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Eagle Eye Opener: English Financials Increasingly Tap Internet; YUM Brands Warns of Slowing; Lumber is Making Comeback

Investors in the financial sector should maintain a vigilant eye on share prices this year, especially if they‚??re into retail banks with large brick-and-mortar presences.

English Financials to Move toward an Internet Based Model? (CNBC)

Investors in the financial sector should maintain a vigilant eye on share prices this year, especially if they‚??re into retail banks with large brick-and-mortar presences. European analysts are calling for increased growth in Internet banking and a corresponding reduction in the ‚??high-street‚?? model of brick-and-mortar offices. Specifically, CNBC reports that if banks such as Lloyds, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and Barclays ridded themselves of 12-14 percent of their overall branches this year, their earnings could improve by as much as 7.5 percent. Will this trend take over in the U.S. financial arena as well in 2013? Investors would do well keep an eye on this side of the pond.

Restaurant Giant Expected to Reduce Estimates for 2013 (YahooFinancial)

In a move that may foretell a restaurant-industry wide trend, YUM brands (Pizza Hut, KFC and Taco Bell, to name a few iconic names in its fold) has warned investors that it will likely lower its earnings forecast for 2013. This announcement comes on the heels of an underwhelming performance in Q4 of 2012. YUM shares tumbled 4 percent on the news. YUM investors should prepare for distasteful returns in the coming year.

One Commodity Ran Rings around Peers in 2012 (CNBC)

Since the lumber industry‚??s bottom in 2009, it has made a remarkable comeback.¬†¬† Specifically, since a low of $195 for the physical price of lumber in March of that year, the precious building supply has boomed 87 percent — now generating a physical price of $365. In 2012 alone, lumber paid off loyal investors with a 40 percent rise in its physical price — making it the best-performing commodity on the CME. Investors can expect more of the same in 2013, according to industry trade publication Random Lengths. As the key drivers in 2012 remain in the year head.

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