Some companies hit all-time records last month, while others missed forecasts.
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The highly anticipated launch of Apple's flagship smart phone on Verizon's network could mean doom for other carriers.
By Anthony John Agnello, InvestorPlace.com
It's official. Well, nearly official. After more than a year of rumors, Apple Inc. (AAPL) and Verizon Wireless (VZ) are all but certain to announce an iPhone exclusive to Verizon's service tomorrow. And according to leaks, the Verizon iPhone's rumored launch will be in February.
The new iPhone will be very similar in design to the AT&T (T) model, the iPhone 4, which has proved massively popular since its June 2010 release. The only major difference is that the smart phone has been tweaked to meet the standard of Verizon's 3G network.
But although AT&T and Verizon iPhones are nearly identical, there are three distinct reasons VZ will win the iPhone carrier wars after the phone's inevitable release:
High overhead and struggling local governments fuel a wave of mergers, paring down an industry with too many players.
Duke Energy's(DUK) merger with Progress Energy (PGN) doesn't usher in a new wave of utility deals as much as it verifies that the takeover wave, which has included FirstEnergy (FE), Nicor (GAS) and Northeast Utilities (NU) deals, continues unabated.
We have long been a nation with too many utilities and too many banks, a legacy of legislation in the 1930s that railed against consolidation in both industries.
But just as we saw the crisis in banking leading to the collapse of such cares -- giving us Bank of America(BAC), Wells Fargo (WFC) and JPMorgan (JPM), which will create gigantic earnings power because of that consolidation -- we are seeing the merging of utilities to deal with flailing state governments and the high cost of people who can't be justified in an era of high-tech power generation.
Rising food prices have propelled funds that hold agriculture-related stocks.
By Don Dion, TheStreet
Here are five ETFs to watch this week.
Food prices have surged in recent months, returning to record levels last seen in 2008. This rally has helped power agriculture-related equities such as those underlying MOO to strong gains.
Improving economic conditions in the developed world and rampant economic growth across emerging economies look likely to prolong this current food rally. MOO is a fund to keep on the radar.
Founder and longtime leader Hugh Hefner offers a premium on the stock to take it off the market.
By Jeff Reeves, Editor of InvestorPlace.com
Playboy Enterprises (PLA) has agreed to a $207 million buyout by a group led by founder Hugh Hefner. That means Playboy will no longer be a publicly traded stock and will no longer have to air as much of its dirty laundry for the rest of the world to see.
If Hefner's move had failed the bunny brand, it could have fallen into the hands of a Playboy rival, the company that owns and operates Penthouse magazine.
Here are the details:
Large stocks left other sectors in the dust last week. Look for the reverse next week.
The market is off and running in 2011. Traders came back to a market that had enjoyed its best December in two decades uncertain whether to sell stocks short or push the market higher.
Aside from the largest names in the market stocks struggled during the first week of trading. Momentum names gave back gains and the inflation trade took a breather on the strength of the dollar gaining during the first week of the New Year.
The S&P 500 managed to gain 1%, but other indexes were negative.
Look for a reversal in week two. Momentum names and inflation plays will be where the action is next week.
My recommendation would be to jump all over the IShares Russell 2000 (IWM) ETF this week.
Reasons why we like Best Buy
- Competition from other electronic retail providers has been reduced to the point where Best Buy has become the remaining "go-to" store in its sector by default
- Today's announcement of their electronic charging station partnership with Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) may prove far more lucrative long term than present valuation suggests
- An improving economy will benefit Best Buy
Here are some ETFs that investors can get into to get exposure to alternative energy.
By Don Dion, TheStreet
Warren Buffett's recent investment in the wind energy industry has taken center stage and stolen headlines. Using ETFs, investors can follow Buffett's lead and gain exposure to companies which work to harness and profit from the power of wind.
Energy is not a new venture for Buffett. On the contrary, through a number of his investments and subsidiaries, Warren Buffett has expanded his investment reach into various corners of the energy industry. Boasting exposure to companies including Exxon Mobil (XOM), ConocoPhillips (COP) and Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad, the famous investor has for years held direct and indirect exposure to various traditional fuel sources, including oil and coal.
The alternative energy industry is not excluded from Buffett's portfolio, either. Well known components of the Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) portfolio, including General Electric (GE) and BYD have been major players in the growth of clean tech and energy industries such as wind, solar, and battery power in recent years
Big revenue and profit generators go hand in hand, but does that mean stocks of companies with big brands are moneymakers for investors?
