Image: Bank Vault (© Corbis/Corbis)
Up next: Biggest bank IPO ever

It's no Alibaba, but the Citizens Financial Group offering is important to the market.


This blue chip utility offers growth, yield and downside protection.

By TheStockAdvisors Feb 11, 2012 2:09PM
By Gordon Pape, Internet Wealth Builder

Although there are some encouraging economic signs out there, prudent investors need to stay defensive and blue-chip, dividend-paying stocks should continue to form the core of your portfolio.

One of the areas on which to focus is U.S. utilities which offer relative price stability and an attractive dividend yield. And one stock in particular that I like is Southern Company (SO) which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. 
Tags: SO

After a forgettable fourth quarter, the bank expects to miss its profit goal.

By Benzinga Feb 11, 2012 1:01AM

Image: Bank Vault (© Radius Images/Jupiterimages)By Brett Callwood, Benzinga Staff Writer

British bank Barclays (BCS) looks like it will miss its profit goal after suffering its worst quarter in three years.

The eurozone debt crisis led to a slump in bond trading, which in turn dragged down Barclays' annual profit. This led CEO Bob Diamond to push back the return-on-equity target of 13% that he set less than a year ago.

Many analysts had thought that target was too ambitious.


Recent deterioration in the short-term technical outlook means now more than ever, investors must take decisive action to lock in recent gains.

By Feb 10, 2012 5:49PM

Image: Bull figurine on ascending line graph and list of share prices (© Adam Gault/OJO Images/Getty Images)By Tom Aspray,

The markets were clearly disappointed early Friday as more cracks developed in Greece's debt deal. Still, most of the major averages managed to close higher on Thursday. Over the past week or so, the correction camp (those looking for a pullback to buy) has become quite crowded.

This is likely the reason why the market has been grinding higher as late buyers abandon their disciplined strategy and just buy. Many of the market-leading sectors like housing have continued to move higher and have become even more overextended.


Some days CEOs would be better off staying in bed.

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day Feb 10, 2012 5:03PM
By Sean Williams


Last month, I introduced a new weekly series, the "CEO Gaffe of the Week." Having come across more than a handful of questionable executive decisions last year when compiling my list of the Worst CEOs of 2011, I thought it could be a learning experience for all of us if I pointed out apparent gaffes as they occur. Trusting your investments begins with trusting the leadership at the top -- and with leaders like these on your side, sometimes you don't need enemies!


This week I want to highlight the now former CEO of Diamond Foods (DMND): Michael Mendes.


The tech giant's ability to sell the iPhone at such a heavy premium speaks volumes about the popularity of the device.

By Trefis Feb 10, 2012 3:41PM
Image: Businesswoman on cellphone (© Corbis)As yet another testament to the iPhone phenomenon, analyst Travis McCourt of Morgan Keegan estimates that Apple (AAPL) accounted for close to 50% of overall mobile revenues and a staggering 80% of overall mobile profits in the fourth quarter of 2011.

This follows a report released by Asymco last week that estimates Apple's revenue and profit shares at 75% and 40%, respectively. These estimates underscore the tech company's dominance of an industry in which it commands only a small percentage of the actual market. 

The country is faced with a deeply unpopular austerity plan. Will it walk?

By Jim J. Jubak Feb 10, 2012 3:38PM
Image: Europe (© Photodisc/SuperStock)As slogans go, it isn't up to the standards of "Don't tread on me" or "No taxation without representation," but Jean-Claude Juncker's "No disbursement without implementation" does sum up where the Greek debt crisis stood Friday morning. (Juncker is head of the Euro Group and prime minister of Luxembourg.)

Thursday's meeting of European finance ministers adjourned without action on the plan to rescue Greece. The finance ministers wanted to see more details on the last 430 million euros in cuts and actual legislation to turn Greek promises into Greek laws. The group is scheduled to meet again next week.

The appliance maker was a disaster last year, but suddenly investors are seeing a lot to like.

By Kim Peterson Feb 10, 2012 3:22PM
Image: A woman looking at a washing machine in an electrical shop © altrendo images/Stockbyte/Getty ImagesWhirlpool (WHR) is one of the top three performers in the market this year. Seriously? Whirlpool?

This was a stinker of a stock in 2011, plunging nearly 50% as investors wanted nothing to do with appliances or the housing market. But it's a whole new story in 2012 as shares have soared 44% to $70 in weeks.

Why is everyone fired up about Whirlpool? And could this rally possibly last? 

An increased customer base helps the company improve subscription revenues in the fourth quarter.

By Trefis Feb 10, 2012 3:01PM
Image: Couple toasting champagne glasses at restaurant table (© Chris Ryan/OJO Images/Getty Images)OpenTable's (OPEN) recent earnings showed that the online restaurant reservation company has been able to grow despite a sluggish economic environment.  

