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Jul 30, 2010

MarketWatch: Personal Finance Daily.-Warning signs that investors don't want to miss. July 30th., 2010

MarketWatch
Personal Finance Daily
JULY 30, 2010

Friday's Personal Finance stories

By MarketWatch



Don't miss these top stories:
How much do you know about the companies in which you invest? Chances are, not enough. So don't miss our Weekend Investor column today for a concise look at some key financial-statement warning signs to which you should pay close attention.

But if you don't take the time to understand your investments and you lose your shirt in the market, at least you can take comfort in knowing that money is not the basis of all happiness. Read Robert Powell's column for a look at a new study that finds a sense of purpose and social connections, as much as money, are underpinnings of the good life.

Then again, if you can't pay the bills, there isn't anything good about that.

-- Andrea Coombes , Personal Finance editor

How short-selling sleuths spot accounting gimmicks on financial reports

As the 2010 second-quarter earnings season wraps up, accounting sleuths are once again scouring the latest reports for disconnects between what company executives are telling investors and what the numbers are saying.
See Weekend Investor.


RETIREMENT

Money isn't going to make you happy

When it comes to feeling as though you're enjoying the good life, money matters. Make no mistake about it. But it's just one critical ingredient, according to a new study.
See Robert Powell on money isn't enough to make you happy.


INVESTING

Commentary: Investor sentiment heats up in July

The buyers are back in town. Bullish sentiment among investors rose to 40% from 21% in the first week of July, according to the latest survey from the American Association of Individual Investors, while 33% of respondents were bearish, down from 57% earlier in the month.
See Jonathan Burton's Life Savings on investor sentiment heats up in July.


Best and worst stocks for July

As U.S. stocks made a comeback in July, some biotech, resource and industrial stocks lapped the broad market -- and several health-care and tech stocks fell far behind.
See story on best and worst stocks in July.


Emerging markets climb in July

Russian and Turkish stocks stood out from their emerging-market rivals in July, helping push the investment class to its best gain in four months as panic over European debt loads subsided and as China's economy expanded, albeit at a slower pace.
See story on emerging markets climb in July.


Commentary: The market needs a reality check

Central bankers have always been expected to play calming parent to markets' excited and unruly children.
See story on the market needs a reality check.


Mutual funds gained assets, thanks to bonds

Money returned to long-term U.S. mutual funds last month after investors pulled holdings out in May in the wake of the stock market's "flash crash," the Investment Company Institute said in data released Thursday.
See story on mutual funds gained assets, thanks to bonds.


REAL ESTATE

What to do with a reverse mortgage if you remarry

Question: I have a friend who took out a reverse mortgage with his wife. His wife passed away and he has since remarried. What happens to his new wife -- or more specifically, the house -- when he dies? Will she have to move out? If so, what can she do now to possibly prevent that when the fateful day comes?
See Realty Q&A on what to do with a reverse mortgage if you remarry.


SPENDING & SAVING

Is Chelsea Clinton setting a bad example?

I'm constantly amazed at how much some money people blow on the Great White Wedding. But Chelsea Clinton's forthcoming extravaganza takes the cake.
See story on is Chelsea Clinton's wedding too expensive?


PERSONAL TECH

The e-reader battle is just beginning

I'm a little more conservative than most tech writers when it comes to hot trends that may not be hot nor be trends.
See story on e-reader battle is just beginning.


ECONOMY & POLITICS

U.S. GDP growth slows to 2.4% rate in second quarter

The U.S. economy lost momentum in the second quarter, according to figures released Friday, which may raise concerns of an extended soft patch if not an outright contraction.
See story on U.S. GDP growth slows to 2.4% rate in second quarter.


Consumer sentiment falls in July

Concerns about personal financial prospects and the overall economy weighed down consumer sentiment in July, according to a report released Friday by Reuters and the University of Michigan.
See story on consumer sentiment falls in July.


SEC's Wyly brothers charges may depress GOP donations

Billionaire Texas brothers Sam and Charles Wyly have created a name for themselves by spending millions of dollars on conservative political candidates and committees, but new Securities and Exchange Commission charges against them are expected to depress - or completely wipe out - their donations to Republicans.
See story on SEC's Wyly brothers charge may depress GOP donations.


In Detroit, Obama hails auto-industry growth

The nation's auto industry is on the rebound, President Barack Obama said Friday, with all three U.S. automakers operating at a profit for the first time in six years after the government extended a multibillion-dollar lifeline.
See story on Obama hails auto-industry growth.


