It was a brief victory lap for and its sister publication The Deal (see our Procter & Gamble Co. (PG) - Get Reportcoverage from earlier this year), which were off and running on a host of stories Monday as earnings season kicked off in earnest.

We were in full swing with an in-depth look at potential options for two of the nation's largest telecoms: AT&T Inc. (T) - Get Report and Sprint Corp. (S) - Get Report  . First, we looked at the AT&T- Time Warner Inc. (TWX)  tie-up (A deal that should be closing soon), and then we dove into what an intervention from Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK.A) - Get Report  or John Malone's Liberty Media Corp. (LMCA)  could mean for second-tier telco Sprint.

On the earnings front, while attention remained affixed on Netflix Inc. (NFLX), there were compelling stories trickling out of the financial sector. Shares of BlackRock Inc. (BLK) - Get Report  , the world's biggest asset manager, tumbled the most in 17 months as fund fees rose less than analysts had expected, even as investors poured money into the firm's iShares exchange-traded funds at a record pace.

And even still, more was percolating under the surface as the markets remained relatively flat in anticipation of the coming second-quarter earnings wave.

U.S.-listed multinationals such as Caterpillar Inc. (CAT) - Get Report  , Honeywell International Inc. (HON) - Get Report  and 3M Co. (MMM) - Get Report  could start to garner some attention, according to Jim Cramer, TheStreet's co-founder and portfolio manager of the Action Alerts PLUS charitable trust portfolio. These companies, he said, that have been on a steady path higher and could continue to do so given that they all book greater than 50% of their business overseas.

Rio Tinto plc (RIO) - Get Report  , another multinational with more than 50% of revenue overseas and a U.S. listing, could also be headed higher, according to Cramer. Technical analyst Bruce Kamich seconded Cramer's assertions on Rio Tinto.

Speaking of companies on the upswing, embattled Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Ltd. (VRX)  remained in the limelight, as shares ticked up on the back of yet another divestiture aimed to reduce debt. Funny story, though, the divested asset -- skincare company Obagi Medical -- wouldn't even be part of the Laval, Quebec-based company's portfolio if not for interference from, you guessed it, activist investors. Not all that glitters is gold....

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Photo of the day: Selling consumer goods for 180 years

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Ok, its official, no company is safe from insurgent investors, or activists. On Monday one of the world's largest companies found that out the hard way as Nelson Peltz's Trian Fund took a stake in Procter & Gamble Co. (PG), the 180-year-old consumer giant. For years Procter & Gamble has been providing the world with consumer packaged goods. Everything from soaps and detergents to razor blades and paper towels. The company was founded in 1837 in Cincinnati, Ohio by brother-in-laws William Procter and James Gamble. P&G started with a small portfolio of brands and grew rapidly as the official provider of soaps and candles to the Union army during the Civil War. In the 1880s P&G started the Ivory Soap brand, providing a trusted brand to consumers all over the country not to mention a toy for the two Boston bulldogs pictured above in an undated photo.

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