A stock market graph trending down © jmiks/Getty Images
Be wary of dire market forecasts

The most likely scenario is that the markets will begin to rise from here -- and that bounce is just beginning to take hold.


These managed funds offer a more nuanced approach to navigating an uncertain sector.

By TheStreet Staff Jun 14, 2011 11:15AM

Image: Corn field (© Bob Rashid/Brand X/Corbis)By Don Dion, TheStreet


Using ETFs, it is possible to alleviate some of the headaches associated with today's rocky commodities investing environment.


Until recently, commodities stood out as a popular destination for many investors as sweeping global market strength helped propel the prices of metals, agricultural products and energy sources along seemingly uninterrupted upward paths.


Over the past few weeks, however, commodities have stopped moving in unison, calling into question this full-steam-ahead mentality. While some resources such as corn are powering toward record highs, others, such as nickel, are facing substantial headwinds.


This shift has not gone unnoticed and, as the Financial Times pointed out last week, many commodities investors are adjusting their investing approaches to better deal with this type of environment. Rather than diving headfirst into commodities, many are opting for a more tactical approach. Such a strategy better ensures that they are able to zig and zag along with the fluid commodities landscape.


Everything is falling into place for the abundant domestic fuel -- except Washington.

By Jim Cramer Jun 14, 2011 9:11AM

jim cramerthe streetDividend boosts warm the heart. That's why when I saw Chesapeake Energy (CHK) raise its quarterly dividend from 7.5 cents to 8.75 cents, I sat up and took notice.


These days, Chesapeake is typically in the news only when the story is about the CEO pay of Aubrey McClendon. I think it should appear in the news for being the biggest driller in this country. That's right. The biggest. It's the second-largest holder of natural gas in the country, and it is one of the top petroleum producers. It is at the forefront of every single shale, and it is trimming its debt and doing all the right things, including this first dividend boost since 2008.


The confidence this dividend boost shows is terrific, because if Chesapeake were too stretched in its campaign to lower debt and drill more oil wells, it wouldn't take this action.


Bank lending and the money supply have slowed. Will industrial production follow suit?

By Jim J. Jubak Jun 13, 2011 5:27PM
Jim JubakDon't get buried by this week's data dump from China. The numbers certainly have the potential to move financial markets around the world.

China weighs in Tuesday with its monthly inflation and industrial-production update. In April, China's annual inflation rate ticked down to 5.3%, from 5.4% in March.

With food prices still climbing, economists are predicting that inflation will edge back up to 5.5% for May, according to Bloomberg. That will keep inflation above the People’s Bank of China’s target of 4%, and feed into fears that the central bank will have to keep raising bank-reserve requirements and benchmark interest rates to slow the economy and fight inflation.

Worry that the bank will slow the economy too much got an unpleasant boost from figures released today, which showed both bank lending and China’s money supply grew at a slower pace in May. 

The social-networking site could see its valuation rocket to more than $100 billion in the first quarter.

By Kim Peterson Jun 13, 2011 3:15PM
After repeatedly playing coy about going public, Facebook may be considering an initial public offering for early next year, CNBC reports.

We could see the IPO sometime in the first quarter, managed by Goldman Sachs (GS), and the deal could value Facebook at more than $100 billion. That's more than Amazon's (AMZN) $84 billion value and three times that of Target (TGT).

Facebook has tried to ignore all the IPO chatter for years, with its executives playing cool anytime they were asked about it. But we saw a hint that the IPO gears were turning last month, when the company's chief operating officer said such an event was inevitable.

CNBC has more information on the possible IPO in the following report.

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401k and IRA investors can protect themselves and find profits despite recent market turmoil.

By InvestorPlace Jun 13, 2011 2:51PM
Image: Mutual funds (© ThinkStock/SuperStock)By Tom Taulli, InvestorPlace.com

Over the past few months, mutual fund investors have been painfully aware that the U.S. economy has been running out of steam. A sure sign of this was disappointing jobs data for May, and the recent losing streak for stocks has driven the point home further.

Unfortunately for 401k investors, the slowdown may persist for some time. After all, there will continue to be budget tightening on Capitol Hill as well as many cash-strapped states.  Low real estate prices will hurt confidence and consumer spending.  Oh, and the American consumer is still weighed down by large debts.

So how can investors deal with such things?  Well, there are certain types of funds that should actually do well during tough times.  So let’s take a look:


Three former investing superstars made the wrong bets in the bank and automaking sectors. With video.

