Friday, January 31, 2014

Amazon, rivals adapt to shorter shopping season

SAN FRANCISCO -- This holiday shopping season will be the shortest in at least a decade, forcing e-commerce companies, including and eBay, to think up new tactics to grab as much festive spending as possible.

There are 26 days between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year, compared to 32 last year. That presents risks and opportunities for online retailers and marketplaces.

Fewer days may mean less spending overall, crimping revenue and sparking more intense price wars that cut into profits. But the shorter season may also encourage more online shopping earlier as consumers try to be more efficient.

"It's going to be harder for people to get all their shopping done. This may translate into less spending overall but individual online shopping days like Cyber Monday may be a lot bigger," said Andrew Lipsman, vice president of marketing and insights at comScore, which tracks e-commerce activity. "At the end there may be a big bump in offline holiday shopping as people rush to finish what they have not done yet."

ComScore expects e-commerce holiday sales to grow 14% to 17%, compared to a year earlier. That forecast includes purchases on mobile devices.

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Cyber Monday, the first work day after the Thanksgiving weekend, will be the busiest online shopping day in history when sales could top $2 billion. A quarter of all holiday shopping will happen late this season -- on Dec. 15 or after, comScore also forecast.

"We are hearing about new marketing tactics to extend the shopping period," Lipsman said.

Sucharita Mulpuru-Kodali, an e-commerce analyst at Forrester Research, said there are four main responses to the shorter holiday shopping season this year: Start promotions earlier, make discounts deeper, expose offers to more people and focus sales on Thanksgiving itself.

"Fewer days potentially means fewer sales. Everybody is! worried about this," she added. "These are highly seasonal businesses and they are making heroic efforts to try to grab as many holiday dollars as possible."

Amazon, the world's largest Internet retailer, said recently that its Black Friday deals will start a day earlier this year, beginning Nov. 24. New promotions will hit the company's website as often as every ten minutes from that date through the weekend following Black Friday. kicks off a Cyber Week of online promotions two days early on Nov. 30 this year. The retailer will have 200 online specials every day through Dec. 6. The world's largest retailer said it will offer mobile app customers, Facebook fans and email subscribers early access to up to 20 of its best Cyber Monday deals.

Walmart also lowered its free shipping minimum this holiday season to $35 from $50. That matches Amazon's free shipping minimum, after the online retailer raised it to $35 from $25 earlier this year.

EBay is working with retailers, including Target, Best Buy, Macy's and Toys R Us, to help them handle the shorter holiday shopping period. One of eBay's main focuses this year is on shopping that gets done later in the season. This usually happens in physical stores, but eBay is trying to capture some of those sales through smartphones.

EBay runs a fast delivery service, called eBay Now, which lets mobile shoppers buy from major retailers through eBay's online marketplace and have the products delivered to them from physical stores in as little as an hour.

EBay Now usually wraps up at 8 p.m. local time. But hours will be extended from Dec. 16 to 23 to capture sales from consumers doing last minute shopping. Monday through Saturday, eBay Now couriers will deliver items until midnight local time and until 9 p.m. local time on Sunday, Dec. 22.

EBay Now usually charges $5 per order with a $25 minimum. But from Nov. 24 to Dec. 24, delivery will be free on all orders, the company said.

Madoff victim pool expanded

madoff victims

Bernie Madoff is currently serving a 150-year prison sentence.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) Victims of infamous Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff who had money invested through outside "feeder funds" are now eligible to seek compensation, the Manhattan U.S. Attorney's office announced Monday.

Over 10,000 people -- the so-called "third party" investors -- lost money they had invested with outside financial firms that in turn invested it with Madoff.

These investors have been ruled ineligible for compensation being distributed by liquidation trustee Irving Picard. But they can now submit claims with a separate fund controlled by a Department of Justice-appointed administrator.

"The process we have put in place opens the door for thousands of defrauded victims who otherwise might never have recovered anything," Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement.

The DOJ-appointed administrator, Richard Breeden, controls some $2.35 billion obtained in various criminal and civil forefeiture actions associated with the case. Among the assets seized were Madoff's yacht, his personalized New York Mets jacket, a penthouse in Manhattan, a beachhouse in Montauk, N.Y., and posh homes in Florida and the South of France.

Worked for Madoff, can't find a job   Worked for Madoff, can't find a job

Picard controls a separate pool of money collected primarily from settlements with former investors who withdrew more from Madoff's firm than they deposited. Picard has recovered over $9.5 billion, and has already distributed over $4.8 billion to victims.

A federal judge ruled last year that only victims who invested directly with Madoff's firm were eligibl! e for awards from Picard, whose work is governed by the Securities Investor Protection Act. Picard has authorized 2,515 claims so far.

Ironically, the feeder funds themselves are considered direct investors, and are therefore potentially eligible for compensation from Picard's fund.

Together, Breeden and Picard have collected $11.9 billion. Madoff's Ponzi scheme defrauded investors of roughly $17.5 billion.

Madoff's scheme came crashing down with his arrest on Dec. 11, 2008. He pleaded guilty three months later and was sentenced to 150 years in prison.

His brother, Peter, is serving a 10-year sentence for helping to cover up the scheme. To top of page

Thursday, January 30, 2014

2 Oversold Stocks That Could Bounce Higher

DELAFIELD, Wis. (Stockpickr) -- Professional traders running mutual funds and hedge funds don't just look at a stock's price moves; they also track big changes in volume activity. Often when above-average volume moves into an equity, it precedes a large spike in volatility.

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Major moves in volume can signal unusual activity, such as insider buying or selling -- or buying or selling by "superinvestors."

Unusual volume can also be a major signal that hedge funds and momentum traders are piling into a stock ahead of a catalyst. These types of traders like to get in well before a large spike, so it's always a smart move to monitor unusual volume. That said, remember to combine trend and price action with unusual volume. Put them all together to help you decipher the next big trend for any stock.

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With that in mind, let's take a look at several stocks rising on unusual volume today.

