John McKenna

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  • Is Bill Ackman Secretly a Genius?

    By John McKenna - August 15, 2013 | Tickers: HLF, JCP, WEN, THI

    It’s not that easy being Bill Ackman.

    Whether it was calling out Herbalife (NYSE: HLF) as a “pyramid scheme” or spinning off Tim Horton’s (NYSE: THI) from Wendy’s (NASDAQ: WEN), every big move he’s done has been under the microscope. Now that he has announced that he will leave JC Penney’s (NYSE: JCP) board of directors, following some of the men he brought with him more »

  • DOJ Airline Lawsuit Much Ado About Nothing

    By John McKenna - August 13, 2013 | Tickers: DAL, UAL, LCC

    So much for a quick and easy airline merger.

    On August 13th, the Department of Justice surprisingly announced that it would be investigating the proposed merger between US Airways (NYSE: LCC) and American Airlines for anti-competitiveness in the industry. The news sent struggling US Airways’ stock plunging 13% in the day’s trading, a reversal from the initial bump that it received when the merger announcement was announced in more »

  • 3 Questions for Groupon's New CEO

    By John McKenna - August 12, 2013 | Tickers: GRPN, YELP, ZNGA

    Struggling coupon giant Groupon (NASDAQ: GRPN), made headlines by promoting Eric Lefkofsky to the role of CEO, replacing the ousted Andrew Mason. This gave Groupon a post earnings boost, with the share price jumping 19%, as well as a $300 million share buyback. For some, this bit of positive news can be seen as a start of Groupon’s recovery after two brutal post-IPO years, but new competition, and recent more »

  • What Jeff Bezos Means for The Future of Newspapers

    By John McKenna - August 9, 2013 | Tickers: AMZN, NYT, WPO

    What’s a Silicon Valley billionaire going to do with one of the nation’s most revered newspapers? And why would he pay $250 million, 17 times the estimated EBITDA, for it?

    Those questions ran through most people’s minds once the news broke of Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) founder Jeff Bezos buying the Graham-family owned Washington Post (NYSE: WPO). Newspapers have been falling by the wayside for the last three more »

  • How Local Advertising Matters for These Global Brands

    By John McKenna - August 9, 2013 | Tickers: FB, LNKD, YELP

    Former Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill famously said “All politics is local.” To be successful politically, you have to put your constituents’ concerns and needs first. They put you in office, and they can remove you just as quickly. In the financial world, social media has helped websites and mobile apps become international business by emphasizing local businesses. Not only is this a big money making strategy, it more »

  • The Sense Behind 'Made in the USA'

    By John McKenna - August 9, 2013 | Tickers: AAPL, T, GOOG

    It’s not that long ago that the words “Made in the USA” were synonymous with quality and consistency. Yet for the last few decades, that burden of being the world's manufacturing powerhouse has shifted to China and the emerging countries that can do the job cheaper, especially in the realm of tech gadgets.

    Lately though, there has been an uptick in demand for more American-made goods. A poor more »

  • Three Questions for Groupon's New CEO

    By John McKenna - August 8, 2013 | Tickers: GRPN, YELP, ZNGA

    Struggling coupon giant Groupon (NASDAQ: GRPN), made headlines this week by promoting Eric Lefkofsky to the role of CEO, replacing the ousted Andrew Mason. This gave Groupon a post earnings boost, with the share price jumping 19%, as well as a $300 million share buyback. For some, this bit of positive news can be seen as a start of Groupon’s recovery after two brutal post-IPO years, but new competition more »

  • Mongolia: Copper Heaven?

    By John McKenna - August 1, 2013 | Tickers: BHP, FCX, RIO

    Deep in the middle of the Gobi Desert, a city is rising. It’s a city like any other: with restaurants, houses, citizens, basketball courts, and enough jobs to go around (ok, so it’s not like many European cities). It’s a new civilization that has sprung up in the most unlikely of places, but there’s gold to be had here. Or should I say copper.

    Welcome to more »

  • How to Weatherproof These Soda Stocks

    By John McKenna - July 31, 2013 | Tickers: KO, DPS, PEP

    Markets took a bit of a tumble on July 16 after Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO) came out with not-so-impressive earnings for the second quarter. While volumes increased, revenue dropped off, causing a drop in share price, as well as a reported 3% EPS drop. Company executives would be quick to blame global macroeconomic trends for the downturn, which is a good excuse given the still hairy situation across the globe for more »

  • Chipotle's an #AdGenius

    By John McKenna - July 31, 2013 | Tickers: CMG, SBUX, YUM

    Oh great, those Twitter hack brigades are at it again. This time, they got to Chipotle (NYSE: CMG), with a string of cryptic tweets about avocados and how to use Twitter.

