Monthly Archives: May 2015

Did you sell in May and go away? Oops!

High expectations on Wall Street

Sell in May and go away. You hear traders say that about the stock market every year.

But if you actually followed that silly piece of advice, you missed out on more gains.

Even though stocks slid Friday, the Dow and S&P 500 finished the month up 1% while the Nasdaq rose nearly 3%.

It wasn't a smooth ride up. There have been fits and starts. But these three major market indexes are all near their record highs.

Will the market continue to climb for the rest of the summer? Forget about the calendar and the supposed summer slump. The market has rallied from May through September for the past three years.

stocks may

It's the economy ... Whether or not that trend continues will depend on two things: how the U.S. economy is doing and how the market thinks the Federal Reserve will react to the data.

It's no secret that the first quarter was a tough one for America. We just found out on Friday that the economy actually shrank a bit. But that's mostly due to the weather. The same thing happened last year.

The economic numbers we've seen for the second quarter so far have pointed to some modest improvement.

Related: Maybe the U.S. economy isn't tanking after all

Hiring picked up in April. The housing market recovery remains on track. Business are spending --- even if consumers aren't.

But it's still not clear what this means for the Fed -- which has said that it plans to eventually raise interest rates. The question is when? That's all that Wall Street seems to care about these days.

Rates have been held near zero since December 2008. So there is considerable anxiety about what will happen to stocks and bonds once the Fed finally hikes rates.

Interest rate jitters. Earlier this year, many thought the Fed would raise rates in June. Nobody believes that will happen now. The current conventional wisdom is that that a rate hike might occur in September.

But if the economy remains sluggish, it's possible the Fed could delay an interest rate move to later in the year ... or perhaps push it back to 2016.

So we might be back in a mode where good economic news is considered bad because it could push the Fed to act sooner rather than later.

Stocks took a nasty tumble Tuesday after decent economic reports sparked more rate hike fears.

Related: Janet Yellen says Fed can't risk 'overheating the economy'

That pushed up the value of the dollar -- which should rise when the Fed raises rates.

Investors have not been fans of the stronger greenback because it hurts the profits of large multinational companies like Procter & Gamble (PG), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), Coca-Cola (KO) and Walmart (WMT). And the only E word that matters to Wall Street more than economy is earnings.

Just do it, Fed! Of course, there are other factors that traders will be watching this summer.

The latest developments in Greece and the rest of Europe. The direction of China's economy. The latest movements in oil prices.

But it all comes back to the Fed. The best thing for the market might be to finally get the rate hike out of the way.

Like many things that people dread -- going to the dentist, doing your taxes and returning that phone call from your mother come to mind -- the actual event usually turns out to be a lot less dramatic than you feared.

And at the end of the day, a rate hike is a good sign. It would show once and for all that the Fed feels the financial crisis and Great Recession are FINALLY behind us and that the recovery is for real.

Related: Bull market is 3rd longest in U.S. history

Related: Smart money is buying energy stocks. Should you?

Related: What it will take for stocks to go higher

Still no Greek rescue deal. Now what?

Varoufakis: Greece can't carry on without an agreement

The rollercoaster ride that is Greece's debt crisis lurched lower again Friday with a stark warning from the International Monetary Fund.

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde told a German newspaper that a Greek exit from the eurozone was "a possibility."

Such a step would not be a "walk in the park," she was quoted as saying by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, but would not mean "the end of the euro."

Signs of progress in talks between Greece and its international creditors earlier this month have evaporated, and time is fast running out for Athens.

Greece has survived for nine months without access to the final 7.2 billion euro ($7.9 billion) tranche of its 240-billion euro bailout, but only by forcing local government and other public bodies to hand over cash reserves, and by tapping an emergency account to make an interest payment to the IMF.

The Greek government's finances are being squeezed ever tighter. It paid public sector wages and pensions estimated at more than 1.5 billion euros Friday; and in a week's time it has to make another IMF interest payment of about 300 million euros.

