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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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Revenue for the consumer tech giant soars 82%, and today's announcement of a new MacBook Air and Lion OS could mean even bigger sales to come.

By InvestorPlace Jul 20, 2011 8:52AM

To say Apple (AAPL) impressed Wall Street with its profit and sales results Tuesday is the understatement of the year. Kind of like saying the iPhone is nice for making calls or that Steve Jobs is pretty good with computers.


Let's put it this way: When you triple your profits and beat sales forecasts by about $3.5 billion in an environment where consumers are still skittish, you're doing fine.

And as if Tuesday's numbers weren't impressive enough, Apple grabbed headlines again Wednesday by unveiling dramatic updates with its MacBook Air, Mac mini and Lion operating system.  

The company blew away expectations in its most recent quarter, but it still has some long-term worries.

By Jim J. Jubak Jul 19, 2011 8:55PM
Jim JubakJust in case you were in danger of forgetting, Google’s (GOOG) second-quarter earnings report last Thursday should remind you: It’s good to be out in front of the market, but as an investor you don’t want to be too far out in front.

I can pick a ton of holes in Google’s competitive position, and point out the challenges it faces over the next couple of years. But the market right now doesn’t want to hear about anything so far off.

The news that counts is that Google is producing great numbers from its current dominance of the Internet search space:

  • For the second quarter, Google reported earnings of $8.74 a share (excluding one-time items). That was 91 cents a share above the Wall Street consensus estimate of $7.83.
 

After a pullback on concerns over the US debt ceiling and the future of the eurozone, buyers reassert the strength seen in late June.

By Anthony Mirhaydari Jul 19, 2011 3:45PM

It's been a volatile couple of weeks. Investors have been held captive to the headlines -- which by nature are dynamic and unpredictable. Traders, with nowhere else to hide, flocked to the safety of precious metals and sold pretty much everything else. Treasury bonds and stocks have both been hit in recent days.

 

Here at home, the politicos in Washington have danced ever closer to the Aug. 2 debt ceiling deadline with seemingly irreconcilable positions on taxes and spending. And across the Atlantic, the sovereign debt contagion that pulled down Greece, Ireland and Portugal started to threaten core countries like Spain and Italy. Scary stuff.

 

That all changed on Tuesday as stocks and other risky assets screamed higher as these two political uncertainties -- the U.S. debt ceiling and the new Greek bailout -- move toward positive resolutions. And that sets the stage for the resumption of the medium-term uptrend I've been writing about in my columns and blog posts lately. Here's why and how to take advantage.

 

Taking a position ahead of quarterly results, even if they are better than expected, can be risky, but assessing technical outlook can provide a valuable edge.

By MoneyShow.com Jul 19, 2011 12:10PM
By Tom Aspray, MoneyShow.com

Monday was a rough day for the stock market, as the S&P 500 again dropped below the 1300 level and tested the 61.8% support before rebounding into the close. The short-term Advance/Decline (A/D) indicators like the McClellan Oscillator are back to oversold levels last seen at the June lows.

Because the S&P 500 has a large number of financial stocks, it was hit harder than the other major averages. The Dow Industrials and Nasdaq 100 are both still holding above their 50% support levels.

This is a big week for earnings, and in yesterday’s column, I featured a list of the Nasdaq 100’s 20 most overbought stocks. The relationship of a stock’s price to its weekly Starc bands can help you decide what action, if any, is appropriate just before or after earnings are released.
 

Shares of the tech powerhouse suffered their worst first-half performance since 2008 on growth worries, but investors still see upside after the stock's rebound.

By TheStreet Staff Jul 19, 2011 12:01PM

By Robert Holmes, TheStreet

 

Apple (AAPL) shares notched yet another all-time high Monday even as the Dow Jones Industrial Average ($INDU) tumbled nearly 100 points, an impressive comeback for a stock that suffered its worst first-half performance in three years.

 

Apple, which is due to report quarterly results after the closing bell today, lost some of its shine earlier this year on worries about whether the company could sustain its high growth rate. Apple didn't hold to its schedule of launching a new iPhone iteration in June. Competition from Google (GOOG) and other handset and tablet makers intensified. Perhaps most importantly, Apple CEO Steve Jobs took yet another leave of absence for health reasons.

 

By June 20, Apple shares hit a low of $310.50, 3.7% below the stock's closing price at the end of 2010. Through the first six months of the year, Apple shares had their worst first-half performance since 2008, when the worst recession since the Great Depression bruised equities.

 

Funds tracking gold and the Swiss franc have become increasingly attractive in a turbulent market.

