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.


The snack company plans to name a Wal-Mart exec to lead its American food division. The airline reportedly holds talks with Aer Lingus about a possible stake.

By TheStreet Staff Mar 12, 2012 8:00AM

TheStreetBy Joseph Woelfel


PepsiCo (PEP) on Monday plans to name former senior Wal-Mart (WMT) executive Brian Cornell to head Pepsi's largest and most profitable unit, the Americas food division, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter. PepsiCo also plans to appoint longtime company executive John Compton to the new position of president, the newspaper said. The appointments position both men, and European operations chief Zein Abdalla, as the top internal candidates to succeed CEO Indra Nooyi, who has been getting heat from investors, according to the Journal.


JetBlue (JBLU) has held talks with senior management of Aer Lingus about taking a stake in the Irish airline, the Irish Times reported. JetBlue is Aer Lingus management's preferred trade investor at a time when the Irish government is planning to sell its 25% holding in the airline, the newspaper said, citing informed sources. The stake is valued at about 116 million euros ($152.3 million).


There are far better ways to protect yourself, and although not all of them are good bargains, it pays to branch into different asset classes.

By Mar 9, 2012 5:52PM

Image: Woman reading newspaper in livingroom © Tetra images/Getty ImagesBy Howard Gold,

You've heard it so often you can probably repeat it in your sleep: Equities are the best protection against inflation.

Financial planners say it. Money managers say it. Pundits and gurus say it. Without a nice chunk of equities in our portfolio, we are told, inflation will ravage our net worth, and we may not have anything left for our very old age.


February inflation ran well below the government's 4% target for this year.

By Jim J. Jubak Mar 9, 2012 5:21PM
Image: China (© Brand X/SuperStock)Great news out of China Friday morning for investors worried that the country's economic growth is about to stall -- although you might have to dig beneath the negative headlines to find it.

The good news is that inflation in China dropped to an annual rate of 3.2% in February.

Two reasons this is so important.

First, inflation had increased to a 4.5% annual rate in January, the first upward tick since July.

Despite opposition, the German government is implementing plans to cut subsidies by 30%, followed by another round of cuts in May.

By Trefis Mar 9, 2012 4:07PM
Image: Solar panel (© Russell Illig/PhotoDisc/Getty Images)Solar panel installations may fall this year for the first time in more than a decade as subsidy cuts continue to crimp demand.

The number of solar panels installed this year may fall 10% from last year to total 24.8 gigawatts, according to a Bloomberg survey. Demand is expected to ease largely because of subsidy pullbacks in Germany, the world's largest market for solar power. Panel sales may drop in other European markets such as Italy as well.

The drop in demand is pushing players such as First Solar (FSLR) to cut production targets and plan for production down times. 

This stock is the purest play in titanium, a metal prized for its strength and light weight.

By TheStockAdvisors Mar 9, 2012 3:39PM
By Matt Morrow, Standard & Poor's The Outlook

Titanium has been in strong demand lately, which bodes well for publicly traded players such as Titanium Metals (TIE) according to S&P Capital IQ.

One of the strongest readily available metals by weight, titanium also has excellent corrosion resistance. It is used by the commercial aerospace industry both in jet engine components and in air frame components. In addition, titanium is used in ground combat vehicles as well as in naval vessels. 
Tags: TIE

Can the NBA superstar help boost sales in Asia?

By Trefis Mar 9, 2012 3:29PM
Image: Baker (© Blend Images/SuperStock)Soon after announcing plans to launch Dunkin' Donuts stores in India by June 2012, Dunkin' Brands Group (DNKN) has signed a multi-year, multi-million-dollar deal with National Basketball Association superstar LeBron James to promote coffee and ice cream in Asia. 

The company chose James since basketball enjoys huge popularity in Asian countries, especially China. 

The food company is pushing its Planters brand and launching new initiatives to address the challenges of a maturing market.

By Trefis Mar 9, 2012 3:05PM
Image: Salty peanuts (© Anna Yu/Photodisc/Getty Images)Kraft Foods (KFT) is reinvigorating its grocery business with increased marketing and productivity initiatives as the company prepares to split into the North American Grocery division and the Global Snacks division.

Kraft has launched a Planters marketing campaign that targets adults, who account for two-thirds of the U.S. peanut butter market. Kraft is more aggressively pushing groceries, as the division had stagnated somewhat, with skeptics pointing out that the North American grocery market has matured. 

The Europeans are doing a much better job at solving their problems than they have gotten credit for.

By Jim Cramer Mar 9, 2012 2:38PM

OK, Greece is over. What's the next bogeyman we can invent?


That comment, posted early Friday morning on Twitter, has a tremendous amount of insight when you think about it. Four days ago we were hearing all sorts of stories about how there would be far fewer bondholders participating in the Greek swap than were hoped. 

