• New look, new role for Ronald McDonald

    One of the best-known corporate representatives of all time is getting a new look. Ronald McDonald, the McDonald's (MCD) clown who came about 51 years ago, is being outfitted with two updated costumes as part of a push that appears set to return him to a more prominent role in the restaurant chain's branding. 

    The yellow jumpsuit Ronald's worn for so long will be replaced with cargo pants and a vest, along with a red-and-white striped rugby-type shirt. That's going to be the standard uniform. For "special occasions," he'll sport a red jacket, bowtie and yellow pants, the company says. At the same time, he'll also get involved with the corporate office's social media efforts. (Click and drag the arrows in the images below to see the before and after shots).

    Ronald, of course, isn't the only big chain mascot to have been rethought in recent years, as KFC, Burger King and Wendy's have all done the same. Here's a recap.


    Colonel Sanders, both the man and the drawing, is a key part of

    Read More »from New look, new role for Ronald McDonald
  • As the Baby Boom generation continues its long, slow goodbye from the workforce, the debate around the looming pension crisis in Canada continues, along with the number of ideas to fix the problem.

    The federal government announced a proposal Thursday for a new hybrid program, called a Target Pension Plan (TPP), where the employer and employee would share the investment risk. It would have a targeted payout, but if the money isn’t there both sides would decide how to manage it. It’s a mix of the older defined benefit plans that offer guaranteed payouts and the newer defined contribution plans, where the amount you get in retirement depends on performance of the investment.

    The government’s new pension proposal comes as Ontario’s government floats its own program, and as some premiers across Canada are calling for Ottawa to boost Canadian Pension Plan (CPP) premiums to help Canadians receive a bigger pension in retirement.

    Then there’s the camp that believes all of the fuss about

    Read More »from Pension debate heats up as Ottawa floats TPP
  • The Dow (^DJI) held steady today, ending the day right where it started. The Nasdaq (^IXIC) was up 0.52% and The S&P 500 (^GSPC) was up 0.17% after Facebook (FB) and Apple (AAPL) reported upbeat quarterly earnings after the close Wedneday. Facebook ended down 0.80%. Apple ended the day up 8.20%.

    Related: Apple & Facebook surge on strong earnings

    Stocks lost some momentum after reports that Russia’s military was launching exercises along the Ukraine border. A raft of other earnings Thursday were mixed.

    Shares of Caterpillar (CAT) helped the Dow after the company beat earnings estimates handily, thanks in part to cost cutting measures. Fellow Dow component Verizon (VZ), meanwhile, missed Wall Street estimates. Verizon completed a deal to gain full control of Verizon Wireless in late February. The company said it would have beat estimates if it had control of Verizon Wireless for the full quarter.

    Microsoft (MSFT), Amazon (AMZN) and Starbucks (SBUX) are all set to report after the closing

    Read More »from Stocks squeak into the green
  • Amazon.com (AMZN) has had some rough times in 2014. Its shares jumped from $50 to $400 over the past five years, but so far this year, they've slumped 16%. The decline started after the company reported disappointing sales for the 2013 holiday season, and first-quarter results that came in pretty much as expected Thursday did only a little to break the pattern.

    Amazon reported sales of $19.7 billion, which managed to beat the Street consensus of $19.4 billion. This was a 23% gain from the first quarter of last year, and earnings of 23 cents per share, up from 18 cents a year ago. Revenue growth was about even with the 22% rate seen in last year’s first quarter, and well below the 34% increase in 2012 and 38% the year before. And Amazon forecast revenue growth in the second quarter could be as little as 15%, which would be the smallest quarterly gain for the company since 2009. The company's shares rose $8, or about 2%, in after-hours trading.

    The company made a splash Wednesday when it

    Read More »from Amazon faces tough battles on all sides as sales growth slows
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  • Let’s put aside our troubles for the moment over the creeping wealth gap in this country and what that will mean for democracy and our ability to have a say in the political decision-making process, shall we?