By TheStreet Staff Jul 19, 2011 11:34AM

Image: Pie Chart © Christine Balderas/Photodisc/Getty ImagesBy Don Dion, TheStreet

 

It's a new week, but on the economic front not much has changed. U.S. lawmakers continue to butt heads trying to construct a plan regarding the debt ceiling.

 

And across the Atlantic, the European Union remains embattled in a debt challenge of its own. In the days ahead, investors can expect more in the way of uncertainty as those issues dominate headlines and raise doubts about the global economic recovery and growth picture.

 

Despite the resounding anxiety and rising investor ire, a handful of options have actually managed to buck market jitters and power higher. Looking to the near term, these corners of the market may be worth keeping an eye on as we head further into the second half of the year.

 

It may seem like there's plenty of bad news out there, but beneath the surface tension there are great opportunities.

By MoneyShow.com Jul 19, 2011 11:07AM
Image: Ascending graph and red pencil (© Adam Gault/OJO Images/Getty Images)By Jon Markman, Special to MoneyShow.com

Market bulls and bears are at a standoff as the global economic recovery struggles, but not all stocks are in danger of slipping.

Major US indexes have inched higher as optimism that companies will report higher second-quarter profits have outweighed fears that job growth is crashing.

Breadth has been the hallmark of the recent advance, but two Fridays ago was a terrible day, as losers outpaced gainers 4 to 1. Stocks drifted in a range so narrow at midweek that if you turned it sideways, you couldn't see it.
 

With no end in sight to the sovereign debt issues driving the metal's recent rally, investors can gain exposure through mining shares and ETFs.

By TheStreet Staff Jul 19, 2011 10:42AM

Image: Small Stack of gold ingots (©Anthony Bradshaw/Photographer)By Jake Lynch, TheStreet

 

Gold and silver have tagged nominal highs, and the rally's catalyst remains firmly intact: Sovereign debt woes, in Europe and in the U.S., increasingly resemble a no-win scenario.

 

Extreme leverage by government entities has been satiated with austerity programs and liquidity solutions, with little or no work done to resolve the true issue of solvency. Greece and Portugal are suffering under unsustainable debt burdens, and Italy and Spain are the latest targets of bond-market vigilantes, who may soon turn to the U.S.

 

As fear gains traction, it's wise to consider precious-metal investments as a core portfolio holding.

 

Among the greatest of fears is the contagion potential of eurozone defaults. With almost every bank in the eurozone carrying low-quality bonds, a restructuring -- the technical term for default -- may plunge the global economy into an even more severe recession than in recent years.

 

The British music-streaming service has won over celebrities with innovative Facebook integration. Now it's available in the US. Should rivals be worried?

By InvestorPlace Jul 19, 2011 10:27AM

Image: Music (© PhotoAlto/SuperStock)By Tom Taulli, InvestorPlace.com


investorplace.comAnother musical British invasion -- Spotify -- has finally hit the United States, and Pandora (P) is taking notice. The noise has been intense, kind of like a Metallica concert. Even celebrities like Britney Spears and Ashton Kutcher have been sending out some nice Tweets about the service.


So what makes Spotify interesting? Essentially, it has added social features, which have fans raving.


In Spotify, you can share music tracks and play lists with your friends, such as on Twitter and Facebook. According to a blog post from company brainchild Sean Parker, "By enabling social discovery of music, Spotify will forever change the way music is discovered, consumed, marketed, and monetized."

 

The iconic motorcylce maker stalled after the recession hit, but thanks to cost cutting and renewed demand, HOG is revved up once more.

By InvestorPlace Jul 19, 2011 9:59AM
Credit: (© Stephan Savoia/AP)
Caption: Gas tank of Harley-Davidson motorcycleBy Jeff Reeves, Editor, InvestorPlace.com

Founded in Milwaukee just after the turn of the 20th century, Harley-Davidson (HOG) has a long history of ups and downs.

It was one of only two major American motorcycle shops to survive the Great Depression, and it became a manufacturing powerhouse, thanks to military contracts for motorcycles used in both world wars. But in the postwar years, the company again fell on hard times, first because of biker-gang image problems in the 1970s, then Japanese competition in the 1980s. In the 1990s, Harley stormed back as wealthy baby boomers took to the open road, but then the financial crisis of the late 2000s caused a sharp decline in the sale of high-priced toys like Harley-Davidson bikes.

 

IT isn't going anywhere, layoffs should streamline operations, and deep declines in share price may provide value to buyers.

