VIDEO ON MSN MONEY
Evidence that the 'smart money' crowd is betting on a rebound rally.
Stocks launched higher on Thursday, clearing significant technical resistance and breaking the sideways amble that has characterized trading over the last few days. It appears the balance of power is beginning to shift back towards the bulls: The S&P 500 gained 3.4% while the Russell 2000 added 4.3%.
And the standard measure of fear, the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX), continued to melt lower -- losing another 13.6% to cap a five-day loss of nearly 34%. This is the fastest and hardest drop for the VIX seen since late 2008 as the doom and gloom that has pervaded the scene over the last few weeks has started to clear.
From a sentiment perspective, a rebound rally was due. To prepare for what seemed to be an economic disaster scenario, amateur options traders were frantically bidding up equity put options over the past few days. This is the kind of behavior that is frequently seen at market lows. But all the while, Wall Street pros were quietly turning bullish.
Yum Brands' latest expansion of Americanized Mexican fast food will open in June.
Yum! Brands will launch a Taco Bell chain in England next month according to reports, debuting at Lakeside Shopping Centre in Essex. The fare will be similar to what American diners are used to, with a menu that features cheap tacos and burritos and caters to value-conscious consumers.
This is just a small part of an ambitious growth strategy for Taco Bell and other YUM brands.
Don't read too much into any selling Friday. The real test comes next week.
So, where does the stock market go from here?
U.S. stocks are bouncing off the February 2010 low near 1,040 on the Standard & Poor's 500 index ($INX), which closed above 1,100 Thursday.
Good news for anyone with money in the stock market. But what does it mean?
There are two possibilities.
Shares of the satellite radio provider sank 10% yesterday after staying mostly above $1 for the past month.
By Andrea Tse, TheStreet
Shares of the satellite radio provider plunged 10% on Wednesday, ending the day at 88 cents. The decline triggered flashbacks to the days when Sirius faced delisting threats from the Nasdaq. Today, the stock has taken back losses Thursday morning, jumping more than 10%.
Sirius shares have fallen 31% annually for the past five years. The company, which relies on subscribers, struggled to remain profitable as the recession hurt spending and the car industry slumped.
A pullback in the dollar and a more relaxed policy stance could mean big gains for Chinese stocks.
Since investors started worrying about the inability of governments to pay their rising debt loads -- starting with Dubai in November and continuing with troubled European nations like Greece -- the U.S. dollar has strengthened.
This was a big reversal of fortune for the greenback. As a result, U.S. stocks started to outperform foreign stocks as traders looked to park their cash in a rising currencies.
But now, with the dollar extremely overbought and ripe for a pullback, emerging market stocks are starting to perk up. China in particular is looking strong with the iShares China ETF (FXI) moving over its 9-day and 18-day moving averages in trading today. Similar bounces in the past have presaged the initiation of new up trends.
Reports about the possibility of China dumping European bonds in response to debt crisis are absurd.
OK, let's figure out some other way to take the euro down.
I am talking about what now looks to be the totally specious report by the Financial Times that the Chinese were going to dump their holdings in European bonds, something I dismissed last night as highly unlikely, because unlike the US, the tariff-happy Europeans would have quickly put import duties on the 25% of Chinese exports that head to Europe.
The story seemed too perfectly timed. Lots of hedge funds --which are known for betting on falling stocks -- have had a great May and it would have been horrible to ruin that performance with a couple of good days inspired by American fundamentals and a better Chinese market.
Chimera Investment is one under-$5 stock that offers investors an outsized dividend.
By Robert Holmes, TheStreet
Investors bruised by the recent stock market correction have turned to dividend-paying stocks for stability, and several under-$5 names like Chimera Investment (CIM) offer outsized dividend yields to those willing to take the risk.
Dividend stocks are attractive during times of uncertainty because of the consistent cash payout. While share prices can move sharply, as evidenced in the so-called "flash crash" on May 6 when the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped nearly 1,000 points intraday, dividends typically hold steady. Over the last month, the Dow has fallen roughly 10%, putting the index in correction territory.
"When the markets start correcting, investors normally gravitate toward more defensive stocks," says Paul Nolte, managing director with Dearborn Partners. "Those defensive stocks typically have consistency in earnings and a bulk of them pay dividends and may even increase dividends. Investors can get money while they're waiting for the market to turn around in addition to owning a company that has a pretty good earnings flow."
Atomic force microscopes and plenty of PhD's go into rebranding the struggling hair care brand
Pantene, the hair care line that generates $3 billion for personal products giant Procter and Gamble (PG), is no stranger to makeovers. And after the recession drove consumers into the arms of cheaper rivals, Pantene is reinventing itself yet again – the third rebranding since 1999 – in an effort to reconnect with consumers.
According to Business Week, some of the big ideas behind more than two years of research and reformulation include both an “atomic force microscope, similar to one used on NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander, and micro-computed tomography, used to measure bone density” to ensure the shampoos were truly making hair healthier.
Both companies are still behind Exxon Mobil on the S&P 500 index, however.
