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Few things are as bullish as stocks breaking above the ranges they have traded in, and big-cap names like McDonald's and IBM are hitting levels we’ve never seen before.

By Jim Cramer Dec 8, 2011 10:46AM

the streetImage: Arrow Up (© Nicholas Monu/iStock Exclusive/Getty Images)Breakout!

 

Sometimes it hits you like that. You will be watching the ticker go by and you will say, "Holy cow, did I just see a 4 handle on Home Depot (HD)?" Or, "Wait a second, did McDonald's (MCD) just take out $95? Is Verizon (VZ) finally out of the $35 orb? IBM (IBM) about to take out $200? No way!"

 

That's where we are right now: Stocks are hitting levels we haven't seen before -- not "haven't seen in a while" . . . never before.

 

CEO Jeff Bezos is focused on a far-reaching strategy, rather than just short-term results.

By TheStockAdvisors Dec 8, 2011 9:46AM
Photodisc/SuperStockBy David Sandell, Leeb's Income Performance Letter

Amazon.com (AMZN) has been making massive investments in its future at the expense of short-term results.

With Jeff Bezos -- one of the few remaining tech visionaries -- at the helm, we’re willing to bet the online retailer will succeed in its far-reaching strategy. 
Tags: AMZN

The biopharmaceutical company's core product strategy is aimed at addressing major unmet medical needs.

By Zacks.com Dec 7, 2011 8:09PM
We have maintained an "outperform" rating on Alnylam Pharmaceuticals (ALNY) with a target price of $8.25 per share following the biopharmaceutical company's third-quarter results.


Alnylam develops therapeutics based on a biological breakthrough technology known as ribonucleic acid interference (RNAi). Alnylam is currently using this know-how to build a pipeline of drug candidates to treat a wide array of diseases.

 

Federal regulators nix a proposal to make the pill available without a prescription to minors.

By Benzinga Dec 7, 2011 6:09PM

By Phil Marsh, Benzinga Staff Writer


Teva Pharmaceutical (TEVA) hoped to have the first over-the-counter emergency contraceptive available to all ages Wednesday. It failed.


The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services rejected the company's application for Plan B One-Step -- known as the original morning-after pill -- to be available to consumers of all ages without a prescription. A positive verdict would have given Teva an exclusivity advantage it lost back in 2009, when a generic version of its drug hit the market.

 

The company reportedly is considering an online marketplace and fast-shipping service that may compete with Amazon.

By Trefis Dec 7, 2011 5:48PM
Image: Senior woman working from home © Alistair Berg/Digital Vision/Getty ImagesGoogle (GOOG) isn't done with its online commerce initiatives yet.

The search giant is reportedly in negotiations with major retailers and shippers to create an online marketplace, taking Amazon (AMZN) head on. If Google's service manages to launch, it would directly compete against Amazon Prime, which provides customers free and quick shipping for a fixed annual fee.

Given the spate of new initiatives at Google, we believe the fast-shipping service will be a little more difficult to tackle, and question whether the company has the stomach for a business that could be very difficult. 

The $100 million stake in Brazil's No. 2 airline will give Delta a way to win share in Latin America.

By Jim J. Jubak Dec 7, 2011 5:16PM
Image: Airline (© Christie & Cole/Corbis)Delta Air Lines (DAL) announced Wednesday an agreement to buy a $100 million minority position in Brazil’s Gol Linhas Aereas Inteligentes (GOL). 

The agreement would give Gol, Brazil’s second-biggest airline, a counter to the hookup of larger rival Tam (TAM) with Lan Airlines (LFL), Latin America’s largest airline. And it would give Delta a way to win market share in Latin America, a market where it trails American Airlines and United Continental Holdings (UAL).

Gol’s U.S.-traded ADRs (American depositary receipts) were up 5.5% at market close Wednesday. (Gol is a member of my Jubak Picks 50 long-term portfolio.)
 
Tags: amrDALual

The company's commercial-free approach favors subscription revenue, but Sirius is trying to beef up ad sales as well.

By Trefis Dec 7, 2011 4:12PM
Image: Driving home (© gehringj/Vetta/Getty Images)With a sizable number of listeners and subscribers, it'll be interesting to see if Sirius XM (SIRI) can leverage its vast and affluent listener base to produce meaningful advertising revenue.

Advertising accounts for only 4% of the stock's value by our estimates, but the company is making efforts to improve ad sales. The newest initiative, expected in the coming months, is SatRad 2.0, which is said to have a dual business model of subscription and advertising.

Sirius XM makes majority of its revenues through subscriptions, which are highly correlated with automobile sales. 
Tags: PSIRI

Amazon's new tablet could pose a serious challenge to the iPad. And that’s just the beginning, with other competitors waiting in the wings.

By The Fiscal Times Dec 7, 2011 3:23PM
by Suzanne McGee, The Fiscal Times

Reviewers like "Captain Gadget" of the Huffington Post have dubbed Amazon’s (AMZN) new Kindle Fire a "tablet for dummies" compared to Apple's (AAPL) iPad. After all, you get less battery life, less connectivity, no camera and a smaller screen and hard drive, to name but a few subtractions.

