outlook

Is Walgreen Going Too Far With Its Higher Dividend?

Walgreen, the leading U.S. pharmacy chain, recently increased its quarterly dividend by 28.6%, the largest increase in the company's 110-year history, from 17.5 cents a share to 22.5 cents a share. But is it giving away cash it's really going to need for its expansion plans?

Back-to-School Spending Forecast to Rise 3.8%

Class, today's lesson in back-to-school shopping is what grownups call a good news/bad news situation. First, the goods news: Back-to-school spending is expected to increase over last year, according to the retail analyzer ShopperTrak. The bad news: Shoppers won't be coming to the store as much.

Coffee Price Hikes Make Starbucks Stock Look Costly

Starbucks is hiking the price of its packaged coffee by 17% to compensate for a steep increase in Arabica coffee prices. Customers habituated to Starbucks coffee might keep splurging on its products, but Trefis analysts believe the passing on of its costs will affect Starbucks' top line.

Ask the Expert: Celebrating Your Financial Victories

In addition to chasing down answers to our readers' questions, we love to hear about your firsthand experiences with weathering this economic storm. And when we asked "Will you be better off next year?" at least one reader weighed in with a resounding "Yes!"

SunPower Building America's Biggest Solar Roof

SunPower is on a roll: It just launch the most efficient mass-produced solar cell in the world and announced it will soon start construction of the biggest solar roof in North America. Is the market already too enthusiastic about the solar energy major, or is this a good time to buy?

How Small Stores Will Impact Values of CVS, Walgreens

CVS Caremark and Walgreen are the leading pharmacy chains in the U.S. While both have been aggressively expanding their retail footprints, there has been a gradual decrease in the average size of the newly opened stores. Here's why they're going small, and what it means for their profits.

Earnings Season: Harbinger to Next Round of Layoffs?

Wall Street will watch second quarter earnings for telltale signs that the economy has slowed or that corporate margins are even tighter than is feared. But the ones reporting negative outlooks are likely to go back to the same old solution they used so often in recent years: layoffs.

LDK Solar Gets a Hand from Chinese Government

LDK Solar recently announced a $240 million investment by the China Development Bank, which gives it more breathing room to deal with its short-term debt situation. Right now, the market is pricing LDK at around $7 a share. Trefis thinks its worth $12. Wondering why? Read on ...

Three Things to Watch During Earnings Season

Earnings season is near, and investors, as always are worried. Don't fret too much, though: Odds are that your company will come out on top on the bottom line -- because most do. But what will separate the winners from the whiners for the coming quarter? Here are the three key factors.

Priceline's New Alerts Help Bargain Hunters Find Deals

Priceline is adding new features to allow its customers to be alerted when certain pre-set criteria are reached, yet another move by an online travel agency to personalize itself for its customers. Read what Trefis sees as the future for Priceline -- and for its stock.

Why Google's Flight Search Will Hurt Expedia

The travel-related search market became more competitive recently when Google added flight schedules to its search results. This could have a significant impact on online travel agencies, but a look at the details of how the service works shows why it will hit Expedia much harder than rival Priceline.

Priceline Has Room to Rise With Jetstar Airways Deal

Priceline recently announced a partnership with Asian low-cost carrier Jetstar Airways: Now, Priceline will provide bookings at thousands of Asian hotel properties on Jetstar's website. The potential gains from the deal should move the needle on Priceline's stock.

Short Sellers See a Rebound Coming for Big Bank Stocks

Investors have generally taken a negative position on big banks lately: Major financial institutions face a host of issues that are punishing their bottom lines. However, some of Wall Street's most carefully watched investors -- short sellers -- are withdrawing their bets against them.

Refashioning Gap: CEO Sees Future in Outlets, Online

Gap might be undergoing an extreme makeover, but the chain is no longer the key growth engine of Gap Inc., CEO Glenn Murphy told investors Wednesday. The apparel giant is shifting its emphasis to its outlet businesses, newer divisions such as Piperlime and Athleta, and overseas growth.

Will Walton Family Dump Walmart's So-So CEO?

