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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- "There is no scientific proof that human emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) are the dominant cause of the minor warming of the Earth's atmosphere over the past 100 years." That statement is from Senate testimony from Greenpeace co-founder Patrick Moore, a scientist himself, albeit one in the consulting business these days. The United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change would beg to differ. The group earlier this week published the third installment of its Fifth Assessment Report, citing thousands of papers drawing together the work of tens of thousands of scientists in a claim that global warming is largely caused by man-made pollution, most notably carbon dioxide. The latest addition to the report offers recommendations for immediate, worldwide reductions in CO2 emissions in an effort to avoid catastrophic outcomes for the planet. Moore's views represent those of a great many denialists, whose arguments are an onion with many layers and no substantial core. Further, the fact that he himself is a scientist bolsters the popular notion that the scientific community is deeply divided on this issue. Professional dissent of various stripes is present in any scientific debate, and rightly so, but the consensus among scientists is real, and from a professional view at least, Moore's objections represent a small minority. Moore takes direct aim at the methodology behind the IPCC findings. Rather than measurable proof, he said, the scientists are relying on computer models, which are only as accurate as their human programmers. "We may think it sophisticated, but we cannot predict the future with a computer model any more than we can make predictions with crystal balls, throwing bones, or by appealing to the gods," he said in his written testimony in February. Moore apparently thinks computer models are useless because they deal in statistical probabilities and require human input of data. On the contrary, computer weather models have proven incredibly useful in predicting tornado and hurricane paths and strength trends, not to mention rains, floods, dry spells and droughts, for at least a generation. The models can give us information we desperately need to improve quality of life and to save lives. We aren't going to throw those away because one scientist thinks they are too imprecise. The argument against computer models also ignores the diversity of models that are out there and the consistency of the conclusions those models point toward. Moore emphasizes disagreements over the role of water vapor. It is true, there is more disagreement over the role of water vapor in the global warming process than there is about global warming in general. A study published last year indicates that additional water vapor enters the stratosphere -- high above the CO2 -- as a result of global warming and significantly heightens the warming effect. Yet even if some details of this or that model prove to be incorrect, the predictions already made, even with the relatively rudimentary tools of 20 years ago, have held up remarkably well. This has also long been the case with weather models: Their track record is far from perfect, yet good enough that we don't want to live without them. On TV, Moore has painted himself as a conspiracy theorist and termed the scientific consensus a "religious cult." The conspiracy is necessary to his argument because he lacks the extensive research needed to prove his scientific claims. In fact, claims like his have been considered and discarded over and over again in the hundred years that scientists have been studying this topic. When your outlet isn't a peer-reviewed scientific journal but "Hannity" on Fox News, conspiracy theories work better than facts. Moore's youthful activism has put him in harm's way more than once as he worked to try to convince governments to change their policies on nuclear testing and whale hunting. I have a deep respect for that. But these days, he is bringing that same passion in defense of some backward-looking claims. How CO2 Warms the Earth In his testimony, Moore makes the claim, that "no actual proof, as it is understood in science, exists" for the role of carbon dioxide in global warming. But even without the computer models, there is proof. It may not satisfy him and other denialists, but it does exist and it satisfies the majority of climate scientists. The mechanism by which CO2 serves as a greenhouse gas is fairly simple. Energy from the sun hits the Earth's atmosphere at various wavelengths. Some of that energy bounces off into space, while some passes through the atmosphere and is either absorbed or reflected by the Earth's surface. As the Earth's surface warms, it radiates heat back to the atmosphere. Some of that radiated heat is lost to the upper atmosphere and to space, while some of it is absorbed by gas in the lower atmosphere and radiated again, back down to the planet. This effect is important for temperature stability and for life on the planet to exist. Planetary objects like the Moon, which has no atmosphere, or Mars, which has a very thin atmosphere, can fluctuate hundreds of degrees in temperature as the surface passes from light to shadow. Our atmosphere protects us from those extremes, modulating the heat and keeping us within a more livable range of temperatures. Carbon dioxide is the most important of the atmosphere's so-called greenhouse gases, absorbing more of the Earth's radiated heat and hanging around longer, taking as long as thousands of years to work its way out of the atmosphere. Its molecular structure makes carbon dioxide more effective as a greenhouse gas. The bonds between its atoms happen to vibrate in resonance with the infrared frequencies given off by the radiation of heat from the Earth's surface. That sympathetic vibration absorbs the energy and radiates it out again, some of it going back down to the surface, like an echo. As carbon dioxide levels build, the echo gets louder. The lower atmosphere becomes a heavier and heavier blanket and warming of the surface increases. Scientists can tell the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere is largely man-made by looking in part at the ratio between certain carbon isotopes, or variants of the molecule. That isotope profile points to a growing presence of CO2 from fossil fuels. Ignoring Science to Prove Science Comparing the Earth's temperatures and CO2 levels throughout history, using ice core samples, for example, shows the direct correlation between CO2 and surface temperature. Over the last 50 years, CO2 levels have increased dramatically and temperatures have similarly increased. Moore said that correlation is faulty because of "pauses" in global warming, most notably in the period from 2000 to 2010. In order to make that statement he has to ignore the recent science that has found ocean temperatures increasing as they absorb heat and transfer it to lower levels. The models predicted that scientists would find heat trapped in the oceans -- canceling out the data that indicated a pause in rising temperatures at the surface -- and they did. That gives the science more credibility, not less. His theory correlating changes in surface temperature with solar activity is as old as the topic itself; they have been considered and discounted. Moore also said IPCC scientists aren't taking into account a period of global warming from earlier in the century (1910 to 1950). The answer is simple: Scientists focus on the current 50-year period because they have much more data from that period. However, no one claims the influence of human-based CO2 suddenly switched on in 1950, but rather that it had been growing steadily over the century and half prior. Many scientists would agree with Moore that some of the global warming we're seeing is part of a natural cycle, but they would add that the recent rise (the last 50 years in particular) can't be described as a purely natural phenomenon. These missing pieces of the argument seem to be a habit of denialists -- using one fact as a target while ignoring the contextual data that gives it meaning. Moore himself seems to imply a manmade influence on global warming. Note the use of the qualified term "not the dominant cause" in the statement I quoted at the top of this article. That means CO2 is a contributing factor. He is saying most of global warming is natural, but he's leaving the door open to the contribution of human activity. But he doesn't want his audience to consider that. By painting his argument in such strident terms, he is attempting to discredit the work of his fellow scientists, without proof. He is encouraging layman and policy makers to reject the evidence of the man-made signature of CO2, the correlation of CO2 levels and industrialization, or the correlation of CO2 levels and global warming. He is encouraging them to disregard the science and bury their heads in the sand, simply because he said so. Turn Up the Heat Importantly, Moore doesn't dispute that the world is warming. Global warming, he said, is a good thing. Don't worry. Be happy. [H]umans are a tropical species. We evolved at the equator in a climate where freezing weather did not exist. The only reasons we can survive these cold climates are fire, clothing, and housing. It could be said that frost and ice are the enemies of life, except for those relatively few species that have evolved to adapt to freezing temperatures during this Pleistocene Ice Age. It is "extremely likely" that a warmer temperature than today's would be far better than a cooler one. Presumably, we will enjoy longer summers at whatever is left of the beach. An open shipping channel across the Arctic Sea. Bikinis as formal wear. A bigger market for sunscreen. The benefits boggle the mind. Nevermind that humans developed agriculture and urban centers only in the last 12,000 years, adapted for current climate conditions. Nevermind that millions of people live not in trees or caves but in permanent structures a stone's throw from sea levels that will soon swamp them. Nevermind that weather patterns will shift in unpredictable ways, making even some landlocked population centers uninhabitable or that crop yields already stressed to feed the world's burgeoning population will likely suffer huge losses. Nevermind that entire species will be wiped out by sudden environmental changes. Nevermind that many investors, including many reading this article, will go broke when markets exposed to any part of the global warming crisis collapse because of human inaction. If Moore is right that CO2 is irrelevant, then he needs to prove that case, build a new scientific consensus on a large body of evidence and offer some path toward mitigation of the worst effects, whatever the cause might be. The current consensus already has done that, proving its case to the satisfaction of the world's scientific community, with voluminous reports representing the work of thousands of researchers from all parts of the globe. More importantly, it offers a constructive way forward to prevent much hardship and suffering. -- Written by Carlton Wilkinson in New York Follow @CarltonTSC // 0;if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs"); // ]]>


NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Jim Cramer fills his blog on RealMoney every day with his up-to-the-minute reactions to what's happening in the market and his legendary ahead-of-the-crowd ideas. This week he blogged on: how this earnings season is excellent despite the haters, and why utilities and oil stocks are top performers now. Click here for information on RealMoney, where you can see all the blogs, including Jim Cramer's -- and reader comments -- in real time. Excellent Earnings, Tough Audience Posted at 4:29 P.M. EST on Wednesday, April 16, 2014 Don't blame the companies! Sometimes I get so doggone frustrated that I have to let some of the aggression out, and when the averages scorched higher, I am going to blow off some steam. Let's get right to my beef: I am sick and tired of hearing that earnings for companies are tepid and that sales aren't so hot. This earnings season got started with Alcoa , which told you that things are improving for trucks, cars, aerospace and non-residential housing. [Read: Yellen Speech, Fed Data Send Mixed Messages; What's an Investor to Do?] Think back to when it reported. What was the commentary? I heard people say, "The revenues were weak." Actually, that's a joke, revenue was very strong. The company just shut down a lot of excess capacity that was actually losing money. If you wanted Alcoa to garner more sales with unprofitable foundries, pardon me, but you are an idiot, and you have never run a business. That's why the stock hasn't skipped a beat and is now up 70% from its low of nine months ago. It does bug me that no one even seems to recognize that this was the best Alcoa quarter in years, on the top and bottom lines. Yes, we did get a particularly horrible quarter from JPMorgan . Actually, mind-bogglingly terrible. I can't help but think that business got away from the company because of the regulatory pressure. There's really no other way to say it, and I am deeply disappointed in the company. But Wells Fargo reported what can only be described as a fantastic quarter with amazing growth, superb and eye-opening. The largest bank in the country and the best run, it had double-digit everything, and that says, frankly, that domestically we are doing so well in this country. Remember that Wells Fargo is truly America's bank, given that it doesn't even pretend to be an investment and trading bank. It's a lender, and lending is going gangbusters. [Read: Are Markets Ready to Catapult Higher? This Technical Pattern Says Yes: StockTwits] Citigroup is taking a day off from rallying, but can we stipulate that this is one of those breakout quarters that shows you that if Citi were to get its regulatory house in order, you would see its stock back in the $50s. It has a ton of capital, it has slimmed down nicely, and all of the black holes are disappearing. I know it's not there yet, but this quarter was sharply better than expected on both the bottom and top lines. Tuesday, we saw two of the most picture-perfect quarters that I have come across from two big Dow Jones industrials: Coca-Coca and Johnson & Johnson . The former was supposed to do poorly, because everyone knows that carbonated sodas have gone out of fashion in this country, both diet and regular. But Coca-Cola management knows that the emerging markets still are keen on soda, and it put its considerable marketing muscle behind those markets. It worked. Made me feel that the pipsqueak activist who has been harassing the company for paying its execs too much owes management an apology. That won't happen. But it's nice to think that when the complainer gets older, he will look back and be happy that I was the only one who criticized him, even as he knows he was wrong. As with Coca-Cola, people were betting that Johnson & Johnson would screw it up. On the previous quarter's conference call, the company intimated that things might be slowing. But when we saw the quarter Tuesday morning, it was pretty breathtaking. And it wasn't all bottom line. The company gave you 10% pharmaceutical growth, 12% if you back out the currency, and that's a terrific performance. No wonder the stock took off, and I don't think it's done either. Yes, that's how strong the business is. I would use this profit-taking wave to buy the stock. Then last night we got two quarters that were shockingly good, again bottom and top line -- Intel and Yahoo! . First, Intel, after disappointing over and over again, spending way too much with so little to show for it, actually delivered a quarter that showed the leverage of the investments. With just a little bit of revenue gain, you saw a very positive return compared with expectations. Sometimes I think people just don't listen to the conference calls, because if they did, they would have heard that Intel is now the low-cost producer and is giving you chips that use much less battery power and chips that are ideal for big data storage. What's not to like? And the gross margins were guided higher, because the company no longer needs to spend as much, as the next-gen build-out is complete. Why didn't the stock jump? I think that's in part because people simply don't believe, as with Alcoa, that it was all that good or sustainable. I think it's the opposite, and the stock, with a 3.3% yield, is now in the classic growth camp. Yahoo! is bugging me, because people think the only thing going right is Alibaba. I have to admit, this minority stake that Yahoo! holds in Alibaba is probably going to be worth the whole of the company, maybe more. I say maybe more because I believe that people are valuing Yahoo! by valuing the company away from Alibaba as worth less than zero. I am not kidding, especially if Alibaba comes public with a valuation of $250 billion, certainly a possibility, because with 66% revenue growth, an unanticipated acceleration in revenue from the previous quarter, it's the fastest-growing large-capitalization company on earth. [Read: Weibo IPO Is a Test for Twitter, Alibaba] That 24% stake in a $250 billion company is worth a heck of a lot more than the $36 billion market cap of Yahoo!, even after taxes, and that is why I say that people are valuing the company as a dead-weight negative. But that's ridiculous, as this was a quarter that showed stabilization and even growth across many metrics, and I think it was obvious from this quarter that Marissa Mayer has given you a unique opportunity here. If Yahoo! monetizes its stake in Alibaba, it can shrink its float dramatically so that even a little bit of revenue growth will cause a gigantic amount of earnings per share to flow to the bottom line. I believe the stock is headed to the mid-$40s. Now I know that seems problematic, in that both Bank of America and CSX are reacting poorly to earnings. But I believe those reactions are short-sighted. Bank of America had a very positive acceleration in lending, one that would be much bigger for the bottom line if stubbornly low interest rates would just go higher. On the CSX call, we heard that 83% of its markets have favorable conditions and that the other markets are stable, including the all-important coal market. Pricing is weaker, and that's a true negative, but far be it from me to say that a company with heavy coal traffic shouldn't do better next quarter, given that coal was, in the words heard on the call, "a lot stronger" than the company anticipated. The CFO pointed out that he feels good about the top line, and added, "I would think that based on what you've seen here over the last few weeks where volumes are up double digits" that the next quarter is going to be better. You can say that the sample is too small. You could conclude that we haven't even heard from whole sectors of the economy. But can we also stipulate that by this time last quarter, we were crying in our beer because both revenue and earnings were less than we anticipated? If the only stinker was JPMorgan, and I reiterate that that was the only one that truly delivered subpar top and bottom lines, then perhaps we need to recognize and even celebrate a positive change when we see one. Surprises Among the Leaders Posted at 1:12 P.M. EST on Thursday, April 17, 2014 Oils, utilities and a smattering of special situations. That's what has managed to climb the wall of worry to get to the S&P 500's 52-week high list. I find this list pretty shocking. Consider that of the 28 new highs, 13 are utilities in some fashion. That's directly related to both the collapse in bond yields but also a belief that Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen is right and that this economy is not going anywhere soon. You can't possibly make an earnings case for Wisconsin Energy or Northeast Utilities or American Electric Power or any of the others for that matter. You can make a consistent dividend case, though. These are all time-tested bond-market equivalents that reflect people reaching for yield. When I say reach, I mean reach, because people are willing to buy Frontier Communications and Windstream Holdings , two stuttering telecoms that are often talked about as problematic when it comes to those payouts. Spectra Energy has become popular, too. This is a natural gas distribution play with a fine yield that doesn't need to do massive equity financings. It's a quiet winner like so many others on the list. Oh, and there's Vornado , a growth real estate investment trust that yields almost 3%. This one has been left for dead at various times, and that is ridiculous, because the canny Steve Roth runs it. I would buy it on any weakness, because it has a solid combination of office and retail properties, especially in the rent-rising areas of New York City. Some of the others are eye-opening, however. Let's take Allergan . The story of Allergan is a cautionary one -- for all of those who are dumping Gilead and Celgene , that is. In the tumultuous decline from the $120s to the $80s, one after another analyst turned on the Allergan, saying that it had around-the-corner generic competition for a key eye drug, Latisse. It was incredible; no matter what the company did, it couldn't stop the rumor-mongering about the generic competition. It got so ugly that the CEO, David Pyott, whom I have come to know and like very much, came on "Mad Money" when the stock was in the $80s and said that the patent challenge simply wouldn't hold up and that we would soon be hearing from Allergan about new formulations that couldn't be replicated anyway. [Read: Is China State Company Reform Real or a Ruse?] When it finally filtered out that the challenge would fail, the stock simply never looked back. But boy, was it painful while it was happening. How about Snap-On , which is on tonight? This is a company that has a remarkable, unique franchise that provides the best tools to professional mechanics. It is always inventing new tools -- I call it a "stealth technologist" in Get Rich Carefully. There's no competition. Southwestern and Range Resources are pure-play natural gas companies that keep finding more gas and are low-cost producers. They are part and parcel with the energy revolution, but they are also rallying under the false hope that they will provide natural gas to nat-gas-starved places. They are strictly local, and Cheniere , the first plant to export, won't be ready for several years. I know from my colleague Matt Horween that Chesapeake Energy is breaking out, too. The group can't be kept down. After utilities. it is the oil-service business that predominates notably: Schlumberger , Baker Hughes , Helmerich & Payne and Halliburton. (If my fave, Core Laboratories , were in the S&P 500 you'd see that, too.) Now when you go listen to the commentary of, say, Baker Hughes, it's pretty obvious what is happening: the North American energy revolution. Baker Hughes on its conference call called out the Permian as one of the fastest-growing areas around the world, verifying, again, that Pioneer Natural Resources and EOG Resources need to be owned. The rest are pretty darned eclectic, like Allergan and Snap-On. For example, in a real irony, AutoNation is on the list. Lots of people credit the beginning of the selloff that we've experienced with comments CEO Michael Jackson gave to Squawk Box about how business has fallen off a cliff and that the car companies were dreaming if they thought they could make their numbers. Well, guess what? The weather got good, and those inventories cleaned up real fast, and now it's on the 52-week high list, no doubt on the backs of short-sellers who listened to Jackson on television. Oh well, at least he told you on the call that things had gotten better. One of my absolute favorite companies is and always has been Kimberly-Clark . The company is never satisfied, always trying to boost the dividend or restructure, and it is willing to sacrifice sales on the altar of profit margins as it did when it ceded the Western Europe diaper market to Procter & Gamble not that long ago. This company is spinning off its healthcare division, and that has caused me to re-recommend it with a fervor to fill the void of analysts who don't care for it. I think it can inch up to $120 over time, but the dividend protection up there will be meager. No matter, the pieces of the company are worth more than the whole. I have always like Ball ever since it got rid of the Ball jar business and became much more of a high-tech company, particularly in aerospace. It maintains a can business that I think, if spun off, would send the stock much higher. Perhaps that's why it is running? Boy, here's a wild one. Archer Daniels Midland , the grain processor that hasn't done anything in years. It seems to have finally figured out how to make a lot of money off the U.S. industrial agricultural machine. Then there's Alcoa. You know that I have championed this one for ages, and this last quarter, despite how it was characterized by the media, was indeed the breakout on the top and bottom lines. The tough actions have been taken, the expensive plants closed, and the value-added portion of the business is doing incredibly well, led by aerospace, trucking and autos, the latter all about light-weighting, something CEO Klaus Kleinfeld told you about when the stock was in the single digits not that long ago. I see this one going to $18 over time. [Read: College Grads Wanted: What Employers are Looking for Now] Best for last: Remember that article a couple of weeks ago that talked about how Warren Buffett's stock-picking has become subpar? Funny thing, but there's Berkshire Hathaway standing tall on the list, and while that may not necessarily relate to his portfolio, it doesn't hurt that he has huge positions in Wells Fargo and Coca-Cola , two stars of the reporting period. I think he will be patient on IBM (IBM), as he has been for others, and you need to buy it ahead of the new product introductions. Think about it: no financials and no real tech. Just yielders and oil and gas and a smattering of special situations. No wonder this market's so tough. I don't see a favorite among them. In fact, it is a list that's been scorned, not loved. Love can't buy you money, that's for certain at least when it comes to stocks. At the time of publication, Action Alerts PLUS, which Cramer co-manages as a charitable trust, was long CELG, JNJ, JPM and PG.

