"Welcome August, where you been?" wrote TheStreet's co-founder Jim Cramer in his most recent piece where he runs through the foreseeable reasons for Thursday's sell-off.
Sure, there are a number of factors that may have spooked investors, but there could be a far simpler reason: It's August and things are slow. Novel idea, I know, but it could just be a product of the dog days of summer and the fact that investors may want to take a little profit as they head out on their last summer vacations.
Then again, perhaps it is the confluence of negative news that came down over the last few days, signaling perhaps more doom and gloom to come. As in the deluge of drama out of Washington, D.C., the uncertain tone from the Federal Reserve's July minutes or the weak earnings from Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO) , a bellwether for the internet. But maybe it's not.
In other words, it was a head scratcher of a day on Wall Street, as investors waded through a lot of political noise. But underneath the headlines some compelling stories presented themselves. Not to mention those buying opportunities that showed their head as the Dow snapped its four-day winning streak.
Alibaba Group (BABA) , for instance, continues to light up earnings as it announced Thursday morning that it had blew by Wall Street estimates once again, partly on the back of its cloud business that grew almost 100% in the second quarter. Move over Amazon and Microsoft, there's a new serious cloud player on the block, and it has a legacy business that can help fund a continued buildout of the operations.
And then there was everyone's favorite ongoing merger saga: that of Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. (WBA) and Rite Aid Corp. (RAD) . On Thursday the pharmacy retail chains said they voluntarily pulled and refiled their antitrust notification with the FTC. Only time will tell if this review will go better than the last.
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Photo of the day: Sweet news for Hershey
Dipping cocoa prices could be a big boon for Hershey Co. (HSY) , so much so that on Thursday Bernstein analysts upgraded Hershey stock to outperform from market perform and raised their price target to $127 from $109, noting that the price of cocoa has fallen by about 37% over the past year and may decline more. A 30% fall in input prices could increase gross margin expansion to 47.8% from 46.2% in one year, lifting earnings per share by 8.6%. Hershey's was founded by Milton S. Hershey in 1894 as the Hershey Chocolate Company. In 1907, Hershey would introduce the "Hershey's Kiss" an ad for which is pictured above.
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