Save Money, Fight Climate Change: 5 Ways to Stay Cool This Summer

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Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

President Obama's climate change speech on Tuesday laid out a few plans for cutting carbon emissions. Simultaneously ambitious and vague, it proposed the creation of caps on the carbon produced by power plants but punted on the details. According to the president's speech, limits will be hammered out over the next two and a half years.

Even in the absence of specifics, though, it seems likely that carbon caps on power plants will translate into higher electric bills. For anyone who has watched power bills rise over the past few years, this should come as no surprise: Electricity is getting more expensive, even as temperatures seem to be climbing ever higher.

For someone hoping to keep cool this summer, then, the problem is twofold: on the one hand, you need to find ways to cool off. On the other, you want to do so without powering up your air conditioner and totally draining your wallet. So why not try one of these techniques.

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Closing Bell: Stocks Add to Tuesday's Gains on Tepid GDP Data

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Bloomberg via Getty Images
Stocks advanced for a second straight day despite data showing the economy grew at a slower pace during the first quarter than previously thought. The Commerce Department reported Wednesday that gross domestic product expanded at an annual rate of 1.8 percent in the first quarter, down from a previously reported 2.4 percent increase.

Still, the the Dow industrials (^DJI) added 150 points, its second day of triple-digit gains, to close at 14,910. The S&P 500 (^GPSC) added nearly 16 points to end at 1,604, and the Nasdaq (^IXIC) jumped 28 to 3,376.

Investors may have decided that the slower-growing economy will persuade the Federal Reserve to delay any plans to pull back on stimulus measures, the Associated Press reported. Those measures, which include buying bonds, are meant to prop up the economy by keeping interest rates low and encouraging people to buy stocks.

The weaker-than-expected growth in GDP sent bonds lower. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note, a benchmark for many kinds of loans, fell to 2.55 percent from 2.61 percent late Tuesday. The yield had risen sharply in recent weeks in reaction to comments by the Federal Reserve that it may soon start to trim back its bond-buying program, as well as positive economic news including increased home sales (driven by eager home buyers racing to lock in low mortgage rates).

Among companies making big moves in trading Wednesday:
  • Shares of Sprint Nextel (S) rose more than 1.5 percent following news that the company's shareholders had agreed to a $21.6 billion takeover by SoftBank, a Japanese mobile carrier. Dish Network (DISH) recently dropped its offer to buy Sprint after SoftBank increased its bid price, and may set its sights on smaller T-Mobile USA (TMUS), which, as the TheStreet.com notes, is the last remaining U.S. nationwide carrier.
  • Fertilizer maker Mosaic Co. (MOS) fell after Citigroup (C) analysts downgraded the stock to "neutral" from "buy," citing a hold-up in the company's stock buybacks and questions over demand for fertilizer. The stock fell $1.01, or 1.8 percent, to $54.90.
  • Gun-manufacturer Smith & Wesson Holding (SWHC) fell, even after reporting that its profits doubled, as quarterly revenue missed analyst forecasts. The stock lost 21 cents, or 2.1 percent, to $9.78.
  • General Mills (GIS), whose products include Cheerios and Nature Valley granola bars, fell after reporting earnings predictions that came in slightly below analyst estimates. The stock declined by 24 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $48.09.
What to Watch Thursday:

ConAgra Foods (CAG), Nike (NKE) and Winnebago Industries (WGO) are scheduled to report earnings Thursday. Nike's results are due after market close. Analysts expect the maker of athletic apparel to report per-share earnings of 75 cents on revenue of $6.64 billion, based on consensus estimates.

On the economic calendar, the Labor Department reports weekly jobless claims, and the Department of Commerce issues latest data on personal income and spending, both at 8:30 a.m. ET. At 10 a.m., watch for pending home sales for May from the National Association of Realtors, and at 11 a.m., the Kansas City Fed releases its latest manufacturing index.

Compiled from staff and wire reports.



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Ask a Fool: Does Citigroup Reign Supreme Over Bank of America?

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In the following video, Motley Fool financials analyst David Hanson responds to a Fool reader on Facebook, who writes, "Citigroup is much better than Bank of America  -- better PEG/PE." David tells investors why looking at the price to earnings ratio may not be the best way to evaluate banks because bank earnings are often very lumpy. Instead, he gives us a better way to measure banking stocks that will show which of these two banking giants is truly the better buy.