The company now counts more than 25,000 restaurants across the globe as its customers, with 17,150 reservation-taking restaurants in North America employing OpenTable's system.   
Tags: OPEN

The search giant is testing a home entertainment device, but that may not be what's good for it.

By Melly Alazraki Feb 10, 2012 2:25PM

Google (GOOG), the undisputed search giant of the Internet, is getting into hardware. The company, which has made its considerable fortune mostly from designing free software, is reportedly developing and testing a wireless home entertainment system.

It is the first time the Mountain View, Calif., company is overseeing the actual manufacturing process in its entirety, according to The Wall Street Journal.


In need of a tablet? You might want to wait until next month, when Apple's long-awaited updated gadget is expected to debut.

By Feb 10, 2012 1:59PM
Image: New Year celebration (© Stan Fellerman/Corbis)Apple (AAPL) fans aren't just excited about the iPad 3 -- some are borderline clinically insane with anticipation over the updated gadget, which could become available to consumers in just a few weeks. Still, many tech analysts note that the next-generation iPad, while a significant improvement over the iPad 2, is not expected to be as big of an upgrade as the iPad 2 was over the original iPad.

Here's what you should know: 

The euro needs to stay strong, and pretty much every chart in the book is extended, particularly financials.

By Jim Cramer Feb 10, 2012 1:56PM

It's not that Greece is all-important. It is that Greece does matter.

Last night on Twitter (@JimCramer) I was amazed to see how many people were furiously saying that Greece doesn't matter and it is irrelevant.

That's all well and good when the Dow and the S&P are flat, when everyone thought Greece was the be all and end all, but it's not so good after a run if days like today are days when we say "Uh-oh, Nouriel Roubini, the sage who told us to worry so much about Greece, is all-in for U.S. equities and you can't have a negativist like Roubini be so positive now, after 6,500 points unless it is wrong." You needed Greece to work out perfectly to make that guy right.


More big names are returning more of their stash to investors. Here's how to play it.

By The Fiscal Times Feb 10, 2012 1:48PM
DividendsBy Suzanne McGee, The Fiscal Times

BP (BP) did it. Cisco (CSCO) did it. General Electric (GE), Macy's (M) and UPS (UPS), too. Hasbro (HAS) and Mattel (MAT), locked in a battle for dominance of the toy market, both did it as well. Even Rio Tinto (RIO) did it, despite having to write down $8.9 billion of its investment in struggling Canadian aluminum producer Alcan.

The "it" in these cases refers to the announcement of a higher dividend payout to shareholders. An ever-increasing number of companies are returning a larger percentage of their cash to investors. Of course, some big names continue to resist the trend.  

These soft-drink giants aren't worth a taste right now.

By InvestorPlace Feb 10, 2012 11:52AM
By Dan Burrows

Have the kings of carbonated beverages lost their fizz? PepsiCo (PEP) and Coca-Cola (KO) both reported Street-beating quarterly earnings this week, but shares in the soft-drink companies are languishing in 2012.

Maybe it's because both companies find themselves bottled up by higher commodity costs, less-than-robust global demand and unfavorable foreign currency effects.


All of these companies have boosted their payouts for 25 consecutive years.

By TheStockAdvisors Feb 10, 2012 11:12AM
By Chuck Carlson, The DRIP Investor

Dividend stocks as a group performed relatively well in 2011, thanks to investors' hunger for more cash flow and less volatility. Corporations did their part, boosting dividends at a rate not seen since 2007.

According to Standard & Poor's, dividend increases reached more than $50 billion in 2011, up more than 89% from 2010. Overall, S&P reported 1,953 positive payout actions -- the highest since 2007. 

Some companies are reporting huge revenue gains despite the region's ongoing monetary problems.

By Feb 10, 2012 10:55AM

Image: Euro (© Corbis)By Tom Aspray,

While U.S. investors in the last quarter feared a new recession triggered in part by the ongoing European debt crisis, U.S. companies were still making money in eurozone nations. A recent article in The Wall Street Journal reported that of the 39 companies in the Standard & Poor's 500 Index ($INX) that reported sales to Europe, revenue was up 11.4%.

Compared to 2010, the 2011 sales to Europe were a bit lower, but still accounted for well over 24% of the global revenue of the 39 companies. (See the report here.)



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[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market finished an upbeat week on a mixed note. The S&P 500 shed less than a point, ending the week higher by 1.3%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (+0.1%) cemented a 1.7% advance for the week. High-beta names underperformed, which weighed on the Nasdaq Composite (-0.3%) and the Russell 2000 (-1.3%).

Equity indices displayed strength in the early going with the S&P 500 tagging the 2,019 level during the opening 30 minutes of the action. However, ... More


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