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Up next: Biggest bank IPO ever

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


The small player's growth and low valuation are too good to resist.

By Gene Marcial Dec 5, 2011 9:57AM
SuperStockPlenty of people regularly take nutritional supplements in an effort to boost their nutrients or enhance dietary goals. Among the top believers are some of the famous athletes, particularly skiers, speed skaters as well  as tennis, basketball, and football players. Some are Olympians, including Jennifer Heil, an Olympic Champion Mogul Skier. Runway fashion models and red-carpet film stars are also among celebrities who are hot on nutritional food aids. Actor Tom Cruise created quite a controversy in 2005 when he criticized Brooke Shields for taking anti-depressant pills rather than vitamins to fight post-natal depression.   

If the market keeps rising, it could push nervous portfolio managers back into stocks...but you don’t need to wait to make sensible buys into these specific assets.

By Dec 2, 2011 6:56PM

By Tom Aspray,

In early September, I suggested that you “Fasten Your Seatbelts." That should have been my advice for the entire fourth quarter.

It was another incredible week for the stock market, as the grinding decline during Thanksgiving week discouraged many investors (but apparently not shoppers). From November 21 through November 25, the S&P 500 lost almost 57 points…only to gain 85 points this week.


Forget Friday's misleading drop in the unemployment rate. The evidence is building that global growth has stalled. And it's about to get much worse.

By Anthony Mirhaydari Dec 2, 2011 4:59PM

The market has been on crazy pills lately. Massive, bear market type volatility has even the most steel hearted market veterans feeling seasick from the undulations. Adding to the confusion has been some political and economic developments that -- while they make for nice headlines -- mask some serious underlying problems.


Take Friday's big drop in the unemployment rate to 8.6% from 9%, the lowest level since March 2009. The problem is, the number of actual new jobs added in November (120,000) came in under expectations. So the real reason for the drop was that a huge number of people (316,000 to be exact) left the workforce out of frustration and lack of opportunity. Not exactly good news. It was the same story with Wednesday's European "bailout" by the Federal Reserve -- which I discussed in my last post.


All of this distracts from an emerging truth: The global economy is rapidly falling into a new recession. And the U.S. stock market, despite this week's gains, is showing signs of tipping into a new long-term downtrend. Here's why.


The entertainment giant will raise its annual payout to 60 cents a share as major capital spending slows.

By Jim J. Jubak Dec 2, 2011 4:54PM
Image: Money (© Corbis/Corbis)Since I wrote about the recent re-discovery of dividends by company boards on Nov. 25, another company has joined the dividend hit parade with a bullet. 

Walt Disney (DIS) increased its annual dividend Thursday to 60 cents, a 50% jump from the prior 40-cent annual payout. (The new dividend will be paid on Jan. 18 to shareholders of record on Dec. 16.)

This isn’t a wink from the company but instead a whap upside the head.
Tags: DIS

After the third-quarter earnings report, some think it has too much inventory instead of not enough.

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day Dec 2, 2011 4:34PM

By Evan Niu


Sometimes Mr. Market just expects too much. When it comes to lululemon athletica's (LULU) third-quarter earnings release and ensuing sell-off yesterday, jittery investors were clearly focusing on how the figures might not have met every heightened expectation while ignoring the ways the yoga-apparel retailer is breaking rules.


Not good enough, or is good not enough?
Expectations aside, as a shareholder I'm thoroughly pleased with the healthy growth figures that lululemon is putting up, as well as with the guidance indicating 33% to 35% growth over the next year. So why did the stock drop over 15% on the open yesterday? The consensus estimate was calling for more from the top line -- $235.7 million to be precise. Even though earnings came out on top, sales fell short of analysts' hopes. Next quarter's revenue guidance is also mostly higher than the estimate of $327.3 million.


The drilling contractor could achieve increased rig dayrates and utilization as deepwater oil exploration ramps up over the next few years.

By Trefis Dec 2, 2011 3:24PM
Image: Oil drilling platform (© Scott Gibson/Corbis)Transocean (RIG), the world's largest oil and gas drilling contractor, continues to be dogged by woes 19 months after the explosion of its Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico.

The driller's potential liability for the devastating Macondo oil spill remains uncertain, with legal wrangles continuing in the U.S. courts. In early October, Standard & Poor's downgraded Transocean to BBB-minus, citing high debt levels, a weakening operating performance and excess capacity in the deep-sea drilling industry.  

We do not believe that the bank's troubles, even when combined with the European debt situation, warrant the current market price.

By Trefis Dec 2, 2011 2:52PM
Investors have been watching Bank of America (BAC) closely recently, concerned about the quality of its mortgage portfolio, its numerous lawsuits and its need to raise additional capital to meet stringent regulatory requirements.

