Levine to gracefully exit Family Dollar without the public wrath of Carl Icahn, who became the company's largest shareholder in July 2014 and called for its sale. Once considered a savvy manager, Wall Street soured on Levine as same-store sales at Family Dollar flat lined and the company's profit margins dramatically underperformed peers. Icahn took his stake in Family Dollar as it appeared Levine was looking for a last shot at saving the company. Family Dollar's brand will continue to exist after its merger with Dollar Tree. Levine will remain as CEO of Family Dollar's branded operations and he will be given a seat on the company's board of directors. However, the deal comes amid a tumultuous few years for Levine, who successfully expanded Family Dollar through two recessions since taking the company's reins from his father in 1998. Family Dollar's Lost Way Leads to Peltz and Icahn Walgreen's US Fate Could Be Sealed By Labor Day Hedge Funder Sees KKR's Next Deal In Washington Mutual's Shell TheStreet's Top 5 Dealmakers In April, Levine told Wall Street analysts Family Dollar had "lost its way" amid management departures, over-expansion and a misfired change to the company's pricing strategy. Levine then began telling investors he still had the support of the company's board and he began selling a plan to return Family Dollar to succes through operational improvements. Ultimately, however, Levine and Family Dollar's board decided to sell the company to Dollar Tree. Levine hired Morgan Stanley last winter to review Family Dollar options and after fielding many takeover offers, he said Dollar Tree was best suited to push forward the company planned operational improvements. It is too be seen whether other discount store competitors like WalMart and Dollar General or private equity buyers attempt a competing bid. Hedge fund Trian Management, a long-time shareholder in Family Dollar that gained a seat on the company's board in 2011, and Levine both said they would vote their shares in support of Monday's merger. Combined they own 16% of Family Dollar's stock. Icahn, who owns roughly 9% of Family Dollar's shares wasn't acknowledged in a Monday press release. However, it is unlikely he would argue with the strategic merits or financial rewards Family Dollar's tie-up with Dollar Tree. The activist appears to have made paper gains in the neighborhood of $200 million since making his investment in Family Dollar in June. Dollar Tree will pay Family Dollar shareholders $59.60 in cash and $14.90 equivalent in Dollar Tree stock. Family Dollar's overall $74.50 price tag represents approximately a 22% premium from its Friday closing price, and will give existing shareholders an up to 15% stake in the combined company. Family Dollar shares were gaining over 21% at $73.71 in early Monday trading. Dollar Tree shares initially surged nearly 10% in pre-market trading, however, shares lost most of their gains and were trading about 2% higher at $55.41 on Monday morning. While analysts characterized Dollar Tree's acquisition as "bold" on a conference call, they appeared credulous about Family Dollar's performance in recent years and potential synergies in the deal. Analysts at Credit Suisse and Bank of America both questioned whether there was much overlap between the two companies given their disparate pricing strategies and the apparent decision to keep the Family Dollar brand going. Credit Suisse downgraded Dollar Tree on the announcement of Monday's deal analysts at the firm said they believe Dollar General would be a better buyer of Family Dollar and could even make a competing bid. Activists Take Onto Dollar Stores Hedge fund investors piled into Family Dollar shares in the wake of the Great Recession and amid private equity giant KKR's hugely successful buyout of the company's closest competitor, Dollar General. In recent years, Trian Management, Paulson & Co., Pershing Square Capital Management and Carl Icahn all, at times, were large Family Dollar shareholders. It was Nelson Peltz-run Trian Management, however, that appears to have had the biggest impact on Family Dollar and its announced sale on Monday. The fund took a large stake in Family Dollar in 2011 and initiated calls for the company to seek operational change or a possible strategic merger. Ed Garden, a top executive at Trian, was given the seat on Family Dollar's board of directors in the fall of 2011, just as the company began to shake up its management ranks and strategy. At the time, Trian Management publicly supported Family Dollar's dramatic expansion plans, which were launched in late 2011. Nevertheless, Family Dollar struggled amid a backfired change to the company's price strategy and long-standing issues such as infrastructure bottlenecks, poor inventory management and over-expansion. In late 2013, Levine said Family Dollar would close stores and curtail expansion its plans, while investing in infrastructure efficiency and returning the company to better price competitiveness in the discount market. Monday's transaction, according to Levine, will allow Family Dollar to continue its improvements. Family Dollar will retain its brand after the transaction closes and Levine will remain with Family Dollar, reporting directly to Dollar Tree CEO Bob Sasser in what he said is an executive role among Family Dollar's stores. "This combination will enable Family Dollar to accelerate efforts to improve the business and will benefit our dedicated Team Members who will now be part of a larger, more diverse organization," Levine said on Monday. "I am excited about our future with Dollar Tree, and I look forward to working with the Dollar Tree team to complete the combination as quickly as possible to realize the compelling benefits for all our stakeholders," he added. Trian Management also was supportive of Monday's deal. "Since Trian's Chief Investment Officer and a Founding Partner, Ed Garden, joined the Family Dollar board in 2011, Trian has been working constructively with management and the Board to create value for shareholders," Trian Management said in an e-mail to TheStreet. "Trian strongly believe that the combination with Dollar Tree represents the best path forward for Family Dollar and is a great outcome for all of the Company's shareholders," the fund