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.

VIDEO ON MSN MONEY

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, TheStreet.com

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 TheWeek.com 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?

 
Tags: MATGTVWMT

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

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

Citigroup
(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. 

Should the automaker gear up for some intense damage control?

By Benzinga Jul 16, 2012 12:47PM

Image: Los Angeles, Calif., traffic on Interstate 405 © VisionsofAmerica/Joe Sohm/Digital Vision/Getty ImagesBy Katey Stapleton, Benzinga


Slamming on the brakes in a 2013 Ford (F) Escape Crossover may not be as easy as one would hope, which is exactly why the automaker has decided to call the new model back in for modifications. As of Sunday, Ford had recalled 10,000 Escapes because carpet padding might interfere with braking.


According to The Wall Street Journal, Ford is requesting that the redesigned SUVs be temporarily returned as safety issues have become apparent since their recent release. The carmaker has said improperly installed carpeting on the driver's side could interfere with the brake pedal and increase the risk of a collision.

 

Beating Wall Street's low expectations is nothing to brag about.

By Jonathan Berr Jul 16, 2012 11:45AM
Image: Wall Street sign (© Corbis/SuperStock)Shares of Citigroup (C) rose in early trading Monday after the Wall Street company reported better-than-expected quarterly results. The celebration, however, may be premature because the earnings were not great.

Net income at the New York bank fell 12% to $2.95 billion. Revenue fell 10% to $18.6 billion as investment banking revenue fell 21%. Excluding one-time items, earnings were $1, beating the 89-cent consensus Wall Street forecast. 
 
Tags: CJPM

Sirius XM is upgraded to 'equal weight' at Barclays, while Tim Hortons is downgraded to 'sell' at Goldman.

By MSN Money Partner Jul 16, 2012 11:34AM
Information provided by Theflyonthewall.com

Monday's noteworthy upgrades include:  
  • 3M Company (MMM) upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley
  • Brinker (EAT) upgraded to Neutral from Underweight at Piper Jaffray
  • Anadarko (APC) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse
  • Cheesecake Factory (CAKE) upgraded to Neutral from Sell at Goldman
 

Companies can't hide weakness in the top line.

By MSN Money Partner Jul 16, 2012 11:03AM

By Thomas H. Kee Jr. Stock Traders Daily


As the U.S. economy weakens, Corporate America feels the pain. Although accounting tricks can be used to hide an earnings miss from time to time, lower revenue growth cannot be hidden.


The economy is relying on stimulus to support growth, but even that has been ineffective. Fiscal stimulus is not being supported by the price of gold either, which should be eye-opening to the would-be bulls who are praying for more support from Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke. But the Fed is out of bullets, and soon the printing presses will become inefficient as well.

 

If you're looking for big yields and are willing to stretch out your risk profile a bit, these are well worth a look.

By MoneyShow.com Jul 16, 2012 10:39AM

By Bryan Perry, Cash Machine


1. BGC Partners (BGCP
Yield 10.81% 
With all the derivative trading by global fund managers to protect assets, BGCP should post a good second-quarter report. The company's main business is to act as a clearinghouse, and it carries little overnight exposure.


2. Credit Suisse High Yield Bond Fund (DHY)
Yield 10.39% 
High-yield corporate bonds remain very attractive in the current landscape of low interest rates, low inflation, and moderate economic growth.

 

Research firm IDC says the company's computers sales fell in 2Q.

By Benzinga Jul 16, 2012 10:14AM

By Louis Bedigian

 

PC sales running Microsoft's (MSFT) Windows are not the only computer products that took a dive during the last quarter. Apple's (AAPL) machines, which include the iMac, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, are also feeling the burn of declining demand.

 

According to Computerworld, research firm International Data Corporation has announced that Apple sales dropped 1.1% during the second quarter that ended June 30. During this period last year, Apple sold 18.3 million Macs. This year, the company sold 18.1 million units, according to IDC.

 

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