Diane Alter

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  • Is It Worth Saving Penney’s?

    By Diane Alter - August 19, 2013 | Tickers: JCP, KSS, M

    The last time J.C. Penney (NYSE: JCP) got this much newspaper space was when the struggling retailer spent heavily on a flood of advertisements to lure customers into stores. Presently, the beleaguered chain is taking up print coverage for very different reasons. J.C. Penney is making headlines for its fight for survival.

    Last year, the limping retailer lost $1 billion and sales slumped 25%. Year to date, it more »

  • Forecast for First Solar: Mostly Cloudy With a Good Chance of Storms

    By Diane Alter - August 19, 2013 | Tickers: FSLR, GE, YGE

    The first half of the year was bright for First Solar (NASDAQ: FSLR), a maker of photovoltaic solar power systems.

    Shares soared some 50%. After reporting a 70% drop in second quarter profit and slashing guidance for the remainder of the year, the best days of 2013 may be well behind  the company.The dismal quarter and gloomy outlook sent shares tumbling 9%, and more stormy days ahead are expected more »

  • Why I Still Like Cisco

    By Diane Alter - August 18, 2013 | Tickers: AMZN, CSCO, VMW

    Despite uninspiring fiscal fourth quarter numbers, Cisco (Nasdaq:CSCO) is still a friend of mine.

    Yes, the Silicon Valley networking equipment giant announced it is slashing headcount by 4,000 (5%). Yes, orders from Asia and China were weak. And yes, CEO John Chambers said improvement in product lines from particular countries like Asia and China are “not at the pace we want.” But yes, I still like Cisco.

    In more »

  • Can Groupon Keep the Growth Going?

    By Diane Alter - August 13, 2013 | Tickers: FB, GOOG, GRPN

    For investors who bought shares in the online daily deals site Groupon (NASDAQ: GRPN) prior to second quarter earnings, they certainly got a deal.

    Shares soared some 22% following its second quarter earnings release and the announcement of interim CEO Eric Lefkofsky as permanent CEO. It was indeed an impressive one-day gain for the struggling company, but it’s way too early to call Groupon a true turnaround story. “I more »

  • Teen Retailers are Not All Right

    By Diane Alter - August 11, 2013 | Tickers: ARO, AEO, GPS, ZUMZ

    The kids may be all right, but the same can’t be said about teen retailers.

    Retailers, especially those that cater to teens and tweens, got off to a very difficult start to the second half of 2013 amid a slow crucial back-to season, second only to year-end holiday sales. Underscoring the lackluster start were the latest retail sales numbers. Revenue at stores open at least a year—an industry more »

  • Will Going Private Save BlackBerry?

    By Diane Alter - August 10, 2013 | Tickers: BBRY, DELL, HPQ

    In a year when the initial public offering calendar is once again white hot (129 companies have debuted year-to-date, the most since 2007) going private is the “in” thing to do.

    The latest company considering the go-private move is smartphone maker BlackBerry (Nasdaq: BBRY). Reuters was first to break the story that sent shares of the Canadian based company soaring nearly 6%. Apparently CEO Thorsten Heins and the BlackBerry board more »

  • What's Next for Starbucks?

    By Diane Alter - July 29, 2013 | Tickers: DNKN, GIS, SBUX

    After delivering robust sales growth in the third quarter, Starbucks (NASDAQ: SBUX) raised its full year outlook, sending shares soaring more than 6%.

    “Starbucks Q3 results represent the best across-the-board third quarter performance in our 42-year history,” CEO Howard Schultz said in a statement. Schultz also praised Starbucks’ mobile payment system (pay via smartphones) for speeding up service and keeping customers happy and coming back again and again.

    The coffee more »

  • Microsoft Has Lost its MoJo

    By Diane Alter - July 22, 2013 | Tickers: DELL, HPQ, MSFT

    Seriously soft fourth quarter earnings sent Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) shares tumbling some 11%. The tech giant’s EPS came in at $0.59 on revenue of $18.1 billion, well below the $0.75 EPS and $20.7 billion analysts were looking for. For the full year, revenue of $73.7 billion was short of the projected $78.7 billion, as were EPS of $2.62; the forecast was for more »

  • Why Investors Ought to Stick With Coke

    By Diane Alter - July 19, 2013 | Tickers: KO, DPS, PEP

    Coco-Cola (NYSE: KO) lost some of its fizz with—er—flat second quarter earnings, but shares are still a solid and lucrative long-term investment.

    The world’s largest beverage maker earned $2.68 billion, or $0.59 per share, down from $2.79 billion, or $0.61 per share, in the same period a year ago. Stripping out one-time items, the company earned $0.63 per share in the second more »

  • Should Investors Take Michael Dell’s Deal?

    By Diane Alter - July 16, 2013 | Tickers: AAPL, DELL, GOOG

    The saga surrounding Dell (NASDAQ: DELL) heated up when activist investor Carl Icahn sweetened his offer. In an effort to thwart Michael Dell’s attempts to take the company private, Mr. Icahn has upped the ante.

    Icahn, who owns nearly 9% of Dell, claims Michael Dell’s $24.4 billion, or $13.65 per share offer, undervalues the firm. Icahn’s fresh proposal adds warrants to his proposal. Initially, he more »

  • Why It’s Time to Buy Dunkin’ Dounts

    By Diane Alter - July 11, 2013 | Tickers: DNKN, MCD, SBUX

    Leave it to science to confirm what many of us knew all along--coffee and donuts boost brain power.

