Market Overview

Barron's Recap (5/12/12): The Memory-Foam Mattress Industry, Facebook's IPO

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This weekend in Barron's online: the pros and cons of memory-foam mattresses and the prospects for Facebook's IPO and for aircraft maker Embraer and semiconductor testing equipment maker ChipMOS.

Cover Story

"Sex or Sleep?" by Miriam Gottfried. Sales of memory-foam mattresses have surged as more and more people outfit their beds with the plush, spongy, and somewhat controversial type of mattress. These products have become almost 20% of the mattress market, as they support the body comfortably and offer blissful slumber. However, people also are discovering that these mattresses can pose a challenge when it comes to lovemaking. As New York sex therapist Sari Eckler Cooper explains in the article: "There's a lack of resistance for the knees and feet. And whoever is on the bottom is sinking into the bed." Check out the article for more on the pros and cons of memory-foam mattresses.

Feature Stories

In "Mad About Facebook!" Andrew Bary suggests that, despite the growing frenzy surrounding the social network's imminent initial public offering, investors who climb onboard now could be setting themselves up for letdown. In perhaps the most eagerly awaited IPO ever, eight-year-old Facebook will offer as many as 388 million shares in a $28 to $35 price range. If the price falls at the top of that range as expected, the deal would value the company at nearly $100 billion, making it the third-largest domestic IPO. See the article for the caveats.

See also: Facebook IPO: The Ultimate Ponzi Scheme?

Christopher C. Williams's "Bluer Skies for Brazil's Embraer" suggests that Brazilian aircraft maker Embraer (NYSE: ERJ) could be a compelling play on an eventual pickup in regional air travel, particularly in emerging markets. Embraer is number three in the market, but the world's largest maker of midsize aircraft. While production of regional jets for commercial and business use has been curbed of late by high fuel costs and a muted global recovery, an eventual return of business could benefit the company's shareholders.

ChipMOS Technologies (NASDAQ: IMOS) is positioned for growth that could boost its shares as much as 30%, claims Neil A. Martin in "ChipMOS Arises from the Dead." In 2009, the small semiconductor assembly and testing outfit collapsed after two of its top customers folded. But by focusing on the hottest electronics markets, including smartphones, tablets, and vehicle infotainment systems, the company has made a remarkable comeback. Also, says the article, its low price and good prospects could make ChipMOS a tempting takeover target.

"Where Beauty Is Skin Deep" by Bill Alpert points out that while shares of health-products marketers Herbalife (NYSE: HLF) and Nu Skin (NYSE: NUS) have been hammered of late, there could be more pain to come as their business models come under increased scrutiny.

See also: Nu Skin Enterprises Shares Dragged Down by Herbalife Conference Call

Other featured stories:

  • "Like Father, Like Son" by Sarah Max is a profile of Oak Associates founder Jim Oelschlager.
  • "Why Barclays and Hewlett-Packard Are Good Bets" by Lawrence C. Strauss is an interview with Charles Pohl and Diana Strandberg of Dodge & Cox.
  • And "The Power of Credit" is an editorial commentary by Thomas G. Donlan

Online Exclusives

This weekend's Barron's online exclusives include:

Whole Foods' (NASDAQ: WFM) cofounder and top executive has sold 50,000 shares says Grace L. Williams in "Whole Foods' Mackey Sold $4.5 Million in Stock." John P. Mackey also gifted an additional 5,000 of his shares in this same transaction. This is his second transaction of record this year.

See also: Whole Foods Rises 3% on Q2 Earnings, Raised Guidance

"Is JP Morgan a Buy?" by Johanna Bennett examines the prospects for JP Morgan (NYSE: JPM) and CEO Jamie Dimon in the wake of the announcement of a $2 billion trading loss and the subsequent sell-off of shares, which dragged down other big bank stocks as well.

See also: Egan-Jones Has Had Concerns About JP Morgan Chase "For Quite Some Time"

Also:

  • "Three Stocks to Play Intel Trends"
  • "Polycom's Smart Move"
  • "Stocks to Play Wealthy Chinese Travelers"
  • "New Gins Unlike Anything Grandpa Quaffed" by Richard C. Morais

Columns

Columns in this weekend's Barron's discuss:

  • JP Morgan Chase's huge trading loss
  • The sluggish economic expansion
  • How LTE could help Verizon (NYSE: VZ) and AT&T (NYSE: T) but hurt Sprint-Nextel (NYSE: S)
  • Bob Dylan's innovative website
  • Institutional Shareholder Services' sway over the fund industry
  • Intel's (NASDAQ: INTC) dividend boost
  • Combating Internet crime
  • And more ...

See also:
Intel Dividend Boosted by 7.1%
Sprint iPad to Get Unlimited 4G LTE?

Posted-In: AT&T Barclays Barron's ChipMOSLong Ideas Short Ideas Barron's Media Best of Benzinga

 

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