Ronalds Attack McDonald's, American Railcar Industries Slumps

The Dow lost ground for a fourth time in five days; J.C. Penney gains despite liquidity concerns.

Mar 27, 2014 at 7:20PM

The stock market edged lower on Thursday, as defensive sectors like telecom and utilities managed to outperform. This is the fourth time in five days that the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) has fallen, though the market's off less than 0.5% during that time. Today, it lost just four points, or less than 0.1%, to end at 16,264.

McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) couldn't help the Dow much on Thursday, adding just 0.3%. Not much changes from day-to-day with McDonald's, whose golden arches are one of the most recognizable brand symbols in the world. But for blue chip companies like Mickey D's to maintain their dominance, they've got to fend off competition, and embrace innovation and change in the industry. McDonald's isn't doing a great job at either of these. Yum! Brands' Taco Bell is now using real people named Ronald McDonald to endorse the taco haven's new breakfast menu. And McDonald's has been slow to embrace smartphone payment technology, as well, even as its rivals rush to develop apps for their consumers.

Finally, shares of American Railcar Industries, (NASDAQ:ARII), which makes, services, and leases railcars, shed 4.9% on Thursday. Of the 15 publicly traded railroad stocks in the U.S., 13 fell today, though American Railcar Industries' investors took the worst hit. The Surface Transportation Board held a two-day hearing this week on the issue of competitive switching, which the National Industrial Transportation League said would increase competition. Investors didn't see the merit in the proposal, which could hurt the $1.4 billion American Railcar Industries. McDonald's has issues defending itself at the top of the food chain, but J.C. Penney (NYSE:JCP) would kill to have those dilemmas. "Mo' money, mo' problems" doesn't apply to the corporate world, where companies tend to run across mo' problems in the very effort to acquire mo' money. Even though J.C. Penney doesn't have much money -- it has "liquidity concerns" in Wall Street-speak -- the stock tacked on 2.3% today. The retailer is in much better shape than it was last year after raising cash, taking out a $2.25 billion loan, and closing locations, but my colleague Adam Levine-Weinberg thinks J.C. Penney may need to issue more shares to meet its cash goals in 2014.

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John Divine has the following options: long January 2015 $10 calls on J.C. Penney Company. You can follow him on Twitter @divinebizkid and on Motley Fool CAPS @TMFDivine.

The Motley Fool recommends McDonald's. The Motley Fool owns shares of McDonald's. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

4 in 5 Americans Are Ignoring Buffett's Warning

Don't be one of them.

Jun 12, 2015 at 5:01PM

Admitting fear is difficult.

So you can imagine how shocked I was to find out Warren Buffett recently told a select number of investors about the cutting-edge technology that's keeping him awake at night.

This past May, The Motley Fool sent 8 of its best stock analysts to Omaha, Nebraska to attend the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting. CEO Warren Buffett and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger fielded questions for nearly 6 hours.
The catch was: Attendees weren't allowed to record any of it. No audio. No video. 

Our team of analysts wrote down every single word Buffett and Munger uttered. Over 16,000 words. But only two words stood out to me as I read the detailed transcript of the event: "Real threat."

That's how Buffett responded when asked about this emerging market that is already expected to be worth more than $2 trillion in the U.S. alone. Google has already put some of its best engineers behind the technology powering this trend. 

The amazing thing is, while Buffett may be nervous, the rest of us can invest in this new industry BEFORE the old money realizes what hit them.

KPMG advises we're "on the cusp of revolutionary change" coming much "sooner than you think."

Even one legendary MIT professor had to recant his position that the technology was "beyond the capability of computer science." (He recently confessed to The Wall Street Journal that he's now a believer and amazed "how quickly this technology caught on.")

Yet according to one J.D. Power and Associates survey, only 1 in 5 Americans are even interested in this technology, much less ready to invest in it. Needless to say, you haven't missed your window of opportunity. 

Think about how many amazing technologies you've watched soar to new heights while you kick yourself thinking, "I knew about that technology before everyone was talking about it, but I just sat on my hands." 

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That's why I hope you take just a few minutes to access the exclusive research our team of analysts has put together on this industry and the one stock positioned to capitalize on this major shift.

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David Hanson owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and American Express. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Google, and Coca-Cola.We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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