Related: Greek debt crisis: Who has most to lose?

Some Greek officials have warned that it won't be able to make the IMF payment next week unless other eurozone governments agree to release more funds.

Greece could, if needed, ask the IMF to combine that repayment with others due in June, and pay them all -- about 1.6 billion euros -- towards the end of the month.

Either way, suggestions that agreement is close on a package of reforms acceptable to Greece's anti-austerity government and its creditors seem wide of the mark.

"It is very unlikely that we'll see a comprehensive solution in the next few days," Lagarde told the German newspaper.

The pressure is building on the Greek government. The economy is back in recession and the withdrawal of deposits from Greek banks appears to be accelerating again.

Related: These investors are getting killed in Greece

"Every day of delay deepens the recession, destroys international trust, reduces bank deposits, hurts companies and increases job losses," noted Christian Schulz at Berenberg bank.

Any suggestion that Greece can't repay its bills could force the government to introduce capital controls to prevent a full-blown run on the banks.

The European Central Bank said Thursday that the banking sector had already seen "substantial deposit outflows."

Nervousness about the risk of a Greek default unsettled European stock markets Friday, and the yield on Greek government bonds widened. Germany's DAX index closed down 2.3%

But some analysts warn that investors remain overly optimistic about the ability of Greece and its creditors to find a workable compromise in time.

According to Oxford Economics, the market in Greek government bonds puts the risk of an exit from the eurozone at 38%. It believes the probability is nearer 48%.

"Agreement is still our baseline [forecast]," wrote Gabriel Sterne, Oxford Economics' head of macro research. "But the outcome is more finely balanced than priced in by markets."

IMAX conquered Hollywood. China is next.

IMAX set to invade China

This is likely to be a record-breaking year for Hollywood. But the biggest box office winner on Wall Street doesn't make blockbuster movies. It shows them on enormous 3-D screens.

IMAX (IMAX) shares are up 30% so far this year and are trading at an all-time high. The stock has done better than Disney (DIS) and leading movie theater chains Regal (RGC) and AMC (AMC).

It makes sense. IMAX movies make a ton of money thanks to the premium ticket prices.

The company pulled in more than $18 million during the opening weekend of "Avengers: Age of Ultron" earlier this month. That works out to an average of nearly $50,000 for each of the company's 364 screens. By way of comparison, a typical opening weekend for a movie not on IMAX tends to be around $10,000 to $20,000.

"Furious 7" and "Mad Max: Fury Road" have been big hits as well.

And the summer is just getting started.

Related: "Game of Thrones' coming to an IMAX theater near you

Earthquake drama "San Andreas" hits IMAX theaters Friday. "Jurassic World" and "Terminator Genisys" -- the first Terminator film with Arnold Schwarzenegger since 2003 -- come out in June and July respectively.

So it's no wonder that analysts are expecting this to be a fantastic year for IMAX. Wall Street is predicting that sales will increase 22% and that earnings per share will be up nearly 55%.

But IMAX doesn't just want to rule the silver screen in the United States. The company has its sights set on taking China by storm as well. And that has investors extremely excited.

IMAX announced on Thursday that it planned to take its IMAX China Holding subsidiary public on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. IMAX shares rose 3% on that news.

Related: China tops U.S. at the box office for the first time

Richard Gelfond, the CEO of IMAX, said it has become increasingly clear that boosting its presence in China is key to its long-term growth -- and that it has to do so with partners in China.

"Over time, being a bigger Chinese player will benefit the company," he told CNNMoney. "We realized years ago that IMAX had to be more and more focused on China and less on North America."

IMAX sold a 20% stake in the China unit to two Chinese companies last year. IMAX currently operates 239 movie screens in China and has plans to install another 219 over the next few years.

The box office success of "Transformers: Age of Extinction" in China last year is another sign that Hollywood is going to need to target the Chinese moviegoer even more directly. That should be good for IMAX.

