Gold bars & granules © Heinz-Peter Bader/Reuters
Americans prefer gold, real estate

As the market wades through what many people hope is a sixth bull year, some have grown nervous about how long the run can go.


These ETFs are benchmarked to extremely out-of-favor foreign markets that most investors would quickly pass over. Whoever said being a contrarian was easy?

By MSN Money Partner 28 minutes ago
Image: Globe with money © PhotoAlto/SuperStockBy Mark Hulbert, MarketWatch

Do you do more than just talk the talk about being a contrarian investor, but actually walk the walk? Here’s a way to find out: Would you invest in the stock markets of Greece, Argentina or Russia?

I can hear the cries of anguish: You mean contrarian investing means risking your assets in the stock markets of countries that are in as awful shape as those of these three?

Greece is still a basket case, and Argentina is struggling with a currency crisis. The Russian economy, already in shambles, could face international sanctions and isolation over its aggressive behavior in Ukraine and, as a result, suffer an even more serious downturn.


Banks are being forced to return to their utilitarian roots. But will they be able to make money?

By StreetAuthority 48 minutes ago
Credit: © Chris Minerva/Getty Images
Caption: A bank sign on a buildingBy Adam Fischbaum

My grandmother, a schoolteacher, was widowed at a relatively early age. She inherited a relatively small nest egg my grandfather, a rabbi, had built that included a couple of municipal bonds and 90 shares of stock in a small local bank started by a handful of his congregants.

At the time of her death 40 years later, the bank had grown into one of the largest regional players in the business.

Those 90 shares had grown through mergers, splits and stock dividends to over 12,000 shares, with a value of close to $300,000. Not a fortune -- but not too shabby.

Was she some kind of investing genius? She was a smart cookie, but no. She held the stock for what seemed like forever. She banked there forever. She knew the business inside and out. She liked the 5 percent rain-or-shine dividend.  

Wall Street is getting more selective and demanding profits from this hyped-up sector.

By InvestorPlace 1 hour ago

Credit: © Rick Wilking

Caption: Boxes from are pictured on the porch of a houseBy Jeff Reeves

Tech stocks have been mighty choppy this year.

On one hand, Facebook (FB) is up strongly on the year, with 15 percent gains so far in 2014 after great earnings in January. On the other hand, e-commerce darling Amazon (AMZN) has shed more than 16 percent as investors worry about profitability in the wake of a fourth-quarter earnings miss.

Similarly, the initial public offering space is muddled for tech stocks. Some recent tech IPOs are up strongly -- like China's (WBAI), which has almost tripled from its December offering price. Other recent issues, like the IPO of mobile video game studio King Entertainment (KING) -- which sold off on its first day of trading and remains down since going public in March -- have gone pretty poorly.


The company's blowout quarterly report was a surprise to many professionals watching the stock.

By Benzinga 1 hour ago

Credit: © Noah Berger/Bloomberg News/Getty Images
Caption: The Gilead Sciences Inc. offices in Foster City, Calif.By Tim Parker

Many investors would argue that the analyst community doesn't get much of anything right.

But normally, analysts aren't more than a few cents off when predicting a company's quarterly per-share earnings.

So how did the analyst community get Tuesday's Gilead (GILD) numbers so shockingly wrong?

After the bell, the company reported per-share earnings of $1.48, excluding certain items, on revenue of $5 billion. Analysts predicted EPS of only 91 cents on revenue of about $3.9 billion. Revenue was 98 percent higher year over year.


Workers ramp up a campaign to slow the Postal Service's partnership with the company, and are urging unionized teachers to shop elsewhere.

By MSN Money Partner 2 hours ago
People leave a Staples store in Broomfield, Colorado (© Rick Wilking/Newscom/Reuters)By Kris Maher and Drew Fitzgerald, The Wall Street Journal

A postal-workers union is ramping up a campaign to try to slow the U.S. Postal Service's partnership with Staples (SPLS), including asking unionized teachers to boycott the chain and buy school supplies elsewhere.

Last fall, Staples began providing postal services under a pilot program that now includes 82 stores in California, Pennsylvania, Georgia and Massachusetts. The sites are staffed with Staples employees.

The American Postal Workers Union, whose members have average pay of just under $25 an hour, said it fears a broader rollout would end up transferring more duties to lower-paid Staples employees, cutting the need for neighborhood post offices and leading to post-office layoffs. The union represents 200,000 postal workers, or roughly half the total.


The carrier is loved by its passengers, but its investors aren't so happy.

