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


The largest operator of farm and ranch stores in the US suffered setbacks during the recession, but recent quarters have seen an uptick.

By Jan 31, 2012 1:11PM

Image: Construction (© Photodisc Green/Getty Images)By Zacks Equity Research 


Tractor Supply Company (TSCO), a leading retail firm and ranch store brand, is scheduled to report its fourth-quarter 2011 financial results after the market closes on Feb. 1, 2012. The current Zacks Consensus Estimate for the quarter is 91 cents per share. For the quarter under review, revenue is expected to be $1,216 million, according to the Zacks Consensus Estimate.


Tractor Supply's third-quarter 2011 earnings came in at 58 cents, breezing past the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 52 cents, as well as the prior-year earnings of 40 cents per share.


The networking giant is the real deal, but its valuation is a moving target. Don't make a move just yet.

By Jim Cramer Jan 31, 2012 12:48PM

So now we know where all of that display ad money went to: Facebook.


With a 28% share, Facebook has put quite a distance between itself and Yahoo (YHOO), Microsoft (MSFT) and Google (GOOG) in display advertising. Yahoo is second, with an 11% share, and the others are left in the low-single-digit dust, which tells you how strong the Facebook story is. (Microsoft owns and publishes Top Stocks, and MSN Money site.)


Plus, the company has doubled its revenue in the past year. And the revenue is in the billions of dollars.


Maybe a mediocre quarter is good news for the oil giant.

By Jonathan Berr Jan 31, 2012 12:41PM
Image: Oil drums (© Kevin Phillips/Digital Vision/age fotostock)Exxon Mobil (XOM) shares were down Tuesday because the oil giant posted worse-than-expected quarterly results. For investors, though, this is not necessarily bad news, as it may quell calls to make the oil industry pay higher taxes.

President Barack Obama and other Democrats argue that the government should strip away decades-old subsidies for the oil industry in favor of promoting greener alternatives such as solar energy. Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson argues that the industry needs these tax breaks and claims the industry earns "windfall profits" are wrong. Moreover, Tillerson says Wall Street traders are running up oil prices beyond the normal variations of supply and demand. Now he has proof to back up his case. 
Tags: oilXOM

Potash Corp. is downgraded to 'neutral' at Goldman.

By MSN Money Partner Jan 31, 2012 12:00PM
Information provided by

Tuesday's noteworthy upgrades include:
  • CF Industries (CF) upgraded to Conviction Buy from Neutral at Goldman
  • Aon Corp. (AON) upgraded to Neutral from Underperform at Credit Suisse, and to Neutral from Underperform at Credit Suisse
  • Viacom (VIA.B) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Miller Tabak
  • Nike (NKE) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Argus
  • Under Armour (UA) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Needham

These funds will give you a stake in other great tech names as well.

By InvestorPlace Jan 31, 2012 11:43AM
 Christian Zachariasen/JupiterimagesBy Will Ashworth,

How can you tell that exchange-traded funds, despite their rise in popularity, have a long way to go to catch mutual funds? Check out the number of ETFs with Microsoft (MSFT) as a top 10 holding compared with mutual funds. According to Morningstar, 66 ETFs count the tech giant among their top holdings, compared with 2,416 mutual funds. Clearly, a lot of portfolio managers feel Microsoft is a necessary component of any portfolio.

If you're thinking about owning Microsoft stock, why not contemplate an ETF instead. You'll get a stake in Microsoft as well as some other great tech companies. (Microsoft owns and publishes Top Stocks, and MSN Money site.)


With low valuations and no debt, this drug maker earn top scores in a Ben Graham value screen.

By TheStockAdvisors Jan 31, 2012 11:29AM
 Tetra Images/Tetra images RF/Getty ImagesBy John Reese, Validea

We select stocks based on a variety of screens that are each based on the investment strategy of long-standing "legendary" investors.

Forest Laboratories (FRX) scores a 100% rating in our Value Investor screen that is based on Benjamin Graham. The company develops ethical drug products; its principal products include Lexapro, Namenda, Bystolic, Savella and Teflaro. 
Tags: FRX

Can the social-media giant generate the kind of outsized growth that investors expect?

By The Fiscal Times Jan 31, 2012 11:21AM
Facebook IPOBy Suzanne McGee, The Fiscal Times

At last, the IPO the investment world has been awaiting with varying degrees of impatience appears likely to make its debut. And if those who have had an early peek at Facebook's pending IPO filing are right, the deal could value the social networking giant at $100 billion -- more than four times the valuation that Google (GOOG) commanded when it went public not quite a decade ago.

But while there will be a lot of buzz surrounding Facebook as the road show gets under way and eager investment bankers talk up the company's unparalleled ability to bring people together -- have dinner, organize a high school reunion, plan a revolution in the Middle East -- it's important not to forget that what is more important than where Facebook has been is where it is going next.


Earnings surprises translate into price appreciation.