Onconoca Therapeutics

Onconoca Therapeutics (ONTX) is engaged in the discovery and development of small-molecule product candidates for the treatment of cancer. This stock closed up 6.3% to $16.68 in Monday's trading session.

Monday's Volume: 388,000

Three-Month Average Volume: 141,960

Volume % Change: 175%

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From a technical perspective, ONTX bounced sharply higher here right above its recent low of $15.12 with above-average volume. This stock has been downtrending badly for the last month, with shares plunging lower from its high of $31.13 to its 52-week low of $15.12. During that drop, shares of ONTX have been consistently making lower highs and lower lows, which is bearish technical price action. That move has now pushed shares of ONTX into oversold territory, since its current relative strength index reading is 26.41. Oversold can always get more oversold, but it's also an area a stock can experience a powerful bounce higher from.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in ONTX as long as it's trending above its 52-week low at $15.12 and then once it sustains a move or close above Monday's high of $16.95 with volume that hits near or above 141,960 shares. If we get that move soon, then ONTX will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $20 to $22, or even its 50-day moving average of $24.38.

Cameron International

Cameron International (CAM) is a provider of flow equipment products, systems and services to worldwide oil, gas and process industries. This stock closed up 2.2% at $54.44 in Monday's trading session.

Monday's Volume: 11.19 million

Three-Month Average Volume: 3.09 million

Volume % Change: 294%

>>5 Stocks Under $10 Set to Soar

From a technical perspective, CAM bounced modestly higher here right above its recent low of $52.50 with heavy upside volume. This stock recently gapped down sharply from over $63 to below $52.50 with heavy downside volume. That move pushed shares of CAM into oversold territory, since its current relative strength index reading is 31.60. Oversold can always get more oversold, but it's also an area a stock can bounce sharply higher from. The action in CAM on Monday could be signaling that this stock is ready to bounce and see an end in the short-term to its downside volatility.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in CAM as long as it's trending above Monday's low of $53.02 or above $52.50 and then once it sustains a move or close above Monday's high of $54.67 with volume that hits near or above 3.09 million shares. If we get that move soon, then CAM will set up to bounce higher and potentially tag $57 to its 50-day moving average at $59.39.

To see more stocks rising on unusual volume, check out the Stocks Rising on Unusual Volume portfolio on Stockpickr.

-- Written by Roberto Pedone in Delafield, Wis.


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Follow Stockpickr on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.

At the time of publication, author had no positions in stocks mentioned.

Roberto Pedone, based out of Delafield, Wis., is an independent trader who focuses on technical analysis for small- and large-cap stocks, options, futures, commodities and currencies. Roberto studied international business at the Milwaukee School of Engineering, and he spent a year overseas studying business in Lubeck, Germany. His work has appeared on financial outlets including and You can follow Pedone on Twitter at or @zerosum24.

Group files to bring back Eastern Airlines

eastern airlines

A 1986 file photo of Eastern Airlines planes. A group would like to revive the airline.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) Plans are underway to bring back Eastern Airlines, a once iconic airline that last flew in 1991.

Eastern Air Lines Group has filed an application with the Department of Transportation to start service once again. Approval from the department and Federal Aviation Administration is a drawn-out process that can take at least 12 months to complete.

But Ed Wegel. CEO of the group, said the airline hopes to start flights by December of this year. It expects to take delivery of its first plane, an Airbus A320, in August or September.

The airline will be based in Miami. Wegel said no decisions have been made on initial routes, but that the airline plans to restart as a provider of charter services initially, and then build into scheduled service at a yet-to-be-determined date.

Wegel said the group bought the rights to the Eastern name and logo out of bankruptcy court in 2009, but that it had to wait until now to find the investor support needed to restart the airline. Airlines have become more profitable in the last year or two, and airline stocks, traditionally poor performers, have been doing very well recently.

Wegel said it will take additional investor support, likely at least $100 million of capital, to move from charter to schedule service.

"When you look at history since '78, how many airlines started, how many didn't make it, it's not a business for the faint of heart," he said. "But we believe there are opportunities that will present themselves for us once we show we are a good airline operator."

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According to the group's website, Eastern was founded in 1927 and adopted the name in 1930. It was a major carrier along the East Coast, pioneering the shuttle service from New York to Boston and Washington.

Wegel said there were years in the 1980s when Eastern had the most passengers of any U.S. airline due to the shuttle and its extensive Latin American route system. And he said it was once the largest employer in the Miami area, giving it strong name recognition in that market even though it has been nearly a quarter century since its last flight.

"We've done extensive surveys and polling on the name," ! he said. "It has 80% recognition in Miami, and overall it has very positive name recognition still."

But the airline was sold in 1986 and filed for bankruptcy protection in 1989. Labor unrest and a drop-off in air traffic associated with the January 1991 Gulf War forced it out of business.

Eastern would face an industry that is more of an oligopoly than ever before, with American Airlines (AAL), United Continental (UAL, Fortune 500), Delta Air Lines (DAL, Fortune 500) and Southwest (LUV, Fortune 500) controlling more than 80% of U.S. air traffic between them. Those four companies have taken the place of 10 major carriers that existed at the start of last decade.

Delta CEO: ATL flights every 45 secs   Delta CEO: ATL flights every 45 secs

But there have been some start-ups able to take hold, including JetBlue Airways (JBLU, Fortune 500) and Spirit Airlines (SAVE). The Justice Department has tried give support to upstart carriers, requiring that US Airways and American Airlines give some of their gates and slots at the busiest airports to carriers such as JetBlue to win approval of their merger.

Wegel is a veteran of the airline industry. He was involved in the creation of Atlantic Coast Airlines, which operated a feeder carrier for United.

To top of page

Under Armour’s Beat and Raise Not Enough as Shares Drop 5%

Let’s say you’re Under Armour (UA). You’ve just reported a profit of 68 cents, topping analyst forecasts for 66 cents. Your revenue also topped expectations and you raised your full year revenue guidance above your previous range. Your shares should be heading higher, right?

