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With Two New Deals, This "Double-Your-Money Stock" Could Go Vertical

I was on the phone trading “war stories” with author and veteran journalist Alecia Swasy – a longtime friend – the other night. And we found ourselves talking about my days with Gannett Co. (NYSE: GCI) newspapers on the Eastman Kodak Co. (NYSE: KODK) beat – when I got to chronicle the early death throes of a once-iconic American company.

My time on the beat began in the summer of 1993, when the company fired CEO Kay R. Whitmore, a chemical engineer and career Kodaker who’d risen through the ranks to take the top spot at the film giant…

  • Featured Story

    Stock Market Forecast 2014: Why the Market Will Keep Surging in the New Year

    Stock Market Performance Today

    If you've been following our twice-weekly conversations at Strategic Tech Investor, you know that I'm very bullish about technology stocks.

    But I want to let you in on a little secret ...

    I'm also bullish about the overall stock market.

    In fact, I'm predicting that the Standard & Poor's 500 Index will advance 15% in 2014, rising from the current 1,795 to 2,065. That will not only take the closely watched index up through the psychologically important 2,000 level, it will take it to the highest level in history.


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  • Shah Gilani Is "Nervous" About the Markets 08202213Shah

    When it comes to the stock market, it's not the "little dips" that are a concern, Money Morning Capital Wave Strategist Shah Gilani said Tuesday.

    What is worrisome are the "black holes," and if and when we'll step into one.

    With Goldman Sachs' $100 million loss Tuesday, and the Nasdaq shutting down for hours today, looks like we're already there...

    Click on Shah's video for the full story.

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  • The Move that is Costing Investors Big-Time An new study published in Science found that people frequently underestimate their future selves. So here's what you may be doing wrong with your investments. Read More...
  • Stock Market Today Fades Along with Chances of Fiscal Cliff Deal The stock market today tumbled after chances of a fiscal cliff deal looked unlikely.

    The stage was set Thursday night when a vote on Republican House Speaker John Boehner's Plan B, a fiscal cliff compromise to be presented to U.S. President Barack Obama, never even made it to vote among fellow Republicans. When word came of the setback, all major overnight future indexes sharply dropped.

    When markets opened Friday, the slide continued. Shortly after noon, the Dow Jones Industrial Average slumped 176 points, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index dropped 20 points and the Nasdaq was lower by 43.

    Investors appear to be bracing for the worst with just 10 days left before America falls over the cliff, with a deal is nowhere in sight.

    Stocks on the Move Today

    Shares of Research in Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM) rang lower Friday, sinking almost 20% in mid-afternoon trading.

    RIM reported third-quarter earnings after the close Thursday that showed the BlackBerry maker swung to profitability, but lost about one million subscribers in the quarter. It marked the first time membership has fallen. The real test, analysts say, comes next quarter following the much anticipated release of the company's new Smartphone, the BlackBerry 10.

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  • Check Out What's Fueling Gains in the Stock Market Today The stock market today opened higher on mixed labor reports as investors await tomorrow's September jobs report.

    The market was also lifted by encouraging comments from European Central Bank President Mario Draghi on the fiscal health of Spain. Speaking at his regular monthly news conference Draghi stated the ECB is ready to buy bonds when necessary and that the ECB will not lower its record low 0.75% refinancing rate.

    Here are today's other major stories:

    • Don't expect a great September jobs report- There are a few mixed labor reports to digest a day before last month's unemployment and nonfarm payroll numbers are released. Automatic Data Processing (ADP) yesterday reported the economy added 162,000 private-sector jobs in September. This was better than projections for 140,000 new jobs but much slower than last month's downwardly-revised figure of 189,000 jobs. Investors monitor ADP's numbers for clues on what the government might report, but ADP does not include public sector jobs and is not a great indicator of Friday's Labor Department's report. The Labor Department reported today that 367,000 initial jobless claims were filed last week, slightly higher than expected. The less volatile four-week moving average remained unchanged at 375,000. "The trend is still looking fairly stable. The labor market is improving but it is not really gathering direction for better or worse, it is still just plodding along," 4CAST economist Sean Incremona told Reuters. One more piece of data to look at is layoffs from outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. It said U.S.-based employers announced plans to cut 33,816 jobs in September, down 71% from a year earlier. On average economists expect tomorrow's report to show 113,000 jobs were added in September and that unemployment ticked back up to 8.2%.

