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Apple and Google Declare War – Here's the Secret Winner

Resident tech guru Michael Robinson and I are both big science-fiction fans. Michael likes traditional sci-fi stories, like those of Robert Heinlein and Isaac Asimov. My sci-fi interests are more focused on “Golden Age” radio dramas, “pre-code” comics, and old movies and TV shows… like The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits.

And when Associate Editor Cris Skokna joined our team a few months back, Michael and I were so pleased to discover that he was a sci-fi guy as well that I jokingly dubbed the three of us as “The Trilogy.”

And the other day, Cris told me a story that I absolutely had to share with you…

  • Stock Market

  • How to Beat Wall Street at Its Own Game I'm a voracious reader. And I'm also a relentless networker. In this business, I have to be.
    I need to see and hear as much as possible in order to form the opinions, forge the recommendations and assemble the market intelligence that enables us to help you pull down big profits.
    Now I have direct, daily access to six of the most impressive investment gurus you're ever going to find.
    Let me tell you a quick story that shows you how this works Read More...
  • Adjusted for Inflation, Here's Where the "Real" Dow is Now real_dow

    The economy may be sluggish, and the deficits out of control, but you could never tell it from the stock market.

    Thanks to Ben Bernanke, the markets are at all-time highs.

    But before you pop the champagne, you should know that there's a big difference between "nominal" and "inflation-adjusted" numbers.

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  • Stock Market: Q1 Was One for the Record Books, So What's Next?

    The U.S. stock market logged an impressive first quarter.

    Shrugging off budget cuts, tax hikes, and more Eurozone misery, U.S. stocks climbed to record territory on several occasions.

    On March 5, the Dow broke through its record close of 14,165, previously hit Oct. 9, 2007. Meanwhile, the S&P has been flirting with its 1,565 record high for weeks.

    The most recent milestones came Thursday when the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at yet another record, and the Standard & Poor's 500 Index finally closed above its all-time high.

    Thursday closed out Q1 with the Dow adding 52.38 points, or 0.36%, to close at 14,578.54. The S&P tacked on 6.34, or 0.41%, to close at 1,569.19.

    Here's a look at the quarter's biggest gains and losses, as well as what investors should do now as we head into April.

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  • With Another Stock Market Record in Reach, Here's What to Do Now

    It's time for some insight.

    I'm constantly asked where I think the stock market is going next. Since the Dow recently reached new highs and the S&P 500 is pushing its old October 2007 highs, it's no wonder that's the question on everyone's mind and lips.

    My answer is: I don't know where it's going.  But I do know what to do about it.

    Here's the thing...

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  • How the Stock Market Today Digested Cyprus News Country Cyprus

    Worries over the plan to force bank depositors in Cyprus to help fund a $13 billion international bailout rattled global equities and sent the U.S. stock market today (Monday) lower. 

    Right after the open, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index and the Nasdaq were all sharply lower.

    By mid-afternoon, all three indexes remained in negative territory with the Dow down 4.76, or .03% at 14,509.03; the S&P down 2.97, or 0.17%, at 1,557. 73, and the Nasdaq down 2.11, or 0.11%, at 3,247.

    Sending global markets lower Monday was the unprecedented agreement reached this weekend over Cyprus' bailout plan.

    The proposed plan - by representatives of the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank and Eurozone's finance ministers - includes taxing deposits over 100,000 euros ($128,950) at 9.9%, while those with less than that amount would be subject to a 6.75% levy.

    The aim is to raise 5.8 billion euros ($7.52 billion) that would go toward the $13 billion international bailout of the country.

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  • Why this Ivy League Professor Sees Dow Hitting 18,000 Chart up exponential

    The bears predicting a stock market crash have it all wrong.

    So says Jeremy Siegel, finance professor at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School and author of "Stocks for the Long Run." He predicts the Dow - which closed yesterday (Wednesday) at a new record high 14,455.28 - will continue the bull market run, ending this year in the 16,000 to 17,000 range.

    For 2014, he says, the "best bet goal" is the Dow will climb to 18,000.

