Here are the 10 things you should know to make your Friday profitable:
- We're Not There Yet: In a speech to the Small Business Administration in Washington last night, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen told the audience that "we have further to go to achieve a healthy economy." Yellen credited small businesses for their role in creating new jobs in the economy. Since 2010, more than half of the new jobs created have occurred within firms with fewer than 250 employees. Next week, Yellen will address to NYU graduates at Yankee Stadium, making the annual graduation ceremony one of the hottest tickets in town.
- What Stocks Do Warren Buffett Own: According to a regulatory filing on Thursday, Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE: BRK.A) purchased 11 million shares in Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZN) last quarter and hiked its position in Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT). Once a quarter, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission reveals positions of investment managers who have at least $100 million in equity under management. The recent 13F filing reveals Berkshire's positions as of March 31.
- Retail Surging Back: Shares of J.C. Penney Company Inc. (NYSE: JCP) soared 25% in after-hours trading after the company reported a first-quarter earnings per share (EPS) loss of $1.16 on $2.8 billion in revenue. That beat consensus estimates that had JCP pegged for an EPS loss of $1.25 on $2.7 billion in revenue. But the bigger story for JC Penney is that the company hasn't performed as poorly as everyone thought this year.
- What Stocks Do George Soros Own: According to 13F regulatory filings, George Soros also shook up his portfolio. Soros went big into tech and gold mining stocks. Soros opened positions in RF Micro Devices Inc. (Nasdaq: RFMD), Marvel Technology Group Ltd. (Nasdaq: MRVL) and Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK). He also opened positions in Yamana Gold Inc. (NYSE: AUY) AuRico Gold Inc. (NYSE: AUQ) and New Gold Inc. (NYSE: NGD), while increasing holdings in Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE: HLF). The billionaire dumped his bank holdings in Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C), JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) and Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC).
- What Stocks Do Carl Icahn Own: According to 13F filings, activist investor Carl Icahn opened a new stake in eBay Inc. (Nasdaq: EBAY) and increased his holdings in Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL). Icahn also decreased his holdings in online streaming giant Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX).
- Today's Economic Calendar: Keep your eye on housing starts and consumer sentiment, two important gages of economic growth and activity in the U.S. economy. St. Louis Fed President James Bullard is also scheduled to speak on the economy and monetary policy from Little Rock, Arkansas around noon.
- What is Bitcoin: How can an alternative currency thrive if no one knows what it is? According to Forex News, a recent telephone survey found that 76% of respondents were "unfamiliar" with bitcoin. At the same time, 79% said they never have and never will use alternative currencies.
- Uber's Big Ride: Bloomberg reports that ride-sharing app maker Uber is in talks with several underwriters about an initial public offering valued at $10 billion. The valuation is a massive increase from the $3.5 billion it received last year when it raised $258 million to expand operations. The company has faced increased pressures from taxi unions and its new competitor Lyft over the last few months.
- Another Round of Recalls: On Thursday, General Motors Co. (NYSE: GE) announced five new automotive recalls. The move will cover more than 3 million vehicles around the world, and will force the company to take a $200 million charge against quarterly earnings. The company's reputation is on the ropes, as it is still reeling from a massive recall over faulty ignition switches that cause 13 deaths in the U.S.
- Earnings Reports: Stay tuned for earnings reports from Canadian Solar Inc. (Nasdaq: CSIQ), Tsakos Energy Navigation Ltd. (NYSE: TNP), SORL Auto Parts Inc. (Nasdaq: SORL), and Park Electrochemical Corp. (NYSE: PKE).
Full U.S. Economic Calendar May 16, 2014
- Housing Starts at 8:30 a.m.
- Consumer Sentiment at 9:55 a.m.
- St Louis Federal Reserve Bank President James Bullard speaks at 11:50 a.m.
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