When we think of Diamond Foods we think of nuts, edible nuts. Diamond's two main brands are Diamond and Emerald. It produces all kinds of nut products for cooking and eating. Among them are almonds, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, pecans, pine nuts and peanuts. The product line also includes microwave popcorn and potato chips.
Let's look at America Movil's spectacular growth. The company's markets are primarily in Latin America. American Movil controls 74% of wireless service in Mexico under its Telcel brand, which has 60 million subscribers. Brazil is second with 45 million subscribers. It also is the largest provider in the Caribbean with four million users.
Much has been written about rare earth metals. They are used in electronics, batteries and specialized magnets. China controls more than 90% of rare earth production and has put a ban on exports of the minerals.
The largest miner of rare earths outside China is Molycorp (MCP), a U.S.-based company. The company mines lanthanide and molydenum. Lanthanides include cerium, lanthanum and yttrium. These exotic elements are used in cell phones, computers, X-ray film and TV glass.
Fourth quarter GDP ended on a uptrend, coming in at 3.1%. The state of the economy was healthy and it looked like growth would continue to match or exceed Q4. Based on that scenario, Bank of America (BAC) analyst Ethan Harris, forecast first-quarter 2011 GDP to come in at 3.3%.
But in the few short months of 2011, the world is getting turned upside down. The conflict in Libya has cut OPEC oil production and sent oil prices skyrocketing. In turn, the price of gasoline is nearing $4.00 per gallon. And food processors are raising prices due to higher raw commodity prices. These two factors have put a dent in the household budget.
Texas Instruments is a market leader in digital signal processors (DSP)s. DSPs are found in wireless phones, DVD players, automotive systems and computer modems. They also make logic chips, microprocessors, microcontrollers, display components and calculators.
National Semiconductor offers a variety of integrated circuits (IC)s, especially analog and mixed signal chips. The analog chips transform physical information -- light, sound, pressure and radio waves into data that a computer can use. National's chips are in a host of wireless communications, networking, medical, solar, automotive and industrial applications.
Here's an interesting story, which speaks volumes about the psychological dynamic of the markets. On Friday the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) will report on end-of-season inventories, often called 'ending stocks.' Traders are getting word the report may show inventories are lower-than-usual. Against that backdrop, as a trader you certainly don't want to take a short position. So what to do? You buy, of course.
Monday's buying drove corn prices to a record high of $7.6025 per bushel, up 24.25 cents, as reported in the Wall Street Journal. Country Hedging, a brokerage firm, said: "Federal forecasters could drop the projection to less than 500 million bushels from last month's 675 million. This is a 15 year low."
Here are the stats:
- OPEC production fell 411,000 barrels per day to 29,343 million bpd.
- Libya's production fell 343,000 barrels per day, from 1,396,000 bpd.
- Nigeria fell 107,000 barrels per day due to Royal Dutch (RDS) Oil maintenance.
Here's the real kicker. OPEC's seaborne exports are expected to fall by 530,000 barrels per day in the next four weeks.
Not only is it difficult to find out who owns a stake in Facebook, it is equally difficult to ascertain the value of the company. The numbers keep going up and up. For example, Microsoft (MSFT) invested $240 million when the company was valued at $15 billion.
Interpublic (INPGP), the advertising conglomerate, bought 1/2% of Facebook for $5 million, in 2006. As the value of the company went up, so did Interpublic's investment. When the Facebook investment appreciated, Interpublic was forced to disclose the information to the SEC, as reported in the Financial Times.
The interesting feature of this program is that you don't need the Internet. Cablevision uses a digital code to deliver content to an Apple (AAPL) iPad. The app allows you to search channels by genre and record programs.
Copper was the darling of commodity traders. The price rallied from about $6,400 per ton to a record $10,190 in the past year, The Financial Times reports. Momentum was strong and it looked like there was no end in sight. But now, prices have dropped off a bit and miners are worried that the rally has hit a brick wall. The main concern is that what drove drove prices skyward -- China's demand -- may be slowing, according to the FT.
One indication of the slowdown is the amount of stocks held in exchange warehouses. At the LME Asia + Shanghai exchange warehouses, copper stocks have increased from below 150,000 to over 325,000 tons. That buildup has worried miners. The companies affected are Freeport MeMoRan (FCX), BHP Billiton (BHP), Xstrada (XSRAF), Anglo American and Brazil's Codelco, according to the Financial Times.
Essentially, there are two ways to keep investors happy. One is share price appreciation, and the other dividend payments. Investors experienced the first with a powerful stock rally in the past year and half. Now, its time for dividends to play a part, writes Rachel Beck of the Associated Press.
When the meltdown occurred, companies pushed the fear button and hoarded cash, now amounting to $940 billion, Beck writes. Now that the economy is on firmer footing companies can let go of some of this pile of money. In the first quarter, 117 companies issued dividends, compared with only 78 a year ago, according to the AP.
Salesforce.com (CRM) provides applications that manage customer information for sales, marketing and customer support. It has a customer base of approximately 85,000 clients. Its service provides sales leads, maintaining customer information and tracking customer interactions.
Intuit (INTU) caters to small businesses with its QuickBooks and TurboTax software. As well, it provides payroll and financial software for small businesses. The company has about 50 million users of its products.
Let's go back to the financial crisis and the practices that brought this country to its knees. Banks developed a fancy scheme whereby they absolved themselves of all risk from the loans they made. They simply wrapped them up in a bundle and sold them to someone else. What they were doing is essentially packaging and reselling "junk."
When the news of how bad things were became known, the markets froze and collapsed. No one knew who had which securities, and if they did, they didn't know their true value.
Non-farm payrolls came in higher than analysts' forecasts and the unemployment rate fell to 8.8%. That good news sent the Dow Jones Industrial Average to a new 2011 high. At midday the Dow was up 78 points to 12,397 -- as reported by the Wall Street Journal.
Except for a brief sell-off to the 11,500 level, the market has moved quickly to regain lost ground and is now at new highs. Last week the USDA's crop report was bullish for grains. It's not surprising that Caterpillar (CAT) led the charge, up 1.7%. But there are always some losers. Office Depot (ODP) fell 11% after reporting a fourth quarter loss and Krispy Kreme Doughnuts (KKD), which also had a fourth quarter loss, fell 17%.
With the current financial crisis, the market for IPOs has slowed down to a trickle. But we still have investing ideas that capture our imagination. Just mention the word term 'cloud' these days, and you are off and running.
Such is the case with cloud computing ServiceSource (SREV), reported in Investors.com The issue was for 1.9 million shares, to be priced at $10 per share.