By Kim Peterson Jun 13, 2011 2:35PM
The economy has ruined three of the country's best stock pickers.

The funds run by investing hotshots Bruce Berkowitz, Kenneth Heebner and Bill Miller have hit rock bottom. They're the three worst performers among large diversified U.S. mutual funds, Bloomberg reports.

The funds have lost 11% to 12% through June 9, crushed by the 3.4% gain that the Standard & Poor's 500 Index ($INX) showed. It wasn't hard for some stocks to beat these guys this year. Kellogg (K) rose 11%. Starbucks (SBUX) gained 8%, as did Johnson & Johnson (JNJ). IBM (IBM) rose 13%. Even Wal-Mart (WMT), which is slumping under mismanagement and the economy, is break-even year to date.

The following video analyzes these stock pickers and their failures.

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Tags: aig

The charts show that several of tech’s big names have more room to fall before reaching technically oversold levels. Two in particular may begin to lag the S&P 500.

By MoneyShow.com Jun 13, 2011 1:44PM
By Tom Aspray, MoneyShow.com

Last week’s 3.1% drop in the Nasdaq-100 left the index up by just 0.1% for the year. The weekly studies for the Nasdaq-100 are negative, but the majority of stocks did make new highs in early May. This still suggests that we are seeing a correction, and not the start of a new bear market.

The Nasdaq-100 closed just 1.3% above the weekly Starc- band, which is at 2191. This suggests that it is likely to stabilize—if not rebound—over the next week or so. The Nasdaq-100 index last exceeded its weekly Starc- band on March 16.

By analyzing all the stocks in the Nasdaq 100, only three are within 2% of the weekly Starc- bands. Those are Paychex (PAYX), Microchip Technology, Inc. (MCHP), and Expeditors International Washington (EXPD).

Some of the tech sector’s biggest names, including NetFlix Inc. (NFLX), Google (GOOG), Amazon.com (AMZN), and Apple (AAPL) are still well above their weekly Starc- bands. This means that they are not yet oversold on a weekly basis. More importantly, the weekly technical readings for two of these tech giants have deteriorated, suggesting that they may now start to lag the S&P 500.

There are many reasons to be skeptical about the recovery, but my recent White House visit showed some signs of hope.

By InvestorPlace Jun 13, 2011 1:10PM
By Jeff Reeves, InvestorPlace.com

jeff reeves investorplaceinvestorplace.comLast week, I was part of a group of 25 financial journalists who took part in the White House's first Personal Finance Online Summit. We asked dozens of questions to top-ranking economic officials and had the privilege of a brief Q&A with President Barack Obama.

There are many reasons to be skeptical of the Obama administration. I've pieced together the most compelling reasons to worry in my recent article about ways Obama is inspiring panic, not confidence. But the truth is, the White House is making great strides in some areas that may surprise you:


The former GE chief executive is optimistic about the third quarter, with oil prices falling and auto production rising.

By Kim Peterson Jun 13, 2011 12:57PM
Jack Welch thinks the economy is on the mend and says the third quarter will see an improvement.

"I don't see a disaster on the economic front," the former head of General Electric (GE) said in an interview with CNBC. "I see things, if anything, looking a little better in the third quarter."

We won't have bad weather hurting sales or the economy, he said. And the damage from the Japanese earthquake and tsunami will have settled a little more. Oil prices are falling and automobile production will be big, he added. You can watch the full interview in the following video.

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The restaurant chain is being sold to a private-equity firm.

By Kim Peterson Jun 13, 2011 12:14PM
Wendy's and Arby's, which combined in 2008 to become the third-largest fast-food chain in the country, are splitting up.

Wendy's/Arby's Group (WEN) announced Monday it will sell Arby's to a private-equity firm for $130 million in cash. And so ends one of the worst fast-food marriages in recent history.

The company has suffered since the 2008 merger, losing money in most quarters since then. Arby's brought down the numbers, with the chain deeply in debt, bleeding cash and contributing only about a third of overall sales. Last year, same-store sales for Arby's dropped a surprising 9.2% to $966 million, Forbes reports

Now that Toyota has stalled, Ford seems to have its sights set on GM's Volt.

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day Jun 13, 2011 11:58AM

By Rich Smith


If you thought Ford's (F) biggest worry in auto sales was how to beat Toyota (TM), well, maybe it was, once upon a time. But this week, Ford showed us that the bigger blob on its threat radar is actually General Motors (GM).


