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.


Higher cigarette pricing and a dominant position in the smokeless tobacco industry are key growth drivers.

By Trefis Feb 28, 2012 11:10AM
Steve Mason/Photodisc Blue/Getty ImagesCigarette companies in the U.S. are often overlooked given the unpopularity of the tobacco business and the industry's falling cigarette volumes. Altria Group (MO), in particular, receives a fair share of this criticism since it operates only in the U.S., a country with one of the harshest regulatory environments.

But there are two compelling reasons for investors to take a second look at Altria -- key growth drivers to its business in the coming years.  

Recent decreases might be sending investors fleeing for the exits.

By InvestorPlace Feb 28, 2012 10:38AM
Tetra Images/Getty ImagesBy Charles Sizemore

The highest dividends of any mainstream stock market sector in the world are being paid by European telecom firms, with many offering yields in excess of 10%. Unfortunately, as is generally the case with something that seems too good to be true, those dividends also are at risk.

Telefonica (TEF), Spain's largest telecom provider and a longtime recommendation of the Sizemore Investment Letter, is a case in point. In December, Telefonica opted to cut its dividend from a planned 1.75 euros per share to 1.50. Though the company had (and still has) the financial strength to continue paying the higher rate, the company had to accept the ugly reality that it was operating in a market that could at any moment descend into a 2008-style banking crisis.


Online profits are putting this brick-and-mortar retailer at the front of the parade.

By TheStockAdvisors Feb 28, 2012 10:34AM
By Chuck Carlson, The DRIP Investor

It’s no secret that the Internet has changed the way people shop. And retailers who have not changed their ways and embraced the Internet have been under the gun.

One brick-and-mortar retailer that is doing nice business online is Macy’s (M), which operates more than 800 department stores under the Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s banner. Indeed, online sales for this retailer were up nearly 40% for fiscal 2012 ending in January. 
Tags: internetM

Unlike Berkshire Hathaway, which should pay its investors to wait, Apple is a growth stock with terrific earnings momentum.

By Jim Cramer Feb 28, 2012 10:07AM

There's way too much chatter about what Apple (AAPL) has to do with its cash position and not enough about Apple's earnings. And I don't even want to go into the idea of the stock split. If you really need a stock split to buy, move on. The idea of buying just a couple of shares worked for buying Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) decades ago when it traded at similar prices, and it can work now.


Why doesn't the dividend matter in Apple and matter so much to me in Berkshire Hathaway? Pretty simple: earnings momentum. I was surprised at how little earnings momentum Berkshire has. Instead, Buffett focuses on book value. That's all well and good if the company is willing to buy back stock to take advantage of its discount, a discount that Warren Buffett chatters about throughout his letter to shareholders.


A cloud hangs over this much-hyped IPO -- and it has everything to do with a lack of profit.

By Jonathan Berr Feb 27, 2012 4:53PM

Image: Man with laptop (© Ken Seet/SuperStock)Yelp, which is going public this week, won't be profitable for quite a while -- if ever.

The reviews site is lucky to not be in a deeper financial hole than its $41.2 million deficit at the end of last year. Total expenses soared to $99.5 million from $7.67 million in 2007, a gain of nearly 1,200%, while revenue rose more than 2,100% to $83.3 million from $3.74 million.  

Its not a question of if Yelp's costs will grow at a faster rate than revenue -- but when. This is all spelled out in Yelp's S-1.


The company faces a revenue loss as one of its blockbuster drugs, Singulair, loses patent protection this year.

By Jim J. Jubak Feb 27, 2012 4:27PM
Image: Prescription medicine expenses © Don Farrall/Photodisc/Getty ImagesEarlier this month, I dropped three stocks from my dividend income portfolio and added three more.

I'm going to give you more detail on one of those I let go: Merck (MRK). (I'll also actually make the change on the dividend portfolio page. The remaining two changes will follow in what I will try to make short order.)

Merck just raised its quarterly dividend to 42 cents a share from 38 cents.

A decade ago, a share of Apple barely cost $10. Now it trades well above $500 -- and optimistic investors say the good times will keep on rolling.

By Feb 27, 2012 3:48PM
Image: Arrow Up (© moodboard/Corbis)Apple (AAPL) stock is now trading well over $500 a share (hitting $527 Monday afternoon), making the company more valuable than Google (GOOG) and Microsoft (MSFT) combined. 

Needless to say, investors are happy: A $10,000 investment in Apple in 2000 "would be worth about $966,667 today," writes Chris Dumont at Investopedia. But Apple's meteoric rise presents a conundrum, too: Investors are torn between curtailing their spending on the increasingly pricey stock, or doubling down to reap more profits.

Can Apple's share price keep climbing?

Low rates make stocks look even more attractive, but can it last?

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day Feb 27, 2012 3:46PM

Image: Woman reading newspaper in livingroom © Tetra images/Getty ImagesBy Dan Caplinger


Even as the stock market has hit multiyear highs recently, stocks still look cheap by many standards. Yet many investors are staying on the sidelines, fearing an imminent end to the three-year-old bull bounce after the market meltdown of 2008 and early 2009. That leaves one key question: Is keeping cash available a smart move or a waste of capital?