By InvestorPlace Jul 19, 2011 9:34AM

By Jeff Reeves, Editor, InvestorPlace.com


jeff reeves investorplaceCisco (CSCO) is trading around levels not seen since the bear market bottom of 2009 or the early days of 2003. The networking giant might not be as dominant as it was in years past, but that doesn’t necessarily mean Cisco stock is dead money.


CSCO now pays a dividend, the company has announced a massive restructuring plan, and, in case you haven’t noticed, the 21st-century economy is relying more and more on companies that provide server space and IT infrastructure -- two things Cisco does well.


The growth in the tech sector and, specifically, the IT industry has been huge, so even a smaller slice of the pie will be a feast for Cisco shareholders. And some of Cisco’s recent moves could mean the company is poised not only to defend its turf but to push for big growth.

 

President Obama has picked a less polarizing leader for the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. But it's too early to sound the all-clear for financial stocks.

By Jim Cramer Jul 19, 2011 8:50AM

the streetjim cramerBank investors breathed a sigh of relief Monday when Elizabeth Warren, the firebrand Harvard law professor who had a "mad as hell and ain't going to take it anymore" attitude toward financial companies, didn't get the top job at her baby, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

 

They were so thrilled because they feared the unflappable Warren, who had frequently expressed contempt and anger about the banks and their executives, would decimate bank earnings and serve as a nationally appointed nemesis of the industry.

 

The sigh of relief is premature. Instead of Warren, President Barack Obama picked Richard Cordray, a former Ohio attorney general, to take the helm at the bureau. Frankly, I think bank investors might end up wishing Warren got the nod.

 

Citigroup has a lot of work to do to generate revenue growth in its home market.

By Jim J. Jubak Jul 19, 2011 1:06AM
JIm Jubak"Citi achieved another solid quarter of operating performance as we continue to execute our strategy," Citigroup (C) CEO Vikram Pandit said on Friday, as the bank released its second-quarter earnings report.

Huh? Vikram and I must have read different quarterly reports.

The one I saw showed a bank that still hasn’t been able to generate any significant revenue growth in its home market. And is seeing earnings grow only because its reserves for bad debt are falling.

I do see one bright spot in Citigroup’s international business, but I sure don’t see a "solid quarter of operating performance." But rather than engaging in a battle of the spin, let’s look at the numbers that the bank reported.
 

Despite the potential for upside earnings surprises from many of the tech sector leaders, a proven technical indicator says it’s a high-risk time to buy these shares.

By MoneyShow.com Jul 18, 2011 4:24PM
By Tom Aspray, MoneyShow.com

Last week was a rough one for stocks, but as we head into a heavy week of earnings, there are signs that the Nasdaq 100 is now leading the S&P 500. Since the June lows, the Powershares QQQ Trust (QQQ) is up 7.9% versus just 4.6% for the S&P 500.

This could be especially important this week, as some of the biggest names in the Nasdaq 100 are scheduled to release their earnings. Last week, Google, Inc. (GOOG) surprised the Street with earnings that were much better than expectations.

Knowing whether a stock is overbought or oversold going into earnings can help investors decide what, if any, action should be taken. Just a month ago, GOOG closed 2.3% above its weekly Starc- band, and this past week, it closed 4% above its weekly Starc+ band.
 

One expert says the metal could hit a new high every day this week. Here's how to add it to your portfolio.

By TheStreet Staff Jul 18, 2011 1:40PM

Image: Gold Bars (© Photodisc/SuperStock)By Alix Steel, TheStreet 

 

Gold (-GC) was rising to a record high Monday, topping $1,600 an ounce, as concerns about debt problems in the U.S. and Europe boosted demand for the haven asset.

 

The recent surge in gold and silver has fueled confidence that precious metals will climb to fresh highs. "Gold could set new record highs every day this week," said Chuck Butler, the president of EverBank World Market, adding that selling among long-term investors could hurt prices in the short term.

 

For most people, investing in gold isn't a quick trade but, rather, insurance. It's a hedge against inflation, currency debasement and global uncertainty. Here are the top four ways you can invest.

 

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[BRIEFING.COM] S&P futures vs fair value: -1.60. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: -1.80. U.S. equity futures remain under modest pressure even though most quarterly reports received since yesterday's closing bell have been better than expected. On that note, AT&T (T 35.60, -0.69), Boeing (BA 131.10, +3.55), Delta Air Lines (DAL 36.58, +1.63), Gilead Sciences (GILD 75.69, +2.83), and Yum! Brands (YUM 79.99, +2.51) all reported above-consensus earnings, ... More


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