Related: It took 'Furious 7' just 8 days to gross $250 million in China

"Studios have been following the box office globally -- and a lot of the international box office is coming from China," Gelfond said.

Stifel analyst Ben Mogil thinks that the timing is right for IMAX to capitalize on the box office boom in China.

He boosted his price target for IMAX following the Hong Kong IPO news, citing the fact that Chinese movie theater operations trade at a higher valuation than those in the U.S. because of their growth potential.

But don't expect IMAX to diminishing its focus on the U.S.

Related: 'San Andreas' and The Rock brace for a shaky box office weekend

Gelfond said he thinks this year will turn out to be one of the best ever for Hollywood, and by extension, IMAX.

In fact, the end of the year could be even bigger than the summer. The next James Bond movie, "Spectre" is out in November. So is "Mockingjay -- Part 2" -- the conclusion of the insanely popular "Hunger Games" franchise.

Then there's that little sci-fi movie coming out in December. "Star Wars: Episode 7 -- The Force Awakens."

"2015 started out with tremendous expectations for movies, and so far the box office appears to be meeting those expectations," Gelfond said.

Related: "Avengers: Age of Ultron' makes $1 billion in 24 days

Related: Disney kicks off big summer with huge earnings

U.S. economy shrank in first quarter, but don’t panic

U.S. economy shrinks in first quarter

Thank goodness spring is here. Winter really wore down the U.S. economy.

America's economic growth was actually negative in the first three months of 2015. Gross domestic product, the widest measure of growth, fell -0.7%, according to revised government data out Friday.

Blame the cold weather, the strong U.S. dollar and West Coast port strike -- remember that -- for the weak start to the year. The strong dollar is making American exports look very expensive to people in other countries.

"This was not a good picture of the U.S. economy but it is all history," Jennifer Lee, senior economist at BMO Capital Markets, wrote in a note to clients. "We are seeing signs that the economy is recovering from the weak first quarter."

The same winter blip happened last year. The U.S. economy actually contracted by -2.1% in the first quarter of 2014, but the economy came surging back as the weather improved. Many experts believe America is in for a repeat: a slow start in the winter followed by a spring and summer rally.

Related: Maybe the U.S. economy isn't tanking after all

Rebound underway: The U.S. economy is already showing signs of life. Housing starts -- the pulse of American real estate -- had its best monthly gain since 1991 in April. Consumer confidence ticked up a bit recently and orders for durable goods -- refrigerators, for example -- jumped up too. People tend not to buy big ticket items unless they are optimistic about where their finances are headed.

Hiring is also strong. The economy added a healthy 223,000 jobs in April, a reassuring sign after March saw few job gains.

The government's initial estimate of first quarter economic growth, published a month ago, was a disappointing 0.2%. But even that projection was too optimistic. The government typically revises the data as it get more accurate information.

Although the first quarter is long gone, it is a big deal to the Federal Reserve, which is trying to decide if the economy is strong economy to raise interest rates soon. The negative economic growth means a June rate hike is almost certainly not going to happen. Many experts believe the Fed is prepping for a September rate hike.

Related: Yellen: Fed can't risk 'overheating the economy'

Friday's GDP revision comes on the heels of a major development for economic nerds (this reporter included). The Commerce Department announced last week that it will alter how it calculates GDP starting with the second quarter.

The adjustments are intended to remove more "residual seasonality." It's a wonky way of saying they will try to better account for things that happen during certain parts of the year. For example, federal government defense spending tends to be higher in the spring and summer than fall and winter.

There have been concerns that the government has underestimated winter GDP for many years -- yet another reason experts aren't panicking about a weak start to the year.

Related: What I wish I knew about money on graduation day

Apple stock is great. So are many of its suppliers’ stocks

Icahn: Apple in 'category almost by itself'

There are quite literally hundreds of Apple suppliers. The top 200 of these companies help the Mac maker procure over 97% of what it needs, including manufacturing, assembly, and materials.