    Let’s talk instead about money and some of the sinfully delicious ways the filthy rich can spend their mountains of treasure (when they aren’t rolling around in a bed of gold and diamonds).

    The Four Seasons is the latest to reach into the global luxury market with a brand new product to tempt the well-heeled to part with their fortunes. The hotel chain announced this week the launch of the Four Seasons Jet, a specially retrofitted Boeing 757 and the industry’s first “fully branded private jet experience.”

    Flight delays? Over-booking? Please. These are business-class problems.

    For about $130,000 per person (a mere $118,000 per person for double occupancy), the Four Seasons jet will transport up to 52 guests on specially tailored journeys to destinations around the world, complete

    Read More »from Four Seasons’ private jet experience takes luxury to a new level
  • SodaStream (SODA) shares cooled Thursday after soaring Wednesday on rumors that Starbucks (SBUX) might buy a 10% stake in the company, putting the value of the soda maker at $1.1 billion. This isn’t the first time rumors of investments in SodaStream have driven up the stock price. Just last week, shares of SodaStream spiked on reports that Starbucks, Dr. Pepper Snapple Group (DPS) and Pepsi (PEP) were in talks with soda stream to buy a stake in the company. And last year there were reports that Pepsi would buy SodaStream outright for more than $2 billion.

    In the corresponding video, Yahoo Finance Senior Columnist Mike Santoli spoke with Lauren Lyster about the rumors of investment in SodaStream and its effect on the company’s share price.

    Santoli said that there is a reason for the persistent investment and takeover rumors that drive up SodaStream's share price. “I do think it’s a very, very active fertile area for the beverage companies, figuring out exactly how to deal with these

    Read More »from Will Starbucks buy a stake in SodaStream?
  • Dunkin' Brands (DNKN) missed analysts' first-quarter financial estimates, but the coffee and doughnut seller stayed with its full-year predictions for profits and store growth, helping mitigate the damage to its shares.

    The Canton, Mass.-based company, which owns the Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin-Robbins brands, earned 33 cents a share in the quarter, before certain items, up from 29 cents in the year-earlier period. Revenue was $171.9 million, 6.2% ahead of last year's $161.9 million. However, Wall Street was looking for a bit more  a profit 36 cents and revenue of $172.4 million.

    Sales from franchisees, who make up virtually all the system, rose to $2.18 billion from $2.09 billion last year. After the report, shares of Dunkin' were down 1.8% to $46.72. The stock has lost 3.7% so far this year, trailing the S&P 500's 1.5% gain, but outperforming the declines in Krispy Kreme (KKD) and Tim Hortons (THI).

    The winter drag

    As with most restaurants, winter weather was a drag on the results. For

    Read More »from Dunkin' Brands shares slip as results dinged by winter storms
  • The past year has seen a sea change on Wall Street: Investment bankers are being told to work less.

    Goldman Sachs (GS) was first out of the gate, telling its junior bankers to take Saturdays off and restricting analysts from going to the office or logging in to company systems from 9 p.m. Fridays to 9 a.m. Sunday.

    J.P. Morgan (JPM) and Bank of America (BAC) quickly followed suit, respectively giving junior bankers one "protected weekend" a month and telling junior employees to take off four weekend days per month.

    The tragic death of a 21-year old Bank of America intern last summer brought harsh media scrutiny on Wall Street and helped put pressure on the big firms to ease up on a industry so hard-driving and "Type A." Young investment bankers are famous for working extremely long hours, including weekends and holidays; for many junior people in the industry, their first (often only) day off is their wedding day.

    True to form in an industry known for celebrating conspicuous

    Read More »from "The bargain has changed" on Wall Street and young people don't like it: Kevin Roose
  • The Food and Drug Administration today announced new regulations on the booming e-cigarette business. The proposed regulations call for a ban on sales of the electronic cigarettes to customers under the age of 18. The FDA’s recommendations will not be finalized until after a 75-day period of public comment. The new regulations would also require health warnings about the potential for addiction to nicotine. Under the proposal, manufacturers would have to report ingredients used in e-cigarettes to the FDA and seek the agency’s approval for products.