Not quite. Sure the numbers looked good, but Under Armour’s stock had gained nearly 70% this year and sometimes good just isn’t good enough.

The Buckingham Research Group’s John Zolidis and Patrick O’Grady note that Under Armour’s revenue raise only brought the company’s guidance in-line with what analysts were already expecting, and its EPS guidance when to $1.40 to $1.42, from $1.37 to $1.42, below forecasts for $1.45.

Their conclusion: “…shares are ahead of themselves at current prices.” They write:

We believe the company has created an aspirational brand and is developing a product pipeline and strategy that will allow it to continue to grow at robust rates over the foreseeable future. However, we believe this outlook is more than factored into analyst estimates and the stock's valuation at current levels (47x FY14 EPS). We advise investors to be patient and wait for a better entry point.

Zolidis and O’Grady offer a better choice, too: Dick’s Sporting Goods (DKS), which is Under Armour’s largest wholesale customer.

Shares of Under Armour have dropped 5.2% to $79.59 at 1:21 p.m., while Dick’s has dropped 0.8% to $51.32. Nike (NKE) is little changed at $75.58, Skechers USA (SKX) has dropped 2.2% to $28.53 and Columbia Sportswear (COLM) has declined 0.1% to $62.75.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

TORAY's Innovator To Head Keidanren; A Stock To Rise With Boeing's Dreamliner?

When Sakakibara Sadayuki (70), chairman of TORAY (PINX:TRYIY), was one year old, his father, a submarine captain in the Japanese Imperial Navy, was killed in action. The youngest of five siblings, Sakakibara, impecunious but talented and hard working, put himself through Nagoya University under graduate and graduate programs in applied chemistry.

Graduating in 1967, Sakakibara joined TORAY as a technician. TORAY was founded after WWII as Tokyo Rayon, a maker of synthetic fibers, mainly for the textile industry.  (Disclosure: I have TORAY ADRs in my personal portfolio.) Proving himself a leader and innovator, Sakakibara was elevated to the company's CEO in 2002. He became chairman in 2010.

Under Sakakibara TORAY made a major commitment to developing ultra-strong, light weight carbon fiber technology, a technology in which the company now leads the world. TORAY is the exclusive supplier of the carbon fiber used in the fuselage of Boeing (NYSE: BA)787 "Dreamliner" aircraft, and will be similarly support Boeing's new 777X project.

Sakakibara's commitment to innovating carbon fiber technology and his decision to accept Boeing's hardly break-even terms for an exclusive long-term supply contract are emblematic of a once-fabled Japanese business culture. That his leadership revived and created a bright future for TORAY has become an inspiration for others "old economy" Japanese manufacturers.

English: Ekaterina Makarova at 2010 Toray Pan ...

English: Ekaterina Makarova at 2010 Toray Pan Pacific Open Qualifying Singles Final, Tokyo, Japan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This background helps explain the choice of Sakakibara as the next head of Japan's big business association, Keidanren. Sakakibara will succeed Yonekura Hisomasa (76), chairman of Sumitomo Chemical whose term is up in June.

It seems Sakakibara was not Yonekura's first choice as successor. That was Kawamura Takashi (74), chairman of Hitachi Ltd., who, however, adamantly refused to take the job citing age.

In Sakakibara's favor was, in additional to his achievements at TORAY, his smooth working relationship with Prime Minister Abe Shinzo, gained as a private sector member of the Abe government's Industrial Competitiveness Council.

Government relations has always been a big part of the Keidanren chairman's job, and it has not gotten easier under the Abe government.

Keidanren and Abe's Liberal Democratic Party/New Komeito (LDP/NK) coalition have been largely together on such major issues as Japan's entry into the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade negotiations and raising the consumption tax. But Yonekura got into trouble when he subtly criticized Abe's rigidity and insensitivity in relations with China and South Korea, both countries of critical strategic importance to Japan's big businesses.

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Sakakibara is likely to avoid ruffling government feathers on foreign policy issues. Rather, he will seek to lend the Keidanren's full weight to realizing Abenomics "Third Arrow" growth and competitiveness reforms.

At a press conference this week Sakakibara called for lowering Japan's corporate tax to 25% in line with the average of Asian and OECD countries with which Japanese companies compete.  Japan's current effective tax rate is 38%. It will drop to 35.64% from April as a surtax for Tohoko disaster reconstruction expires.

Within Keidanren, Sakakibara will promote technological innovation as the key to continuing competitiveness of Japanese industry.

The imperative of such innovation and heightened competitiveness, especially in export sectors, was brought to mind this week with news of the continuing sharp deterioration of Japan's trade balance. Last year Japan posted its highest ever trade deficit of JPY 11.47 trillion (USD 112.07 billion). As vexing as the record deficit was its YoY rise of 65.3% over 2012.

TORAY is certainly a model for successful innovation in a traditional industry. Another recent new product is "Heat Tech" fabric used in underwear which was jointly developed with Uniqlo's parent company, Fast Retailing (OTC:FRCOY).

As I write TORAY is trading in Tokyo at JPY 690, up 16 yen or 2.37% for the day.  The price-to-book ratio is 1.52 times and the forward PER 16.92 times. The forecast dividend yield for the fiscal year ending March 2014 (FY2014) is 1.48% and the forecast EPS yield 5.9%.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Is Comcast Enticing After Recent News?

With shares of Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) trading around $52, is CMCSA an OUTPERFORM, WAIT AND SEE, or STAY AWAY? Let's analyze the stock with the relevant sections of our CHEAT SHEET investing framework:

T = Trends for a Stock’s Movement

Comcast is a provider of entertainment, information, and communications products and services. The company operates in five segments: cable communications, cable networks, broadcast television, filmed entertainment, and theme parks. Comcast offers television, video, high-speed Internet, and voice services to residential and business customers. It also operates NBC and Telemundo broadcast networks; provides filmed entertainment under the Universal Pictures, Focus Features, and Illumination names; and operates theme parks, studios, and a dining, retail, and entertainment complex.