    • Factory orders decline by most in 3 years- The Commerce Department reported that factory orders fell 5.2% in August after rising 2.8% in July. The decline was fueled by a 102% plunge in demand for commercial aircraft which led to a previously reported 13.2% drop in durable goods. Overall the 5.2% decline from a month earlier was expected by economists but continues the trend of a slowdown in manufacturing activity. One positive is that orders for business equipment and software, often considered a gauge of business confidence and investment plans, rose 1.1%. "These data indicate that the recent softness in manufacturing activity and capital spending is likely to continue, at least for several more months," Steven Wood, president of Insight Economics LLC in Danville, California, said in a note to clients.

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  • Stock Market Today: Housing and Japan Stimulus Carry Stocks The major headlines in the stock market today include: Japan extends its stimulus purchases, there's another sign the housing market is slowly improving, and watch out for this one stock that is taking a beating.

    • Japan makes it a crowd- The Bank of Japan has joined the European Central Bank and the U.S. Federal Reserve in what has become a trio of new stimulus measures. The Bank of Japan decided to increase its asset purchases by 10 trillion yen ($126 billion) in hopes of energizing its struggling economy. All of these stimulus plans have helped bring the euro to a five-month high against the U.S. dollar, push gold to a seven-month high and boost all three major U.S. exchanges to multi-year highs. "The macro events are so large and meaningful coming out Europe, the U.S. and now Japan that they are like a large tide that is moving all boats," Lawrence Creatura, who helps oversee $356 billion as a fund manager at Federated Investors Inc. (NYSE: FII), told Bloomberg News.
    • Housing market continues slow improvement- Both housing starts and existing home sales maintained the recent upbeat trend in housing numbers. In August housing starts increased to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 750,000 units. This is a 2.3% increase from July and a 29.1% rise from the same period a year ago. Economists had expected 765,000 new units but the number is still a move in the right direction. "Another step forward on a very long staircase," John Tashjian, Principal, Centurion Real Estate Partners in New York told Reuters. "We continue to see positive signs emerging from the housing market, suggesting that the entire market, not just individual submarkets, are stabilizing and steadying themselves for future growth." Existing home sales jumped to two-year highs in August as record low interest rates continue to encourage buyers. Last month sales of previously owned homes rose 7.8% from July to a 4.82 million annual rate. The median existing home price gained 9.5% year-over-year to $187,400.
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  • Stock Market Today: These Stocks Are Still on a Hot Streak The major headlines in the stock market today include Europe putting a stop to the QE3 rally, another negative manufacturing report and a couple of stocks continuing to soar.

    • QE3 rally halted- After last week's Federal Reserve inspired surge where each U.S. market gained at least 2%, stocks opened lower Monday. The selling pressure might not last long though as investors are ready to profit off of the Fed's latest moves. "It looks like we need to take a small breather after the sizable rally that we've had," Randy Frederick, managing director of active trading and derivatives at Charles Schwab Corp., told Bloomberg News. "There's the potential for a small pull-back, but I think we will move back into the bull territory later in the week unless there's an unexpected negative news event."
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  • Stock Market Today: Three Stocks Headed for Gains The stock market today (Monday) is wavering between gains and losses after the S&P 500 last week recorded its best advance in 20 months.

    With few economic indicators today and earnings season winding down, investors are dealing with reports that Japan's economy is slowing.

    Japan's cabinet office reported that gross domestic product (GDP) grew at a 1.4% annualized rate in the second quarter, compared to 5.5% in the previous quarter and below the 2.3% economists expected.

    Investors are eyeing Europe with a continued sense of apprehension after Italy completed a successful round of selling one-year Treasury bills. Yet, investors worry that Italian yields on ten-year bonds will soon reach Spain's which is once again hovering at the dangerous 7% line.

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  • Stock Market Today: Why the Three-Day Rally is Losing Steam After three days of gains that put the major U.S. indexes at their highest levels since May the stock market today opened slightly lower. Concerns over global productivity, the Eurozone debt crisis, and a comment by Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas President Richard Fisher have choked the short rally.

    Fisher stated that adequate economic stimulus is in place and that global central banks may not have the capacity to undertake additional stimulus measures.