Most of Apple's suppliers are located in Asia, which makes sense given the concentration of companies there that contribute to the consumer electronics supply chain.

Apple (AAPL, Tech30)'s meteoric rise over the past decade has translated into booming business for many of these suppliers. Riding on Apple's coattails has become a legitimate investing strategy in and of itself.

But how can an investor sift through hundreds of companies to discover which stocks are worth watching? These three companies are a good start.

Related: Apple is making regular Americans rich

1. Qualcomm: Considering the importance of the iPhone to Apple's success, smartphone king Qualcomm (QCOM, Tech30) is an obvious candidate. Not only does Qualcomm enjoy royalty revenue from every smartphone sold, but it has an extremely successful chip business making components for a wide range of smartphones.

Qualcomm's Snapdragon applications processors have taken over the market for processors, and while Apple uses its own A-chips to power iPhones, Apple has yet to integrate a cellular baseband into its A-chips and still relies on Qualcomm for the necessary modem. Qualcomm has maintained its lead in baseband technology, so Apple has little choice but to buy these parts from Qualcomm right now in order to get the best available modems.

That's not to say Qualcomm will be safe forever. There is evidence suggesting Apple is building its own cellular basebands, which is arguably long overdue, as the majority of the market transitioned to integrated solutions long ago. But for now, Qualcomm is enjoying a cushy spot in every iPhone, and over 10% of consolidated revenue comes from the Mac maker.

Related: Why Carl Icahn's $240 Apple Price Target Is Way Too Aggressive

2. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing: For many years, arch-frenemy Samsung was Apple's exclusive chip manufacturing partner. Even as the South Korean conglomerate competed fiercely in the smartphone market, Apple remained a large customer of its foundry business. The last thing Apple wants is to enrich a major competitor, indirectly helping fund the R&D for competing smartphones, but moving away from a partner that manufactures such a crucial component (Apple's A-chips) isn't easy.

Apple finally brought on Taiwan Semiconductor (TSM) last year, starting with the A8, which powers the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Finally, Taiwan Semiconductor is officially on Apple's list of suppliers. Samsung is still reportedly in the mix, though, producing an estimated 40% of Apple's A8 volumes. It's also possible that Samsung will produce the next A9 chip since it's ramping up its 14-nanometer manufacturing process first, even if the yields aren't that great at first.

Looking longer term, there are numerous strategic reasons Apple will likely continue transitioning as much business as possible to Taiwan Semiconductor, even if there are bumps along the way. The contract chip manufacturer is definitely one to keep an eye on.

Related: Ask a Fool: What's Your Biggest Investing Regret?

3. Universal Display: This is a new one, and a company many industry watchers have anxiously awaited to make the cut. OLED displays offer many benefits over traditional LCD displays, so it always seemed like a matter of time before Apple adopted the technology. Apple Watch is the first Apple product to incorporate an OLED display.

The new wearable uses a flexible AMOLED display made by LG Display (LPL). Thanks to that design win, LG Display grabbed a 91% revenue share of the smartwatch display market in the first quarter, according to DisplaySearch. Samsung is expected to supply the OLED displays in the second-generation model. It just so happens that LG Display and Samsung are the two largest customers of Universal Display (OLED). LG and Samsung have been the biggest proponents of OLED displays, incorporating the technology into their smartphones for years.

Universal Display supplies both intellectual property and materials needed to make the displays, putting it at the center of the transition to OLEDs. Now that Apple has jumped on the OLED bandwagon, there is a distinct possibility it will continue to use OLED displays in an increasing number of products as the technology continues to advance. If that thesis plays out, Apple will be buying up OLED displays from LG Display and Samsung for many years to come, and Universal Display will likewise be capitalizing behind the scenes.

