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 area is believed to hold vast deep-water reserves of oil and gas.

By Trefis Feb 17, 2012 12:23PM
Image: Oil drilling platform (© Scott Gibson/Corbis)British Petroleum (BP), hit by falling output, is looking to begin exploration in blocks in the South China Sea.

BP has a strategic focus on deep-water resources around the world. The company received approval to begin exploration in a block in the South China Sea last week. BP will be exploring the 43/11 block in collaboration with Chinese company CNOOC and independent exploration company Anadarko Corp. (APC). Deep-water exploration is becoming an increasingly important source of new reserves for major oil companies. 
Tags: APCbp

Not all dividend opportunities are created equal. Don't be tempted by these.

By InvestorPlace Feb 17, 2012 12:19PM

Image: Grocery shopping (© IT Stock Free/Jupiterimages)By Kyle Woodley

Dividend stocks are an investor's security blanket during periods of market instability, relieving some pressure to make every stock picked a rock-solid growth story for years to come. Instead, dividend stocks offer shareholders a reliable revenue stream that can help make rocky times feel, well, not quite so rocky.

But while a dividend is security, it's not a guarantee. Struggling companies -- think General Motors (GM) in 2006 or General Electric (GE) in 2009 -- can clip those payouts. And even the highest yield can be overshadowed by large share declines, such as with Frontier Communications (FTR), which plummeted about 50% last year despite a decent dividend.


The search engine giant owes the public an apology for secretly tracking the browsing habits of Apple customers.

By Jonathan Berr Feb 17, 2012 12:06PM
Image: Spy (© Corbis)Google (GOOG) has been nabbed red-handed violating the privacy of tens of millions of Apple (AAPL) users, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The search engine giant and some advertising agencies used a secret code to track the Web habits of users of Apple's Safari browser on iPhones and computers by bypassing its privacy settings, the newspaper reported. Safari, the most popular program for mobile surfing, is designed to block such tracking by default.

Google stopped the tracking when questioned about the practice by the Journal. 

MSN Money's Anthony Mirhaydari takes more questions from Facebook users.

By MSN Money Partner Feb 17, 2012 10:28AM
Will there be another war over oil? How might it affect major oil companies? In this video, MSN Money columnist Anthony Mirhaydari explains why investors should avoid the sector.


And as he answers questions from MSN Money's Facebook community, he also explains views on General Electric (GE) and BP (BP). 

The annual build rate for the month was stronger than that seen in December.

By Benzinga Feb 16, 2012 6:30PM

Image: Home under construction (© Corbis)By Michael Foster, Benzinga Staff Writer

More new houses were being built in January, news that may benefit Beazer Homes (BZH), DR Horton (DHI), Pulte (PHM) and other developer stocks. In total, new home builds rose by 1.5% to an annual build rate of 699,000 houses -- stronger than December's figure of 689,000.

A mix of lower unemployment, cheap land, and low borrowing costs have resulted in an increase in home orders for Beazer and DR Horton, causing both stocks to rise slightly Thursday in pre-market trading.


While the auction company is becoming more of a facilitator in online commerce, Amazon's dominance in online retail segment is increasing.

By Trefis Feb 16, 2012 6:02PM
EBay (EBAY) and Amazon (AMZN) seem to be taking two markedly different approaches to building their business.

While eBay, which owns PayPal, is increasingly moving toward being a facilitator in online commerce, Amazon wants to be a one-stop shop for customers. This could work out favorably for both companies, but we believe eBay's marketplace stands to lose market share as Amazon continues its push.  

Overbought conditions suggest the start of a long-overdue correction.

By Feb 16, 2012 3:46PM

By Tom Aspray,

The deterioration last week in some of the short-term technical studies like the McClellan Oscillator was consistent with a weakening stock market.

Prices continued to move higher early this week, led by Apple (AAPL) and the Nasdaq 100 ($NDX). Since the December lows, the PowerShares QQQ Trust (QQQ), which tracks the Nasdaq 100, is up 17.8% versus a 13.2% gain in the Spyder Trust (SPY).


Europe's declining growth is contributing to falling metals prices.

