Apple is a market darling again
Apple is a market darling again

The company, which reports its quarterly earnings Tuesday, has once again become an investor favorite.


Faced with patent-infringement charges from Apple, Samsung claims that the iPad's design dates back to '2001: A Space Odyssey.'

By Kim Peterson Aug 24, 2011 4:13PM
Give Samsung's lawyers points for creative thinking.

The company says it couldn't possibly have stolen Apple's (AAPL) designs for the iPad because Stanley Kubrick was there first. His 1968 movie "2001: A Space Odyssey" showed the design long before Apple was founded, Samsung says.

In a federal court filing this week, Samsung even references a YouTube clip from the movie that shows two astronauts eating and using tablet computers. You can watch the clip here

Nabbing the iPhone 5 would be a huge boost for Sprint, but the struggling carrier still needs help.

By Kim Peterson Aug 24, 2011 2:53PM
Sprint Nextel (S) just got a huge life preserver in the form of the iPhone 5, if reports are to be believed.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Sprint will sell the iPhone 5 in mid-October, at the same time Verizon (VZ) and AT&T (T) will also sell the phone. Just getting parity with those rivals is a big boost for Sprint, whose 52 million subscribers far lag the 106 million at Verizon and the 99 million at AT&T.  

While it appears to be dropping, it's still more than $30 higher than it was a year ago.

By TheStreet Staff Aug 24, 2011 12:56PM

By Dan Dicker, TheStreetTheStreet


There has been lots of talk about the "big drop" in oil prices over the past several weeks, and talking heads have been quick to see a silver lining in the reduced input costs for manufacturers and for prices that you and I pay at the pump.


Well, I hate to rain on the parade, but the real-world physical price of oil hasn't dropped much at all and is still more than $30 a barrel higher than it was at this time last year.


That's because the "price" of oil that is universally referenced on cable television and in newspapers is the U.S. and NYMEX-traded West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures contract, a contract with enormous physical problems which has morphed into little more than a financial tool for hedge funds and algorithmic traders, and has become irrelevant to the real world prices that are being paid.


The former offers better growth potential, an analyst says. With video.

By TheStreet Staff Aug 24, 2011 12:35PM

By Shanthi Bharatwaj, TheStreet


Citigroup (C) and Bank of America (BAC) have both been pummeled equally in the stock market in the past month, but analysts say Citigroup is the better opportunity.


Last week, UBS analyst William Tanona said Citigroup stock should be priced at premium over Bank of America as it faces "less dramatic uncertainties" from large, mortgage-related liabilities and stronger earnings power.


On Wednesday, Glenn Schorr at Nomura released a report, making similar arguments. While the analyst thinks the selloff in both the stocks is overdone, he still prefers Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase (JPM) over Bank of America.


Here are the 10 things that need to happen before a long-term stock market rally will gain momentum.

By Jim Cramer Aug 24, 2011 10:50AM

jim cramerthe streetEvery day the market rallies, people ask the same questions: Is it real? Have we seen the bottom? Is this the start of something new?


These are all super questions that need to be answered. But the only way I know to answer them is to go over a "to be done" list of questions, a list of questions designed to show if things have really changed or if stock prices changed but nothing more.


Yesterday was more of the latter. What makes me say that?


If the broad market finds a near-term bottom, semiconductors should also rebound.

By Aug 24, 2011 10:43AM

By Tom Aspray,

The strong action in the US stock market on Tuesday came as a surprise, as there was little bullish news that the financial press could use to explain the price action. The prevailing opinion seems to be that the further signs of a weakening economy will spur Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke to say something dramatic on Friday.

Of course, from a technical perspective, any news is a distraction because if it is significant, the market usually reflects it well in advance. There has been some short-term technical improvement with Tuesday’s close, and it suggests that we should see at least a test of last week’s highs, if not a rally to stronger resistance over the near term. To support this view, the major averages will need to surpass Tuesday’s highs either Wednesday or Thursday.