Evan Niu, CFA, owns shares of Apple and Qualcomm. The Motley Fool recommends Apple and Universal Display.

Related: How to Tell If The Apple Watch Is A Boom or Failure

Stocks: 5 things to know before the open

premarket stocks trading Click chart for in-depth premarket data.

It's the final trading day of May.

Here are the five things you need to know before the opening bell rings in New York:

1. Don't sell in May: Anyone following the market mantra "Sell in May and go away" would have missed out on some decent gains this month.

The Dow Jones industrial average and S&P 500 are both up by about 1.6%, and the Nasdaq has surged by 3.2%.

But it doesn't look like the indexes will hold onto all those gains on the final trading day of the month.

U.S. stock futures are edging down ahead of the open.

2. International markets overview: European markets are all declining in early trading, with renewed nervousness about the fate of Greece setting the tone. A German newspaper quoted the head of the International Monetary Fund as saying that it was possible Greece would have to leave the eurozone.

In Germany, the benchmark Dax index is declining by about 1%.

Asian markets ended with mixed results. The mood in China has calmed down after a large pullback Thursday, following stellar gains so far this year.

Hyde Chen, an equity analyst at UBS Wealth Management, said profit taking, as well as investors holding back ahead of a rush of IPOs next week, had contributed to the volatility.

Related: Fear & Greed Index

3. Stock market mover -- Altera: Shares in Altera (ALTR) are surging by about 10% premarket based on a New York Post report that says Intel (INTC, Tech30) is considering a $15 billion bid for the smaller chipmaker.

4. GDP galore: The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis will release a new estimate for first quarter GDP at 8:30 a.m. ET. The original estimate showed the U.S. economy grew by just 0.2% in the first three months of the year, which was well below expectations. Many now predict the economy may have actually shrunk in the first quarter.

Friday also saw disappointing GDP readings from Switzerland and Sweden. The Swiss economy contracted by 0.2% in the first quarter after a sharp appreciation in the currency slammed exports.

Many economists are also expecting a negative reading for Brazil's GDP, which is set for release Friday.

Related: CNNMoney's Tech30

5. Earnings and economics: Big Lots (BIG) is reporting ahead of the open.

The University of Michigan will update its monthly consumer sentiment index at 10 a.m. ET.

Ex-Lehman CEO Dick Fuld: At least my mom still loves me

Dick FuldDick Fuld was grilled by members of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission in 2010 about his role as CEO of Lehman Brothers, the investment bank whose collapse helped set off the worst financial meltdown since the Great Depression.

In the fall of 2008, Dick Fuld may have been the most hated man in America.

As the disgraced former CEO of Lehman Brothers, he had just presided over the largest bankruptcy in American history. Fuld quickly became the poster child for the reckless risk taking that fueled the Wall Street meltdown and Great Recession.

Since the financial crisis Fuld has largely stayed silent -- until Thursday when he decided it was "time for me to raise my ugly head."

"Not a day goes by that I don't think about Lehman Brothers," Fuld said at a conference in Manhattan.

Fuld alluded to how unpopular he is, but he downplayed how much the criticism impacts him.

"My motto is: That was then, this is now," Fuld said. He added: "My mother still loves me. She's 96."

Fuld is something of a toxic asset on Wall Street, not unlike the ones Lehman bet on that caused the bank to collapse. Fuld has not been hired by any big firms and has been the subject of countless lawsuits, including a shareholder suit he and other Lehman execs paid $90 million to settle in 2011. On Thursday, he received modest applause from the crowd of mostly financial professionals.

Related: More bankers OK with breaking the law to get ahead

Fuld's comeback effort: Fuld's comments marked his first public remarks since being grilled by investigators on the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission in 2010. After years of silence, he is trying to make a comeback of sorts. He took the opportunity to talk up the work of Matrix Advisors, the consulting firm he founded in 2009.

