Money Matters


April 2008


Credit Cards Charged

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There's simply no stopping MasterCard and Visa. Both credit card giants are well on their way to becoming two of the Street's best performers for the first half, especially after this week's earnings reports. MasterCard shares rose almost 15 percent today after first-quarter profits more than ...

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TAGS:
credit cards
Visa
profits

Worth Noting

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Over at BusinessWeek, Ben Steverman rounds up the latest bullish money manager sentiment and points out some recovery in financials.

Among the riskiest equities these days are financial stocks, and they've been on a tear lately. One index of financial stocks, the Financial Select Sector ...

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TAGS:
stocks
stock market

All Eyes on Grand Theft Auto IV

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The release of any new Grand Theft Auto title, the hyperviolent bestseller from Take-Two Interactive, always makes waves in gaming circles. Wall Street is watching, too.

That's because Take-Two is currently trying to fend off a takeover by rival Electronic Arts in a tense $1.9 billion buyout offer ...

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TAGS:
video games
stocks
sales

Tipping Point Alert!

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Oh, how my nerdy Fed-watching heart fluttered during this exchange on last night's always genius "30 Rock."

On picking a successor:

Don Geiss: "A word of advice: Whoever you chose has got to be someone you trust."

Jack Donaghy: "I guess that rules out the Federal Reserve."

Here's the clip:

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TAGS:
television
Federal Reserve

A Bottom for Chinese Stocks

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Donald Straszheim, a long-time China watcher at Roth Capital Partners, calls the bottom for Chinese shares. He cites a recently announced lowering of taxes on stock trading, known as the stamp duty tax, that comes as a long bout of fiscal tightening is finally starting to slow.

Interest rate hikes,

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TAGS:
China
stocks

A Slow Land Rush in Texas

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Craig Hodges, a Dallas fund manager who runs the Hodges and Hodges Small Cap Funds, stopped by the office this week to talk stocks. I grew up in nearby Grapevine, which is Spanish for "by the airport," so we wound up discussing a few of his favorite local names in addition to the usual market talk.

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TAGS:
Texas
energy
real estate
stocks

Bets on Google

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Capping off another huge day in earnings news, Google posts after the market's close today.

Its shares are off more than a third this year, and this is shaping up as a definitive quarter for the world's best-known tech company.

Bottom line: Online advertising will either suffer under the weight of a ...

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TAGS:
Google

Earnings Etc.

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Wall Street is rallying today as JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Coca-Cola, and a few others turn in respectable first-quarter results. A 200-plus gain in the Dow is always welcome, but hopes for a sustained round of surprises may be short lived. At a Lipper press event this morning, Reuters ...

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TAGS:
stock market
Wall Street
stocks

Ten Cheers for Stocks

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Bob Doll, BlackRock's vice chairman and global CIO of equities, just released a bullish outlook for stocks. Here are 10 positive factors he cites:

1) Sentiment measures, including the closely watched Investors Intelligence and Conference Board indices, are showing that overall investor ...

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TAGS:
stocks

Weekend Reading

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Small literary magazines aren't my usual source of news on the credit crisis (I'm looking your way, Paris Review), but n+1 has posted the second of its long (and I mean looong) installments of Interviews W ith a Hedge Fund Manger on its site.

The first, published in January, offered a ...

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TAGS:
credit
hedge funds

The Earnings Recession

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Over at the Big Picture, Barry Ritholtz reminds us that despite all the trouble in the markets and the threat of recession, analysts are still probably behind the curve when it comes to cutting their earnings estimates. He says:

"It's hard to really say that stocks are cheap here. At best,

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TAGS:
recession

Goldman's Level Best

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In its latest 10-Q filing, Goldman Sachs says it reclassified at least $17 billion in mortgages and related assets as "Level 3." Those are the sorts that scare analysts because they're the ones no one really knows how to value.

Goldman, one of very few banks that have managed to avoid the ...

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TAGS:
Goldman Sachs

Recovery? Not So Fast

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As this WSJ story reports, many on Wall Street believe earnings expectations for the second half of 2008 are too high. One such is Citigroup's Tobias Levkovich, who says earnings weakness in the second half of the year may surprise investors.

"We are not overly concerned with earnings expectations ...

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TAGS:
Wall Street
profits

10 Mutual Funds for a Recession

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Check out Barron's list of 10 mutual funds for a recession. They include the Permanent Portfolio Fund, which invests in a handful of asset classes including gold, natural resources, and real estate; the flexible and globally focused Loomis Sayles Bond fund; and an exchange-traded fund: iShares S&P ...

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TAGS:
mutual funds
recession