added. Synergy, Synergy, Synergy Dollar Tree said that with Family Dollar the combined company will have 13,000 stores in the U.S. and Canada and sales of over $18 billion. While Dollar Tree is a true dollar store, only offering items for $1 or less, Family Dollar stores have multiple price points at the low-end of the retail market. When combined, both companies expect synergies in their merchandising efforts and operating efficiencies throughout both companies' distribution and logistics networks. Overall, Dollar Tree forecasts it will achieve $300 million in annual operating synergy within three years of buying Family Dollar. Dollar Tree CEO Sasser also indicated on a conference call with analysts that the combined company could re-brand some stores in certain geographies. At a price of $74.50 a share, Dollar Tree paid about 11.3 times trailing 12-month earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization for Family Dollar. The company said it will use cash on hand, bank debt and bonds to finance Monday's transaction. J.P. Morgan advised Dollar Tree and committed bridge financing for the transaction for Monday's deal. Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz and Williams Mullen acted as legal counsel to Dollar Tree. Morgan Stanley advised Family Dollar, while Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton acted as legal counsel. -- Written by Antoine Gara in New York Follow @AntoineGara

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- TheStreet Ratings team reiterated its "buy" rating for Micron Technology Monday, making recent weakness a possible buying opportunity. Shares of Micron were falling -3.1% to $32.38. About 9.7 million shares were traded by 10:40 a.m., compared to the average trading volume of about 26.1 million shares a day. Micron announced Monday that it will host an analyst conference in Hong Kong on August 6. Must read: Warren Buffett's 25 Favorite Stocks STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more. TheStreet Ratings team rates MICRON TECHNOLOGY INC as a Buy with a ratings score of A-. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate MICRON TECHNOLOGY INC (MU) 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, 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: MU's very impressive revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 9.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues leaped by 71.8%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share. Powered by its strong earnings growth of 1600.00% and other important driving factors, this stock has surged by 158.52% 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, MU should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed a very nice gain in the past year. MICRON TECHNOLOGY 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, MICRON TECHNOLOGY INC turned its bottom line around by earning $1.00 versus -$1.04 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($3.21 versus $1.00). 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 1774.4% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $43.00 million to $806.00 million. The company's current return on equity greatly increased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of significant strength within the corporation. Compared to other companies in the Semiconductors & Semiconductor Equipment industry and the overall market, MICRON TECHNOLOGY INC's return on equity significantly exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500. You can view the full analysis from the report here: MU Ratings Report STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Hospira Inc. are up 3.79% to $53.68 on heavy trading volume this morning after it was reported that Danone is in talks to sell its medical nutrition business to the company, a provider of injectable drugs and infusion technologies, in a deal valuing the unit at about $5 billion, the Financial Times reported yesterday. Must Read: Warren Buffett's 25 Favorite Growth Stocks STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more. TheStreet Ratings team rates HOSPIRA INC as a Buy with a ratings score of B. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate HOSPIRA INC (HSP) 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, compelling growth in net income, expanding profit margins 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: The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 6.3%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 6.3%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share. The current debt-to-equity ratio, 0.57, is low and is below the industry average, implying that there has been successful management of debt levels. Along with the favorable debt-to-equity ratio, the company maintains an adequate quick ratio of 1.29, which illustrates the ability to avoid short-term cash problems. The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Pharmaceuticals industry. The net income increased by 188.6% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from -$76.60 million to $67.90 million. 44.55% is the gross profit margin for HOSPIRA INC which we consider to be strong. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Despite the strong results of the gross profit margin, HSP's net profit margin of 6.46% significantly trails the industry average. Powered by its strong earnings growth of 186.95% and other important driving factors, this stock has surged by 31.12% 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. You can view the full analysis from the report here: HSP Ratings Report STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more. TheStreet's Brittany Umar breaks down the details with The Deal's Paul Whitfield: WATCH: More market update videos on TheStreet TV | More videos from Brittany Umar