Fuld, who built and lost a $1 billion fortune on Wall Street, said he didn't think he "had a choice" other than to try to get back into finance.

Sarcastically asked by the moderator why he didn't ride into the sunset after presiding over the epic Lehman failure, Fuld replied: "Why don't you bite me?"

'Perfect storm': If he could, Fuld said there are many things he'd do differently over his final year at the helm of Lehman.

"You have to have enough liquidity to ride out the storm. I've been there, done that," he said.

During the crisis, Lehman and other big banks were stuck with too many "illiquid" assets, meaning ones they could not buy or sell quickly enough to meet other obligations.

"It's very easy to look back...I missed the violence of the market and how it spread from one asset class to the next," Fuld said.

He described a "perfect storm" and "self-fulfilling negative loop" that drove financial panic, including an explosion of debt and financial products and lax regulation.

Related: Jamie Dimon lashes out at 'lazy' shareholders

Is the American Dream to blame? Yet in many ways Fuld remains in denial about Lehman's final days, reiterating his belief that the bank was the victim of nefarious forces. It was not a truly bankrupt company, he said.

"Did we try to do everything we possibly could? Yes. Did we fall prey to other agendas? I'll leave it at that," he said.

Like many, the ex-Lehman chief believes the 2008 crisis was started by a confluences of forces. Fuld said it's important to focus on the "buildup" to the housing bubble, which he believes started with the government's very aggressive push to increase homeownership.

"They wanted everyone to fulfill their view of the American Dream," Fuld said.

Penny stocks? Given his infamous role in the 2008 financial crisis, Fuld chose an ironic venue to start a comeback tour: A conference for what are essentially penny stocks.

Fuld spoke -- without receiving a fee -- at the Marcum Microcap Conference, an annual event for publicly-traded companies valued at less than $500 million. (Marcum said it made a donation to a charity instead of paying Fuld.)

Related: Where are the key players of 2008 crisis now?

Due to their smaller size, microcaps -- also sometimes known as penny stocks -- are more volatile than larger stocks. Many don't even file financial reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission. That makes these risky securities, especially the smaller ones, vulnerable to fraud such as "pump-and-dump" schemes, the SEC warns where they are bid up in value and then crash.

It's not Fuld's first flirtation with penny stocks. As recently as 2013, he served as a consultant to GlyEco, a tiny green technology company that was originally part of a holding company for Boys Toys, a San Francisco strip club.

It's not clear if Fuld is still affiliated with GlyEco, which didn't respond to requests for comment from CNNMoney. Interestingly, GlyEco is aware of Fuld's toxic reputation. The company listed its association with Fuld and the "negative publicity" it may bring as a risk in its 2012 annual report.

Related: Is the party over for real estate investing?

Fitbit gets sued ahead of its IPO

Under Armour bets big on fitness apps

Getting sued just before you want to sell stock on Wall Street is never a good sign. We'll soon find out if it has an impact on the initial public offering plans of Fitbit, the industry leader in fitness tracking wearable technology.

One of Fitbit's key rivals, Jawbone, filed a lawsuit against Fitbit in California earlier this week. Jawbone claims that Fitbit poached employees and stole the company's trade secrets and intellectual property.

Jawbone, which makes the Up line of fitness trackers, is one of many companies trying to gain share in the increasingly crowded wearable market.

Related: Fitbit files for an IPO

In addition to Fitbit and Jawbone, the companies compete with much larger tech firms like Apple (AAPL, Tech30), Google (GOOGL, Tech30) and Samsung (SSNLF) as well as GPS maker Garmin (GRMN) and athletic apparel firms Under Armour (UA) and Adidas (ADDDF).

Fitbit says in its IPO filing with the SEC that it has a "leading position in the connected health and fitness device market." It cites figures from research firm NPD that show Fitibt had a 68% share of the fitness activity tracker market in the U.S. last year.