By Staff 3 hours ago

Caption: A JetBlue Airways Corp. plane in Long Beach, Calif.
Credit: © Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty ImagesBy Ted Reed, TheStreet

As the airline industry heads into a golden age of profitability, one of the big six airlines is still sitting on the runway, waiting for its shares to take logo

That carrier is JetBlue (JBLU). Perhaps the best indication of its predicament is that its shares are up about 4 percent this year. 

That's fine in comparison to the Standard & Poor's 500 Index ($INX), which is up about 2 percent. But shares in the remaining five of the top six airlines are up at least 20 percent.

American (AAL), the best performer in the group, is up 42 percent while United (UAL), the worst performer, is up 20 percent. Delta (DAL), with its shares up 27 percent year to date, will kick off airline earnings season on Wednesday. On Thursday, JetBlue is expected to report earnings of 7 cents a share, up from 5 cents in the same quarter a year earlier, according to analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters.


Shares of the online streaming company were up after a solid earnings report, but CEO Reed Hastings isn't happy.

By Motley Fool Investor Beat 3 hours ago
Shares of streaming video company Netflix (NFLX) were up big Tuesday after it announced a strong quarter, which included beating analyst estimates for profit and meeting estimates for revenue. Even more important, the company saw its total number of subscribers grow to 48.4 million, a new high.

But the real highlight from Netflix was the comments from CEO Reed Hastings about the proposed Comcast (CMCSA) and Time Warner Cable (TWC) merger. Despite the fact that Netflix recently made a deal with Comcast to pay extra for faster streaming service, Hastings has said that he doesn't approve of the upcoming merger.  

Why pay any attention to letters from a manager who lost money in the first quarter?

By Jim Cramer 3 hours ago

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Monday in New York © Spencer Platt/Getty ImagesHow did it come to the point that we now get our opinions from investment letters from managers who lost money in the first quarter?

How is it that we now bank with managers who tell us there is a tech bubble brewing without taking into account that the bubble has been bursting for a month now? Isn't that what we are doing if we are relying on Greenlight Capital's performance letter out Tuesday, the one in which the most salient feature should be the line showing it was down 1.5 percent for the quarter?

It's a catchy letter, for certain.


Many people are waiting for the iPhone 6 to arrive before they upgrade their phones, and that will mean dull results for the company.

By MSN Money Partner 4 hours ago
Caption: The Apple logo is displayed at an Apple Store
Credit: © Maja Hitij/epa/CorbisBy Cadie Thompson, CNBC

With many consumers holding out for the new iPhone 6 model and subsequently not driving up sales, Apple (AAPL) is likely to report unimpressive earnings after the bell on Wednesday, analysts say.

Many are waiting for the iPhone 6 to hit the market before they upgrade their smartphones and that means dull quarterly earnings for the company.

"With the much anticipated iPhone 6 due for release later this year, we believe many potential iPhone buyers will pause before the major upgrade," said Brian Marshall, an analyst at ISI Group, in a recent note to clients.

Apple is expected to report fiscal second-quarter earnings of $10.18 per share -- which is just 1 percent growth year over year -- on revenue of $43.53 billion, according to a survey of analysts by Thomson Reuters.

Tags: AAPL

As the market wades through what many people hope is a sixth bull year, some have grown nervous about how long the run can go.

By MSN Money Partner Tue 2:08 PM
Image: Home for sale © CorbisBy Barbara Kollmeyer, MarketWatch

You can keep your gold and stocks because there's no place like home for my money.

That seems to be the gist of a recent survey from Gallup, in which Americans picked real estate as the cream of the the long-term-investment crop. 

Their other choices were gold, stock and mutual funds; savings accounts and CDs; or bonds. Some 30 percent of those polled picked real estate, versus 24 percent each for gold and stocks, while 14 percent gave savings accounts/CDs the nod and just 6 percent said bonds were the way to go. 

The bond drag is not too surprising considering how investors have been fleeing funds like the Pimco Total Return Fund (PTTRX). Bonds have also been a consistent nonfavored option in the Gallup poll. This marked the first year gold was included as an option in the Gallup survey of 1,026 adults aged 18 and older.


Bank CEOs make for easy targets. But behind them are the potentially more powerful directors that should be held to account as well.

By The Fiscal Times Tue 1:16 PM

Caption: A Citibank branch in Miami, Fla.
Credit: © Mark Elias/Bloomberg via Getty ImagesBy Suzanne McGee, The Fiscal Times

Mike Mayo has some questions for the big banks -- and he's hoping that the annual meetings will produce some answers.

