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Markets turn higher Tuesday

New York -- Two positive reports gave U.S. markets a boost Tuesday after the Dow Jones industrial average dropped below 10,000 points in early trading.

The Conference Board said consumer confidence rose in August after two months of declines, although the index is still at historically low levels. Housing prices, also in a long slump, rose 4.4 percent in the second quarter over the first, the Standard & Poor's/Case Shiller home price index report said.

In early-afternoon trading, the DJIA added 35.23 points, 0.35 percent, to 10,044.96. The S&P 500 added 0.31 percent, 3.22, to 1,052.50. The Nasdaq composite index added 0.09 percent, 1.98, to 2,121.95.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury note rose 11/32 to yield 2.491 percent.

Starbucks, a Totally Cool Stock


Leading the Vanguard Windsor Fund, John Neff beat the market by more than three percentage points per year for more than 30 years. That's an incredible track record and the difference between $39,116 and $17,449 on a $1,000 investment, assuming a 10% average return. Here's the master's secret: Two of those three percentage points came from dividends. So while Neff worked hard to buy cheap stocks, dividends were crucial to outsized returns. That's totally cool!

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Renaissance Learning 's Magic Formula

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Revisiting Netflix


I have to admit Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX) is a beast of a stock. Just two weeks ago after posting pretty poor quarterly results, I wrote about the bear case for the stock. The stock was trading at about $120 when the company reported earnings, and in just a week's time it traded down to $95.33 on the poor results. However, in less than two trading weeks the stock has made up its losses and then some, closing yesterday at a new 52-week high of $133.05.

Is Amazon.com's Management Up to the Task?


Big investors like Warren Buffett have the clout, time, and resources to evaluate a potential investment's management face to face. You may not have quite such a mighty address book, but that shouldn't stop you from assessing the people in the executive suites.

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Cache: Warming Up or Cooling Off?


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BioSante Pharmaceuticals: Warming Up or Cooling Off?


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Markets mixed Friday

New York -- Positive retail sales numbers and economic growth in Europe lent some support to U.S. markets Friday although the Nasdaq index continued to slump.

Economists predicted second quarter growth as low as zero percent for the 27-member European Union and the 16-member eurozone. Eurostat said Friday the economies of both regions expanded 1 percent in April through June.

The U.S. Commerce Department said Friday that retail sales tacked higher in July compared to June, rising 0.4 percent to $362.7 billion.