The semiconductor sector has been especially weak since the May highs, and the combined analysis of a leveraged long and short semiconductor ETF suggests a potential contra-trend trading opportunity.


Premium lagers are taking the UK by storm as fans flock to their flavor and originality.

By Kim Peterson Aug 23, 2011 4:52PM
The fastest-growing beer trend in the United Kingdom is American craft brews.

That's according to the Guardian, which found research data showing that sales of premium lagers imported from the U.S. have soared by 150% over the past year.

British pub-goers are gaga over Blue Moon and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. UK grocer Tesco (TSCDY), sensing a trend in the making, is launching those two beers along with Goose Island and Brooklyn at 750 stores, the Guardian reports. 

Agriculture commodities are on the move, breaking out of consolidation for the first time since last summer.

By Anthony Mirhaydari Aug 23, 2011 3:16PM

It's been a tough summer for stocks and other risky assets -- but the same can't be said for agricultural commodities. Hot, dry drought conditions have ruined crops all across the American growing regions. At the same time, demand remains robust thanks to the big appetites of newly empowered eaters in the developing world.


The USDA cut its forecast of how much of the standing corn crop is in good or excellent shape to just 57%, down from 60% last week and 70% a year ago. Already, with carryover stocks low from last year, a poor harvest will do further damage to meager inventories. At the same time, China has recently become a net importer of corn and last year made its largest purchase of U.S. corn in ten years. Of course, demand from ethanol production continues as well.


The combination of tighter supply and stronger demand is sending prices higher once more. As a result, as a group agricultural goods are pushing up and out of a long seven-month downtrend dating back to February. A powerful new uptrend is being established. Here's how to take advantage.


The company now counts on emerging markets for most of its sales. This isn't the Tupperware of old.

By Kim Peterson Aug 23, 2011 1:48PM
When times get tough, the tough turn to Tupperware (TUP).

The stock is on a roll, up nearly 4% Tuesday to $62.20. Shares have soared 50% in the past year. Investors are confident that Tupperware has evolved from the jello-mold days of old into a company that now has a worldwide presence.

Tupperware has a direct sales force of 2.6 million around the world, the company tells The Associated Press. The old-fashioned Tupperware party is still around -- but now one takes place every 1.7 seconds, compared with every 2.3 seconds a few years ago. 

These blue chips show strength and stability in any economic environment.

By Aug 23, 2011 11:53AM

By Tom Aspray,

The downgrade of the United States’ AAA debt rating came as a shock to many and gave investors another reason to sell stocks over the past few weeks. As noted in the The New York Times several weeks ago, the universe of companies whose long-term debt receives the top rating has been shrinking for years.

Thirty years ago, over 60 companies had AAA ratings, but that number had dropped to 15 by the year 2000. Some companies dropped off the list when they were acquired by other companies, while the financial crisis knocked Pfizer (PFE), Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-B), and General Electric (GE) off the list.

The graphic below from The New York Times shows the long-term debt ratings of S&P 500 companies and shows that there are now just four U.S. companies that still have the top rating. Only three companies have AA+ ratings, while the largest concentration of companies are in the BBB class.


Hint: Don't leave yourself vulnerable to an eventual market turnaround.

By TheStreet Staff Aug 23, 2011 11:50AM

Image: Gold Bars (© Photodisc/SuperStock)By Don Dion, TheStreetTheStreet


Gold has been thrust into the spotlight during recent weeks of economic turmoil. With prices topping $1,900 per ounce, no wonder investors are clamoring for exposure.


Gold is not the only precious metal that has benefited from market uncertainty. Investors have also been turning to silver for safety. As a result, silver-backed ETFs have powered higher. The popular and closely watched iShares Silver Trust (SLV) recently enjoyed seven consecutive days of upward action.


Given the excitement surrounding gold and silver, it may be tempting to increase exposure to any and all precious metals. That, however, is likely not the most ideal investing strategy for people looking to maintain a stable, long-term allocation.


