Hasbro posts strongest growth in nearly 5 years

Larger rival Mattel Inc reported a surprise rise in quarterly net sales this month as sales of Barbie dolls recovered and demand rose for Hot Wheels toys, driven by Star-Wars-licensed items such as the “Millennium Falcon Starship.”

Hasbro’s revenue from its games category, which includes Monopoly board games, increased 11 percent after two straight quarters of decline. The revenue decline in the company’s toys for girls category slowed to 17 percent from more than 20 percent in the prior two quarters.

Mattel and Hasbro have held talks about a possible merger, Bloomberg reported on Thursday. Both companies have declined to comment on the report.

The net income attributable to Hasbro rose 3.4 percent to $175.8 million, or $1.39 per share, in the quarter ended Dec. 27.

Article source: http://www.cnbc.com/2016/02/08/star-wars-powers-hasbros-strongest-growth-in-nearly-5-years.html

Stay away from volatile oil sector: Jefferies analyst

For investors willing to take the risk, Handler recommends they assume a defensive posture, just like his firm and look for companies with strong balance sheets.

While Handler does not own any of these companies, he believes these have relatively strong balance sheets, and his firm thinks investors could see less downside risk in both the top and bottom line if they invest in Schlumberger, Diamond Offshore, Frank’s International or FMC Technologies.

Diamond Offshore, a deep-water drilling contractor company, on Monday reported adjusted fourth-quarter earnings of 89 cents per share, beating estimates for 54 cents, and revenue also topped estimates. However, the company is still dealing with the effects of plummeting oil prices, and has discontinued its quarterly dividend in order to preserve cash.

Shares of Diamond Offshore and Schlumberger rose more than 1 percent Monday, while Frank’s International and FMC Technologies fell nearly 1 percent.

— CNBC’s Peter Schacknow and Reuters contributed to this article.

Disclaimer

Article source: http://www.cnbc.com/2016/02/08/stay-away-from-the-oil-sector-jefferies-analyst.html

After-hours buzz: 21st Century Fox, Yelp, Gap and more

Shares of retailer Gap popped in extended trade after the company reported January sales figures.

The apparel brand reported fourth-quarter sales of $4.39 billion, below the $4.46 billion expected by Thomson Reuters. Same-store sales were down 8 percent.

Ecommerce software company Demandware saw shares slide after the bell, ahead of its earnings release on Tuesday. Fellow enterprise software companies, like Tableau, saw sharp stock declines after their earnings last week.

Shares of American automaker General Motors gave up gains after the bell. The company’s Buick brand was the subject of a Superbowl advertisement Sunday that featured a “spunky” new convertible aimed at millennials. Shares rose 0.49 percent in the regular session, on a day major indices closed down more than 1 percent.

— CNBC’s Josh Lipton, Michelle Castillo and Sarah Whitten contributed to this report.

Article source: http://www.cnbc.com/2016/02/08/after-hours-buzz-foxa-yelp-gps-more.html

Cramer: What the LinkedIn disaster means to you

The reasoning behind LinkedIn’s weak forecast was that management stated that they see serious weakness in Asia Pacific, Europe, the Middle East and Africa. That was a major departure from what other companies in this group said.

LinkedIn also predicted continuous weakness, which was scary because it gets 40 percent of its sales outside of the U.S. Suddenly investors understood how vulnerable LinkedIn is to macro-economic weakness. Less hiring means less demand for its core recruitment services, and that totally changed the way the stock was viewed.

Read more from Mad Money with Jim Cramer

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“There is real worth here, but the firm’s credibility is most likely shot until we see a good quarter, and we know that is not going to happen for another three months because they just reported,” Cramer said.

As for Tableau, its guidance was also a disaster for next quarter and the 2016 fiscal year. Analysts quickly downgraded the stock, and it plunged 49 percent Friday.

On the conference call, management acknowledged that cheap low-end analytics products were playing a role in the company’s slower growth. This led many investors to realize the space could be more crowded and difficult.

Additionally, Tableau had a sharp deceleration in its core licensing revenue. Management said customers were being more cautious

Article source: http://www.cnbc.com/2016/02/08/cramer-what-the-linkedin-disaster-means-to-you.html

Cramer: Fed could spark a long awaited rally

The Fed is in a difficult spot right now because it is so analog. It analyzes the economy from the perspective of the unemployment rate. It isn’t looking at it through the lens of anyone under 30 who is looking for a job or anyone over 50 who have been thrown out of a job.

And with the unemployment rate now under 5 percent, Cramer thinks the Fed may feel it must raise rates. It isn’t considering the huge number of people that have left the workforce because they have given up.

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“Not only that, but this endless fixation on rising wages, without caveating the numbers by considering that so many states and cities have raised the minimum wage because it’s a digitized economy, is ridiculous,” Cramer said.

Cramer thinks states must take action, because it is too easy to crush a workforce in a shared economy. In fact, he considers the fixation with stopping the meager wages of the American worker as a justification for higher interest rates to be causing the Fed to turn a blind eye to what really matters.

Cramer knows that the Fed shouldn’t only worry about the stock market. But the stock market is signaling slowdowns everywhere, perhaps because it recognizes

Article source: http://www.cnbc.com/2016/02/08/cramer-fed-could-spark-a-long-awaited-rally.html

Super Bowl scores big for Nevada casinos

The best Super Bowl ads you had to watch the game to see

Nevada bookies made a killing on Super Bowl 50.

More than $132 million was wagered on the game in which the Denver Broncos beat the odds and the Carolina Panthers, according to the Nevada Gaming Control Board’s unaudited figures.

