8 reasons the market isn't worse
8 reasons the market isn't worse

Stocks should be crushed by global turmoil, Jim Cramer says. Instead, they're doing fine.

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Deckers Outdoor downgraded to 'neutral,' and Gap downgraded to 'underperform.'

By MSN Money Partner Feb 24, 2012 12:18PM
Information provided by Theflyonthewall.com

Friday's noteworthy upgrades include:
  • Target (TGT) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Jefferies
  • Marriott (MAR) upgraded to Conviction Buy from Buy at Goldman
  • Baxter (BAX) upgraded to Neutral from Sell at Citigroup
  • Under Armour (UA) upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley
  • AvalonBay (AVB) upgraded to Outperform from Underperform at Credit Suisse
 

While more focused and higher-end rivals posted positive earnings surprises, Wal-Mart fell short of expectations.

By The Fiscal Times Feb 24, 2012 11:58AM
WalmartBy Suzanne McGee, The Fiscal TimesThe Fiscal Times

Wal-Mart (WMT) may promise "Low Prices. Every Day. On Everything," but it was particularly aggressive about offering discounts at holiday time -- and now it's paying the price.

While more focused and higher-end rivals like Macy's (M), Saks (SKS) and Home Depot (HD) posted upside earnings surprises and were rewarded by investors, Wal-Mart fell short of expectations, reporting net income for the fourth quarter of $1.50 a share, down from $1.70 in the year-earlier period, and sales that also disappointed retailing analysts.

 

CEO Ron Johnson has a realistic vision for the venerable chain.

By Jonathan Berr Feb 24, 2012 11:42AM

 Image Source/Getty ImagesJ.C. Penney (JCP) CEO Ron Johnson, whose company reported a fourth quarter loss Friday, sure talks a good game.

Speaking to the Harvard Business Review last year, the former Apple (APPL) retail guru, who joined the venerable retailer in November 2011, argued that the traditional brick-and-mortar retail industry is its own worst enemy.

 

Her blunt assessment of HP's woes stung investors, but at least she's facing the facts.

By InvestorPlace Feb 24, 2012 10:29AM
By Jonathan Berr,


Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) CEO Meg Whitman, who took over as head of the No. 1 PC maker after Leo Apotheker was moved out last year, is being penalized by investors for not mincing words about the enormous challenges that lie ahead for the iconic tech company. She has little choice because the company's results, released Thursday, were terrible.


Net income at the Palo Alto, Calif. company fell 44% to $1.5 billion, or 73 cents a share, down from $2.6 billion, or $1.17, a year earlier. Adjusted for one-time items, the profit was 93 cents, beating Wall Street's low expectations of 87 cents. Revenue fell 7% to $30 billion, missing analysts' forecasts of $30.7 billion. To her credit, Whitman, who rose to fame as the CEO of eBay (EBAY), gave a blunt assessment of HP's problem and pointed out that it will take years to fix them.

 

The cloud-computing company is growing much faster than its detractors -- and even its backers -- realized.

By Jim Cramer Feb 24, 2012 10:08AM

Sometimes you get an honest-to-Betsy absolute blowout: a number so astounding that the doubters say "wow" on the call and the short sellers just say "OK, gotta go take the medicine."

 

That's what happened with Salesforce.com (CRM) Thursday night, a wow quarter that answered every objection and then some.

 

It will offer streaming as well as downloads and may be integrated with most Microsoft offerings.

By Trefis Feb 24, 2012 10:07AM
RubberBall/SuperStockAfter Apple (AAPL) and Google (GOOG), Microsoft (MSFT) could be the next tech giant to launch its own digital music service. It is in talks with several major record companies to license their music content and offer it on its new digital service, according to Cnet. The new music service will offer streaming music as well as downloads and may be integrated with most Microsoft offerings, including Windows 8, Windows Phone and the Xbox.

Microsoft now has more than 40 million Xbox Live subscribers, which gives it a potentially large user base to have some bargaining power with the record labels. Microsoft's new music service will compete not only with Apple's and Google's offerings but also with other Internet music giants like Pandora (P) and Spotify.  

Completed bottom formations and improved growth prospects make these emerging-market ETFs buy worthy, but only on sizable pullbacks to stronger support.

By MoneyShow.com Feb 23, 2012 5:21PM

Image: Globe with money (© PhotoAlto/SuperStock)By Tom Aspray, MoneyShow.com


Since December 2011, many stocks have completed reverse head-and-shoulders (H&S) bottom formations and have rallied to their first targets. It is interesting that many of the emerging-market ETFs show similar formations, and two of them, the iShares FTSE China 25 Index Fund (FXI) and the iShares MSCI Hong Kong Index Fund (EWH), were discussed in early December (see "3 Asian ETFs to watch").


Many of the emerging-market ETFs have had little in the way of a pullback over the past six weeks, but even though my previously recommended buy levels were not reached, this is no time to chase these funds.

 

While some airlines are trying to help you find a compatible seatmate, others will let you pay for no neighbor at all.

By Kim Peterson Feb 23, 2012 5:09PM
Image: Airline (© Blend Images/SuperStock)Now here's a fee that airline fliers might actually like. On some flights, you can pay to ensure the seat next to you is empty.

