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.


A rise in the retailer's earnings lifts many boats.

By Jonathan Berr Feb 21, 2012 12:19PM
Home Depot's (HD) better-than-expected quarterly earnings are another sign that the economic recovery is taking hold. 

Net income at the Atlanta retailer was $774 million, or 50 cents a share, up 32% from $587 million, or 36 cents a share, a year ago. Revenue rose 5.9% to $16 billion, fueled by a 5.7% increase in same-store sales and an unusually mild winter. The results topped Wall Street expectations for 42 cents a share. 
Tags: HD

The last time gas topped $4 a gallon, falling demand brought it down slowly. But this time prices are tied too closely to the situation in Iran.

By Jim Cramer Feb 21, 2012 12:01PM

Five-dollar gas. I don't know how it can be stopped as long as Iran is meddling anddeveloping nukes, other than through demand destruction.


If you go back to 2008, when oil spiked to the $140s and gasoline peaked at $4.11 a gallon in the summer, we know it had a huge impact on the economy both here and abroad. In the U.S. it was just enough, after the housing crisis had begun and the Fed was slow to cut rates, to start us on the path to the Great Recession.


Discount competition and smaller margins continue to plague the retailer.

By InvestorPlace Feb 21, 2012 11:56AM

By Jeff Reeves


Wal-Mart Stores (WMT), the world’s largest retailer, just announced a big slide in profits, and shares slumped as a result. The reason? The king of low-cost retail is being forced to push prices even lower amid discount competition and penny-pinching consumer habits.


This is just the latest in a long line of disappointments for the big-box giant in recent years. You would think that amid weak spending, Wal-Mart would be king. But think again.


Garmin is upgraded to 'outperform,' while Oracle is downgraded to 'market perform.'

By MSN Money Partner Feb 21, 2012 11:46AM
Information provided by

Tuesday's noteworthy upgrades include:
  • Life Technologies (LIFE) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Citigroup
  • Whiting Petroleum (WLL) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Pritchard
  • Unum Group (UNM) upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at JPMorgan
  • Broadcom (BRCM) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Auriga
  • Garmin (GRMN) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Avondale

This Latin American steel maker gets a top ranking on a Peter Lynch-based investing screen.

By TheStockAdvisors Feb 21, 2012 10:55AM
By John Reese, Validea

Our strategy is to select stocks based on the investing criteria of legendary investors. In this case, Ternium SA (TX) earns a 100% score based on our Peter Lynch methodology.

Ternium  is a company in Latin America that makes steel products for the construction, home appliances, capital goods, container, food, energy and automotive industries. About 57% of sales were generated in North America and 41% in South and Central America. 
Tags: TX

The movie franchise has 'Harry Potter' and 'Lord of the Rings' potential.

By InvestorPlace Feb 21, 2012 10:44AM

By Jonathan Berr

Shares of Lions Gate Entertainment (LGF) have almost doubled during the past year as investors bet that the "The Hunger Games" trilogy would be a huge box-office hit. The already-lofty expectations of fans of the stock, including Jim Cramer, might be too low.

Cramer recently argued that "The Hunger Games" franchise could be worth more than $400 million to Lions Gate. For once, the host of CNBC's "Mad Money" might be underselling something. Based on recent Hollywood history, "The Hunger Games" has the potential to equal or surpass the $1 billion-plus franchise values of "Harry Potter" and "Lord of the Rings."


Its parent company, Amerco, is the big winner in the consumer truck rental business.

By Gene Marcial Feb 21, 2012 10:07AM

If you're worried, as some market technical analysts are, about the Dow Jones Transport Index not following the Dow industrials' recent vigorous advance, don't waste your time. No matter what the transport barometer is doing, there are transportation stocks that have picked up speed way ahead of the group.


A particularly impressive stock that has been riding high despite economic headwinds is Amerco (UHAL), the parent of the widely known U-Haul International, which is the world's largest consumer truck rental company and the No. 2 self-storage operator in North America. 

Tags: UHAL

As long as customer service remains solid, the company should be able to achieve the revenue growth it wants.

By Trefis Feb 20, 2012 5:00PM
DirecTV's (DTV) U.S. subscriber growth has dramatically slowed down, though it's still remarkably healthy considering the housing market and the saturation in the pay-TV business.

The No. 1 satellite pay-TV service provider in the U.S. claims it's seeing a higher customer turnover rate due to a dispute with News Corp's (NWS) Fox as well as better performance by its peer Dish Network (DISH). See our complete analysis for DirecTV. 

Company management is realizing that quicker adoption of newer technologies is critical in a competitive market.