By Jan 31, 2012 10:27AM

UpperCut Images/UpperCut Images/Getty ImagesBy Brian Bolan


Heartland Payment Systems (HPY) sees earnings surprises translate into price appreciation. With estimates moving higher, this stock is a Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy).


Heartland Payment Systems, Inc. provides bankcard payment processing services. It facilitates the exchange of information and funds between merchants and cardholder's financial institutions and offers electronic payment processing services to merchants.

Tags: HPY

Despite a tough economy, the managed-care industry leader continues to gain members and boost profits.

By Gene Marcial Jan 31, 2012 9:43AM
Andersen Ross/Brand X Pictures/Getty ImagesManaged-care companies aren't on Wall Street's favored list, so shares of the group remain on the ropes. Even industry leader UnitedHealth Group (UNH), which hit a 52-week high of $54 a share on Jan. 18, has been under pressure. The stock slipped to $50 on Jan. 26.


Even so, some investment pros see the stock's slippage as an opportunity to buy more shares. Some bulls see the stock, which had climbed to an all-time high of $63 in 2005, hitting $65 or more in 2012.

Tags: UNH

Social media will steal the spotlight this weekend.

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day Jan 30, 2012 6:00PM
By Sean Williams


The Super Bowl is the mecca of all holidays for me. OK, so it's not an actual holiday, but you couldn't drag me out of my house kicking and screaming if the Super Bowl is on TV.


It's also the mecca of all days for networking company NBC, owned by Comcast (CMCSA), because it will be raking in an average of $3.5 million per 30 seconds for the rights to advertise during the Super Bowl. Advertising prices have risen 50% in just the past 10 years, and ads are expected to generate in the neighborhood of $250 million just from this one game.


U.S. clearance is a major milestone, but Bydureon faces stiff competition from its fast-selling rival.

By Minyanville Jan 30, 2012 5:22PM
Image: Insurance Money (© Comstock Images/Jupiterimages)By Brett Chase

Shares of Amylin Pharmaceuticals (AMLN) climbed Monday after the biotech company won U.S. approval of its Bydureon diabetes drug.

Amylin shares rose over 17% to close at $14.26. The company's development partner, Alkermes (ALKS), didn't fare as well, ending the day slightly down. 

Global fundamentals suggest that this will not be a repeat of 2011's flame-out.

By Jim Cramer Jan 30, 2012 3:37PM

A year ago, we took off like a bat out of hell, and then we ran smack into what can only be called a bear market. We had the industrials crater, the banks give it up and the oils get crushed because of European woes, the latter being a total oddity, because oil never came in. The techs were awful, led by a faltering semiconductor group with a contagion that spread everywhere except for Apple (AAPL).


Once again, we have taken off with great gusto, the best rally since 1997, and it has been across the board, with the financials and techs leading the way and the industrials, such as Caterpillar (CAT) and Honeywell (HON), not that far behind.


A substantial number of subscribers are shifting from hybrid service to streaming only.

By Trefis Jan 30, 2012 2:42PM
Image: Watching television (© Frare/Davis Photography/Brand X/Corbis)Netflix (NFLX) recently released its fourth-quarter and full-year 2011 results. As the company returned to growth in terms of net unique subscribers, the stock jumped significantly. We have raised our fair value for Netflix to $133, which now stands at a premium of about 15% to the market price.

The earnings highlighted a couple of things -- Netflix is back on growth track and DVD subscribers continue to decline substantially. A little confusing? The point is that customers are not leaving Netflix as much as before and a substantial decline is coming from subscribers dropping hybrid service and moving to streaming only.  

The world's leading aluminum producer is focusing on building high-quality engineered products that boost margins.

By Trefis Jan 30, 2012 2:19PM
Image: Man checking car tire pressure © Tetra Images/Tetra images/Getty ImagesAlcoa (AA) is a business that is highly susceptible to global economic conditions. Decline in aluminum demand led to a fall in spot prices in the fourth quarter of 2011.

Consequently, the market has been quite harsh on the company's stock, pushing it down into single digits.  

These master limited partnerships offer an average yield of 5.6%.

By TheStockAdvisors Jan 30, 2012 1:57PM
Image: Elevated view of freight cars with coal © Joseph Sohm-Visions of America/Photodisc/Getty ImagesBy Stephen Leeb, The Complete Investor

In my view, master limited partnerships (MLPs) are probably the best hedge against rising energy prices.

Three favorites are Penn Virginia Resource Partners (PVR), ONEOK Partners (OKS), and Plains All American Pipeline (PAA). 


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[BRIEFING.COM] S&P futures vs fair value: -6.30. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: -14.80. U.S. equity futures trade hover near their pre-market lows amid cautious action overseas. The S&P 500 futures hover six points below fair value, which puts the benchmark index on track to continue its retreat after losing 0.8% yesterday.

Overnight, markets in Asia traded in mixed fashion, but sentiment worsened after the start of the European session, where all the key indices hold losses ... More


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