Some companies hit all-time records last month, while others missed forecasts.
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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.
Critics of the famed investor and his company have plenty to say after a deputy is caught up in questions of insider trading. With video.
Enter Michael Steinhardt, the chairman of WisdomTree Investments, a company that manages about $10.1 billion in exchange-traded funds. Steinhardt had plenty to say about Buffett on CNBC Tuesday, calling him the "greatest PR person of recent times," one that has "managed to achieve a snow job that has conned virtually everyone in the press."
Steinhardt goes on to say that Buffett snookered everyone with his decision to give away billions of his personal fortune to philanthropy. Buffett didn't donate any money in the first 70 years of his life, Steinhardt says.
The fund has become increasingly disjointed from its underlying index, so just watch it from the sidelines for now.
By Don Dion, TheStreet
In view of rising oil prices and souring sentiment toward nuclear energy, natural gas is back in the spotlight, driving investors into ETFs and exchange-traded notes targeting the attractive fuel source.
The sudden spurt of popularity has created an alarming, albeit interesting, scenario for one of these products, the futures-based iPath Dow Jones UBS Natural Gas Subindex Total Return ETN (GAZ).
As investors have poured into the product, GAZ has become increasingly disjointed from its underlying index. This has resulted in the development of a substantial premium that stood at nearly 18% as of April 1.
This shipping company is packing on the dividends.
By Jim Royal
My Special Situations portfolio is focused on transactional events that create advantageous stock mispricings. Often, special situations create value through their structural complexity or through a lag in financial reporting that typically follows any change. One of those transactional events is a company starting to pay a once-slashed dividend. For my latest buy recommendation, that company is Seaspan (SSW).
The company is poised to massively increase its dividend as it finishes building out its container ship fleet, and it's already shown signs of the dividend increases, with a recent promise to hike the payout by 50% for the year, to $0.75 per share, following last year's climb of 25%. Moreover, the company has promised a "progressive dividend policy," indicating that it will substantially raise its dividend as earnings ramp. That's a policy that BP (BP) has undertaken as it brings its dividend back up after a few quarters of no payout.
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[BRIEFING.COM] S&P futures vs fair value: -4.50. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: +0.30. The initial claims and Q3 GDP headlines were both better than expected, but not all they seemed to be. Seasonal adjustment problems biased the claims data lower while the change in private inventories biased Q3 GDP growth higher. Real final sales, which exclude the change in inventories, were up just 1.9%, which is down from the 2.0% growth rate reported in the first estimate for Q3 ... More
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