No U.S. airline is offering this option, but three international airlines seem to be finding success with the idea. Air New Zealand, AirAsia X in Malaysia and Spain's Vueling all sell the empty seat next door for fees ranging from $6 to $60, The New York Times reports.

But there's one caveat: If the flight is full and the airline needs that seat for someone else, you'll get your money back. 

Central bank shenanigans and rising inflationary fears are fueling a big rise in precious metals. It's set to continue.

By Anthony Mirhaydari Feb 23, 2012 4:40PM

Stocks have largely stalled out over the last few days as traders think twice before pushing the Dow through the 13,000 barrier. The real news, aside from the worrisome rise in crude oil, is the breakout underway in the precious metals. Both gold and silver have jumped out of two-month trading ranges in a big way.

 

The same dynamic that's driving energy prices is fueling the rise in gold and silver: Big time inflation concerns. With those about to get worse, the rise in the glitter stuff is set to continue.

 

Here's why.

 

There's little hope for the 1,000 video-rental locations that remain, but the Blockbuster name will live on in other ways.

By Kim Peterson Feb 23, 2012 4:06PM
Image: Man changing TV channels with remote control (© Flying Colours/Digital Vision/Getty Images)Say farewell to Blockbuster, the video chain that was once one of the biggest brand names in America.

The chain's new owner, Dish Network (DISH), has said it will close 500 under-performing Blockbuster locations with expiring leases, and it may close more beyond that. There were only about 1,500 Blockbuster stores left, so the announcement is one of the final nails in the coffin for the former video powerhouse.

Not that many people are complaining. Former Blockbuster customers still grumble about the chain's strict return policies. 
Tags: DISH

With diverse holdings in the media sector, this fund trades below net assets and has a double-digit yield.

By TheStockAdvisors Feb 23, 2012 3:53PM
Image: Hollywood (© Comstock/SuperStock)By Amy Calistri, The Daily Paycheck

I have many reasons to like Gabelli Multimedia Trust (GGT), which specializes in media and entertainment. For one thing, the fund is still relatively cheap -- it currently trades at a 12% discount to its net asset value (NAV).

This means you are getting the equivalent of a dollar's worth of assets for just 88 cents. Better yet, you are getting the assets of one of the better positioned sectors in the economy. 

International expansion may provide some relief as the retailer grapples with a margin crunch in its domestic markets.

By Trefis Feb 23, 2012 2:39PM
Image: Jewelry store (© Baerbel Schmidt/Getty Images/Getty Images)American Eagle Outfitters (AEO) announced plans to expand into Israel by opening 11 stores there starting February.
 
With the new stores, the company now operates in Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Israel, thus making the Middle East one of the key strategic regions for American Eagle's international operations. 

The company is the world's largest producer of titanium dioxide, but is seeing a huge increase in raw materials costs.

By Jim J. Jubak Feb 23, 2012 2:07PM
I said in my Feb. 21 post that for the first half of the year, earnings growth would come under pressure as companies find that, while the cost of raw materials rises, demand isn't strong enough to pass those increases to customers. Keep an eye out for companies facing that problem, I advised, and when you find one in your portfolio, sell it.

Which is why I'm selling DuPont (DD) out of my 12-18 month Jubak’s Picks portfolio Thursday.  (I still like the longer-term picture for DuPont, so I'm keeping it in my Jubak Picks 50 portfolio -- especially since the rules of that portfolio only allow selling once a year in January.)
 
Tags: DDRIO

Shares of the smaller retailer offer more bang for your buck.

By Jonathan Berr Feb 23, 2012 2:02PM
Image: Woman shopping in interior design shop, side view © Alistair Berg/Digital Vision/Getty ImagesTarget (TGT) shares are trading up Thursday after the second-largest retailer reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter results. The good news should keep coming if the economic rebound doesn't falter.

Net income at the Minneapolis company fell 5.2% to $981 million, or $1.45 a share, while revenue rose 3.3% to $20.9 billion in the quarter. Excluding one-time items, profit was $1.49, topping the average $1.39 estimate of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News.  
Tags: TGTWMT

The company wants to reach customers who don't like diet or regular soft drinks.

By Kim Peterson Feb 23, 2012 1:25PM
Image credit: PepsiCoHate the taste of diet soda but don't want all the calories of regular? PepsiCo (PEP) has a beverage for you.

The company is trying once more to fill the void between diet and regular with Pepsi Next, a soda with half the calories of regular Pepsi. With 60 calories in a can, it's expected to be available nationwide by the end of next month.

But does Pepsi Next have any chance of success? The odds are stacked against it.  
Tags: KOPEP

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[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market maintained a narrow trading range on Thursday before ending the session essentially where it began. The S&P 500 added less than a point, while the small-cap Russell 2000 (-0.2%) underperformed.

Equity indices displayed early strength thanks in part to an overnight boost from better than expected economic data in China and Europe. Specifically, China's HSBC Manufacturing PMI surged to an 18-month high (52.0 from 50.7), while Eurozone Manufacturing PMI ... More


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