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Be wary of dire market forecasts

The most likely scenario is that the markets will begin to rise from here -- and that bounce is just beginning to take hold.

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Closed-end mutual funds can offer discounts of 10% or more. But do your homework before jumping in.

By TheStreet Staff Jun 15, 2011 11:25AM

Image: Mutual funds (© Don Farrall/Getty Images)By Robert Holmes, TheStreet

 

The stock market slump has led some investors to turn more defensive, and now they are clamoring for the safety of securities with high yields.

 

That means bond funds, Dow stocks and REITs. But they may be overlooking closed-end funds, such as the BlackRock Credit Allocation Income Trust (BTZ), which offer discounts of 10% or more and generous yields that may produce positive returns this year.

 

Picking a closed-end fund with an outsized yield trading at a discount to its net asset value (the perceived value of its underlying investments) can seem like finding a needle in a haystack. But with diligence and research, they can be found, says Patrick Galley of RiverNorth Capital, a Chicago company with nearly half of its $1 billion in assets invested in closed-end funds.

 

Utilities are heating up, and these three stocks have found strong support, creating attractive—and relatively safe—buying opportunities for income-minded investors.

By MoneyShow.com Jun 15, 2011 11:13AM
By Tom Aspray, MoneyShow.com

Tuesday’s action in the stock market has caused the short term Advance/Decline (A/D) indicators to turn up from oversold levels. Clearly, bearish sentiment had reached levels that are normally associated with important turning points.

The futures’ early reaction to this morning’s CPI number has been extremely negative, causing the market to give up much of Tuesday’s gains. A close above Tuesday’s highs is needed to signal that a short-term low is in place.

During the correction, I have been monitoring what I’ve deemed “The Best Sectors for Summer,” all of which are back to first good support. 

In particular, the utilities sector, as tracked by the Select Sector SPDR - Utilities (XLU), and many of the utility stocks are now looking quite interesting. They have declined over the past month, now reaching good chart and retracement support. The longer-term volume patterns do suggest that this correction is a buying opportunity.
 
Tags: etf

Where tech investors crave growth -- in cloud services and the surge in smartphones -- Pandora is a hit. With video on Pandora's first day of trading on Wall Street.

By TheStreet Staff Jun 15, 2011 11:13AM

By Scott Moritz, TheStreet

 

Prudent Pandora Media (P) watchers have focused on many of the flaws in the company, but the bigger picture is so much kinder.

 

Sure, the company will continue to drip red ink for the rest of the year, maybe longer. Yes, with only 9.2% of the outstanding shares being sold in the IPO, it qualifies as a so-called sliver offering, a distortion of thin supply and heavy demand that helped overheatLinkedIn's (LNKD) debut.

 

It's also an easy-to-imitate service that, even with its vaunted predictive musical-taste-matching system, seems to offer a limited selection and repetitive results.

 

Yet while all that may be true, Pandora has what investors crave.

 

The iPhone maker will probably find a quick replacement for Ron Johnson, who is leaving to lead JCPenney.

By TheStreet Staff Jun 15, 2011 10:55AM

By James Rogers, TheStreet

 

Apple (APPL) should shrug off the departure of its retail guru Ron Johnson to JCPenney (JCP), according to Goldman Sachs (GS), which says the company's growing network of stores will continue their upward trajectory.

 

"While Mr. Johnson has been a key figure in Apple's expansion and we view his departure as a loss, the company's retail strategy is now well established," explained Bill Shope, an analyst at Goldman Sachs, in a note released on Tuesday. "As a result, there is a firm retail template in place and we see little disruption to the company's plans or performance."

 

Johnson will assume the Penney CEO's position on Nov. 1, according to the Plano, Tex.-based retailer, succeeding Myron (Mike) Ullman III. In a statement, Penney also confirmed that Johnson will join its board of directors, effective Aug. 1.

 

While spending in the U.S. may be hurting, China’s demand for luxury goods remains strong

By InvestorPlace Jun 15, 2011 9:12AM
By Charles Sizemore, InvestorPlace.com

 

investorplaceKohler, the American plumbing fixtures manufacturer, now sells the $6,400 Numi luxury toilet in emerging markets like China. Driven by the demanding tastes of China’s newly wealthy, the Numi features a heated footrest and a “sleek iTouch style remote,” according to the Financial Times, that controls an internal music system, the adjustable bidet, and the temperature of the seat.

 

It also allows the user to play video games, read e-books, and call friends on Skype. Yes, Skype. The press release didn’t elaborate on whether or not Skype’s video conferencing features are enabled; I sincerely hope that they are not.

 

This story about a tricked-out toilet is good for a laugh, but it also is a serious example of the potential of emerging markets. Consumers in regions like China have money to burn on consumer and luxury goods even as Americans are cutting back.

 

Ron Johnson is a visionary in the retail world who will help lead the stalled-out department store into its long-awaited next turn.

By Jim Cramer Jun 15, 2011 8:51AM

jim cramerthe streetIs Ron Johnson worth a billion dollars to JCPenney (JCP)? No. He might be worth more.

