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This stock scores a top rating based on the investing style of noted investor Kenneth Fisher.

By TheStockAdvisors Mar 23, 2012 1:47PM
By John Reese, Validea

Northrop Grumman (NOC) scores a top rating based on the investing approach of noted investor Kenneth Fisher's.

We select stocks for our portfolio based on finding those that meet the investment criteria of a variety of legendary investors. In this case, Northrop Grumman scores a 100% rating on my Kenneth Fisher-based model. 
Tags: NOC

Millennials are strong adopters of car-sharing, making them the most lucrative and influential market segment for Zipcar.

By Trefis Mar 23, 2012 1:12PM
Image: Student in classroom (© StockByte/PictureQuest)Zipcar's (ZIP) American expansion in 2011 focused mainly on entering university and college campuses. The company acknowledges that 18- to 34-year olds make up its most important market. This age group not only holds the key to Zipcar's popularity, but to the overall expansion of the car-sharing market. 

From tying up with Ford (F) to launching a Facebook app to investing in the college peer-to-peer (P2P) car-sharing Wheelz, Zipcar is pulling out all the stops to become the favorite among young drivers.
 
Tags: FZIP

Analysts say lower bean prices could add to profits in the next 2 years.

By Kim Peterson Mar 23, 2012 1:06PM
Image: Coffee Beans (© Purestock/SuperStock)The price of coffee has fallen to a 17-month low, and analysts say that will likely lift Starbucks' (SBUX) profit over the next two years.

Coffee prices have dropped more than 20% over six months. There are a couple of reasons. Coffee prices are naturally coming down from a pretty strong hike in recent years.

But more important is the crop expected out of Brazil, which will see its harvest in about three months. The Brazilian crop will help make up for a poor showing out of Columbia, where disappointing harvests are almost a chronic problem, Reuters reports

But the bank's pilot program for distressed homeowners also raises many questions.

By Jonathan Berr Mar 23, 2012 12:24PM
Bank of America's (BAC) plan to allow distressed homeowners to rent their properties back from the bank has earned it kudos from one of the industry's toughest critics. 

"It is a promising program," Kathleen Day, a spokeswoman for the Center for Responsible Lending, wrote in an email to Top Stocks. "Of course we would have to see details but it's potentially very good." 
Tags: BAC

The company shoots for international appeal as it prepares to spin off its snacks division.

By Kim Peterson Mar 23, 2012 12:06PM
Monde who?

That was the reaction all around as Kraft Foods (KFT) announced the name of the global snacks business it plans to spin off. The name, with a macron mark and all, is Mondelēz International.

Quite an exotic name for a division that will include brands like Trident gum, Oreo cookies and Cadbury chocolates. Kraft says the name is a portmanteau of two words. "Monde" is the Latin word for "world," and "delēz" is a way to say "delicious." 
Tags: KFT

Digital Realty Trust is a real-estate play focused on computing operations.

By Jim J. Jubak Mar 23, 2012 11:32AM
Image: Dollar sign on keyboard (© Corbis)In my March 16 post on investing in the technology sector -- even after it rallied so strongly at the beginning of 2012 -- I said don't forget about companies that enable bigger technology trends. 

I mentioned very briefly Digital Realty Trust (DLR) a company that owns a portfolio of 102 data centers in 31 markets serving clients that include Facebook, AT&T (T), and Morgan Stanley (MS). Organized as a REIT (real estate investment trust), I noted, Digital Realty pays a 3.8% dividend.

Let me dig a little further into this REIT because I think it's a very interesting way to get some technology exposure for even a risk-averse portfolio.
 

Aetna is downgraded to 'neutral,' and Zynga is initiated with an 'underperform.'

By MSN Money Partner Mar 23, 2012 11:02AM
Information provided by Theflyonthewall.com

Friday's noteworthy upgrades include:
  • Altria Group (MO) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Wells Fargo
  • Cameron (CAM) upgraded to Top Pick from Outperform at RBC Capital
  • Deutsche Bank (DB) upgraded to Outperform from Sector Perform at RBC Capital
  • Discover (DFS) upgraded to Conviction Buy from Neutral at Goldman
  • Dollar General (DG) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Nomura
 

This company earns royalty interests on investments made in other miners' projects.

By TheStockAdvisors Mar 23, 2012 10:35AM

By Ian Wyatt, Global Commodity Investing

Toronto-based Franco-Nevada Corp. (FNV) is a gold streaming and royalty company. Though it only has about 20 full-time employees, Franco has tremendous reach in the mining industry, with a diverse portfolio of more than 200 mineral royalties and streams.

In exchange for an initial investment that helps miners with the capital cost of bringing mines into production or exploring for resources, the company earns a stream of the mine's future production -- on average 2% of the extracted gold. Its portfolio includes 43 producing assets, 22 in an advanced stage of development that are likely to generate revenue in the next five years, and another 141 promising exploration assets.