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BEIJING (TheStreet) -- China's cyberspace nannies handed Weibo an unintentional gift in the form of a pornography crackdown Friday, one day after the mainland's Twitter-like service debuted on Nasdaq. Weibo postings jumped thanks to a thread debating the pros and cons of the latest campaign against online lewdness launched by the government's Ministry of Public Security. The handle #扫黄打非净网2014# -- which means "eliminate pornography and illegal publications, clean Internet 2014" -- drew so many posts that it was the top trending topic all day and well into the evening. Parents voiced support, romance writers complained. The forum pointed to a Weibo strength as an authoritative outlet for government, company, police, celebrity and public service announcements. Most seekers of fast access to a nationwide audience use Weibo first, state media second. It also highlighted two weaknesses: Chinese government censorship that's at the heart of the anti-porn campaign, and Weibo's reliance on hot news topics that stir emotions but steer clear of anything that might upset censors. Sina works with police and is not shy about closing Weibo accounts that "spread rumors," a crime that can be subject to case-by-case interpretation. Moreover, Weibo users are invited to rat on suspected violators. Meanwhile, Weibo benefits from compelling but safe topics that spark comments and threads. In a report Friday about Weibo's IPO, the Chinese business magazine Caijing said postings linked to news about a Malaysia Airlines flight's disappearance were a key reason for a 9% month-on-month jump in average daily Weibo users in March. The rise to 67 million users a day was "closely related to Malaysia Airlines (news) and other big events," the report said. News about the airliner search, which is continuing, fueled Weibo activity for weeks after the March 8 disappearance of the flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 153 mainlanders on board. On top of Weibo's weaknesses, which indeed affect every media business in China, the online service and its parent Sina have ample competition in the race for online communicators. Rivals include popular services run by Tencent such as QQ, Tencent Weibo and Weixin, also known as WeChat. Although the government blocks Twitter, some mainlanders use VPNs to access it anyway. Chinese also communicate online through Microsoft services Skype and MSN Messenger, which was killed in other parts of the world but still lives in China, and various smartphone apps. So far, must-have information and compelling forum topics have helped Weibo ride high in this sea of communication options, and amid information restrictions. Now, to keep stock investors happy, it will have to keep the ball rolling. That may be difficult at times, as shown by Friday's Weibo activity. Trending topics ranked below the porn crackdown late Friday were, in descending order, the death of author Gabriel Garcia Marquez, news about the Weibo IPO, and a thread answering the question, "What's your favorite food from your hometown?" At the time of publication, the author held no positions in any of the stocks mentioned. This article represents the opinion of a contributor and not necessarily that of TheStreet or its editorial staff.

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NEW YORK (MainStreet) -- This week at the New York International Auto Show, Porsche is flaunting its 918 Spyder, one of the fastest street-legal cars out there. But at $845,000, it's obviously not a consumer-oriented vehicle. Instead, according to Porsche North America CEO Detlev von Platen, it's a branding statement to prove that supercars are still relevant, even in an automotive world obsessed with fuel-efficiency. Porsche makes up just 2% of parent company VW Group sales but some 22% of its operating profits. Porsche has been on a roll with with 21% growth in 2013 and similar growth in 2012. According to von Platen, most important to this momentum is "a really strong offensive in new products." Related Articles Lamborghini Huracan Primed for U.S. Market, According to CEO Porsche 918 Spyder Proves the Supercar Is Not Dead Consumers Ignore Auto Recall Notices at Their Own Risk Facebook Drives Auto Sales and Loyalty Prepare to Pay More For Gas As Summer Approaches In the premium segment, Porsche is able to command an 18% return on sales, which allows the company cash-flow to fund that innovation. "We want to make sure that we are able to invest on our own in our products," he said. "But to do this, and again Porsche is a small company -- 20,000 people, that's it -- we want to be able to invest with our own money in our own destiny." Part of that "destiny" entails maintaining a strong performance heritage to the 911 vehicles but also broadening the offerings like the Cayenne crossover or the Panamera, which started production in 2009. The apotheosis of that marriage of technology and powertrain is the 918 Spyder, with 887 horsepower and 944 lb-ft of torque. It looks fast standing still and goes 0 to 60 mph in 2.8 seconds. But it can also run 18 miles on just an electric charge. "In 2008, 2009, the whole world was talking about fuel economy, fuel standards," von Platen told MainStreet. "And a lot of people started to raise the question, 'Is there any future for sports cars? Why do we need sports cars.'" That initiated something of a challenge for the brand. "And it was really important for us at that time to show and demonstrate that sports cars have a future," he said. "So [there is] a lot of new technology we might see, which we might see on our other cars in the future, but what's really important [is] to make this investment, not only for some very chosen customers who will look for this car, but it is also important to show to the public, to show to this industry that Porsche is able to make the sports car of the future. And this is a demonstration." With increasingly strict Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, the ability to brandish extreme get-up-and-go alongside green plug-in hybrid capabilities is the way Porsche plans keep up with the times while staying true to itself. --Written by Ross Kenneth Urken for MainStreet


text Lamborghini Huracan to Hit U.S. Market
Fri, 18 Apr 2014 18:00 GMT

NEW YORK (MainStreet) The Lamborghini Huracan is supposed to go head-to-head this year with the Ferrari 458 and the McLaren 12C. On view this week at the New York Auto Show, the Huracan replaces the Gallardo, Lamborghini's highest selling model. In 2013, Lambo sold 2,121 cars worldwide, up from the 2,083 in 2012 but still lower than the 2008 banner year number of 2,406 units. CEO Stephan Winkelmann described the transition to the Huracan as part of the natural overturn of vehicle models but one that stays true to the brand's integrity -- new but true blood that will help generate sales momentum. Related Articles Porsche 918 Spyder Proves the Supercar Is Not Dead Consumers Ignore Auto Recall Notices at Their Own Risk Facebook Drives Auto Sales and Loyalty Prepare to Pay More For Gas As Summer Approaches "Lamborghini in the approach is always absolute and puristic," he said. "When I gave the briefing of developing the car, it was all about instinctive technology. So it was a combination of the newest technology in the car but also to create something that is easy to drive." The car has a 5.2 L V10 engine and electromechanical power steering with optional variable ratio dynamic steering. Most impressively, it has 610 horses under the hood and 412 lb-ft of torque. It goes 0 to 60 mph in 3.2 seconds. Obviously, Lamborghinis are not daily drivers, but customers have certain creature comforts they expect. Steve Ehrlich, a 68-year-old car enthusiast based in New York City and Los Angeles, said he got rid of his McLaren 12C Spider recently and ordered a Huracan, because, in addition to its futuristic form and adrenaline-pumping power, he likes the telematics system -- in keeping with Winkelmann's vision for technological innovation. "I like the technology -- I think it's superior, especially compared to McLaren," he said. "McLaren's trying. They have too many little bugs, too many problems with their computer system.Their navigation's always on the blink." "He likes this [the Huracan], because it's all-wheel drive," his wife Beverly chimed in. "I personally love all-wheel drive," he said. "What happens if you get stuck in the rain?" she said. That voice of the customer is something Winkelmann tries to keep in mind -- eventuating luxury while promoting facility of use. "It's about fulfilling a dream for the ones who are buying it," he said. "We all wanted to have a car which has the latest technology, but it has to be a technology that is at your service -- very easy to use. So we say performing on the race track and easy on the road." The optimized, seamless feel in steering, exterior and interior design are also essential. "And it has to fit like a glove, like a tailor-madd suit the first time you step into the car," he said. The U.S. market makes up the lion's share of Lamborghini sales worldwide (more than 40%), and because of importation tax challenges in emerging markets -- like in Brazil and India -- Winkelmann says the brand is focused on the U.S. market. --Written by Ross Kenneth Urken for MainStreet


NEW YORK (Real Money) -- These high-multiple stocks have your number, or at least the short sellers of them do. We are in the grips of a titanic struggle where companies that are inventing incredibly important drugs go down almost every day. But it is as if we have no idea how to value them. No dividends, no buybacks, no earnings. That would be fine if we had some bellwether companies in the industry that we trusted or some takeovers that would define the bounds. But the two leaders, Celgene and Gilead both have flies right now, a generic challenge to Revlimid and a Big Pharma/Merck challenge to the Hep C pill respectively, so there's no backbone to the group. In fact, these stocks are just paper tigers. You blow on them, they fall over. The opportunity to own them for a quick four points isn't worth the eight-point decline. Same with software as a service. Nothing's changed. We aren't where they can hold yet. We aren't where they don't attract sellers that are obviously exacerbated by ETF/HFT action. Plus, the opportunities away from these stocks are so spectacular that you don't need to focus on them. But I think that there is a predilection to do so in part because you don't want to leave the horse that got you here, but also because you simply aren't going to make up the performance you need to close the gap with the S&P with Ventas and Vornado or Duke and Dominion . They can't generate the alpha you need, and I hate using the Greek terms. As the long weekend beckons, maybe we can get some perspective about stocks that were loved when they were 100% higher than now that now seem worthless in the market's eyes. But always remember, the year is long and the winning stocks don't have to win tomorrow to make up for the losses. Random musings: Have a great holiday!At the time of publication, Action Alerts PLUS, which Cramer co-manages as a charitable trust, was long CELG.Editor's Note: This article was originally published at 7:14 a.m. EDT on Real Money on April 17.

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PORTLAND, Ore. (TheStreet) -- For a brief moment, Nirvana's induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame had me rethinking my reluctance to attend the ceremony in Brooklyn. Dave Grohl thanked every drummer who ever played in Nirvana, paid tribute to his heroes (including most of The Melvins), thanked his cool parents and implored young musicians to keep at it -- with help from a lot of F bombs in between. Krist Novocelic thanked all Nirvana's fans and turned the focus back to Kurt Cobain and those who got the band started. Cobain's mother, Wendy O'Connor, said little, but had her words land hardest of all. Acknowledging that the Kurt she knew might have taken a more aloof approach to the Hall of Fame than everyone on stage, she drove the greater point of her presence home succinctly: "I just miss him so much. He was such an angel." It could have ended there. For the angrier, least realist onlookers it probably did. But Cobain's widow, Courtney Love, was given the opportunity to speak. Greeted initially with cheers, Love couldn't get to the "This is my family I'm looking at right now, all of you" portion of her speech without the room disintegrating into a back-and-forth of supportive shouts and droning boos. Yes, the hug of Dave Grohl after years of fighting over Nirvana's rights and legacy looked awkward, but none of us have sat in on conversations between the two of them in recent years. The fact is, she kept it short, she turned the attention back to Cobain and she noted that 20 years ago Cobain may not have loved the idea of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but he would have loved having Michael Stipe introduce him and being with his band and family. For this, she was booed. She's received a lot worse. Courtney Love has been a polarizing figure for reasons I've never entirely reconciled. She's been blamed for introducing Cobain to heroin, but his own diary entries admit that he began using it to self-medicate his chronic pain from Crohn's Disease. She's been portrayed as a careerist and opportunist after ascending to fame shortly after Cobain's suicide, but Spin Magazine's oral history of her band Hole's 1994 album Live Through This reminds us that the album was completed before Cobain died -- and despite his unsolicited input -- and that the band also had to cope with the death of bassist Kristen Pfaff just months after it was released. She was viewed as unfeeling for jumping right into a film career and an acclaimed role in 1995's The People vs. Larry Flynt, though that was around the same time that Love -- who admits she was coping by using any number of drugs at her disposal -- punched Bikini Kill frontwoman Kathleen Hanna at Lollapalooza. It's the drugs that most folks latch on to: From Vanity Fair outright accusing her of being on heroin during her pregnancy with daughter Frances Bean Cobain (which Love has repeatedly denied) to their role in her suicide attempt in July of 2004, 10 years after Cobain's death. She's been forced into rehab and has been clean by her own account -- and largely quiet -- since 2007. But with the 20th anniversary of Cobain's death and the reunion of the post-Live Though This lineup of Hole this year, Love's merry little band of armchair critics have dusted off their flannel and come out of the woodwork once again. Some of them are truthers who just can't seem to believe that Cobain wasn't murdered, some just wait for any new wrinkle in Cobain's suicide to appear so they can pin the blame on Love, some just hate the fact that she was still alive dealing with drug problems and fame while Cobain was dead. Some just got off on declaring her an unfit mother, never thinking about what that meant for their idol Kurt Cobain by comparison. Then there are the idiots who make with the Yoko Ono comparisons, though Love herself addressed that particular topic 21 years ago in NME: ...this woman put up with racial inequality from Fleet Street, she put up with being accused of breaking up the best band in the world [The Beatles], she put up with people's idea that she castrated this man and then, worst of all, she had her best friend, her husband, the person she lived for, die in her arms in front of a fortress that she'd hidden herself in for twenty years. And I just feel that the world media should apologize to her because she handled it with so much dignity. The world seems reluctant to give Love any kind of similar apology and, at worst, brands her a murderer despite the fact that all evidence has and continues to point to Kurt Cobain ending his own life. Dave Grohl has repeatedly talked about the importance of getting out from underneath the pain of Cobain's death and moving on. Novocelic purposefully avoided the spotlight for many years to reach that same end. Forget an apology, Courtney Love has never been afforded the same opportunity despite spending every bit as much time in the public eye as Grohl -- and she gets nothing but jeers for handling anything Cobain-related in any way other than the most self-destructive option possible. A couple of days after seeing love's speech at the Hall of Fame induction, I revisited her 1999 film 200 Cigarettes. She'd been working with The People Vs. Larry Flynt director Milos Forman on the Jim Carrey-led Andy Kaufman biopic Man On The Moon and he'd continued to insist on absolute sobriety from her during shooting. This had some great residual benefits for the ensemble comedy 200 Cigarettes, where Love was one of the film's few bright spots as a love interest for Paul Rudd's recently dumped male lead. Overloaded with an I Love The '90s cast including Martha Plimpton, Christina Ricci, Dave Chappelle, Kate Hudson, the Affleck brothers and Jay Mohr, 200 Cigarettes miscast Love as the rebound girl for a guy dumped by Janeane Garofalo, but Love turned in one of the decade's few earnest comedic performances and provided some of the only onscreen energy that didn't involve Elvis Costello popping into the frame for a few seconds. It, like Live Thorough This and The People Vs. Larry Flynt, showed just how good Love could be when she was at her best. It's just a shame that, 20 years later, detractors still want her to be a mess because of some perceived crime against them, Nirvana and humanity in general. Courtney Love isn't without her problems, but at least she attempts to move on from them every so often. Courtney Love's critics have only gotten uglier since the '90s. That they still have time in their lives to go down to the Barclay Center to boo and curse her says less about Love than it does about those she's attempted to avoid. -- Written by Jason Notte in Portland, Ore. >To contact the writer of this article, click here: Jason Notte. >To follow the writer on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/notteham. >To submit a news tip, send an email to: tips@thestreet.com. RELATED STORIES: >>Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Rewrites Kiss, Nirvana History >>Generation X Sold Out Cobain And Biggie >>Nirvana's Nevermind and The Death Of Guy Rock


NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Banking customers may not be as aggressive as they think about avoiding fees. According to a study from the Pew Charitable Trusts, here's how the nine out of 10 U.S. adults with bank checking accounts get treated: More than half of the banks reviewed in the report still reorder consumer withdrawals from high-to-low dollar amount, a harmful practice that can magnify overdraft fees by charging many fees on small amounts rather than one fee on a larger amount. And significantly more banks are requiring mandatory binding arbitration agreements and limiting customer options to resolve disputes. Also see: Banks Are Failing in Customer Service>> "It's surprising how little attention consumers are paying to their banking account at a time when we're being hit with an endless barrage of fees," says Gabe Krajicek, chief executive at Kasasa, an Austin Texas checking and savings account services provider that has another study saying that while more than nine out of 10 of Americans say there should be no or low fees linked to bank checking accounts, only 44% of actually have fee-free checking accounts. In addition, 15% of financial consumers havent even checked their bank accounts for fees. Additionally, only 45% of banking customers have reviewed their checking accounts for fee activity in the past 30 days. Also see: We Have Fewest Banks Since 1934, But That's Not Necessarily Bad>> There's really no excuse for accepting high fee bank checking accounts, Krajicek says. In fact, finding fee-free bank accounts is only a click away. "When consumers become fed up enough with fees to take action and want to switch accounts, many are looking online, where it takes just a few minutes to locate unconditionally free checking accounts," he says. It's also a good move to contact your bank directly and ask a customer service representative how to avoid fees with your account. Minimum deposits, automatic deposit and a minimum number of bank debit card transactions are proven ways of keeping checking account fees at bay.


NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Blake Morgan is absolutely, positively sure that more music industry carnage is yet to come from the digital-age typhoon. "The worst is most definitely not over," the New York City-based musician, producer and entrepreneur told me during a long, passionate call about the realities of today's declining digital music industry. "The whole miracle that download sales would somehow replace CDs has come to an end," he said. "The current economics of streaming are making it fundamentally impossible for artists to get paid." Digital-age investors should understand that Morgan has lived the slumification of the music biz from the inside. Starting in the late 1990's, he was a blazingly hot, rising musician, with a one of kind record deal with producer Phil Ramone. The same Ramone who made musical millions with the likes of Led Zeppelin, Lenny Kravitz, Billy Joel, Frank Sinatra, Bob Dylan and Aretha Franklin. But after living the sad song of working within the limits of an established label, in 2002 Morgan struck out on his own with his own imprint called ECR Music Group. By sheer luck, ECR turned out to be the right tune at the right time. By offering the then-revolutionary innovation of giving artists 100 percent control of their own master recordings, he was able to create a roster of first-class musicians while keeping costs down and quality high. "The music industry average for breakeven on discs is about 2 percent. So far, over the past decade, my break even has been 88 percent," he said. By taking control of how his records are made, sold and marketed, he has been in direct touch with the hard-core dollars and cents of the music industry for the past decade, giving him remarkable front-row seats on the once-in-a-millennium decimation in top-line sales and bottom-line profits that is today's digital age music business. And for Morgan, the biggest problem with the music industry is obvious: It no longer knows what business it's actually in. "When people say they sold 5,000 units in Cleveland, it has been a long time since someone could explain to me what that unit is," he said. "If you sell three songs on [Apple's ] iTunes, stream three more on Spotify, and then move two EPs discs at a concert, how many records did you just sell? "The only thing that seems consistent to me is the dollars that are being brought in," he explained. "And from that perspective, the idea that this business is somehow in turnaround is just not happening." Not Singing a Happy Tune Morgan takes deep, deep issue with the claim that recent industry figures tell a story of musical recovery. The object of his recent scorn is work like that from Joshua P. Friedlander, vice president for strategic data analysis for the Recording Industry Association of America. Friedlander's report from last week optimistically says streaming music revenue has grown from 15% of total sales in 2012 to 21% in 2013, with total subscribers essentially doubling in that period from 3.4 million to 6.1 million. "Overall, 2013 sales results show the continuing emergence of streaming music models as meaningful contributors to the industry revenues," wrote Friedlander. But Morgan is livid when investors, regulators and consumers overlook key findings in data like the RIAA's. He points out that overall revenues remain flat for the industry, at about roughly $7 billion for both 2012 and 2013. Meaning, music revenues are basically melting away at whatever global inflation rate investors care to choose. And if analysts are willing to dig deep into the music market data, they will see what pisses Morgan so. Sales in once-lucrative digital products like downloaded singles and ringtones have collapsed, dropping about 5% and 42% respectively. Worse, the growing streaming services simply do not produce enough profits to pay artists reasonable fees. "I saw Bette Midler tweeted that she just had 4 million streams on Spotify. And she made all of $100," said Morgan. "That is not even the cab fare to the airport." Back to the Music Biz's Future Now comes Morgan's big point: He argues that the future of the music business actually lies in its past. That is, facing the fundamental inequalities that have lurked in music for generations -- namely large radio station groups do not pay the same royalties as the Internet or other outlets. "If Pandora had said that they are happy to be paying the royalties they do, and that it's a disgrace that a Clear Channel can make billions playing music and not pay those same fees, musicians would have flocked to them," said Morgan. "But now streaming is trying to match terrestrial radio by paying less to artists," he said. "And that has galvanized musicians to finally take action." What Morgan is seeing is his colleagues finally have a taste for standing and fighting for what few dollars remain in their profession. Morgan says it has become relatively common for performers like David Bryne to openly question the economics of the music business. That is change of attitude is what will finally transform the industry -- not some app or yet-to-be-invented music technology. "The economic worst is not over," he said. "But at the same time, musicians are stepping up more than ever. That is why I am 100 percent sure we are going to win."

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text Armin van Buuren: EDM Royalty Rocks MSG
Fri, 18 Apr 2014 14:00 GMT

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- On April 11, the newly renovated Madison Square Garden was filled with the sights and sounds of electronic dance music royalty. World renowned Dutch DJ, Armin van Buuren treated over 14,000 fans to a five-hour marathon of beats, rhythms and lyrics ranging from tracks on his new album, Intense to old favorites spanning his 20-year career. Beginning on Friday evening and ending well into Saturday morning, van Buuren blazed a trail for the EDM season, fresh off his performance at the Ultra Music Festival in Miami, Fla. The consistently ranked No. 1 DJ in the world gave New York City a performance with style and grace expected of such an important figure in the electronic music community. Click through the slides below to check out highlights from his epic solo show, "Armin Only: Intense." As the house lights went dark, the show began with the DJ inside a ball, lit only by a single spotlight behind him. Both futuristic and cosmic in nature, the stage set spanned the entire width of the arena floor. The first two hours consisted of new material from his album Intense which served as the shows overall theme. The screen animations and effects were created by Eye Supply, a dutch graphic design team who worked for almost a year crafting the visuals for every track. Over 14,000 fans packed Madison Square Garden for the five-hour marathon performance. Van Buuren continuously acknowledged the crowd by playing tracks that matched both their energy and enthusiasm well into the night. The Dutch performer commanded the audience from a platform almost 15 feet above The Garden floor. Before his final track, the show concluded with a bow from the world's No. 1 DJ. -- Written by Adam Leverone in New York City


text 5 Cities Where Records Still Rule
Fri, 18 Apr 2014 12:30 GMT

PORTLAND, Ore. (TheStreet) -- Nope, it's not a relic of old Pearl Jam songs, Gaslight Anthem film projects or even a byproduct of Foo Fighters audiophile experiments. It's the fastest-growing music format in the country. Vinyl is still a thin sliver of the much larger recording industry, but its groove is widening. Of the 289 million albums sold last year, a scant 6.1 million were on vinyl. Yet Nielsen Soundscan and Billboard note that while total album sales dropped 8% last year and physical album sales plummeted 13%, vinyl sales grew 33%. It's no fluke, either. Since 2009, sales of vinyl records have grown by nearly 2.1 million albums and by nearly 15% each year. During that same time, total album sales have dropped from 376 million, while combined physical album sales have fallen below 200 million for the first time ever. Even digital album sales, hailed as music's savior, dropped slightly last year as the demand for digital tracks plunged by 6%. That's not enough to undo all the damage vinyl and its purveyors have suffered throughout the years. Record stores saw their revenue tumble by 76% since 2000 to $2 billion, according to market research firm IBISWorld. That group estimates that record stores will lose another 40% of sales by 2016. But despite being derided as cumbersome and outdated, vinyl is the only form of non-streaming music that more people actually want to own. Those recent sales spikes elevated vinyl from a thrift-store find to an honored portion of music collections throughout the U.S. You may buy a $1.99 digital single of the moment or download the full $8 to $10 album if you're really into it, but record buyers save that honor for their most prized albums. Otherwise, they're content to let it pop up on the streaming music service they're paying a monthly fee for. That's prompted labels such as Warner and Sony Music to crank up the vinyl works again and, on occasion, thrown in MP3 versions for free if people spend on shiny new 180-gram vinyl. Warner is once again paying for its spot as lead sponsor for Record Store Day this Saturday at 700 participating independent record stores across the country and more than 1,600 shops around the world. So where should you be if you want to get your hands on a Sam Cooke reissue, a Dinosaur Jr./The Cure 7-inch version of No Fun or any of the other special-edition releases headed to record stores that day? We offered some suggestions last year, but here's a new slate of cities still in love with vinyl: Memphis, Tenn. There's just about no way this town wouldn't hold on to all the vinyl it had: It's part of its rich legacy. The city's blues, gospel, soul and rock roots were all laid down on wax and Sun Records and Stax Records are cornerstone's of the nation's recorded music heritage. From W.C. Handy to Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis to Aretha Franklin, Roy Orbison to Issac Hayes, there's a whole lot more to this city's music landscape than the guy who lived in Graceland and a Mickey Mouse Club kid from the suburbs named Justin. Memphis has only three shops participating in Record Store Day, but any one of them would be the best record store in most cities in the U.S. Shangri-la Records was once a house, then a relaxation center filled with flotation tanks, but it's now Jared and Lori McStay's tribute to Memphis' music history. Stacked with blues, rock and hardscrapple country records stripped of Nashville's sheen, Shangri-La keeps Memphis music going through its Shangri-La Projects label and through the owners' own band, but a trip through its racks is an archeological dig full of Memphis' greatest treasures. Goner Records on Young Avenue still has an impressive selection of blues, country, soul, funk and indie albums, but it's best known for bringing music's outer margins into Memphis' fold. Japanese shredders Guitar Wolf and the late, abrasive Jay Reatard have called Goner home, as have the Eddy Current Suppression Ring and Ty Seagall. They could all be lumped under "garage rock," but that's one untidy garage. Lastly, there's tourist-friendly, venue-adjacent Memphis Music sitting in all its neon glory on Beale Street. It's part souvenir shop and trades in heavily on both its location and having B.B. King's club right next door, but it still trades in some of the best Memphis souvenirs you can ask for -- blues, soul, gospel and rock LPs. Portland, Ore. It takes a whole lot of willpower not to go record shopping in this town. You have your sprawling everything-to-everyone shops with in-store shows such as Music Millennium on East Burnside and you have cramped storefronts filled with Golden Age hip-hop gems, art and gear at Future Shock just a few blocks down. You have bins full of vintage vinyl at hardcore collectors' shops such as Mississippi Records and Crossroads Music to niche shops including hidden gem and soul, jazz and disco depository 99 Cent Records and electronic music paradise Beacon Sound. If you're not from the area and only have a limited amount of time to spend in town, there's a circuit built just for you. Start in the Pearl District near the massive Powell's World of Books and head to the outsized Everyday Music just a few blocks west on Burnside across from the famed Crystal Ballroom music venue. Not only do they have sprawling aisles of new and used vinyl, but they're occasionally the record spot of choice for acts playing across the street. From there, hike back toward Powell's and bang a right on 10th Avenue to get to Portland-based label Tender Loving Empire's shop. They're going to ply you with souvenirs and knick-knacks at the front of the store, but a few racks full of of label artists and local acts including Y La Bamba, Boy Eats Drum Machine and Radiation City sit just beyond them to the left. From there, pop into Courier Coffee for a Jarbraltar Latte and a quick listen to whatever they're spinning on their countertop turntable from their crates of LPs hand-washed with homebrewed cleanser. The shop is just around the corner from the 9th Avenue outpost of Jackpot Records, which has a limited back catalog but just about every new vinyl release out there. Its own record label contributes a whole lot to the pile, including reissues of work by The Outsiders, The Skabbs, The New Dawn and seminal Portland punk band The Wipers. When it's time to wrap it up -- or if you only have time for one record store in this town -- head down to 2nd Avenue Records near the base of the Morrison Bridge. The genres bleed one into the next, the overflow is still kept in crates and cardboard boxes that require some digging and your order is going to be marked off of inventory by hand, but you can find just about anything here if you have some patience and time on your side. Boston I'm not sure than we can write a longer, more earnest love letter to local chain Newbury Comics than we did just before Record Store Day last year, so we won't even try. We'd just advise starting your day there -- preferably at the Newbury Street location itself -- before heading out, if only to center yourself for what comes next. Greater Boston's record store circuit isn't all that tightly packed anymore, but it's still vibrant and incredibly esoteric. At one point, you could go around the corner from Newbury Comics to Looney Tunes on Boylston Street and transition seamlessly from a well-lit wide-aisled world of plastic-sealed jewel cases and shelves full of Simpsons and Family Guy toys to tight confines and giant stacks of cardboard-encased vinyl that you perused at your peril. That's gone now, but its spiritual sibling Nuggets nearby on Commonwealth Avenue still exists in all its anachronistic glory. Sharing its name with the noted '60s garage-rock compilation record, Nuggets is stacked with a whole lot of 45s for $2 or less, signatures on the wall from noted musicians long gone and a whole lot of cheap Blu-rays, DVDs and VHS tapes -- with VCRs still available for sampling. It's Boston's classic rock haven just around the corner from Fenway, so don't let the strong whif of cardboard and heavy presence of dust put you off. Just a few T stops down Comm Ave is the similarly disheveled In Your Ear that claims more than 100,000 CDs and LPs, but none in any discernible order. The first trick is finding the shop itself, which is tucked away inside an aging store complex that now houses a theater company. The second is finding anything in the bins that range from three-for-a-dollar bargains to the occasional collector's item. Want a random 1989 issue of Rolling Stone? It's probably here. A single of Poison's Every Rose Has It's Thorn? Ditto in the bargain bin. Any hope of leaving the store in less than an hour? Sorry, not available. While we'd be remiss if we didn't mention one of the best hip-hop record shops in the Northeast in Underground Hip Hop and one of the most well-hidden collection of world music in the city at Tres Gatos, which is literally hidden in the back of a tapas restaurant in the city's Jamaica Plain neighborhood, we'd also be committing a crime of omission if we didn't tell you that much of the area's best record shopping is a Red Line trip north in Cambridge and Somerville. Cheapo Records and Weirdo Records in Cambridge's Central Square thrive on the vintage and obscure, while Armageddon Shop, Planet Records, Stereo Jack's and In Your Ear's second location are Harvard Square's last ties to the once-thriving music culture that preceded its current outdoor mall aesthetic. Austin You'd hope that the city that hosts South By Southwest, Austin City Limits and myriad music venues would still have places to buy music. While being in a college town is no longer a guarantee that anyone's going to want to buy albums from you -- especially with downloads now giving way to streaming -- being in a town filled with old-to-their-soul music fans pretty much guarantees a consumer base for life. Shops such as End of An Ear, Antone's and Breakaway all cast a wide net for music fans but have a deep reverence for vinyl. That said, this is the kind of weird little town where the niches thrived. Encore, for example, is metal's oasis away from Austin's indie rock and country scenes, while The Screw Shop is one of the last pillar's of DJ Screw's "chopped and screwed" brand of Texas hip-hop. So where do you start? Waterloo Records, which is generally untouchable during SXSW but only slightly less so for the rest of the year. It's a huge shop teeming with just about everything you could ask for, new or used, plus frequent in-store appearances and shows. On Record Store Day, the line forms at 6 a.m. for 10 a.m. openings, so unless there's something you really want or you've been jonesing to get an album signed by The Black Angels, maybe hold off a day or so. Baltimore John Waters' films would have moviegoers believe Baltimore is a strange, quirky, not at all Wire-like place where vinyl spins freely and vintage tracks reverberate off of every rowhouse. At least where the record shops are concerned, he's not altogether wrong. Tucked in among the myriad bars of Fells Point is Baltimore's mainline, new-and-used, vinyl-and-CD, DVD-and-Blu-ray shop Sound Garden. While the owners just had to fight for the life of a satellite store in Syracuse, N.Y., that fell in the crosshairs of onerous new laws governing used music, the original has slipped quietly into Baltimore's mainstream much as Newbury Comics has in Boston. It isn't the geekiest store in town, but its broad selection keeps it busy. Neighboring El Suprimo Records, however, distinguishes itself by sticking strictly to vinyl and stocking 13,000 LPs, 45s and 78s among a huge selection of turntables and DJ equipment vital for a town with a DJ culture as deep as Baltimore's. Downtown, just a bit closer to the University of Maryland Campus, Dimensions In Music sprawls over three floors and has a dense selection of Baltimore club, jazz, R&B and hip-hop on vinyl. Head up toward John's Hopkins, meanwhile, and you'll run into the impressive cluster of indie record and vintage turntable shops: Jo Jo South, Husker Du-inspired punk and hardcore shop/mini bar Celebrated Summer and metal enclave Black Mess. It's substantial, but still just a prelude to what awaits at the city's finest shop: True Vine. Knowledgeable beyond a casual fan's comprehension, store owners Jason Willett and Stewart Mostofsky maintain an enormous vinyl inventory that they buy a collection at a time. We're not just talking about estate-sale 78s, but whole troves of Baltimore club releases collected by those in the know. The clientele at this shop has a more encyclopedic knowledge of their music than most store owners, but Willett and Mostofsky have dedicated their careers to knowing the music others would shrug off as obscure or ephemeral. This is Baltimore, and the music scholars here are among the most learned in the world. They're not caricatures from The Wire or relics from John Waters movies, nor are they wallflowers from some Dan Deacon loft show. They know their music because they've absorbed it, and they're more than willing to bring similarly serious folks into the fold -- Written by Jason Notte in Portland, Ore. >To contact the writer of this article, click here: Jason Notte. >To follow the writer on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/notteham. >To submit a news tip, send an email to: tips@thestreet.com. RELATED STORIES: >>Vinyl Is Streaming Music's Flipside >>Our Early Record Store Day Shopping List >>Why iTunes Libraries Look Like CD Collections