Walmart's annual shareholder meeting is Friday, and sure to be discussed will be the news that earnings for the last quarter weren't very good. Overall numbers were up only modestly, and U.S. same-store sales fell. Will CEO Michael Duke last through another change of strategy for the retail giant?

SAP Knows: You Spend Money to Make Money

SAP showed healthy revenue growth in its recently announced first quarter earnings, but operating profits increased by far less. Why? Because the company is putting more money into operating expenses and R&D, which sets it up for bigger profits in the longer term.

Trefis Values LinkedIn at Just $30 a Share: Here's Why

Trefis put a value estimate of $30 a share on LinkedIn as it launched its IPO Thursday. Shares actually opened at $83, raced past $100, and closed at $94.25. Wondering why the Trefis estimate is so much lower? Let's re-examine the fundamentals, and how they arrived at that number.

Bath & Body Works Grows to 25% of Limited's Value

Bath & Body Works is Limited Brands' second most valuable division after Victoria's Secret, representing 25% of the firm's estimated equity value. Trefis looks at how this key division is recovering from the recession, and what that could mean for the company overall.

Lowe's Incentive Program May Boost Its Market Share

As the competition between home improvement heavyweights Lowe's and Home Depot intensifies, customer service is emerging as one of the key features on which they will need to innovate. Lowe's latest attempt is a new incentive program for customers paying with the store's credit card.

Mobile Data Profits Make Sprint a Buy

Based on Sprint's improving average revenue per user for mobile data service and the growth rate of its subscriber base, Trefis has raised its outlook for the telecom giant.

A Bear Outlook for Apple? Analysts Cautious on Sales

Apple's shares are trading at about $347, just shy of their all-time high of $364.90, which they hit in February. Its second quarter earnings were record-breaking. So why are some analysts beginning to worry about Apple's stock?

Three Old Reliable Stocks to Buy for the Long Haul

The short-term investors may account for most of the daily trading volume in stock markets, but slow and steady usually wins the investment race. The trick is to identify stocks likely to perform well over periods of years -- or even decades. Here are three strong options:

Could Apple's Shares Hit $500 This Year?

Apple's earnings per share nearly doubled last quarter, and its performance the previous quarter was almost as good. But Apple's shares are only up 11% in the last six months, trailing the Nasdaq. Still, there are reasons to believe that the stock will take off.

The Bulls Are Optimistic Despite Global Turmoil

Despite turmoil around the world, U.S. markets have been rising again, but is this a temporary bump, or the return of a bull market? The sharp-eyed analysts of Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs say its the latter, and their money is on strong growth ahead.

Is the Market Rally Over, or Is It Just Taking a Breather?

Markets hate uncertainty more than bad news, which is one reason they've swooned: No one can predict the long-term economic effects of Japan's earthquake or Middle Eastern upheaval. But technical analysis looks at the patterns deeper than the daily news, and the charts suggest a real bear ahead.

Prospective Homebuyers: Time Is on Your Side

The latest reports on home sales and prices offer a complicated and conflicted picture. But when the data are taken together, one thing is clear: Weighing risk and reward, it's worth waiting a few months to see which way the real estate winds are really blowing.

Top-Selling Drugs About to Lose Patent Protection

The pharmaceutical industry is about to fall off a cliff -- a patent cliff. Over the next few years, some of the world's most popular and lucrative medicines will go off patent, and generic competition will siphon an estimated quarter of a trillion dollars from companies' bottom lines. Here's a rundown:

Consumer Sentiment Index Jumps to Three-Year High

The markets may have had a rough weak as U.S. GDP growth was revised down and Middle East unrest caused oil prices to rise, but the consumer sentiment index rose to its highest level since January 2008. Sentiment has risen for about six months -- an encouraging sign -- but oil prices could sour the mood.

Libya Isn't the Only Force Working Against Stocks

With Mideast turmoil chasing oil higher and stocks lower, it's a good time to check the charts and see what price levels seem to be key "lines in the sand." Some indicators have been warning for months that the steep rally was preparing to reverse.

Why a Little Inflation Is a Good Thing for Americans

Inflation has inched higher in the past six months, but that's not a danger sign, but rather a harbinger of improving economic conditions and a strengthening recovery. And that, in turn, should lead to higher wages and more hiring in the year ahead.