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Place your bets for the rest of 2014

Investors know what's working and what's not. Jim Cramer says these stocks could power higher through the end of the year.


The former eBay CEO was named chief of Hewlett-Packard Thursday afternoon. While she grew the auction site dramatically, cutting the fat at bloated HP will be a different challenge. Can she pull it off?

By InvestorPlace Sep 22, 2011 9:05AM
By Jeff Reeves,

Can former eBay CEO Meg Whitman fix Hewlett-Packard?


HP's board named Whitman their new chief this afternoon, after two days of reports the move was imminent.


Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) shares soared as much as 10% Wednesday on rumors that the tech giant's board could be kicking chief executive Leo Apotheker to the curb, with Whitman waiting in the wings. Shares fell almost 5% on Thursday, a little worse than the market overall.


But don't be fooled -- this is just the latest dumb move at Hewlett-Packard, a company plagued not just by a revolving door in the corner office but by a glue-and-sticky-tape approach to its current ugly state of affairs.


Forget about Operation Twist. Next week's bond auction has the most potential to disrupt the markets.

By Jim J. Jubak Sep 21, 2011 5:31PM
It takes a bit to upstage the Federal Reserve, but I think Italy has managed it. Even though its news opportunity is more than a week away.

Sure, the Fed spoke Wednesday afternoon and the financial markets were on tenterhooks about "Operation Twist." Will the Fed, won’t the Fed, decide to sell short-term bills and notes from its portfolio in order to buy long-term bonds? And how aggressively will it shift the duration of its portfolio in order to drive down long-term interest rates?

The Fed announced that it would sell $400 billion of short-term bills and notes and buy $400 billion of six-year to 30-year bonds in an effort to drive down long-term interest rates and boost the economy. That was certainly at the aggressive end of predictions for what the Fed would do.

Wish we were on a gold standard? Think again.

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day Sep 21, 2011 4:02PM
By Matt Koppenheffer


When you post any thoughts about gold, you're inevitably going to end up with some folks who bring up the currency issue. "Gold is a currency," they say. "Gold has been favored since the time T-Rex ruled supreme (the dinosaur, not the band)." And of course, "Gold is going up because our fiat money is being debased and rational people are doing the only thing that makes any sense by buying yellow metal."


One commenter, for instance, posited: "Gold is trading as a currency. Yes it could be somewhat overvalued today, and may fall back, but in 12 months it will be up against all fiat currencies that are clearly being devalued."


But here's the problem: If gold is acting like a currency, it's acting like a really, really bad one.


Amazon is finally making e-books for its Kindle reader available at libraries across the country.

By Kim Peterson Sep 21, 2011 3:57PM
Users of Amazon's (AMZN) popular Kindle reader got some welcome news Wednesday. They can now borrow Kindle books from 11,000 U.S. libraries. But will many of those books actually be available?

Barnes & Noble (BKS) worked out a similar partnership for its Nook reader a long time ago, but Kindle users have been left out of the library loop. The deal won't immediately help Amazon's business, but it may eventually entice more people to buy the device if they can borrow books on it for free.

Here's how it works: 

With Congress gridlocked, the central bank acts to keep the economic recovery on track.

By Anthony Mirhaydari Sep 21, 2011 2:53PM

The wait is over. Federal Reserve policymakers announced Wednesday that they are ready and willing to support the flagging economic recovery with another dose of monetary policy support.


Specifically, they will more directly target long-term interest rates by shifting the average maturity of the Fed's bond holdings by buying $400 billion worth of Treasury bonds with maturities over six years while selling an equal number of Treasury bills with maturities of three years or less. The move has been dubbed Operation Twist in honor of a similar action taken in the 1960s.


Essentially, they are taking money out of their left pocket and putting into the right, but the impact will still be positive, since it will push down the interest rates that price mortgage loans, car loans and other consumer credit.


Here's why the Fed did the right thing -- and what to expect next.


Solid reports from the software makers show companies are starting to spend more.

By Kim Peterson Sep 21, 2011 12:58PM
Are companies finally starting to loosen their purse strings?

That's the takeaway after strong earnings reports this week from Oracle (ORCL) and Adobe (ADBE). The companies specialize in business software, and both said sales and profit are doing better than analysts expected.

Investors cheered the news, sending shares of both companies up Wednesday. Oracle's share price spiked nearly 8% to $30.52, and Adobe saw shares rise more than 3% to $25.49. 

Growth-correlated industries like steel, coal and timber could be attractive to aggressive investors if the global economy rebounds.

By TheStreet Staff Sep 21, 2011 11:37AM

Image: Nuts and Bolts © Andrew Bret Wallis/Photodisc/Getty ImagesBy Don Dion, TheStreetTheStreet


The tumultuous action of past few weeks has weighed heavily on investors of all risk tolerances. But while euro concerns and other macroeconomic issues will likely keep many from attempting to reenter the global marketplace, some may be ready to bet on strength.


If the developed market can get itself back on the healing path and emerging countries can return to strength, growth-correlated industries such as coal, steel and timber could be attractive destinations for aggressive investors.


With ETFs, it is possible to gain concentrated exposure to these market slices.


Amid several key warning signs, risk is high for new buying.

By Sep 21, 2011 10:26AM

By Tom Aspray,

Stocks gave up their early gains on Tuesday, and the reversal was the most pronounced in the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite. 

The stock index futures are lower in early trading Wednesday, and the markets may be quiet going into the widely anticipated Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) announcement.

Overseas markets were mostly lower, and the short-term technical studies do suggest that the rally has stalled. 


