Starbucks (SBUX) issues were still top of mind to just about everyone as investors continued to drive the stock down as well. It's tough for some investors to find a positive view of the Seattle-based coffee house company. It's been trading sideways for close to three years, producing a 2% return over the last 12 months compared with 15% for the S&P and a somewhat pricey 21 times P/E multiple for a food and beverage company, all of which make an unappetizing menu choice for investors, never mind the company's moral and ethical dilemmas, says Stephen Guilfoyle. There are better plays with less headache and more upside, he says, pointing to MacDonald's (MCD)  , which could have a real hit on its hands with its fresh-beef initiative. About time, Golden Arches, but thanks for coming around.

Johnson & Johnson (JNJ)  , IBM Corp. (IBM)  General Electric (GE)  and Procter & Gamble (PG)  all seem to have something in common: Despite legacies as successful companies, the lot can't seem to shake negative news and headlines about lack of innovation, mismanagement and/or overall underperformance. Are we adding Apple (AAPL)  to the mix? Well, maybe not just yet, but investors appear worried about the company after one of its suppliers, Taiwan Semiconductor (TSM)  , issued a weak forecast. Shares of Apple closed down and it's tough to call for panic off of just one forecast. But with other things at Apple not going so smoothly-namely Homepod sales and potentially its services business in tandem-there may be some cause for concern near-term.

But at least Apple is trying to do new things while the others mentioned above seemed stuck in old ways. Heck, P&G just announced the acquisition of the vitamins and supplements business of Merck KGaA to add to its already-stale coffer of consumer brands. SUPPLEMENTS!? What is this, 1994? P&G closed down 3.25% to $74.95, after opening 2018 at around $95. With activist Nelson Peltz on the board of the consumer products company Wall Street was looking for a deal that targeted millennials in U.S. such as Honest Co., after it missed out on Method, 7th Generation and Dollar Shave Club, writes The Deal's Ron Orol. Old dogs need to find some new tricks, I'd say.

Deal talk: Qualcomm's (QCOM)  deal for NXP Semi (NXPI)  went from a surefire win to a proverbial dumpster fire in no time. The deal sure looked like a no-brainer with few issues in front of it when it was announced. But in the wake of rising tensions between the U.S. and China it is shaping up to be anything but the slam dunk it was pitched to be. Qualcomm said Thursday it was withdrawing and refiling its request for approval from China's regulators for its $44 billion acquisition of NXP.

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Photo of the day: An often-overlooked metal 

Though an integral part of many products nickel, with an atomic number of 28 and the symbol Ni on the periodic table, often gets overlooked in favor of other, more precious metals. Well not today. The metal jumped to its highest price since December 2014 in trading Thursday, rallying more than $1,790, or 12.9%, to $15,749 per metric ton. Prices reached as high as $16,690 earlier in the session. Rising nickel prices and a possible supply shortage in the $20 billion industry could represent a significant problem for electric carmakers including Tesla Inc. (TSLA) . That's because nickel is an integral part of the batteries in electric vehicles, though it is also featured in other products from washing machines to refrigerators.. Read More

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