You can still find small-cap superstars
Small-cap superstars still abound

There are some picks in this sector that have excellent valuations and strong earnings growth.


Deere is downgraded to 'underweight,' and Home Depot is downgraded to 'neutral.'

By MSN Money Partner Jul 17, 2012 11:22AM
Information provided by

Tuesday's noteworthy upgrades include:  
  • Aeropostale (ARO) upgraded to Equal Weight from Underweight at Morgan Stanley
  • Chipotle (CMG) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Citigroup
  • Continental Resources (CLR) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Canaccord
  • Disney (DIS) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at BofA/Merrill

Investors shouldn't be fooled by the stock's sucker's rally.

By Jonathan Berr Jul 17, 2012 10:31AM

Shares of Goldman Sachs (GS) rose in early trading Tuesday after the venerable Wall Street firm reported quarterly earnings that surpassed Wall Street's low expectations.


Net income at the New York financial powerhouse plunged 11% to $962 million, or $1.78 per share, as revenue from investment banking, financial advisory and equity underwriting plummeted. Overall revenue slumped 9% to $6.63 billion. Wall Street expectations were for profit of $1.17 on revenue of $6.28 billion. The tough times for Goldman Sachs, which reportedly has been laying off workers to cut costs, and the rest of Wall Street are expected to continue.

Tags: GS

Marissa Mayer, the company's new CEO, was behind a number of Google's most brilliant concepts.

By Jim Cramer Jul 17, 2012 10:08AM

Will Marissa Mayer be the savior of Yahoo (YHOO)? This is a tough one, especially for some of us who had already declared interim CEO Ross Levinsohn the company's potential savior -- because we thought he would get the job. I thought Levinsohn would be terrific because he's been successful at multiple Web shops and because he understands the need to be disciplined. That latter quality is something Yahoo hasn't been known to exhibit since it was, well, Yahoo.


These stocks offer generous dividends while investors wait for a recovery.

By TheStockAdvisors Jul 17, 2012 9:48AM

By George Putnam, The Turnaround Letter


We think there could be good profit potential in European stocks. But because we're just not too sure when that recovery will occur, for now we prefer European stocks with generous dividend yields.


Here are six multinational companies based in Europe with worldwide businesses and relatively high yields, which will pay you while the stocks move up in price.


Recent drought and inflationary pressures hold back profits -- a warning sign for other stocks

By InvestorPlace Jul 17, 2012 9:28AM
By Jeff Reeves

Coca-Cola (KO), one of the most ubiquitous brands in the world and one of Warren Buffett's favorite stocks, is a powerhouse in the business world. But there are some forces even more powerful than Coke.

Namely, a force of nature. Drought has caused rising corn prices and taken a bite out of Coke's bottom line.

Rising costs held back the soft drink maker in its second quarter -- though higher sales volume meant impressive revenue numbers -- in a sign that higher costs are taking a bigger chunk out profits for major corporations.


Odds are mighty slim that anything like a 43% rate will be enacted.

By InvestorPlace Jul 17, 2012 9:22AM

By Jonathan Berr


One of the most contentious parts of the Bush Tax Cuts was the 2003 provision to slash the maximum statutory rate on dividends from 38% to 15%. That controversy still rages today, of course, even though a 2007 Federal Reserve paper argues that the effects of the cuts were modest at best.


"We fail to find much, if any, imprint of the dividend tax cut news on the value of the aggregate stock market," the authors of the paper write. "Second, there appeared to have been modest but seemingly short-lived cross-sectional effects on stock valuations."


The Internet company hires a new CEO, and the beverage company reports better-than-expected earnings.

By MSN Money Partner Jul 17, 2012 8:51AM
By Joseph Woelfel,

Yahoo (YHOO) ended its leadership search, naming Marissa Mayer, a former executive with Google (GOOG), as CEO. Mayer, 37, has never had any experience running a company, and she is taking over a struggling Internet company that is undergoing a transformation.
Shares of Yahoo! rose 1.5% in premarket trading Tuesday to $15.88.

Coca-Cola (KO), the beverage giant, reported second-quarter net income of $2.79 billion, or $1.21 a share, compared with year-earlier earnings of $2.81 billion, or $1.20 a share. The soft drink company was expected by analysts Tuesday to post second-quarter profit of $1.19 a share on revenue of $12.98 billion. Global volume in the quarter grew 4%.

Shares were up 52 cents, or 0.68%, to $77.00 in premarket trading Tuesday.


The bank slightly misses revenue expectations, however, as it winds down its Citi Holdings arm.

By Benzinga Jul 16, 2012 5:40PM
By Michael Matthews

Citigroup (C) shares rose slightly Monday after reporting earnings that beat analyst expectations and improved its credit quality.

The No. 3 U.S. bank reported second-quarter earnings of $1 a share, excluding debt accounting adjustments and other one-time items, down slightly from the same period a year earlier. That beat analyst expectations of 89 cents a share on the same basis, with help from a lower-than-expected tax rate.

Tags: BenzingaC

Does this young executive have what it takes to lead a company fighting for its life?

By Kim Peterson Jul 16, 2012 4:45PM
We all thought advertising veteran Ross Levinsohn was a shoo-in for the top job at Yahoo (YHOO), but boy, did the board have a surprise waiting.