All it took Wednesday was a little bump in Apple's (AAPL) price, and a tiny drop in Microsoft's (MSFT), and bam: Apple became the world's most valuable technology company.
Apple shares closed Wednesday at just over $244, making its market cap about $222.9 billion. Microsoft shares dropped about 4%, bringing its market cap down to $218.7 billion.
Both companies are still behind Exxon Mobil (XOM), which is the largest company on the S&P index and valued at about $279 billion. But the way Apple has been going, Exxon could be steamrolled soon.
Marvell Technology shares popped after its last earnings report, but performance has slipped.
I don't know how long this bounce will run -- it could go to 1220 or so on the Standard & Poor's 500 or be cut short by investors selling into strength -- but I would like to lighten up on technology for the summer quarters.
Marvell Technology is the most volatile of my tech holdings. That will be good news when the group rallies, but right now it exposes me to more risk than I'd like. (For more on my short-term take on the market, see this post).
Gold prices rise as investors seek a safe haven from uncertainty in Europe.
By Alix Steel, TheStreet
Gold prices were rising Wednesday as jittery investors sought safety from global economic uncertainty.
Gold delivery for June was rising $15.50, or 1.3%, to $1,213.30 an ounce at the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. Gold has traded as high as $1,216.90 and as low as $1,201.
The U.S. dollar index was rising 0.75% to $87 while the euro was falling 1.14% to $1.22 against the dollar after hitting an eight-year low on Tuesday. The spot gold price Wednesday was adding more than $11, according to Kitco's gold index.
A Kansas employee tried to stop a man from walking out of the store with a computer.
The employee, who worked at a store in Wichita, Kan., tried to stop a man from leaving the store with a computer, McClatchy newspapers reports. She was fired, she says, because busting shoplifters was not part of her job description.
Heather Ravenstein said she was at the store last week and saw a man set off alarms by carrying a computer out the door. She confronted him and asked him for his receipt, at which point he reportedly kicked and punched her. He dropped the computer and ran away.
The joint with a cult following is growing slowly, but could still teach McDonald's and Burger King a thing or two.
In-N-Out Burger, a privately held West Coast fast-food chain with a rabid and almost cultlike following, has been slow to expand beyond California because of its rather unusual business practices. But the In-N-Out philosophy has also resulted in unmatched popularity that has current locations swamped. The only thing to do is open more stores.
And if the rumor mill has any truth to it, the next In-N-Out Burger location is due for Dallas -- a sign that the company may be reaching eastward and looking to take a bite out of McDonald’s (MCD),Burger King (BKC) and other fast-food stocks.
Alcoa, American Express and Bank of America had the biggest Dow drops during the past month's selloff.
By Jake Lynch, TheStreet
The US stock market has reached an inflection point in its attempt to price the risk of European fiscal fallout. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDU) has fallen 10% since Apr. 26. However, its biggest laggards could offer its best buying opportunities.
1. Alcoa (AA) has fallen 20% since Apr. 26.
Quarter: Alcoa's first-quarter loss narrowed 60% to $201 million, or 19 cents, from the year-earlier loss. Revenue grew 18%. The operating margin turned positive. Alcoa has $1.3 billion of cash and $9.8 billion of debt, equal to a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.8.
Here's why China's plan to create a 'soft landing' for its economy will counteract uncertainty in Europe.
Eureka! I think I have found out what all of the bears who talk about the destruction of Greece, Spain or the euro really fear. I think they fear Chinese growth.
It seems silly, but we have to remember that there are two kinds of risks that Europe poses to the world: systemic -- think Lehman -- and growth -- think commodities. Many of the people who talk about how these risks could send the Dow ($INDU) down to 8,260 -- my disaster scenario -- may need these factors to remain front and center to keep their predictions in intact.
They ignore the budget cuts being put through and corporate assurances that business is still good in Europe. They dismiss anything that says we aren't double-dipping because of Europe.
Well, not everything. They can't dismiss China.
MORE ON MSN MONEY
Copyright © 2013 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
Quotes are real-time for NASDAQ, NYSE and AMEX. See delay times for other exchanges.
Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Thomson Reuters (click for restrictions). Real-time quotes provided by BATS Exchange. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Interactive Data Real-Time Services. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by SIX Financial Information.
All hail the bull market, which ended the week with a big rally. But it also is starting to look a little like 1987, which suffered an epic blow-out.
Top Stocks provides analysis about the most noteworthy stocks in the market each day, combining some of the best content from around the MSN Money site and the rest of the Web.
Contributors include professional investors and journalists affiliated with MSN Money.
Follow us on Twitter @topstocksmsn.
[BRIEFING.COM] The S&P 500 ended this week with a bang, roaring to a new all-time high on the back of stronger-than-expected economic data, influential leadership, and an ongoing appreciation for the Fed's monetary policy support.
The bullish bias was evident in premarket action as the S&P futures pointed to a higher start without the benefit of any definitive news catalyst. Stocks indeed benefited from a blast of buying interest at the opening bell on this ... More
More Market News
|There’s a problem getting this information right now. Please try again later.|