President Obama has even been spotted wearing a Fitibit Surge smartwatch several times this year -- at a college basketball game, a meeting with Ireland's Prime Minister at the White House, and even in an interview with The Wall Street Journal.

obama fitbit What's his heart rate? President Obama had a Fitibt on while watching his niece's college basketball team -- Princeton -- in the NCAA tournament in March.

In its lawsuit, Jawbone argues that Fitbit began "systematically plundering" Jawbone employees earlier this year in an attempt to prove to potential investors that it can attract skilled talent and bolster its in-house technology.

Jawbone says Fitibit approached 30% of its workforce and that at least five employees left Jawbone to work for Fitbit -- bringing along trade secrets and business plans with them.

Jawbone quotes an unnamed Fitbit recruiter as saying that it was "Fitbit's objective to decimate Jawbone."

Related: Are smart clothes the next fitness craze?

Fitbit said in a statement that it "has no need to take information from Jawbone or any other company." The company added that it is "unaware of any confidential or proprietary information of Jawbone in our possession and we intend to vigorously defend against these allegations."

And it may be tough for Jawbone to prove that Fitibit all of a sudden decided it needed to hire Jawbone employees en masse to stay on top of the market.

Fitibit reported sales of $745 million in 2014 -- an increase of 175%. The company was also profitable. And in the first quarter of this year, sales more than tripled while profits soared as well.

The company filed to go public earlier this month and plans to list on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol "FIT." The date for the IPO hasn't been set yet.

Related: Who exactly is the Apple Watch for?

Related: New Jawbone tracker takes your heart rate

My biggest investing regret

High expectations on Wall Street

The Motley Fool's experts know what they're talking about when it comes to saving and investing, but a lot of that knowledge comes from making mistakes along the way.

Whether it's selling a stock too early, not taking advantage of excellent buying opportunities, or cashing out of a retirement account, we've done it all and learned valuable lessons from our mistakes. In order to prevent you from making these mistakes, here are three Fools to share their stories.

Matt Frankel: When people ask me my biggest investing regret, the answer is easy -- I bought shares of Tesla (TSLA) while the stock was trading in the $20's and sold when it spiked to the $70-range thinking I had made an excellent move. We all know how that turned out, as Tesla is trading for $244 per share as I write this, just a few years later.

However, I learned a valuable lesson from this mistake. When a stock rises, no matter how much, ask yourself if the reasons you bought it in the first place still apply. In Tesla's case, I still believed in the company's vision and product on a long-term basis. And even at the higher price, I didn't consider the stock to be overvalued.

Share your story: What was your biggest investing mistake?

In short, I bought Tesla intending for it to be a long-term holding in my portfolio, and I let the desire for a quick profit cloud my judgement. The lesson is that stocks will go up and down, but you shouldn't base buying and selling decisions on the price of the stock. Instead, focus on whether the price represents a share of a good company at a reasonable price. If it does, don't let a quick spike in the share price convince you it's time to hit the sell button.

Todd Campbell: When recession strikes and markets drop, it is maddeningly difficult to screen out the seemingly endless noise and stick to a discipline of buying when others are selling.

During the financial crisis, the airwaves were chocked full of endless reminders of why investors should avoid buying, but fortunately a discipline of contributing monthly to a diversified mutual fund through a dollar-cost averaging program allowed me to look beyond some of that short term fear and continue buying when others were selling.

Related: Why Carl Icahn's $240 Apple Price Target Is Way Too Aggressive

However, I do have one regret and it's that during the S&P's dramatic tumble, I didn't significantly boost my monthly contributions. If I had, then I would have seen a much bigger increase in my portfolio value when the S&P 500 eventually stopped falling and then doubled.

The lesson to be learned from this experience is that if you've got a solid investment discipline, a bit of extra monthly income, and a long term time horizon, then it can pay off over the long run to put a little more aside when markets go on sale.

Jason Hall: My biggest regret happened twice: Cashing out retirement accounts.