By Jim J. Jubak Feb 16, 2012 3:30PM
Image: Brazil (© Donald Edwards/age fotostock)There's more evidence that Brazil's domestic economy and its export sector are headed in different directions at the moment.

Wednesday, the Banco Central do Brasil reported that economic activity in Brazil climbed by 0.57% in December from November. That's the second monthly increase in a row after growth stalled in the third quarter with the period essentially flat with the second quarter. (Year-to-year growth in the third quarter fell to 2.1%).

The news wasn't nearly as positive from Vale (VALE), the world's second-largest mining company.

Toy companies pay decent dividends and are expected to raise prices this year without hurting sales.

By Kim Peterson Feb 16, 2012 2:34PM
Image: Teddy Bear (© Fancy/Veer/Corbis/Corbis)Toy prices are expected to rise in the next couple years, mostly because the people who make them -- factory workers in China -- are seeing the minimum wage soar 20%.

But toys are a funny thing. Even when prices rise, parents still buy them because they want to keep their children happy. When it comes down to it, parents will sacrifice a purchase for themselves instead of giving up that new toy for their children.

The toy industry is a tough business with very slim margins. 

In the current volatile environment, it may be better to go for dividends than to try riding out the storm.

By Feb 16, 2012 2:34PM

By Kate Stalter,

Today's low-interest-rate environment has adviser Chris Kichurchak putting clients into high-yield equity funds. In an interview with MoneyShow's Kate Stalter, he discusses three that he likes and explains why he's seeking mainly yield now instead of capital appreciation.


The restaurant chain posted better-than-expected earnings, but foresees headwinds in 2012.

By Feb 16, 2012 2:23PM

Image: Family at diner (© IT Stock Free/SuperStock)By Zacks Equity Research

Bob Evans Farms Inc. (BOBE) announced third-quarter 2012 earnings of 69 cents per share on Tuesday after the bell, breezing past the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 60 cents per share and the year-ago quarter earnings of 51 cents.

The better-than-expected results were driven by cost-control initiatives of the company and improving sales trend.

Tags: BOBE

Here's a look at a leader in HIV/AIDS treatments and a pioneering play in molecular diagnosis.

By TheStockAdvisors Feb 16, 2012 2:07PM
Image: Insurance Money (© Comstock Images/Jupiterimages)By Mike Cintolo,  Cabot Market Letter

Cepheid (CPHD) has a very large idea -- it's aiming to "democratize" molecular diagnostic testing through its revolutionary GeneXpert system.

Gilead Sciences (GILD) is a big biopharmaceutical company with 14 products on the market, including five medicines for the treatment of HIV/AIDS that accounted for 86% of 2010 revenue.  

These small caps that focus on specific software niches have been sporting good price appreciation lately.

By Feb 16, 2012 1:58PM

Image: Clouds in a blue sky (© Purestock/Getty Images)By Kate Stalter,

Although there was much media fanfare Monday as Apple (AAPL) reached $500, small caps are outpacing their larger cousins' price growth so far in 2012.

The cloud-based business software has been in the spotlight recently, with small caps clearly setting the pace for gains.


After Wednesday's drop, the stock rebounds to make a small afternoon gain.

By Kim Peterson Feb 16, 2012 1:41PM
Updated 4:14 p.m. ET

Apple (AAPL) went back to its pattern of climbing ever higher Thursday, comforting investors who had been watching for a repeat of Wednesday's drop.

After a morning of fingernail biting, Apple shares moved into positive territory in the afternoon and closed at $502.21 -- nearly 1% above Wednesday's $497.67 close.

The day was not an easy one for some investors. "AAPL is giving me an ULCR," one wrote on Twitter.  

Ralph Lauren is upgraded to 'buy,' while Deere is downgraded to 'market perform.'

By MSN Money Partner Feb 16, 2012 12:34PM
Information provided by

Thursday's noteworthy upgrades include:
  • Expeditors (EXPD) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Jefferies
  • Polo Ralph Lauren (RL) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Argus
  • General Mills (GIS) upgraded to Outperform from Underperform at CLSA


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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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