Comcast is much more likely to work with Charter Communications Inc. on a bid for Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC) than to pursue an offer on its own, said a person familiar with the situation, a major boost to Charter’s hopes of winning the takeover battle. Comcast’s current thinking reflects its unwillingness to pay Time Warner Cable’s stated asking price of $160 a share as well as Time Warner Cable’s disinterest in selling off just some of its systems piecemeal, the person said.

In contrast, Charter has signaled to Comcast in meetings that, if Charter succeeded in acquiring Time Warner Cable, it would be willing to give up TWC’s prize New York-area cable systems to Comcast in exchange for Comcast’s endorsement of its bid, said the person. Charter CEO Tom Rutledge hinted at that stance at a private investor dinner on Thursday, say other people familiar with the situation. Getting the New York systems would be a major victory for Comcast, strengthening its hold on the northeastern U.S. Comcast already dominates Philadelphia and serves part of the New York suburbs.

T = Technicals on the Stock Chart Are Strong

Comcast stock has been trending higher over the past few quarters. The stock is currently trading sideways and may need time to stabilize before heading higher. Analyzing the price trend and its strength can be done using key simple moving averages. What are the key moving averages? The 50-day (pink), 100-day (blue), and 200-day (yellow) simple moving averages. As seen in the daily price chart below, Comcast is trading above its rising key averages, which signal neutral to bullish price action in the near-term.


(Source: Thinkorswim)

Taking a look at the implied volatility (red) and implied volatility skew levels of Comcast options may help determine if investors are bullish, neutral, or bearish.

Implied Volatility (IV)

30-Day IV Percentile

90-Day IV Percentile

Comcast options




What does this mean? This means that investors or traders are buying a minimal amount of call and put options contracts, as compared to the last 30 and 90 trading days.

Put IV Skew

Call IV Skew

February Options



March Options



As of today, there is an average demand from call buyers or sellers and low demand by put buyers or high demand by put sellers, all neutral to bullish over the next two months. To summarize, investors are buying a minimal amount of call and put option contracts and are leaning neutral to bullish over the next two months.

On the next page, let’s take a look at the earnings and revenue growth rates and the conclusion.

E = Earnings Are Increasing Quarter-Over-Quarter

Rising stock prices are often strongly correlated with rising earnings and revenue growth rates. Also, the last four quarterly earnings announcement reactions help gauge investor sentiment on Comcast’s stock. What do the last four quarterly earnings and revenue growth (Y-O-Y) figures for Comcast look like and more importantly, how did the markets like these numbers?

2013 Q3

2013 Q2

2013 Q1

2012 Q4

Earnings Growth (Y-O-Y)





Revenue Growth (Y-O-Y)





Earnings Reaction





Comcast has seen increasing earnings and revenue figures over the last four quarters. From these numbers, the markets have been pleased with Comcast’s recent earnings announcements.

P = Excellent Relative Performance Versus Peers and Sector

How has Comcast stock done relative to its peers, Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC), DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV), Dish Network (NASDAQ:DISH), and sector?


Time Warner Cable


Dish Network


Year-to-Date Return






Comcast has been a relative performance leader, year-to-date.


Comcast provides communications and entertainment products and services to consumers and companies. The company is much more likely to work with Charter Communications on a bid for Time Warner Cable than to pursue an offer on its own. The stock has been trending higher over the past few quarters, but is currently trading sideways. Over the last four quarters, earnings and revenues have been increasing, which has left investors pleased about recent earnings announcements. Relative to its peers and sector, Comcast has been a relative year-to-date performance leader. Look for Comcast to OUTPERFORM.

At risk of outliving your retirement savings?

In the good old days, retirement was pretty simple. You worked 30 years. Got a pension. And put your money in bonds to make it last.

But this isn't your father's retirement. Back then, life expectancy was such that people only spent less than a decade in retirement.

Today is different. Boy, is it different!

After working for 30 years, it's not out of the question to spend another 30 years in retirement. And that, for lots of people, is the big worry.

People getting ready for retirement are worried that they won't be able to save enough to last. And people already in retirement worry they will outlive their nest eggs.

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In a poll by BlackRock more than half of those surveyed were worried about outliving their savings.

"People are living longer than ever before, dramatically altering the financial challenges in retirement," said Rob Kapito, BlackRock president. "Increased longevity is a blessing, but it's an expensive one, because that translates into the need for a bigger retirement nest egg and access to secure retirement-long income."

One key, financial planners say, is to set a budget in retirement, as you do in your working life. But it's even more important to stick to that budget in retirement since you're living on a fixed amount of money.

Stuart Ritter, vice president of T. Rowe Price Investment Services, says that early in retirement is usually hardest for people to stay on budget. They can start out with their 401(k) or pension in a lump sum, and for most, it's the most money they have ever had in their lives.

"The issue is that the money has to last for 30 years," he says. "That's why we encourage people to think of it more in terms of income (stream), and not as a balance. It can give you a more realistic understanding of what your spending can be like."

Ritter says two key things determine how long your money lasts: how much you save before you retire and how much yo! u spend after retirement.

"The other thing that substantially affects their ability to make their money last is when they actually retire — how long they work," Ritter says. "For those folks, one of the best things they can do to improve their life during retirement is delay (retirement). If working two or three years more means a higher degree of confidence for 30 years in retirement, it may be worth it."

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Dana Anspach, founder of Sensible Money in Scottsdale, Ariz., and author of Control Your Retirement Destiny, says she uses three criteria to determine if a client is at risk for running out of money in retirement.

First is the length of retirement. If the client is young and healthy, they should prepare for a longer retirement. Second, she looks at if a client has the discipline to stick to a plan. "Whatever the plan is," she said, "If you can't stick with the plan, you are at greater risk." And third, she says, she looks at the ability to stay on a budget.

"You have to be able to know what you are going to spend," she says. "You can't be wildly off. You have to stick with a disciplined plan and you have to account for the potential length of your retirement, particularly if you are looking to retire early."


All the financial planners say sticking to that budget is key. But if it's clear that the nest egg will not last through retirement, there are other strategies, like working longer, taking Social Security later or even working a part-time job.

