There are some picks in this sector that have excellent valuations and strong earnings growth.
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Despite signs of improvement, the homebuilder industry remains volatile. Long-term investors should focus on funds tracking real-estate investment trusts.
By Don Dion, TheStreet
An optimistic batch of data released over the past few days has left some investors wondering if, after years of floundering, housing is at last showing some signs of a comeback.
Despite lingering concerns about a global economic slowdown, homebuilders appear to be getting work. Wednesday's Commerce Department report on housing starts managed to come in at an annualized rate of 658,000 housing starts. Though not a stellar number on its own, it marked a 15% increase, above and beyond what analysts had been expecting.
Further adding to the positive mood, the National Association of Homebuilders on Tuesday reported that confidence across the industry has been on the rise. According to a report on the agency's Web site, the National Association of Homebuilder/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index jumped four points to 18 in October. This marked the largest single monthly gain seen since April 2010.
The offerings aren't as sexy as iPhones and iPads, but the company innovates and consistently makes money for its investors.
By Frank Byrt, TheStreet
Which company was founded by an entrepreneur who was ahead of his time and changed the world, keeps innovating to stay ahead of its rivals and charges more than competitors for basically the same products?
No, it's not Apple (AAPL), whose late co-founder, Steve Jobs, ignited a revolution in must-have digital gadgets such as the iPod and iPhone.
It's McDonald's (MCD), which started out as a small hamburger chain and, through franchising and the addition of offerings like salads and coffee, has become the world's biggest restaurant company, whose profits dwarf the likes of Burger King (BKC).
New signs of weakness in gold futures and popular ETFs like GLD and GDX suggest that a new decline could unfold, ultimately setting the stage for a stronger rebound later on.
By Tom Aspray, MoneyShow.com
The sharp decline in gold futures and the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) from the September 2 highs has dampened some of the high bullish sentiment, but it still seems too high. From a technical standpoint, the rally from the September 23 lows has been pretty anemic, which increases the odds of another sharp decline.
Typically, after such a sharp drop, I would expect to see a rebound that recouped 38.2% to 50% of the previous decline. After GLD dropped from a high of $185.84 to a low of $154.16, just a 38.2% retracement would have taken the fund back to $166.31, while the 50% retracement resistance level stands at $169.90. GLD, however, has only been able to rally as high as $164.19.
This is a sign of weakness, and from a time standpoint, I would not be surprised to see the correction in gold last another month, possibly even two.
Dividend-stock funds have been some of the best performers lately, and are good choices for both the short and long haul.
Kate Stalter: Today I am speaking with Christine Benz. She is the director of Personal Finance at Morningstar.
Christine, you write regularly giving advice to individual investors. I’ve looked at some of your recent articles, and I wanted to start out today by asking you: What’s the appropriate way for longer-term investors to approach mutual funds at this juncture, given all the uncertainty in the market?
Short-sighted sellers are creating a buying opportunity in Apple shares.
For the first time since 2004, Apple (AAPL) -- a buy-rated stock on our Recommended List -- missed analyst estimates.
Nevertheless, by most accounts, most companies wish they could post the kind of growth Apple generated this past quarter.
Shares are priced too high to rally off these quarterly reports.
"They aren't coming in as I thought they would," someone said to me last night at dinner.
"These earnings are really nothing to write home about," someone emailed me as I was on the way home.
Guy in the hall: "Jim, you are too bullish about earnings."
Wait a second. The earnings are fine! It's the stocks that are bad. That's right, all the stocks with good earnings have had a monster move already, and I have to tell you that I don't even care what they say -- the stocks won't work.
Nokia and Ericsson report better-than-expected quarterly results. EBay's guidance disappoints investors.
By Andrea Tse, TheStreet
Telecommunications company AT&T (T) reported third-quarter earnings that met the estimates of analysts as it added 2.1 million wireless subscribers to pass 100 million.
AT&T earned $3.6 billion, or 61 cents a share. Revenue fell 0.3% to $31.48 billion.
Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected AT&T to earn 61 cents a share on revenue of $31.62 billion. AT&T shares were down 2.3% to $28.40.
