Archive for the ‘Leisure’ Category

Next Week’s Focus: FOMC Announcement and Earnings from Facebook, Twitter

Friday, July 24th, 2015

NEW YORK (TheStreet) — The earnings parade is in full swing, and there are a number of key economic data points on deck next week.  Traders will be focused on the Federal Open Market Committee’s announcement Wednesday to look for more clues on the timing of an interest-rate hike, which will affect commodities, commodity-based stocks and exchange-traded funds, as well as the financial sector.  Other key data due next week include the S&P/Case-Shiller Pending Home Sales, GDP, the Consumer Confidence Index, and the Chicago and Dallas manufacturing surveys. The theme so far this earnings season is the tremendous moves in names such as Google  , Amazon  and Netflix  due to blowout quarters and strong guidance. Conversely, if companies show weak reports, such as Caterpillar’s  , the market is showing no mercy, which is reflected in the stock price. All eyes will be on Twitter   on Tuesday as the stock and company continue to struggle. Over the past six quarters as a public company, Twitter’s post-EPS move was 16.2%. On Wednesday, reports are due from industrial conglomerate Eaton  , payment processor MasterCard  and Facebook  . While Caterpillar disappointed, Eaton’s management team is solid and could produce a better result. Visa  blew away its quarter, and MasterCard looks to be in good shape as well, as the payment processors continue to outperform. Facebook is up 450% since it hit a low in August 2012 and is up 25% on the year as the company continues to improve on several verticals. On Thursday, energy stock Occidental Petroleum  and Starwood Hotels & Resorts  deliver earnings. Occidental Petroleum has been trading in sympathy with the energy sector as crude struggles to find a bottom, while trends in the travel industry remain strong. Must Read: George Soros’ Top 5 Dividend Stock Picks for 2015

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Dump Portfolio Losers, 1 of 4 Ways to Fix Your Retirement Plan

Wednesday, December 24th, 2014

NEW YORK (MainStreet) – Too many Americans just don’t seem to get it when it comes to retirement savings, which could cost them when their working years are done.
A study from E-Trade says 40% of working Americans would rather spend money on themselves than on their retirements, and that rises to 58% for those under the age of 34. Workers said they would use only 28% of employee bonuses toward retirement savings.
Read More: 4 Changes to Retirement Plans You’d Better Know About for 2015
That study mirrors a long list of others that conclude Americans aren’t taking their retirement savings seriously. An October study from Wells Fargo said 34% of middle-class Americans hadn’t contributed anything to an employee retirement account such as a 401(k) or IRA plan, and that 41% of Americans age 50 to 59 have also not saved anything toward retirement. A full 61% of all middle-class Americans in the Wells Fargo study say they are not sacrificing "a lot" to save for retirement.
"Saving for retirement isn’t easy," says Joe Ready, a director at Wells Fargo. "It requires sacrifice, and it’s not something people can push off and hope to achieve later in life."
E-Trade advises people to change the way they think about retirement savings and take creative but diligent and disciplined steps to saving.
Must Read: Dow 18,000: Why This Market Rally May Never Happen Again
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New Jersey Online Gambling Underwhelms in First Year Running

Monday, November 24th, 2014

Internet gambling in New Jersey has been underwhelming in the year since it began, and it is now under attack by opponents looking to shut it down.