Anspach says people often forget to build key expenses into their budgets, things like dental care and eye care. And one of the biggest problems for retirees trying to stay on budget, she says: adult children, whether it's having to help them out after losing a job or getting a divorce.

And when a client is spending too much: "All we can do is say here are your choices," she says. "You have to get your spending down ! to this l! evel or you will run out of money. If a client wants to take more money out, I can't say no. All I can do is warn them."

And as a last resort, she says, she will recommend use of a reverse mortgage or downsizing. "I prefer to not use it as part of their plan," she says. "I use it as a reserve strategy. We need some kind of plan B. Maybe it's moving in with your sister."

Ross Badger, director at Satis Asset Management in London, says retirees must make sure they scrutinize all their expenses.

"There is often a significant savings to be made," he says. "People need to look at utility companies and subscriptions. Review those. Look at payments that automatically go out — insurance premiums. Many times they haven't reviewed it. When we do a detailed review of each expenditure, it's amazing when you hear that people didn't even know that was still coming out. It's also amazing how many people don't check their bank statements."

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Badger says people in all income groups worry about their money lasting through retirement. But what amazes him is that they have done so little to work out the numbers.

Also, he says, watch the debt. "Despite interest rates being historically low, there is a lot of encouragement to increase the level of debt, buy bigger houses, take holidays," he says. "Keep the debt level manageable. Even when you think you can afford to pay the mortgage payments or loan payment, test what it would do to your finances if interest rates were to increase or double."

And finally, there's inflation to consider. It's a big concern, and it should be, Ritter says. And that's why it's important to make sure you continue to have stocks in your portfolio in retirement, he says.

"Years ago, they could put all their money in bonds," Ritter says. "Rates were higher. People died after seven or eight years (in retirement). Inflation didn't have much time to increase the price of things they wanted to ! buy. Now ! we tell people to plan for 30 years of inflation.

"Inflation at 3% will double the rate of everything you buy in 23 years," he says. "To buy that same dinner out or buy that same cruise ticket or airline ticket. If it takes $40,000 for your lifestyle this year, it will take $80,000 (in 23 years). If your portfolio hasn't been growing, you won't have enough money in there to take out twice as much."

Here's the key to gaining confidence in your long-term savings: "Adjust as you go along," Ritter says. "Expect to have to adjust. Start with a plan. Start with guidance to know where you are going. That gives people confidence to enjoy retirement and confidence that they will have a plan in place to help manage. And they can concentrate on more fun things."

Monday, January 27, 2014

Top 5 Internet Stocks To Own For 2015

More than a year ago, while the big boys on Wall Street were rating Groupon a ��uy,��we casted serious doubts about the company�� future in a Gurufocus article, Groupon�� Wild Profits Face Challenges. At the time, Groupon is trading in the $20s, now the stock tumbled to about $5. Some of us are wondering-- is Groupon a bargain now?

Groupon (GRPN) operates as a local commerce marketplace on the internet that connects merchants to consumers by offering goods and services at a discount on a global basis. The company�� philosophy is simple: We treat our customers the way we like to be treated. And it all starts with a fair price. But a great price is only half the battle - it's also got to be a great product or service.

Andrew Mason was the mastermind behind Groupon. The discount deal on e-commerce business was the original idea of his. Mason set up Groupon for the convenience of consumers and internet users in North America and internationally. What Mason failed at was sustaining Groupon�� profitability, as he was running a business with a rigid approach, rarely making necessary internal and external adjustments to the company�� business model. On top of this, Mason also displayed frequent unprofessional conduct when giving interviews and taking part in important meetings. Mason�� missteps, despite being the company�� founder, resulted in his being relieved of his duties recently by Groupon.

Top 5 Internet Stocks To Own For 2015: Google Inc.(GOOG)

Google Inc. maintains an index of Web sites and other online content for users, advertisers, and Google network members and other content providers. It offers AdWords, an auction-based advertising program; AdSense program, which enables Web sites that are part of the Google Network to deliver ads from its AdWords advertisers; Google Display, a display advertising network that comprises the videos, text, images, and other interactive ads; DoubleClick Ad Exchange, a real-time auction marketplace for the trading of display ad space; and YouTube that provides video, interactive, and other ad formats for advertisers. The company also provides Google Mobile that optimizes Google?s applications for mobile devices in browser and downloadable form; and enables advertisers to run search ad campaigns on mobile devices, as well as Google Local that provides local information on the Web; and Google Boost for small businesses to participate in the ads auction. In addition, it offers And roid, an open source mobile software platform; Google Chrome OS, an open source operating system; Google Chrome, a Web browser; Google TV, a platform for the consumers to use the television and the Internet on a single screen; and Google Books platform to discover, search, and consume content from printed books online. Further, the company provides Google Apps, a cloud computing suite of message and collaboration tools, which includes Gmail, Google Docs, Google Calendar, and Google Sites; Google Search Appliance that offers real-time search of business and intranet applications, and public Web sites; Google Site Search, a custom search engine; Google Commerce Search for online retail enterprises; Google Checkout to make online shopping and payments streamlined and secure; Google Maps Application Programming Interface; and Google Earth Enterprise, a firewall software solution for imagery and data visualization. Google Inc. was founded in 1998 and is headquartered in Mountain View, California.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Rick Munarriz]

    Google's (NASDAQ: GOOG  ) finally playing nice with TiVo (NASDAQ: TIVO  ) .

    Shares of TiVo soared 8% yesterday after the DVR pioneer reached a settlement with Google's Motorola Mobility unit, but the stock's getting slammed this morning after the amount that it will be receiving will be far less than what was originally projected.

  • [By Tim Melvin]

    Of course, the gyrations of momentum traders are always something to behold.�But when we look at stocks like Google (GOOG),�we’ve seen tens of billions of dollars added to the market cap in just a very short time. There is simply no rational way to come up worth any reasonable, or even unreasonable, estimate of business value for either of GOOG stock.


