Stocks should be crushed by global turmoil, Jim Cramer says. Instead, they're doing fine.
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Growth-correlated industries like steel, coal and timber could be attractive to aggressive investors if the global economy rebounds.
By Don Dion, TheStreet
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 Tom Aspray, MoneyShow.com
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.
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.
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?
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 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.
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.
"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.
A split of the European Union could bring about good buying opportunities in German equities.
By Tom Aspray, MoneyShow.com
Global markets seem to be factoring in a default by Greece, and many analysts are looking for a breakup of the European Union. Several analysts think we will end up with both a northern and southern Eurozone.
The overnight downgrade of Italy’s debt may add further pressure on the European Union, as Italy’s debt costs initially increased. Though I personally do not believe we will see a breakup of the European Union in the financial markets, anything is possible. Germany’s economy is in the best position to take advantage of a breakup and a new German deutschemark should have considerable investor appeal.
For those who are pessimistic about the fate of the European Union, an investment in a German company, ETF, or closed-end fund should make you well positioned.
The automaker likes to remind us that it didn't take a government bailout like its Detroit rivals, but does the story resonate with car buyers?
By Ted Reed, TheStreet
The Ford story has always been a tale of a company that eschewed a government bailout and pulled itself up by its bootstraps. And Ford has never been shy about telling it. Ford executives, from CEO Alan Mulally on down, have said regularly that the story has helped Ford sales.
A recent TV ad lets a Ford F150 buyer tell the story in his own words: "I wasn't going to buy another car that was bailed out by our government," says the buyer, identified only as Chris. "I was going to buy from a manufacturer that's standing on their own: win, lose, or draw.
Funds tracking agricultural, natural gas and other futures are taking steps to protect themselves.
By Don Dion, TheStreet
Over the weekend, The Economist noted that the Commodities Futures Trading Committee is taking aim at speculators by proposing to implement position limits on contracts for 28 separate commodities.
The report says the CFTC's goal is to bar any individual from controlling more than a quarter of the total U.S. supply of any of these commodities.
In recent years, investors have learned firsthand that heightened regulation can affect the inner workings of a futures-tracking ETF. Perhaps the most glaring example is the United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG).
With the size and scope of the USPS, more than just delivery-dependent providers would feel the pain.
The United States Postal Service is in dire straits. It is projecting a $6.4 billion loss and could run out of money by the end of the month without a congressional bailout to meet pension requirements.
The driving forces behind the agency's financial woes are many, including a precipitous drop in mail volume because of the digital age, skyrocketing labor costs and an inefficient network populated with infrequently used rural post offices and routes that just don't make sense financially.
But more than just mail routes and government payrolls would be affected. For-profit businesses have a lot of skin in the game, too. Here are five businesses that could suffer from a USPS overhaul.
Don't be dissuaded by Monday's sell-off. It's just another opportunity to add the metal to your portfolio.
The papers are filled with doom and gloom. Let's count 'em: Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner didn't seem to get much done in Europe, so we had another terrible day for the euro. Worries about higher consumer prices without higher growth have people buzzing about stagflation. And there's no let-up in residential housing prices in China. This is all within the past 72 hours.
Pretty grim, right?
Unless, that is, you think about the prospects of what it might mean for gold, which, bizarrely, sold off Monday, giving you another chance to get into the precious metal.
Why was it down? Oddly, I think it's because Europe isn't collapsing and the reports of it getting out of control are greatly exaggerated. I reiterate the faith I feel in what Geithner said last week -- that there will be no more Lehmans. If that's the case -- and the market seems to be saying it with gold not soaring -- we have more ways to win than just gold.
The manufacturer cuts revenue and profit guidance for the year. What does this say for the company and the sector?
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Tighter regulations and the end of a lengthy bull market in bonds have changed the landscape forever.
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[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market maintained a narrow trading range on Thursday before ending the session essentially where it began. The S&P 500 added less than a point, while the small-cap Russell 2000 (-0.2%) underperformed.
Equity indices displayed early strength thanks in part to an overnight boost from better than expected economic data in China and Europe. Specifically, China's HSBC Manufacturing PMI surged to an 18-month high (52.0 from 50.7), while Eurozone Manufacturing PMI ... More
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