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Americans prefer gold, real estate

As the market wades through what many people hope is a sixth bull year, some have grown nervous about how long the run can go.

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Why superb products aren't translating into booming sales.

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day Oct 5, 2011 2:28PM

By John Rosevear

 

The market may not be loving their stocks, but buyers appear to be loving their vehicles: Despite grim economic predictions, all three of the Detroit automakers posted solid sales gains in September, with the market's overall pace the strongest seen since April.

 

Chrysler led the way with a 27% year-over-year sales gain, thanks to a surprisingly well-refreshed product lineup that is starting to gather momentum in the market. But the real story, at least from a Detroit perspective, is this: General Motors (GM) posted big gains, while supposedly stronger Ford (F) barely kept pace with the market.

 

What's behind that?

 

Tuesday's big reversal creates patterns pointing to higher stock prices.

By Anthony Mirhaydari Oct 5, 2011 1:29PM

Stocks surged into the close Tuesday after a day of heavy volatility on late-breaking news that European officials -- even the intransigent Germans -- are considering a "concerted, coordinated effort" with a "sense of urgency" to prevent the eurozone debt problems from turning into a full-fledged banking crisis by recapitalizing Europe's financial system.

 

That unleashed a frenzy of buying as overleveraged and overconfident short sellers were forced to close their positions quickly. With U.S. large caps dropping into bear market territory in intraday trading, the last thing most people expected was a rally in the last hour of trading.

 

The warehouse retailer faces rising costs, and a 10% fee increase will help counter those expenses.

By Kim Peterson Oct 5, 2011 1:26PM
Will Costco (COST) shoppers accept a hike in membership fees? The company hasn't raised its main membership fees since 2006 but said Wednesday it will implement a 10% increase.

The reason? Costs are going up, and even though sales are doing just fine, margins are headed down. To offset some of those costs, Costco will increase individual membership fees by $5 to $55 and executive fees by $10 to $110.

The announcement comes amid disappointing quarterly results. The retailer reported $1.08 per share in profit on $28.18 billion in revenue. Analysts were looking for $1.10 per share on $27.84 billion in revenue. So even though Costco came in higher on sales -- same-store sales rose 12% when analysts expected 10% -- the narrow profit miss got most of the attention. 

When Ackman, Buffett, Peltz and Jefferies all agree, you should listen.

By Benzinga Oct 5, 2011 1:18PM

By Jonathan Chen, Benzinga


What a difference a few days makes.

 

Family Dollar (FDO) reported better-than-expected earnings on Sept. 28, raising its guidance and announcing it would be buying back an additional $250 million worth of stock. But the shares slumped along with the rest of the market. Then, on Wednesday, the stock got a boost from an analyst upgrade. As of midday, it was up $1.50, or about 3% to $53.

 

It's time for the rest of Wall Street  to sit up and take notice of the improving story here.

 

This may be a make-or-break month for the economy. But history doesn't favor investors.

By TheStreet Staff Oct 5, 2011 11:42AM

By Frank Byrt, TheStreetTheStreet

 

October has a history of being an especially cruel month for investors. And if the stock market's disastrous performance and volatility in the third quarter were a prelude, it may well be again.

 

Economists are divided on whether the U.S. economy is about to fall into a recession and drag the equity market and Americans' 401k's down with it. That's a scary prospect, because the benchmark S&P 500 ($INX) is nearing a bear market, having declined almost 20% since late April.

 

Other asset classes such as commodities, oil and real estate also have fallen.

 

Economists' latest prognostications will make your head spin, but they agree on one thing: A resolution of the eurozone's sovereign debt crisis this month would go a long way toward getting the world's economy and stock markets back on track.

 

The name of the voice-command app Siri translates into hilarity.

By InvestorPlace Oct 5, 2011 11:42AM
By Anthony John Agnello, InvestorPlace.com

Apple (AAPL) might have disappointed the hordes dying to get their hands on an iPhone 5 when it announced the new iPhone 4S on Tuesday, but the company still managed to impress them with new apps.


Particularly impressive is Siri, Apple's new voice-command app that lets you talk to your iPhone. Need to know how bad traffic is in your area? Just ask the phone and Siri will give you real-time data on traffic outside.


However, Apple forgot the cardinal rule of language-based technology: If you build it, your audience is going to make lewd jokes with it. And Apple's new app made it all too easy for people to turn it into a joke, considering what Siri sounds like in Japanese. Here's a hint: The iPhone 4S almost certainly will be Sir Mix-a-Lot's favorite smartphone.

 

These three stocks are already outperforming as we enter a seasonally strong period for the retail sector.

By MoneyShow.com Oct 5, 2011 11:41AM

By Tom Aspray, MoneyShow.com


Stocks staged an impressive rebound on Tuesday as the cash S&P 500 went from being down over 25 points to up almost 25 on the close. The Advance/Decline (A/D) numbers also closed solidly positive for the day. It was very encouraging that after a mid-day rally failure, the S&P was able to rally sharply in the last hour.


This increases the chances of a further rally over the short term, and if we get strong market internals, the A/D lines may complete their bottom formations.

 

Opinion: America's corporate bosses have won for us one of the highest standards of living in the world. They deserve some credit.

By TheStreet Staff Oct 5, 2011 11:28AM

By Brad Hall, TheStreetTheStreet

 

Last weekend, 700 people were arrested on the Brooklyn Bridge for protesting greedy corporations. Greedy corporations? What does that even mean? It reminds me of graduate school, where my professors would continually warn about the evils of corporate America and preach of the true goodness of all things academic. I used to wonder whether those professors owned the outputs of such evil -- like a bed or a PC.