Are we headed for another depression?
Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold (FCX) beat analyst estimates Wednesday in its third-quarter earnings report, but copper was trading down more than 2%.
What does that say about the health of copper, and in turn, the global economy?
The Phoenix, Ariz.-based company reported earnings of $1.10 per share on $5.2 billion in revenue. Wall Street had expected earnings of $1.02 to $1.05 per share on $4.8 billion in revenue, so Freeport handily beat estimates.
"When is the last time everyone predicted a recession in advance?" The short answer is: never.
By Morgan Housel
The headline was too much to resist: "Analyst says stocks may fall another 50%."
I go to great lengths to avoid these prognostications, but I couldn't help myself. I clicked. It was a video of a well-dressed stock picker, ready to predict the future with unflappable conviction.
We haven't seen anything yet, he warned. The coming months will shower the economy with destruction on par with the Great Depression. Stocks will fall another 50%.
Who was this man? I hadn't a clue. It didn't matter. He seemed to know the future. What if he were right?
Sales are down for 3 years in a row, while alcoholic spirits are seeing renewed interest.
And now the industry is in a bit of a panic. One reason? The old ways of doing business just don't cut it anymore. Jokey Super Bowl commercials don't resonate like they used to. Weak, watery beer is falling out of favor.
Consumer attention has especially turned to alcoholic spirits lately. Spirit volume sales rose 3.2% for the year ended in mid-September, Ad Age reports. Beer sales fell 1.5%. How can beer compete when Captain Morgan, Johnnie Walker and Skinnygirl cocktails have all the momentum?
Launching the iPhone 4S in October cut into quarterly sales but also allowed the company to raise guidance for the current quarter.
Management reportedly cancels a meeting wtih an activist investor in a stunning move that smacks of arrogance.
Research In Motion (RIMM) has been called the headless horseman before.
Now it appears that management has gone to a new level of cluelessness, reportedly canceling a meeting between an activist investor and two board members.
Company lawyers nixed the meeting that Jaguar Financial had scheduled with two of RIM's independent directors, according to reports. Jaguar was supposedly going to talk about corporate governance. It appears to be a safe bet that RIM's co-chief executives, Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie, had something to do with the cancellation.
The coffee chain is introducing its lightest and mildest roast yet in an effort to reach more customers.
The coffee chain is trying to change that perception with Blonde, its lightest roast ever, and one it says is milder and less acidic. It's an attempt to reach that 40% of the U.S. coffee-drinking crowd that prefers a lighter roast, Reuters reports.
The move amounts to a land grab in the coffee market. Starbucks wants new customers and is breaking its Italian-inspired tradition of darker, heartier roasts to get them. "This is a significant opportunity for Starbucks to gain a greater share of the brewed-coffe market," the company said.
The channel will push local news in California as a test for a nationwide rollout.
By Jeff Reeves, InvestorPlace.com
Want some Little League scores with your Big Mac?
McTV will be introduced at select restaurants in California during the next few months, eventually reaching 800 locations. If successful, it could roll out nationwide soon after.
Be prepared to buy strong stocks on corrections.
By Tom Aspray, MoneyShow.com
Monday’s sharp decline took many stocks in the strong sectors back to first good support, while the market averages held well above their first retracement levels. With Monday’s drop, many called an end to the rally from the October lows and expected stocks to go much lower.
This view was supported by the weaker-than-expected earnings from Goldman Sachs (GS), but instead of dropping, the stock moved higher. Tuesday’s sharp gains are characteristic of a stock market that is internally strong and can go much higher.
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These hot movers could rise by double digits in coming months.
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[BRIEFING.COM] Equity indices closed out the month of August on a modestly higher note. The Russell 2000 (+0.6%) and Nasdaq Composite (+0.5%) finished ahead of the S&P 500 (+0.3%), which extended its August gain to 3.8%. Blue chips lagged with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (+0.1%) spending the bulk of the session in the red.
The final week of August represented one of the quietest stretches for the stock market so far this year. The first four sessions of the week produced the ... More
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