Energy boom makes oil a safe haven
Oil becomes a surprising safe haven

The idea of US crude being a shelter from turmoil abroad may not be as far fetched as it seems.


One analyst says the video-rental company may have split itself up to pave the way for an acquisition.

By Kim Peterson Sep 22, 2011 1:00PM
Netflix (NFLX) has taken an incredible beating recently -- see the chart here -- with shares plunging nearly 45% since the first of the month to approach a 52-week low.

It's an amazing drop for the one-time market darling. And many observers are shaking their heads in disbelief, since this company normally executes flawlessly. Now its executives look like boneheads.

What happened to Netflix? 

These major market areas are likely to continue to underperform. Use careful risk controls to avoid big losing positions.

By Sep 22, 2011 12:35PM

By Tom Aspray,

The late-in-session drop in the stock market after the Fed announcement was consistent with the deterioration in the technical outlook discussed yesterday. The McClellan Oscillator has broken below support, which makes a further drop very likely.

Three of the major sectors look most vulnerable to further selling and they are likely to underperform the S&P 500. Even though technology was also lower, it continues to show better relative performance, or RS analysis, which suggests the tech sector will hold above the August lows.

For the Select Sector SPDR - Energy (XLE), it is important to keep an eye on crude oil prices. As I have frequently pointed out, crude oil often leads the stock market on both the up and down side. November crude oil was down over $2 yesterday, and a break of key support would be a negative for the energy sector and stocks in general.


The Fed's latest maneuver may be bad for banks in the long term, but there are some defensive picks.

By TheStreet Staff Sep 22, 2011 10:48AM

By Dan Freed, TheStreetTheStreet


Wells Fargo (WFC), JPMorgan Chase (JPM), SunTrust Banks (STI) and City National Corp. (CYN) are the banks best positioned for a flatter U.S. Treasury yield curve now that the Federal Reserve has flattened it in a move dubbed Operation Twist, according to a research report published Wednesday by Evercore Partners.


There had been widespread speculation that the Fed would perform Operation Twist -- which aims to raise short-term interest rates while pushing down long-term rates -- before the Fed officially announced the plan Wednesday. The hope is that the move will attract foreign capital while keeping financing costs low, the Evercore report stated before the Fed made the move official.


Overall, Operation Twist would be bad for banks in the long term because it would negatively affect net interest margins, which represent the difference between banks' cost of capital and what they can charge borrowers.


The chance of a market bounce is diminishing, but high-yield stocks will start to attract more money from long-term bonds.

By Jim Cramer Sep 22, 2011 9:35AM

the streetDid anyone get the license plate of that truck? I think it was a vanity plate. I think it had the word "significant" on it. Because that's the word that the Fed inserted before the term "downside risk," a word that didn't exist in the Aug. 9 statement that jumped at you this time around.


So we get one of those old-time sell-offs, one that takes down not only the companies that do poorly when there is significant risk -- you know, the usual suspects they shoot every day when things are said to be bad, such as rails, chemicals, papers, minerals -- but also the "recession-rich" stocks -- new term -- the ones that make you rich if there is a recession.


Yep, it was an S&P 500 ($INX) jailbreak. Everyone is, indeed, selling everything. Didn't we see this before? Except then we were in better shape to handle it.


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. 


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[BRIEFING.COM] S&P futures vs fair value: -2.40. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: -4.30. U.S. equity futures trade little changed amid subdued action overseas. The S&P 500 futures hover two points below fair value.

Reviewing overnight developments:

  • Asian markets ended higher. Japan's Nikkei +0.5%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng +0.9%, and China's Shanghai Composite +2.4% 
    • There was no economic data reported on Monday 
    • In news: 


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