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Institutional investors who've been snapping up homes in Las Vegas, South Florida and other rebounding housing markets have begun branching out to Columbus, Knoxville and other locales well off the beaten path, market watcher RealtyTrac says. "Institutional buyers have burned through the available inventory of property in the 'first wave' of distressed markets that they invested in, and now they're turning their eyes to other places," RealtyTrac Vice President Daren Blomquist says. "They pretty much have insatiable appetites." Blackstone Group and other private-equity and hedge-fund firms have been pouring billions of dollars into the housing market in recent years, buying distressed houses by the thousands at low prices and turning properties into rentals. The big players typically offer all-cash deals at a time some areas still have too few buyers, especially those who can qualify for mortgages. Blomquist says institutional investors initially focused on Miami, Phoenix and some of the other cities hardest hit by the housing bust, but have started to look elsewhere in recent months. Also see: 5 Hidden Gems of Real Estate for the Small Investor>> He says that's partly because institutional activity in those early markets drove prices sharply higher and slashed inventories of available homes. Blomquist adds that institutions are also raising so much money from clients who want in on the game that firms have had to find more and more properties to buy. The expert believes institutional buyers have expanded their focus from severely depressed markets with huge potential price appreciation to more run-of-the-mill areas that offer decent rents but only modest likely capital gains. "Home-price appreciation isn't a core piece of their strategy," Blomquist says. The trend seems to be benefiting several cities in America's heartland. For instance, RealtyTrac found that institutional investors (defined as any entity that bought at least 10 homes anywhere in America over the past year) accounted for 21.4% of all February home sales in Ohio's capital, Columbus. That's up from a 13.3% share in February 2013 and makes Columbus the institutional market's second-favorite locale among U.S. metro areas with 500,000 people or more. (Atlanta, which has long been popular with big players, is No. 1.). Other cities that are off the beaten path have seen institutional sales rise even more sharply over the past year, including: Also see: 5 Key Housing Markets to Watch in 2014>> Knoxville, Tenn. Institutional purchases jumped to 18.2% of all Knoxville-area home sales during February -- good for third place among big metro areas. That's also a huge boost from the 3.3% market share that institutions accounted for a year ago. Little Rock, Ark. Big players bought 12.1% of all residences sold in Arkansas' state capital in February, or nearly quadruple the 3.2% proportion seen one year earlier. Milwaukee. Institutions poured enough money into the Brew City's housing market during February to account for 9.2% of all local home purchases. That's way above the 3.5% of deals they were involved in during the same month last year. Scranton, Pa. Big investors accounted for 3.9% of Scranton's February home purchases, or nearly three time the 1.5% rate they recorded in February 2013. Albuquerque, N.M. New Mexico's largest city saw large investors buy 5.4% of all local homes sold during February. That's more than twice the 2.2% institutional share of one year earlier. Blomquist and other market watchers say the big players' expansion across America offers the housing sector positives and negatives. On the upside, institutional investors are boosting prices and getting some long-depressed markets moving again. That's good news for sellers, as well as for small investors who want to buy fixer-uppers and "flip" them to the big boys. But critics fear institutional purchasers could price "regular" buyers out of the market or even create a fresh housing bubble. "[Consumers] need to be really patient and cautious in these markets, because they're going to get beat out of a lot of deals by institutional investors," Blomquist says. "The temptation will be there to [overbid], but buyers have to remember that real estate runs in cycles. They should never feel they have to get into a market right now or miss their opportunity forever."


text 5 Ways to Rebuild Your Credit Fast
Fri, 18 Apr 2014 11:30 GMT

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Once your credit takes a hit, bringing up those three little numbers in your credit score may seem like an impossibility, but with a dedicated plan of action you can get back on the road to 850 in no time. Our experts weigh in on the top five ways to rebuild your credit score, one smart move at a time. 1. Pay your bills on time A track record of paying your bills on time is the highest-weighted element of your credit score, at 35%, says Gail Cunningham, director of media relations for the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. When you pay your bills promptly, it sends a signal to the future lender that you manage your money responsibly, Cunningham says . "As long as you've got a job and money coming in, paying your bills on time should be one of the easiest things to knock out, and people often forget that," Cunningham reminds. Unfortunately, a lot of people who have money on hand to pay their bills either procrastinate until they are overdue or are so unorganized that they misplace important statements. "Going to the mailbox and stuffing your bills above the sun visor in your car or in the bottom of your purse doesn't count as paying your bills," she says. "Too many of us know that horrified feeling of finding an old bill and realizing it's way past the due date." If you have a long history of being unorganized with your bills, Cunningham suggests fixing the problem with automatic bill pay online. "Fix it once and for all using technology," she says. "Set up automatic payments each month so that when you do have those 'uh-oh' moments, it's not going to mean a hefty late fee or a negative notation on your credit report." 2. Establish a savings account and/or emergency fund Establishing a savings account and contributing to it on a regular basis helps to guard against unforeseen setbacks to a more secure financial future, says Michael Cleary, head of distribution for RBS Citizens Financial Group. Also see: What If You Have College Tuition and Nursing Home Bills to Pay?>> "A savings account also provides evidence that you are taking control of your finances," Cleary says. It's no secret that people living without any rainy-day savings are operating on a very slippery slope, Cunningham says. They're just one unplanned event away from financial distress. "If you have a plumbing problem, a trip to the emergency room or car trouble, without savings you're left with poor resolution options," she says. "If you don't have any money to pay for the expense you're going to charge it, adding to your debt load, or you're going to take money off another category in your life and spend your rent or grocery money." In the most serious cases, people without any emergency funds are forced to turn to friends and family or to something more serious such as a payday loan. "People say they can't afford to save, and I tell them they can't afford not to. If you don't have a rainy-day fund, you're going to be trapped in a cycle of robbing Peter to pay Paul," she says. 3. Pay down your debt When repairing credit, too often consumers overlook the big picture, says Greg McBride, senior financial analyst for Bankrate.com. People may think that opening new lines of credit will help them rebuild their credit score, but they forget that simply paying down their debt is the best way to rebuild credit. "Let's go back to the fundamentals. If your credit took a hit, then establishing a good track record with your debt is what you need." Look at what caused you to fall behind in the first place, McBride says. Was it living beyond your means? If so, the last thing you need to be thinking about is opening up more lines of credit. You just need to establish a budget and live within your means. "Paying what you owe -- paying it slow and steady -- is what wins the race," McBride says. "That's the block and tackle of credit. Only borrow what you need, and make your payments on time to pay down your debt." Also see: How to Recover From Your Spending Guilt>> 4. Check for and dispute inaccuracies on your report If there is anything inaccurate in your credit file, you can dispute it, says Gerri Detweiler, director of consumer education for Credit.com. "If the information is not confirmed by the source, the account will be removed. This is essentially what credit repair companies do," she says. If some of your bills have gone into collections, make sure there are no duplicate items on your credit file. Occasionally, if you don't pay a bill that goes into collections, it gets sold to another collections agency and may inaccurately show up on your credit history as two separate collections. "If you have two collection accounts on your reports for the same debt, dispute them as duplicate items. The credit reporting agencies may remove the earlier one as a result of your dispute," Detweiler says. Also, with medical bills, if there is any dispute as to the legitimacy of the collection account -- for example, you never received a bill or you disputed the bill -- contact the medical provider and insist they pull it back from collections. This should result in it no longer being reported as a collection account. 5. Get a secured credit card If you don't have any open credit cards, consider getting a secured card to build credit, Detweiler suggests. Pay it on time and keep your reported balances low to get the maximum benefit. "You don't have to carry a balance to build credit this way," she says. Because a secured credit card requires you to put down a security deposit, the creditor is reassured that you will repay your debt, says Todd Albery, CEO of credit report provider Quizzle.com. The limit of that credit card is usually the amount of the security deposit you put down, or a percentage of it. "Building and rebuilding your credit means consistently proving your ability to pay back the money you have borrowed," Albery says. "A person's goal should be to prove to that creditor that they are responsible and can manage their debt. You should try not to charge more than 30% of your credit limit in any given month." Eventually, you can apply for a traditional credit card. "After you prove you are responsible and can manage your debt, an unsecured credit card frees you from the obligation of a security deposit and will likely carry a higher credit limit as well as perks and reward points," Albery says.


SAN DIEGO (TheStreet) -- When it comes to dreaming up a one-of-a-kind honeymoon, nearly everything has been done. But not quite everything. If money is no object, Oliver's Travels has come up with what may very well be the final frontier for adventure-seeking honeymooners -- two nights, 200 meters under the ocean waves on a luxury submarine. The U.K.-based travel company, which specializes in the unique and quirky, is calling the experience Lovers Deep, a getaway that comes with a price tag of about $600,000. "We were trying to figure out what would be the most interesting and most outlandish place to set up for holiday," says Oliver Bell, co-founder of Oliver's Travels, during a telephone interview from Britain. "Some people on our team said how about a holiday in the sky or on the moon, which wasn't very realistic, but then someone suggested submarine, and we thought that was a great idea." If you're a Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea type, this may be just the trip. Except rather then Captain Nemo, this submarine comes with a butler and a chef. And Lovers Deep passengers won't be traveling to the lost city of Atlantis or the South Pole like Nemo did, but to the Caribbean underwater destination of your choice -- including a stunning coral reef or pulling up beside a sunken ship. Also see: Time to Order Your Own Submarine -- If You've Got a Big Enough Yacht>> The submarine's living quarters are surrounded by windows, ideal for underwater viewing, Bell says. Thinking of it at first as a Valentine's Day offering, Oliver's Travels is promoting the opportunity as the honeymoon trip for the couple that has seen and done everything. Since announcing Lovers Deep earlier this year, Oliver's Travels has had about 50 inquiries, 10 of which were fairly serious, Bell says, and "two of which, we are still in negotiations with. We're hoping someone is going to take the plunge. We just need someone with the right budget to come along." The travel company only needs to book one Lovers Deep journey each year to make the venture financially sustainable. Oliver's Travels' submarine is docked and waiting for the first pair of adventurous travelers. Its interior will be finished once the first trip is booked, customized and outfitted to the specifications of whoever takes a Lovers Deep journey. "The interior will be built bespoke for whoever books it," Bell says. The company needs a three-month lead time to finish the submarine's interior for whoever books it. Also see: Personal Hovercraft Lets You Rise Above Gridlock (and Everything Else)>> With a luxe, romantic submarine setting to woo your significant other, aphrodisiacs such as oysters and caviar may seem unnecessary -- but that too is part of the Lovers Deep experience. A special aphrodisiac menu has been developed for the excursion. If a honeymoon getaway is not what you had in mind, the submarine can be outfitted with up to three sleeping cabins and turned into an underwater party. The submarine is able to stay beneath the ocean's surface for up to 12 hours at a time. It can be booked for longer than just the proposed two days, but Bell says it's not likely anyone would want to be underwater for much longer. The trip is more about the novelty of the experience than the duration, he says. And novelty is what Oliver's Travels is all about. "We specialize in French chateaus, castles in the U.K. and luxury Italian villas, and when we started moving into more quirky, original and unique we found that the more offbeat we went, the more popular it was -- things like stays in windmills and clock towers," Bell says. If Oliver's Travels has its way, the underwater experience may not really be the final frontier after all. Bell and his staff haven't figured out how to get travelers to the moon yet, but they haven't given up. And they are in the midst of developing still more outlandish and unusual trips. "We're about tie up a deal with a plane in Costa Rica that looks like it crashed into the trees. It's sort of hanging in trees, but it's a very mini hotel that sleeps four," Bell says.


NEW YORK (TheStreet) - An iPhone price increase, sub-$1,000 laptops (iPad with keyboard?) and iWatch rumblings provide plenty of exciting fodder for Apple shareholders and potential investors to visualize renewed growth.But the market isn't buying it. Investors are taking money off the table ahead of next week's earnings, Wednesday after the close. Experienced investors know charts lead fundamentals, not the other way around. During the last six months, and markedly since the start of 2014, money has flowed out of Apple and into Microsoft .Microsoft, as of the Thursday close of $40, is up nearly 7% for the year to date. Apple, at around $525, is down nearly 7%. Two weeks ago, Microsoft's stock reached yet another 52-week high. Insatiable demand for the software maker by investors gobbling up shares turned March into a feeding frenzy. Three weeks in a row the stock reached new multi-year highs. Apple shares appreciated in March also, but the price was unable to rise above the declining supply line (red line in the chart). The daily chart has too much noise in it for long-term investments in my opinion. The monthly chart supported my bull thesis in Apple's Buyback Program May Mean a Higher Dividend. It wasn't difficult to maintain a bullish bias while the company generated incredible amounts of revenue and pays a dividend yield over 2%. Now the mood is shifting, and the fundamentals and technicals indicate expectations of further weakness. A 2% dividend isn't comforting if the stock is declining faster. In the key monthly chart above, I circled in white April's bar. It's broken below the demand line, and this type of break more often than not is followed with continued weakness. Stockpickr's Roberto Pedone examines the daily price chart in Want to Buy Apple? Think Again. There's a good explanation why investors are rotating out, too. According to ComScore, Apple's iPhone popularity may have reached a zenith in the U.S. If there is one number to which all analysts pay particular attention it's iPhone sales and market share. iPhones drive revenue and profit with each sale, but also future sales from apps and other content by users. Microsoft will soon begin showing measured improvements in market share if its aggressive push into mobile pays off. Obviously, an increase from 3.1% to 3.4% falls short of celebration and a0 .5% drop for Apple doesn't strike fear, but Microsoft's embrace of Google's model of giving away the operating system to sell apps and content is a proven winner. Google went from zero to hero, annihilating BlackBerry's seemingly total dominance in the process. Investors should have little doubt it will work for Microsoft, and the only question is how large of a bite will Microsoft take from Google and will it result in more or less than Apple's decline. At a minimum, investors need to ask -- if Apple decides to draw a red line in the sand for market share, what will the margin impact look like? Falling margins are not a new concern and bulls (including myself, recently) quickly identify Apple's margins as remaining attractive, albeit conceding competition is turning the company's main products into commodity items. Apple is reportedly testing the waters to ascertain the market's receptiveness to a $100 price hike on the next-generation iPhone. If it can negotiate even $50 more per phone it may appear as a significant victory. But there's a catch. You can bet Verizon , AT&T , Sprint , T-Mobile and others will more aggressively market other non-Apple products. A higher subsidy rate may turn into an example of "be careful what you wish for." If a carrier is offering a $100 greater subsidy for iPhones, it's advantageous to offer $30 spiffs to sales associates to sell competing models. Some of the price increase could be passed directly to the consumer, and it appears likely that a combination of carriers absorbing some and passing on the remainder is probable if Apple does raise the price. Unfortunately, subscribers are increasingly abandoning the razor-razorblade model of a cheap phone and higher monthly bills for prepaid and lower total cost plans. Faced with more expensive iPhone 6s or comparable Android and Windows Mobile phones costing much less, it's clear some will select a non-iPhone. Another headwind Apple CEO Tim Cook mentioned is carriers have increased their demand of customers to complete their two-year contracts before upgrading their phones. I loathe writing a bearish Apple article, especially before earnings. I maintain a vigilant watch over my shoulder for flying shoes aimed at my head by a perma-bull. However, it would be a disservice to not express my concern after so many articles calling for long exposure in the company. I also remain highly skeptical of an iWatch adding significant profits, although I won't go so far as to say I expect it to be a total flop. Apple may add a keyboard to an iPad and call it a sub-$1,000 laptop killer but, again, it's hard to envision margin expansion or a windfall of profits in that space while Microsoft is discounting (and maybe giving away free soon) Windows. For those who want to remain long, I suggest selling in-the-money call options in front of earnings to hedge and profit from the upcoming volatility. At the time of publication, Weinstein had no positions in securities mentioned. Follow @RobertWeinstein This article represents the opinion of a contributor and not necessarily that of TheStreet or its editorial staff.

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Search Jim Cramer's "Mad Money" trading recommendations using our exclusive "Mad Money" Stock Screener. NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Here are some of the hot stocks Jim Cramer talked about on Thursday's Mad Money on CNBC: GOOGL data by YCharts Google and IBM : Cramer said while traders are selling these names, investors should be buy, buy, buying them up. SNA data by YCharts Snap-on Tools : Snap-on may make tools but it's actually an innovative tech company expanding into new industries and new geographies, Cramer told viewers. ED data by YCharts ConEd : Cramer said investors looking for consistent earnings and dividends should stick with ConEd. KEY data by YCharts KeyCorp : Cramer reiterated his buy recommendation on this bank that offers both great growth and great dividends. To read a full recap of "Mad Money" on CNBC, click here. To watch replays of Cramer's video segments, visit the Mad Money page on CNBC. To sign up for Jim Cramer's free Booyah! newsletter with all of his latest articles and videos please click here. -- Written by Scott Rutt in Washington, D.C. To email Scott about this article, click here: Scott Rutt Follow Scott on Twitter @ScottRutt or get updates on Facebook, ScottRuttDC

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The S&P 500 eked out a 0.14% gain on Friday, extending its winning streak to four consecutive sessions. On CNBC's "Fast Money" TV show, Guy Adami, managing director of stockmonster.com, pointed out the big reversal in the iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF on Thursday, signaling bond yields may be headed higher. He added that next week's action in the stock market could be pivotal in deciding its next big move. Brian Kelly, founder of Brian Kelly Capital, said the directional market action is first noticeable in bonds via the TLT, then in the CurrencyShares Japanese Yen Trust ETF before finally showing up in the SPDR S&P 500 Trust ETF . He questioned the sustainability of the current rally in equities. Tim Seymour, managing partner of Triogem Asset Management, said financial and industrial stocks continue to do well. He said this week's U.S. economic data were good while China's economic data were decent. Dan Nathan, co-founder and editor of riskreversal.com, pointed out Chipotle Mexican Grill's 11% intraday reversal to the downside. He added the stock is still very expensive and has rising input costs. Kelly suggested McDonald's will likely have its margins squeezed as well due to rising input costs. Seymour said investors should wait for International Business Machine's investor day to see if there are positive catalysts to help improve the business. Carter Braxton Worth, chief market technician at Sterne Agee, said the market has further downside ahead. Specifically, he said the PowerShares QQQ Trust ETF and the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF -- which have fallen 9% and 25% from the highs, respectively -- could have more downside. He added that the Energy Select Sector SPDR ETF looks to have 10% more upside. Kelly said he likes energy stocks, specifically natural gas stocks, at current levels. He was a buyer of Chesapeake Energy . Seymour said Tesoro and Southwestern Energy seem poised to go higher. Adami said General Electric should have a higher valuation as it moves toward higher-margin businesses. Seymour was optimistic on the company's long-term core business. Kelly was no longer long Advanced Micro Devices but he is looking for a long entry after the company's positive earnings beat. Jeff Papp, senior analyst at Oberweis, was not a buyer of Weibo , which closed higher by 19% in its first day of trading, or JD.com, the second largest e-commerce company in China that is looking to go public. Regarding JD.com, he said the company will be focused on growing revenue and not profits, and is making a mistake by publicly debuting ahead of Alibaba. He reasoned that Weibo is also focused on growing revenue and its user base instead of profits. However, he said Alibaba may take over Weibo since it already owns a 31% stake in the company. He was a buyer of Alibaba, due to its strong growth, reasonable valuation and strong operating margins. Seymour said Weibo faces a lot of competition. Instead he was a buyer of Sina . Nathan bought Renren as a way to play the potential over-optimism of Chinese Internet IPOs. He is keeping a "tight" stop-loss on the position, though. Ben Kallo, senior analyst at RW Baird, downgraded shares of SolarCity in February and the stock has fallen 35% since. On Thursday, he upgraded the stock to a buy with a $75 price target. He argued the stock's valuation is more reasonable and the company could benefit from strong household solar adoption. He added that the household rooftop market may grow 50% year over year. His top long-term pick is SunPower . Regarding Tesla Motors , he was cautious heading into earnings, but optimistic for the second half of 2014. Kelly said investors should wait until after earnings to buy Tesla. He pointed out there is support near $185. Adami liked SolarCity at current levels, following the big selloff. Netflix was the featured company on the show's "Street Fight" segment. Nathan defended the stock, saying Netflix has fallen 25% from its all-time highs and is oversold. He pointed out that earnings expectations are very low and the stock has a high short-interest, which could drive shares significantly higher if results are better than expected. Seymour disagreed, bearishly arguing Netflix faces usage-based pricing headwinds as well as rising content costs. He added that competition in streaming video and original content is increasing while second-quarter guidance may be weaker than investors are anticipating. Both Adami and Kelly believed that Netflix was headed higher following its earnings report. Barnes & Noble fell 12%, making it the first stock on the show's "Pops & Drops" segment. Adami was not a buyer at current levels. Schlumberger dropped 1%. Seymour said to stay long but not to buy at current levels. GoGo jumped 6%. Nathan said the stock is overbought and investors can buy near current levels. SanDisk popped 9%. Kelly suggested that investors buy the stock, but only after a pullback Nathan said Occidental Petroleum seems poised to break out to the upside. He cited bullish options activity as well. In honor of CNBC's 25th anniversary, the traders gave their top picks for the next 25 years. Seymour was a buyer of General Electric and Nathan said to buy Amazon . Adami was a buyer of Honeywell International and Kelly said to buy Bitcoin. -- Written by Bret Kenwell in Petoskey, Mich. Follow @BretKenwellFollow TheStreet.com on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.