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- RPM International shares are up 2.6% to $45.66 on Monday after announcing a 9% increase in fourth quarter revenues and raising its full year fiscal 2015 guidance to between $2.38 and $2.42 per diluted share, in line with analysts $2.40 per share estimates.The chemical products company reported earnings of 80 cents per diluted share, 2 cents better than analysts expected, on revenue of $1.28 billion, ahead of analysts $1.2 billion estimates. Must Read: Warren Buffett's 25 Favorite Stocks STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more. In separate news, the company entered a tentative settlement for $797.5 million dollars in an asbestos claims lawsuit against its now bankrupt Bondex and Specialty Products units.A bankruptcy judge had previously estimated that claims from current and future victims could total $1.17 billion. TheStreet Ratings team rates RPM INTERNATIONAL INC as a Buy with a ratings score of B. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate RPM INTERNATIONAL INC (RPM) 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 solid stock price performance, compelling growth in net income, revenue growth, expanding profit margins and notable return on equity. 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: Powered by its strong earnings growth of 136.36% and other important driving factors, this stock has surged by 25.82% over the past year, outperforming the rise in the S&P 500 Index during the same period. Turning to the future, naturally, any stock can fall in a major bear market. However, in almost any other environment, the stock should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed nice gains in the past year. The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Chemicals industry. The net income increased by 138.3% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from -$42.36 million to $16.22 million. Despite its growing revenue, the company underperformed as compared with the industry average of 7.0%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 2.3%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share. 44.06% is the gross profit margin for RPM INTERNATIONAL INC which we consider to be strong. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Despite the strong results of the gross profit margin, RPM's net profit margin of 1.87% significantly trails the industry average. Current return on equity exceeded its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a clear sign of strength within the company. Compared to other companies in the Chemicals industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, RPM INTERNATIONAL INC has underperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has exceeded that of the S&P 500. You can view the full analysis from the report here: RPM Ratings Report STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) --Shares of Dollar General Corp. are down by -2.10% to $54.44 in mid-morning trading on Monday as the discount retailer reacts negatively to the announcement Dollar Tree Inc. is purchasing Family Dollar Stores for $8.5 billion. Dollar Tree will pay $74.50 per share in cash and stock, the companies said today. The deal, which will close in the early part of next year, is expected to generate more than $18 billion in sales annually. Must Read: Warren Buffett's 25 Favorite Stocks STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more. Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates DOLLAR GENERAL CORP as a Buy with a ratings score of A-. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate DOLLAR GENERAL CORP (DG) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, growth in earnings per share, increase in net income, notable return on equity and good cash flow from operations. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins." Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows: The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 6.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 6.8%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share. DOLLAR GENERAL CORP has improved earnings per share by 7.5% 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, DOLLAR GENERAL CORP increased its bottom line by earning $3.17 versus $2.86 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($3.51 versus $3.17). The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Multiline Retail industry average. The net income increased by 1.1% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $220.08 million to $222.40 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 Multiline Retail industry and the overall market, DOLLAR GENERAL CORP's return on equity exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500. Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 70.79% to $251.46 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, DOLLAR GENERAL CORP has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of -79.53%. You can view the full analysis from the report here: DG Ratings Report STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Zions Bancorporation fell Monday after the bank announced the pricing of its $525 million offering of common stock. The company priced the offering, which it expects to close on Thursday, July 31, at $29.80 a share. Zions expects net proceeds of $514 million from the offering, which includes a 30-day option for underwriters to purchase up to an additional 15% of the common stock offered. The stock was down 1.33% to $29.66 at 10:15 a.m. More than 3.8 million shares had changed hands, compared to the average volume of 1,847,280. Must Read: Warren Buffett's 25 Favorite Stocks STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more. Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates ZIONS BANCORPORATION as a "buy" with a ratings score of B+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate ZIONS BANCORPORATION (ZION) 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 impressive record of earnings per share growth, increase in net income, 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: ZIONS BANCORPORATION 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, ZIONS BANCORPORATION increased its bottom line by earning $1.58 versus $0.97 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.85 versus $1.58). The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Commercial Banks industry. The net income increased by 44.0% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $83.03 million to $119.55 million. The gross profit margin for ZIONS BANCORPORATION is currently very high, coming in at 101.28%. 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 20.33% trails the industry average. ZION, with its decline in revenue, slightly underperformed the industry average of 4.