    The regulations will not ban advertising or flavors like chocolate and bubble gum, which would appeal to children. The FDA said the current proposal lays the foundation for “many more actions” to come in restricting the use and marketing of e-cigarettes.

    E-cigarettes are battery-powered and produce a nicotine vapor. Sales of e-cigarettes and similar vapor devices generate an estimated $2 billion dollars in annual sales in the United States

    Read More »from Should e-cigarette sales be banned for people under 18?
  • Tomislav Perko is the first to admit that his short-lived career as a stockbroker was an epic disaster.

    He stumbled into the job in his native Zagreb, Croatia in 2007 when he was only 23. The thrill of chasing the market was addictive, and the fact that he was earning as much as $10,000 a month didn’t hurt either. At the time, the youth unemployment rate in Croatia was more than 20% and he was easily out-earning all of his peers.

    “I had my own apartment. I bought everything I wanted, went to all the parties, all the restaurants,” says Perko, who spoke exclusively with Yahoo Finance. “I was always thinking money is what makes you successful. I thought that was what I was supposed to do my entire life.”

    He was young, wealthy, and (not unsurprisingly) a little cocky. He eventually convinced several family members and friends to pool about $30,000 of their savings and let him invest it in the market himself.

    “I told them they could not lose,” he says. “In those days, you couldn’t

    Read More »from '1,000 days of summer': An ex-stock broker travels around the world on $10 a day
  • General Motors (GM) reported earnings this morning that beat Wall Street estimates. Earnings came in at $0.06 a share or $0.29 a share, excluding items. They came in ahead of analysts’ estimates of $0.04 a share. Revenue rose to $37.4 billion, but didn’t meet analysts’ expectation of $38.43 billion.

    GM’s revenue was helped by raising vehicle prices. The average sales price of all GM vehicles rose $2,000 over the last year to $32,794. The price of GM pickups rose $5,000 over the same period.

    However, the company has been plagued with problems from faulty ignition switches. There are multiple investigations into its handling of the recalls that have been linked to 13 deaths.

    In the corresponding video, Yahoo Finance Senior Columnist Mike Santoli spoke with Lauren Lyster about GM’s earnings in light of the recalls. He said, “It’s a wait and see year for GM.”

    Even though the company beat estimates, most of the public’s attention has been focused on the recalls and how they will affect

    Read More »from Despite recalls, GM beats estimates
  • Facebook (FB) reported earnings on Wednesday that blew away Wall Street expectations. In an increasingly mobile world, Mark Zuckerberg’s dorm room creation is looking more and more like one of the best advertising platforms around.

    Related: No more Facebook? Mark Zuckerberg has a vision says Ben Horowitz

    Overall revenue increased 72% to $2.5 billion in the first quarter, above the $2.36 billion analysts had expected. Ad revenue was up 82% from last year, the fastest growth rate for Facebook in three years, and more than half -- $1.3 billion -- came from mobile users. The company reported it hit 609 million daily active users on mobile in the first quarter, up 43% from a year ago.

    There have been concerns that Facebook was losing its cool factor, especially with teens. Whether or not that is true, the company’s Instagram app is still extremely popular in that demographic. It hit 200 million monthly active users, about ten times the number of active users when Facebook bought it for $1

    Read More »from Facebook: What’s not to like?
  • Apple (AAPL) and Facebook (FB) delivered some welcome earnings surprises after the close Wednesday. Apple shares were surging in the pre-market after the company came in well ahead of Wall Street expectations on strong iPhone sales. iPad sales were weaker. Apple also announced another $30 billion share buyback and a huge 7-for-1 stock split that has some speculating the company could be positioning itself as a potential Dow component.