    In the U.S., nonfarm productivity grew faster than expected during the second quarter, but still at a slow 1.6% annual rate. Economists had expected on average to see a 1.3% rate. The Labor Department also revised numbers from earlier this year and 2011 that showed productivity was better than originally thought.

    Overseas, Standard & Poor's Rating Services on Tuesday lowered Greece's long-term credit outlook from "stable" to "negative." The rating agency said that Greece will need further aid from international lenders and needs to implement harsher austerity measures.

    The outlook drop means Greece's credit rating, which remained at the junk status CCC, could be lowered in the near future if Greece does not receive additional funding.

    England's central bank issued its quarterly inflation report Wednesday and it was not optimistic. The Bank of England cut its prediction for GDP growth this year from 0.8% to 0.0%. The bank also lowered its forecast for economic growth over the next two years from 2.6% to 2%.

    "The economy will continue to face headwinds over the forecast period, from the fiscal consolidation and tight credit conditions at home, as well as from the difficulties in the euro area and a broader slowing in the world economy," Bank of England governor Sir Mervyn King said in a statement.

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  • Planets Align for Stock Market Crash in 2013 ­− If Not Sooner Of all the tools one might use to predict a stock market crash in 2013, planetary alignments and solar particles are not, for most people, the first options that spring to mind.

    But market analyst Arch Crawford has applied his arcane "astro indicators" for 35 years with surprising success.

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  • Check Out What's Leading the Stock Market Today The stock market today is battling with mixed earnings reports from some of the world's biggest companies.

    Yesterday (Tuesday) was the third triple-digit decline in a row for the Dow Jones, and any upward movement today may seem temporary, driven by hopes of QE3.

    The main economic indicator today was new home sales, which fell 8.4% in June to an annual pace of 350,000. Analysts had expected the sales rate to be closer to 380,000.

    While home prices and permits to build new homes have risen lately, this report could put a damper on the housing market's turnaround.

    In Washington, U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner appeared before the House Financial Services Committee Wednesday morning to testify on the economy. He appeared as part of his duties as chief of the regulatory group the Financial Stability Oversight Council.

    His opening statement drilled home the point that Europe is the biggest threat to the U.S. economy, but that the banks are in much better financial shape than they were four years ago.
    Geithner is expected to be questioned regarding his role in the Libor manipulation scandal while he served on the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

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  • These U.S. Stocks on the Move After Better-than-Expected Earnings U.S. stocks are trying to hold onto gains today (Wednesday) after another round of earnings reports and testimony by U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.

    Bernanke spoke before the House Financial Services Committee Wednesday and did not diverge from his non-committal message a day earlier on whether or not the Fed would provide more stimulus.

    Economic reports today include housing starts for June, which rose 6.9% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 760,000 units, the highest level since October 2008. Thanks to record low interest rates, applications for mortgages rose last week as many homeowners try to refinance.

    But, it was not all good news from the Commerce Department as new permits for building homes dropped 3.7% in June to a 755,000 unit pace.

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  • Bernanke Keeps the Stock Market Waiting for QE3 Strong earnings reports could only lift the stock market today up so much as U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke would not give in to the cries for more stimulus.

    Speaking to the Senate Banking Committee Bernanke gave his semi-annual monetary policy testimony and predicted slow growth for the U.S. economy. Bernanke said that reducing unemployment is going to be "frustratingly slow."

    Bernanke repeated the Fed's mantra that if conditions deteriorate they will take appropriate measures when necessary. Some are beginning to wonder if QE3 will ever happen and how much worse things have to get before we see it.

    The chairman did specify that if the labor market doesn't improve the central bank is prepared to act to boost growth.

    Bernanke also commented that the looming "fiscal cliff" and the possibility that Europe's debt crisis will worsen remain significant risks.

    He mentioned the Libor manipulation scandal and called the rate-setting system "structurally flawed." However he offered no explanation as to why the Fed didn't become more involved when it learned in 2008 that Barclays Plc (NYSE: BCS) was reporting false numbers.

    Bernanke will speak again tomorrow morning before the House Financial Services Committee.

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  • Bank Earnings Lead the Stock Market Today The stock market finally broke its losing streak.

    After five consecutive negative trading days the markets have finally rallied thanks to strong earnings reports from Wells Fargo and JP Morgan.