By Trefis Feb 20, 2012 4:23PM
Image: Watching television (© Corbis)Customers want streaming video. It's a reality that cable and satellite providers have accepted, although Time Warner Cable (TWC) was a little slow to get on board.

But recently, the No. 2 cable provider in the U.S. has finally been doing more enhance its pay-TV service with streaming options.

The overall pay-TV industry is headed in this direction, and broadband Internet is increasingly becoming a vehicle for video delivery. 

Microsoft's upcoming operating system might have prompted Apple to speed up its release of Mountain Lion.

By Trefis Feb 20, 2012 3:04PM
Apple (AAPL) has been busy developing its next Mac operating system, dubbed Mountain Lion, and last week released an early version to developers.

The software will be made available for download from the Mac App Store in late summer, making Mountain Lion one of the company's fastest Mac OS rollouts to date. Normally, Apple follows a two-year cycle between consecutive upgrades.

What might have prompted the company to speed up the process? 

Can new CEO Meg Whitman turn the ship around? So far, she seems to be making the right moves.

By Kim Peterson Feb 20, 2012 2:35PM
Image: CEO (© Photodisc/Getty Images)Meg Whitman took the reins at Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) just in September, so it's too early to make any call on her leadership yet.

Still, shareholders are watching to see if she can pull the computing giant out of its spiral. So far, I like what she's doing.

One of the first moves Whitman made was to announce that the company would continue to sell personal computers. Just one month before she was made CEO, the company announced it was looking at selling or spinning off its PC business.  
Tags: HPQ

Seasonal strength means good opportunity in select oil and gas stocks as winter melts into spring.

By Feb 20, 2012 1:34PM

Image: Oil derricks (© Comstock/Corbis)By Tom Aspray,

Even though small-cap stocks had been correcting since the early February highs, the iShares Russell 2000 (IWM) was the best performer last week, gaining 1.87%. This beat out the 1.5% gains in the Spyder Trust (SPY) and the PowerShares QQQ Trust (QQQ).

Once again, the large-capitalization stocks in the Dow are lagging, as the SPDR Diamond Trust (DIA) was only up just over 1%.


The chain is adding new products and a new slogan to create some much-needed buzz.

By Kim Peterson Feb 20, 2012 1:04PM
Credit: (© Reed Saxon/AP)
Caption: Taco Bell restaurantCan a Doritos taco save Taco Bell?

The fast-food chain is in a bit of a slump, seeing sales fall amid increasing competition from Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG). Taco Bell has lost some buzz, its brand damaged by a recent lawsuit questioning the quality of the beef in its tacos.

So now the chain, owned by Yum Brands (YUM), is trying to mount a comeback. And key to its revival is a taco shell made entirely out of Doritos. The new line of Doritos Locos Tacos has been in test mode, with a national roll-out scheduled for March 8. 

The retail giant's investment in Chinese e-commerce company Yihaodian is a hint of more to come.

By Jonathan Berr Feb 20, 2012 12:20PM
Image: Price tag (© Hill Street Studios / Blend Images/Getty Images)Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) is betting big on China because growing its U.S. business has proved to be a vexing challenge.

The world's largest retailer announced Monday it is buying a controlling stake in the Chinese online shopping company Yihaodian to further solidify its position in the world's most populous country. Two weeks ago, Wal-Mart appointed Greg Foran to run its China operations as it overhauls the business after a series of scandals, including "a pork mislabeling issue last year that forced it to temporarily shut a dozen stores in central China," according to Reuters.    
Tags: WMT

It's unlikely that the rule will be passed into law in its entirety.

By Trefis Feb 20, 2012 10:59AM
Image: Businesswoman and businessman (© Eric Audras/PhotoAlto Agency RF Collections/Getty Images)It looks like the battle between the proponents of the Volcker Rule and the country's biggest banks will go on for quite a while.  

The banks are clearly in no mood to give up without a fight, given how much the proposed regulations would impact their businesses. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) received more than 16,000 comments regarding curbs on proprietary trading by banks. 


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StockScouter rates stocks from 1 to 10, with 10 being the best, using a system of advanced mathematics to determine a stock's expected risk and return. Ratings are displayed on a bell curve, meaning there will be fewer ratings of 1 and 10 and far more of 4 through 7.

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  • The dollar index sold off in recent trade and just hit a new LoD, which helped precious metals move higher
  • Gold and silver have been recovering off lows and are back in positive territory now and just hit new highs for the day
  • Dec gold is now +0.02% at $1290.60/oz, while Dec silver is +0.2% at $19.64/barrel
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