That’s more than was bet on any other Super Bowl, and casinos kept a hefty chunk of change: about $13.2 million. There are 194 sports books in Nevada.

Related: Super Bowl 50 audience is third largest in TV history

Last year’s Super Bowl, which pitted the New England Patriots against the Seattle Seahawks, attracted $116 million worth of bets in Nevada. That game came in just behind the 2014 Super Bowl — Seattle v. Denver — in which bettors put down $119 million.

The Panthers were expected to take home the championship ring Sunday night. That means long-shot betters scored big, while most gamblers lost their money.

The state’s gaming board chairman, A.G. Burnett, said just over $13.3 million was paid out to winners.

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Curt Schilling’s political donation came with comments on ESPN job

curt schilling espn analyst
Curt Schilling added a note in his FEC filing for a donation to Ben Carson, suggesting he thought he was getting fired.

Federal Election Commission filings confirm two things about Curt Schilling: The former star pitcher donated to a Republican presidential campaign last year, and he wasn’t sure how much longer he would be employed by ESPN.

Schilling, the former World Series champion who has covered baseball for ESPN since 2010, donated $250 to Ben Carson on September 1, 2015, according to a publicly available report from the Federal Election Commission.

The timing of the contribution was notable. One week prior, Schilling was yanked off ESPN’s coverage of the Little League World Series for posting a now-deleted tweet that compared Muslims to Nazis.

In his filing to the FEC, Schilling indicated that his time at ESPN might be running out. Under the section marked “name of employer,” Schilling wrote, “ESPN (Not Sure How Much Longer).” Under “occupation,” Schilling said, “Analyst (For Now Anyway).”

curt schilling fec

Schilling dismissed the significance of those comments.

“I was being a smart alec online in a document no one should care to see or read,” he told CNNMoney in an email. “If that’s newsworthy doesn’t that signal a much bigger problem on the media’s end?”

Two days after the donation to Carson was filed, ESPN went further with its discipline,

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Zenefits CEO steps down over compliance issues

15 questions parker conrad
Zenefits CEO Parker Conrad stepped down Monday .

Zenefits is starting over.

The HR software startup announced on Monday that CEO and founder Parker Conrad has stepped down.

Taking the helm is David Sacks, who was Zenefits’ COO and had previously worked at Microsoft (MSFT, Tech30) (which bought his firm Yammer) and PayPal (PYPL, Tech30).

Sacks told employees in an email on Monday that “many of our internal processes, controls, and actions around compliance have been inadequate, and some decisions have just been plain wrong. As a result, Parker has resigned.”

He said that in December, the firm — which manages everything from payroll to health insurance — hired a Big Four auditing firm to conduct a review of the firm’s licensing procedures. He said the company would turn it over to regulators once complete.

In November, a Buzzfeed investigation said that the company’s salespeople were acting as insurance agents without proper licensing in at least seven states. Buzzfeed said regulators in Washington state were looking into whether it had violated the state’s licensing rules.

Sacks said that in addition to the audit, he will conduct a “top-to-bottom review to ensure appropriate and best-in-class corporate governance, compliance and accountability.”

Conrad was also removed from the company’s board of directors.

In his place are now three big-name investors: Peter Thiel, who cofounded

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Japan stocks plunge as key bond yield goes negative

Why oil's plunge is freaking out the stock market

The market turbulence is getting messier in Japan.

The Nikkei plummeted 5.4% Tuesday and the yield on key Japanese government bonds sank into negative territory for the first time as investors piled into safe haven assets.

The stock plunge in Tokyo follows losses Monday for U.S. and European indexes. Some of the selling appeared to be linked to fears over European banks, with the cost of insuring their debt rising sharply.

Big Japanese lenders’ shares got crushed on Tuesday, with Nomura Holdings and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group both down around 9%.

Investors appeared to prefer to put their money into 10-year Japanese government bonds, which are seen as a safer bet. That drove the yield on the bonds below zero, meaning buyers of the bonds are essentially taking a loss just to hold those assets.

Related: Stock market’s terrible start to 2016 just got worse

Yields on short-term government bonds of Japan and some European countries slipped into negative territory last year. But Tuesday was the first time it’s happened to Japan’s benchmark 10-year note.

It follows the decision last month by the Japanese central bank to move a key interest rate below zero in an effort to stimulate the country’s struggling economy.

Highlighting the broader flight to safety,

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Beer and skin cream? North Korea touts consumer brands

North Korea casts an eye to global trade

Care for a glass of cold Taedonggang beer? Ever tried Unhasu skin cream?

Consumer brands aren’t the first things most people associate with North Korea, which has recently seized global attention with a nuclear test followed by a long-range rocket launch. But its young leader, Kim Jong Un, apparently wants his isolated country to be known for some of the more pleasant things in life, too.

North Korean commercials tout the “soft, smooth and fragrant taste” of Taedonggang. And Kim called for Unhasu cosmetics to become internationally recognized during a visit to a factory last year.

The notoriously repressive North Korean regime is widely considered to oversee the least free economy in the world. But glimmers of more market-driven activity have been reported in recent years as Kim has made economic development a key part of his platform.

“They cannot go back, they have lost the mechanisms of a command economy — of a Soviet-style economy,” said John Delury, a professor at Yonsei University in South Korea. “And what’s really remarkable about Kim Jong Un is you can see he’s not trying to go back.”

The risk, however, is that Kim’s commitment to his nuclear weapons program could result in heavier international sanctions that suffocate the country’s fledgling economic progress.

Related: I would

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