Not everyone predicting a bear market

Many are predicting that a bear market will emerge after the recent stock market correction and anticipated interest rate increase from the Fed later this fall. But that belief isn't universally accepted.

Brian Belski, the Minnesota-bred chief investment strategist for BMO Capital Markets in New York, sees no reason to change his bullish outlook. In his US Strategy Weekly report published earlier this month, Belski wrote that markets can be volatile around Fed interest rate hikes but still do well.

"We have found that stocks have performed relatively well leading into and following Fed rate hike initiations, suggesting that these periods of weakness were only bumps in the road," Belski wrote.

Patrick Kennedy

St. Jude Medical is on track to close deal

St. Jude Medical's $3.5 ­billion acquisition of Thoratec Corp., which was announced on July 22, is on track to close as scheduled in the fourth quarter.

Wedbush analyst Tao Levy has put out a positive opinion of St. Jude's purchase of the Pleasanton, Calif.-based maker of medical devices that provide mechanical circulatory support for heart failure patients.

Large acquisitions can be disruptive to a company, especially in the short term, but Levy said his research shows that St. Jude has handled its billion-dollar acquisitions fairly well. In November 2005 and November 2010, St. Jude made $1.3 billion acquisitions of Advanced Neuromodulation Systems and AGA Medical, respectively.

"We would highlight that STJ's average share price performance in the three-month period following the close of the Advanced Neuromodulation Systems and AGA Medical acquisitions exceeded the performance of both the S&P 500 and the S&P 500 Healthcare indices," his report said.

Levy sees other growth catalysts for St. Jude Medical and maintained his "outperform" or "buy" rating on the company.

Patrick Kennedy

Target's philanthropy shift is questioned

Target Corp. said last week that it would end its "Take Charge of Education" program, which granted about $432 million over the last 18 years to more than 100,000 schools across the United Sates. Target will continue to give away about 5 percent of its profits but will now direct those dollars to more health and wellness causes.

Amy Koo, an analyst who covers Target for Kantar Retail, told the Star Tribune that other grocers and drugstore chains already focus on health and hunger programs. "If they are stepping back from education, I think that's a mistake," Koo said.

Patrick Kennedy