Bank of America's stock doubled in 2012. Is there more yet to come? With significant challenges still ahead, it's critical to have a solid understanding of this megabank before adding it to your portfolio. In The Motley Fool's premium research report on B of A, analysts Anand Chokkavelu, CFA, and Matt Koppenheffer, Financials bureau chief, lift the veil on the bank's operations, including detailing three reasons to buy and three reasons to sell. Click here now to claim your copy.

The article Ask a Fool: Does Citigroup Reign Supreme Over Bank of America? originally appeared on Fool.com.

David Hanson has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of Bank of America and Citigroup. 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.

Copyright © 1995 - 2013 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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3 Stocks That Should Go for a Reverse Split

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Well, that reverse split wasn't so painful.

Jamba shares moved 14% higher last week after kicking off the week with a 1-for-5 reverse split.

Every five shares of the smoothie chain operator were replaced with a single share priced five times higher. The end result is that Jamba closed out the month of May at $2.99, or $14.95 after the reverse split kicked in after May 31's close. It moved higher in four of the first five days of post-split trading to close out its first week at $17.

Reverse splits have negative connotations, and rightfully so. For every Jamba that executes one to boost its shares into a price that swaps speculators for institutional investors, there are countless fading companies going through reverse splits to maintain their exchange listings.

For every rising company going for a reverse split -- and Jamba did hit a multiyear high before the move -- there are too many desperate companies going this route in desperation.

With Jamba's seemingly successful split, which company with a share price in the low single digits is a prime candidate for being the next successful reverse? Let's check a few out.

Alcatel-Lucent -- $1.84
Despite its tiny share price, Alcatel-Lucent did close at a 52-week high on Friday.

The global provider of products and services for the networking and communications industries may be losing money on flat revenue growth, but losses are narrowing. There's also more to the flat top-line performance than meets the eye as reasonable growth in its networks and platforms businesses is offsetting double-digit declines in its optical networking operations. Alcatel-Lucent is also taking better bets, exiting or restructuring contracts where the cost structures aren't fiscally prudent.

A shrewd move to raise more than $2 billion in new financing late last year should help it ride through upcoming debt repayment milestones until it returns to profitability as early as next year.

Sirius XM Radio -- $3.46
Late last month, I made the unpopular argument that the top dog of satellite radio should follow Jamba into a reverse split, and I'm not backing down.

Sirius XM has been one of the market's biggest winners over the past four years, but there is a problem with having nearly 7 billion shares outstanding. If Sirius XM were to join Jamba in the mid-teens, we would be talking about a market cap of $100 billion. That's just not realistic given the media giant's current business model.

There are enough retail and institutional investors steering clear of stocks trading for $3-and-change that it could boost Sirius XM's profile if it did go through with a reverse.

Capstone Turbine -- $1.30
Things are finally starting to happen for the microturbine maker. Revenue is growing at a healthy clip, and analysts see Capstone finally turning a quarterly profit later this year.

Capstone's top line is growing as new orders continue to pile in, and a growing backlog of orders is a healthy indicator of strong growth in the coming quarters. Buyers are drawn to Capstone's turbines, which run efficiently on different types of fuel.  

The one thing standing in the way of Wall Street credibility is its share price, which has weaved in and out of a buck for most of the past four years.

It's better to go with a reverse split now -- when momentum is on its side, after it soared 59% since bottoming out last month -- than to wait until later, when it may be a matter of meeting the exchange's minimum listing requirement.

Move forward
There's more to life than low-priced stocks that may benefit from reverse splits. Some of the market's best stocks have pretty large price tags.

The best investing approach is to choose great companies and stick with them for the long term. The Motley Fool's free report "3 Stocks That Will Help You Retire Rich" names stocks that could help you build long-term wealth and retire well, along with some winning wealth-building strategies that every investor should be aware of. Click here now to keep reading.

The article 3 Stocks That Should Go for a Reverse Split originally appeared on Fool.com.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz owns shares of Jamba. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. 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.

Copyright © 1995 - 2013 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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