    Meanwhile, Facebook was also sharply higher in pre-market trading after the company reported better-than-expected results on strong ad revenue. Facebook said profits nearly tripled on a 72% increase in revenue.

    Caterpillar (CAT) easily beat earnings estimates, coming in $0.37-a-share better than expected. Revenue rose slightly and just beat estimates. Caterpillar has been cutting costs and announcing plant closings in response to slowing sales. The company's profits fell 33% last year and the CEO took a pay cut for failing to meet targets.

    Dunkin Brands

    Read More »from Stocks to watch: AAPL, FB, CAT, DNKN, AMZN, GM
  • It isn’t easy getting older.

    Apple’s strong Q2 2014 performance, capped by a 7-for-1 stock split, an 8 per cent dividend boost and a US$30 billion increase in its stock buyback plan, was more than enough to keep investors happy as the company’s shares soared by 8 per cent in after-hours trading. But weak iPad sales and an ongoing mystery over next-generation product announcements continue to underscore the company’s sometimes-painful transition from fast-growth innovator to a more value-oriented legacy company. Financial gymnastics can only mask so much.

    Initial investor response notwithstanding, Apple’s middle-aged growing pains are far from trivial. Despite earning $11.62 per share, 15 per cent more than during the year-ago period, softening iPad sales – 16.35 million compared to 19.4 million in Q2 2013 and well below analyst consensus of 19.2 million – threaten to undermine the company’s position as the consumer electronics market’s Pied Piper. Apple’s current products won’t sustain

    Read More »from Fading iPad sales mark the end of Apple’s big bang era
  • If you’re looking for signs of a tech bubble, Apple’s (AAPL) latest moves won’t help your case. The tech giant announced on Wednesday that it would split its stock 7 for 1 and increase its already massive stock buyback and dividend plans. There were a lot of splits by big companies during the Internet bubble. Cisco Systems famously split its stock every year from 1996 through February 2000 – just before the bubble popped.

    But Apple is hardly making the move due to a rocketing stock price. The shares are down 6% so far this year, though it looks like they will erase the loss and get back to even when trading starts today. Apple remains 26% below its all-time high of $705.07 hit in September 2012. And the shares trade at a price-to-earnings ratio of about 13, below the market average and nowhere near the crazy levels seen in the Internet bubble.

    In fact, almost all major tech companies – the ones worth at least $100 billion – are trading with modest P/E valuations. Microsoft is at 15,

    Read More »from Tech bubble at Apple? Hardly
  • Every once in a while a book, movie or piece of theater captures the Zeitgeist so completely that its popularity soars. Thomas Piketty's new book Capital in the Twenty-First Century is the latest example, and an unlikely one, as it is a 700-page economics book.

    Published just weeks ago in the U.S., the book is now the Number 1 bestseller on Amazon.com. (Its author is a professor of the Paris School of Economics and it was first published in France.)

    The primary theme of "Capital" is that income inequality is growing and will continue to grow due to the structure of capitalism in the 21st century.

    Related: U.S. inequality looks like Europe before WWI: Thomas Piketty

    James Pethokoukis, the money and politics columnist-blogger at the conservative-leaning American Enterprise Institute, tells The Daily Ticker that Piketty's book is "the right book at the right time," because it focuses on an issue that concerns many Americans.

    Consider these statistics:

    Read More »from ‘The right book at the right time’: Why a 700-page economics tome is #1 on Amazon
  • Jobless claims jumped 24,000 to 329,000 last week. Analysts were expecting 315,000 new claims for unemployment benefits. Separately, the Commerce Department said orders for durable goods rose 2.6% in March, better than the 2.0% increase economists were expecting.

    Stocks were poised for a technology-led rally after strong reports from Apple (AAPL) and Facebook (FB) after the close Wednesday. Apple also announced another $30 billion share buyback and a huge 7-for-1 stock split that has some speculating the company could be positioning itself as a potential Dow component.

