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


After suffering higher pump prices, consumers could be due for some relief.

By Anthony Mirhaydari Feb 2, 2012 4:19PM

A few weeks ago, I warned that pain was coming to the pump as gas prices were set to climb. Sure enough, wholesale prices have climbed 17% from their December low.


The catalyst was a closing of the disconnect between crude oil and gasoline. There was just no way Big Oil was going to let its downstream refinery margins stay pinched. Crude oil climbed in October and November on Wall Street speculation and a weaker dollar and has remained elevated on geopolitical concerns and Iranian saber rattling. Gasoline kept dropping during the period but has since made up for lost time.


Things are about to change as crude oil drops out of its recent trading range and the dollar stabilizes. With this looking to be the beginning of a new downtrend, it should take the upward pressure off gas prices.


The retailer's stock price plummets after it gives disappointing guidance for the year.

By Kim Peterson Feb 2, 2012 4:08PM
Image: Woman looking at mannequins in boutique, smiling © Michael Hitoshi/Digital Vision/Getty ImagesRetailers are having a fantastic 2012. Except for one.

Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) can't get its act together. The stock was down more than 11% Thursday after the company said it whiffed the fourth quarter.

In an earnings preannouncement, the retailer said it expects profit of between $1.10 and $1.15 a share -- far below the $1.55 per share that analysts expected. 

While economic news could trigger a correction, the mid-term trend for small-cap stocks remains positive.

By Feb 2, 2012 3:22PM
Image: Stock market (© Zurbar/age fotostock)By Tom Aspray,

Disappointing jobs figures and other signs of economic weakness may have been enough of the "bad news" I have been looking for since last week. 

Wednesday's ADP employment report showed 170,000 new jobs were created in January. The increase was less than forecast and followed a downward revision of the December figure. Meanwhile, the American Association of Individual Investors (AAII) sentiment survey shows the bullish percentage dropping from 48.4% to 43.8%, and the number of bears jumping by 6%. The market now seems to be holding its breath ahead of Friday's monthly jobs report.


Resource and construction industries are the primary growth drivers for the heavy machinery maker.

By Trefis Feb 2, 2012 2:29PM
Image: Construction (© Photodisc Green/Getty Images)Caterpillar (CAT) recorded the highest quarterly sales in its history and took profitability to new heights in its recent earnings announcement. For this quarter, Caterpillar revenue stood at $17.24 billion, up 35% from $12.81 billion a year earlier.

The sales were positively affected by the company's acquisitions,  which accounted for more than $1.5 billion in sales. Operating profits also increased from $1.29 billion in the last year quarter to $1.96 billion in this quarter, up by 52%. This could have been even higher but was offset by higher manufacturing costs and foreign currency fluctuations. 
Tags: CAT

The better-known price-to-earnings ratio isn't the only measure to watch.

By TheStockAdvisors Feb 2, 2012 1:57PM
Image: Money and computer (© Angel Muniz/Jupiterimages)By Richard Moroney, Dow Theory Forecasts

In addition to the better-known price-to-earnings ratio, we like to use price-to-operating-cash-flow and price-to-free-cash-flow to value stocks relative to their cash-generating ability.

We screened for stocks that have grown operating cash flow and look cheap relative to both operating cash flow and free cash flow. Here's a look at three favorites in the tech sector: Agilent Technologies (A), Google (GOOG) and Oracle (ORCL). 

One good quarter does not make a trend.

By Jonathan Berr Feb 2, 2012 1:33PM
Image: Arrow Up (© Image Source/Photolibrary)Shares of AOL (AOL) are up 1.75% Thursday, continuing their surge after Wednesday's better-than-expected earnings report. But the celebration may be premature.

For one thing, expectations for the New York company were lower than a snake's belly because the company has repeatedly disappointed investors ever since its 2009 separation from Time Warner (TWX).  
Tags: AOL

Despite facing worst-case scenario, Lockheed is flying high.

By Gene Marcial Feb 2, 2012 1:06PM

Plans by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta  to substantially slash the defense budget have  placed contractors, such as the makers of military aircraft and weapons, in a bind.

But the stock of Lockheed Martin (LMT) is still flying high. It closed unchanged at $83.52 a share on Feb. 1, 2012, almost at its 52-week high of $83.72 reached on Jan. 19, 2012. And it's way up from its 52-week low of $66.36, where it tumbled on Aug. 10, 2011.

Tags: LMT

A peek at the charts shows there may be a reversal in sentiment coming soon.