Offshore-drilling bill heads for House vote

The House of Representatives was set to vote Friday on a bill that would put tough new restrictions on companies that drill for oil offshore, with memories fresh of the disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
See story on offshore-drilling bill heads for House vote.


CARS

Despite lack of incentives, July car sales likely to be strong

As President Barack Obama rallied the nation's auto workers in Detroit Friday, industry analysts were polishing forecasts for what they widely expect to be a big month for auto sales.
See story on despite lack of incentives, July car sales likely to be strong.

MarketWatch .- Weekly Roundup.- MarketWatch's top stories for July 26 - 30., 2010

MarketWatch
Weekly Roundup
JULY 30, 2010

Top stories for July 26 - 30

By MarketWatch



U.S. stocks overcame an early decline on Friday and managed to end July with significant gains and buck a slowdown in second-quarter economic growth.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average the month 7.1% higher -- the first positive month for U.S. stocks since April and their best month since last July, when stocks were in the midst of a mighty bull run.

Investors have been greeted by a strong set of second-quarter earnings, a major source of encouragement after spending much of May and June fretting over the impact of a debt crisis in Europe and China's efforts to slow its growth.

Keep on top of the news over the weekend with us. Plus, MarketWatch features a look at the sleuthing that short-sellers use to u uncover accounting gimmicks by U.S. companies.

And check out our Week Ahead videos for a preview of all the big news events coming up in Asia, Europe and the U.S.

-- Greg Morcroft, assistant managing editor.

 Week Ahead in Europe

 Asia's Week Ahead: Focus on Toyota, Cathay Pacific

 U.S. Week Ahead: More Earnings; Data on Tap


GDP slows in second quarter to 2.4% rate

 See video The U.S. economy lost momentum in the second quarter, according to figures released Friday, which may raise concerns of an extended soft patch if not an outright contraction. Real gross domestic rose at a 2.4% annualized rate in the second quarter, well below the average 4.4% increase over the past six months. The 2.4% increase in GDP was close to the 2.5% expansion expected by economists surveyed by MarketWatch. Read MarketWatch's economic coverage.
FedEx turns hopeful as global economy strengthens

More evidence of an improving economic environment came when FedEx Corp. (FDX) raised its profit outlook and said it would again match employee payments into retirement funds. "It's definitely a positive sign that we are seeing improving global economic growth," said Jim Corridore, an analyst with S&P Equity Research. "Restoring the 401(k) match is also a sign of optimism that we're not going to see a double-dip recession." Read more about FedEx results on MarketWatch.

Banks' results reveal improving credit but tight margins

A slew of U.S. financial companies that reported earnings in the last two weeks showed improving credit trends and operating earnings, while also wrestling with interest margin pressure due to the government's efforts to depress mortgage rates, analysts said. A majority of banks beat earnings estimates with solid second-quarter results after credit trends improved across the industry, while banks squeezed as much as they could from their revenues. Read MarketWatch coverage of bank earnings.

BP chooses Dudley, an American, to turn its fortunes around

BP (BP) has a new chief executive. Robert Dudley is an industry veteran with wide-ranging qualifications, but it was his American passport as much as his in-depth knowledge of Russia and his green credentials that sealed the deal for the board. By mutual agreement, Tony Hayward will step down. "The tragedy of the Macondo well explosion and subsequent environmental damage has been a watershed incident," BP Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg said in a statement. BP will be a "different company going forward, requiring fresh leadership." Read MarketWatch coverage of BP's new CEO.

Warren seen gaining key consumer protection post

An increasing number of Washington observers see improving odds that Elizabeth Warren will become the head of the important new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, surviving mixed feelings from the Obama administration and determined opposition from bank lobbyists and Republicans. Speculation about Warren's nomination has captivated Washington since the president signed into law earlier this month historic regulatory changes for the banking and financial industries. Consumer advocates and a group of Democrat lawmakers in recent days have expanded their campaigns to seat the Harvard Law School professor. Read MarketWatch's story on Elizabeth Warren.