The bank's stock has shed nearly two-thirds of its value since the beginning of the year. And while much of the decline is indeed justified, we do not believe that the bank's troubles -- even combined with the European debt situation -- warrant the $5.74 price the stock was trading at Friday afternoon. 

The tech giant has all the attributes of a long-term winner. Perhaps that's why Warren Buffett owns 9.3 million shares.

By TheStockAdvisors Dec 2, 2011 2:02PM
By Paul Tracy, Street Authority Market Advisor

It has become one of my favorite stocks. I like to call it my "no-brainer" investment for 2012. The company is buying back billions of its stock.

It's raised dividends at a torrid pace over the past five years. And it just announced its sixth consecutive quarter of record sales. I'm talking about Intel (INTC).  

With McDonald's entrenched as No. 1, Wendy's is moving into second place.

By InvestorPlace Dec 2, 2011 1:23PM
Image: Hamburger (© BananaStock/Jupiterimages)By Jeff Reeves

McDonald's (MCD) is the 800-pound gorilla of fast food. The $100 billion company turned quick-service restaurants into a science, has more than 33,000 locations worldwide, and is a heavyweight in breakfast and beverage sales in addition to selling burgers and fries.

It's nearly impossible to knock No. 1 McDonald's from its perch. So that's why fast-food restaurant Wendy's (WEN) is instead focused on the No. 2 spot and, according to reports, has dethroned Burger King to become America's second-most-popular burger joint.


The maker of organic food sees strong earnings potential after profit tripled in its most recent fiscal year.

By Jonathan Berr Dec 2, 2011 1:16PM
Forget the volatility of LinkedIn (LNKD) and the disappointment surrounding Groupon (GRPN). One of the more promising initial public offerings of this year comes in a humble bowl of mac and cheese.

Annie's, the California maker of organic pasta and other foods, has filed to raise $100 million in an IPO. It will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the too-cute ticker symbol BNNY. 

Write-offs in sovereign debt holdings are expected to continue over subsequent quarters, driving down trading margins

By Trefis Dec 2, 2011 1:04PM

Citigroup's (C) shares are currently trading well below $30 -- lows unseen by the global financial group since the peak of the global economic crisis in early 2009. We believe that this significantly depressed price mirrors the extremely pessimistic market sentiment towards banks in particular.


Although weak global economic conditions -- primarily the escalating debt situation in Europe -- a string of lawsuits continue to present downside risks to the bank's value, we believe that the low price for Citigroup's shares is unwarranted.


These Asian ETFs all show similar bottoming formations on the charts, and renewed economic growth in China could spur them to big gains in 2012.

By Dec 2, 2011 12:56PM

By Tom Aspray,

The decision this week by the People's Bank of China to lower bank reserves caught the market by surprise and boosted the Hang Seng Index by over 1,000 points. This was the first lowering of reserves since 2008 and suggests that Chinese leaders are concerned that the economy is slowing down too fast.

The initial enthusiasm over the news was dampened a bit on Friday by unconfirmed reports that bank loans fell in November. Accounting irregularities at several companies and unconfirmed charges of fraud against Sino-Forest (TRE) and Focus Media Holdings (FMCN) have made even some hedge funds avoid Chinese stocks.


Guess is downgraded to 'neutral,' and Barnes & Noble is initiated with a 'buy.'

By MSN Money Partner Dec 2, 2011 12:31PM
Friday's noteworthy upgrades include:
  • Lowe's (LOW) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Goldman
  • Allstate (ALL) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank
  • Sun Life Financial (SLF) upgraded to Equal Weight from Underweight at Morgan Stanley
  • Analog Devices (ADI) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Sterne Agee
  • Lululemon (LULU) upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Barclays
  • Western Digital (WDC) upgraded to Buy from Hold at ThinkEquity

After slashing the price of its tablet to compete with the iPad, the company will take a charge of nearly half a billion dollars.

By Kim Peterson Dec 2, 2011 11:48AM
Research In Motion (RIMM) slashed the price of its PlayBook tablet this year to compete with the dominant iPad. And now the company has paid the price.

The BlackBerry developer said Friday it will take a $485 million charge because it discounted the PlayBook so heavily. It previously cut the device's price to $200 from $500. 

These medical shares are good for what ails you.

By InvestorPlace Dec 2, 2011 10:53AM
Comstock Images/JupiterimagesBy Louis Navellier,

According to the regulatory agency behind Medicare and Medicaid, health care spending is expected to grow by an average of 5.8% per year through 2020. The same agency also forecasts that health care spending will make up a whopping 20% of GDP in eight years.

This is partly due to the growing ranks of baby boomers. The individuals in this age bracket are typically more health-conscientious and are willing to pay a premium to stay fit. So it's no wonder health care services companies are doing so well.



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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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