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Search Jim Cramer's "Mad Money" trading recommendations using our exclusive "Mad Money" Stock Screener. NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Some dips are made to be bought. Those were Jim Cramer's thoughts Thursday on Mad Money as he taught viewers how to take advantage of "buyable" dips to make some money. Cramer reminded viewers the markets are made up of traders and investors. Traders, he said, look for catalysts like a potential upside earnings report, then sell their positions after the catalyst has occurred, whether or not they were correct. Investors, on the other hand, look at the big picture and focus on longer-term decision making. That's why when Google , a stock Cramer owns for his charitable trust, Action Alerts PLUS, "missed" earnings, the stock sold off. Traders were simply cashing in their chips. But Cramer said that missing estimates isn't a big deal for Google as it's one of the few companies that doesn't offer its own guidance. That means the estimates it "missed" were merely analysts' best guesses. What is important, however, is that Google trades for just 17 times earnings, but has a 19% growth rate, making it very inexpensive, and even more so with today's short-term sell off. Investors should be seizing this opportunity, he said, to start or add to their positions. The same applies to IBM , another AAP holding, Cramer continued, and another company that missed estimates and was sold off by traders. Cramer said one man's trash is indeed another man's treasure and IBM is now a diamond in the rough for those investors with a little patience. Executive Decision: Nick Pinchuk For his "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer sat down with Nick Pinchuk, chairman, president and CEO of Snap-on Tools , which just delivered an eight-cents-a-share earnings beat on better-than-expected revenue. Shares of Snap-on are up 23% since Cramer last spoke with Pinchuk in July. Pinchuk said he thinks of Snap-on as a technology company, one that is constantly innovating. The company has learned that many of its automotive tools translate well into other industries, like aerospace. He said Snap-on's new smart toolbox is alerting airplane mechanics when tools are missing and may have been left inside an engine, for example. Pinchuk was also bullish on Europe, with sales in France, Germany and Spain all on the rebound. During the recession, Pinchuk said he had faith that growth would return; instead of shuttering production, he focused on efficiency, a decision that's paying off big now. When asked about China, Pinchuk explained that unlike the U.S., where cars on the road average 11.5 years old, in China they're mostly new, meaning the repair wave is only just beginning. Finally, Pinchuk touted the oil and gas industry as another area of growth. He said Snap-on is making tools that no one else makes for that growing sector of our economy. Cramer said he remains a big fan of Snap-on. Executive Decision: John McAvoy In his second "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer sat down with John McAvoy, president and CEO of Consolidated Edison , the New York-based utility with a 4.5% dividend yield. McAvoy said he's probably the only CEO who will ever come out and encourage people to use less of his company's product, but that's exactly what ConEd is doing with many new "smart technology" initiatives. He showed off new smart wifi thermostats and smart air conditioning controllers specifically made for window units, both of which help customers use less energy. When asked about solar energy, McAvoy said ConEd wants customers to make any energy choices they want; while Con Ed is not yet in the solar installation market, it will help customers tie their solar systems into ConEd's network. ConEd currently has 400 megawatts of of solar-generated capacity on its grid. Turning to the issue of an aging infrastructure, McAvoy said ConEd has an aggressive renewal program that invests $2.5 billion a year into upgrading infrastructure. He said ConEd also upgrades about 800 to 1,000 buildings a year from costly oil heat to cleaner and more efficient natural gas systems. Cramer said investors looking for both consistency and yield should have ConEd in their portfolios. CNBC Silver Celebrating the 25th anniversary of CNBC, Cramer took a moment to talk about how business has changed over the past 25 years, and what it has meant to him to be a part of it. Cramer said when CNBC first started he was skeptical the new network would ever work. Back then, he said, the notion of having a TV in your office and watching TV while you worked was ludicrous. But business news was very limited back then, and CNBC soon proved its worth and gained traction. Cramer credited the late CNBC anchor Mark Haines with finally getting him to appear as a guest host on "Squawk Box," an event which forever cemented Cramer as a fixture on the network. Gone were the days of waiting for tomorrow's newspaper for today's news, he said, CNBC broke stories in realtime. Cramer said he's proud of what CNBC has accomplished over its first 25 years. He said every day the network aims to teach, educate and hold people accountable. Nowadays, if you're working on Wall Street, you'd get fired for NOT watching CNBC. Lightning Round In the Lightning Round, Cramer was bullish on BlackRock , SunEdison , First Solar , Paccar and Whole Foods Markets . Cramer was bearish on Hologic , MannKind and Isis Pharmaceuticals . Executive Decision: Beth Mooney In his third "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer spoke with Beth Mooney, chairman and CEO of KeyCorp , which just turned in a two-cents-a-share earnings beat on a 4% rise in loan growth. Mooney said commercial lending was especially strong in the quarter, up 9%, as Key wins business across the board. She said energy, health care and technology were all big sectors for Key, and the strength was seen across its geographic footprint. Mooney also noted a lot of the natural gas and shale boom is "right in their back yard." When asked about interest rates, Mooney explained that any rise in rates will be great for banks, but much of Key's success stems from "back to basics" lending that focuses on strong FICO scores and low loan-to-value metrics. Mooney also touted Key's ability to return capital to shareholders as one of the key reasons investors love their bank. Cramer reiterated his recommendation of KeyCorp. To watch replays of Cramer's video segments, visit the Mad Money page on CNBC. To sign up for Jim Cramer's free Booyah! newsletter with all of his latest articles and videos please click here. -- Written by Scott Rutt in Washington, D.C. 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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Ahead of a three-day weekend, U.S. stocks continued to build on gains since last week's short-lived freakout. Here is a sampling of some great charted ideas to sit with this weekend as you plan your strategy for next week. First up is this chart on Herbalife that hints at possible good days ahead for notable short-seller Bill Ackman: $HLF Technically speaking this chart is setting up perfectly for another down move. http://stks.co/g0Vu4 -- Lee Soffel (@Rogue24) Apr. 17 at 09:06 AM // Facebook is slated to release earnings next week. This chart displays the path of least resistance: $FB I think we are setting up for a nice rebound next week. Earning is on the 23rd (Wednesday) http://stks.co/c0S0I -- NoBrainer (@NoBrainer) Apr. 17 at 09:38 AM // What a ride in Chipotle today ("Cheeepoltay's", if you're @howardlindzon). Shares gapped higher at the open, only to get burrito smashed the rest of the day: $cmg well that's a burrito in the face of the bulls http://stks.co/r0DuM -- Aaron Jackson (@a_jackson) Apr. 17 at 10:23 AM // Chevron Corp had a fantastic week, but Robert Lesnicki points out a significant technical hurdle that will need to be overcome if the upside party is to continue: $CVX Very impressive move this week. Now overbought on the RSI. http://stks.co/b0S0K -- Robert Lesnicki (@TraderRL23) Apr. 17 at 10:25 AM // While nobody welcomes higher commodities prices, the intrepid among us may look to consider taking a long position in the Agriculture ETF to hedge our costs at the grocery: A nice long setup in $DBA . Could breakout over $29.00 soon http://stks.co/e0S9t -- Trader Stewie (@traderstewie) Apr. 17 at 11:35 AM // Now here's some bigger picture thoughts for both bulls and bears to ponder. Since the bulls won this week, we'll present their case first. Sheldon McIntyre suggests selling may have already exhausted itself: $COMPQ Selling exhaustion on Apr. 10 & 'Blood in the Streets' signal suggest a low has been printed. http://stks.co/f0Vx4 -- Sheldon McIntyre (@hertcapital) Apr. 17 at 12:25 PM // And Serge Berger points out a possible capitulation low in the small cap arena: I would classify the last three days in the Russell 2000 $IWM as a classic rocket launch reversal http://stks.co/r0Dvf -- Serge Berger (@steadytrader) Apr. 17 at 12:11 PM // Meanwhile, for the bears... here's a chart that shows some resistance that at the very least is keeping a lid on prices in the near term: $SPY banging against top trendline: http://stks.co/t0DmH -- Chris Art (@moenchart) Apr. 17 at 11:56 AM // David Blair points us to a decision point in the Utilities space that may resolve itself to the downside: If last year is any indication we may be getting close to a top on $XLU. It has been a great run. http://stks.co/j0VjB -- David Blair (@crosshairtrader) Apr. 17 at 01:05 PM // And to finish us off and scare the hell out of everyone, Chris Kimble swoops in with this nugget (correction: Chris later pointed out the 2007 data point should actually read 2000): only in 1987 & 2007 was this reached, until now! $SPY $IWM $QQQ $STUDY http://stks.co/t0DnE -- Chris Kimble (@KimbleCharting) Apr. 17 at 12:45 PM // Have a great weekend, all. Follow me on StockTwits: @chicagosean At the time of publication, the author held no positions in any of the stocks mentioned. 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) -- The U.S. stock indexes finished off the holiday-shortened trading week with three of the four indexes on the upside. The S&P 500, Nasdaq and the Russell 2000 finished the week on the upside but the DJIA closed Thursday trading with a loss. The Nasdaq finished at 4095.52, up 9.29 points on Thursday and up 95.79 points for the week. The Russell 2000 finished up 26.46 points to close at 1137.90 and the S&P finished up 49.16 for the week, closing at 1864.85. The DJIA finished down 16.31 points on Thursday, but up 381.79 points for the week, closing at 16408.54. The S&P and DJIA continue to be Trend Bullish while the Nasdaq and Russell 2000 indexes are Trend Bearish from a three-month or more time frame. The volume on Thursday was the lowest of the entire week. That was not totally unexpected as traders made for a long holiday weekend. So the question is, where do the markets go from here come next week? I am of the belief that the markets will have a selloff in the early part of the week. There was not much buying power behind this massive move to the upside this week, according to my internal algorithm numbers. The selloff last Thursday and Friday, a week ago, had much more force to the downside than this four-day up move this week. We will know soon enough if this bullish trend move in the DJIA and S&P was for real or just a relief rally from the Trend Bearish condition. The fact that the Nasdaq and Russell 2000 have not joined the DJIA and S&P is of concern. Again, we cannot have two different stock markets. Thus, be careful and patient next week as we sort out this holiday-shortened trading week that we just finished. Earnings season is in full force right now. We are getting a mixed bag with winners and losers. Keep in mind the Nasdaq and Russell 2000 are still down for the year, with both indexes negative by more than 6%. The utilities and commodities stocks lead to the upside. Thus, there are many crosscurrents going on. However, we are not receiving much help to the upside from the growth leaders. That is always a concern going forward. I once again finished this trading week in cash after selling my Live Deal position that I purchased at the end of trading on Wednesday. The gain was massive as the shorts came in to cover their positions. A great way to finish the trading week with a winning percentage of over 90% since our inception last July at our website. At the time of publication the author had no position in any of the stocks mentioned. 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) -- Cherokee Inc posted positive fourth quarterly and fiscal year earnings results after Thursday's closing bell.Cherokee shares closed the day down 0.8% to $12.99 Must Read: Warren Buffett's 10 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 global lifestyle brand marketer saw a year over year net revenue increase of 7.7% to $28.6 million while year over year quarterly revenue increased 6.2% to $6.4 million.Non GAAP net income for the year was $7.2 million, or 86 cents per share, a 6% year over year increase from the $6.8 million, or $0.81 per share, it posted last year.Net income for the quarter totaled $1 million, or 11 cents per share, compared to $1.1 million, or 13 cents per share the previous year. TheStreet Ratings team rates CHEROKEE INC/DE as a Hold with a ratings score of C+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate CHEROKEE INC/DE (CHKE) 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 good cash flow from operations, expanding profit margins and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including feeble growth in the company's earnings per share and deteriorating net income." Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows: Net operating cash flow has increased to $2.09 million or 19.58% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, CHEROKEE INC/DE has also modestly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of 9.59%. 39.23% is the gross profit margin for CHEROKEE INC/DE which we consider to be strong. Despite the high profit margin, it has decreased significantly from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, CHKE's net profit margin of 23.38% significantly outperformed against the industry. CHKE's debt-to-equity ratio of 0.83 is somewhat low overall, but it is high when compared to the industry average, implying that the management of the debt levels should be evaluated further. Despite the fact that CHKE's debt-to-equity ratio is mixed in its results, the company's quick ratio of 1.51 is high and demonstrates strong liquidity. CHEROKEE INC/DE's earnings per share declined by 24.0% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. Earnings per share have declined over the last year. We anticipate that this should continue in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, CHEROKEE INC/DE reported lower earnings of $0.82 versus $0.89 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 7.3% in earnings ($0.76 versus $0.82). The company, on the basis of change in net income from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed against the S&P 500 and did not exceed that of the Textiles, Apparel & Luxury Goods industry. The net income has decreased by 24.7% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, dropping from $2.08 million to $1.56 million. You can view the full analysis from the report here: CHKE 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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BEIJING (TheStreet) -- The jury is still debating whether China's latest "state-owned enterprise reform" project is a sincere privatization effort or a ruse aimed at suckering foreign investors. Undeterred by the debate are Chinese stock analysts who say that, at least for now, there's money to be made by playing publicly traded shares in state companies high on the reform list and their foreign partners. These include Chinese state-run companies listed on mainland, Hong Kong and U.S. stock exchanges, as well as their U.S., European and Japanese partners, contractors and customers. An example of a reform candidate on analyst radar screens is SAIC Motor, China's largest auto company whose foreign partners include General Motors , Volkswagen and Iveco. The company is listed in Shanghai but controlled by the Shanghai government. Its nine-member board of directors includes seven Communist Party members. Big chunks of SAIC and most state companies -- in some cases up to 80% of a company's assets -- could be sold to private investors over the next few years, under the reform framework that the government has been building since last fall. State companies in defense, power generation and other sectors deemed nationally strategic would remain totally in government hands. To date, Shenzhen-listed appliance manufacturer Gree Electric and oil giant Sinopec have stepped up to the task. Gree's controller, the Zhuhai city government, recently started breaking up the company to prepare the appliance unit for private investors. Sinopec, controlled by the central government, plans to sell its retail gas station unit within a few weeks. According to a Changjiang Securities report, companies under the Shanghai government's wing such as SAIC and in Guangdong Province such as Gree are likely to lead the reform movement. As more companies join nationwide, the report said, the reform scheme "is bound to become a hot channel for capital investment in 2014." A big blip on the radar is Walt Disney partner Shanghai Media & Entertainment Holding, an umbrella for more than a dozen broadcast, film, theater and real estate companies. One division is currently building Shanghai Disneyland. Its Shanghai-listed subsidiary Oriental Pearl Group owns the radio-TV tower of the same name that dominates Shanghai's downtown skyline. Guotai Junan Securities recently recommended holding Oriental Pearl stock to benefit from what an expected "quick and dirty" business consolidation project at Shanghai Media leading up to deeper reforms. Another state company likely to invite private investors soon is Shanghai Electric, a Shanghai-listed engineering conglomerate with close ties to dozens of international companies. For example, it makes elevators with Japan's Mitsubishi and power plant boilers with France's Alstom. Analysts have also recommended traders take a close look at the brokerage Soochow Securities, which could be the first state-owned company in the city of Suzhou to welcome private investors, and Anhui Heli, which makes forklifts. Both are listed on the Shanghai exchange. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in any of the stocks mentioned. This article represents the opinion of a contributor and not necessarily that of TheStreet or its editorial staff.