    Dow components Caterpillar (CAT) and General Motors (GM) also reported better-than-expected results before the opening bell. Caterpillar came in well ahead of Wall Street estimates as the company continues to cut costs in response to slowing sales. GM, meanwhile, managed to beat Wall Street estimates amid ongoing investigations into the company’s handling of recalls connected to 13 deaths.

    Later today, Amazon (AMZN),

    Read More »from Apple and Facebook soar on earnings news; Amazon earnings preview; Jobless claims and durable goods orders jump
  • The Dow (^DJI) ended the day down 0.08%, The Nasdaq (^IXIC) was down 0.83% and the S&P 500 (^GSPC) was down 0.22%.

    A disappointing report on the housing market overshadowed some upbeat earnings report. New home sales in March fell 14.5% from February to an annual rate of 385,000, the lowest level since July. That was well short of the 450,000 economists were expecting. The Northeast was the only region to see the pace of sales pick up in March.

    Median home prices rose to $290,000 in March, up 12.6% over last year.

    In corporate news, Delta Air Lines shares (DAL) were up 6.07% after it reported earnings per share of $0.33 which beat estimates of $0.29 a share.

    Shares of Gilead Sciences (GILD) were up 1.39% on news strong sales of its Hepatitis C drug Sovaldi which helped it beat earnings forecasts by wide margins.

    Dr. Pepper Snapple Group (DPS) shares were up 3.99% after it reported earnings of $0.74 a share this morning, beating estimates of $0.59 a share.

    Apple (AAPL) and Facebook (FB)

    Read More »from Stocks ended the day down after mixed earnings and housing market news
  • Many CFOs who initially put off their retirement from top U.S. firms as a result of the recession have recently decided that their companies are financially fit enough to leave to a successor, according to recent data.

    More than 36 percent of CFO departures were retirements versus a historical average of about 23 percent, according to a report from the Korn Ferry Institute, which analyzed company and CFO data on the top 1000 U.S. firms by revenue.

    "Some of those CFOs planned to retire earlier on but stayed through the recovery and they found that as the shareholder value increased, they found it as a good time to cash out and take the retirement," said Bryan Proctor, global co-leader of Korn Ferry's Financial Officer Center of Expertise.

    RELATED: New CFO challenges push firms to harness big data

    Last year, industrial and financial services firms saw the highest turnover as those companies saw improved financial results, but turnover is expected to level off in those sectors this year,

    Read More »from More CFOs at top firms feel comfortable enough to retire
  • Update: Apple's iPhone renaissance got an early start. The company just reported sales of almost 44 million iPhones in the first quarter, about 6 million more than Wall Street expected, helping drive revenue and profits higher than expected, as well. Shares of Apple jumped 8% to over $566 in after hours trading.


    Apple (AAPL) grew from the edge of bankruptcy to become the most valuable company in the U.S. stock market by making highly profitable devices for fast-growing markets, whether it was iPods, iPhones, or  at least at the start  iPads.

    Lately, it’s been all stagnation and shrinkage for Apple and its investors. At $528.60 on Wednesday, Apple shares remain 25% below their September 2012 all-time high of $705.07 while, over the same period, rivals such as Google (GOOGL) and Microsoft (MSFT) have posted big gains.

    And while almost everything you read about Apple now is pessimistic at best, there’s a simple and straightforward bullish case for the company, one that

    Read More »from Amid a wall of pessimism, it’s not hard to see a bullish case for Apple
  • They say home is where the heart is. If that's true, we can expect to hear more and more of that comforting beat coming from much higher up in the sky.

    High-rise living, shunned by our parents and grandparents as a second-rate option for those who can't afford to buy a proper house, is fast becoming the norm for Canadians.

    Just over one million people in this country call a skyscraper home today. The vast majority (nearly 700,000) of condo dwellers can be found in our largest urban centres, including Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal.

    Existing condos currently account for about 15 per cent of total housing in the Big-Three cities, and just over 8 per cent nation-wide, according to Royal Lepage.

