But some stocks were rising for company specific reasons. Kraft (KRFT) was one of them. The king of macaroni and cheese -- although my hipster son prefers Annie's (BNNY) -- surged more than 6% to an all-time high thanks to a strong earnings report after the closing bell Thursday.
Kraft's stock has soared since the company separated into two last year: one for Kraft (which also owns the Cheez Whiz, Jell-O and Kool-Aid brands) and one for the unfortunately named Mondelez (MDLZ), the owner of Oreo, Cadbury and other snacks. In fact, both Kraft and Mondelez have been Wall Street darlings.
Several traders on StockTwits felt that Kraft's earnings, much like the company's Maxwell House coffee, were good to the last drop.
There is a lot to like about the stock. Analysts at Deutsche Bank raised their price target on Kraft. And the company pays a dividend that yields nearly 4%. That's impressive in this low interest rate environment.
Kraft may not be the most exciting of companies. But investors seem to appreciate the slow and steady growth. Well, most of them do. One trader appeared to take a shot at the fact that Kraft seems content to just keep pace with the rest of its competitors.
That conservative attitude could be a problem down the road when investors demand more growth. After all, Kraft is now trading at nearly 20 times 2013 earnings forecasts. That's a bit pricey for a company whose earnings are only expected to grow 6% clip on average for the next few years.
It's also worth noting that Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (BRKA) (BRKB) has been trimming its stake in Kraft for the past few quarters. So far, Buffett has missed further upside. And he's not perfect. He makes bad calls like the rest of us.
But Buffett, who was not a fan of the company's decision to originally buy Cadbury in the first place, is smarter than your average bear. If Berkshire continues to sell Kraft, that might be a cause for concern.
Speaking of The Oracle of Omaha, you may have heard that he tweeted for the first time this week during an exclusive interview with CNNMoney's sister publication Fortune.
Naturally, there were many amusing comments about Buffett's tweet from others in the Twitter peanut gallery. It was hard to pick just one. So the first Reader Comment of the Week was a response to my sarcastic lament about Buffett surpassing my Twitter follower count in a matter of minutes.
Ha! Something tells me that if/when Twitter finally goes public, Berkshire won't be buying a stake in it ... unless it decides to expand into the newspaper business.
The second Reader Comment of the Week goes to a fellow journalist. He jokes about Berkshire's sky-high stock price and the fact that the company finally issued lower price Baby Berkshire shares a few years ago that made the stock affordable for those earning more modest salaries ... like journalists.
When Buffett's long-time lieutenant (or is it general?) Charlie Munger finally starts to tweet, it might be time to short Berkshire and the rest of the market. We'll definitely know it's bubble time.
This article was published in the November issue of Money magazine.
By Paul R. La Monica
You'd think in a sluggish economy corporations sitting on mountains of cash would try to use some of that money to buy growth through acquisitions. Lately, though, the opposite has been taking place.
Kraft (KRFT) just completed the sale of its MORENov 5, 2012 9:58 AM ET
Another week: another bizarre trading glitch. This time around, Kraft's stock whipsawed in the first 60 seconds of the trading day.
After closing at $45.48 Tuesday, shares of Kraft (KRFT) spiked nearly 29% in the first minute of trading Wednesday, to $58.54. By 10:32 a.m. ET, Nasdaq, NYSE Arca and BATS cancelled all trades in Kraft that came in at or above $47.82, according to spokespersons at both exchanges.
Under Securities and MOREMaureen Farrell - Oct 3, 2012 3:17 PM ET
Nasdaq finally has something to cheer. Dow Jones industrial average component Kraft Foods announced Friday that it is moving its listing from the New York Stock Exchange to Nasdaq (NDAQ) on June 26, 2012.
With Kraft's move, Nasdaq is landing not one but two new stocks. Kraft Foods (KFT) will keep its grocery business under the Kraft name and symbol, KFT. Later this year its snacks business with start trading under MOREMaureen Farrell - Jun 8, 2012 10:19 AM ET
Sara Lee (SLE) by any other name is no longer Sara Lee. It's now Hillshire Brands.
As part of its ongoing corporate shakeup, Sara Lee sold its cookies and snack cakes. It now wants to be embrace its new meat-centric identity.
Executives chose Hillshire Brands, referring to its Hillshire Farms label. What was once Sara Lee's snack business now contains the brands Jimmy Dean, Ball Park and State Fair. HSH will be MOREMaureen Farrell - Jun 5, 2012 4:59 PM ET
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