 

MSN Money's Charley Blaine answers Facebook users' questions about the presidential race.

By MSN Money Partner Mar 23, 2012 10:28AM
As the Republican nomination process grinds on, Americans are gearing up for the upcoming presidential election. In this video, MSN Money's Charley Blaine explains the impact of the election process on the markets.

As he answers questions from MSN Money's Facebook community, Blaine also explains what an Obama re-election could mean. 

While mutual fund outflows are staggering, it could be that average investors are bypassing fund managers to buy individual stocks themselves.

By Jim Cramer Mar 23, 2012 10:12AM

Is the retail investor back, or not? The other day I propounded the notion that quintessential retail stocks, such as Apple (AAPL), Panera Bread (PNRA) and Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) keep running and I have to believe it is because of individuals buying stocks.

 

But the mutual fund outflows were also pretty staggering -- about $2.8 billion in the data released Thursday. That would seem to indicate my thesis might be wrong. Plus, my friend Bob Pisani from the floor made it really clear that the low volume is further confirmation that there really isn't much retail investing to speak of.

 

With the tablet market at such a nascent stage, it is encouraging that the iPad is able to drive so much demand.

By Trefis Mar 23, 2012 10:05AM
Apple (AAPL) announced on Monday that it has sold around 3 million iPads in its debut weekend itself. The new iPad was launched in about 12 countries around the world on Friday last week and will be made available in 24 more countries by the end of this week.

For context, we do not have iPad 2's launch numbers but the first-generation iPad sold around 300,000 units on the launch day. A better context could be the launch of the incredibly successful iPhone 4S last quarter, which sold around 4 million units in its debut weekend. 

Global food giant Nestle looks good.

By InvestorPlace Mar 23, 2012 9:32AM

By James Brumley

 

It's kind of funny how complicated and difficult we can make the art of stock picking. There's really only one winning formula that has withstood the test of time: Buy stocks of companies that give consumers what they're always going to buy, and make sure that company knows how to increase market share. Given enough time, everything else seems to take care of itself.

 

Case in point: food. We all might gripe and complain about rising prices at the grocery store, yet nobody ever stops eating.

 

The athletic apparel company's profit beats expectations. The airline talks with creditors about a possible merger with American Airlines.

By TheStreet Staff Mar 23, 2012 7:52AM

By Chao Deng

 

Updated at 8:40 a.m. ET

 

Nike (NKE) posted third-quarter profit ahead of consensus estimates. It earned $560 million, or $1.20 a share, on revenue of $5.85 billion for the quarter ended Feb. 29, beating analysts' average earnings estimate of $1.17 a share on revenue of $5.82 billion. Gross margin came in at 43.8% for the quarter, down from 45.8% a year earlier.

 

"Our relentless focus on innovation delivered powerful new products and services for athletes and consumers, and continues to drive value to our shareholders," said Mark Parker, president and CEO, in a statement. "The environment remains volatile, but I'm optimistic about the future. We're starting a great season of major sports events and we have a pipeline full of innovation to fuel growth over the long term."

 

There are many reasons to expect a pullback soon.

By Stock Traders Daily Mar 22, 2012 5:25PM

Image: Stock investor (© Tom Grill/Corbis)This past winter, while car shopping, I must have heard the phrase "deal of a lifetime" from four different salesmen.


I wondered how it could be possible that each car salesman could offer me a deal of lifetime. Obviously, it was just another pitch, hoping to make me feel confident and comfortable with their offers. So, when I heard Wednesday that "now is the best time in a generation to buy stocks," I grimaced.


While the opinion, from Goldman Sachs (GS) analysts, is certainly valued, I think it's fair to say that the statement came off as over-the-top at best, and perhaps just wrong at worst.

 

Analysts remain cautious about the video-game retailer after a quarter that saw sales drop 3%.

By Benzinga Mar 22, 2012 5:04PM

By Brett Callwood, Benzinga Staff Writer


Shares of GameStop (GME) tumbled Thursday after the video-game retailer disappointed Wall Street with lower quarterly sales.


The company reported that fourth-quarter sales fell 3% to $3.58 billion, below the $3.71 billion analysts expected to see. Profit was in line with estimates and dropped to $174.7 million, or $1.27 per share, from $237.8 million, or $1.56 per share, a year earlier. That's a startling slide, no matter which way you look at it.

 
Tags: GME

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[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market finished an upbeat week on a mixed note. The S&P 500 shed less than a point, ending the week higher by 1.3%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (+0.1%) cemented a 1.7% advance for the week. High-beta names underperformed, which weighed on the Nasdaq Composite (-0.3%) and the Russell 2000 (-1.3%).

Equity indices displayed strength in the early going with the S&P 500 tagging the 2,019 level during the opening 30 minutes of the action. However, ... More


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