    It’s a clever stunt, but there was just one thing wrong about that: it was a fake hack all along.

    It was a marketing stunt by Chipotle to draw attention to its 20th anniversary scavenger hunt for more »

  • This Old Dog Can Learn New Tricks

    By John McKenna - July 29, 2013 | Tickers: ACN, IBM, ORCL

    It may have seemed hard to believe a decade ago, but looking at the tech industry today, it appears that the old hardware companies are on their last legs, as cloud computing becomes a more important factor in the stability of companies. In addition, cloud software is vital for businesses that need to share and access information in an efficient, inexpensive, and cooperative manner. So, how do hardware companies transform more »

  • Microsoft Is Further Behind than It Thinks

    By John McKenna - July 25, 2013 | Tickers: AAPL, MSFT, QCOM

    Given the decades of dominance that Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) has enjoyed over the PC market, it’s a bit hard to believe that the Surface tablet is one of the few products that are Microsoft in hardware and software. That’s because the PC market has always been a collection of hardware companies that run on Microsoft’s software, creating a competitive PC market while solidifying Microsoft’s hold on more »

  • How Zynga Can Come Back

    By John McKenna - July 23, 2013 | Tickers: EA, FB, MSFT, ZNGA

    If there is one thing growing up as a Millenial has taught me, it’s that you are bound to the ever changing technology climate. What was cutting edge two years ago is now a relic of a bygone age. Nowhere is this truer than in the video game world, where all eyes are on the eighth generation of consoles set to come out this fall. Yet at the same more »

  • Is This the End of the Regional Phone Company?

    By John McKenna - July 22, 2013 | Tickers: T, S, TMUS, USM, VZ

    After being foiled in its bid to grab T-Mobile (NYSE: TMUS) for $39 billion in 2011, AT&T (NYSE: T) bounced back this year to acquire cell carrier Leap Wireless for $1.2 billion, at $15/share. While not as jaw-dropping as the first proposal, its smaller size will be easier to clear with FCC regulators, who raised anti-trust concerns with the larger deal, and will give AT&T a more »

  • This Company Will Save the Video Game Industry

    By John McKenna - July 20, 2013 | Tickers: ATVI, FB, ZNGA

    So much can change in a decade, can’t it? 10 years ago, my friends and I were obsessively saving our pennies so that by summer we could be the first person to say that we had the holy grail of gaming at the time - the Xbox 360. Never mind that it was $400, it was a necessity to play some of the coolest games on the block, like Activision more »

  • Is the Great TV Crunch Coming?

    By John McKenna - July 15, 2013 | Tickers: CHTR, CMCSA, DTV, DISH, TWC

    This week, the biggest players in television and communications have arrived at Sun Valley in an effort to chart out the next year in the industry. Typically, it’s a good place to boast about good earnings, as well as introduce new ways of getting hit shows into more homes, for a fee. While competition has been the driving force in this conference, one man has been publicly taking an more »

  • A Financial Salute to America: Part III - Car Talk

    By John McKenna - July 11, 2013 | Tickers: F, GM

    Our third installment in our financial salute of America series takes a look at the invention that made the world smaller and more mobile: the car. While not an American innovation, it was American businesses that made the car cheap and efficient for most of the 20th century. The car made Detroit the capital of American industry, gave rise to the American Interstate Highway, spawned the trend of roadside more »

  • How to Save Barnes & Noble

    By John McKenna - July 11, 2013 | Tickers: AMZN, BKS, MSFT

    For decades, the bookstore was more than just a bookstore. It was a place to escape, to read and buy books, have a cup of coffee, and chat in an intelligent manner with the owners and fellow patrons. It was a place where you could find a first edition as a gift or as a bookshelf enhancer, or get that legal manuscript you need to pass your bar exam. Lately more »

  • A Financial Salute to America: Part II - Steel City

    By John McKenna - July 10, 2013 | Tickers: MT, NUE, X

    (for Part I about Standard Oil and its offspring, click here).

    America didn’t just lead the world in oil at the turn of the last century; it also dominated in another important facet of modern life: steel production. Like Rockefeller was to Standard Oil, Andrew Carnegie was to U.S. Steel (NYSE: X). A company noted for size rather than efficiency, it was responsible for 67% of steel production more »

  • A Financial Salute to America: Part I - Black Gold

    By John McKenna - July 3, 2013 | Tickers: CVX, XOM

    In honor of it being the week of July 4, I thought I’d take a historical and financial look at what makes America the greatest country on Earth. After all, we’re the biggest economy on the planet, we export American culture around the world, and our companies set industry standards. Hey, we even created them.

    A brief history of Standard Oil

    In the early 20th century, no more »

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