Citigroup to pay $75 million in SEC settlement

Citigroup Inc. (C) said it will pay $75 million to settle a lawsuit brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission that the bank failed to disclose $40 billion in subprime exposure to investors. Gary Crittenden, its former chief financial officer, agreed to pay $100,000 as part of the settlement. "The rules of financial disclosure are simple -- if you choose to speak, speak in full and not in half-truths," said Robert Khuzami, the SEC's enforcement chief. See full story.
More employers peg workers' insurance to health

Employees have a new reason to drop the donuts and stop smoking before benefits enrollment season begins in a few weeks. As companies put the final touches on their health care plans for 2011, more of them say they are planning to penalize workers who decline to participate in disease management or lifestyle behavior programs, who smoke, or who do not take part in voluntary health screenings offered by an employer. See full story on health and your job, on MarketWatch.
Why cash-in refinances are up

Cash-out refinancing gained popularity when home values were rising fast, and homeowners wanted to tap their home equity to put money in their wallet. Today, some borrowers are doing the reverse, bringing cash to the closing table when they refinance their home loan. "Consumers are a lot more conservative now," said Anthony Hsieh of loandepot.com, an online direct lender. "They're utilizing their cash now to invest into their mortgage ... they're not using it to buy boats or RVs or taking large vacations." See MarketWatch story on cash-in mortgage refinancings.

Microsoft's Ballmer says tablets are 'job one'

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) Chief Executive Steve Ballmer stressed to Wall Street analysts on Thursday that the development of tablet computers outfitted with the company's software is "one of the top issues on my mind." "It's job one urgency here, nobody's sleeping at the switch," Ballmer told an audience at the company's annual analyst meeting. Read full story about Microsoft's tablet plans, on MarketWatch.

Gov. Schwarzenegger reinstates worker furloughs

Facing a $19.1 billion state deficit and with no budget in place, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger reinstated furloughs for state workers in an executive order declaring a fiscal emergency Wednesday. The new furloughs call for state employees to take three unpaid days off a month, starting Aug. 1, until the state can enact a new budget or the state has enough cash on hand for the fiscal year. Read MarketWatch's coverage of the worker furloughs in California.

CNBC : Evening Brief.- March of the Profitless IPOs: More to Come Next Week. July 30th., 2010







LATEST STORIES


»click here to see the latest top stories from CNBC.com


LATEST VIDEO

CEOS: Who Do You Love?
Glassdoor.com releases its survey of the CEO most beloved by company employees, with CNBC's Jane Wells.
» Watch Video


NYT: Afternoon Business Update: F.D.A. Clears Way for Embryonic Stem Cell Trial. July 30th., 2010


BUSINESS:

Prescriptions Blog

F.D.A. Clears Way for Embryonic Stem Cell Trial

By ANDREW POLLACK
The move allows the world's first authorized test in people of a treatment derived from human embryonic stem cells.

Congress Seeks Information on Implants

By BARRY MEIER
Senator Grassley requested data from Zimmer Holdings on how it responded to complaints from surgeons.
Off the Charts

The Growing Resilience of Plastic

By FLOYD NORRIS
Consumers are defaulting on credit cards at a slowing rate, and that trend is expected to continue even if the economy suffers a double-dip recession.

Wall Street Settles Down After Taking In G.D.P. Report

By SUSANNA G. KIM
Investors were particularly fretful about the G.D.P. report because it comes at the end of a run of worse than expected economic data and a warning from the Fed.

Disney Sells Miramax for $660 Million

By BROOKS BARNES and MICHAEL CIEPLY
The deal ends a laborious bidding process that saw the label's co-founders, Harvey and Bob Weinstein, fall short in their attempt to regain control.


RTTNews : Evening Market Wrap.- Stocks End Little Changed Amid Convoluted Economic Outlook: July 30th., 2010

Evening Market Wrap Fri Jul 30 17:01 2010 

Commentary

Jul 30, 2010 Stocks End Little Changed Amid Convoluted Economic Outlook - U.S. Commentary Stocks ended Friday' session showing no clear direction, as a lower than expected GDP growth rate was offset by better than expected readings on Chicago-area business activity and consumer sentiment for July. The major averages ended little changed after swinging between gains and losses over the course of the day. Full Article

Economic News

Jul 30, 2010 Chicago Business Barometer Shows Unexpected Acceleration In Growth After reporting slowdowns in the pace of expansion in Chicago-area business activity in the two previous months, the Institute for Supply Management - Chicago released a report on Friday showing an unexpected acceleration in the pace of growth in the month of July. The ISM Chicago said its business barometer rose to 62.3 in July from 59.1 in June, with a reading above 50 indicating growth in Chicago-area business activity. Full Article
Jul 30, 2010 Q2 GDP Points To Slowdown In Pace Of Economic Recovery U.S. economic activity increased at a slightly slower than expected pace in the second quarter, according to a report released by the Commerce Department on Friday, with the report also showing a notable upward revision to the pace of growth in the first quarter. The report showed that gross domestic product increased at an annual rate of 2.4 percent in the second quarter compared to the revised 3.7 percent jump seen in the first quarter. Full Article

