Gretchen Stone

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  • The Gluten-Free Craze Is Sweeping America

    By Gretchen Stone - August 12, 2013 | Tickers: BDBD, GIS, MKC

    America loves its fad diets, and now many consumers have latched on to gluten-free living. How many people are buying gluten-free products? Up to 3 million people need a gluten-free diet, but some estimates suggest that up to 35 million people are going gluten-free, not for health issues but as a new weight-loss plan.

    Gluten-free eating isn't a lifestyle choice for many people, it's a daily requirement to more »

  • China is Tightening its Grip on the Baby Food Industry

    By Gretchen Stone - August 9, 2013 | Tickers: ABT, MJN

    Multinational baby food makers have hit another roadblock in China, as the government begins a three-month campaign to buoy the image and competitiveness of the weakened domestic milk industry. Both were damaged by the 2008 tainted milk scandal that left six babies dead and thousands hospitalized. A business strategist couldn't concoct a better three-point plan: leverage a price-fixing scandal, publicize precautionary recalls and consolidate the domestic market to shut more »

  • The Met Coal Industry Isn’t Just Playing Dead

    By Gretchen Stone - August 6, 2013 | Tickers: ACI, BHP, TCK

    Companies like Arch Coal (NYSE: ACI) had touted metallurgical coal as their darling savior, but the industry must face a deceptive truth: increased steel demand won’t equal increased met coal prices. That spells big trouble for the met coal market, and American producers in particular.

    Metallurgical coal is a main component in producing steel, and steel demand is expected to grow by 3% this year, according to steelmaking giant more »

  • Are Facebook and Google the New Ad Giants to Beat?

    By Gretchen Stone - August 6, 2013 | Tickers: FB, GOOG, OMC, PUBGY.PK

    The newest advertising war isn't happening over three-martini lunches on Madison Avenue, it's online right now. The revenues that Facebook and Google pulled in this quarter can’t be sustained in the long term, and that’s an assumption they’re probably banking on at newly merged Publicis Groupe SA (NASDAQOTH: PUBGY.PK) and Omnicom Group (NYSE: OMC).

    Publicis and Omnicom have a combined $35.1 billion market value more »

  • Why Sit-Down Dining Is Good for Your Portfolio

    By Gretchen Stone - August 2, 2013 | Tickers: BWLD, CMG, LBY

    Has American casual dining bounced back and can we expect even bigger returns soon? Libbey’s (NYSEMKT: LBY) story is one of small gains and a steadier future outlook, while companies such as Buffalo Wild Wings (NASDAQ: BWLD) and Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE: CMG) are doing well with a winning formula of quality food and more locations.

    The food service industry follows the same predictable, downward path each time the more »

  • Fracking's Controversial Image Is Your Risk

    By Gretchen Stone - July 31, 2013 | Tickers: COG, CHK, RRC

    Is fracked natural gas sustainable?  Do its public relation risks hinder sound, long-term investing? Companies such as Cabot Oil & Gas (NYSE: COG) and Range Resources (NYSE: RRC) are raking in profits from plays in the Marcellus Shale, but before making a long-term investment, I suggest you consider possible changes in states’ public policies.

    The potential for boom and bust in fracked natural gas is similar to public policy’s effect more »

  • Media Criticism Targets Retailers

    By Gretchen Stone - July 29, 2013 | Tickers: JCP, KSS, MSO

    Accounting errors and advertising problems won't go away for two major U.S. retailers. Several lawsuits have hit Kohl's (NYSE: KSS) in the past few months, and new complaints are emerging about J.C. Penney (NYSE: JCP). Allegations of deceptive practices are wreaking havoc on the images of these two major-name department stores, and investors should be wary, when shopping and investing.

    Accounting errors

    Kohl’s is in more »

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

    By Gretchen Stone - July 23, 2013 | Tickers: GOOG, MSFT | Editor's Choice

    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 »