Sozzi: How Driving a Car May Never be the Same

Friday, May 9th, 2014

NEW YORK (TheStreet) — Where has the majority of the innovation in the auto industry been centered in the last couple of years? Ask yourself if all of this sounds familiar from reading Car & Driver magazine, attending glitzy auto shows, or listening to a slick pitch from a car salesman. Infotainment system: Ford  led the infotainment movement with its Sync system from Microsoft , but now the likes of Tesla  and General Motors  have installed larger touchscreens in the center consoles that are helping to control life while navigating the urban jungle. Soon, you will be able to order Dominos  pizza from a Ford sync system, as seen here. I expect on-demand ordering via the car, and autos that are connected to one another, to be waiting in the wings. Exterior: If you were to carefully look at the newest models shown at the recent New York International Auto Show or Beijing Auto Show, the exteriors have more holes to bring air into the car to keep it cool. Combined with weight reduction initiatives, automakers continue to find interesting ways to boost fuel economy. Creature comforts: Taking a page from Apple’s  playbook, automakers are paying greater attention to the driver experience inside the car. From heated steering wheels to well-placed cupholders to video screens that alert, to runaway shopping carts, cars are better able to adapt to the driver’s needs and the curveballs thrown from the outside environment during a trek to work. Unknown to many motorists, and dare I say auto executives, are smart highways and dirt repellent paint. Although the concept of a smart highway addresses the innovation not being brought to crippled and outdated U.S. infrastructure, they are likely decades away from becoming reality due to cost. On the other hand, dirt repellent paint is already being tested, and could be a premium option to check off when ordering a new car. Smart Highways Being hyped by an industrial designer in Europe, a smart highway has three characteristics: The highway is embedded with technology that can visually communicate when the road is slippery and generate electricity for its own lights. Dynamic paint is used on the road to communicate weather and traffic changes. Yes, there is an “Innovation Priority Lane”, a lane where an electric car is automatically charged as it speeds down the road. Aside from this Euro-derived idea, a U.S. company called Solar Roadways has been testing roads embedded with solar panels. Costing $6,900 for a 12×12 panel, the hypothetical highway would reduce the need for asphalt, concrete, electricity for road lights, and even salt during a storm as the road is heated. Dirt Repellent Pain Developed by a firm called UltraTech International, and tested in concert with Nissan, this paint repels water and oils. According to Nissan, it “prevents splashes from puddles or road spray.” The product reminds me of a still relatively new waterproof hoodie from Under Armour , and should scare the merchants at Pep Boys  and AutoZone  that are responsible for stocking shelves with wax and soft cloths. — By Brian Sozzi CEO of Belus Capital Advisors, analyst to TheStreet. This article represents the opinion of a contributor and not necessarily that of TheStreet or its editorial staff.

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Sozzi: New Alien Vans are Invading the United States!

Monday, May 5th, 2014

NEW YORK (TheStreet) — The old adage in geeky analyst land is that pickup truck sales are a wonderful indicator of both the health of the U.S. housing market and by extension, the economy. More dirt, gravel, and lumber piled into the bed of a construction worker’s new Ford  F-150 or General Motor’s  Silverado sure sounds like a sign of a good economy. However, I encourage you to lift your eyes up from the huge Tesla  info-attainment system for a hot second and recognize this: the United States is being invaded by HUGE alien-looking vans as it continues to recover! Well, in truth, these alien vans I reference are actually cargo and passenger models from Mercedes-Benz, Ford, Nissan, and Dodge that are replacing outdated pieces of junk from yesteryear: Let me tell you, the market for these huge, underpowered and overweight alien vans is on fire. Consider these stats supplied  by Mercedes-Benz, the maker of the Sprinter line – the classiest of the group: Since 2009, the van market has grown 35%. Sprinter sales are up 155% during that time. Mercedes-Benz sold 163,000 Sprinters worldwide in 2013, with the U.S. (22,000) second to Germany (36,000) in terms of units sold. Sprinter sales rose 17.5% year over year in February. I am sticking with my muscle cars. But, what would YOU rather drive around in 2016 as an Amazon  same-day delivery person; an alien van or an all-aluminum Ford pickup truck that was born from the minds of Alcoa ? Tweet me your responses @BrianSozzi and yes, you will receive a retweet, not just a weak favorite. Read on to see 2014′s Alien Vans: 2015 Ford Transit Goes on sale this summer. Cargo van can be had for $30,560. Available in three different roof heights, and with windows. 2014 Ram ProMaster The demand is so strong that this is a new model in the Ram lineup. Yes, you could put a pallet straight in through the swinging back doors with ease. Cost is roughly $38,175. 2014 Nissan NV Cargo Weighs in at a whopping 6,862 lbs. Cargo van price: 26,665. Passenger van price: $32,985 to $33,235. 2015 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4×4 Arrives with dealers (the company has 244 dealers for this vehicle) in January 2015. The model is 4.3 inches higher (for real) than the prior iteration. Starting price: $36,915 up to $60,000. — By Brian Sozzi CEO of Belus Capital Advisors, analyst to TheStreet. This article represents the opinion of a contributor and not necessarily that of TheStreet or its editorial staff.