Earnings News

Jul 30, 2010 Weyerhaeuser Swings To Q2 Profit - Update Forest products manufacturer Weyerhaeuser Co. (WY) reported Friday a better-than-expected profit for the second quarter compared to a loss last year, boosted by sales growth and lower one-time charges. Adjusted earnings per share and quarterly revenues topped analysts' expectations. Full Article
Jul 30, 2010 Fortune Brands Lifts Full-year Outlook As Q2 Profit More Than Doubles - Update Fortune Brands, Inc. (FO), a manufacturer of distilled spirits, home products and golf equipment, reported on Friday a market-beating performance for the second quarter, boosted by a 9% sales growth. With an aim to outperform its markets, the company raised its full-year outlook for earnings and free cash flow. Full Article
Jul 30, 2010 Revisions Show Recession Was More Severe Than Estimated The U.S. economy slid into its downturn somewhat faster and more severely than previously estimated, according to new information from the Commerce Department. The department's Bureau of Economic Analysis Friday released its annual revisions to previously published data on the Gross Domestic Product figures for 2007 through 2009. Full Article

Corporate News

Jul 30, 2010 Chevron Q2 Profit More Than Triples; EPS Tops View - Update Oil giant Chevron Corp.'s (CVX) second-quarter profit more than tripled from last year, as the company benefited from higher crude oil and natural gas prices. Adjusted earnings easily surpassed Wall Street consensus estimate. Second-quarter net income attributable to the company surged to $5.409 billion or $2.70 per share from $1.745 billion or $0.87 per share reported last year, and were higher than the prior quarter's $4.55 billion or $2.27 per share profit attributable to the company. Full Article

Forex Top Story

Jul 30, 2010 Dollar Backpedals To End Brutal July The dollar remained at the mercy of the sterling and yen on Friday, ending a brutal July at a multi-month low versus a basket of key majors. While economic momentum has been picking up elsewhere, particularly Latin America and Europe, where a sovereign debt crisis appears to have run its course, the US recovery remains in doubt amid stubborn weakness in housing and jobs. Full Article

Political News

Jul 30, 2010 Obama Boasts About Auto Bailout Results In DetroitPresident Barack Obama Friday sought to rally support around the government intervention to keep General Motors and Chrysler afloat. Obama, speaking during visits to GM and Chrysler plants in Michigan, sought to highlight the benefits to workers at the now-revived companies to blunt criticism of the federal bailout, one of the most frequently criticized actions of his presidency so far. Full Article

FOX BUSINESS: Breaking NewsGross domestic product up 2.4% in 2Q


GDP 276
GDP Up 2.4% in 2Q The recession was more severe than previously estimated as data showed growth at the end of last year was weaker than expected.| WATCH




THE MOST POWERFUL NAME IN BUSINESS NEWS

China Becomes No.2 Economy

Is the World Broke? China has overtaken Japan to become the world's second-largest economy.

Red Start After Weak GDP Data

Wall street was washed in red after the government said economic growth was less than expected.

Facebook Gets IPO Shy

The social networking web site may postpone its initial public offering until 2012.

Merck Profit Beats Street's View

The drugmaker reported higher-than-expected second-quarter earnings of $752 million.

House to Take Up Offshore Drilling

Lawmakers are poised to debate legislation clamping down on offshore drilling practices.

Blind Transparency

Experts say the SEC’s interpretation of a provision that exempts it from sharing information is wrong.

FGC BOLSA - FGC FINANCIAL MARKETS : MarketWatch - Industry - Financial Services.- Funding pressures start to ease for European banks. July 30th., 2010






INDUSTRY- FINANCIAL SERVICES


Funding pressures start to ease for European banks  
By Simon Kennedy MarketWatch


Funding pressures for European banks are gradually starting to ease following the region’s stress tests, with Spain’s BBVA and Santander both dipping a toe in the bond markets, but weaker lenders may still have to rely on central bank support for some time. See full story

Bond Report: U.S. 2-year yields back to record lows after GDP

 
By Deborah Levine MarketWatch


Treasury prices added to gains, pushing 2-year yields back to the lowest on record, after a report said the U.S. economy grew at a 2.4% pace in the second quarter, a little slower than many analysts expected and heightening concerns that the economy may struggle to recover. See full story


