These companies are ringing up profits as consumer favorites this holiday.
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Precision Castparts is one way into the jet-engine market, and counts Boeing and GE among its customers.
Yum Brands, the owner of KFC and Pizza Hut, got into the Chinese market early on and is reaping the rewards of smart business decisions.
KFC's owner, Yum Brands (YUM), now has a 40% market share in China compared to only 16% for McDonald's, Bloomberg reports. Yum opens a new restaurant every 18 hours. How is the company so successful? By doing a better job of becoming Chinese.
For investors looking for more exposure to China without buying Chinese stocks, Yum is one way in. Yum shares are at $47.66, up 33% from a year ago.
McDonald's focuses on selling the same style burgers that it sells in the U.S. And there's nothing wrong with that; the Chinese have taken to the burger with, er, relish.
On the eve of the Apple iPhone's much-anticipated debut on Verizon's wireless network, it may not matter that the phone is stale, a new one is coming and not everyone can afford it.
By Scott Moritz, TheStreet
But on the eve of this long-awaited arrival, naysayers might wonder if the presumed success of the Verizon iPhone may be just a little bit overblown.
The answer will come quickly.
Based on the first hours of order volume, Verizon and Apple will have a good idea of how demand stacks up to their internal projections and whether they are likely to hit the 11 million iPhone target that analysts forecast and Verizon has adopted.
So what could impede Apple on its latest road victory?
The political turmoil is touching energy, gold, shipping, defense and commodities.
By Debra Borchardt, TheStreet
"All the trading on Egypt happened last week," said Ben Willis of Sunrise Securities.
That may be true for the stock jocks, but the Egyptian crisis is still rippling through the broad market. The Asia is showing the most damage from market fears. Both the Indian BSE Sensex 30 Index and the Philippine SE Index have fallen sharply. Johnson said that for now, the crisis does not look catastrophic, as "Egypt is not that big a part of the global economy."
"Geopolitical risk has historically led to temporary market weakness, and that creates an opportunity for buyers," said Jason Pride, the director of investment strategy at Glenmede Wealth Management. The key areas that Egyptian turmoil is affecting are energy, gold, shipping, defense and commodities.
South Dakota politicians introduce tongue-in-cheek legislation saying residents would have to buy firearms by mid-2012.
This is great news for gun makers like Smith & Wesson (SWHC) and Sturm Ruger (RGR), both of which have seen shares fall since early December. The bill doesn't say what kind of gun people would be required to buy. It suggests only that residents look for something "suitable to their temperament, physical capacity, and personal preference."
There's no chance of this proposal actually becoming law. And the politicians who introduced the bill know it. But they're trying to make a point by comparing the bill to . . . federal health care reform?
"Do I or the other cosponsors believe that the State of South Dakota can require citizens to buy firearms? Of course not," one of the bill's sponsors, a Republican from Sioux Falls, told the Argus Leader. "But at the same time, we do not believe the federal government can order every citizen to buy health insurance."
The artificial hip and knee maker is also selling on the cheap.
If you need a knee or divine a spine, you and your doctor may soon be looking through the Zimmer catalog for a replacement. Fool analyst Michael Olsen sees this stock benefiting from strong demographic trend and a cheap valuation.
Rex Moore, Motley Fool Top Stocks editor
I'll be the first to admit: I can't measure the environmental consequence of an acidic raindrop halfway across the world. Likewise, as newspapers blare headlines of unprecedented domestic health care reform, a still jobless recovery muddles on, and record budget deficits plague our nation, I'll be the first to acknowledge that a considerable uncertainty surrounds health care stocks.
I can say one thing: At around 13 times free cash flow, Zimmer Holdings (ZMH) -- the dominant purveyor of replacement knees and hips, and one of the widest-moat firms out there -- looks screamingly cheap. It boils down to this: People in this fine country (and the world) are getting older, and body parts fail.
Unified payment plans, a special Amazon store and a social app show the iPhone isn't the only gadget in town.
2010 was a year of big ups and downs for the Android mobile operating system from Google (GOOG). Though the June release of the iPhone 4 from Apple Inc. (AAPL) stole a lot of Android's thunder, Google execs announced that 300,000 Android devices were being activated each day as of early December.
But Google isn’t resting on its laurels. Android platform manager Eric Chu recently stating he is “not happy” about the sales rate of paid apps in the Android App Market. The company is looking to make apps a priority, and boost revenue as a result.
Here are three major app developments coming to Android in 2011 as part of this push. The app plans have some consumers psyched, some investors curious and some Apple execs a little worried.
After overcoming so many potential pitfalls in January, this market is strong and going great guns despite the catcalls and worries.
We just finished the best January since 1997. That means we triumphed over so many things: dollar strength (somehow always viewed negatively now that we are an export nation), Chinese inflation, European weakness, Portuguese bond auctions, Irish collapse, weather damage and, so far, chaos in Egypt.
We did it without employment growth. We did it without any sign of a turn in housing, just stability, and even that's been questioned or dismissed by people bearing a survey or two that shows things aren't up to what we expected by now. We did it in the face of rampant commodity inflation that was supposed to destroy the margins of just about everything but has really impacted only the likes of Procter & Gamble (PG) in a way that nobody seemed to see coming.