With staples like soda, chocolate and toothpaste seeing new strength in emerging markets, these funds have shown remarkable resilience this year.

By TheStreet Staff Aug 23, 2011 11:36AM

Image: Chocolate (© image100/Corbis)By Stan Luxenberg, TheStreet


Through all the market turmoil of recent months, some consumer funds have stayed in the black. While the S&P 500 ($INX) has lost 9.5% this year, Vanguard Consumer Staples (VCSAX) has returned 2.4%, while Rydex Consumer Products (RYCIX) has gained 4.1%, according to Morningstar.


The resilience of consumer funds is not surprising. Consumer stocks include companies that sell things customers buy constantly, such as food, beverages tobacco, and beauty products. The group includes rock-solid blue chips such as Coca-Cola (KO), Procter & Gamble (PG) and Kraft Foods (KFT). Such stocks generate stable cash flows year after year.


Consumer stocks may seem unexciting in bull markets, but they can shine in downturns. This year many consumer stocks have done particularly well because companies are recording strong sales gains in emerging markets.


Global currencies are losing value, miners aren't finding much new gold, and the Fed has no good news.

By Jim Cramer Aug 23, 2011 9:07AM

jim cramerthe streetThe race to debase. That's what's fueling gold right now. The desire of almost all countries in the world -- from Japan to Switzerland, from all of Europe to the U.S. -- to get their currencies down in order to export their way out of the worldwide economic slowdown.


When everyone believes in a weak currency, you need a strong currency, and the strongest currency is gold.


I have liked gold for years and years, mostly as a hedge to the chaos and a belief that it is way too hated as an asset class. I base that view on the notion that gold represents about 1.55% of the world’s portfolios, down from about 5% historically.


That's only one reason to buy, though. We have also seen emerging middle classes around the world purchase gold as a way of passing on wealth or showing wealth, as is the case in the upcoming Indian wedding season. We see wealthier central banks buying gold in order to keep a store of assets that can't be debased by governments.


The company cut its plant budget at its London heaquarters, roiling a workforce already hit by hard times.

By Kim Peterson Aug 22, 2011 6:55PM
The London office of Goldman Sachs (GS) is in an uproar. Disgruntled employees have divided themselves into rival factions, leading to a recent standoff between the two sides.

Over plants.

Yes, the friendly office plant. The kind that studies show boosts morale, especially in hard times. And times are tough for Goldman. The chief executive just hired his own defense attorney. The company is not-so-affectionately called the great vampire squid. Its role in the 2008 financial crisis is still being investigated. 

Investors are too hopeful about finding bargain deals. That's not a good sign of a market bottom.

By Jim J. Jubak Aug 22, 2011 5:44PM
Jim JubakThose of us trying to keep our powder dry until we’re near the bottom -- acknowledging that we’re not going to catch the bottom -- are asking, when is the fear intense enough?

It certainly got very intense last week. The yield on a two-year Treasury note fell to 0.19%. The 10-year Treasury closed the week at 2.06%. That was slightly above the 1.97% low set on Thursday, which itself was the lowest level since 1950.

And that for the bonds of a country downgraded from AAA to AA by Standard and Poor’s. But the Treasury market is incredibly deep and liquid, and big investors know they can get in and out without roiling prices.

Nobody wants to buy equities -- at least until what I’m calling the Jackson Hole bounce Monday. The dividend yield on the S&P 500 sits at 2.25% as of Friday's close -- that’s the first time since 2008 that the stocks in this index have paid more than the 10-year Treasury.


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Market index data delayed by 15 minutes

[BRIEFING.COM] As expected, the major averages began the session on a strong note with small caps in the lead. The Russell 2000 is higher by 0.6%, while the S&P 500 trades up 0.3% with eight sectors in the green.

Energy (+0.9%) and health care (+0.8%) have grabbed the early lead, while industrials (+0.6%) and technology (+0.6%) follow not far behind. On the flip side, countercyclical consumer staples (-0.3%) and telecom services (-0.3%) hold modest losses.

Also of note, ... More


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