The new CEO is a huge gamble in the form of Marissa Mayer, a 37-year-old executive at Google (GOOG). She has no experience running a public company and has spent nearly all of her professional career at Google, where she was the 20th hire.

Mayer is an engineer by training, and at Google has helped develop Gmail, Google News and Google Images. She lives in a fancy penthouse in the Four Seasons in San Francisco and has been known for her love of cupcakes, The New York Times reports.  

The tech titans report earnings this week. Here's what analysts will want to know.

By Jim J. Jubak Jul 16, 2012 3:47PM
Questions, questions, questions on July 19 for Microsoft (MSFT) and Google (GOOG) when they report quarterly earnings after the market close.

The questions will fall into two groups.

First, there will be questions that indicate Wall Street's continuing worries about these two technology bellwethers.

The San Francisco bank has largely steered clear of the kinds of issues now bedeviling its rivals.

By The Fiscal Times Jul 16, 2012 3:19PM
By Suzanne McGeeThe Fiscal Times

You may well decide that you don't want to own any banking stocks in your portfolio these days -- and who would blame you? Barclays (BCS) and JPMorgan Chase (JPM) -- two of a handful of institutions to emerge relatively unscathed from the financial crisis and that have gone on to become relatively stronger in the years since -- have each been hit by problems that go squarely to their reputation for being skilled risk managers.

The rest of the crowd seems to be subject to at least one of three big sources of risk: eurozone exposure (all the European banks, and many elsewhere), the Libor scandal (most of the giant global institutions), and a downturn in revenues from investment banking activities amidst growing regulation and uncertain global markets

The depressed shares of Valero, North America's largest refinery, don't reflect its positive earnings and solid balance sheet.

By Gene Marcial Jul 16, 2012 2:49PM
Image: Oil refinery (© Kevin Burke/Corbis)Nothing too exciting is going on in the oil patch to stir up investors' enthusiasm these days. But a company that deserves attention is Valero Energy (VLO), one of the world's largest independent oil refiners. Its stock has been sluggish, if not depressed, along with other oil and gas stocks.


Valero is probably one of the few companies in the energy sector that has a positive catalyst that could drive up its stock, now trading at $25 a share, down from a $31 a year ago. The stock traded as high as $71 in 2008. Some industry watchers believe the stock is destined to hit $31 within a year.

Tags: VLO

The massive Visa-MasterCard settlement ends a long-running battle with merchants, but also opens the door for retailers to charge customers extra.

By Jul 16, 2012 1:36PM

Image: woman swiping a credit card © Rubberball/Mike Kemp/Rubberball/Getty ImagesVisa (V), MasterCard (MA), and several banks have agreed to pay $7.25 billion to settle antitrust charges that were brought by 7 million merchants -- a diverse group ranging from the nation's largest chains to mom-and-pop shops.

If the deal is approved by a federal judge, it would end a long-running dispute over the "swipe fee" -- 2% to 5% of the bill -- that Visa and MasterCard charge merchants every time a customer uses plastic. Under the terms of the settlement, Visa, MasterCard, and the banks would pay out $6 billion in penalties and reduce the swipe fee. In addition, merchants would be allowed to levy a surcharge on customers who use credit cards, which would let them recoup the cost of the reduced swipe fee.

Are retailers likely to do so?


Stocks retreat as retail sales fall for a third straight month.

By MSN Money Partner Jul 16, 2012 1:23PM
Information provided by 

(C) was the latest big U.S. bank to report and the latest to beat earnings expectations based on its headline figures. The bank said its capital levels improved, and its troubled Citi Holdings unit continues to shrink. The stock gained almost 1%.

Human Genome Sciences
(HGSI) shares rose nearly 5% after GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) sealed its pursuit of the company with an increased buyout offer of $14.25 a share. Investors applauded the move by pushing GSK's stock up nearly 1% as well.  

Groceries are losing business to big-box chains and dollar stores. There's little room for strategy in a business with razor-thin margins.

By Kim Peterson Jul 16, 2012 1:20PM
Image: Grocery shopping (© Randy Faris/Corbis)The supermarket business is in steep decline. Last year, supermarkets sold only 51% of the nation's groceries, down from 66% in 2000, The Wall Street Journal reports. That huge drop is turning the traditional supermarket business on its head.

The grocery business has scattered. People can buy groceries from all kinds of places now, leaving supermarkets in the dust.

Wal-Mart (WMT) may be the biggest threat. The discount retailer has pushed hard on grocery offerings over the past decade, adding organic produce and matching or undercutting competitors' prices. Groceries now make up about 55% of Wal-Mart's U.S. sales, the Journal reports, up from 41% four years ago. 


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[BRIEFING.COM] Equity indices closed out the month of August on a modestly higher note. The Russell 2000 (+0.6%) and Nasdaq Composite (+0.5%) finished ahead of the S&P 500 (+0.3%), which extended its August gain to 3.8%. Blue chips lagged with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (+0.1%) spending the bulk of the session in the red.

The final week of August represented one of the quietest stretches for the stock market so far this year. The first four sessions of the week produced the ... More


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