    And the well-known bull has nearly 150 years of data to back up his bold prediction.

    Here's why Siegel is so bullish.  

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  • The FBI and the SEC Are Cracking Down on People Just Like You Police light If you happen to do something that you probably do, and have been doing - only, you didn't know it was "abusive manipulation" of the markets - they're already after you. Read More...
  • What Bankrupt Athletes Wish They Knew About Financial Windfalls Game football

    Few among us haven't dreamed of sudden riches - the financial windfall of a big legal settlement, an unexpected inheritance, a winning lottery ticket, or, for the young and athletically gifted, a lucrative contract with a major professional sports franchise.

    But it turns out that few are prepared for a financial windfall when it comes their way.

    Nowhere is this more obvious than with big sports stars.

    Despite the proliferation of multimillion-dollar contracts, an astonishing number of professional athletes are forced to declare bankruptcy within a few years of hanging up their jerseys.

    In the National Football League, for example, where the average salary is $1.9 million, 78% of former players are in bankruptcy within five years of retirement. That figure is 60% for former National Basketball Association players, who earn an average of $5.5 million a year as players.

    How can people so generously compensated go broke so quickly?

    Part of it has to do with youth, but many of the mistakes athletes make with the financial windfall of a professional sports salary also are made by regular people who suddenly come into large sums of money.

    There's a lot we all can learn from their mistakes. When it comes to financial windfalls, it's best to know what to expect ahead of time so you can put the money to work for you instead of squandering it.

    "Every single day, people come into large sums of money, whether it's a thousand dollars or a million, and without proper planning, funds quickly disappear," writes Jim Wang in U.S. News and World Report. "Just look at the horrible stories you often hear of lottery winners, and you'll have enough evidence that everyone needs a little preparation, even if you don't expect to get a windfall."

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  • Stock Market Today: With Dow at Record High, Will the Climb Last? Chart up exponential

    The Dow Jones Industrial Average was at a record high after nearly six years, as the stock market today (Tuesday) rallied enough to push the index up nearly 70 points at the open.

    Just minutes after the opening bell, the Dow sailed passed its all-time high of 14,165 hit on Oct. 9, 2007. Less than a half-hour into the trading session the Dow roared higher by triple digits propelling benchmark to yet another record.

    By 1 p.m. the Dow was up 146.99, or 1.04%, at 14,274.81. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index added 17.32 or 1.14%, to 1,542.52, leaving it in striking distance if its record close of 1,565 hit in 2007. The Nasdaq climbed 43.39 or 1.37% to 3,225.42.

    Money has poured into stocks over the last several months as individuals have begun to feel more comfortable about the health of the economy - but can it last?

    "The question is, can the Dow maintain these levels? The market is interested in risk-that's why the Dow is higher, why the riskier currencies are higher," Matthew Lifson, currency trader at Cambridge Mercantile Group in Princeton told Reuters.

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  • Does the Heinz Deal Mean Warren Buffett Has Become a Doomsday Prepper? At $28 billion, the famed ketchup maker is valued at a rich 23x earnings. And Buffett won't even control management. Given Warren's long and storied history of value investing and a hands-on style, this purchase is bizarre. Unless... Read More...
  • Will the Year of the Snake Bring Another Stock Market Crash? False Water Cobra The Chinese New Year officially began Feb. 10, starting what some investors consider a very bad zodiac year. Not only does the year of the snake havethe worst stock market returns, but some of the darkest moments in U.S. history. Take a look. Read More...
  • As Insiders Head For the Exits, Do They Know Something "We" Don't Know? According to the latest Vickers Weekly Insider Report, in the past week, there have been nine insider sales for every one buyer among NYSE stocks.
    The last time insiders sold this aggressively was in early 2012 - right before the S&P 500 took a 10% header.
    Does that mean there’s a correction in the works?
    There are all kinds of legitimate reasons insiders sell their shares. But what concerns me is that insiders, particularly when you're talking about senior management types, typically know a lot more than the average investor. Further, they tend to have a consistent view of very specific longer term market conditions and, more importantly, its earnings potential.
    Here’s what insiders know that you probably don’t Read More...
  • Stock Market Today: Will the Dow Keep Going Above 14,000?