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 4.9%. 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: ZION Ratings Report STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- xG Technology was gaining 8.1% to $2.41 Monday after CACI awarded the company with a subcontract with a ceiling value of $497 million. As part of the subcontract xG Technology will provide communications and network services on CACI's contract with the U.S. Army's Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center Space and Terrestrial Communications Directorate. The multiple-award indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity prime contract will last for up to five years. Must read: Warren Buffett's 25 Favorite Stocks STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more. XGTI data by YCharts STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Benchmark U.S. stock indices slipped on Monday as housing data came in weaker than expected and geopolitical tensions continued to make Wall Street anxious. Investors await this week's Federal Reserve policy announcement and second-quarter GDP figures on Wednesday and July government jobs report on Friday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.13% to 16,939.15. The S&P 500 was down 0.23% to 1,973.72. The Nasdaq was down 0.45% to 4,429.65. June pending home sales slipped 1.1% month on month to 102.7, well below analysts' estimates for a 0.3% gain. Last month's decline compares to May's 6% increase. Read More: July 28 Premarket Briefing: 10 Things You Should Know Read More: European Markets Mixed on Pharma Spinoff, Babywear Merger Collapse Read More: Auto Sales Stay Frothy in July -- but S&P Spots a Debt Problem Markets were mixed in Europe on a mixed bag of results this morning and with little by way of direction from economic data. Germany's market -- still more sensitive to events in Ukraine than elsewhere in Europe -- was down, while London and Paris were in positive territory. In Asia, the Shanghai Composite rose 2.41% to 2,177.95, after official data showed industrial profits in China rose 17.9% in the year to June. In Hong Kong the Hang Seng closed up 0.88% at 24,428.63 and in Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 was up 0.46% at 15,529.4. U.S. stock markets slipped on Friday as some of the largest names, including Amazon and Visa , reported unimpressive earnings. While the S&P 500 is still higher by 6.8% in 2014 and less than 1% off its latest all-time-high achievement last week with the help of generally-solid earnings reports, the Russell 2000 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average did not join the S&P 500 at new records. "This coming week should provide another major test for markets, as we prepare for another big week of earnings reports, the FOMC statement and a barrage of economic news," noted Gina Martin Adams, senior analyst at Wells Fargo Securities Equity Strategy. A whopping 152 S&P 500 companies are expected to report this week, including 29 financial companies, 22 energy companies and 21 industrials companies. Currently, the consensus expects 6.7% year-over-year S&P 500 earnings-per-share growth for the second quarter, up from forecasts of 6.3%, according to Wells Fargo Securities Equity Strategy. Tyson Foods was popping nearly 4.1% to $41.17 after posting a quarterly EPS increase of about 9% to 75 cents. It was also revealed that Brazilian meat processor JBS will buy Tyson's poultry businesses in Mexico and Brazil for $575 million in cash. Goldman Sachs economists say they expect this week's FOMC statement to show very little change. The FOMC might choose to upgrade the language on growth in economic activity somewhat and also strengthen its language on labor market indicators a touch in recognition of the strong June employment report. For the most part, however, recent data have supported the slightly more-accommodative-than-expected June statement. In particular, the softer June CPI print likely will reinforce the Committee's decision to downplay the firmer inflation prints seen from March to May. Weak housing starts and new-home sales reports will likely underscore concerns about the housing sector, according to Goldman Sachs. Also out on Wednesday will be second-quarter GDP data, which is expected by economists to show 3% growth after the first quarter's 2.9% contraction. First-quarter upward revisions are anticipated when the Commerce Department this week provides revisions for three years. Other companies making the headlines Monday include Dollar Tree , Family Dollar , McDonald's , Danone , Hospira , Zillow and Trulia . Trulia was surging 12.2% to $63.20 and Zillow was down 2.3% to $155.19 after Zillow said it has entered a definitive agreement to acquire Trulia for $3.5 billion in stock. Dollar Tree has agreed to buy Family Dollar for $8.5 billion in cash and stock. McDonald's restaurants in China were offering a much-reduced menu on Monday, as the fast food company reels from the continuing tainted-meat scandal. McDonald's has stuck with the offending supplier, Shanghai Husi Food, and its owner, U.S.-based OSI, out of necessity. French yogurt-maker Danone was reportedly in talks with Hospira to sell Danone's medical and nutritional business to the U.S. injectable-drug maker. -- By Andrea Tse and Keris Alison Lahiff in New York TheStreet Ratings team rates TYSON FOODS INC as a Buy with a ratings score of B+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate TYSON FOODS INC (TSN) 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 revenue growth, solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income and reasonable valuation levels. 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: TSN's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 3.0%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 7.7%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share. Powered by its strong earnings growth of 36.36% and other important driving factors, this stock has surged by 46.91% 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, TSN should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed a very nice gain in the past year. TYSON FOODS INC has improved earnings per share by 36.4% 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, TYSON FOODS INC increased its bottom line by earning $2.32 versus $1.68 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.90 versus $2.32). The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Food Products industry. The net income increased by 124.2% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $95.00 million to $213.00 million. You can view the full analysis from the report here: TSN Ratings Report TheStreet Ratings team rates ZILLOW INC as a Hold with a ratings score of C. