Stocks have rallied 177%, and while calling a top is the easiest thing to do, it might not be the most accurate, Cramer says.
VIDEO ON MSN MONEY
With Washington gridlocked over the budget and with a shutdown looming Friday, here's a look at the likely impact on stocks and the economy.
The politicos seem hellbent on repeating the 1995 experience and shutting down the federal government starting Friday. A series of frantic powwows at the White House between President Barack Obama and congressional leaders have failed to secure a deal. And with the budget debate shifting from fiscal 2011 to the 2012 budget -- where the discussion has shifted from billions to trillions in spending cuts -- the two parties are headed straight for a brutal, drawn-out fight.
With the economy and corporate profits looking increasingly fragile as inflationary pressures build and consumer confidence plummeting, now is just not a good time to furlough nonessential government workers and shutter national parks.
The good news is that history shows a government shutdown doesn't really have an impact on the stock market. The bad news is that it could have a meaningful effect on Q2 GDP growth (Q1 growth is already looking pretty weak). And, of course, the acrimony sets the stage for an epic fight over the Treasury's $14.3 trillion debt ceiling, which will be reached "no later than May 16" unless Congress acts to extend it. Here's what to expect.
A trend that began last year looks set to continue, according to the World Silver Survey.
By Alix Steel, TheStreet
World investment demand drove silver prices higher in 2010 and the trend is on track to continue in 2011, according to the World Silver Survey by GFMS Research Group.
Silver investment jumped 40% to 279.3 million troy ounces in 2010, or $5.6 billion, while silver prices surged 80%. Net investment demand was led by a 24% increase in ETF holdings to 582.6 million ounces, followed by coin and metal demand, which rose 28% to 101.3 million ounces, and rounded out by 55.6 million ounces worth of bullion bars.
"The biggest news was the significant growth in investment demand," says Philip Klapwijk, the executive chairman of GFMS, "something that has continued, of course, in the first quarter of 2011."
Strategists share their views on where to invest when the Federal Reserve ends its $600 billion bond-purchase program.
By Shanthi Bharatwaj, TheStreet
But market analysts say investors should continue to bet on stocks and commodities even after the Federal Reserve ends its $600 billion bond-buying program -- known as QE2 -- as bonds will prove to be an unsafe alternative.
A combination of recovery expectations, inflation risks and worries about the massive federal deficit have been pressuring bonds and lifting yields -- bond prices and yields share an inverse relationship. But with the Fed stepping in to buy up Treasury notes, analysts say the rise in yields has been relatively modest. The intention of the Fed's purchases is to dampen interest rates so as not to threaten an economic rebound.
Enjoy the move into financial and tech stocks, but don't overstay your welcome.
Can I just say that this is one of the wackiest markets I have ever seen? Look, I get tech. Texas Instruments (TXN) tore the heart out of those who are betting against it. Oclaro's (OCLR) rally for some investors meant that the most punishing tech sell-off has to be over. Maybe someone actually does want to take a run at Finisar (FNSR).
Oh, and speaking of flicking a switch, we now are all happy with Cisco's (CSCO) John Chambers because he has realized what we all knew: The company's strategy was failing. The conviction the market has in this guy is amazing. They even took arch-rival Juniper Networks (JNPR) down on it!
I still respect the seasonality, the supply chain and the personal computer and potential tablet gluts as real issues. But the Texas Instruments-National Semiconductor (NSM) issue shows that these companies are loaded with cash and are doing something about it.
After a string of disappointing dry holes, Statoil finds a field that could keep production stable on the Norwegian continental shelf.
One analyst thinks the company has sold 100,000 Xoom tablets since late February. Is that good or bad? With video.
But can it be called a flop? One analyst from Deutsche Bank estimates that Motorola Mobility (MMI) has sold about 100,000 Xoom units since it launched in late February. This is the first tablet to run the Android Honeycomb software from Google (GOOG), and debuted to great expectations.
So is 100,000 units sold a reason to predict Xoom doom, as CrunchGear does? "This whole thing just smells of failure from all angles," writes Matt Burns. Business Insider calls it a "flop."
Or maybe the Xoom's performance isn't that bad? The always-thoughtful Joe Wilcox says that 100,000 units is much better than he expected.
Post continues after this video comparing the Xoom and the iPad:
The annual poll tracks the companies people trust and admire most. With video.
The survey, conducted by consulting firm Reputation Institute, tried to get at people's perceptions of companies and their products. Amazon scored the highest, with an 82.7, which was 1.3 points higher than second-place Kraft Foods (KFT). Amazon made it to the top by providing a good value, staying technologically savvy and responding quickly to scandals, Forbes reports.
"Amazon is the most reputable company in the U.S. in 2011 because consumers believe that it stands for more than what it sells," an executive at the Reputation Institute told Forbes. The company has a meaningful connection with its customers, the executive added.
The least-reputable company on the list won't be much of a surprise. People were holding their noses at mortgage financier Freddie Mac (FMCC), which scored 29.47. Fannie Mae (FNMA) was the third-least-reputable company. In between was AIG (AIG).
Post continues after this video about the problems with Fannie and Freddie:
After months of impressive growth, Wall Street is busily rolling back estimates of first-quarter GDP growth and corporate profits. Here's why.
Since last summer, stocks have climbed higher on a reacceleration of all that's good in the economy. Profits grew. Hiring expanded. Industrial production increased.
But unfortunately, prices also climbed as inflationary pressures and geopolitical volatility forced food and fuel prices up. Now inflation is beginning to creep into the rest of the supply chain and is being passed on to consumers. That's beginning to slam the brakes both on economic growth and corporate profit margins.