The bull argument
A recent article from Bloomberg said that the S&P 500 is almost as cheap as it ever has been compared to bond yields.


Samsung's new Galaxy Beam can project a streaming movie or photo slideshow onto a wall with images 50 inches across.

By Feb 27, 2012 2:28PM
If you squint every time you stream a Netflix (NFLX) movie on your iPhone's 3.5-inch screen, you might want to have a look at Samsung's (SSNLF) newest phone, the Galaxy Beam. The Android-powered device is outfitted with a built-in LED projector to display movies, images, and presentations on nearby walls.

Here, a guide to Samsung's new "pocket projector": 

Two new phones expected this year will have all the bells and whistles a user could want. Can Apple meet the challenge?

By Kim Peterson Feb 27, 2012 2:26PM
Image: Worried Man (© John Howard/Getty Images/Getty Images)Apple (AAPL) is expected to make a big splash this year with the iPhone 5 -- a device many think will be a leaps-and-bounds improvement over the iPhone 4S.

But don't expect competitors to give any ground in the smartphone race. Two upcoming phones using the Android platform from Google (GOOG) are upping the stakes considerably, and will add more pressure to Apple to deliver.

Enter the highly anticipated Galaxy S III from Samsung, the top smartphone maker in the world. 

The master of sound technlogies is attracting fresh attention from investors.

By Gene Marcial Feb 27, 2012 2:13PM

Image: Hollywood (© Comstock/SuperStock)Dolby Laboratories (DLB) wasn't up for an academy award Sunday night, but some investors consider it one of the Oscar winners as almost all major movie soundtracks around the world use its technology to maintain the highest sound quality.


"There is an underlying demand and growing need for the Dolby format to view the enormous library of motion pictures and DVDs," says Joseph F. Hunt, a principal at Northwest Criterion Asset Management. And Dolby's valuation is attractive, he adds, as its stock is still inexpensive.


Technical signals in some of the S&P's strongest stocks indicate now is a high-risk time to buy.

By Feb 27, 2012 1:48PM

By Tom Aspray 

Risk, to me, is the key for every investment decision, and that is why it always comes first when I am buying or recommending a stock or exchange-traded fund (ETF). Starc band analysis plays an important role in my selection process, as often it will convince me that the risk in buying is not attractive.

While the Spyder Trust (SPY) is still 4% below its weekly Starc+ band, there are many stocks that are uncomfortably close to their weekly Starc+ bands. This is in contrast to last October (see The Most Oversold Dow Stocks) when Caterpillar Inc. (CAT) was the most oversold stock.


The home improvement company, however, maintains a cautious view on the housing market recovery.

By Trefis Feb 27, 2012 1:24PM
Image: Bathroom remodel (© Digital Vision/Photolibrary)Home Depot (HD) continued to beat analyst estimates last quarter as its sales grew 6% (year over year) to $16 billion, riding on holiday and warmer winter sales. 

For the complete fiscal 2011, the home improvement retailer's sales rose 3.5% from fiscal 2010 with 3% growth in same store sales. With signs of positive sentiment in the housing market, its stock price has gained 20% over the last three months. 

Long-term growth is on tap for this leading Latin American beer and beverage distributor.

By TheStockAdvisors Feb 27, 2012 1:04PM
Image: Beer (© Corbis)By Paul Goodwin, Cabot China & Emerging Markets Report

Companies with good leadership, attractive product lines and growing customer bases just naturally tend to maintain their leadership, and investors notice. One company that continues to prove itself as a leader is Companhia de Bebidas das Américas (ABV).

The firm sells beer, soda and other beverages in its home country of Brazil, 12 other Latin American companies and Canada. Its name is Portuguese for Beverage Co. of the Americas, but is usually shortened to AMBEV. 
Tags: ABV

The total amount of cash on the tech giant's books is at absurdly high levels. It's well past time for Tim Cook to take action.

By The Fiscal Times Feb 27, 2012 12:51PM

Apple moneyBy Suzanne McGee, The Fiscal TimesThe Fiscal Times

Apple (AAPL) has a problem.

It's actually not the kind of problem most businesses experience. There is no lack of buyers eager to snap up its iPhones, iPads and other gizmos. It's a problem other companies (like Kodak, to name only one) would love to have, and it flows directly from Apple's success: It has a lot of cash on its books. More cash than the GDP of several small nations -- rolled together. And CEO Tim Cook and Co. are just sitting on it.



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[BRIEFING.COM] The major averages ended the midweek session on a flat note after spending the day inside narrow ranges. The S&P 500 hovered near the 2,000 mark for the majority of the trading day, but slumped to new lows during the last hour of action. The index then returned to its flat line, where it settled for the day. For the third day in a row, participation left a lot to be desired with just 487 million shares changing hands at the NYSE.

Equity indices opened with slim gains, ... More


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