    JPMorgan Chase (NSYE: JPM) and Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC) both reported earnings this morning before the opening bell. The definitive winner of the two is Wells Fargo.

    Wells reported another record quarter of earnings while JP Morgan felt the consequences of its "London Whale Trade."

    JP Morgan announced the bet would cost the company a total of $5.8 billion, the high end of analyst's predictions. Of that loss $4.4 billion is accounted for in this quarter and the remaining $1.4 billion was put on last quarter's balance sheet.

    What is positive about JP Morgan's earnings is the fact that the company was able to post profits despite the trading loss.
    JPMorgan posted second-quarter net income of $4.96 billion, or $1.21 a share, compared with $5.43 billion, or $1.27 a share a year earlier.

    The derivative loss after taxes reduced earnings per share by 69 cents, the company said.

    Wells Fargo boosted its earnings 17% compared to the same quarter a year ago. Wells reported earnings of $0.82 per share beating expectations by a penny.

    Wells Fargo stock (NSYE: WFC) is up over 3% and JP Morgan stock (NYSE: JPM) is up almost 5% as of noon.

    The markets are ignoring the main economic indicator released today. The University of Michigan's Consumer sentiment index came in at 72.0 its lowest level of the year, down from 73.2 in June.

    The lousy trend of hiring coupled with global uncertainties and a volatile stock market have weakened household spending which accounts for 70% of the economy. The Michigan survey's index of consumer expectations for six months from now also fell to a yearly low to 64.8 from 67.8.

    Besides Wells and JP Morgan here are two other companies making news today.

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  • Stock Market Today: Is This the End for RIMM? The stock market today is rallying after positive news from Europe and the surprising 5-4 affirmation of Obamacare, or the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act as it is formally known as.

    Yesterday the markets opened almost 1% in the red and were sent down even further after the Supreme Court's ruling. The ruling was a surprise, but the fact that the markets acted so volatile was certainly not.

    The markets did rally at the end of the day on positive news from Europe and that momentum has carried over to today.

    The surprising news out of the European Union summit was the announcement yesterday from European Union President Herman Van Rompuy that European leaders have agreed to spend 120 billion euros ($149 billion) to stimulate growth and create jobs.

    The plan includes a 10 billion-euro capital increase for the European Investment Bank (EIB) as a centerpiece of the long-term growth plan, which includes infrastructure financing, tax-policy pledges and more focused use of EU funding.

    "The growth agenda is a sign of our unrelenting commitment," EU President Herman Van Rompuy said in a press conference in Brussels on the first day of a two-day summit. "It brings together all concrete measures that we will swiftly take."

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  • The Markets Are a Stacked Deck in a Rigged Game…But I Can Teach You How to Win The markets are broken.

    And what has to be done to fix them likely won't get done. That's because the folks capable of fixing them are actually captives of the folks who like them the way they are.

    That's the bad news.

    The good news is, if you understand what's wrong and who's responsible, you can actually make a lot of money playing the game the way it's been set up.

    Let me explain.

    First of all, what's happened isn't by some grand design. There is no great conspiracy to screw the public. (Not this time.) Rather, incremental changes in various corners of the capital markets manifested innumerable unintended consequences.

    The net result is this: Our capital markets aren't functioning for the greater good of the economy and the nation. And the public is getting screwed. But you knew that.

    The markets have become a kind of stacked deck in a rigged card game.

    A game being played by a bunch of whispering pros against mostly deaf, dumb, and blind amateurs (yeah, I'm taking about too many people you know) in a shady casino overseen by pit bosses who work for the house - which is owned by the pros who set up the game in the first place.

    I'm not going to break down what the incremental changes were that got us here. I've done that over innumerable articles I've written for, Forbes, Wall Street Journal's MarketWatch and right here.

    This isn't about how we got here. This is about proving where we are now by means of a kind of grand supposition that hopefully is going to open your eyes. It's probably going to scare the you-know-what out of you.

    Earlier I said the public is getting screwed, but you knew that.

    How do I know that you know the public is getting screwed? Most people are out of the market. They are either on the sidelines or out of the game for good. They know the markets are a casino, and most people have come to realize that they have no idea what the game is, let alone how to play it.

    And that, children, is the unhappy ending.

    Precisely because the public is so leery of losing their shirts and knickers in the strip poker club, investing is a thing of the past.

    Long-term investing is dead. Long live short-term trading.

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