We know the drill: U.S. retailers count on the holiday shopping season for as much as 20% to 40% of their total sales for the year.
And we know that this year won't be any different.
What we don't know is how much American consumers are going to spend: Will this season go like gangbusters, or will it just be a bust?
The National Retail Federation (NRF) is expecting a gangbusters holiday season, having just forecasted a record $602 billion in sales, a healthy 3.9% jump from 2012.
The One Retail Stock to Buy that Will Survive the December Slump
As Main Street gears up for the holiday shopping season, the retail sector takes center stage on Wall Street.
The bad news for those investing in retail stocks: Morgan Stanley cautions overall retail sales growth is expected to be the weakest since 2008 - meaning the sector's robust 40% year to date could be headed for a slowdown.
Weighed down by concerns over pay and hiring, consumer confidence continues to fall, suggesting consumers will continue to be tight-fisted. After a steep drop in October, the consumer confidence level fell further in November. Slipping to 70.4 from 72.4, it marks the lowest level in seven months, Tuesday's Conference Board data revealed.To continue reading, please click here...
Stock Market News Today: Icahn, Drug Stocks, and Record Close
Stock Market News Today, Nov. 11: The stock market today is inching up today, with the Dow headed for another record close.
Meanwhile, crude oil is trading up a bit today, with light crude oil for December delivery up about 0.2% near $94.80. And gold is down a tad near $1,281 an ounce, likely still weighed by last week's stronger than expected jobs report.To continue reading click here...
Five Stocks to Buy Now to Play the 2014 Mobile Payment Revolution
More Americans are cutting up their credit cards, and it's for a reason you might not expect.
The rise of mobile applications and Near-Field Communications (NFC) technology continues to carve market share from plastic payment methods.
And now, the trend is going mainstream in one of the most trafficked businesses in America.
Starbucks Corp. (Nasdaq: SBUX) announced this week that it currently receives 11% of its U.S. and Canadian sales through its mobile application. And that figure is expected to rise as the company continues to market its convenient closed-loop payment system.Click here to continue reading...
Best Stocks to Buy Now: A Money Morning Weekly Roundup
Last week's best stocks to buy were influenced by several crises building on Capitol Hill - the 2014 fiscal budget and looming government shutdown, the debt ceiling, and mounting anxieties over the Federal Reserve's QE taper timing.
As a result of these factors, many concerned investors turned to cash.
But with money market instruments yielding next to nothing, you will miss out on 100% of market gains if you are just sitting on cash. Money Morning keeps reminding readers that savvy investors make money in all kinds of markets - and we found just the right stocks to buy to make the most of current conditions.
Here's a recap of our picks for the best stocks to buy now, culled from last week's Money Morning daily articles, videos, and insights from our in-house experts:To continue reading click here...
Buy, Sell or Hold: The Smart Money is Selling Amazon.com
I love the super deals that I get from Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN). They always seem to beat the brick-and-mortar stores and I get two day-delivery for free.
It's no wonder to me that the online retail giant has ranked at the top of Foresee's E-Retailer Consumer Satisfaction index for eight straight years.
What I do have doubts about is Amazon's share price. It continues to make new highs while the company's core business is slowing and its new "growth" businesses aren't all they are cracked up to be.
With a P/E that has now reached astronomical levels, here's why the only money I'll be giving to Amazon will be what I spend on its merchandise.
Give Me the Right Stamp of Approval and I’ll Give You Your Next 319% Profit
At one time or another, I'm sure that we've all been outraged by stories of rampant government waste - especially in areas of aerospace- and defense-related research.
But today I'm going to tell you about a NASA-related tech program that led to a big payoff. In fact, investors who knew what to look for could've turned $10,000 into $41,900 - a 319% return - in just 29 months.
I'm relating this story for a couple of reasons. It shows you why I spend so much time looking at the research that's underway in labs at both the university and national level.
And it also explains why I write to you so frequently about cutting-edge science where I believe there's a big potential payoff.
