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    Before there were alternative investments or hedge funds, having some exposure to commodities, served as a good way to diversify a portfolio against stock market volatility. However, since the price of crude oil cratered from $150 per barrel all the way down to $40 back in 2008, the commodities asset class as a whole has been more or less shunned.

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    SAN FRANCISCO-- Pandora Media Inc.' s shares have tumbled by almost a third since Chief Executive Officer Brian McAndrews said at an investor conference in March that growth in listener hours was slowing. That came on top of nagging fears of potentially higher royalties, always an issue for the Internet radio firm. And, last week, the possibility for higher royalty rates-- Pandora's biggest cost-- loomed again.

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    Apple earnings hit Wall Street after the stock market close yesterday, and Wall Street is impressed. Apple beat revenue and profit forecasts, and, most importantly, proved it's all-important iPhone is still a favorite among consumers. Oh, yeah, and the company boosted its dividend and announced a 7- for-1 stock split.

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    Apple (AAPL) put on a great show for investors in its earnings report yesterday after the stock market closed. The company reported quarterly earnings that were much better than analysts had expected on stronger-than-anticipated iPhone sales. Apple (AAPL) said it would return $130 billion to investors through 2015. And it announced a seven-for-one stock split, which would make it much easier for retail investors to buy the shares.

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    Investopedia defines "max pain" as the point at which options expire worthless. I take a little bit of a different approach. Here is a look at what the TWTR open interest looked like on April 19, the last day of the week to trade the options. TWTR closed that day at $45.01. How Did That Happen?

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    What a marvelous feeling to buy a stock and watch it rise in value. With careful research of sectors, costs in relation to earnings, technical analysis and spending time reading SEC filings, you can shift the odds. Normally, I don't venture far from highly liquid names everyone knows. Of course, playing the waiting game isn't so tough when you're receiving checks in your mailbox every 90 days.

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    The string of consecutive days the S&P 500, the Nasdaq and the Russell 2000 indexes were up was broken at six. All the indexes finished trading Wednesday lower.

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    Ever since they were badly burned in the 2008-2009 stock and bond debacle, investors have been pouring money into so-called "alternative" mutual funds, often at the behest of financial advisers who say those funds will protect them from the fire next time. But it is too soon to tell whether most of these funds will work as suggested. There is good reason for their lack of clarity.

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    Warren Buffett told CNBC on Wednesday he has increased his investment in IBM (IBM) and he abstained from supporting a multi-year compensation plan floated by Coca-Cola in the soda giant's 2013 annual proxy. Buffett said he has increased his investment in IBM (IBM) to a little over $13 billion, after the IT software and services giant continues to post declining revenue and lackluster earnings.

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    Exxon Mobil (XOM), America's biggest energy company, is expanding its footprint in Asia's liquefied natural gas, or LNG, market. The oil behemoth's LNG project in Papua New Guinea, or PNG, is nearing completion in June, four months before originally planned.

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    I was talking to Jim Cramer today about value in the energy sector. It's not that the story of oil from fracked wells in the Bakken, Permian and Eagle Ford shales is over. That value, I am increasingly convinced, is coming from natural gas names. All of these are slowly but inexorably changing.

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    Walmart will launch its new money-transfer service Thursday. The service, which allows consumers in the U.S. to transfer money up to $900 to any one of the 4,000 domestic Walmart stores, is a smart move on the part of Walmart because it will help drive store traffic.

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    The price action of the market in April has been a perfect example of the risk to reward of buying on weakness rather than chasing strength. In the beginning of the month, the SPDR S&P 500 ETF dipped below its 50-day moving average and appeared to be headed for much lower prices.

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    LONDON-- European stocks lost ground Wednesday, with LM Ericsson AB among the decliners pulling the region's benchmark index back from its hefty gain in the previous session. The Stoxx Europe 600 shed 0.6% to 335.05, handing back a portion of Tuesday's 1.4% jump that was led by a rally in drug makers. The decline followed three-straight days of wins for the index.

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    JetBlue Airways  is becoming the last major U.S. airline to have unionized pilots, but the effects on the company's costs may not be as drastic as feared.After the stock dropped yesterday on news of the vote, it was trading recently at $8.64, up 5 cents.

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    There's been a tug-of-war with shares of Apple in 2014. Consider the valuation of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500, and Nasdaq 100 compared to Apple: Surprisingly, Apple still grew sales 9.25% in fiscal 2013 and expectations are for the company to grow revenue 5.8% in the current fiscal year. [Read: Can Apple's Future Plans Save It From an Earnings Implosion?

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     Netflix  declined Wednesday following Amazon's  announcement that it had signed a multi-year content licensing agreement with HBO.