You can still find small-cap superstars
Small-cap superstars still abound

There are some picks in this sector that have excellent valuations and strong earnings growth.


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). 

The metal typically rises in the opening months of the year, and buyers should look to a particular copper ETN and stock.

By Jan 12, 2012 2:04PM

Image: Arrow Up (© Photodisc/SuperStock)By Tom Aspray,

The copper market is watched closely as a barometer of the economy’s health, and copper futures been active so far this week. 

The recent report that China’s imports of copper in December hit record levels has also caught many analysts’ attention, even though some of the increase has been attributed to arbitrage in the futures market. The recent decline in China’s inflation rate is also an encouraging sign.


Ignore the country's shrinking GDP. These stocks are poised for growth.

By InvestorPlace Jan 12, 2012 1:57PM
Image: Europe (© Corbis)By Charles Sizemore

The capital market turmoil of the second half of 2011 is finally starting to show up in Europe's real economy.

Initial estimates show Germany's gross domestic product shrinking 0.25% in the fourth quarter of 2011, dragging down the growth rate for the year to 3% (versus 3.7% last year). If the first quarter of this year proves to be sluggish, GDP might shrink again, placing the German economy officially in recession.

Tags: DAIetfSI

P and Q preferred shares are a solid investment despite halt in dividend payments.

By TheStockAdvisors Jan 12, 2012 1:55PM
Image: Birds nest with golden eggs © Rob Casey/Brand X/Getty ImagesThis post is one in a series in which over 50 newsletter advisors share their Top Picks for 2012.

By Vivian Lewis, Global Investing

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has tripped over its kilt. Nevertheless, as our top idea for 2012, we recommend the bank's preferred shares, specifically the non-cumulative preferred Q (RBS-Q) issues. We also like the preferred P series (RBS-P), which we already own. 
Tags: RBS

A company that lent money to the chain's suppliers will stop providing financial assistance.

By Jonathan Berr Jan 12, 2012 1:48PM
Image: Woman using calculator on desk full of bills and statements © Sheer Photo, Inc/Photodisc/Getty ImagesShares of Sears Holdings (SHLD), billionaire Edward Lampert's struggling retail empire, slumped Thursday after Bloomberg News reported that some of the chain's suppliers may have a harder time getting paid.

One company that makes loans to small businesses, CIT Group (CIT), will no longer provide financial assistance to Sears' suppliers waiting to be paid.

Sears shares fell 3.5% to $31.75 in midday trading, and CIT Group shares were unchanged at $37.14. 

In spite of natural disasters, the automaker forges ahead with its efforts to develop fuel-efficient technologies.

By Trefis Jan 12, 2012 1:34PM
Image: Couple shopping for a new car © Tetra Images/Getty ImagesLast year was one that Toyota (TM) would like to forget. The company saw its worst performance in the U.S. in three decades, as it was beset by production and distribution disruptions due to the earthquake in Japan and floods in Thailand. Losses in the U.S. by Toyota, as well as Honda (HMC), translated to gains in market share for the Detroit Three in 2011.

 Toyota was able to post a modest 0.4% year-over-year growth in the U.S. last month, while its total year sales declined by around 7%. In comparison, General Motors (GM), Ford (F) and Chrysler posted 13%, 11% and 26% growth, respectively, in the U.S. last year. 
Tags: FgmHMCTM

Improving global demand for aluminum bodes well for the battered stock.

By Gene Marcial Jan 12, 2012 1:22PM
Image: Stock trader with phone (© Comstock/SuperStock)Watch Alcoa. It may be signaling re-invigorated economic times ahead.


Since April of last year, shares of Alcoa (AA), one of the world's largest manufacturers of aluminum and alumina, have been in a downspin. They tumbled from more than $18 a share in April, 2011, to a low of $8.52 on Dec. 28. But the stock's recent jump to $9.80 -- even after reporting a fourth quarter loss on Jan. 10 of 3 cents a share -- indicates to some pros that the negative sentiment towards Alcoa may be abating.

Tags: AA

Is the timing right?

By Jonathan Berr Jan 12, 2012 1:07PM
Image: Woman Using a Spirit Level on a Sink in a Domestic Bathroom (© Alex Wilson/Digital Vision/Getty Images)Home Depot (HD), the largest home improvement retailer, is speeding up plans to hire 70,000 seasonal workers ahead of its busy spring shopping period. The move comes as consumer spending is slowing.