RTTNews : Daily Stocks to Watch. Dolby’s sound quarter, outlook July 30th., 2010

Daily Stocks to Watch Fri Jul 30 09:02 2010 

Stocks To Watch

Jul 30, 2010 Dolby’s sound quarter, outlook – Stocks To WatchAudio technology company Dolby Laboratories Inc. (DLB) posted better-than-expected third-quarter results, and raised its full-year forecast above Street estimates. For the quarter, the company earned $63.5 million, or 55 cents a share, up from year-ago $51.1 million, or 44 cents per share. Full Article
Jul 30, 2010 Introducing RTT Growth & Value StocksThe Growth & Value Stocks service is designed with a disciplined approach of extensive fundamental analysis to cater swing traders and investors. The service identifies growth stocks that are generally overlooked and value stocks that are usually undervalued by the market. The growth and value stocks we select have significantly outperformed the broader market indices. Full Article

RTTNews Morning Market Briefing.- Stocks Poised For Sharply Lower Open After Q2 GDP Reading - U.S. Commentary

Morning Market Briefing Fri Jul 30 09:01 2010 

Commentary

Jul 30, 2010 Stocks Poised For Sharply Lower Open After Q2 GDP Reading - U.S. Commentary Stocks are on pace for a notably lower open on Friday, as the markets are digesting an advance reading on second quarter GDP that failed to meet most estimates along with a mixed batch of earnings. The major index futures are all firmly in negative territory, with the Dow futures down by 93 points. Full Article

Economic News

Jul 30, 2010 Eurozone Inflation Hits 20-Month High; Jobless Rate Remains Stable Eurozone annual inflation rose to a 20-month high in July. But this surge in inflation is likely to be temporary as the large amount of spare capacity as well as gradual economic recovery is expected to temper price growth. Full Article
Jul 30, 2010 Japan Industrial Production Falls 1.5% On MonthAn index measuring industrial output in Japan was down a seasonally adjusted 1.5 percent in June compared to the previous month, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said in a preliminary report on Friday, posting a score of 94.7. Full Article
Jul 30, 2010 South Korean Industrial Production Rises 1.4% In JuneIndustrial output in South Korea jumped a seasonally adjusted 1.4 percent in June compared to the previous month, Statistics Korea said on Friday - expanding for the 12th consecutive month. Full Article
Jul 30, 2010 Q2 GDP Increases Slightly Less Than Expected U.S. economic activity increased at a slightly slower than expected pace in the second quarter, according to a report released by the Commerce Department on Friday, with the report also showing a notable upward revision to the pace of growth in the first quarter. Full Article
Jul 30, 2010 U.K. Consumer Confidence Falls AgainBritish consumer confidence declined for the fifth straight month in July, with consumers growing more cautious of the outlook for the economy and their personal finances, the results of a closely watched survey showed on Friday. Full Article
Jul 30, 2010 German Retail Sales Drop More Than Expected In JuneGerman retail sales fell more than expected in June on a monthly basis, following a sharp rise in May, casting a shadow over expectations that private consumption will turn positive in the near future. Full Article