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3 Amazing Clues That the Housing Market Recovery Has Abruptly Slowed

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

NEW YORK (TheStreet) — The U.S. housing market recovery has slowed, and not many average investors are taking notice. Consider what close to eight months of sluggish new and existing home sales, due to price gouging homebuilders and higher mortgage rates, has done to early cycle (companies selling products needed early on in the building process) housing stocks. One-Month Performance Lumber Liquidators : -8.40% Owen’s Corning : -2.98% Mohawk Industries : -0.14% Beazer Homes : -4.23% Pulte Homes : -1.28% Toll Brothers : -2.81% Hovnanian : -5.56% When Owen’s Corning recently warned of weak roofing sales I made a mental note. When Whirlpool  needed increased marketing to move appliances in the U.S. last quarter, I began working the phones of contacts on the ground. Then I went looking for odd clues at home improvement retailers to justify the information I was receiving. Holding housing stocks that are 10% off from their peak? I suggest doing a bit of grassroots research such as I did below at Home Depot  to gauge whether the key spring season for housing could be surprisingly mediocre, hurting the outlooks for the companies mentioned above. Turn up the sound on these Vines!Plants in the parking lot = Home Depot hoping to catch the attention of those on the highway. Clearance on stuff you need to complete a house…  …and to repair and remodel a house.  — By Brian Sozzi CEO of Belus Capital Advisors, analyst to TheStreet. This article represents the opinion of a contributor and not necessarily that of TheStreet or its editorial staff.

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Sozzi: 7 Bone Crushing Realities for Anyone Eating Out This Summer

Monday, April 28th, 2014

NEW YORK (TheStreet) — Save those digital pennies guys - taking a Tinder-sourced date to Buffalo Wild Wings , Denny’s , Panera Bread , McDonald’s , Domino’s  and other eateries will cost much, much more this summer. While beef, dairy, chicken, and avocado price inflation have dominated the headlines of late, there are three surprise ingredients that will whack your wallet in one way or another. Sugar: after reaching a three and a half year low in January of this year, sugar prices have rebounded to the tune of 15%. Might want to swap that sweetened iced tea for tap water at the table. Tomatoes: due to persistent drought conditions in California, tomato prices are expected to increase by at least 20% this year. Coupled with the aforementioned spike in beef, chicken, and dairy prices, dollar menu shepherds McDonald’s and Burger King  could be staring at an entire list of loss leaders on the drive-thru board. Read: Two-Thirds of Shoppers Don’t Trust Retailers After Data Breaches Cocoa: make sure to order a heavy dinner so there’s no desire for a chocolate-themed dessert. Cocoa prices have gained 12% from January. Hershey  and Cheesecake Factory  can’t be too thrilled by this development. What will restaurant operators likely do to protect their profit margins? Don’t instantly think the action plan involves immediately boosting menu prices: Portion sizes could be shrunk. Recipes may be reworked to include fewer ingredients. Menu items could be completely removed. Yes, menu prices will head higher, something already outlined by Chipotle  (3% to 5% increase pre-summer) and McDonald’s (2% increase). Score one for those owning a farm and able to sustainably raise their own food.– By Brian Sozzi CEO of Belus Capital Advisors, analyst to TheStreet. This article represents the opinion of a contributor and not necessarily that of TheStreet or its editorial staff.

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San Diego Chargers Are NFL’s Blackout Grinch

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

PORTLAND, Ore. (TheStreet) — Welcome to San Diego, the one place in the U.S. where National Football League team owners still think that keeping the home team off of local television will get them a new stadium.

After we took the time to congratulate owners on 12 weeks without an NFL blackout and the UT San Diego ran an editorial demanding public support for a new Chargers stadium, the Spanos family that owns the Chargers threw out all that goodwill with the Thanksgiving leftovers by taking the team’s Sunday game against the Cincinnati Bengals off the air. The Chargers were 5,300 tickets short of a sellout as of Thanksgiving afternoon, which automatically triggered the NFL blackout rule that demands games be sold out 72 hours before kickoff if they are to be televised.

Don’t blame the NFL and its backward blackout rule for this one, however. Blame the Chargers and the Spanos family for engaging in a spite war with their hometown and flat-out refusing to use the tools that would allow them to avoid such blackouts. …

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The Cheapest Way of Retiring

Friday, August 16th, 2013

NEW YORK (TheStreet) — In my previous two-part article (click here for Part 1, or Part 2), I detailed the importance of saving over the long term. While everyone’s scenario is different, I assumed we had a 30-year-old single investor, saving for 30 years in a Roth IRA. You can read about the amazing results from the beginning.

But contrary to its purpose, saving can actually be rather expensive. Between management fees, commissions and taxes, the amount of lost savings can be overwhelming. Luckily, we eliminated the main management fees by choosing a self-managed retirement account. Furthermore, we used a Roth retirement account, which allows for tax-free withdrawals starting at age 59-1/2.

Management fees on ETFs and mutual funds are much cheaper than those associated with investment specialists. The only way to avoid management fees in ETFs and mutual funds is to simply not invest in them….

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