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Updated from 8:25 a.m. ET to include closing share prices NEW YORK (TheStreet) - Weibo , often referred to as the Chinese version of Twitter , began trading on the Nasdaq Global Select Market on Thursday, surging over 19% after the company priced its initial public offering at the low end of its expected range. The listing brought yet another fast-growing social media company to U.S. stock markets and could be a leading indicator of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group's much anticipated IPO. Beijing-based Weibo sold 16.8 million American depositary shares of its Class A stock at a price of $17 a share, or the low-end of its expected range. However, Weibo shares popped on their first day of trading, rising over 19% to close at $20.24 a share. Underwriters Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse will have the option to purchase an additional 2.52 million shares to cover over-allotments. In total, Weibo raised $285.56 million in its IPO. The company first filed for a U.S. stock offering in mid-March. In China, Weibo provides a way for users and organizations to publicly express themselves in real time and interact with others in a similar fashion to Twitter in the U.S. The company was founded in 2009 and is majority owned by Chinese internet company SINA . In the filing, Weibo said that it would use some IPO proceeds to repay loans to its parent company, Sina. In early 2013, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba invested $585.8 million in Weibo for approximately 18% of the company's outstanding shares. According to a disclosure, Alibaba can increase its stake in the company to 30%. Alibaba is partially owned by Yahoo! , which has a 24% stake in the Chinese Internet giant. In March, Alibaba announced that it too would be going public, seeking a listing in the United States, and not Hong Kong. On Tuesday, a disclosure in Yahoo's first-quarter earnings showed that Alibaba's profits more than doubled to $1.3 billion in the fourth quarter of 2013. Weibo vs. Twitter As of the end of 2013, Weibo had 129.1 million monthly active users and 61.4 million average daily active users. Over 70% of the company's monthly active users in accessed Weibo through mobile devices in December. Those figures indicate Weibo's user base is about half the size of Twitter, but its users are growing at a far-faster rate. The company also relies upon minority investor Alibaba for a significant portion of its earnings. Weibo generates revenues from advertising and marketing, similar to Twitter, but generates a lot of advertising revenue from one client, Alibaba. The company noted its advertising and marketing revenues increased by 191% from $51.0 million in 2012. However, advertising sold to Alibaba accounted for $49.1 million, or 33.1%, of its advertising and marketing revenues in 2013. In total, Weibo generated $188 million in revenue in 2013, a near quadrupling of sales versus year-ago levels. The company, however, only saw its net loss narrow from $102 million in 2012 to $38 million this year. Weibo has non-advertising earnings streams, including game-related services, and VIP memberships. Other revenues rose 168% year-over-year to $39.9 million in 2013. Gaming Business Revenue from game-related services increased jumped to $22.9 million in 2013 from $12.7 million in 2012, while VIP membership revenue rose to $11.1 million from $2.2 million in 2012. The company ended 2013 with 700,000 VIP members, up from 400,000 in 2012. "Our introduction of additional sources of other revenues in 2013 to further monetize our user base and the content on our platform, including data licensing, also contributed to the increase," the company noted in its March F-1 filing. On a measure of adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) Weibo's annual loss narrowed from $80 million in 2012 to a loss of $6.3 million in 2013. Were it not for Weibo's "investor option liability" the company would have generated positive EBITDA in 2013. In the nine months prior to Twitter's IPO, the company generated $30.7 million in adjusted EBITDA and had a user base of nearly double that reported by Weibo. -- Written by Antoine Gara and Chris Ciaccia in New York. Follow @AntoineGara // 0;if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs"); // ]]>

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Taiwan Semiconductor Mfg. Co. Ltd. finished higher 2.83% to $20.72 on Thursday after the company announced its first quarter 2014 revenue of NT$148.22 billion and diluted earnings per share of NT$1.85 (US$0.31 per ADR unit). The company reported year-over-year first quarter revenue increased 11.6%, while net income and diluted earnings per share both increased 21%.Net income rose to NT$47,871 in the first quarter 2014 from NT$39,577 in the first quarter of 2013. Compared to fourth quarter of 2013, first quarter results represent a 1.7% increase in revenue, and a 6.8% increase in net income, the company noted. Must Read: Warren Buffett's 10 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 TAIWAN SEMICONDUCTOR MFG CO as a Buy with a ratings score of A+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate TAIWAN SEMICONDUCTOR MFG CO (TSM) 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 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." 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 5.1%. 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, displaying stagnant earnings per share. TAIWAN SEMICONDUCTOR MFG CO reported flat earnings per share in the most recent quarter. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. But, we feel it is poised for EPS growth in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, TAIWAN SEMICONDUCTOR MFG CO increased its bottom line by earning $1.21 versus $1.10 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.42 versus $1.21). 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. The company, on the basis of change in net income from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed against the S&P 500 and did not exceed that of the Semiconductors & Semiconductor Equipment industry. The net income has decreased by 0.5% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, dropping from $1,466.10 million to $1,458.32 million. You can view the full analysis from the report here: TSM 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) -- Microsoft dipped Thursday after rival Sony announced on its blog that it had sold 7 million PlayStation 4 units worldwide, a sign that the latter is dominating the current battle in the video game console wars. Microsoft has remained quiet about Xbox One sales in recent months; the last official word in early January was that the company had sold 3 million units. All other numbers since then have been speculation, and Bloomberg recently estimated the figure at approximately 4.2 million in early April. Sony, by contrast, has been more active in updating the public on its PS4 sales figures, as it made statements when 5 million and 6 million consoles had been sold. Microsoft dipped 0.97% to $40.01, a 39-cent decline from its previous close of $40.40, at the close of trading on Thursday. Must Read: Warren Buffett's 10 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. ---------- Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates MICROSOFT CORP as a "buy" with a ratings score of A-. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate MICROSOFT CORP (MSFT) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, notable return on equity, attractive valuation levels 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: MSFT's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 11.5%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 14.3%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share. Although MSFT's debt-to-equity ratio of 0.27 is very low, it is currently higher than that of the industry average. Along with this, the company maintains a quick ratio of 2.96, which clearly demonstrates the ability to cover short-term cash needs. 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 Software industry and the overall market, MICROSOFT CORP's return on equity exceeds that of the industry average and significantly exceeds that of the S&P 500. Investors have apparently begun to recognize positive factors similar to those we have mentioned in this report, including earnings growth. This has helped drive up the company's shares by a sharp 29.98% 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, MSFT 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: MSFT 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) -- Athenahealth was falling 1.1% to $144 after-hours Thursday after missing analysts' estimates for earnings and revenue in the first quarter. For the first quarter athenahealth posted earnings of 12 cents a share, missing analysts' estimates of 17 cents a share by 5 cents. Revenue grew 29.8% to $163.03 million, though it missed the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $169.99 million by $6.96 million. "By making targeted investments in growth, innovation, and facilities, we are positioning the company to continue on our 30 percent growth trajectory," president and CEO Jonathan Bush said in a press release. "We continue to transform and grow our network with a keen eye on our vision of building an information backbone that helps make health care work as it should. The athenahealth team is focused on building the services that caregivers trust, by providing simplified solutions that enable them to thrive despite a rapidly changing health care landscape. We remain committed to further advancing the state of the industry, proactively seeking ways to increase accountability and disrupt the status quo." Must read: Warren Buffett's 10 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 ATHENAHEALTH INC as a Hold with a ratings score of C. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate ATHENAHEALTH INC (ATHN) 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, expanding profit margins and good cash flow from operations. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including disappointing return on equity and premium valuation." Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows: The revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 6.2%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 47.5%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share. The gross profit margin for ATHENAHEALTH INC is rather high; currently it is at 66.40%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 7.66% is above that of the industry average. Powered by its strong earnings growth of 112.50% and other important driving factors, this stock has surged by 47.74% over the past year, outperforming the rise in the S&P 500 Index during the same period. Setting our sights on the months ahead, however, we feel that the stock's sharp appreciation over the last year has driven it to a price level which is now relatively expensive compared to the rest of its industry. The implication is that its reduced upside potential is not good enough to warrant further investment at this time. Current return on equity is lower than its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a clear sign of weakness within the company. Compared to other companies in the Health Care Technology industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, ATHENAHEALTH INC underperformed against that of the industry average and is significantly less than that of the S&P 500. You can view the full analysis from the report here: ATHN 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 FireTV Just Keeps Getting Better
Thu, 17 Apr 2014 20:30 GMT

NEW YORK (TheStreet) Amazon's Fire TV was revolutionary in that it was the first set-top box streaming device to include voice search when looking for content, among other features. Now, its revolutionary voice search is about to get a whole lot better. Amazon today announced that Hulu Plus, Crackle, and SHOWTIME ANYTIME are joining VEVO in integrating their full catalogs into Fire TV's unified voice search."We're excited and energized by the momentum we're seeing with Fire TV," said Dave Limp, Vice President, Amazon Devices in a press release. "Customers are telling us they love it, developers are building for it, and we're working hard to expand existing features and build new ones. We're thrilled to have Hulu Plus, Crackle, and SHOWTIME integrating their full selection of movies and TV shows into Fire TV's unified voice search." Seattle-based Amazon noted that the above content will start to integrate voice search for their content starting this summer. Right now, voice search, which allows users to search for content via title, actor or genre, only works for Amazon Prime Instant Video, but Amazon is working hard to add more in the coming months. The company also announced that it's working with a slew of developers on adding services and games available for Fire TV, including Telltale Games, Halfbrick, Pixowl, Disney Interactive, Minority Media, Paradox Interactive, Gaiam, AllRecipes, and Twitch.Amazon also said that it would be adding new features to the $99 set-top box, which TheStreet described as "the real deal." In a separate review, TheStreet said "Amazon's Fire TV is the streaming video device for the others to beat." Included in the new feature set will be a New Prime browse that makes it even easier to find movies and TV shows included in Prime Instant Video, Amazon FreeTime and Amazon MP3 integration, and more games coming soon. Right now, there are over 100 games available on Fire TV, which was unveiled in earlier this month. In addition to the games available already on Fire TV, Amazon said users can "play touch-enabled games with the upcoming Fire TV app for your phone or tablet." The company has been working hard to improve its hardware for users, and these announcements show Amazon is serious about the user experience. Traditional set-top boxes from Google , Apple , and Roku do not offer voice search, instead having users type in the name of an actor or movie they're looking for. By adding these apps and additional ones in the future, Amazon is furthering its lead in this area. At the unveiling in New York City's Milk Studios, Amazon's Peter Larsen stressed the fact that Fire TV is faster and more powerful than what's out there. It features a quad-core processor, a dedicated GPU, and can handle 57 billion floating point operations per second, to go along with 2GB of RAM. It also features dual band, dual Wi-Fi with Mimo to help stop buffering, a problem other set-top boxes have had issues with. Larsen noted the Fire TV has three times the performance of Apple TV, Chromecast and Roku 3.Larsen noted that consumers' most frequent complaints about streaming devices include difficulty in searching for shows, performance and buffering, and closed ecosystems. --Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York >Contact by Email. Follow @Chris_Ciaccia // 0;if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs"); // ]]>

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Advanced Micro Devices stock is gaining in extended trading after the company reported a better-than-expected first quarter. After the bell, shares added 3.3% to $3.81. Over the three months to March, the chipmaker recorded break-even earnings, in line with analysts' estimates, and revenue 28.4% higher year over year to $1.4 billion. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters had forecast revenue of $1.34 billion. Must Read: Warren Buffett's 10 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 ADVANCED MICRO DEVICES as a Hold with a ratings score of C-. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate ADVANCED MICRO DEVICES (AMD) 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." You can view the full analysis from the report here: AMD 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) -- Capital Bank Financial reported a year-over-year increase in net income in the company's first-quarter earnings report after the market closed on Thursday. The company reported a 120% year-over-year increase in net income to $11.4 million, or 22 cents per diluted share, from net income of $5.8 million, or 10 cents per diluted share. Core net income totaled $12.4 million, or 24 cents per diluted share, a 33% year-over-year increase from $9.9 million, or 18 cents per diluted share. "Our earnings, expenses, yields, and margin were all in line with our expectations and our previous guidance," said Chairman and CEO Gene Taylor in a statement. "While we have yet to see the benefits of the strengthening southeastern economy, we don't see any obstacles to executing on our business plans through the balance of 2014." The stock closed up 1.03% to $24.45 on Thursday. More than 126,000 shares changed hands, which barely edged the average volume of 125,682. Must Read: Warren Buffett's 10 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. ---------- Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates CAPITAL BANK FINANCIAL CORP as a "hold" with a ratings score of C. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate CAPITAL BANK FINANCIAL CORP (CBF) 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 increase in net income, expanding profit margins and good cash flow from operations. However, as a counter to these strengths, we find that the company's return on equity has been disappointing." Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows: 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 128.9% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $5.33 million to $12.21 million. The gross profit margin for CAPITAL BANK FINANCIAL CORP is currently very high, coming in at 88.70%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 14.48% is above that of the industry average. Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 92.99% to -$2.59 million when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite an increase in cash flow of 92.99%, CAPITAL BANK FINANCIAL CORP is still growing at a significantly lower rate than the industry average of 385.82%. Regardless of the drop in revenue, the company managed to outperform against the industry average of 12.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 7.9%. The declining revenue has not hurt the company's bottom line, with increasing earnings per share. 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 Commercial Banks industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, CAPITAL BANK FINANCIAL CORP underperformed against that of the industry average and is significantly less than that of the S&P 500. You can view the full analysis from the report here: CBF 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 Danaher (DHR) Stock Is Down Today
Thu, 17 Apr 2014 20:24 GMT

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Danher shares closed down 1.1% to $72.85 in trading on Thursday.The medical device manufacturer's second quarter EPS guidance of 90 cents to 94 cents earnings per share missing analysts consensus estimates of 96 cents per share. Must Read: Warren Buffett's 10 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. However, the company posted positive first quarter results, earning 81 cents per share, beating analysts estimates of 80 cents per share for the quarter. Year over year quarterly sales were up 5% to $4.7 billion. TheStreet Ratings team rates DANAHER CORP as a Buy with a ratings score of A. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate DANAHER CORP (DHR) 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, increase in net income, good cash flow from operations and solid stock price performance. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity." Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows: DHR's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 1.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 5.8%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share. DHR's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.16 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels. Along with the favorable debt-to-equity ratio, the company maintains an adequate quick ratio of 1.45, 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 Industrial Conglomerates industry average, but is less than that of the S&P 500. The net income increased by 25.2% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $630.40 million to $789.30 million. Net operating cash flow has increased to $1,078.20 million or 34.83% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, DANAHER CORP has also modestly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of 24.86%. The stock has risen over the past year as investors have generally rewarded the company for its earnings growth and other positive factors like the ones we have cited in this report. 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: DHR 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) -- Major U.S. indices closed little changed amid corporate earnings as investors hedged their bets ahead of a long weekend. Jobless claims for the week beat expectations. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.1% to 16,408.54, while the S&P 500 was 0.14% higher at 1,864.85. The Nasdaq increased 0.23% to 4,095.52. For the shortened trading week, the Dow, S&P and Nasdaq added 2.4%, 2.7% and 2.4%, respectively, a week after the major averages dropped more than 2%. "It is not surprising that you've got a mixed reaction this year among those who are jumping in and keeping up with the Joneses, because what if it runs up and I'm not there," Dorothy Weaver, CEO of Collins Capital and former Chairman of the Miami Fed, said in a phone interview from Miami. Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday he would not rule out sending troops into Ukraine, but said he hoped not to. He accused the Kiev government of committing "a serious crime" by using the military to quell unrest. Pro-Russian militants have seized control of 10 cities in east Ukraine and Putin said the situation could only be resolved through discussion. Foreign ministers of Ukraine, Russia, the U.S. and the European Union are working on a joint statement on Ukraine's crisis. In earnings news, Goldman Sachs closed up 0.14% after posting a 10% fall in first-quarter net income, but earnings of $4.02 a share beat estimates of $3.45. Morgan Stanley was also higher, up 2.9%, after announcing first-quarter earnings rose 63% to $1.46 billion or 74 cents a share. This compared to $981 million, or 48 cents a share, in the same period a year earlier. PepsiCo edged up 0.92% after booking quarterly earnings per share of 83 cents, topping expectations of 75 cents. General Electric shares added 1.7% as first-quarter earnings fell amid a decline in revenue. Operating earnings per share were 33 cents a share; analysts were expecting 32 cents. UnitedHealth Group shed 3.1% after it said first-quarter earnings fell 7.8%, though its membership numbers increased. DuPont was off 1.1% after its first-quarter earnings fell 57%. The chemicals and agricultural company noted business growth had been offset by harsh weather. Jobless claims in the week ended April 12 increased by 2,000 to a lower-than-expected 304,000 vs. the average economist's estimate of 315,000. The four-week moving average fell 4,750 to 312,000, the lowest level for this average since Oct. 6, 2007. The report falls in the survey week of the monthly government job report and, as a whole, looks like it could bode well for the employment situation report for April. The Philadelphia Fed Index for April beat expectations. Its broadest measure of manufacturing conditions rose from 9.0 in March to 16.6 in April -- its highest reading since last September. The index has risen for two consecutive months after weather-related impact in February. Friday will be a market holiday in observance of Good Friday. International markets were mostly higher. The Hong Kong Hang Seng closed up 0.28% and the Nikkei 225 in Japan finished flat. In its latest monthly report, the Japanese government pointed to a fall in private consumption and housing construction after the April sales tax hike to 8% from 5%. The FTSE 100 in London closed 0.62% higher and the DAX in Germany was up 0.99%. Major U.S. stock markets jumped Wednesday after better-than-expected Chinese growth while investors digested dovish remarks from Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen and an improved Beige Book report. Domestic economic data was mixed. Disappointing earnings from Google and IBM late Wednesday triggered fluctuations in the technology sector. Google shares ended down 3.7% after the Internet search giant posted first-quarter earnings that missed Wall Street expectations. IBM lost 3.3% after reporting lower first-quarter net income and a slide in revenue. -- By Jane Searle, Andrea Tse and Joe Deaux in New York

