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What To Expect From an Investment in Illinois Tool Works

Despite missing analysts' expected earnings and revenues this quarter, Illinois Tool Works (NYSE: ITW) surpassed everyone's expectations by recently announcing the authorization of a $6 billion buyback plan and a 10% increase in the quarterly dividend. Based on today's market cap, $6 billion is good for 20% of the company and a major catalyst for future returns.  

Below, I have provided a review of the company's cash more »

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  • Is Google Search Really Dead? No, It’s Just Like Bing

    By Gretchen Stone - July 23, 2013 | Tickers: GOOG, MSFT

    Does the average Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) or Microsoft's (NASDAQ: MSFT) Bing user care if query results are paid or organic, if the search results provide helpful information? I don’t, and here’s why you shouldn’t either.

    A lot of SEO discussion has centered around a recent blog post graphic showing that only 13 percent of Google search results are organic, and the rest are paid ads. The more »

  • The Windows Era Is Over

    By Sam Mattera - July 22, 2013 | Tickers: AMZN, GOOG, MSFT

    Microsoft’s (NASDAQ: MSFT) earnings report made it official: the Windows era is over. Microsoft shares fell over 11% on Friday, the biggest decline since the financial crisis.

    The company whiffed on earnings, as consumers abandoned Microsoft’s Windows operating system.

    Can Microsoft survive in a post-Windows era?

    Microsoft admits it: The traditional PC is struggling

    Some companies (Coca-Cola, Google) have blamed the weather for their recent struggles. But not more »

  • Drink Your Way To Profits With This Stock!

    By Shmulik Karpf - July 22, 2013 | Tickers: BF-B, STZ, DEO

    There aren't many consumer products that sell well in good and bad times alike. Coca-Cola, for instance, is a good example of such a consumer product. People will consume the sugary carbonated water whether the economy prospers or not. Wine and spirits are another good example for an "all- weather" beverage. When times are good, people might spend more on fancy wines. But when recession looms, people simply won more »

  • You Can Run Far With This Stock

    By Dan Moskowitz - July 22, 2013 | Tickers: LULU, NKE, UA

    It’s not often that a chart will be used in an introduction, but in this case, it’s important. Below are three-year performances for Nike (NYSE: NKE), Under Armour (NYSE: UA), and Lululemon Athletica (NASDAQ: LULU). When you look at this chart, you might ask yourself why you would consider investing in Nike over Under Armour and Lululemon, but it’s important to keep in mind that investing should more »

  • Is the Cost of Intel's Entry Into Mobile Too High?

    By Mark Hibben - July 19, 2013 | Tickers: ARMH, INTC

    Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) reported revenue of $12.8 billion and operating income of $2.7 billion for 2013 Q2.  Revenue grew 2% from Q1 but was down 5% year over year, but more surprising was the nearly 30% decline in operating income from the year ago quarter.  Intel's entry into the mobile business is proving costlier than expected, and Intel management guided slightly lower for the second half.

    Continuing more »

  • This Grocer Is Expanding its Reach

    By Timothy Green - July 17, 2013 | Tickers: HTSI, KR, WMT, WFM

    The grocery business is not an easy one. With Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) quickly becoming the largest seller of groceries in the United States, many traditional grocery chains have had trouble competing, let alone growing. But Kroger (NYSE: KR), the largest grocery store chain in the country, isn't just sitting on its hands as Wal-Mart steals the show. The company recently acquired Harris Teeter Supermarkets (NYSE: HTSI), an upscale chain more »

  • Is This the Best Internet Turnaround Play?

    By Dan Moskowitz - July 17, 2013 | Tickers: AOL, GOOG, YHOO

    AOL (NYSE: AOL) has rewarded its shareholders handsomely over the past several years, and it seems as though quality leadership might lead to stock appreciation in the future. While there are definitely some bright spots, some concerning factors are being overlooked by investors.  

    The good news

    CEO Tim Armstrong has done a good job turning around the company. He understands industry trends and plans accordingly. He also believes that the more »

  • Betting on a Gold Upswing

    By Mike Price - July 17, 2013 | Tickers: CEF, GDXJ, GDX, GLD

    Gold's 30% fall over the past six months has pushed nearly all investor sentiment to the negative side of the trade. Meanwhile, there has been no slowdown in money printing or debt raising and the long-term fundamental trends point toward a recovery in gold prices.

    As a value investor, I tend to shy away from macro investing, but I also love to take positions that are contrary to the more »

  • Made in the USA

    By Mark Morelli - July 17, 2013 | Tickers: AAPL, CAT, INTC

    Not too many years ago, it seemed that the U.S. was losing (or lost) its manufacturing edge over much of the world. Jobs were disappearing. Plants were shutting down. Popular music was rife with lament for the blue-collar worker.

    However, the trend is reversing and more things will be assembled here in the future. This will benefit some companies that are moving production back from overseas. The reasons include more »

  • Unlocking Value in a Failing Business

    By Timothy Green - July 17, 2013 | Tickers: BKS, BAMM, MSFT

    There are few industries which the Internet negatively affected more than the book selling industry. Amazon is very likely directly responsible for the shuttering of countless local bookstores along with national chain Borders, and the shift to e-books is making brick-and-mortar book stores increasingly irrelevant. Barnes & Noble (NYSE: BKS) is the largest chain of book stores left, and the company has been struggling with huge losses over the past few more »

  • This Canadian Oilfield Service Company Isn't in Bargain Territory

    By Nathan Kirykos - July 16, 2013 | Tickers: CFW, FRC, CET, ECA, TCW

    One of the new oilfield service players is Canyon Services Group (TSX: FRC) whose revenue stream relies heavily on hydraulic fracturing. Does an investment in Canyon have a strong upside potential from the current levels? Let's take a look under the hood to check it out. 

