The assembly line producing the Ford Fiesta car in Cuautitlan Izcalli, Mexico. © Susana Gonzalez/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Mexico will soon be next car capital

Some 80% of the vehicles built south of the border are exported to other countries, mostly to the US.

VIDEO ON MSN MONEY

VMware and Akamai are downgraded, while Regions Financial is initiated with 'market perform.'

By MSN Money Partner Jan 13, 2012 11:55AM
Information provided by Theflyonthewall.com

Friday's noteworthy upgrades include:
  • Citrix Systems (CTXS) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Citigroup
  • Safeway (SWY) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Jefferies
  • Children's Place (PLCE) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at BofA/Merrill
  • Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at William Blair
 

The spate of downgrades this month may come back to haunt those who made the calls.

By Jim Cramer Jan 13, 2012 11:45AM

the street logoThe analysts' downgrades in 2012 aren't leaving any room for error. Errors like if nonresidential construction comes back. Errors like if housing ticks up in price and people get flushed in from the sidelines. Errors like if China cuts rates big. Errors like Europe's can-kicking works and we actually start seeing growth.

 

I am talking about downgrades like what we saw with 3M (MMM) and Emerson (EMR) Wednesday, or what we saw Thursday with homebuilders or real-estate investment trusts. These downgrades will come back to haunt analysts, I believe, because you can't thread the needle if we get a pickup. You can't switch directions that fast, and while the idea that a train is leaving the station right now seems unlikely, I do believe that when the turn comes you may not be able to upgrade in time.

 

Social networking site wants to play it straight.

By Jonathan Berr Jan 13, 2012 11:39AM
Maciej Frolow/Brand X/Getty ImagesFacebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is resisting proposals from investment bankers who are "developing and pitching unconventional strategies for the company to go public," CNBC.com reported. Zuckerberg, the report notes, prefers a more conventional approach.

The fact that Wall Street is pitching these ideas underscores the lengths that investment bankers are willing to go through to get a piece of what is expected to be one of the biggest if not the biggest, initial public offerings in history.  
Tags: JPMSAM

Not exactly a beacon of healthful living, the fast-food giant is criticized for linking its name to athletic contests.

By InvestorPlace Jan 13, 2012 11:24AM

McDonald's (MCD) once again is a top sponsor of the Olympic Games. But not everyone is lovin' it.


On Thursday, McDonald's announced it would continue its sponsorship through 2020, a deal estimated at about $100 million per four years, or for every pair (winter and summer) of Olympic Games.

 

This entertainment and leisure company has proved recession-resistant even if the movie business isn't necessarily.

By TheStockAdvisors Jan 13, 2012 11:11AM
Image: Hollywood (© Comstock/SuperStock)This post is one in a series in which more than 50 newsletter advisers share their Top Picks for 2012.

By David Dittman, Australian Edge

Amalgamated Holdings Ltd. (AHD: Australia stock exchange) has more than 1,000 movie screens in Australia, New Zealand and Germany.  

The automaker is in a position to move higher based on the company's strategy to innovate, grow and increase sales.

By MoneyShow.com Jan 13, 2012 11:08AM

Photodisc/SuperStockBy Mike Kapsch, Investment U


I recently wrote about the "connected car" making its debut at this year's International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada.


On Wednesday, Ford (F) CEO Alan Mulally gave his keynote speech at CES, touting the automaker's future innovations to the standard automobile. Those in attendance heard about the coming introduction of heart monitoring systems in your steering wheel, the emergence of vehicle-to-vehicle communication, getting instant weather and traffic updates on your dashboard, as well as a slew of other technologies that'll soon dramatically improve the everyday driving experience.

 
Tags: Fgm

MSN Money's Anthony Mirhaydari answers Facebook questions about investing and housing in 2012.

By MSN Money Partner Jan 13, 2012 10:33AM

It's a new year and a time to assess our investment strategies and portfolios. MSN Money columnist and Top Stocks blogger Anthony Mirhaydari urges caution on buying into the turbulent markets, especially with a soft earnings season as well as several unresolved issues from 2011.

 

He fielded questions from our Facebook community, including one on the housing market.

 

But at least one casino stock is scary on its own merits.

By InvestorPlace Jan 13, 2012 10:14AM
CorbisBy Lawrence Meyers


Wynn Resorts' (WYNN) own vice chairman, Kazuo Okada, who indirectly owns 20% of the company, filed suit against Wynn so he could get a look at its books. Allegedly, he's been stonewalled from doing so, and he's asking about a $129 million donation to the University of Macau and $30 million Okada gave to the company to develop a Macau casino.


