TGIF? Nope. Stocks fall on earnings woes

Stocks are ending the week on a sour note, putting the SP 500 in reverse on the road to 2,000.

The SP was down about 0.3% in mid-morning trading. The Dow was down more than 100 points, or 0.7%.

A 4% drop In Visa (V), which has the biggest weighting in the Dow, weighed down the blue chips.

The Nasdaq fell too, largely due to a more than 11% drop in Amazon (AMZN, Tech30) following its latest earnings.

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Here’s what you need to know.

Amazonian drought: Amazon’s sales jumped more than 20% but it also reported a $123 million loss. Some investors may be growing tired of Amazon’s long history of quarters where it loses more than expected due to big

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Investors go LOCO for grilled chicken stock

El Pollo Loco is NOT Chipotle 

The crazy chicken is flapping its wings and flying high on Wall Street.

El Pollo Loco (LOCO), the California-based restaurant chain specializing in Mexican-style grilled chicken, went public Friday and shares surged nearly 30% to above $19 in their first few minutes of trading.

El Pollo Loco — which trades under the symbol “LOCO” — priced its initial public offering at $15 per share late Thursday, the high end of the expected range. The company raised $107 million from the sale of 7.1 million shares of common stock.

Based in California, El Pollo Loco has 401 company-owned and franchise locations in five U.S. states, including Texas and Arizona. But the vast majority of its restaurants are in the Golden State.

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Crazy stock Cynk is back! Plunges 80%.

Cynk technology: From boom to brakes 

Cynk Technologies (CYNK), the mysterious penny stock that inexplicably skyrocketed 25,000% over a period of roughly three weeks, fell off the cliff known as reality on Friday.

Shares tanked 80% Friday — their first day of trading following a suspension by the Securities and Exchange Commission two weeks ago. The SEC cited “concerns regarding the accuracy and adequacy of information in the marketplace and potentially manipulative transactions in CYNK’s common stock.”

The company grabbed headlines earlier this month when its meteoric rise from a mere six cents per share to $21 gave it a market value of $5 billion, which is more than well-known brands such as Domino’s Pizza (DPZ) and GameStop (GME).


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Smart people buy generic brands

cvs bayer
These products are the same in all but their names. So why do 26% of Americans buy the one that costs more?

Sudafed or Wal-Phed: Which would you choose?

Nine times out of 10, pharmacists and doctors will buy the generic version of aspirin, rather than a brand-name like Bayer. Likewise, professional chefs prefer store-brand sugar, salt and baking powder instead of brand name ingredients.

In short, the most informed consumers usually buy generic products, claims a new paper by economists from Tilburg University in the Netherlands and the University of Chicago.

Their research estimates Americans are wasting about $44 billion a year on name brands, when they could be buying the exact same products if they switched to cheaper store brands. Store brand products cost on average about half the price of national brands.

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8 rights of pregnant women at work

pregnant working woman
Despite many laws in place to protect pregnant women at work, there still is a lot of discrimination in the office.

Women still get fired simply because they’re pregnant.

In the last fiscal year, government agencies received 5,370 charges alleging pregnancy discrimination in the workplace.

The most common complaint? Employers fired them because they became pregnant.

It’s been illegal to discriminate against pregnant women in the workplace since the Pregnancy Discrimination Act was passed in 1978. Apparently, a lot of employers still don’t understand that, so last week, a government agency decided to issue a reminder.

For the first time in 30 years, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued new guidance on how to interpret the PDA and other laws protecting pregnant women on the job. Here’s what you need to

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What soaring cocoa means for stocks, chocoholics

Several factors are contributing to the rise in cocoa futures, including aging cocoa trees in West Africa, which is the source of about 70 percent of the world’s cocoa. Additionally, chocolate consumption in Asia, especially in China, was up 7 percent in 2013 and is projected to rise more this year.

Cocoa futures have gotten investors’ attention, especially as earnings season has kicked into high gear. Investors are watching consumer companies that use cocoa as a raw ingredient, trying to gauge how they are managing costs in order to protect the bottom line. Hershey’s last week announced an 8 percent price hike due to higher raw material costs, passing part of its burden onto consumers. And this week, Mars Chocolate North America, the maker of MM’s and Snickers, announced an average 7 percent price hike, its

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