    The stock market today (Friday) hit a high not seen in more than five years when the Dow Jones Industrial Average crossed 14,000 for the first time since October 2007.

    Less than an hour into trading the Dow spiked 140 points, or 1%, to hit 14,000.97. In mid-afternoon trading, the Dow rallied further, tacking on 150 points. The move leaves the Dow around 200 points, or 2%, from its all-time high of 14,198.10.

    Friday's strong showing came on the heels of the Dow's strongest January (up 5.8%) since 1994.

    The Standard & Poor's 500 Index, which logged its best January since 1997, added 15 points, or just shy of 1%. The Nasdaq advanced 40.

    The robust rally followed a lackluster report on the job market which gave "strength to the argument that the Fed will continue its bond buying program and keep rates low, which is also a positive for the stock market," Tom Schrader, managing director at Stifel Nicolaus told CNN Money.

    That sentiment also gave bonds and precious metals a boost. Gold prices moved up $7 to $1,670. Silver added 37 cents to $31.94

    A bevy of reports helped buoy markets Friday.

    A Census Bureau report showed construction rose 0.9% in December, well above forecasts. The Institute for Supply Management's monthly manufacturing index rose to 53.1 in January, ahead of the expected 50.5 read, and the University of Michigan's sentiment index climbed to 73.8 last month, better than the expected 71.4.

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  • Is the Obama Stock Market Rally the Real Deal? Chart up exponential

    At first glance, there can be no doubt that U.S. President Barack Obama has been good for the stock market.

    The Standard & Poor's 500 Index has rallied by nearly 700 points - just shy of 86% - since the president's first Inauguration on Jan. 20, 2009.

    This is the best stock market performance for a presidential first term since World War II, even beating the 79.2% rally during President Bill Clinton's first term in the White House, from January 1993 to January 1997.

    In fact, the only time stocks rallied more during a presidential first term was during Franklin Roosevelt's first term from March 4, 1933, to Jan. 20, 1937, when the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 245% off of Depression-era lows.

    In a very broad sense, the condition of the stock market at the start of President Obama's first term in 2009 can be compared to the stock market in 1933. In both cases, stock prices had collapsed and were trading at generational lows when both presidents took office. In both cases, share prices rallied substantially off of the bottom as economic conditions improved.

    But all this really proves is that the first leg of any rally is usually the strongest and most profitable.

    As the S&P 500 is at a five-year high and is zeroing in on the 1,500 level for the third time in its history, one has to wonder if the Obama Rally is sustainable or are we just reverting to the mean?

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  • Stock Market Today: Builders, Banks, Boeing in Focus

    The stock market today rose right out of the gate Thursday on improved economic data, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average up 70 points just before noon, and the Standard & Poor's 500 Index up 7.

    Giving equities a lift was a pair of reports that showed the U.S. economy continues on the path to recovery.

    The Department of Commerce reported Thursday morning that construction for new U.S. homes leapt in December to the highest rate in more than four years. Gains were logged all across the nation, as well as in buildings and single family homes.

    The 12.1% jump in housing starts in December was the best reading since June 2008.

    "Overall, this report reinforces the current narrative of a positive growth momentum in the housing sector," Millan Mulraine, a macro strategist at TD Securities told Market Watch.

    A measure of homebuilders on the S&P 500 jumped 2.1%, poised for the highest closing level since 2007.

    The second report that juiced markets was data from the Labor Department. A report revealed the number of Americans filing first-time claims for unemployment benefits fell more than expected in the latest week to the lowest level in five years.

    In the week ending Jan. 12, applications for jobless benefits fell by 37,000 to 335,000, marking the lowest level since Jan. 19, 2008, and well below estimates of 369,000.

    "The labor market is certainly getting better," Brian Jones, senior U.S. economist at Societe General in New York, told Bloomberg News.

    Even with typical seasonal adjustment, Jones added, "this is still a good report. Chances are claims remain at a fairly low level."

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