Sunday, Ford announced plans to create a new mini-minivan called the C-Max hybrid. This is big news, and I'll tell you why: A couple of years back, when the hybrid-car revolution was just getting started, Ford announced that it would build a hybrid Escape and all-electric Focus in response to the runaway success of Toyota's Prius. Of course, that was before the Prius literally began running away from its own drivers.


Fast-forward one unintended acceleration debacle, and one monster earthquake-cum-tsunami, and Toyota's on the ropes.


Skyrocketing food prices have put the Teucrium Corn and other agricultural funds in the spotlight.

By TheStreet Staff Jun 13, 2011 11:55AM

By Don Dion, TheStreet


Here are five ETFs to watch this week.


1.    Teucrium Corn ETF (CORN)


This futures-based corn ETF took off late last week after the USDA's decision to slash supply expectations. The fund is trading at all-time highs.


Skyrocketing food prices are helping to thrust equity-based agricultural ETFs into the spotlight. As I noted last week, the veteran Market Vectors Agribusiness ETF (MOO) has become wildly sought after. According to the May flow data compiled by the National Stock Exchange, the fund topped the list of inflow gainers.


Why? Because receiving automotive accessories, tools and home improvement products is about as exciting as watching oil drain or plaster dry.

By TheStreet Staff Jun 13, 2011 11:50AM

Image: Father with family (© Rayman/Photodisc/Getty Images)By Jason Notte, TheStreet


Father's Day in the retail world usually means unloading ties, steering-wheel covers and electronic gadgets onto frazzled gift givers, but dads really get the same thing every year: second billing.


Father's Day was a $10 billion holiday last year, according to market research firm IBISWorld, and is expected to jump 4.6% to $10.8 billion this year. Fathers will get $1.4 billion worth of clothing, $1.3 billion in gift cards and $2 billion in dinners and trips to the ballgame, but they'll still fall roughly $4.8 billion short of the $14.9 billion in gifts their counterparts get on Mother's Day.


For perspective, Mother's Day ranks fourth in holiday spending behind Christmas ($135 billion), Thanksgiving ($30 billion) and Valentine's Day ($17.6 billion). If not for Halloween ($6 billion), Father's Day would be dead last among retail holidays.


These shares are looking better as domestic growth slows.

By TheStreet Staff Jun 13, 2011 11:45AM

Image: Umbrella (© Photographers Choice RF/SuperStock)By Jake Lynch, TheStreet


The U.S. stock market has declined in six of the past seven trading days. More than $3 trillion of equities' value has eroded worldwide since the start of May.


Which stocks can survive rising U.S. unemployment, higher oil and food prices, increasing interest rates in Asia, Japan's recession, Europe's debt overload and the end of the Fed's QE2 bond-buying program?


That's a tall order, but in times of turmoil, defensive sectors, including health care, utilities, telecommunications and consumer staples, tend to outperform. Here are five dividend-paying and defensive Dow stocks to consider now. With leverage to emerging markets, these companies may skirt a soft patch in the economy. They offer steady dividends.


Look for a rally as stocks bounce off technical lows.

By Jamie Dlugosch Jun 13, 2011 9:51AM

So how do you like that buy-and-hold strategy today?


Investors who have stood pat during what is becoming a very significant market correction have watched their investment gains for 2011 evaporate. Stocks lost ground again last week, and the major indexes are essentially even for the year.


I'm getting whacked, too, with my five ETF picks, but because I’m using a long-short absolute return approach, the losses are nowhere near as severe as the overall market's.


Investors are clearly concerned about this little economic soft patch becoming something a bit more severe. Irrational or not, the selling has definitely helped take some of the steam out of market valuations.


Given the multiple weeks of selling, the rational call for this week is for stocks to recover. The ETF to buy this week is the iShares Russell 2000 (IWM).

Tags: etf


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[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market ended the holiday-shortened week on a mixed note as the Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 0.1%, while the S&P 500 added 0.1% with seven sectors posting gains.

Equity indices faced an uphill climb from the opening bell after disappointing quarterly results from Google (GOOG 536.10, -20.44) and IBM (IBM 190.04, -6.36) weighed on the early sentiment. Google reported earnings $0.15 below the Capital IQ consensus estimate on revenue of $15.42 ... More


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