    What? 

    According to Canyon, the Canadian pressure pumping market has been impacted by weaker producer activity and equipment capacity additions. The trend of more »

  • This High Value Investment Is Worth The Wait

    By Mohsin Saeed - July 16, 2013 | Tickers: BBRY, GOOG, SSNLF

    The popularity of Android has become a serious problem for competing mobile platforms. The only smartphone platform showing some resemblance of competition is Apple, but then again it relies mostly on hardware capabilities. Google’s (NASDAQ: GOOG) Android now accounts for nearly 75% of all smartphone devices. In this Android dominated space, Microsoft and BlackBerry (NASDAQ: BBRY) are trying to carve out a market for their platforms. The market has more »

  • Looking for Cheap Money? You Could Be Looking in the Wrong Place

    By Jason Hall - July 16, 2013 | Tickers: MO, AGNC, AGNCP, NLY, PM

    Many investors are looking for high income-paying stocks that also offer a level of capital protection. I recently ran a screener to try and identify a handful of worthwhile candidates. This is exactly the kind of search that, say a retiree could be doing; looking for dividend payers but also protection against loss of capital. I ran a screener based on the following three criteria:

  • How Cleaner Fracking Can Put Green in Your Pockets

    By Joseph Porter - July 12, 2013 | Tickers: ECL, HAL, SI

    Hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking, is a controversial oil- and gas-producing practice. Much effort has been expended to address environmental concerns associated with fracking. The focus here will be on fracking water, one of fracking's more tangible problems. We'll examine three companies with longstanding and profitable operations that have joined the effort to make fracking cleaner.

    The solution is the problem

    The fracking procedure is fairly simple more »

  • Deceptive Search Results Are No Good For This Quartet

    By Reuben Brewer - July 12, 2013 | Tickers: GOOG, IACI, MSFT, YHOO

    The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently sent a letter to search engines effectively warning them that their advertising has become more deceptive. While this won't likely have a big impact on industry giant Google (NASDAQ: GOOG), it could make life harder for companies like Yahoo! (NASDAQ: YHOO) and IAC Interactive (NASDAQ: IACI).

    Search Results or Advertising?

    The FTC highlights that “failing to clearly and prominently distinguish advertising from natural more »

  • Can This Robot Doctor Heal Itself?

    By Leo Sun - July 12, 2013 | Tickers: ARAY, ISRG, MAKO

    Shares of surgical robot maker Intuitive Surgical (NASDAQ: ISRG) plunged 16% on July 9, after the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company warned that its second quarter revenue would come in below analyst estimates when it reports earnings on July 18.

    It’s been a chaotic year for Intuitive Surgical, which produces the da Vinci surgical robot that was once the darling of Wall Street. Despite rising 2,700% over the past more »

  • The PC Market Will Survive, but the Old Gods Could Die

    By Leo Sun - July 12, 2013 | Tickers: GOOG, HPQ, INTC, MSFT

    By now, the dire fate of the PC industry is old news. Ever since the arrival of Apple’s iPad in 2010, the Wintel machines which had dominated the past three decades of personal computing have lost their competitive edge, surrendering market share quarter after quarter to tablet manufacturers. Unfortunately for shareholders of the “old gods” of the Wintel empire - Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT), Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ), Dell and Intel (NASDAQ: INTCmore »)

  • I Bet You're Probably Losing: Try Something That Actually Works

    By Jason Hall - July 11, 2013 | Tickers: RSP, SPY, VOO, VTI

    I read two articles today, that were both stark reminders that most of us are really bad at investing. From Foolish contributor Morgan Housel:

    Most investors underperform the market. When that's the case, how to become a great investor isn't what's important; becoming a less-bad investor should be the goal. The difference is subtle, but important.

    The article goes on to list more detail about the common more »

  • Which Company Needs a HCV Win?

    By Brandy Betz - July 11, 2013 | Tickers: ABBV, GILD, MRK

    The upcoming all-oral hepatitis C treatments earned well-deserved attention for some staggering cure rates, particularly in patient groups who haven’t responded well to the current drugs.

    Merck (NYSE: MRK) was one of the big HCV players -- but that’s about to change with Gilead (NASDAQ: GILD) and AbbVie (NYSE: ABBV) leading the new guard. How much does an HCV foothold mean to the overall health of these companies?

    Defending more »

  • 3 Companies Bill Ackman Could Target

    By Sam Mattera - July 11, 2013 | Tickers: ADT, FDX, TWC

    Bill Ackman is planning to take on another company. The founder of Pershing Square is attempting to raise money to buy an activist stake in an American company.

    Although trying to front-run Bill Ackman’s next investment is likely not the wisest strategy, Ackman’s criteria is enough to generate some interesting investment ideas.

    Ackman’s hints

    Ackman’s target sounds like a company Warren Buffett would covet.

    According to more »

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