Earnings News

Jul 30, 2010 McAfee Q2 profit rises 38%, beats Street ; guides Q3Thursday, McAfee, Inc. (MFE) said its second quarter profit rose 38% from the previous year, as revenue grew 5% on strong corporate and consumer businesses. Earnings for the quarter came in above the Street view, but revenues missed estimates. Looking ahead, the company also provided outlook for the third quarter. Separately, McAfee said it would acquire WaveSecure mobile security service provider tenCube. Full Article
Jul 30, 2010 Aon Corp. Q2 profit rises 2.7%Friday, Aon Corp. (AON) reported a 2.7% rise in profit for the second quarter, as revenue grew a little less than 1% from the past year. Both adjusted earnings and revenue came in above the Street view. The company attributed the improvement in results to strong operational performance in Brokerage and Consulting segments. Full Article
Jul 30, 2010 American Electric Power Q2 net profit down 57% on chargesFriday, American Electric Power Co., Inc. (AEP) reported a 57% drop in profit for the second quarter, hurt mainly by charges arising out of cost reduction and restructuring program. However, adjusted earnings rose 10.6% year-over-year as revenue rose 6.25% from last year. Both earnings and revenue came in below the estimate of analysts. Looking ahead to the full year, the company reiterated its earnings outlook for the full year. Full Article
Jul 30, 2010 Eastman Chemical Q2 profit surges, beats estimate; guides Q3 EPS above StreetThursday, Eastman Chemical Co. (EMN) said its second-quarter profit increased over two times, as sales surged 38% on higher global demand. Adjusted earnings came in well above the Street view. Further, the company guided third-quarter earnings above the current estimate of analysts and lifted full-year earnings view. Full Article
Jul 30, 2010 Amgen Q2 profit dips over 5%, yet EPS beats Street; cuts FY10 revenue viewThursday, Amgen Inc. (AMGN) said its second quarter profit slid over 5%, hurt by weaker sales of its major drugs, higher expenses and the absence of a hefty income tax benefit that boosted year-ago results. However, earnings per share was flat with last year and came in above the Street view. Further, the company lowered its revenue guidance for the full year, while backing its earnings outlook. Full Article
Jul 30, 2010 MetLife turns to net profit in Q2, beats StreetThursday, MetLife Inc. (MET) said it returned to profit in the second quarter, reflecting huge investment gains, compared to loss in the previous year. Operating earnings climbed 41% and came in well ahead of the Street view, while operating revenue fell short of expectations despite growing 5% year-over-year. Full Article
Jul 30, 2010 Total Q2 profit rises 43% on higher prices, productionFriday, Total SA (TOT) said its second-quarter profit rose 43% from the previous year, helped by higher crude prices and as the company ramped up petroleum production, which grew 8% year-over-year. Revenue climbed 31% year-over-year. Total said that better refinery margins also boosted earnings for the quarter. Full Article
Jul 30, 2010 Alcatel-Lucent swings to loss in Q2Friday, Alcatel-Lucent (ALU) said it slipped to loss in the second quarter, as revenues declined 2.4% from the past year. However, gross margin for the period expanded 3 percentage points to 36.1%. Looking ahead to the full year, the company reaffirmed its adjusted operating margin outlook. Full Article
Jul 30, 2010 First Solar Q2 profit down 12%, yet beats Street; lifts FY10 EPS viewThursday, First Solar Inc. (FSLR) reported a 12% decline in its second-quarter profit, hit by higher operating expenses. Both earnings and revenue, which grew 12%, came in above the Street view. The company said that sales grew year-over-year, despite lower selling prices, reflecting increase in production volumes. Looking ahead, the company boosted its earnings outlook for the full year, but lowered its revenue guidance for 2010. Full Article
Jul 30, 2010 Wynn Resorts Q2 profit surges, beats StreetThursday, Wynn Resorts, Ltd. (WYNN) said its second-quarter profit almost doubled, reflecting a 74% growth in revenues from its Macau operations. Both earnings and revenue, which grew 43%, came in above the Street view. Revenue per available Room reduced 3.2% year-over-year, the firm noted. Full Article
Jul 30, 2010 Genworth Financial turns to profit in Q2, beats estimateThursday, Genworth Financial Inc. (GNW) said it turned to profit in the second quarter, helped by lower expenses and by foreign exchange gains that more than offset lower revenues. Adjusted operating earnings for the period came in ahead of Street view. Total revenues decreased 2.8% year-over-year. Full Article
Jul 30, 2010 Expedia Q2 profit soarsThursday, Expedia, Inc. (EXPE) said its second-quarter profit jumped over three-folds, reflecting a 19% growth in bookings and considerable rise in hotel, advertising and media revenues. Earnings for the period came in above the Street view, while revenues, which grew 8%, fell short of expectations. Full Article
Jul 30, 2010 Simon Property turns to profit in Q2; backs FY10 viewFriday, Simon Property Group Inc. (SPG) said it returned to profit in the second quarter, as revenue rose 3.3% from the previous year on higher occupancy rates and increased sales at its shopping centers and outlets. Funds From Operations went up 56% to surpass the Street view, as did revenue. Looking ahead, the company reaffirmed its full-year earnings per share outlook. Full Article
Jul 30, 2010 ITT profit rises 18%; revises Q3, FY10; to divest CAS Inc.Friday, ITT Corp. (ITT) reported an 18.4% rise in its second-quarter profit, reflecting less than a 1% growth in revenue and lower costs. Looking ahead, the company updated its earnings and revenue guidance for the third quarter and fiscal 2010. ITT also revealed that it intends to divest CAS Inc., a part of its defense and information solutions business. Full Article
Jul 30, 2010 Fortune Brands Q2 profit more than doubles, beats Street; raises FY10 EPS viewFriday, Fortune Brands Inc. (FO) said its second-quarter profit jumped over two-folds, as revenue grew 9% on strong sales of home and security products. Both adjusted earnings and revenue came in above the Street view. Further, for the full year, Fortune Brands lifted its earnings outlook range. Full Article
Jul 30, 2010 Chevron Q2 profit trebles, beats estimateFriday, Chevron Corp. (CVX) said its second-quarter profit increased three-folds on higher prices for crude oil and production, as well as improved margins in its downstream operations. Revenue for the period grew 32% year-over-year. Both earnings and revenue came in above the Street view. Full Article
Jul 30, 2010 Merck Q2 net profit drops 51%, adjusted EPS rises, beats StreetFriday, Merck & Co. Inc. (MRK) said its second-quarter profit dropped 51%, despite a 92% surge in revenue. However, excluding, accounting adjustments, merger-related expenses and restructuring costs, earnings rose year-over-year to surpass the Street view. Looking ahead, Merck provided earnings guidance range for the full year, with analysts' estimate near the top end of the range. Full Article