My ultimate goal, you see, is to tell you about profit opportunities like this one before they occur.
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Why the CIA and Amazon Are All Over This Quantum Computing Upstart
The CIA and the world's biggest Web retailer want to see the world of Big Computing turned upside down.
That's why they joined a $30 million investment round in a small supercomputing startup. The firm is taking a radical new approach to how these processors crunch massive amounts of data.
It's a field that is quickly turning its skeptics into true believers. Then again, cutting-edge tech like quantum computing doesn't come along every day.
No doubt, quantum computing is some pretty complex stuff. So, let me simplify it for you. At its root, quantum computing relies on the high-speed action inside atoms as well as particles of light.
The result is speeds so fast it makes your head spin.
We're talking about computers that could perform some functions millions of times faster than anything that's on the market today.
It's no wonder the nation's top spies and Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN) founder Jeff Bezos want to get in on the ground floor. Though they didn't say how much each ponied up, both took part in the most recent round of financing for D Wave Systems.
In-Q-Tel, which invests in high tech that supports the CIA, and Bezos Expeditions join a growing list of D Wave investors. Other blue-chip backers include the Business Development Bank of Canada, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, and Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS).
D Wave: Quantum Computing's KingpinFounded in 1999, D Wave spent its first five years in discovery mode. By that I mean the small firm was focused on coming up with novel ways to make quantum computing work and then get the patents it needed to protect the moat it was building.
That early attention to detail has clearly paid off. Today, D Wave holds 90 U.S. patents and has roughly 100 more pending around the globe.
Here's the thing. D Wave is founding a whole new sector of the computing industry while making sure it maintains a strong first-mover advantage.
After struggling for years, D Wave is now on a roll.
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Why AMZN Stock is Soaring
Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) stock is up more than 15% in midday trading, after an earnings report that predicted slowing growth and profits in Q3. So why are investors interested in a stock that will make less money - and may even post a loss?
Money Morning's Chief Investment Strategist Keith Fitz-Gerald joined Fox Business' "Varney & Co." Friday to talk about the value in Amazon.com. Keith explained how Amazon.com's Q3 outlook isn't a bad thing.
Keith also shared a stock that he sees outperforming in this economy, and talked about how the GDP numbers highlight the "mess" Washington has created for the U.S. economy.
Watch this accompanying video for Keith's full analysis.
Does the "Showroom Effect" Spell Trouble for Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN)?
Thanks to the "Showroom Effect," Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT) and Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) have parted ways.
That means Amazon's hot new Kindle e-reader will no longer be found on the shelves of one of the biggest U.S. chain retailers.
The "Showroom Effect" is a phenomenon in which consumers use brick-and-mortar stores to test drive certain products before purchasing them online at a lower price.
This isn't the first shot fired in the war between the world's largest online retailer and the second largest discount retailer in the United States.
The Beef with AmazonRetailers have long complained of Amazon's unfair competitive advantage because the online retailer is exempt from charging state and local sales taxes.
Last spring, Target, along with Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT), Best Buy Co. Inc. (NYSE: BBY), The Home Depot Inc. (NYSE: HD), and other retailers threw their collective weight behind the Alliance for Main Street Fairness, a coalition that is leading efforts to change sales-tax laws in more than a dozen states, including Texas and California.
But the sales tax gap is just part of the problem.
During last year's holiday shopping season, Amazon offered 5% discounts up to $5 to "show-rooming" consumers who used the online giant's Price Check mobile app in a physical store-in essence, encouraging the Showroom Effect.
In response, Target sent a letter to its suppliers urging them to help combat the Showroom Effect, either by delivering more in-store exclusive products, or by helping to them to match the prices of Target's online rivals, including Amazon, TigerDirect, Overstock.com Inc. (NasdaqGM: OSTK), and eBay Inc. (NasdaqGS: EBAY).
Even still, retailers like Target have other issues with online competitors like Amazon - such as what happens after the sale.
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