And it's forcing rich world central banks to begin to tighten policy and raise interest rates. Shoppers aren't happy with wages stagnant and at-the-pump prices moving toward $4 a gallon. Confidence is down, and one-year inflation expectations stand at nearly 5%. All of this sets the stage for disappointment in the months ahead as Q1 GDP growth slows and earnings growth decelerates. Here's why.
Water is as important as ever, and this company is poised to grow from a massive industry.
By Jordan DiPietro
Water is one of, if not the most, significant and globally coveted commodity there is. In the past century alone, water use has grown at more than twice the rate of population growth, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Check out some of these startling statistics courtesy of UN Water research:
- More than 1/6 of the global population does not have access to the necessary amount of safe freshwater in order to ensure basic health.
- 2.5 billion people live without basic water sanitation.
- In developing nations, 70% of industrial waste is dumped, untreated, into water supplies.
- Over the past 20 years, more than 600,000 people have died related to natural disasters, of which 90% were water-related events.
Exaggerated fears that high gas prices will bring about the return of the 'staycation' this summer have pressured share prices of these travel stocks down to bargain levels.
By Robert Walberg, TheStreet
The Cubs are playing baseball again, the Masters starts this weekend, and Easter is just around the corner. Despite the unseasonably cool weather, spring is in full bloom, and that means it's time to start planning summer vacations.
Of course, with average gasoline prices fast approaching $4 per gallon, more and more people might choose to stay at, or near, home this year -- a development that many investors fear will put downward pressure on stocks tied to the travel industry. There are three reasons that I think these fears are grossly exaggerated and that now is a great time for investors to snap up some travel-related bargains.
There's no arguing that the current climate is starting to look a lot like that of 2008, when crude oil spiked to $145 per barrel, gas at the pump rose to an average of $4.11 per gallon and airlines raised fares 15 times.
Netflix shares are driven by momentum, and a deal to stream the hit AMC show should get them moving.
I love Netflix (NFLX). I love "Mad Men." So, since Netflix might pay between $75 million and $100 million for the ability to stream "Mad Men" into our homes, I guess I should buy a ton of Netflix, right?
But someone else will. Every time Netflix signs a deal that adds content, the stock goes up. Every time a deal is made to take content away or the company announces that it is going to take it away, the stock pauses.
So in this stop-go world, the "Mad Men" deal is a go, especially since the last bearish story thrown at Netflix was that some networks would withhold original programming because Netflix has entered this area. The most finicky, difficult-to-please auteur in the world, Mathew Weiner, is allowing his "Mad Men" to be on Netflix. So you can bet this negative argument -- that is, not enough content is coming to Netflix because of its own competition -- will fall by the wayside.
Now that the satellite TV provider has won the fire-sale auction for bankrupt Blockbuster, an online movie catalog could be in the works.
Ask subscribers to Dish Network (DISH) why they choose the satellite television provider, and the most common answer is likely to be cost. Dish is cheaper than major cable providers like Comcast (CMCSA) and satellite rival DirecTV (DTV), starting at just $24.99 a month.
But things might not continue to be so simple now. Dish announced early Wednesday that it has bought the defunct library of the one-time movie-rental powerhouse Blockbuster for $320 million at auction, a deal that could present another big reason consumers will buy into Dish: a digital library of movies they can access over the Internet, akin to Netflix.
The purchase of Blockbuster is an important strategic shift for Dish. It means the company is flexing its muscle in an attempt to become a major player.
But more importantly for consumers, it may mean more viewing options and competitive pricing for consumers. Blockbuster's online content library could give Dish Network an opportunity to create an online product to supplement the viewing experience akin to Netflix's offering mail-order DVDs alongside streaming content.
It’s hard to see how an increase in interest rates without a speed-up in the appreciation of the yuan will slow inflation in China.
Insurers could see less revenue as more parents delay their teenagers' driving. But if accidents are also down, it could mean more profits, too.
So many parents are keeping their kids away from the wheel, in fact, that Nationwide Mutual Insurance is warning that it may see its premium revenue fall as a result. A Nationwide survey found that almost a third of parents were concerned about the added costs of allowing a teen to drive. One in seven parents said they would hold off allowing their children to drive.
How expensive is it? Nationwide says households shell out an extra $3,100 each year to allow teens to drive. Gas prices are soaring, and everything else seems to be getting more expensive as well.
Auto insurance for a teenager is through the roof. One industry trade group said adding a teen to an insurance policy can increase premiums by as much as 100%, Bloomberg reported. About a third of the parents who do allow their teens to drive have cut back on dining, entertainment and other expenses just to pay the added costs, Nationwide says.
Missing the annual June iPhone launch will put pressure on Apple shares as the Android rivalry heats up.
By Scott Moritz, TheStreet
"This year's iPhone launch is likely to be later, towards the August/September timeframe," Barclay's Capital analyst Ben Reitzes wrote in a research note Tuesday.
Concerns about Apple's iPhone 5 missing at the traditional June launch as well as a rebalancing move in the Nasdaq-100 index have been a knock on Apple shares recently.
MORE ON MSN MONEY
Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.
Like many companies this winter, the fast-food giant blamed a drop in same-store sales on the weather. But could its problems be bigger than a snowbank?
Top Stocks provides analysis about the most noteworthy stocks in the market each day, combining some of the best content from around the MSN Money site and the rest of the Web.
Contributors include professional investors and journalists affiliated with MSN Money.
Follow us on Twitter @topstocksmsn.
[BRIEFING.COM] The major averages began the new trading week on a slightly lower note with small caps leading the weakness. The Russell 2000 shed 0.3% while the S&P 500 slipped less than a point with six sectors ending in the red.
Equity indices began the day in negative territory with only the Nasdaq (-0.04%) making a very brief appearance in the green. After sliding through the first hour of action, the major averages reversed and spent the remainder of the session climbing off ... More
More Market News
|There’s a problem getting this information right now. Please try again later.|