Corporate News

Jul 30, 2010 Walt Disney to sell Miramax for over $660 mlnThursday, Walt Disney Co. (DIS) said it agreed to sell its Miramax Films business to Filmyard Holdings LLC for over $660 million. The deal also includes the sale of rights to more than 700 film titles, non-film assets, such as certain books, development projects and the "Miramax" brand. Full Article
Jul 30, 2010 Citigroup to pay $75 mln to settle subprime claimsThursday, Citigroup, Inc. (C) agreed to pay US$75 million in penalty to settle charges claiming that it did not disclose to investors information regarding its huge sub-prime mortgage investments. Earlier this month, the company had reported that its second-quarter profit declined 37% to $2.7 billion. Full Article

Broker Ratings Changes

Jul 30, 2010 FBR Capital Markets Cuts RPC INC (RES) To Market Perform From Outperform With $19 Price Target
Jul 30, 2010 FBR Capital Markets Lowers Halliburton Company (HAL) To Market Perform From Outperform With $34 down from $40 Price Target

Todays WS Events

Jul 30, 2010 Merck Q2 10 Earnings Conference Call At 8:00 AM ET Merck & Co Inc. (MRK) CEO, Richard T. Clark, will host a conference call at 8:00 AM ET, July 30, 2010, to discuss its Q2 10 earnings results. To access the live audio webcast, log on at www.merck.com/investors/events-and-presentations/home.html To hear the live call, dial (706) 758-9928 or (800) 399-7917. A replay of the call can be heard by dialing (706) 645-9291 or (800) 642-1687 and enter ID No. 83513814.
Jul 30, 2010 MetLife Q2 10 Earnings Conference Call At 8:00 AM ET MetLife, Inc. (MET) will host a conference call at 8:00 AM ET, July 30, 2010, to discuss its Q2 10 earnings results. To access the webcast, log on at www.metlife.com To listen the live call, dial (612) 326-1011 (US/international). A replay of the call by dialing (320) 365-3844 (US/international); access code is 151271.
Jul 30, 2010 American Electric Power Q2 10 Earnings Conference Call At 9:00 AM ET American Electric Power (AEP) will host a conference call at 9:00 AM ET, July 30, 2010, to discuss its Q2 10 earnings results. To access the live webcast, log on at www.aep.com/go/webcasts
Jul 30, 2010 Fortune Brands Q2 10 Earnings Conference Call At 10:00 AM ET Fortune Brands Inc. (FO) will host a conference call at 10:00 AM ET July 30, 2010, to discuss its Q2 10 financial results. To access the live webcast, log on at www.fortunebrands.com The call can also be accessed by dialing 1-877-226-0730.
Jul 30, 2010 Chevron Q2 10 Earnings Conference Call At 11:00 AM ET Chevron Corp. (CVX) will host a conference call at 11:00 AM ET July 30, 2010, to discuss its Q2 10 financial results. To access the live webcast, log on at www.chevron.com The call can also be accessed by dialing 703-639-1116 / 866-219-5256 with ID #: 1467776.