The chain, which raised its earnings outlook in November for the third time in six months, says the workers will help it maintain high levels of customer service as the public buys plants, gardening equipment and grills, along with other seasonal merchandise. Tim Crow, Home Depot's executive vice president of human resources, told Bloomberg News that the Atlanta, Ga., company is starting the hiring process earlier this year, beginning next month in South Florida. 

The venerable company this week introduced the second generation of its scratch-resistant glass for tech gadgets.

By The Fiscal Times Jan 12, 2012 12:45PM
corningBy Suzanne McGee, The Fiscal Times

Can a "gorilla" get the monkey off Corning's (GLW) back?

That's certainly what the manufacturer of glassware and related products is hoping, just as a decade ago it counted on fiber-optics to revive its fortunes. The gorilla in question is actually the second generation of Corning's Gorilla Glass. This tough and scratch-resistant glass is used by manufacturers of smartphones, tablets and other consumer electronic gadgets can use to make their own products more appealing to consumers. 

Meanwhile, smaller rival ConocoPhillips is downgraded to 'hold.'

By MSN Money Partner Jan 12, 2012 12:06PM
Information provided by

Thursday's noteworthy upgrades include:
  • EMC (EMC) upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at JP Morgan
  • BP (BP) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Jefferies
  • Urban Outfitters (URBN) upgraded to Neutral from Underperform at Wedbush

If the restaurant reservation site's increasing spending outpaces revenue growth, margins will take a serious hit.

By Trefis Jan 12, 2012 11:50AM
Image: Couple ordering meal in restaurant © NULL/CorbisOpenTable's (OPEN) shares rose from under $75 at the beginning of 2011 to breach $118 in April before plunging to below $30 -- all within a period of seven months.

The company's shares are currently trading at around $40 apiece. This is not far from the $45 and $49 price targets with which Goldman Sachs (GS) and Credit Suisse (CS), respectively, initiated their coverage of the company recently. A few weeks ago, we presented our views on the extreme fluctuation witnessed in the online restaurant reservation company's stock price last year. 
Tags: OPEN

This bond fund acts like a large-cap stock in bull markets and a defensive stock when times are tough.

By TheStockAdvisors Jan 12, 2012 11:35AM
Image: Stock market (© Digital Vision/SuperStock)This post is one in a series in which over 50 newsletter advisors share their Top Picks for 2012.

By Rick Pendergraft, ETF Master Portfolio

Given the current global economic uncertainty, I don't expect big things from the equity markets in 2012. With that in mind, my pick for 2012 is the SPDR Barclay's Capital High Yield Bond ETF (JNK). 
Tags: JNK

Newly listed companies are often among the market’s best performers. Here are some small-cap names with solid support since their debuts.

By Jan 12, 2012 11:26AM

By Kate Stalter,

I regularly track recent IPOs -- meaning any company that’s gone public within the first ten or 12 years of its existance -- for signs of fundamental and technical strength.

These newer companies often have products and services that are still hot and in demand, and company management often remains creative and enthusiastic. All together, that can be a recipe for healthy growth.


Some popular chains have become a little more palatable.

By InvestorPlace Jan 12, 2012 11:20AM

Image: Care © Moxie Productions/Blend Images/Getty ImagesBy Lawrence Meyers

With so many concept restaurants to choose from, one has to wonder whether the market can sustain them all. The answer is simple: They are sufficiently different from each other and are healthy competitors -- so they can all make a buck. That's the American way, and three cheers for being able to chow down on any kind of meal you please.

While the food at each of these places may be good, are their stocks worth buying? In the past, I've found these stocks to be perpetually overvalued. Let's see if they still are.


The smarter tech companies have already moved away from the personal computer.

By Jim Cramer Jan 12, 2012 10:37AM

Image: Old computer equipment © Image Source/Getty ImagesWhat would have happened if Microsoft (MSFT) had said something positive about personal computers this week instead of something negative? How much would the stock have moved? How much would the group have moved?

Maybe the issue, though, is that there isn't much of a group anymore. Remember the PC makers? How about the PC component makers? They've all kind of realized this day would come, when the personal computer wouldn't have growth, and they have all moved on, including Microsoft.



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[BRIEFING.COM] Equity indices closed out the month of August on a modestly higher note. The Russell 2000 (+0.6%) and Nasdaq Composite (+0.5%) finished ahead of the S&P 500 (+0.3%), which extended its August gain to 3.8%. Blue chips lagged with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (+0.1%) spending the bulk of the session in the red.

The final week of August represented one of the quietest stretches for the stock market so far this year. The first four sessions of the week produced the ... More


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