Does the lawsuit have merit? Who knows? Should you care? Probably not.

 

Sales of mobile devices are sure to continue growing. Why bet on just one connectivity stock?

By TheStockAdvisors Jan 13, 2012 9:02AM
Image: Man filling up car with gas while on cell phone (© moodboard/Corbis)This post is one in a series in which over 50 newsletter advisors share their Top Picks for 2012

By Paul McWilliams, Next Inning

Rather than select a single "stock of the year" for 2012, I am selecting a favorite sector and four stocks in it.
 

The world's third-largest PC maker has been planning a new facility in western China for years.

By Zacks.com Jan 12, 2012 5:14PM
The world's No. 3 PC maker, Dell (DELL), plans to start production this year at its new factory in Chengdu, Western China.


Dell's Chinese expansion has taken a while. The plan was initiated in September 2010, but construction didn't start until a year later. Previously, Dell expected the unit to be operational by the end of fiscal 2011, creating 3,000 jobs.

 
Tags: AAPLHPQ

Here are a few of the top picks from one of the best defensive investing gurus out there.

By MoneyShow.com Jan 12, 2012 5:05PM

Image: Image: Woman reading newspaper in livingroom © Tetra images/Getty Images Woman reading newspaper in livingroom © Tetra images/Getty ImagesBy Kelley Wright, Investment Quality Trends 

Special to MoneyShow.com


After posting robust double-digit returns in 2009 and 2010, analysts' predictions for the S&P 500 in 2011 were for more of the same. In fact, the predictions ranged from a low of 1,300 to a high of 1,520, with the consensus at 1,391.


The S&P failed to reach the consensus estimates for 2011. This is not a slam on Wall Street analysts. But in contrast to the last two years, analysts’ consensus estimates for 2012 are more subdued.

 

But the country is likely months away from an actual cut to interest rates.

By Jim J. Jubak Jan 12, 2012 4:43PM
Image: (Shanghai, China © Yang Liu/Corbis)Inflation at the consumer level fell to a 15-month low in December, China's National Bureau of Statistics announced Thursday. Inflation at the producer level fell to the lowest rate in two years.

The path to another cut by the People's Bank of China in the bank reserve requirement before the Lunar New Year holiday is now wide open. In December, China’s central bank reduced its record high reserve requirement ratio for the first time since 2008.

Consumer prices rose in December at 4.1% annual rate. That was down from a 4.2% rate in November and just slightly above the 4% median estimate from 26 economists surveyed by Bloomberg.
 

With holdings in defensive sectors, this fund offers growth plus dividends for investors worried about Europe.

By MSN Money Partner Jan 12, 2012 4:02PM
Image: Power lines (© Digital Vision)This post is one in a series in which over 50 newsletter advisors share their Top Picks for 2012.

By Jim Farrish, Sector Exchange

Looking towards 2012, Europe is the single biggest obstacle facing both investors and the financial markets. Therefore, my outlook is cautious, and any investment added to my portfolio should first measure the risk/reward of the opportunity.  
Tags: DVYetf

The retailer is building mini-Apple shops in some stores, and has struck exclusive deals with other boutiques.

By Kim Peterson Jan 12, 2012 3:19PM
A store within a store? Target (TGT) thinks that might be just what it needs.

The company plans to open a small number of Apple (AAPL) stores in 25 locations, increasing the number of iPads and other products it sells from the electronics maker. The mini stores will have Apple employees wearing the blue shirts you normally see at Apple's own retail locations.

Target isn't stopping with Apple. The retailer has announced a broader initiative, called "The Shops at Target," that will carry exclusive items from other boutiques. 

The cake maker has been divesting its less-profitable bakery businesses in North America to reallocate resources to its core meat division.

By Trefis Jan 12, 2012 2:26PM
Image: Bread (© Corbis)Sara Lee (SLE) is a leading manufacturer of meat, bakery and beverage products, with food services and retail channels in the U.S. and Europe. Last year the company announced plans to split into two separate, pure-play beverage and meat companies after divesting its non-core businesses by 2012.

Under the plan, the international beverage business will be spun off, tax-free, into a new company. The remaining company will include Sara Lee's North American retail and food service businesses, focusing primarily on strengthening its leading market position in the meat business. The company competes with major food and consumer companies like Kraft Foods (KFT) and Nestle (NESN). 
Tags: KFTSLE

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[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market ended the midweek session on a mixed note. Blue chip listings bolstered the Dow Jones Industrial Average (+0.4%) and S&P 500 (+0.3%), while the Russell 2000 (-0.4%) and Nasdaq Composite (-0.02%) underperformed.

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