Unlike most of his peers, Mayo -- an analyst at brokerage group CLSA who has spent the last 25 years tracking the banking industry -- has either acquired stock in some of the banks he covers or, in other cases, acquired the right to speak on behalf of a shareholder (as a "proxy").

All so that he can ask publicly some of the questions that analysts more normally ask behind closed doors.

Of course, Mayo and his peers continue to do this every quarter, when the banks host quarterly conference calls to discuss their latest batch of earnings.

Tags: C

The company's US motorcycle sales rose despite a harsh winter, sending the stock up 8%.

By InvestorPlace Tue 12:44 PM

A Harley Davidson motorcycle during the company's 110th anniversary celebration in Milwaukee, Wis., on Thursday (© Morry Gash/AP)By Christopher Freeburn

Harley-Davidson (HOG) shares surged on Tuesday following a first-quarter earnings report of profits that beat Wall Street forecasts.

The stock was up 8 percent by midday Tuesday after the storied motorcycle maker said it grew revenue 10.2 percent from a year earlier to $1.73 billion, which drove profits up 18.7 percent to $265.9 million. On a per-share basis, earnings of $1.21 easily bested the $1.07 expected by Wall Street analysts.

Despite snowy weather, U.S. motorcycle sales increased 3 percent. By contrast, Asia-Pacific region motorcycle sales vaulted more than 20 percent, while sales in Europe, the Middle East and Africa climbed 8.2 percent. Worldwide, the company said it sold 57,415 motorcycles during the quarter, including 35,730 in the U.S.

Tags: HOG

Valeant Pharmaceuticals has teamed up with activist investor Bill Ackman and Pershing Square Capital Management for a $47 billion deal to acquire Botox maker Allergan.

By Staff Tue 12:28 PM

Allergan Pred Forte eye drops © Stuwdamdorp/AlamyBy Antoine Gara, TheStreet

Pershing Square Capital Management may be re-writing the rules of activist investing after teaming up with Valeant Pharmaceuticals (VRX) on a takeover bid for Allergan (AGN). Valeant will offer Allergan $48.30 a share in cash and 0.83 of its shares in the bid, which values Allergan at an about 10 percent premium to its Monday closing share price. 

The takeover effort is the first that counts an activist hedge fund investor as a crucial piece and it raises the prospect of similar marriages between activist investors and deal-seeking corporations looking to press an unsolicited merger. 


Jeff Bezos has lost $6.3 billion so far this year as shares of his company have declined.

By MSN Money Partner Tue 12:23 PM
File photo of Jeff Bezos on Nov. 16, 2012 (© Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)By Nick Summers, Businessweek

Jeff Bezos is one bad day -- or even just a middling one -- from an abysmal distinction. 

He'll have lost more money than anyone else on earth in 2014 if his net worth declines by just $200 million, relative to Mexican investor Carlos Slim, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

The Amazon (AMZN) founder has lost $6.3 billion so far this year, second only to Slim's $6.5 billion decline. Bezos (pictured) has most of his wealth tied up in company stock, which has declined 17.3 percent since Jan. 1, bringing his net worth to $29.7 billion. 

On a percentage basis, Slim has lost about half as much as Bezos, 8.8 percent, to cut his worth to $67.3 billion, the second-largest pile in the world.

Tags: AMZN

As regulations tighten around coal, these natural gas and oil producers stand to benefit.

By Traders Reserve Tue 11:56 AM

Image: Natural gas plant © Kevin Burke/CorbisBy Karen Riccio


The Environmental Protection Agency just announced plans to further stiffen regulations on coal-fired power plants and the emission of carbons.


This can only mean bad news for companies with profits tied to coal, and good news for profits tied to natural gas and oil. The EPA's move will ultimately increase the need for cleaner, more efficient producers of energy.

While solar and wind may have a purpose and contribution to the cause, the immediate beneficiary will be the explorers and developers of natural gas and oil. Natural gas reserves in the U.S. have increased two-fold over the past 14 years; and shale and tight gas production has more than doubled in the last four years. According to the International Energy Association (IEA), we are sitting on a 2.2 quadrillion cubic feet of proven and recoverable oil.



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[BRIEFING.COM] The S&P 500 (-0.2%) hovers near its session low with one hour remaining in the trading day. Meanwhile, the price-weighted Dow Jones Industrial Average (-0.1%) continues outperforming as 20 index members display losses, while the remaining ten components sport gains.

The index has received a measure of support from Boeing (BA 130.06, +2.51), which trades higher by 2.0% after beating on earnings and revenue. Elsewhere, Procter & Gamble (PG 80.31, -0.30) ... More


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