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Select Comfort was gaining 4.2% to $18.50 in after-hours trading Thursday after beating analysts' estimates for revenue in the first quarter. Select Comfort posted earnings of 31 cents a share for the first quarter, missing analysts' expectations of 32 cents a share by 1 cent. Revenue grew 7% from the year-ago quarter to $276.41 million. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected revenue of $$274.27 million. Looking forward to full-year 2014 the company expects earnings close to 2013's $1/07 a share. Select Comfort expects mid- to high-single-digit revenue growth, and 20 to 30 new stores during the year. "We are pleased with our results, which were in line with internal expectations," president and CEO Shelly Ibach said in a press release. "We continue to make progress and are on track with our three important growth strategies: product innovation, marketing effectiveness and local market development. During the quarter, we introduced the most significant product innovations and marketing advancements in our company's history. Customer reaction has been strong and we remain cautiously optimistic in an ongoing challenging consumer environment." Must read: Warren Buffett's 10 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 SELECT COMFORT CORP as a Buy with a ratings score of B-. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate SELECT COMFORT CORP (SCSS) 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, reasonable valuation levels, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, expanding profit margins and notable return on equity. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income." Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows: The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 6.3%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 4.7%. This growth in revenue does not appear to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, displayed by a decline in earnings per share. SCSS 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. Although the company had a strong debt-to-equity ratio, its quick ratio of 0.91 is somewhat weak and could be cause for future problems. The gross profit margin for SELECT COMFORT CORP is rather high; currently it is at 64.60%. Regardless of SCSS'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 2.78% trails the industry average. 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. When compared to other companies in the Specialty Retail industry and the overall market, SELECT COMFORT CORP's return on equity exceeds that of the industry average and significantly exceeds that of the S&P 500. You can view the full analysis from the report here: SCSS 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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Update (4:10 p.m.): Updated with Thursday market close information. NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- SandRidge Energy rose on high volume Thursday, its fourth consecutive day of gains, after Jim Cramer spoke bullishly about the stock on CNBC's Mad Money on Wednesday evening. The stock rose more than 4.25% to a high of $6.85 for the day; SandRidge holds a one-year high of $6.96. More than 25.6 million shares changed hands on Thursday, well above the average volume of 8,270,660. Cramer said on the show that Wall Street seems to hate the stock even though the oil and natural gas exploration company's turnaround is in plain sight. "The former CEO practically ran the company into the ground. Because of mismanagement and other factors, shares tumbled from $67 in 2008 to the single digits. And the stock never really bounced back," Cramer said. He added "because SandRidge is so hated by Wall Street, the analysts can't see the incredible turnaround happening in front of their faces." Cramer went on to note "since new CEO James Bennett took over, SandRidge has delivered three consecutive quarters where the company beat the estimates and raised guidance." Furthermore, SandRidge is one of Cramer's "Top Stock Picks" on TheStreet on Thursday. 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 SANDRIDGE ENERGY INC as a "hold" with a ratings score of C. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate SANDRIDGE ENERGY INC (SD) 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, increase in net income and good cash flow from operations. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including disappointing return on equity and generally higher debt management risk." Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows: The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry. The net income increased by 106.6% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from -$287.90 million to $19.08 million. 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. Despite the fact that it has already risen in the past year, there is currently no conclusive evidence that warrants the purchase or sale of this stock. SANDRIDGE ENERGY INC reported significant earnings per share improvement in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. But, we feel it is poised for EPS growth in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, SANDRIDGE ENERGY INC reported poor results of -$1.27 versus -$0.14 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.09 versus -$1.27). Currently the debt-to-equity ratio of 1.75 is quite high overall and when compared to the industry average, suggesting that the current management of debt levels should be re-evaluated. Even though the debt-to-equity ratio is weak, SD's quick ratio is somewhat strong at 1.25, demonstrating the ability to handle 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 Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market, SANDRIDGE ENERGY 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: SD 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) - Peer-to-peer lender Lending Club said on Thursday it has picked up the type of investors it would want when the company is taken public, after raising $65 million from T. Rowe Price, Wellington Management, Blackrock and Sands Capital as part of its acquisition of Springstone Financial. Peer Lending Lures Yield-Hungry Investors Lending Club, however, continued to put off answers about the timing or size of its seemingly inevitable initial public offering. On Thursday, Lending Club said it acquired Springstone Financial for $140 million in cash and stock, in the first-ever acquisition of a traditional financial services firm by a peer-to-peer lender. Founded in 2007, Springstone provides financing for K-12 private education, tutoring and medical services and facilitated over $340 million in loans in 2013. Lending Club made its first loan in 2007 and through steady growth, has originated over $4 billion in personal loans among 250,000 customers through its platform. To finance Thursday's acquisition, Lending Club raised $65 million in a new equity round among T. Rowe Price, Wellington Management, Blackrock and Sands Capital. The company also raised $50 million in debt financing for the cash portion of its Springstone transaction, and it paid the specialty lender a further $25 million in Lending Club stock. Regarding the company's newest funding round, CEO Renaud Laplanche said in a conference call that Lending Club has picked up a breed of investors it would hope to have when it becomes a public company. Laplanche called the fund managers "the type of reputable investors that we would want when we take the company public." Laplanche would not comment on any plans that Lending Club may have to go public. "We believe that Lending Club has an opportunity to transform an important part of the banking system into a transparent online marketplace," Henry Ellenbogen, a portfolio manager at T. Rowe Price said in a statement. "The Springstone acquisition is another step in that direction, and we are very excited at the prospect of being a long term equity partner of Lending Club," he added. Valuation Doubles Thursday's equity round values Lending Club at $3.76 billion, according to calculations by the Financial Times, a more than doubling of the company's valuation since the company raised money from Google a year ago. A disclosure on Thursday indicated that Lending Club continues to record strong growth and has tipped into profitability. Lending Club earned $98 million in net revenue in 2013, and a net profit of $7.3 million. Springstone, that filing shows, generated $17.3 million in net revenue and a profit of $8.6 million last year. -- Written by Antoine Gara in New York. Follow @AntoineGara // 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"); // ]]>


NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Athabasca Oil Corp. are up 2.47% to $7.48 on Thursday after the oil company sold its 40% stake in the planned Dover oil sand project for $1.2 billion, Reuters reported. The sale was between Athabasca and its partner PetroChina Co. . The decision to sell its stake in the Brion Energy partnership, developing the thermal oil sands project, was part of an existing deal between Athabasca and PetroChina, in which the company agreed to the sale. Must Read: Warren Buffett's 10 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. ATHOF 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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Update (4 p.m.): Updated with one-day high price information. NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Weibo , the Chinese social media company that has been described as the country's equivalent to Twitter , soared on Thursday, its first day of trading after its IPO. The company raised $286 million by pricing its initial public offering of 16.8 million shares, 16% fewer than expected, at $17 a share. That price was at the low end of the expected $17 to $19 range. The stock opened at $16.27 at noon, but quickly recovered and surged more than 25% to a high of $24.48 for the day. More than 31 million shares changed hands by the close of trading. Must Read: Warren Buffett's 10 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. WB 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) -- Last week, had you searched Google News for "Stocks Crash," you would have received over 16,000 results. At that time the S&P 500 was barely down 1% year-to-date. Granted, some momentum names were falling 10% or more, but there was still plenty of strength throughout the market. It was hardly a market crash. The largest exchange-traded fund for utilities, the Utilities Select Sector SPDR , is now up about 12% this year. The largest energy sector ETF, the Energy Select Sector SPDR , is up 5%. There are still plenty of stocks rising despite some of the worrisome headlines and negative sentiment that emerged over the last few weeks. Even more importantly, today the S&P 500 once again flipped green for the year. It's now up a little more than 1% since 2014 started. Could this be the start of a major uptrend? On StockTwits, a cashtagger shared a fantastic chart that suggests that it could. It shows a technical pattern that cannot be ignored. In February, a very similar sell-off occurred and its v-shaped pattern is nearly identical to the drop that happened over the last few weeks. If you believe the market has a memory, and that patterns of the past do indeed hold some predictive power, then this chart is a must-see: Looking more and more like Feb 2014 $SPY $SPX $ES_F http://stks.co/f0Vw3 -- vader (@vader7x) Apr. 17 at 01:15 PM // If you enjoyed this article you can follow the author on Twitter and StockTwits. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in any of the stocks mentioned. This article represents the opinion of a contributor and not necessarily that of TheStreet or its editorial staff. //

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text Why Yandex (YNDX) Stock Is Up Today
Thu, 17 Apr 2014 19:41 GMT

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Yandex was gaining 7.3% to $30.13 Thursday on the news that diplomats reached an agreement to reduce tensions in Ukraine. The agreement, which calls for a refrain from violence and intimidation according to The Washington Post, caused several Russian stocks to advance. Illegal armed groups are to be disarmed according to the agreement. A "constitutional process" in the Ukraine is also part of the agreement. Other Russian stocks that advanced following the deal include Mobile TeleSystems , QIWI , Gazprom , and Lukoil . Must read: Warren Buffett's 10 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 YANDEX NV as a Hold with a ratings score of C. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate YANDEX NV (YNDX) a HOLD. The primary factors that have impacted our rating are mixed -- some indicating strength, some showing weaknesses, with little evidence to justify the expectation of either a positive or negative performance for this stock relative to most other stocks. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, solid stock price performance and growth in earnings per share. However, as a counter to these strengths, we find that the growth in the company's net income has been quite unimpressive." Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows: YNDX's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 16.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 16.9%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share. The stock has not only risen over the past year, it has done so at a faster pace than the S&P 500, reflecting the earnings growth and other positive factors similar to those we have cited here. Despite the fact that it has already risen in the past year, there is currently no conclusive evidence that warrants the purchase or sale of this stock. The gross profit margin for YANDEX NV is currently very high, coming in at 70.58%. Regardless of YNDX's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, YNDX's net profit margin of 27.35% compares favorably to the industry average. Despite currently having a low debt-to-equity ratio of 0.35, it is higher than that of the industry average, inferring that management of debt levels may need to be evaluated further. The company, on the basis of net income growth from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed against the S&P 500 and did not exceed that of the Internet Software & Services industry. The net income increased by 5.3% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $92.55 million to $97.46 million. You can view the full analysis from the report here: YNDX 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) -- Cyprus Semiconductor shares are up 1.5% to $9.89 in trading after reporting first quarter earnings in line with analysts estimates.The company posted lower revenue --$170 million this quarter compared to $173 million over the same period in 2013 -- but increased EPS by 4 cents to 7 cents this quarter, matching analysts EPS estimates.The company attributed the higher returns despite falling revenue to a decrease in operating expenses. Must Read: Warren Buffett's 10 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 CYPRESS SEMICONDUCTOR CORP as a Hold with a ratings score of C-. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate CYPRESS SEMICONDUCTOR CORP (CY) 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 increase in net income, good cash flow from operations and expanding profit margins. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including generally higher debt management risk, disappointing return on equity and a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself." Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows: The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has exceeded that of the S&P 500 and greatly outperformed compared to the Semiconductors & Semiconductor Equipment industry average. The net income increased by 38.9% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from -$22.22 million to -$13.58 million. Net operating cash flow has increased to $21.04 million or 21.62% when compared to the same quarter last year. The firm also exceeded the industry average cash flow growth rate of -9.91%. CYPRESS SEMICONDUCTOR CORP has improved earnings per share by 40.0% 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, CYPRESS SEMICONDUCTOR CORP reported poor results of -$0.32 versus -$0.16 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.51 versus -$0.32). The debt-to-equity ratio of 1.36 is relatively high when compared with the industry average, suggesting a need for better debt level management. To add to this, CY has a quick ratio of 0.61, 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, CYPRESS SEMICONDUCTOR CORP'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: CY 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) -- Sherwin-Williams rose to a high of $200 for the day on Thursday after the paint products maker reported a 9.2% year-over-year revenue increase in its first-quarter earnings report. Sherwin-Williams said revenue rose to $2.37 billion from $2.17 billion in the same period one year earlier. Selling, general and administrative expenses increased 14% to $884 million, which led to an earnings dip. Earnings totaled $115.5 million, or $1.14 a share, down from $116.2 million, or $1.11 a share, in the same quarter one year ago. Sales in stores open at least a year rose 7.9% in the quarter. The company also forecast earnings in the range of $2.80 a share to $3 a share and an 8% to 14% revenue increase in the second quarter. Analysts expected $2.86 a share and a 10% revenue increase. Must Read: Warren Buffett's 10 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. ---------- Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates SHERWIN-WILLIAMS CO as a "buy" with a ratings score of A. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate SHERWIN-WILLIAMS CO (SHW) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income, revenue growth, notable return on equity and expanding profit margins. 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: SHERWIN-WILLIAMS 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, SHERWIN-WILLIAMS CO increased its bottom line by earning $7.26 versus $6.01 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($8.43 versus $7.26). 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 70.6% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $68.05 million to $116.12 million. Despite its growing revenue, the company underperformed as compared with the industry average of 12.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 10.6%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share. 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, SHERWIN-WILLIAMS CO's return on equity significantly exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500. 47.73% is the gross profit margin for SHERWIN-WILLIAMS CO 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 4.72% trails the industry average. You can view the full analysis from the report here: SHW 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 How High Can Occidental Petroleum Go?
Thu, 17 Apr 2014 19:16 GMT

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Occidental Petroleum has been one of the better-performing international oil and gas exploration and production companies over the past 12 months. In April 2013 it traded as low as $79.16, and on Nov. 22 of last year Occidental hit its 52-week high of $99.42. Since then it has traded in a range between $97.84 on the high side and as low as $85.90 on Feb. 5 of this year. Recent price action suggests to me that it may be ready to cool down and head for the lower end of that range. I'm still a big believer in the company. Occidental is one of the largest U.S. oil and gas companies based on equity market capitalization. Its wholly owned subsidiary, OxyChem, manufactures and markets chlor-alkali products and vinyls. Shares are trading with a trailing price-to-earnings ratio of only 13.2 and a forward one-year PE of about 13.5. The following one-year chart of Occidental Petroleum highlights some of the compelling reasons its stock price has done so well. OXY data by YCharts The company's quarterly revenue-per-share growth and year-over-year diluted earnings-per-share growth has been stellar. Last quarter its diluted EPS growth was an amazing 392%! Looking ahead, it appears that Oxy faces some headwinds that are likely to curtail those earnings. Sterne Agee analyst Tim Rezvan recently tweaked his earnings estimates for companies materially exposed to Permian Basin crude pricing -- and that includes Occidental Petroleum. He's given me permission to quote his comments on Occidental, which I find credible from both a fundamental and technical perspective. Keep in mind that Occidental will step into the earnings confessional before the markets open on Monday, May 5, with the release of its first quarter 2014 financial results. Rezvan said, "Updating estimates at this time for Occidental is like writing in the sand before high tide, given the large-scale portfolio changes coming soon (updated guidance will reflect recent Hugoton asset sale, California spin likely by year-end)." He concluded, "Nonetheless, we trim our outlook to reflect a sharper decline in natural gas production through 2015 and wider crude price differentials that are more in line with other Permian-focused operators." He lowered his estimate for Occidental's first quarter EPS 8.7% from $1.84 to $1.68. For all of 2014 he also lowered his EPS outlook to $7.02 from $7.62, nearly an 8% haircut. Looking ahead to 2015, he also lowered guidance for EPS from $7.89 down to $7.31. This fits with my own projections for Oxy's sales growth and revenue. I'm anticipating 2014 first-quarter revenue to be 4% higher than the year-ago quarter. I peg Q1 revenue to come in at about $6.1 billion. For the rest of 2014, I'm looking for quarterly revenue growth to slow down to between 2.5% and 3%. From a technical perspective, this is likely to push the company's share price to the lower end of this year's trading range. It wouldn't surprise me to see it test $86 before it begins its next push higher. As Occidental Petroleum nears the end of 2014 and the spinoff of its California operations, I'm expecting the share price to reach as high as $110. If I'm correct, and investors are able to buy shares at $86, that $110 price target offers a potential gain of 28%. At $86, the current annual dividend of $2.88 yields a rewarding 3.35%. Any way you slice it, Occidental Petroleum has a bright, shareholder-friendly plan to sell assets and spin off parts of the company to shareholders. My sense is that we're likely to have a lower entry price at some point after the May 1 earnings announcement. When it comes to Occidental Petroleum, my approach is if you already own shares, be ready to add to your holdings if a correction ensues. If you've been waiting to buy and participate in the end-of-year spinoff you should welcome a stock correction as the chance you've been waiting for.At the time of publication the author had a position in OXY. Follow @m8a2r1 // This article represents the opinion of a contributor and not necessarily that of TheStreet or its editorial staff. Google+

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text Why Northrop Grumman (NOC) Stock Is Up
Thu, 17 Apr 2014 19:11 GMT

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Northrop Grumman Corp. are up 1.20% to $122.05. CEO Wes Bush said that despite belt-tightening at the Pentagon, defense contractors can count on the military's continuing need for advanced technology and personnel training as well as expanded opportunities for exports to allies, the Wall Street Journal reported. Bush said the company's strategy isn't just to chase growth. Must Read: Warren Buffett's 10 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 NORTHROP GRUMMAN CORP as a Buy with a ratings score of A-. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate NORTHROP GRUMMAN CORP (NOC) 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, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, attractive valuation levels and good cash flow from operations. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income." Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows: Compared to its closing price of one year ago, NOC's share price has jumped by 63.24%, exceeding the performance of the broader market during that same time frame. Regarding the stock's future course, although almost any stock can fall in a broad market decline, NOC should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed a very nice gain in the past year. The current debt-to-equity ratio, 0.56, 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 1.35, which illustrates the ability to avoid short-term cash problems. Net operating cash flow has increased to $1,204.00 million or 13.90% when compared to the same quarter last year. The firm also exceeded the industry average cash flow growth rate of 3.67%. NORTHROP GRUMMAN CORP reported flat earnings per share in the most recent quarter. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. But, we feel it is poised for EPS growth in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, NORTHROP GRUMMAN CORP increased its bottom line by earning $8.34 versus $7.80 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($8.95 versus $8.34). You can view the full analysis from the report here: NOC 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 Dover (DOV) Stock Is Up Today
Thu, 17 Apr 2014 19:10 GMT