    But, like the Toronto skyline, that ratio is expected to change dramatically over the next few decades. Driven largely by affordability and steady immigration into core urban centres, high-rise condos already account for about 40 per cent of new-home construction in our largest cities. That's

    Read More »from Canadians falling in love with condo living?
  • Buying a car? You may want to avoid the newest models

    Exclusive analysis done for Yahoo Finance shows newly introduced models may be more prone to problems.

    If you want to stump a car buff, ask what the Acura RLX, Dodge Dart, Ford Fusion, Ford Escape and Mercedes-Benz SL roadster have in common. When there’s no answer, explain that all have been recalled for fixes during the past few months for problems that occurred early in the lifespan of the vehicle.

    Auto recalls have gotten a lot of attention lately on account of the General Motors (GM) flap involving 2.6 million recalled vehicles with faulty ignition switches that can turn deadly. Yet that recall, which involves cars dating to 2003 and spans at least nine model years, is far from typical. More common are cars recalled early in their life, when the design is relatively new, as automakers work out bugs that occur when a model is first assembled.

    Analysis conducted for Yahoo Finance by Stout Risius Ross, an auto-industry financial advisory firm, suggests more things go wrong with newly introduced or redesigned cars than with models that have been on the road for a few years. These

    Read More »from Buying a car? You may want to avoid the newest models
  • More than ever Millennials and baby boomers are ditching their spread-out suburban lives and packing it in for the city.

    Columbia Professor Vishaan Chakrabarti wrote in a New York Times Op-ed last week that lower crime, better schools and more parks are making cities increasingly appealing while the difficulties of attaining mortgages and car loans, combined with a new environmental and social consciousness, make suburban living seem retro and ill-fitting for today's society.

    Professor Chakrabarti, author of A Country of Cities: A Manifesto for an Urban America joined the Daily Ticker to discuss what he calls the “beginning stages of a historic urban reordering.”

    Related: Why Millennials Will Never Be Happy

    “I think these trends are going to continue because we’re facing a new set of challenges and opportunities as a country,” says Chakrabarti. “Our economy has shifted almost completely towards a service economy…[and] we have a new environmental consciousness.”

    Chakrabarti also points

    Read More »from Is it time to stop subsidizing the suburbs?
  • If McDonald's (MCD) focus for the months ahead were to be described in a word, "core" would suffice, for both its menu and its markets.

    The world's biggest restaurant chain measured by sales indicated Tuesday that four of the largest countries in its system  including the U.S.  along with its best-known items will get considerable attention from the corporate office as it bids to restore customer growth and keep the menu workable.

    In addition to  the United States, "stabilizing key priority markets" of Germany, Japan and Australia will be critical to staving off competition, whether from Burger King (BKW) or Chipotle (CMG),  either at home or abroad. The U.S. is Oak Brook, Ill.-based McDonald's most saturated market, with more than 14,000 stores. However, the top four countries together accounted for 56% of total global locations, making up 19,830 of the 35,429 restaurants McDonald's had at year end.

    At the same time, McDonald's, which has previously said its menu had become too

    Read More »from McDonald's gets it right with focus on 'core' markets and menu
  • It looks almost like a marriage made in heaven: Liberal entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley are starting companies that can profit from the growing marijuana trade.

    "The entire tech-industrial complex is getting in on the action: investors, entrepreneurs, biotechnologists, scientists" and more, writes Mat Honan, senior writer at WIRED, in his latest story "High Tech: How Silicon Valley entrepreneurs are rushing to cash in on cannabis."

    Related: Grover Norquist wants "tax equality" for marijuana industry

    These entrepreneurs include manufacturers of vaporizers such as Firefly and UpToke, which allow pot smokers to inhale vapor instead of smoke; software makers including MJ Freeway and Agrisoft, which track pot sales and inventory; and the Stanley Brothers  Jared, Jesse, Joel, Jon, Jordan, and Josh  who operate medical marijuana dispensaries in Colorado in addition to a nonprofit that produces a strain of medical marijuana.