But at $199, it also costs $300 less than the cheapest Apple iPad. And there seem to be plenty of folks out there willing to make the tradeoff -- enough for Canaccord Genuity analyst Michael Walkley to scale back his estimated iPad sales in the current quarter to 13 million from 14 million. 

The government has suspended a plan to allow foreign companies to own as much as 51% of local supermarkets.

By Kim Peterson Dec 7, 2011 3:02PM
Image: India (© Donald Edwards/age fotostock)When you have a former state official threatening to burn Wal-Mart (WMT) to the ground, you have a problem.

That's the kind of controversy India found itself in last month after giving Wal-Mart and other foreign companies the green light to own up to a 51% stake in supermarkets. Smaller shopkeepers worried that Wal-Mart, with its rock-bottom prices and competitive prowess, would put them out of business. 

A look at the long-term prospects of 3 companies that have seen short interest rise.

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day Dec 7, 2011 2:59PM
Image: Railroad Crossing with Train (© Edmond Van Hoorick/Photodisc/Getty Images)By Sean Williams

 

The best thing about the stock market is that you can make money in either direction. Historically, stock indexes have tended to trend up over the long term. But when you look at individual stocks, you'll find plenty of stocks that lose money over the long haul. According to hedge fund institution Blackstar Funds, even with dividends included, between 1983 and 2006, 64% (nearly two-thirds) of stocks underperformed the Russell 3000, a broad-scope market index.

 

A large influx of short-sellers shouldn't be a damning factor to any company, but it could be a red flag from traders that something may not be as cut-and-dried as it appears.

 
Tags: amrUNP

An upcoming split into separate companies will unlock shareholder value.

By TheStockAdvisors Dec 7, 2011 2:07PM
Image: Oil drums (© Kevin Phillips/Digital Vision/age fotostock)By Nathan Slaughter, Energy & Income

ConocoPhillips (COP) plans to split the exploration and production (E&P) and refining and marketing segments into two stand-alone public companies.

Every two shares of COP will get you one share in the new Phillips 66. This upcoming spin-off, expected in the first half of next year, is likely to unlock shareholder value, and create two distinct market leaders in the process. 
Tags: COPoil

These small-cap biotechs have just confirmed bottom formations, setting up good buying opportunities on pullbacks.

By MoneyShow.com Dec 7, 2011 12:51PM

Image: Pills (© Corbis)By Tom Aspray, MoneyShow.com


Stocks have been performing well recently, though in trading early Wednesday stock index futures are slightly lower. Since the Nov. 25 close, the Spyder Trust (SPY) is up 8.5%, the SPDR Diamonds Trust (DIA), which tracks the Dow Industrials, is up 7.8%, and the iShares Russell 2000 Index Fund (IWM) is up 12.2%.


While the intermediate-term technical picture for the stock market is positive, short-term analysis suggests the rally may be running out of steam.

 

The stock price of the Sam Adams brewer has soared 40% in the past 3 months.

By Kim Peterson Dec 7, 2011 12:43PM
Updated 4:50 p.m. ET

Boston Beer
(SAM) is doing everything right this year.

Take a look at its extraordinary stock run. Since the beginning of October, shares have soared 40% to close at $101.31 Wednesday. The stock price has never been this high.

Why is the maker of Sam Adams beer so hot? 
Tags: BUDSAM

UBS initiates Target with a 'buy' and Costco and Walmart with a 'neutral.'

By MSN Money Partner Dec 7, 2011 12:40PM
Information provided by Theflyonthewall.com

Wednesday's noteworthy upgrades include:
  • Dollar General (DG) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank
  • Duke Energy (DUK) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Goldman
  • Aon Corp. (AON) upgraded to Outperform from Sector Perform at RBC Capital
  • US Airways (LCC) upgraded to Buy from Fair Value at CRT Capital
  • Marvell Technology (MRVL) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Craig-Hallum
  • Talbots (TLB) upgraded to Neutral from Underperform at Wedbush
 

Two struggling companies won't create a stronger one.

By Jonathan Berr Dec 7, 2011 12:14PM
Rubberball/Mike Kemp/Rubberball/Getty ImagesJ.C. Penney (JCP), whose shares have plunged more than 56% over the past five years, is joining forces with Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (MSO), whose shares have plummeted nearly 85% during that same period of time. This is corporate America's answer to a shotgun wedding.

J.C. Penney Wednesday agreed to acquire a 16.6% stake in Martha Stewart's media empire for $38.5 million. It's a steal. New York-based Martha Stewart has a market capitalization of about $173 million, a fraction of the $1.87 billion value the company had in February 2005. Shares of the media conglomerate soared on the news. 

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Top Stocks provides analysis about the most noteworthy stocks in the market each day, combining some of the best content from around the MSN Money site and the rest of the Web.

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[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market continued its strong start to the week with a broad-based Tuesday rally that sent the S&P 500 higher by 0.5%. Nine of ten sectors registered gains while the benchmark index extended its week-to-date advance to 1.4%.

Equities received an opening boost from a pair of economic data points that crossed the wires this morning. An in-line CPI report suggested inflationary pressures remain contained, while a better than expected Housing Starts report ... More


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