    Google is an Internet giant that provides valuable search and advertising services to a growing user base worldwide. The company’s�Android OS is set to make an impact on another major industry. The stock has been exploding higher in recent years and is currently trading near all-time high prices. Over the last four quarters, earnings and revenues have been rising, which has left investors pleased about recent earnings announcements. Relative to its strong peers and sector, Google has been a relative year-to-date performance leader. Look for Google to continue to OUTPERFORM.


    Google is an Internet giant that provides valuable search and advertising services to a growing user base worldwide. The company has removed Rap Genius lyrics from Google search. The stock has been exploding higher in recent years and is currently trading near all time high prices. Over the last four quarters, earnings and revenues have been rising, which has left investors pleased about recent earnings announcements. Relative to its strong peers and sector, Google has been an average year-to-date performer. Look for Google to OUTPERFORM.

Top 5 Internet Stocks To Own For 2015: Symantec Corporation(SYMC)

Symantec Corporation provides security, storage, and systems management solutions internationally. The company?s Consumer segment delivers Internet security, PC tune-up, and online backup solutions and services to individual users and home offices. Its Security and Compliance segment provides solutions for endpoint security and management, compliance, messaging management, data loss prevention, encryption, and authentication services to large, medium, and small-sized businesses, as well as offers solutions through its software-as-a-service (SaaS) security offerings. This segment?s products enable customers to secure, provision, and remotely manage their laptops, PCs, mobile devices, and servers. The company?s Storage and Server Management segment provides storage and server management, backup, archiving, and data protection solutions across heterogeneous storage and server platforms, as well as solutions delivered through its SaaS offerings to large, medium, and small-s ized businesses. Symantec?s Services segment offers implementation services and solutions, including consulting, business critical services, education, and managed security services. The company also provides various enterprise support offerings, such as annual maintenance support contracts, including content, upgrades, and technical support. It sells its products through its eCommerce platform, as well as through distributors, direct marketers, Internet-based resellers, system builders, ISPs, and retail locations worldwide. Symantec markets and sells its products through distributors, retailers, direct marketers, Internet-based resellers, original equipment manufacturers, system builders, and Internet service providers; and its e-commerce channels, as well as direct sales force, value-added and large account resellers, and system integrators. The company was founded in 1982 and is headquartered in Mountain View, California.

Advisors' Opinion:

    A big player here is Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq: SYMC), a global provider of security, storage, and systems management solutions with an extensive focus on managing consumer data and information.

  • [By Reuters]

    Peter Parks, AFP/Getty ImagesThe 12-story building in Shanghai's northern suburb of Gaoqiao where a Chinese military-led hacking group allegedly conducted a series of attacks on U.S. companies networks. BOSTON -- Cybersecurity company FireEye has acquired Mandiant, the computer forensics specialist best known for unveiling a secretive Chinese military unit believed to be behind a series of hacking attacks on U.S. companies. FirEye (FEYE) shares jumped more than 20 percent after Thursday's announcement of the $1.05 billion cash-and-stock deal, which FireEye said closed Monday. It unites two companies with relatively new technologies for thwarting cyber attacks, and brings together two of the most-respected executives in the security industry: FireEye CEO Dave DeWalt and Mandiant founder Kevin Mandia. While sales of older anti-virus products have been on the decline, security experts expect strong growth in both FireEye's cloud-based systems for detecting malicious software and Mandiant's software that analyzes cyber attacks. About a year ago the two companies entered into a technology development agreement that made it easier to deploy their products together. With the merger, FireEye will gain Mandiant's team of forensics investigators. "They have these very strong Navy 'cyber' Seals who respond to breaches and are very good at what they do," DeWalt said about Mandiant. He had previously served as chairman of Mandiant's board. "My aim is to create the strongest security company in the world," DeWalt said in an interview. FireEye, which has yet to post a profit, said the acquisition will be immediately accretive to earnings and expects the combined company's revenue to grow about 50 percent this year. In comparison, Symantec (SYMC), the biggest maker of anti-virus software, has said it expects fiscal 2014 revenue to drop 3 percent to 4 percent. Mandiant is best known for its forensics services. The company rose to prominence in February 2013 when it pu

Top Small Cap Companies To Invest In Right Now: Yahoo! Inc.(YHOO)

Yahoo! Inc., together with its subsidiaries, operates as a digital media company that delivers personalized digital content and experiences through various devices worldwide. It offers online properties and services to users; and a range of marketing services to businesses. The company?s communications and communities offerings include Yahoo! Mail, Yahoo! Messenger, Yahoo! Groups, Yahoo! Answers, Flickr, and Connected TV, which provide a range of communication and social services to users and small businesses enabling users to organize into groups and share knowledge, common interests, and photos. Its search products comprise Yahoo! Search and Yahoo! Local, available free to users to navigate the Internet and discover content. The company?s marketplaces offerings and services include Yahoo! Shopping, Yahoo! Travel, Yahoo! Real Estate, Yahoo! Autos, and Yahoo! Small Business, which allow users to research specific topics, products, services, or areas of interest by review ing and exchanging information, obtaining contact details, or considering offers from providers of goods, services, or parties with similar interests. Its media offerings comprise Yahoo! Homepage, Yahoo! News, Yahoo! Sports, Yahoo! Finance, My Yahoo!, Yahoo! Toolbar, Yahoo! Entertainment & Lifestyles, Yahoo! Contributor Network, and Yahoo! Pulse, which are designed to engage users with online content and services on the Web. The company also offers marketing services, such as display and search advertising, listing-based services, and commerce-based transactions to advertisers. In addition, it provides software and platform offerings for third-party developers, advertisers, and publishers, such as Yahoo! Developer Network, Yahoo! Open Strategy, Yahoo! Application Platform, Yahoo! Updates, Yahoo! Query Language, and Yahoo! Search BOSS. The company has strategic alliances with Nokia and ABC News, Inc. Yahoo! Inc. was founded in 1994 and is headquartered in Sunnyvale, Californi a.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Dan Radovsky]

    AllThings D also reports that bids have to be at least $1 billion, and DIRECTV (NASDAQ: DTV  ) is said to be ready with a bid of at least that much. Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC  ) , Yahoo! (NASDAQ: YHOO  ) , and the private-equity firms KKR, Guggenheim Digital, and Silverlake Partners are also ready to compete.