    Named for a young epileptic patient, the Stanley Brothers’

    Read More »from A new frontier for Silicon Valley: The marijuana trade
  • A new study says Canada’s middle class is among the richest in the world, ahead of the United States, but economists say there’s little in the numbers to cheer about - and a few caveats.

    According to a study done by The New York Times, based on data from the Luxembourg Income Study Database, median income in Canada tied with the U.S. in 2010 and has outpaced it since then.

    “After-tax middle-class incomes in Canada — substantially behind in 2000 — now appear to be higher than in the United States,” says the report.

    It says median income also rose 20 per cent in Canada between 2000 and 2010, to the equivalent of US$18,700.

    That’s equal to the U.S., but the study points out pay in Canada has risen faster than pay in the U.S. since then.

    Economists say that’s likely because the U.S. economy took a bigger hit than Canada’s during the 2008-09 recession, but our neighbours to the south are quickly catching up.

    Consider that the U.S. unemployment rate is now lower than in Canada and its

    Read More »from Canada’s middle class has little to cheer about
  • Do you love bacon? How much?

    The price of bacon has gone up 13% in the last year and a whopping 53% since January 2010, according to 24/7 Wall St.

    Prices of fruit, meats - even coffee - have increased dramatically over the last few years. Drought conditions and disease affecting crops and livestock are reducing supply and driving up the prices of many food staples.

    While food prices are rising, the Federal Reserve is concerned that inflation is too low. In a speech last week, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said, “With inflation running at around 1%, at this point I think the risk is greater that we should be worried about inflation undershooting our goal and getting inflation back up to 2%.”

    In the corresponding video, Yahoo Finance Editor-in-Chief Aaron Task spoke with Lauren Lyster about rising food prices at the same time the Fed is concerned about inflation being too low.

    “The Federal Reserve and Janet Yellen - they think inflation is too low,” Task said. “And yet, you talk to

    Read More »from Food prices are rising... but inflation's too low? Why the disconnect?
  • Gilead Sciences (GILD) reported earnings after the bell Tuesday and blew through estimates, driven by $2.27 billion in sales for its new $1,000 a day hepatitis C treatment Sovaldi, which is believed to be the best-selling prescription drug launch in history, according to the Wall Street Journal.

    The question remains, is the drug's $84,000 price tag for a standard 12-week treatment, which breaks down to $1,000 for each pill taken daily, too steep? It's a question that has been asked on the New York Times editorial pages, in a letter from Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and other members of Congress to Gilead Chief Executive John C. Martin, as well as by insurers, Medicaid programs and doctors. In the accompanying video, Yahoo Finance Editor-in-Chief Aaron Task and I debate the issue. Check out the video to see why Task defends Gilead's pricing of the drug. 

    The company contends Sovaldi's price tag is justified by its higher cure rate, shorter treatment time (not to mention with fewer side

    Read More »from Is there anything wrong with a $1,000 per day prescription drug?
  • Apple (AAPL) reports earnings Wednesday after the market close. Wall Street is not expecting particularly impressive results. The focus of most Apple investors appears to be on the new products Apple is expected to roll out in the second half of this year.

    And those products are indeed critical for the company and its stock price.

    Related: Apple is too big to keep a lid on the rumor mill anymore — Here’s the latest

    A few years ago, Apple was one of the greatest growth stories in the stock market. For more than a decade, the company astounded Wall Street with one smashing quarter after another. Eventually, Apple's lead in smartphones and tablets seemed insurmountable, and Apple's stock price soared above $700 per share.

    But then the premium smartphone market hit maturity, and smaller, cheaper tablets began to gobble up more and more market share.

    And now Apple is no longer a growth company.

    In fact, based on Wall Street's estimates for this quarter, it's a shrinking company.  Gene

    Read More »from It's put up or shut up time for Apple


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