In fact, many articles said that there would be maybe only about 60% participation and that the whole deal was about to fall apart. I read almost no articles and heard almost no commentators who said, "Look, most will subscribe and the rest will be made to subscribe, but this is going to succeed no matter what."


A run of steady payroll gains suggests the worst is over. A dive into the data suggests otherwise.

By Anthony Mirhaydari Mar 9, 2012 2:36PM

Here's some good news. The unemployment rate held steady at 8.3% in February, while payrolls jumped 227,000. That puts the three-month average at 244,000. For job seekers, on a number of measures, the performance over the past few months has been the best of the recovery to date.


So that's it, right? Time to unfurl the "Mission Accomplished" banner, tell the Federal Reserve to withdraw the trillions in cheap money it's injected into the financial system like morphine, and ask your boss for that long-postponed raise? Well, not quite.


The company sees shares soar more than 20% after reporting strong earnings and raising its full-year outlook.

By Kim Peterson Mar 9, 2012 2:09PM
Image: Men playing with guns (© Leander Baerenz/Digital Vision/Getty Images)People are buying lots of handguns and sporting rifles, and Smith & Wesson Holding (SWHC) is booming.

The stock was up more than 21% Friday after the gun maker beat analyst expectations and raised its revenue outlook for the year.

Smith & Wesson reported a profit of $4.4 million, or 7 cents per share, for the three months ended Jan. 31. Analysts were expecting only 4 cents a share. The company is back in the black after reporting a loss of $52.8 million, or 88 cents per share, a year ago. That year-ago loss was due in part to the plunging value of the perimeter-security systems business the company is now trying to sell. 

Late Thursday, the Justice Department warned Apple and five of the world's biggest publishing companies that they're about to be hit with a lawsuit.

By The Fiscal Times Mar 9, 2012 1:59PM
By Suzanne McGeeThe Fiscal Times

So, you've just finished watching Scarlett Johansson in the film version of Girl with a Pearl Earring, and decide that you want to read the book by Tracey Chevalier on which it was based. 

You log on to and discover that you can order a paperback copy for $10.20. Downloading the book onto your Kindle, however -- which means you only own the right to read it, not the book itself, and that you can't lend it, give it away or resell it when you're done -- will cost you $12.99. How, you wonder, can you end up paying more for less? Then you spot the small print: "This price was set by the publisher."

Strength in energy and technology and a breakout in financials are needed to keep the rally moving.

By Mar 9, 2012 1:26PM

By Tom Aspray

As we head into the final month of the first quarter, three of the 10 major sectors are showing gains in excess of 10% for the quarter. Several sectors have been correcting since the January highs, however, and may be close to turning around.

Only one sector exchange-traded fund, the Select Sector SPDR - Utilities (XLU), has had a negative performance for the first quarter, but as I wrote Thursday, utilities are entering a strong seasonal period and there are signs that the correction in this sector may be ending.


Homebuilders are upgraded at Credit Suisse, and Herbalife is initiated with an 'overweight.'

By MSN Money Partner Mar 9, 2012 12:23PM
Information provided by

Friday's noteworthy upgrades include:
  • Toll Brothers (TOL) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse
  • Lennar (LEN) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse
  • D.R. Horton (DHI) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse
  • Kohl's (KSS) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Jefferies

Based on historic patterns of yield, here are ten undervalued blue chips for growth and income.

By TheStockAdvisors Mar 9, 2012 11:46AM
By Kelley Wright, IQ Trends

Our primary purpose is to assist investors in growing their capital and income base from which to derive cash for their current and future needs.

To that end we believe that high-quality stocks purchased at historically low-price-to-high-yield offers the best potential for downside protection and upside appreciation. Our current Timely Ten list is our reasoned expectation based on our methodology and experience for what we believe will perform best over the next five years. 

The roaster's stock slumps as Starbucks launches a single-serve brewer.

By InvestorPlace Mar 9, 2012 10:34AM
Credit: © 2012 Starbucks Corporation
Caption: Verismo® System by Starbucks, A New Premium Single Cup Solution for At-Home Espresso and Coffee BeveragesBy Jeff Reeves

Starbucks (SBUX) is the king of coffee, but for a while, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (GMCR) was giving it a run for its money. Green Mountain -- with its patented Keurig single-serve coffee maker and K-Cup technology -- allowed easy, high-end coffee brewing at home for a relative bargain.

But Starbucks hasn't taken kindly to the competition. The Seattle company has caught on to the tremendous potential of single-serve brewers and is launching its own machine, called Verismo. That could mean the end of the line for Green Mountain and its very profitable run.



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[BRIEFING.COM] S&P futures vs fair value: +1.80. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: +6.30. U.S. equity futures are pointing to a slightly higher open, but have slipped from their morning highs in the wake of a disappointing report from electronics and appliance retailer Conns (CONN), which was attributed in large part to credit quality issues across "all credit quality levels, customer groups, product categories, geographic regions, and years of origination."

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