We had a January rally despite constant harping that we were already too high, that we have stretched valuations and that we have come up too far too fast. We did it despite tremendous hand wringing that the best trade was the short trade -- betting against stocks.
The global financial system must adjust to a new reality, and Japan found that out firsthand.
This age-old gauge sees market gains if either team wins in this year's matchup.
The indicator refers back to the time when there was a National Football League and an American Football League, and says that stocks see full-year gains when an NFL team wins. This indicator proves correct nearly 80% of the time.
If that holds true, then investors can't go wrong this year. Both the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Green Bay Packers hail from the old NFL (before the league merged with the AFL). If that isn't enough reason to cheer, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette points out that the market has never had a losing year when the Steelers were in the championship game.
So full speed ahead, right? Not so fast. The Wall Street Journal says the man credited with coming up with the Super Bowl Indicator simply meant it as a joke.
Keep an eye on agriculture, timber and the troubled nation of Egypt.
By Don Dion, TheStreet
Here are six ETFs to watch this week.
The agriculture industry remains on the minds of investors as rising food prices continue to steal headlines around the globe. Investors looking for equity exposure to this industry should turn their attention to MOO.
Boasting exposure to equipment producers such as Deere (DE) and agriculture chemical companies such as Potash of Saskatchewan (POT), MOO provides investors with broad access to companies responsible for satisfying global food demand.
On Tuesday, top MOO component Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) will release its quarterly earnings performance. The bar appears high because earnings performance so far from other agribusiness players -- including DE, POT, Monsanto (MON) and Mosaic (MOS) -- has been impressive.
Amazon Prime will offer on-demand content to premium members.
By Anthony John Agnello, InvestorPlace.com
Amazon.com (AMZN) has always embraced new technology in its never-ending pursuit of consumers' digital dollars. From its one-stop retail model to its Kindle electronic reader, Amazon continues to break ground in the modern retail business.
But it has had a few notable blunders in its quest to remain the dominant shopping site for Americans. When music made the jump from CD to MP3, Apple (AAPL) and its iTunes all but cornered the market in 2003. Amazon didn't open its own MP3 store until late 2007. And as Netflix (NFLX) has revolutionized the home video biz via online streaming, Amazon has been left in the dust selling DVDs and the occasional downloadable movie with nary a streaming title to be seen.
But at least on the streaming video front, the online retailer is looking to make up lost ground. Amazon.com is overhauling its premium shopping service to help it evolve into an on-demand, instant video streaming service akin to Netflix.
It's been a year since MSG spun off from Cablevision, but there's still plenty of value left in the stock.
You may be trying to cut MSG out of your diet, but you should consider some for your portfolio. Jim Royal is buying some today for his Special Situations port, and here's why.
Rex Moore, Motley Fool Top Stocks editor
If you've been following my Special Situations portfolio, then you know I like spinoffs. And the stock I'm buying today is just such a play. Madison Square Garden (MSG) was spun off from Cablevision Systems (CVC) about a year ago. While I usually try to get in closer to the spinoff date in order to take advantage of inefficient spin dynamics, Madison Square Garden still offers value, despite a run-up in the last six months.
Look for stocks to bounce back from Friday's fear-based selling.
The market is so unbelievably predictable. A little mischief overseas brought to us by live television and stocks tumble.
No matter that demonstrations in Egypt will have any real impact on the global economy. It is amazing what the bears will do to spook the bulls. All it takes is a little fear and down we go.
Come on traders, time to get a backbone.
Well, if it was predictable that stocks would go down on geopolitical concerns it is only natural to think that stocks will go up as those concerns wane.
We have one more day of the January effect this week and I’m looking for the biggest correction from the small cap space. Traders should ride the iShares Russell 2000 (IWM) to profits this week.
The real story today is that, despite the turmoil in Egypt, stock and oil prices are merely flat.
A major emerging nation with more than 80 million people, a country that has 6% growth and huge infrastructure possibilities as well as a vital waterway and important oil properties, is aflame. The headlines are damning. The people are in open revolt. Port of Alexandria is closed. Nonessential personnel, blah, blah, blah. Obviously chaos and confusion reign.
And stocks are merely flat? Sure, they were down Friday, but after the run we have had, isn't that reasonable anyway just on the crummy quarter out of Ford (F) on top of the inflation- and commodity-troubled Procter & Gamble (PG)? Both the soft goods and the autos had been doing so, so well.
Of course, a cursory read of the media, a quick look at the Web and the TV, tells you that things are down and down big. But we all know that's not true. In fact, I would expect that on a normal day, with inflation in Europe running higher than expected -- 2.4% instead of 2.3%, but "higher than expected" has a real solid, negative ring to it -- that stocks should be down.
However, things are not looking heavy at all.
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[BRIEFING.COM] The major averages capped a solid week with a broad advance. The S&P 500 added 0.5%, extending its weekly gain to 2.7%.
Equities spent the entire session in a steady climb after the final reading of third quarter GDP sparked a broad-based rally. The report pointed to growth of 4.1%, which was the strongest reading since the economy expanded by 4.9% in the fourth quarter of 2011, and well above the 2.5% gain reported in the second quarter. Real final sales, which ... More
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