By James Dlugosch, Stockpickr
These companies have some of the most recognizable brands in the market, allowing them to generate big profits. The two go hand in hand, but does that mean stocks of companies with big brands are moneymakers for investors?
Making money for a company and making money for an investor are two different things. If the stock of a company with a well-known brand has already been fully priced, buying that investment today may not be such a smart thing.
Then again, if the stock of a big-brand company lags the market and is not priced at fair value, investors may want to consider that stock for their portfolio. Let’s take a look at some of these names to see if their stocks are as big as their brands
Companies stopped buying trucks as the recession lingered, but expect orders to rebound with the economy.
Shares haven't moved lower like this since August.
Share prices were dropping hard Friday, and the evidence suggests this is just the beginning. The catalysts were a disappointing December jobs report, ongoing woes in the eurozone and a decision by the Massachusetts Supreme Court against Wells Fargo (WFC) and US Bancorp (USB) concerning treatment of mortgage securitization by the banks.
This has revived concerns that banks will face increased losses from mortgage "put backs" from investors. It also called into question the banks' ability to foreclose on mortgages that have been securitized.
As a result, small-cap stocks are struggling, the dollar is moving higher and commodity prices are sliding. What's worse, there is evidence that this is just that start of a protracted decline as we enter a period of seasonal weakness. If true, it would mean the bull market faces a few weeks of losses before the long-term uptrend can resume.
Brink's stock is almost as solid as its armored cars.
Investors are always looking for a dominant business with a large moat at a low price, even if they never expect to find one. Fool analyst Dan Dzombak believes he has.
Rex Moore, Motley Fool Top Stocks editor
I'm excited to recommend and open a position in Brink's (BCO).
You've probably seen Brink's armored cars driving around your neighborhood at some point, but you probably didn't realize that Brink's trucks are seen globally. Only 30% of Brink's business comes from North America. The rest comes from around the world.
Goldman Sachs invests in a company your financial adviser wouldn't touch with a 10-foot pole. Apple makes iPhones that fail to ring when required. Insurance companies sue Toyota.
By TheStreet Staff, TheStreet
Here's this week's roundup of the dumbest actions in business.
5. Goldman joins Facebook investors
What do you get when you combine a company your financial adviser wouldn't touch with a 10-foot pole, a Russian "oligarch" and mind-blowing fees? You have an investment opportunity.
Money manager, author and blogger Vitaliy Katsenelson explains the malaise.
China is extremely important to the global economy. China to some degree helped to pull the global economy out of recession with its enormous stimulus. However, I expect China’s economy to get worse at some point in the not too distant future
The Chinese economy grew at a very fast rate for long period of time. The Chinese government is extremely concerned that if the growth rate of its economy slows down it is going to have high unemployment. Ironically, though, this country that is supposed to be communist has less socialism than we have in the United States.
Shares of Bank of America, Citigroup and other major financials are too cheap to pass up.
You know what these stocks have in common? Their prices are ridiculously low, kept down by rumor, innuendo, disbelieving analysts and lies.
Money manager, author and blogger Vitaliy Katsenelson explains the malaise.
To paraphrase Nassim Taleb, "Giving interviews is the art of repeating oneself without anyone noticing." With the new book out, I have the pleasure and the opportunity to perfect that art. My latest interview, with my friend Bob Huebscher of Adviser Perspectives, is below; and here are links to my interviews with John Mihalijevic of Manual of Ideas (John is co-organizer of ValueEx; see below), Elliot Turner of Wall Street Cheat Sheet, and an audio interview with Jim Puplava of Financal Sense. I tried very hard to offer new perspectives in each interview, even when we discussed the same subjects. I tried.
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The retailer labels the character's fake memoir as non-fiction. This comes weeks after it categorized the the Bible as fiction.
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[BRIEFING.COM] The drive for five continued today and it was a success. For the fifth straight session, the S&P 500 ended lower. Like the previous four sessions, though, the losses were fairly modest in scope. The S&P 500 declined 0.4%, bringing its total loss for the five sessions to 22 points or 1.2%. All in all, that still qualifies as a pretty tame slide considering the S&P 500 had risen 150 points, or 9.1%, over the previous eight weeks.
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