With no one willing to lend to the biggest French banks, we'll remain in a bizarre standoff with them until we get some sort of government action.

By Jim Cramer Sep 21, 2011 9:28AM

the street logoParibas, Agricole, SocGen -- they are the fulcrum.


Sure, Italian banks are really bad. Spanish banks? No, thanks. But it is these three French banks that the world seems to want to break. These three banks are the ones everyone is whispering, "Don't lend to."


These three -- which are pretty much like JPMorgan (JPM), Bank of America (BAC) and Wells Fargo (WFC) in terms of importance to France but feel more like Lehman, Bear and Countrywide (or Citigroup, Wachovia and Washington Mutual, name your poisoned bank) -- are holding us hostage right now.


They will keep holding us hostage until we get some sort of government action, because of their lack of transparency about what they own, how much they are lending against collateral (are they lending 40-1 against Greek bonds?) and how they are valuing sovereign bonds.


These are the biggest names in the streaming-video rumble, and they could start stealing Netflix customers soon.

By InvestorPlace Sep 21, 2011 9:17AM
By Anthony John Agnello,

Over the past few years, streaming video has been the hottest growth segment in entertainment -- and Netflix (NFLX) has been the undisputed champion. Shares went from $30 in early 2008 to more than $300 in July. Its total subscriber base topped 25 million at the peak.

But this summer, that massive growth hit a wall. Netflix announced it was effectively doubling subscription fees and spinning off its DVD rental business into a new subsidiary. Now it's lost 1 million subscribers during the past two months. Shares went from more than $300 to just $131. For the first time, it seems, there is blood in the streaming-video waters.

So who is ready to gobble up Netflix's market share and transform streaming into a competitive field?


Why is the most valuable company in the US so noticeably absent from the index?

By Kim Peterson Sep 20, 2011 4:57PM
The Dow Jones Industrial Average ($INDU) has some of the biggest names in American business. ExxonMobil (XOM), Wal-Mart (WMT), McDonald's (MCD) and General Electric (GE) are all members, giving investors a good sense for how the biggest stocks are faring.

But there's one glaring absence: Apple (AAPL). The most valuable company in the U.S. is missing from the list and probably won't be allowed into the club anytime soon.

Why? Because Apple's share price is too high. 

With members quickly dropping the service and the stock taking a huge dive, CEO Reed Hastings tried to fix things with an apology. It's not working.

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day Sep 20, 2011 4:50PM

By Seth Jayson


Like many others, I took a shameful pleasure in watching Netflix (NFLX) CEO Reed Hastings' sad-yet-hilarious bungling of yet another major service change. Not satisfied with its recent, customer-alienating moves of jacking up prices 30% to 60% on long-time members -- and reaping a big drop in membership along with a huge fall in stock price -- Netflix had, Hastings said, finally decided to make amends.


The peace offering? A long-winded explanation that the price increase was actually part of an even bigger company initiative, one that will split the subscriber experience in two. Hastings explained that the disc business will abandon a decade's worth of branding to rename itself the horrible "Qwikster," while the smaller streaming catalog will keep the Netflix brand. Best of all, and worst of all, the service site would be split in two!


Policymakers are set to announce Operation Twist. Here's what you need to know.

By Anthony Mirhaydari Sep 20, 2011 4:07PM

Late last month, all eyes were on Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's speech at the Jackson Hole, Wyo., conference. A few weeks before, the Fed had announced its intention to keep interest rates near zero for two more years. And given the recent weakness in the economy and turmoil in capital markets, the hope was that he would repeat last year's performance and announce additional measures to support the recovery.


Last year, he teased what eventually became a $600 billion money-printing operation. The first such program was launched in late 2008 and significantly expanded in March 2009.


Instead of announcing something big, Bernanke postponed the decision one month until the Fed's September policy meeting, which was expanded to two days to allow a fuller discussion of policy options. Now that day of reckoning is upon us, with the Fed's statement due at 2:15 PM ET Wednesday.


Can Bernanke and the Fed satisfy Wall Street's desire for additional stimulus and get the recovery back on track?


The company plans to surprise people with the volume and variety of its supermarket products.

By Kim Peterson Sep 20, 2011 3:59PM
Starbucks (SBUX) is itching to expand into grocery aisles, but we didn't know the scope of the company's ambitions until now. They're huge.

"In the next 12 to 18 months, we will be unveiling new products and entirely new categories," chief executive Howard Schultz told the German magazine Der Spiegel. "We're going to build a major multibillion-dollar business in the grocery industry for Starbucks, both domestically and around the world."

It's clear Starbucks isn't content to just stay in the beverage world. Prepare for some surprises, Schultz added. "I think people are going to be quite surprised over the next few years at what Starbucks is capable of doing," he said. 

Adding Apple's iPhone to its lineup didn't do wonders for Verizon's per-user revenue.

By Jim J. Jubak Sep 20, 2011 3:13PM
This iPhone thing just isn’t working out -- for Verizon (VZ), that is.

The thought on Wall Street was that the company’s addition of Apple's iPhone to its lineup of smartphones would drive Verizon’s smartphone market share higher, and increase the all-important ARPU (average revenue per user) number.

But it just isn’t happening. At least not to the degree that Wall Street expected.


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[BRIEFING.COM] The headlines generally favored Tuesday being another good day for the stock market.  Instead, it was just a mixed day with modest point changes on either side of the unchanged mark for the major indices.

For the most part, the stock market was a sideshow.  The main trading events were seen in the commodity and Treasury markets, both of which saw some decent-sized losses within their respective complex.

Dollar strength was at the heart of the weakness in ... More


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