Why stocks are in for a rough ride this week
Stocks in for a rough ride this week

Longtime market bull Jeremy Siegel says investors could realize the market is behind the curve on interest rates.

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Hershey is upgraded to 'buy' at Goldman, and Southwest is downgraded to 'neutral' at BofA/Merrill.

By MSN Money Partner Mar 12, 2012 11:24AM
Information provided by Theflyonthewall.com

Monday's noteworthy upgrades include:
  • Equifax (EFX) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at SunTrust
  • Lowe's (LOW) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Nomura
  • C.H. Robinson (CHRW) upgraded to Hold from Underweight at BB&T
  • Hershey (HSY) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Goldman
  • Pulte Group (PHM) upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Barclays
  • KB Home (KBH) upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Barclays
 

The social media and news site would add clout to the news outlet's tech coverage.

By InvestorPlace Mar 12, 2012 10:46AM

By Tom Taulli


While Time Warner (TWX) may have stodgy print media roots, it is doing everything it can to evolve into a digital media powerhouse. 


It's latest move is a potential $200 million buyout offer for social media site Mashable, which would be rolled into the CNN family of websites.


The edgy tech, social media and business news blog could really beef up the organization's news coverage of 21st-century topics, but the deal is not without risks.

 

In an election year, politicians are likely to avoid tough choices and go for the easier solutions, which are good for the yellow metal.

By MSN Money Partner Mar 12, 2012 10:41AM

By Matthew Bishop and Michael Green, guest columnists

 

This year's presidential election will have a big impact on the price of gold -- and, no, that's not because we think Ron Paul has any chance of claiming the White House. Gold investors hoping for a Paul presidency had to realize on Super Tuesday his chances of winning the presidency and fulfill his promise to "end the Fed" are slim. Such investors might be better off putting their pile on red No. 7 on the roulette table than betting on the precious metal's biggest political champion.


Nor has there been much cheer for them on the markets, as gold has continued its recent slide after a long bull rally. Yet whoever the Republican nominee is, this election is likely to provide lots of reasons to be long on gold.

 
Tags: GLDgold

It's budgeting $150 billion for exploration over the next five years. That's a really smart move.

By InvestorPlace Mar 12, 2012 10:08AM

By Aaron Levitt

 

As more traditional sources of petroleum have become harder to find, energy companies have been forced to look off the beaten path. Unconventional resources such as shale formations, Canadian bitumen sand and even Arctic exploration have become commonplace.

 

Despite their different locations and extraction methods, all unconventional fields have one thing in common: They're expensive. Given the world's ever-increasing energy demands, it's no wonder capital expenditure programs at a variety of exploration and production (E&P) companies have skyrocketed over the past few years.

 

Despite short-term weakness in the fertilizer sector this potash producer plans on long-term growth.

By TheStockAdvisors Mar 12, 2012 9:56AM
By Nathan Slaughter, Scarcity & Wealth

There has been some temporary softness in the fertilizer market, but I expect demand to return vigorously by the end of the year.

Mosaic (MOS) is scaling back potash production over the next three months. But that isn't a reflection of the market's supply/demand fundamentals -- it's a cautious move made in response to dealers that are tapping existing inventories and holding off on new purchases. But the firm is expecting sales volumes to pick up noticeably in the near future. 
Tags: MOS

Can they increase amid slowing economic growth and increasing gas prices?

By Benzinga Mar 12, 2012 9:05AM

By Jane Sanders, Benzinga


Chinese passenger car sales had their worst start to a year since 2005 as economic growth slowed and fuel prices rose.


About 2.37 million cars, including multipurpose and sport-utility vehicles, were sold in January and February, a 4.4% decline from the same two months last year, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. There were 2.95 million total vehicles sold, including trucks and buses, a 6% decrease.

 

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 MoneyShow.com Mar 9, 2012 5:52PM

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


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.

 

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[BRIEFING.COM] The major averages ended the midweek session with slim gains after showing some intraday volatility in reaction to the release of the latest policy directive from the Federal Open Market Committee. The S&P 500 added 0.1%, while the relative strength among small caps sent the Russell 2000 higher by 0.3%.

Equities spent the first half of the session near their flat lines as participants stuck to the sidelines ahead of the FOMC statement, which conveyed no changes to the ... More


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