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Dover Corp stock is climbing on Thursday after the company reported first-quarter earnings in line with analysts' estimates and revenue slightly above consensus. Over the three months to March, the industrial manufacturer reported net income of $1.01 a share, in line with analysts' estimates according to Thomson Reuters. Revenue of $1.88 billion was slightly higher than forecasts of $1.87 billion. By midafternoon, shares had added 3.3% to $85.95. Must Read: Warren Buffett's 10 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 DOVER CORP as a Buy with a ratings score of A-. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate DOVER CORP (DOV) 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, compelling growth in net income, increase in stock price during the past year and notable return on equity. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow." You can view the full analysis from the report here: DOV 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) -- Sonoco Products shares are up 0.5% to $42.10 in trading on Thursday after its first quarter earnings beat analysts expectations.The industrial and consumer packaging manufacturer posted a first quarter net income of 52 cents per share, beating Capital IQ's consensus estimate of 51 cents per share.Net sales for the quarter were $1.19 billion, up slightly from the $1.18 billion it posted in the same quarter last year. Must Read: Warren Buffett's 10 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 SONOCO PRODUCTS CO as a Buy with a ratings score of A. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate SONOCO PRODUCTS CO (SON) 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, revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and good cash flow from operations. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity." Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows: Compared to where it was a year ago today, the stock is now trading at a higher level, reflecting both the market's overall trend during that period and the fact that the company's earnings growth has been robust. Turning our attention to the future direction of the stock, it goes without saying that even the best stocks can fall in an overall down market. However, in any other environment, this stock still has good upside potential despite the fact that it has already risen in the past year. SONOCO PRODUCTS CO has improved earnings per share by 26.2% 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 year. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, SONOCO PRODUCTS CO increased its bottom line by earning $2.12 versus $1.91 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.50 versus $2.12). Despite its growing revenue, the company underperformed as compared with the industry average of 5.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 3.3%. 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 1.00, which illustrates the ability to avoid short-term cash problems. Net operating cash flow has slightly increased to $116.74 million or 8.70% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, SONOCO PRODUCTS CO has also modestly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of 6.49%. You can view the full analysis from the report here: SON 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) -- Moneygram International stock is plummeting on Thursday after retail giant Walmart announced exclusive money transfer service Walmart-2-Walmart. The world's largest retailer said the service, similar to Moneygram's, will bring lower fees and simplicity to the money transfer market. "After listening to our customers complain about the high fees and confusion associated with transferring money, we knew there had to be a solution," said Walmart U.S. VP of services Daniel Eckert. From April 24, Walmart will roll out the service to more than 4,000 stores nationwide offering transfers with fees up to 50% less than similar offerings. By midafternoon, shares of Moneygram had taken off 16.6% to $15.01. Trading volume of 2.3 million was more than six times its three-month daily average. Competitors Western Union and Xoom have also slipped on the announcement. Must Read: Warren Buffett's 10 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 MONEYGRAM INTERNATIONAL INC as a Hold with a ratings score of C. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate MONEYGRAM INTERNATIONAL INC (MGI) 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, impressive record of earnings per share growth and compelling growth in net income. However, as a counter to these strengths, we find that the stock has experienced relatively poor performance when compared with the S&P 500 during the past year." Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows: The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 20.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 8.8%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share. MONEYGRAM INTERNATIONAL INC has improved earnings per share by 17.9% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. We feel that this trend should continue. This trend suggests that the performance of the business is improving. During the past fiscal year, MONEYGRAM INTERNATIONAL INC turned its bottom line around by earning $0.73 versus -$0.70 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.40 versus $0.73). The gross profit margin for MONEYGRAM INTERNATIONAL INC is rather high; currently it is at 61.02%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Despite the strong results of the gross profit margin, MGI's net profit margin of 6.06% significantly trails the industry average. In its most recent trading session, MGI 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. We feel that the combination of its price rise over the last year and its current price-to-earnings ratio relative to its industry tend to reduce its upside potential. You can view the full analysis from the report here: MGI 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 Linear Technology Corporation are trading higher 3.33% to $46.57 on Thursday after the company released its financial results for the third quarter of 2014. The company, which designs, manufactures and markets a variety of analog integrated circuits for companies around the world, reported a 4% rise in quarterly revenue to $348 million from $334 million in the previous quarter. Revenue for the third quarter rose 10.6% from the $314 million reported in the same quarter in 2013. Net income of $117.6 million increased 6.0% over the third quarter of 2013. Diluted earnings per share of $0.48 in the third quarter of fiscal year 2014 increased 9.1% over the second quarter of fiscal year 2014, and increased 4.3% over the third quarter of fiscal year 2013, the company said. Must Read: Warren Buffett's 10 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 LINEAR TECHNOLOGY CORP as a Buy with a ratings score of A-. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate LINEAR TECHNOLOGY CORP (LLTC) 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, expanding profit margins and good cash flow from operations. 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: LLTC's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 5.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 9.6%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share. Investors have apparently begun to recognize positive factors similar to those we have mentioned in this report, including earnings growth. This has helped drive up the company's shares by a sharp 29.99% 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, LLTC should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed a very nice gain in the past year. LINEAR TECHNOLOGY CORP has improved earnings per share by 15.8% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. Stable earnings per share over the past year indicate the company has sound management over its earnings and share float. We anticipate these figures will begin to experience more growth in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, LINEAR TECHNOLOGY CORP increased its bottom line by earning $1.72 versus $1.71 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.93 versus $1.72). The gross profit margin for LINEAR TECHNOLOGY CORP is currently very high, coming in at 79.16%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 31.30% significantly outperformed against the industry average. Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 69.27% to $169.04 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, LINEAR TECHNOLOGY CORP has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of -9.91%. You can view the full analysis from the report here: LLTC 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) -- YOU On Demand fell Thursday on higher-than-average volume. The stock dropped 5.25% to $3.43 at 2:50 p.m. More than 1.9 million shares had changed hands by that point, slightly greater than its average volume of 1,868,330. The stock hit a low of $2.98 for the day. Must Read: Warren Buffett's 10 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. ---------- Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates YOU ON DEMAND HOLDINGS INC as a "sell" with a ratings score of D-. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate YOU ON DEMAND HOLDINGS INC (YOD) 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. Among the areas we feel are negative, one of the most important has been weak operating cash flow." Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows: Net operating cash flow has declined marginally to -$2.77 million or 1.20% when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite a decrease in cash flow YOU ON DEMAND HOLDINGS INC is still fairing well by exceeding its industry average cash flow growth rate of -11.57%. 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 Media industry and the overall market, YOU ON DEMAND HOLDINGS INC's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500. The current debt-to-equity ratio, 0.32, is low and is below the industry average, implying that there has been successful management of debt levels. Despite the fact that YOD's debt-to-equity ratio is low, the quick ratio, which is currently 0.65, displays a potential problem in covering short-term cash needs. Investors have driven up the company's shares by 129.33% over the past year, a rise that has exceeded that of the S&P 500 Index. Regarding the future course of this stock, we feel that the risks involved in investing in YOD do not compensate for any future upside potential, despite the fact that it has seen nice gains over the past 12 months. YOU ON DEMAND HOLDINGS INC has improved earnings per share by 21.4% 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, YOU ON DEMAND HOLDINGS INC continued to lose money by earning -$1.24 versus -$1.50 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings (-$0.28 versus -$1.24). You can view the full analysis from the report here: YOD 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 4 Big Stocks Getting Big Attention
Thu, 17 Apr 2014 18:52 GMT

BALTIMORE (Stockpickr) -- Put down the 10-K filings and the stock screeners. It's time to take a break from the traditional methods of generating investment ideas. Instead, let the crowd do it for you. >>Side-Step the Selling With These 5 Big Trades From hedge funds to individual investors, scores of market participants are turning to social media to figure out which stocks are worth watching. It's a concept that's known as "crowdsourcing," and it uses the masses to identify emerging trends in the market. Crowdsourcing has long been a popular tool for the advertising industry, but it also makes a lot of sense as an investment tool. After all, the market is completely driven by the supply and demand, so it can be valuable to see what names are trending among the crowd. While some fund managers are already trying to leverage social media resources like Twitter to find algorithmic trading opportunities, for most investors, crowdsourcing works best as a starting point for investors who want a starting point in their analysis. Today, we'll leverage the power of the crowd to take a look at some of the most active stocks on the market today. >>5 Stocks Insiders Love Right Now These "most active" names are the most heavily-traded names on the market -- and often, uber-active names have some sort of a technical or fundamental catalyst driving investors' attention on shares. And when there's a big catalyst, there's often a trading opportunity. Without further ado, here's a look at today's stocks. Micron Technology Nearest Resistance: $23.50
Nearest Support: $21 
Catalyst: SanDisk Sympathy Move First up today is flash memory maker Micron Technology , a name that's up 5.6% this afternoon as a result of big moves taking place in another name. Micron is up on the heels of positive earnings surprise at peer SanDisk , news that investors are extrapolating onto MU today. After spending the last year and change as one of the big momentum names, Micron was one of the issues that rolled over the hardest in this recent correction when momentum issues suddenly lost leadership. More signficiant, the long-term uptrend in this stock broke in the middle of last month. Unless shares of MU can break topside through their new downtrend, it makes sense to stay away from the long-side of this stock. There's still a lot of selling pressure in MU in April. Morgan Stanley Nearest Resistance: $33
Nearest Support: $28.50
Catalyst: Q1 Earnings $61 billion financial services giant Morgan Stanley is getting bid up 3.5% on high volume this afternoon, boosted by the results of the firm's first quarter earnings call. MS earned profits of 74 cents per share for the first quarter, besting analysts' 59-cent estimates by a big margin. That makes Morgan Stanley the latest legacy investment bank to enjoy a better-than-expected first quarter of 2014. So does that mean you should buy it here? Morgan Stanley enjoyed a big run in the last year -- not a big surprise, given the fact that the investment bank's business is basically a leveraged bet on equity prices. But shares broke their uptrend at the start of April, and shares have been making lower lows since. Even though shares are up today, it's not a technically meaningful move; resistance at $33 looks like a more significant barrier to more upside this spring. Huntington Bancshares Nearest Resistance: $10.20
Nearest Support: $9
Catalyst: Q1 Earnings Huntington Bancshares is seeing big volume of its own today, after the mid-cap regional bank reported fist quarter earnings on Wednesday. HBAN earned 17 cents per share for the quarter, a number that came in more or less in-line with expectations. That's part of the reason that shares are staying in a tight range today despite the huge volume flows, but the real story in HBAN comes from the chart. That's because this financial name is currently testing a trendline support level this afternoon, pressing down on a level that's acted like a floor for shares over the past six months. The buy signal comes on a bounce off of support -- look for that in the next few sessions. Western Union Nearest Resistance: $15
Nearest Support: N/A
Catalyst: Wal-Mart Competition Money mover Western Union is getting negative attention today after Wal-Mart announced that it would begin providing a store-to-store transfer service that directly competes with WU's flagship offering. The announcement has WU down 3.75% on big volume in this afternoon's session. This isn't a "buy the dips" opportunity. WU is breaking through a key support level at $15, an indication that the glut of buying pressure previously at that level has gotten flushed out by the Wal-Mart news. Buyer beware: Lower levels look likely for WU in April. To see these stocks in action, check out the at Most-Active Stocks portfolio on Stockpickr.

 -- Written by Jonas Elmerraji in Baltimore. RELATED LINKS: >>3 Stocks Spiking on Unusual Volume >>5 Energy Stocks Hedge Funds Are Buying >>Want to Buy Apple? Think Again Follow Stockpickr on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Over at the artist formerly known as All Things D, the great Mike Isaac wrote an article that stands admirably on its own, but can double as clue number umpteen thousand to an increasingly unaware Pandora management team. Isaac reported and riffed on Twitter's acquisition of data reseller Gnip. Here are a couple excerpts from the article apropos to Pandora: Gnip is one of only a handful of companies that still has access to (Twitter's) Firehose (of data) -- all the way back through when Twitter first started hosting tweets on the Web -- and Gnip deals with other companies that want to comb that information for any number of uses. The company's customers are as varied as day-trading firms looking for financial insights, to marketers and agencies wanting to scrape up all the social details and sentiment floating around on the Web about their brands. ... "Together we plan to offer more sophisticated data sets and better data enrichments, so that even more developers and businesses big and small around the world can drive innovation using the unique content that is shared on Twitter." (Quote from Twitter's VP of Platform) Taking those excerpts point by point (the links provide chronological context with respect to Pandora's inaction on data) ... Pandora has a firehose as well. With respect to music-related related data, it's every bit as impressive as Twitter's firehose, yet Twitter's beating Pandora at what should be its own game. Companies would love to "comb (Pandora's data) for any number of uses" just as they would/do Twitter's. From music lovers, the music industry and major or indie bands to mega brands, the opportunity for Pandora to create a prolific data business exists, however Pandora management continues to stubbornly leave the lucrativeness on the table. As Isaac noted, Twitter's data licensing revenue stands at roughly $70 million out of total revenue of $665 million. At this stage, Pandora doesn't have a data licensing business (that I'm aware of). Advertising sales comprise roughly $490 million of Pandora's $600 million total for the eleven months' ended December 31, 2013. "Subscription and other" accounts for the left over $110 million. It doesn't take an unqualified CEO to realize that Pandora could do $70 million in data-related revenue out of the gate, in its sleep with half its brain tied behind its back just to make it fair if it only tried. And then there's the quote from Twitter's VP of Platform. What a gem. Speaking of unqualified CEOs, the importance of that quote is lost on Pandora CEO Brian McAndrews, who, supposedly, is only now warming to the idea of sharing data with record labels. And that's a move that doesn't go nearly far enough. Even though few people are writing about it, Pandora's future exists in data, not in music or radio as pure plays. Playing music and doing radio well brought Pandora to the dance and built an impressive (and still growing) ad sales business. Now music and radio must service a data business. If it doesn't happen, Pandora will watch everybody from Apple to Spotify get close enough to their core to make a meaningful dent in it. Over time, somebody's going to match or pass Pandora on metrics such as listener hours and advertising revenue. That's why it's critical for Pandora to act now on data. Twitter doesn't stream music, but it understands data. And, make no mistake, music is a major part of Twitter's data business. It would be nothing short of an embarrassment for Pandora to cede early adopter status and subseuqent domination of that space to Twitter (or anybody else). When Pandora reports earnings next month, don't pay attention to questions about standard metrics (CPMs, RPMs, active listeners, etc.) unless you're short-terming the stock. If you're interested in Pandora's long-term prospects, listen for what Pandora says about its data business with respect to not only assisting starving artists, but servicing -- for a price -- the music industrial complex, marketing agencies and major brands. If they say nothing, run away (like I suggested when the stock traded at $38 in late February).Pandora stock, meantime, traded down more than 1% Thursday to close at $27.03. Q4 2014 earnings hit after the close next Thursday, April 24. Follow @rocco_thestreet // 0;if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs"); // ]]> --Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- I had an opportunity to speak with Nissan executives at the New York Auto Show and I came away with what I believe are some important updates and nuances on Nissan's electric car plans. That's important because Nissan claims to have 47% of the world's electric car market today, with over 110,000 sold to date. As background, I wrote back on March 27 on the subject of the upcoming estimated 135-mile range Nissan Leaf. I also expanded on my views of the electric car market, in terms of cars priced below $70,000 and available before 2017. So what did I find out that I think is new, important and incremental to the Nissan electric car story? 1. Rapid battery improvement. As of 2010, Nissan thought it would be updating its battery technology in existing cars -- practically speaking, the Leaf for now -- once every three to four years. It now says that it will be updating its battery technology once a year. This is consistent with my article from March 27: Nissan has a battery improvement for the Leaf in store later this year. Nissan did not say precisely how the battery will be improved this time, or by how much capacity -- and therefore range -- would be improved. Nissan did say that once every few years we should expect a step function in battery improvement that would be a lot more than the single-digit percentage incremental version. Thus far the improvements to the Leaf battery have been in the single digits each time. From this I draw the conclusion that my recent prediction of an estimated 135-mile Nissan Leaf to arrive by year-end 2014 is looking as realistic as ever! 2. View on scale economics. Nissan said it intends to continue to be the volume leader in electric cars for as far as the eye can see. No other company will be able to build factories large enough to match it in scale for building EVs. As a result, it will be the people's car for EVs as it can deliver a lot better value for the mass market under $30,000 per car -- as well as scale up for more expensive cars. 3. View on battery size. On this point, Nissan was somewhat contradictory, in my view. Nissan said it believes people are fine with an 84-mile electric car. Why? Because it says it knows people aren't driving nearly as far as 84 miles most of the time. In my view, this is total nonsense. Of course people aren't driving more than 84 miles -- or some such number -- in a Nissan Leaf. They can't! It's like telling a starving person in Africa they have no need for an American diet because to date they have been observed to only eat 500 calories per day. People are afraid of taking their Nissan Leaf on some trips because they don't think they will make it. Why? Who knows? Perhaps they are not sure that the charger at their destination will be available or not. Perhaps it's broken! Perhaps they are not sure what may come up in terms of additional stops or detours as the day or evening rolls along, unpredictably. In any case, the fact that Nissan Leaf drivers almost always drive fewer than 84 miles per trip means nothing as to their need or want to have a car that can go longer. Every single Nissan Leaf driver I know -- and I know many of them -- have one complaint with their car, and one only: Please give us a version that has 150 or 200 miles of range. Or 250. That's what they want. It's the only thing they want to improve their Leaf. The need for much longer range is total and uniform, not the other way around. Otherwise, if the EV can't handle 150, 200, 250 miles, they can't get rid of their other (gasoline or diesel) car, and they can't be sufficiently happy in their Leaf. I don't see why this is so hard to understand. I heard a similar argument recently, too, from another major automaker, which shall remain unnamed for the moment. Their idea is that 99% of the time you don't need to go more than 80 to -100 miles of whatever, and that therefore a car that can go 80 to 100 miles will be enough. Well, if 99% were somehow good enough, why do I wear a seat belt? Why do I buy insurance? Why do I bother locking my door? 99% of the time I'm not in a car accident or get sick or am a victim of burglary. 99% is simply not good enough. If the ambition is to have EVs take over a material percentage of the auto market, the manufacturers need to realize that delivering cars with less than 150-250 miles of range will simply not be enough for the real needs -- 99.99999%, not 99%, of regular people. It's never about the first 99%. It's always about that last fraction of 1%. However, there is good news, at least as far as Nissan is concerned! Nissan did say that despite its belief that people really don't need cars that can go more than 84 or 100 or whatever, miles -- it will still make them in the future. It intends to turn up the dial on the range front dramatically. All of this is consistent with my article on the 135-mile Nissan Leaf. One now simply wishes Nissan will take its real and potential Leaf customers seriously and make 150-, 200- and 250-mile versions of the Leaf or other future Nissan EVs. If the customer surveys say longer electric range is not needed, something is seriously wrong with the surveys and they people conducting them should be fired, in my view. 4. There may be an extreme electric Nissan sports car. Nissan has done a lot of work on preparing an extreme electric sports car but has not taken the final decision to produce it. Such a decision could be made very soon. Once a decision is made it would take two years to conduct durability testing and plan for production. All the basic R&D and concept designs are done. This would be an extreme car in the same sense as the 1997-2002 Plymouth Prowler: It wouldn't be anywhere near the most expensive or the fastest car in the market but it would be the most extreme-looking imaginable. A true Batman car. And it would be all-electric. If signoff happens very soon, the car could be in production very late 2016; otherwise, later. If this extreme Nissan electric sports car does become reality, it would be a major halo car. It would be very light, very agile and all-electric. 5. Nissan will make a plug-in hybrid car. Until now, Nissan has not made a plug-in hybrid car. Most other major auto companies including General Motors , Ford , Mercedes, BMW, VW, Toyota , Honda and Volvo already have some form of plug-in hybrid car in the market today, in many cases with additional models already announced and entering production soon. There are many types of plug-in hybrids, with varying sizes for the battery, electric motor, gasoline engine, gasoline tank, transmission and other architectural layouts. Nissan's plug-in hybrid will not be a strict range-extender as in the BMW i3. Instead, it will be somewhere along the architectural spectrum between the Chevrolet Volt/Cadillac ELR and the plug-in hybrids from the VW Group, Ford, Toyota, Mercedes and Volvo. This would mean a gross/total battery size somewhere between 8 and 16 kWh, and a three- or four-cylinder gasoline engine. I don't know in which Nissan body such a plug-in hybrid will be made available, but it would be announced no later than March 2016 (likely earlier) and be in production no later than some time in 2016, perhaps as early as late 2015. Nissan said that while it continues to believe that the right solution is a pure electric car, it also recognizes that its pure EV technology is plenty extendible to the plug-in hybrid market. It makes a lot of sense to capitalize on this, as in the real world there is likely to be good demand for plug-in hybrids while we await lower battery costs and a far more robust EV infrastructure. As it stands, there are too few electric car chargers, and those that exist tend to be busy when you need to use them given that there are far more electric cars in the market than there are chargers available in public parking garages and office parking lots. At the time of publication the author had no position in any of the stocks mentioned. 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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