Energy boom makes oil a safe haven
Oil becomes a surprising haven

The idea of US crude being a shelter from turmoil abroad may not be as far fetched as it seems.

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Companies are busy defending their outlooks to a market that expects the worst. That's bullish, not bearish.

By Jim Cramer Jun 18, 2012 10:35AM

No offense. All defense. That's what every day feels like these days. "So-and-so is out defending Boeing (BA) against stories of slowing orders." "Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) defended on Amazon (AMZN) competition." "McDonald's (MCD) defended on slowing Asia." "Starbucks (SBUX) defended on slowing Europe." "Harman (HAR) defended on Apple's (AAPL) Siri incursion into autos." "Nike (NKE) defended on possibly faltering Asian sales."

 

I find this kind of research to be reflective of how negative everything has become. These aren't upgrades. They aren't new, positive catalysts. They are simply attempts to try to defend a decline that may or may not be warranted.

 

The world's largest drugmaker plans to spin off its animal health unit, which should boost its stock.

By Gene Marcial Jun 18, 2012 10:31AM

Pfizer (PFE) isn't just developing more innovative drugs to stay on top of the global health care business. The world's biggest research-based pharmaceutical company also continues to look for ways to enhance shareholder value.


Spinning off its animal health care division, which generated sales of $4.2 billion in 2011, is its latest investor-incentive brainstorm.

 
Tags: PFE

The automaker and the tech giant are battling it out over in-car communication technology.

By Wall St. Cheat Sheet Jun 18, 2012 9:29AM

By Emily Knapp


Apple (AAPL) wants us take its popular virtual assistant Siri along for the ride. So far there has been no shortage of automakers willing to be guinea pigs for Apple's new Eyes Free feature, which will essentially replicate the iPhone's Siri button on car steering wheels, allowing drivers to converse with Siri through car speakers.


But while Audi, BMW, Chrysler, Honda (HMC), General Motors (GM), Jaguar, Land Rover, Mercedes and Toyota (TM) have already agreed to integrate the feature, Ford (F) was noticeably absent from the list of willing participants presented at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference on Monday.

 

The software giant could unveil a tablet computer, while the pet supply retailer is raising its dividend.

By MSN Money Partner Jun 18, 2012 8:35AM
By Joseph Woelfel, TheStreet.com

Microsoft (MSFT) has a media event scheduled for Monday at which the software giant could unveil a tablet computer developed in conjunction with Barnes & Noble (BKS). According to TechCrunch, Microsoft has a tablet/e-reader on tap and it will be entertainment-driven.

Microsoft and Barnes & Noble announced a strategic partnership in late April with Microsoft investing $300 million in the venture. Shares of Microsoft ticked down 2 cents, or 0.07%, in premarket trading Monday to $30. 

The warehouse retailer may be taking advantage of Wal-Mart's troubles in Mexico.

By Jim J. Jubak Jun 15, 2012 5:47PM
Walmart © Bloomberg/Getty ImagesCould Wal-Mart's (WMT) pains be Costco's (COST) gains? Looks like it in Mexico, at least.

Although, with Wal-Mart facing a Congressional investigation that has expanded to Brazil, China, India and South Africa, competition from Costco may be fairly far down its list of worries.

Perhaps you've been following the unfolding story of $24 million in bribes allegedly paid by Eduardo Castro-Wright, the former CEO of Wal-Mart de Mexico, to "expedite" construction projects in Mexico.
 
Tags: COSTWMT

New numbers from IDC show a dramatic decrease in expectations for Android-based tablets this year.

By Minyanville Jun 15, 2012 4:22PM
Market research firm IDC increased its 2012 tablet market forecast Thursday by a measly 1.2%, to 107.4 million units from 106.1 million.

However, a little seventh-grade math shows that IDC has an awfully murky outlook for Google (GOOG) Android tablet sales -- and an increasingly positive one for Apple's (AAPL) iPad. 

The Finnish cellphone maker is in deep financial trouble, triggering speculation that Microsoft will swoop in to protect its Windows Phone investment.

By TheWeek.com Jun 15, 2012 4:15PM

This week, Nokia (NOK) reduced its profit forecast and announced it would lay off 10,000 workers, causing the Finnish cellphone maker's share price to sink 18%.


Nokia continues to get crushed by Apple (APPL) and Samsung (SSNLF) in the smartphone market, having failed to make an impact with its Lumia phone, which runs on Microsoft's Windows Phone operating system. Analysts don't hold out much hope for Nokia, with some saying it has only six months to supercharge its smartphone sales -- or die. That poses a big problem for software giant Microsoft (MSFT), which badly wants to be a smartphone player, but relies on Nokia to make the actual phones. (Microsoft owns and publishes Top Stocks, an MSN Money site.)

 

The world's central bankers are preparing a response to a marked slowdown in economic growth and the simmering EU debt crisis -- all thanks to a huge drop in crude.