    Contrary to popular belief, Yahoo is well managed. Yahoo is currently making a lot of wise long-term decisions. But that still won�� be enough in an economic environment that is likely to weaken in the near�future.

Top 5 Internet Stocks To Own For 2015: eBay Inc.(EBAY)

eBay Inc. provides online platforms, services, and tools to help individuals and merchants in online and mobile commerce and payments in the United States and internationally. Its Marketplaces segment operates ecommerce platform; vertical shopping sites, such as StubHub, Fashion, Motors, and; and classifieds Websites, including Den Bl�Avis, BilBasen, Gumtree, Kijiji, LoQUo,,, Alamaula,, eBay Anuncios, eBay Kleinanzeigen, and eBay Annunci, as well as provides advertising services. The company?s Payments segment offers payment and settlement services for consumers and merchants on and off eBay Websites and other merchant Websites. This segment operates PayPal, which enables individuals and businesses to send and receive payments online and through mobile devices; Bill Me Later that enables the United States merchants to offer, the United States consumers to obtain, credit at the point of sale for ecommerce and mobile tra nsactions; Zong, which allows users with mobile phones to purchase digital goods and have the transactions charged to their phone bill; and BillSAFE that enables customers pay for purchases upon receipt of an invoice. Its GSI segment offers an ecommerce services suite for enterprise clients that operate in general merchandise categories, including apparel, sporting goods, toys and baby, health and beauty, and home; and marketing services comprising full-service digital agency, enterprise email marketing, mobile advertising, affiliate marketing, advertisement retargeting, and in-depth analytics services. The company also offers X.commerce platform that provides software developers access to the company?s applications programming interfaces to develop functionality for various merchants; and Magento Connect, which allows developers to market and sell add-on functionality and solutions to merchants that use a Magento storefront. eBay Inc. was founded in 1995 and is headquarter ed in San Jose, California.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Sean Williams]

    Reason No. 1: It will give brick-and-mortar retailers new life.
    The clear winner of this type of legislation would be brick-and-mortar retailers that have been previously crushed by the "showrooming effect." One of the best examples of this is big-box retailer Best Buy (NYSE: BBY  ) , which has seen sales slow as consumers used its stores to figure out which items they wanted to buy, then turned to online retailers such as (NASDAQ: AMZN  ) and eBay (NASDAQ: EBAY  ) for their purchases since the sale price was often lower and, as a bonus, there was no sales tax in most instances.

  • [By Tamara Rutter]

    eBay (NASDAQ: EBAY  ) is taking window shopping to a whole new level this month. Forget virtual window-shopping. The online retailer is stepping out of its comfort zone and into New York's shopping scene, with what it calls "shoppable windows." eBay stock has gained a modest 1% so far this year, which is notably lower than rival online retailer Amazon's (NASDAQ: AMZN  ) near 7% gain. However, eBay's innovative launch of interactive storefronts could give the stock momentum going forward.

  • [By Sean Williams]

    This week, we'll turn our attention to the retail marketplace and I'll show you why eBay (NASDAQ: EBAY  ) CEO John Donahoe is truly at the head of the class among his peers.

  • [By Kevin Chen]

    eBay's (NASDAQ: EBAY  ) �StubHub has struck its second Major League Soccer (MLS) partnership with the Portland Timbers to become the team's official fan-to-fan marketplace.

Top 5 Internet Stocks To Own For 2015: IAC/InterActiveCorp (IACI)

IAC/InterActiveCorp engages in the Internet business in the United States and internationally. The company�s Search segment develops, markets, and distributes various downloadable toolbars; provides search, reference, and content services through its destination search and other Websites, including and; and aggregates and integrates local advertising and content for distribution to publishers on Web and mobile platforms, as well as markets and distributes mobile applications through which it provides search and additional services. Its Match segment offers subscription-based and advertiser-supported online personals services through its Websites comprising,,,, and, as well as through mobile applications and Meetic-branded Websites. The company�s ServiceMagic segment offers Market Match service that matches consumers with service professionals; Exact Match service, which enables con sumers to review service professional profiles and select the service professional that meets their specific needs; and, an online directory of service professionals. This segment also offers Website design and hosting services. Its Media and Other segment operates, an online entertainment Website that targets young males; Vimeo, a Website on which users can upload, share, and view video; and, a comparison search engine. This segment also engages in the creation of video content for various distribution platforms; and operates as an Internet retailer of footwear and related apparel and accessories, as well as focuses on multimedia business. The company was formerly known as InterActiveCorp and changed its name to IAC/InterActiveCorp in July 2004. IAC/InterActiveCorp was founded in 1986 and is headquartered in New York, New York.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Eric Volkman]

    AP/Jim Mone Is Bitcoin a slam-dunk as the currency of the future? The Sacramento Kings seem to think so. The NBA team recently became the first pro sports franchise to accept Bitcoin as a form of payment. Basketball fans will be able not only to purchase tickets and merchandise online with the digital cryptocurrency, but also to use it to buy souvenirs at the arena come game time. The team is the latest in a growing number of commercial entities finding a slot in their virtual cash registers for Bitcoin. Little by little, momentum is building for a widespread acceptance of the upstart currency. Overstocking The Kings' drive towards the Bitcoin basket comes a week after the big online retailer (OSTK) announced it would start accepting payments in the currency. The move was an instant hit -- the first day the company had the nifty Bitcoin button as an option in its shopping cart, its customers used it to make more than 800 transactions for total sales of around $130,000. was by no means the first online marketplace to accept the currency. Numerous web retailers have been doing so for some time. It's a natural fit, %VIRTUAL-article-sponsoredlinks in a way, since Bitcoin exists solely in the digital realm. Customers booking flights on discount travel operator, for example, can use Bitcoin to buy their tickets, as can love seekers on dating site OkCupid, owned by IAC/InteractiveCorp (IACI). These digital players are going to have plenty of company. Earlier this month, online games purveyor Zynga (ZNGA) started to dip its toes in the water, announcing that it was testing Bitcoin payments for some of its titles in conjunction with specialist transaction facilitator BitPay. But if didn't get there first, it's still the largest and most prominent e-retailer to take the Bitcoin plunge thus far. This is a big win for the currency and its advocates, and will surely be followed by more well-known comp