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate ZILLOW INC (Z) a HOLD. The primary factors that have impacted our rating are mixed ? some indicating strength, some showing weaknesses, with little evidence to justify the expectation of either a positive or negative performance for this stock relative to most other stocks. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and solid stock price performance. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity and feeble growth in the company's earnings per share."Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows: Z's very impressive revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 11.5%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues leaped by 70.0%. 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. Z has no debt to speak of therefore resulting in a debt-to-equity ratio of zero, which we consider to be a relatively favorable sign. Along with this, the company maintains a quick ratio of 8.42, which clearly demonstrates the ability to cover short-term cash needs. The gross profit margin for ZILLOW INC is currently very high, coming in at 92.64%. 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 -9.44% is in-line with 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 Internet Software & Services industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 67.0% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from -$3.75 million to -$6.26 million. The company's current return on equity has slightly decreased from the same quarter one year prior. This implies a minor weakness in the organization. Compared to other companies in the Internet Software & Services industry and the overall market, ZILLOW INC's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500. You can view the full analysis from the report here: Z Ratings Report

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text 5 Ways to Hike Your IRA Contributions
Mon, 28 Jul 2014 13:00 GMT

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Investments in individual retirement accounts are at an all-time high, Fidelity Investments reports. That number is up to $4,150, a 5.7% uptick from 2012, and average IRA balances are up as a result to $89,100, up 10% over the same period. Fidelity's theory is that Americans are doing a good job this year of keeping their New Year's financial resolutions. "Saving more, paying off debt and spending less were the top three New Year financial resolutions cited in a recent Fidelity study, and our IRA analysis indicates that Americans are taking those financial resolutions seriously," says Ken Hevert, a vice president at Fidelity Investments. "The fact that IRA contributions are up across all age groups is a positive indication that many people are indeed committed to saving for retirement by putting at least a portion of what they earn into tax-advantaged vehicles such as an IRA." IRA contributions are up across all age groups, with the 50-and-over demographic saving the most. The 70-and-over group saved $4,960 last year, while the 60-69 age group saved $4,990. Here's the Only Way You Should Borrow From Your 401(k) Young Americans Prefer Bank Investments, Not Stock Market Debt Is Dragging Down the American Dream Also see: Here's the Only Way You Should Borrow From Your 401(k)>> How can you get in on this and increase your own IRA contributions? Here's a quick tips list to work from: Go mobile. Transmitting money to your IRA is easy now. Fidelity says use of mobile check deposits has grown by 1,000% in recent years. Just snap a photo of your check and send the image to your IRA provider. Virtually all providers offer access to mobile technologies. Use a raise or bonus. If you get a raise at work, or better yet, a bonus, avoid the temptation of using it for a new car or a big vacation. Instead, plow it into your IRA. Aim for the max-out level of $5,500 this year, plus a $1,000 catch-up provision if you're 50 or older. Do the same with any inheritance money you may get this year. Also see: Young Americans Prefer Bank Investments, Not Stock Market>> Cut your household budget. Simply curbing your budget by 5% allows you the extra cash needed to max out on your IRA contributions this year. You may need to cut some dinners out, but chances are you won't miss the money. Automate your savings. You can easily set up an automatic deduction between your bank and IRA provider, where your plan contribution comes straight out of your bank account. If you're on a tight budget, start small at $50 per month and hike your automatic payment as your finances i prove. The important thing is to get going and start saving. Set a goal. If you have a goal in mind, it's that much easier to save more in an IRA. Aim for a specific amount of money you want in your IRA plan at the end of each month. Then find any means possible to meet that goal, and repeat the process. It may seem basic, but setting financial goals really gives you a blueprint for retirement savings.



Have your say: Will Apple's new iTime watch live up to the hype?
text Have your say: Will Apple's new iTime watch live up to the hype? An Apple patent for a smartwatch was revealed today, with the device apparently to be called the iTime. (itproportal)
British Embassy Convoy Attacked In Libya
text British Embassy Convoy Attacked In Libya The Foreign Office urges all Britons to leave as further attacks on foreigners are likely amid a "greater intensity of fighting". (skynews world)
He's arrogant, tough, insecure and charming - but he has such bright blue eyes: Hilary Clinton&
text He's arrogant, tough, insecure and charming - but he has such bright blue eyes: Hilary Clinton& Hillary Clinton says she warned White House Vladimir Putin would be 'more aggressive' in second shot as Russian president (telegraph)