By Anthony Mirhaydari Jun 15, 2012 1:56PM

Stocks are finally bounding up and out of a multimonth trading range thanks to one thing: hope for a massive, coordinated stimulus push from the world's major central banks. This comes as the situation in Europe deteriorates (shaky Greek election this weekend, Spanish bond yields above 7%) and the global economy stalls (terrible industrial production data).

 

The People's Bank of China and the Bank of England have already acted. Next up are the Federal Reserve, with a policy decision next Wednesday, and the European Central Bank. Thanks to a big pullback in inflation on a dramatic drop in crude oil prices -- as Saudi Arabia covers the world in cheap energy to the consternation of its OPEC peers -- the door is wide open for the Fed and the ECB to take action.

 

The founder of Pershing Square Capital Management outlines his goals for Canadian Pacific and JC Penney.

By GuruFocus.com Jun 15, 2012 1:43PM
Image: Railroad Crossing with Train (© Edmond Van Hoorick/Photodisc/Getty Images)Bill Ackman has big plans for J.C. Penney and Canadian Pacific Railway. But it's still too early to see whether they will work, or if his fight for change will offer a worthwhile competitive advantage.

This week, the founder of Pershing Square Capital Management and activist investor issued a letter outlining the state of his current deals, including the retailer and the railroad, which are now almost 40% of his highly concentrated portfolio. 
Tags: CPJCP

Stocks move up despite disappointing domestic economic data.

By MSN Money Partner Jun 15, 2012 1:00PM
Information provided by Theflyonthewall.com

Shares of Nokia (NOK) rebounded a bit from Thursday's steep sell-off, gaining back about 6%. The troubled phone maker's shares were upgraded at both Citigroup and Oppenheimer, though the stock was also downgraded at Credit Suisse.

Among the notable gainers Friday are YPF SA (YPF), up 20%, after Carlos Slim reported an 8.4% stake in the company, and Navistar (NAV), up almost 8%, after hedge fund MHR Fund Management disclosed a 13.6% stake.  

Wall Street sees huge upside in the beleaguered retailer.

By Jonathan Berr Jun 15, 2012 12:27PM
Image: Shopping (© imagewerks/Getty Images/Getty Images)Remember when J.C. Penney (JCP) CEO Ron Johnson was a genius?

After he was hired to run the retailer earlier this year, The Wall Street Journal gushed that he was "the man who helped create the mystique surrounding Apple Inc.'s successful retail operation." He even got kudos for standing up to anti-gay-rights critics for sticking by corporate pitch woman Ellen DeGeneres.

Fast forward to May, when the beleaguered retailer stunned Wall Street by reporting a quarterly loss that was double what was expected, suspended its dividend and said it no longer expected to meet its GAAP guidance for the year.
 

Companies face major hurdles as European support for the industry lags.

By Trefis Jun 15, 2012 12:21PM
Trefis Image: Solar energy (© Mick Roessler/Corbis)Shares of solar panel manufacturers Suntech Power (STP) and First Solar (FSLR) fell this week, just after the companies posted strong gains as Jefferies & Co. analyst Jesse Pichel questioned the view that demand for panels would be stronger than previously anticipated.

According to Pichel, European markets such as Germany, Italy and Greece continued to show signs of weakness. Higher demand for solar equipment was unlikely under the present macroeconomic picture in Southern Europe.  
Tags: FSLRSTP

Nokia is both upgraded and downgraded, while Agilent is initiated with a 'buy.'

By MSN Money Partner Jun 15, 2012 11:05AM
Information provided by Theflyonthewall.com

Friday's noteworthy upgrades include:  
  • Cooper Companies (COO) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at BMO Capital
  • Covanta (CVA) upgraded to Strong Buy from Market Perform at Raymond James
  • International Game (IGT) upgraded to Neutral from Underperform at BofA/Merrill
 

Zacks upgrades its recommendation on the financial company to 'outperform' from 'neutral.'

By Zacks.com Jun 15, 2012 10:37AM

By Zacks Equity Research
 

Zacks is upgrading its recommendation on BOK Financial Corp. (BOKF) to "outperform" from "neutral" based on the improvements in its credit quality trends amidst economic recovery across its primary markets.


Aided by growth in net interest revenue as well as fees and commissions revenue, BOK Financial reported first-quarter earnings of $1.22 per share, well above the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.03.

 
Tags: BOKF

Nokia and RIM are no match for Apple, and it's a mistake to speculate on companies with terrible balance sheets anyway.

By Jim Cramer Jun 15, 2012 10:12AM

Do you know how many times people have told me that Nokia (NOK) was going to be bought, most likely by Samsung?

 

Do you know how many times I have heard that Research In Motion (RIMM) was going to get a bid from Microsoft (MSFT)? About as many times as I heard the Nokia rumor.

 

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[BRIEFING.COM] Equity indices hover near their rebound highs with the S&P 500 lower by five points.

The first half of today's session has lacked any concerted sector leadership, which is still the case at this juncture. Materials (+0.02%), telecom services (+0.4%), and utilities (+1.1%) hover in the green, but the three sectors account for less than 10.0% of the entire market.

Elsewhere, consumer staples (-0.5%) and industrials (-0.9%) trail the broader market, while the ... More


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