The Washington Post: Post Business -Post Politics .- Recovery loses speed as consumers turn cautious


Recovery loses speed as consumers turn cautious

In this July 20, 2010 photo, Haley Wright, left, human resources professional with Plastipak Packaging Inc., meets with a prospective job applicant during a National Career Fairs Job Fair in Plano, Texas. New jobless claims fell last week for the third time in four weeks, but remain above 450,000, where they have been all year. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
In this July 20, 2010 photo, Haley Wright, left, human resources professional with Plastipak Packaging Inc., meets with a prospective job applicant during a National Career Fairs Job Fair in Plano, Texas. New jobless claims fell last week for the third time in four weeks, but remain above 450,000, where they have been all year. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez) (Tony Gutierrez - AP)


By JEANNINE AVERSA
The Associated Press
Friday, July 30, 2010; 8:39 AM
WASHINGTON -- The recovery lost momentum in the second quarter as growth slowed to a 2.4 percent pace, its most sluggish showing in nearly a year and too weak to drive down unemployment.
Weaker spending by consumers, less growth coming from companies restocking shrunken stockpiles and a bigger drag from the nation's trade deficits were the main factors behind the second quarter's slowdown.
The Commerce Department's report released Friday shows the economy grew at a 3.7 percent pace in the first three months of this year. That was much better than the 2.7 percent pace estimated just a month ago. Even so, the recovery has been losing power now for two straight quarters, raising concerns about whether it will stall.

Money Morning : Profit From the Cap-and-Trade Charade. July 30th., 2010


This Company is up 75% in One Year - And it's Just Gaining Momentum

That's because it has a major hold on a red-hot commodity used in everything from calculators to automobiles. Experts predict demand for this key ingredient could more than double over the next few years. And this company has a lock on 50% of the global market. Share prices are already starting to climb - but it's nothing compared to where it could be headed.


The End of the Cap-and-Trade Masquerade Opens New Doors For Investors

[Editor's Note: When it comes to decoding that often-murky nexus where politics and business meet, there isn’t a better financial cryptologist than Martin Hutchinson, a former global merchant banker who has correctly predicted the outcomes of the most recent elections in both the United States and his native Great Britain. In this piece on carbon taxes, Hutchinson sketches a picture of the future for investors.]

By Martin Hutchinson, Contributing Editor, Money Morning


When U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-NV, last week disclosed that the so-called "cap-and-trade' energy proposal that passed the U.S. House of Representatives last year would not be taken up by the Senate, climate-bill proponents were deeply dismayed.

Indeed, Financial Times columnist Clive Crook even said that the United States "has let the world down on climate."

But here's the irony. With the Senate's refusal, we may just have moved a step closer to a climate change policy that will actually work. And that's good news for U.S. taxpayers. And it opens new doors for U.S. investors.

To see the sectors that will benefit from the likely direction of climate reform, please read on...
Hutchinson on...
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Defensive Investing: Beware of Municipal Bonds
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Has the U.S. Lost its Grip on the Credit-Rating Business?



Don't Get Stuck Playing the Oil Majors...

The big boys of oil just don't command the money and power they used to. Buy shares of Exxon Mobil, and you might end up with a slightly better annual return than the average bank CD... if you're lucky. Right now, the real energy money belongs to a small, niche sub-sector of the oil-production process. And it's about to create a wave of "new energy" millionaires. Here's how to become one yourself.

Fighting to Feed the Dragon: McDonald's Vs. Yum!

By Jason Simpkins, Managing Editor, Money Morning


Speed kills. And in the fast food industry, it's imperative.

The speed of service and the ability to quickly adapt menus, packaging and advertising are what makes a market leader. And right now, the speed at which fast food companies make the transition into foreign markets, particularly China, is what matters most of all.

The industry's two biggest players, McDonald's Corp. (NYSE: MCD) and Yum! Brands Inc. (NYSE: YUM) - the parent company of KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell - know that.

Read full story...





Money Morning Mailbag: U.S. Drilling Ban Could Be Permanent for BP

By Kerri Shannon, Associate Editor, Money Morning


The U.S. government's deepwater oil drilling ban, which resulted from the BP PLC (NYSE ADR: BP) Gulf oil spill, prompted some readers to question how far U.S. authority reaches regarding offshore business, and what kind of international repercussions could result.

Q: Where do international waters begin for the Gulf of Mexico? I read somewhere if we didn't drill for oil in the Gulf that China was going to do so. When you are talking international business, does U.S. President Barack Obama have the authority to shut it all down?
- John M.
The United States has an exclusive economic zone extending 200 nautical miles offshore, for a total 3.4 million square nautical miles of ocean, larger than the total U.S. land area. It has control over all economic resources in that zone including oil exploration, fishing, and mining - and pollution of those resources.

The blown out Macondo well is located 40 miles off Louisiana's coast. The spilled oil, millions of gallons of which are still drifting at sea, has not been spread across the lines into international waters.

Read full story...