 

America's standard of living is among the highest in the world. One wonders whether the Brooklyn Bridge leaders understand why they are able to protest in designer jeans and Nikes (NKE). It's because America's CEOs consistently produce big profits. Profits are good.

 

The primary lever for continued profitability is productivity. Every country's standard of living depends on national productivity. Collectively, America's CEOs have created the world's third-most-productive country. America should be proud of its CEOs and grateful for their contributions. Here are four of the most prominent contributions.

 

Europe is still the big problem, but plunging commodities prices will help lots of companies.

By Jim Cramer Oct 5, 2011 9:21AM

the streetIt's tough to be bullish when Europe is the albatross around our necks. Who knows what will happen overnight? Somehow, it tends not to be good. And they are in huge bear markets over there.

 

But I can't resist talking about a silver lining that no one seems to care about. A little less than three months ago, we heard company after company talk about skyrocketing raw costs. We heard about how oil keeps going higher or is stubbornly high. We heard that paper board wasn't going down, that plastics aren't coming in and that grains are just way too elevated. Steel costs were too much for car companies, and copper was too much for homebuilders.

 

Companies as diverse as Ford (F) and Clorox (CLX) and Procter & Gamble (PG) and Kimberly-Clark (KMB) continually sounded alarms about inflation. Their conference calls were filled with downbeat input cost caveats that were going to hurt earnings, going to hurt costs for a very long time to come.

 

Even though the company still must test the quality of its new deposit, the discovery is important.

By Jim J. Jubak Oct 4, 2011 6:02PM
I know I just finished a big post on rare earths, but this news from Molycorp (MCP) arrived too late to get into that post.

Molycorp has filed a form 8-K with the Securities and Exchange Commission announcing that the company has discovered a heavy rare-earth deposit near its Mountain Pass, Calif., mine.

This is a big deal -- even with the company’s disclosure that it still has to do lots of test drilling to determine the quantity and quality of the deposit.
 

The bank isn't charging a new fee to rip you off or to goose its profits. It's merely responding to new regulations.

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day Oct 4, 2011 4:39PM

By Morgan Housel

 

Social-networking sites are said to be the best way to gauge how the world feels about something. So when Bank of America (BAC) announced last week that it was going to begin charging $5 a month for most customers who use a debit card, I checked to see what Twitter had to say. No surprises:

 

"Bank of America is like a man who's been saved from a burning building and then kicks the fireman, . . . " said one customer.

 

"It's illegal to rob a Bank of America, but legal for Bank of America to rob you of 5 dollars every month for spending your own money," wrote another.

 

The company unveils a faster, smarter phone and brings Sprint into the fold. And you can get the iPhone 3GS free.

By Kim Peterson Oct 4, 2011 3:16PM

You can't blame Apple (AAPL) fans for being a little disappointed Tuesday.

Everyone expected the company to announce the iPhone 5. It was practically a given. But, as the stock's afternoon price drop might indicate, that was not the case.

Instead, Apple announced the souped-up iPhone 4S.

 

It looks just like the old iPhone 4 on the outside, but an internal overhaul has made the phone faster and smarter. Apple added some shiny new games and apps and priced the phone at $199, $299 and $399, depending on storage capacity.

 

A growing number of critics say exchange-traded funds are contributing to rockiness in the broader markets.

By TheStreet Staff Oct 4, 2011 12:03PM

By Stan Luxenberg, TheStreetTheStreet

 

John Bogle, the founder of Vanguard Group, has been a longtime critic of exchange-traded funds.

 

Because ETFs are easy to buy and sell, they can encourage investors to trade rapidly, Bogle wrote in his book "Common Sense on Mutual Funds." Constant trading can be a recipe for poor returns.

 

When he began attacking ETFs a decade ago, Bogle was a lone voice. But lately more critics have appeared.

 

After stocks plunged in the flash crash of May 2010, some observers argued that high-frequency trading of ETFs had added to the turmoil.

 

These 3 stocks could see irrational slides.

By InvestorPlace Oct 4, 2011 11:52AM
By James Brumley, InvestorPlace

When it comes right down to it, there are only two basic approaches to being an investor. The first one traditionally has been the more common one — trade stocks based on what they should be worth in the future. The second approach historically has been less-adopted — trade stocks based on what they are doing. About 80% of the time, those two approaches will end up in agreement on a stock-by-stock basis. It’s the other 20% of the time, however, that can kill your portfolio.


The past two months has been that “other 20%” of the time.


It’s been a bit of a problem all year long, but as of early August we saw a complete disconnect between the fundamentals and stock prices. Stocks of bad companies got crushed. Stocks of good companies got crushed. Valuations, present or future, were irrelevant.

 

Selling pressure is likely to subside for these leaders.

By MoneyShow.com Oct 4, 2011 11:26AM

By Tom Aspray, MoneyShow.com


The selling was heavy on Monday, and early Tuesday, overseas markets were also sharply lower. Clearly, there are no signs yet that the market has bottomed, though as I have noted recently, the sentiment measures are reaching levels that are more consistent with a market bottom than a market top.


Not all stocks bottom or top out together, so for those investing or trading individual stocks, a different approach is needed than if you are trading a market-tracking ETF like the Spyder Trust (SPY).

 

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[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market finished the Wednesday session on a modestly lower note, but it is worth mentioning today's retreat took place after six consecutive gains. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (-0.1%) and S&P 500 (-0.2%) settled not far below their flat lines, while the Nasdaq Composite (-0.8%) lagged throughout the session.

Equity indices started the day in the red, with the Nasdaq showing early weakness as large cap tech names and biotechnology weighed. The technology ... More


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