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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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 MoneyShow.com Feb 20, 2012 1:34PM

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


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. 
Tags: CMGPEPYUM

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. 
 
Tags: GSMSWFC

Key investors are upset that company management is installing its own hand-picked individuals on the board.

By Trefis Feb 20, 2012 10:18AM
Just when we thought that CEO Scott Thompson was getting ready to reinvent Yahoo (YHOO), the two long-standing issues of selling the company's Asian assets and disgruntled shareholders return to plague the company. 

There seems to be a tug-of-war going on among key investors as the Yahoo management is installing its recommended individuals on the company's board. And, at the same time, Yahoo's talks to sell its Asian assets -- Alibaba and Yahoo Japan -- have also reportedly hit a roadblock. 
 
Tags: GOOGYHOO

With rapid growth in sales and earnings, these stocks offer excellent appreciation potential.

By TheStockAdvisors Feb 20, 2012 8:51AM
By J. Royden Ward, Cabot Benjamin Graham Value Letter

I screened our Ben Graham database for companies whose sales and earnings are growing very rapidly. Three of our favorites from this screen are Deere & Co. (DE), Foot Locker (FL) and Priceline.com (PCLN).

I believe each stock price will also grow very rapidly during the next six to 12 months, offering excellent appreciation potential with moderate risk. 
Tags: DEFLPCLN

The company saw revenue grow by nearly 83%. So why did investors punish the stock Friday?

By Jim J. Jubak Feb 17, 2012 5:36PM
Shares of Chinese search engine company Baidu (BIDU) closed Friday down 3.5%, or $4.93 a share, after the company reported great fourth-quarter results Thursday. 

Earnings of 95 cents a share were 5 cents a share above the Wall Street consensus. (Baidu is a member of my Jubak Picks 50 long-term portfolio.)

Revenue grew by 82.6% from the fourth quarter of 2010 as the company saw a 13% increase in its base of active advertisers to 311,000 and a 62% increase in the average ad spend per customer.
 
Tags: BIDU

Some of the stocks that received the most short interest last year have posted strong gains in 2012.

By Kim Peterson Feb 17, 2012 4:53PM
Image: Businessman reading newspaper © A. Chederros/ONOKY/Getty ImagesThe stocks investors loved to hate last year are doing just fine, thank you very much.

The 26 stocks that investors were most expecting to fall have seen an 18% gain this year, Bloomberg reports. That's much higher than the 8.2% rise in the Standard & Poor's 500 Index ($INX).

Bloomberg measured the 26 companies in the S&P 500 that had the highest short interest. These are the shares speculators are borrowing to sell, with hopes of buying them back when the price dropped. 

The Federal Reserve's obsession with policy easing, despite rising gas prices and bubbling inflation, is making matters worse.

By Anthony Mirhaydari Feb 17, 2012 3:55PM

For months, I've been warning that the Federal Reserve's hardheaded determination to pump trillions and trillions in ultra-cheap cash into the economy was passing the point of no return. Sure, the strategy worked great back in 2008 and 2009 when the financial crisis was raging. But now it's becoming increasingly counterproductive.

 

In fact, it's just making things worse for the average guy or gal on the street being squeezed between stagnant wages and higher prices. The resulting drop in consumer confidence and retail sales will act as a drag on growth in the months to come -- which, perversely, will encourage the Fed to unleash even more policy easing.

 

This time, the problem isn't with Tylenol but with its delivery method.

By Kim Peterson Feb 17, 2012 3:40PM
Image: Boy hiding eyes (© Ned Frisk Photography/Corbis)Just when it seemed Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) was getting its act together after a series of damaging recalls, it flubs again.

The company is recalling 574,000 bottles of grape-flavored Tylenol for children younger than 2 years old. You can read more about the recall here.

There's nothing wrong with the medicine. The problem is with the new system whereby parents stick a plastic dosing syringe into a small hole to draw out the liquid Tylenol. About 17 parents or caregivers complained that when they inserted the syringe, the doughnut-shaped cover fell into the bottle. 
Tags: JNJ

Greenlight Capital's recent SEC filing shows a lot of new tech positions.

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day Feb 17, 2012 3:11PM

By Evan Niu

 

As a hedge-fund superstar, Greenlight Capital's David Einhorn makes moves that are worth watching. It's about that time of year when quarterly 13-F SEC filings, which disclose the positions the fund is holding, are starting to roll in. Let's take a look at some of the notable changes in Greenlight's portfolio over the past few months to get an insight into what this value investor has his eyes on.

 

Increased position: Apple
During the fourth quarter, Greenlight increased its position in Apple (AAPL) from about 1.31 million shares to over 1.46 million shares, a roughly 11% increase in position size. This was also the quarter where Apple lost Steve Jobs, launched the iPhone 4S, and put up a surprise earnings miss relative to Wall Street expectations.

 

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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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