By Stock Traders Daily Feb 2, 2012 12:50PM

Image: Arrow Up (© Photodisc/SuperStock)Everyone is embracing a Golden Cross pattern in the moving average of the market, and bullish prognosticators say that when this has happened in the past, the market sees an average 4.6% increase in the following six months 75% of the time (What happened in the other 25%?). 

A Golden Cross occurs when a security's 50-day moving average crosses above its 200-day moving average. In this case, we're talking about the Golden Cross in the Standard & Poor's 500 Index ($INX).


Open Text is upgraded to 'buy,' while JDSU is downgraded to 'neutral.'

By MSN Money Partner Feb 2, 2012 12:22PM
Information provided by

Thursday's noteworthy upgrades include:
  • Dell (DELL) upgraded to Overweight from Underweight at JP Morgan
  • Franklin Resources (BEN) upgraded to Neutral from Underweight at JP Morgan
  • Concur (CNQR) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at UBS
  • Open Text (OTEX) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Stifel Nicolaus

A panel of experts explains which buys make sense.

By Feb 2, 2012 11:33AM

The Zacks panel of experts gives its stock picks for aluminum and specialty retail. Stocks covered include Kaiser Aluminum (KALU), Coach (COH) and Hibbet Sports (HIBB). Plus the experts cover the latest GDP data and the Federal Reserve's plan to keep rates low.

Tags: COH

As deepwater drilling grows, so will demand for Helix's safety gear.

By InvestorPlace Feb 2, 2012 11:00AM
Scott Gibson/CorbisBy Aaron Levitt

The explosion and resulting oil spill at BP's (BP) Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in April 2010 helps underscore the dangers involved with our new energy reality. As worldwide oil demand continues to grow, finding new sources of supply have become a paramount mission, leading exploration and production (E&P) companies to drill in deeper and deeper waters off our coasts.

The potential payoffs are huge, with some of the most prolific oil and gas fields being discovered in recent times. However, to drill in these deep waters, drillers must pay more attention to safety than ever. With the number of lawsuits and fines for "rulebreakers" continuing to rise, producers will undoubtedly devote more capital expenditures to dealing with these issues. For investors, one small oil services company that provides these safety measures could be a great portfolio play.


DirectTV growth has been rapid and there is still potential for more.

By Trefis Feb 2, 2012 10:09AM
Frare/Davis Photography/Brand X/CorbisDirecTV (DTV) and Dish Network (DISH) have been longstanding rivals in the satellite TV market. While the former has flourished, the latter has struggled to hold on to its subscriber base in recent years as telcos such as AT&T (T) and Verizon (VZ) have expanded their fiber-optic pay-TV services rapidly.

Although Dish has started to make some critical investments to make itself more valuable, its current valuation and our estimates for the two companies present an interesting relative view of DirecTV's success compared to Dish's. The two very similar companies have seen a noticeable divergence in terms of their subscriber bases and overall performance, and the magnitude of difference in their growth is astounding. 

Can the luxury home builder maintain its positive numbers?

By Benzinga Feb 1, 2012 7:25PM

Image: Construction Workers Carrying Window (© Steve Hix/Somos Images/CorbisBy Samuel Richter, Benzinga Staff Writer

Thanks to higher construction spending, American home builders received another boost of optimism, with Toll Brothers (TOL) closing up 3% Wednesday.

According to a new report released by the Commerce Department, building outlays increased by 1.5% in December, far beyond analyst estimates of 0.5%. The figures reflect the biggest gain in new construction since August 2011.


The hotel chain has outperformed estimates in each of the last four quarters.

By Feb 1, 2012 6:09PM

Image: Hotel maid (© Simon Jarratt/Corbis)By: Zacks Equity Research


Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide (HOT) is slated to release fourth-quarter and full-year results Thursday before the opening bell. The current Zacks Consensus Estimate for the fourth quarter is 57 cents per share in profit on revenue of $1.4 billion. For 2011, the Zacks Consensus Estimates for earnings and revenue are pegged at $1.79 billion and $5.8 billion, respectively.


The current Zacks Consensus Estimates for the fourth quarter and fiscal 2011 reflect year-over-year growth of 9.82% and 42.92%, respectively.


Revelations that the company has been betting against the homeowners it has refused to help warrant the firing of its ineffectual overseer.

By Feb 1, 2012 5:44PM

Image: Home with foreclosure sign in front yard © Ariel Skelley/Stockbyte/Getty ImagesBy Igor Greenwald

You know that embarrassing relative you can't quite disown and most certainly can't control? It turns out Uncle Sam has a couple of those, known as Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.

Freddie and Fannie are a power couple all right, with seemingly unchecked power to generate regret.

For conservatives, they're proof that the housing bubble and subsequent financial crash were the fault of the government.



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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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