It happened in my 20's both times, and the combined sum was "only" about $6,500, which will probably be less than one month's expenses when I actually do retire in about 25 years, based on inflation.

However, it's not the $6,500 that I regret. It's the time value and opportunity cost that I gave up when I cashed out. And that's something I just can't get back. Let me explain.

Related: The No-Risk Way to Learn to Invest

Based on when I cashed out those two 401(k)'s, and how the market has performed since then, my retirement account would be worth about $23,000 more today if I had kept that money invested. But that's just the beginning.

Let's take a look at how much that $23,000 would potentially grow in the future, if I still had it invested and it generated somewhere in the neighborhood of a 9% compound annual return (which is roughly equal to the S&P 500's historical average).

Replacing $6,500 today would be easy. Coming up with an extra hundred grand in retirement? Not so much. I'm just glad I figured this out before I ran out of time to ramp up my retirement savings.

Related: Retire rich with these stocks

Jason Hall owns shares of Tesla. Matthew Frankel has no position in any stocks mentioned. Todd Campbell has no position in any stocks mentioned.

Abercrombie & Fitch surges, but don’t call it a miracle at the mall yet

Abercrombie & Fitch results: Could've been worse

Abercrombie & Fitch reported another lousy quarter on Thursday. A big loss. Sales fell.

But for the first time in awhile, investors are hopeful about the teen apparel retailer's future. Shares of Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) surged nearly 15%. Imagine that.

The company's interim CEO, former Sears (SHLD) chief Arthur Martinez, said there are signs that the company's sales will improve in the second quarter.

Since the departure of controversial CEO Mike Jeffries in December, Abercrombie & Fitch has taken steps to reinvent itself.

It's no longer emphasizing the clothes featuring the logos of A&F and its other big brand, Hollister. They're now passe with many teens and young adults.

Abercrombie & Fitch also is pulling back on its overly sexual marketing. The company announced in April that it will no longer feature shirtless models in stores and that risque images on gift cards will be gone by July.

Related: Abercrombie makeover: No more shirtless models

These are probably smart moves. But they're not having the desired impact just yet.

Overall sales plunged 14% in the first quarter and same-store sales, one of the most important measures of a retailer's health, were down 8%. Amazingly enough, the same-store sales were not as terrible as investors were fearing: Wall Street was predicting a 9% drop.

Still, it would be a mistake to say that the worst is definitely over, And Martinez is urging investors to be patient.

"While our turnaround won`t be accomplished overnight, we believe the changes we are making will reinvigorate our iconic brands and lead to meaningful and lasting improvement," he said in a statement.

Related: Your clothes are killing us

That appeared to be enough to satisfy Wall Street Thursday.

anf stock

But the company faces a long road ahead.

The stock is still down 25% this year. It's not clear that Abercrombie & Fitch will ever be able to return to its former glory.

There is a lot of competition in the world of teen apparel. Today's mallrats are increasingly flocking to fast fashion companies like Zara, H&M and Forever 21 that feature pretty cheap clothing.

Related: Is Abercrombie & Fitch the next retailer to die?

Other teen retailers are fighting to stay relevant too.

There are signs of improvement at American Eagle Outfitters (AEO). But Aeropostale (ARO) continues to stumble and the most recent results from Urban Outfitters (URBN) were disappointing as well.

It's also worth noting that many investors are still betting on more bleak times ahead for Abercrombie & Fitch. The stock is a favorite target of short sellers, who profit when a stock goes down.

These investors may be scrambling to buy back stock they borrowed and sold in order to avoid getting hit with a big loss. That's a phenomenon called a short squeeze. It's usually temporary.

Martinez -- and his eventual replacement -- will have to prove to Abercrombie & Fitch's many skeptics that it can make a real comeback.

It's not looking promising. Sales are still expected to be down for this fiscal year .. and next.

Related: Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Jeffries steps down

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