    IAC/InterActiveCorp provides information and entertainment services through its wide portfolio of websites to consumers and companies across the globe. The stock has been moving higher in recent years and seems to be getting ready to test all-time high prices. Over the last four quarters, earnings have been mixed while revenues have been increasing, which has pleased investors. Relative to its peers and sector, IAC/InterActiveCorp has trailed in year-to-date performance. Look for IAC/InterActiveCorp to catch up and OUTPERFORM.

  • [By Timothy Lutts, Publisher, Cabot Heritage Corporation]

    In 2004, TripAdvisor (TRIP) was purchased by conglomerate Interactive Corp (IACI), which spun off its travel businesses under the name of Expedia in 2005. In December 2011, TripAdvisor was spun off from Expedia in an IPO.

Top 5 Internet Stocks To Own For 2015: Inc.(AMZN), Inc. operates as an online retailer in North America and internationally. It operates retail Web sites, including and The company serves consumers through its retail Web sites and focuses on selection, price, and convenience. It also offers programs that enable sellers to sell their products on its Web sites, and their own branded Web sites. In addition, the company serves developer customers through Amazon Web Services, which provides access to technology infrastructure that developers can use to enable virtually various type of business. Further, it manufactures and sells the Kindle e-reader. Additionally, the company provides fulfillment; miscellaneous marketing and promotional agreements, such as online advertising; and co-branded credit cards., Inc. was founded in 1994 and is headquartered in Seattle, Washington.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Eric Bleeker, CFA]

    Lyons and Eric also discuss whether original programming in the vein of companies like Netflix� (NASDAQ: NFLX  ) and Amazon� (NASDAQ: AMZN  ) is a worthwhile pursuit for Apple. For the full video of this installment of the weekly Tech Review, click here. Or, watch the segment on Apple TV below.�

  • [By Chris Hill]

    Yum! Brands' (NYSE: YUM  ) �second-quarter profits fall 16%. Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN  ) benefits from a rise in e-commerce. Costco's (NASDAQ: COST  ) same-store sales in June rise 6%. And Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT  ) scraps plans for three new stores in Washington, DC. In this installment of Investor Beat, Motley Fool analysts Jason Moser and Isaac Pino discuss four stocks making moves today.

  • [By Douglas A. McIntyre]

    The Xbox has to fend off competition from both Sony Corp. (NYSE: SNE) and Nintendo. The new Sony PlayStation 4 has done relatively well. Nintendo’s Wii U sales have been crushed. However, Microsoft can reasonably claim it is the leading maker of game consoles in the world. And the Xbox finally has the chance to be the Trojan horse that Ballmer wanted it to be. With Xbox features like a content library of premium video and the ability to act as an advanced set-top box, Microsoft has the chance to challenge Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) and Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX) in the content delivery business, as well as cable and satellite TV firms at the center of the living room.

  • [By Alyce Lomax]

    The eyebrow-raising aspects go beyond the simple fact that this consumer segment isn't an easy one, especially taking into account the renowned "showrooming" effect that drives customers to (NASDAQ: AMZN  ) .

Top 5 Internet Stocks To Own For 2015: Internap Network Services Corporation(INAP)

Internap Network Services Corporation provides information technology (IT) infrastructure services. The company operates through two segments, Data Center Services and IP Services. The Data Center Services segment provides colocation services, which include physical space for hosting customers? IT infrastructure network and other equipment, as well as offers associated services, such as redundant power and network connectivity, environmental controls, and security. This segment also offers managed hosting services that enable its customers to own and manage the software applications and content, as well as provides and maintains the hardware, operating system, collocation, and bandwidth. The IP services segment provides patented performance Internet protocol (IP) service; XIP acceleration-as-a-service solution; and flow control platform, a premise-based intelligent routing hardware product for customers, who run their own multiple network architectures, known as multi-homi ng. In addition, this segment offers content delivery network services that enable its customers to stream and distribute media and content, such as video, audio software, and applications to audiences through points of presence, as well as offers capacity-on-demand services to handle events and unanticipated traffic spikes. Internap Network Services Corporation provides its services and products through 76 IP service points, which include 20 CDN POPs and 1 standalone CDN POP, as well as through 37 data centers across North America, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific region. It serves the entertainment and media, financial services, business services, software, hosting and information technology infrastructure, and telecommunications industries. The company was founded in 1996 and is based in Atlanta, Georgia.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Packaging Corp. Buys Boise for $1.3B

Top 5 Companies To Buy Right Now

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Packaging Corp. of America (PCA) (PKG) is buying packaging specialist Boise (BZ) in a deal worth almost $1.3 billion, pushing shares of both companies up in premarket trading on Monday.

Boise shares climbed 26.71% to $12.62 on news of the deal, which is expected to close in the fourth quarter. Shares of PCA rose 11.9% to $61.04.

PCA will pay $12.55 a share in cash for Boise's outstanding common shares. The total transaction value is $1.995 billion, although this includes $714 million of outstanding Boise debt.

"The acquisition is an excellent fit, both geographically and strategically, with unique and substantial synergies," said PCA Executive Chairman Paul Stecko, in a statement. "It provides the containerboard that PCA needs to support our strong corrugated products growth." PCA said that its containerboard capacity under the deal will increase to 3.7 million tons from the current level of 2.6 million. The acquisition will increase PCA's corrugated products volume by about 30%, it added, and expand the company's market presence into the Pacific Northwest --Written by James Rogers in New York. Follow @jamesjrogers >Contact by Email.