    According to a study published in the journal Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental, researchers at the University of Barcelona discovered that a caffeine-glucose combo juices the brain in terms of attention and memory.

    Perhaps stock analysts at Lazard Capital were sipping coffee and enjoying a glazed doughnut when they initiated coverage for more »

  • 3 of Biotech’s Best

    By Diane Alter - July 10, 2013 | Tickers: BIIB, CELG, GILD

    It’s been a healthy year-to-date for the biotech sector, with the space logging huge gains above and beyond those of the broad based market. Industry companies have thrived thanks to technological advances that facilitated new discoveries and stoked greater demand for life-enhancing and lifesaving products.

    Industry research firm IBIS World estimates global biotechnology industry revenue will jump 12.7% in 2013, reaching $262 billion. That follows an average annual more »

  • Looking Beyond Bed Bath & Beyond's Earnings

    By Diane Alter - July 1, 2013 | Tickers: AMZN, BBBY, TGT

    Look beyond Bed Bath & Beyond's (NASDAQ: BBBY) fiscal 2013 first-quarter earnings and you'll see steady growth anchored by a strong market position. Revenue increased 17.8%, comparable-store sales rose 3.4%, and the company expects performance to be robust for the remainder of the year.

    The company, a chain of retail stores operating under flagship brands including Christmas Tree Shops, Harmon and buybuy Baby stores, recently posted mixed more »

  • BlackBerry Suffers a Black Eye Following Q1 Results

    By Diane Alter - July 1, 2013 | Tickers: AAPL, BBRY, SSNLF

    A comeback for BlackBerry (NASDAQ: BBRY) looks distant. In fact, Q1 results leave many questioning if a comeback is even possible.

    Shares sank nearly 28% after Q1 earnings left Wall Street disappointed.

    At first blush, the report didn’t look too bad. But, it was the company’s surprising loss and uninspiring outlook that cast a dark cloud over shares.

    The Canadian smartphone marker posted revenue of $3.1 billion more »

  • What’s Next for Elan?

    By Diane Alter - July 1, 2013 | Tickers: BIIB, ELN, PRTA

    Elan's (NYSE: ELN) board unanimously rebuffed a $6.7 billion takeover offer from Royalty Pharma in early June and hired Citigroup to review “several corporate inquiries.” Things are starting to get very interesting. 

    “Both the board and executive management are aligned in exploring all opportunities that maximize the full value of the company for its shareholders,” Elan said in a statement. Apparently, it believes the company is worth much more »

  • A Sparkling Quarter But Lackluster Outlook Could Tarnish Tiffany

    By Diane Alter - June 10, 2013 | Tickers: COH, KORS, TIF

    After years of being tight-fisted, consumers worldwide appear a bit more ready to splurge. Thanks to record breaking stock market rallies and rising home prices, many Americans are feeling more jubilant about the economy and their financial situation. Plus, scores of Europeans are shrugging off sovereign debt woes and spending.

    Tiffany & Co (NYSE: TIF) recently reported a 2.5% net increase in quarterly earnings. The gain was thanks to robust more »

  • Intel Moves Beyond the Fading PC Market

    By Diane Alter - June 5, 2013 | Tickers: DELL, HPQ, INTC

    Intel (NASDAQ: INTC), a laggard for the last five years, has staged an impressive showing year-to-date. Up some 25% since the start of 2013, the chip marker’s gains have surpassed the roughly 15% rise for the Dow Jones Industrial Average and 14% jump for both the S&P 500 Index and Nasdaq.

    The shares' upward assent is especially impressive given the fall-off in PC sales, the chip maker’s more »

  • Target’s Misses Its Mark

    By Diane Alter - May 31, 2013 | Tickers: COST, TGT, WMT

    It’s kind of tough making a case for buying Target (NYSE: TGT) right now. The retailer recently posted a 29% drop in Q1 earnings and lowered its annual-profit outlook.

    For the quarter ended May 4, Target earned $0.77 per share on profit of $498 million, down from $1.04 a share on profit of $697 million in the same quarter a year ago. U.S. same store sales more »

  • Home Depot Is Where Investors Ought To Be

    By Diane Alter - May 29, 2013 | Tickers: HD, LOW, NUE, SHLD

    After a good five years of caution thanks to an ailing housing market and tight fisted consumers, it looks like the real estate recovery is for real and consumers are spending more.

    That's great news for Home Depot (NYSE: HD). In fact, that's what helped Home Depot post a healthy 18% spike in Q1 earnings and prompted the company to raise its full year outlook. CEO Frank Blake more »

  • This Company Hopes China's Sweet Tooth Will Deliver Sweet Rewards

    By Diane Alter - May 29, 2013 | Tickers: KRFT, MDLZ, HSY

    Hershey (NYSE: HSY) hopes a better understanding of China’s confectionery culture will lead to some sweet returns. The company just launched a new candy brand in the alluring Asian nation.

    In an effort to attract Chinese consumers and their selective palates, Hershey's conducted extensive research and continues to explore options. In mid-May, the candy company opened its Shanghai-based Asia Innovation Center where food scientists create recipes tailored to more »

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