Money Matters - Simplified


The Rise and Fall of Hot IPOs

Investors got excited when MakeMyTrip(Nasdaq: MMYT) went public this summer. India's leading online travel website popped 89% on its first day of trading, making it the hottest IPO in nearly three years.

Solar Costs Getting Harder to Cut

 The fight for lower costs in solar is a never-ending battle. Those who can lower costs will survive; those who can't are headed to the scrap heap. So every quarter we watch to see where costs are trending and who is moving into a better position in the industry. Where do we stand right now?


U.S. markets close with slim gains

New York -- U.S. markets mustered few gains Wednesday with the dollar index extending its rise into the second trading session, climbing 0.18 percent to 80.

The dollar's gain weighed on commodities and U.S. firms that rely on exports. With no major reports on the U.S. economic calendar, Germany reported its trade surplus grew from $16.5 billion in October 2009 to $18.8 billion in October 2010.

The surplus is a reminder of the struggles of the euro, which is shared by countries with economies in decline, such as Greece and Ireland, and countries where an economic recovery has found traction, such as Germany and France.

Gold shifts lower as dollar gains

New York -- Gold prices fell sharply Wednesday in New York, losing $26.10 or 1.8 percent, as equities scratched out slim gains and the dollar continued to rise.

The Dow Jones industrial average held its ground, adding 13.32 points or 0.12 percent. The Standard & Poor's index fared slightly better, gaining 0.37 percent, 4.53, to 1,228.28.

The dollar index, which rose 0.5 percent in the previous trading session, rose 0.17 percent Wednesday.

On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange gold dropped to $1,382.60 per troy ounce. Crude oil prices for January delivery lost 12 cents to $88.57 per barrel.

The euro fell to $1.3262 from Monday's $1.3274. Against the yen, the dollar rose to 84.02 yen from Monday's 82.66 yen.

Here's How Mueller Water Products May Be Failing You

Margins matter. The more Mueller Water Products (NYSE:MWA) keeps of each buck it earns in revenue, the more money it has to invest in growth, fund new strategic plans, or (gasp!) distribute to shareholders. Healthy margins often separate pretenders from the best stocks in the market. That's why I check on my holdings' margins at least once a quarter. I'm looking for the absolute numbers, comparisons to sector peers and competitors, and any trend that may tell me how strong Mueller Water Products' competitive position could be.

Jobless claims rise by 26,000 in week

Washington -- The U.S. Department of Labor said Thursday first-time claims for jobless benefits rose by 26,000 in the week ending Nov. 27.

The rise was 11,000 more than economists expected. Automatic Data Processing Inc. said Wednesday the U.S. economy added 93,000 private sector jobs in October to November. On Friday, the Labor Department issues a monthly employment situation report. Currently, the unemployment rate stands at 9.6 percent.

The four-week rolling average of initial unemployment benefit claims fell by 5,750 to 431,000, the lowest in more than two years.

Greenhouse CO2 emissions on the rise again

Exeter, England -- Carbon dioxide emissions, the main greenhouse gas contributing to global warming, continue to rise and may reach record levels this year, U.K. researchers say.

A study led by the University of Exeter is part of the annual carbon budget update by the Global Carbon Project, reported Monday.

The study found that despite the global financial crises affecting Western economies that led to a 1.2 percent reduction of CO2 emissions from record 2008 levels, that reduction was less than half what was predicted a year ago.

Meanwhile, emerging economies like China and India experienced strong economic performance despite the financial crisis and recorded substantial increases in CO2 emissions.

U.S. leading indicators rise 0.5 percent

New York -- The U.S. index of leading economic indicators rose 0.5 percent in October, the Conference Board said Thursday.

The rise was in line with the consensus forecast.

The headline index rose to 111.3. The index us up at an annual rate of 3.3 percent with a six-month change of 1.6 percent, a sharp drop from the 4.6 percent rise in the prior six-month period.

U.S. markets rise after sell-off

Wall Street investors are also reacting to Tuesday's sell-off. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 178.47 points, or 1.59 percent Tuesday.
The Standard & Poor's 500 lost 19.41 points, or 1.62 percent.

In midmorning trading Wednesday, the DJIA added 9.96 points, 0.09 percent, to 11,033.46. The S&P 500 gained 4.57 points, or 0.39 percent, to 1,182.91. The Nasdaq composite index tacked on 13.80 points, or 0.56 percent, to 2,483.64.
The benchmark 10-year Treasury note rose 7/32 to yield 2.816 percent.

Crude oil prices drop Monday

New York -- Crude oil prices dropped below $85 per barrel Monday, as a stock market rally fell flat with the dollar index rising 0.69 percent.

The Nikkei 225 index added 1.06 percent while the Shanghai composite index in China gained 0.97 percent Monday
Markets closed higher in Britain, France, Germany and Sweden. But the rally failed to carry across the Atlantic. The Dow Jones industrial average added 9.39 points or 0.08 percent, while the Standard & Poor's 500 index lost ground, falling 0.12 percent.