 

Johnson, if you aren't familiar with his work, is the man who invented the look and feel of the Apple (AAPL) Store -- which, by the way, is the most successful retailer in the world. The average Apple Store is estimated to sell about $27 million in product each year, which comes to more than $4,000 per square foot. No merchant on earth comes near it -- nobody even has more than $1,000 per square foot that I can find -- and I would attribute an outsized amount of that money to Johnson, who turned Target (TGT) around before he went to Apple and has the best eye in the business.

 

Remember, every other computer company has failed at retail. Apple is the best success story in retail -- ever -- and Johnson was instrumental, with innovations like the Genius Bar and the swarming smart young people who help you and get you started. Once someone has bought something at an Apple Store, the repeat business is astounding.

 

Higher fuel prices and labor costs take a bite out of GOL's operating margins even as traffic and revenue climb..

By Jim J. Jubak Jun 14, 2011 5:00PM
Jim JubakShares of GOL Linhas Aereas Inteligentes (GOL) continue to close in on the June 29, 2010 low at $11.72. Even yesterday’s solid report on May traffic couldn’t keep the stock of Brazil’s low-cost airline out of the red.

Today, of course, the stock is up on the global bounce, but I’m not sure how long that will last.

Traffic climbed by 12.7% in May, GOL reported yesterday. The company recorded 2.44 billion revenue-passenger kilometers in May, up from 2.17 billion in May 2010. (A revenue-passenger kilometer is calculated by multiplying the number of paying passengers by the number of kilometers flown.)

GOL’s load factor -- the percentage of available seats that are occupied -- climbed to 62.9% in May, from 57.9% in May 2010.
 

Bidding online for everything from designer jeans to appliances was supposed to overhaul commerce as we knew it. What happened?

By Kim Peterson Jun 14, 2011 4:18PM
Online auctions were supposed to be the next big thing. At least that's what people thought in the dot-com boom, when eBay (EBAY) was full of promise.

What happened over the last decade? Now, even eBay doesn't care much for online auctions (they make up 31% of sales on the site) and the very concept of bidding for something over the computer seems to be dead, writes Wired Magazine.

EBay has gone from being an auction company with a payments business (PayPal) on the side to being a financial company with an auction business on the side. PayPal is growing like a weed, and brought in $3.4 billion in revenue last year.

EBay still runs auctions, but most of those go through the fixed-price "Buy it Now" option that eliminates the need for bidding. 

Firming economic data and a recovery in the credit markets are helping stocks push off of their worst oversold condition since the late 1990s.

By Anthony Mirhaydari Jun 14, 2011 4:12PM

Well, isn't that better?

 

Stocks, commodities and other risky assets blasted higher Tuesday, thanks to a batch of good economic data. Inflationary pressure -- one of the main reasons for the market sell-off over last the past two months -- is beginning to abate because of lower energy prices. Retail sales were better than expected. And inventories remain very tight, setting the stage for a production rebound in the second half of the year while businesses restock their shelves as the economy re-accelerates.


This is a welcome change after the S&P 500 lost 7.7% from its May 1 high and settled into one of the worst oversold situation in decades. Breadth is blowing out, and by all indications, the rebound is the real deal and should continue. Here's why:

 

The lawn and garden company eyes medical marijuana as a potential business opportunity.

By Kim Peterson Jun 14, 2011 2:38PM
Medical marijuana is a potentially huge market for some major corporations. But we haven't heard much about it from chief executives -- until now.

Scotts Miracle-Gro (SMG) is definitely interested in medical marijuana. And why not? The company's premium topsoil, plant food and weed killers could find new customers among marijuana growers.

It's an opportunity that chief executive Jim Hagedorn can't pass up. "I want to target the pot market," he told The Wall Street Journal. "There's no good reason we haven't."

Check out the following video interview for more about Hagedorn's comments.

Post continues after video

A strong lineup of brands will help the company claim more than 40% of the at-home coffee-drinking market, one analyst says.

By TheStreet Staff Jun 14, 2011 2:32PM

the streetImage: Coffee (© Foodcollection RF/Getty Images/Getty Images)By Miriam Reimer, TheStreet

 

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (GMCR) is poised to capture at least 40% of the market for coffee-drinking homes, according to Canaccord Genuity analyst Scott Van Winkle.

 

Already the clear leader in the single-serve coffee market through the success of its Keurig brewing system, Van Winkle said he raised his market share expectations for Keurig from 15% to 25% and then to 30%, but sees the one-cup brewer garnering upwards of 40% market penetration "given the strong line-up of brands available and further innovation lying ahead."

 

He specifically mentioned the Dunkin' Donuts brand of K-Cups -- single-serve pods used to brew a cup of coffee with the Keurig machines -- as a way Green Mountain is making gains towards deeper market share.

 

The cable giant will allow customers to use video calling through their television sets.

By TheStreet Staff Jun 14, 2011 1:50PM

Image: Television (© Digital Vision Ltd./SuperStock)By Joe Deaux, TheStreet

 

Comcast (CMCSA) will offer Skype HD video calling with its cable service, the cable giant said Tuesday.

 

Comcast said its customers would get an adapter box, a high-quality video camera and a special remote that could channel surf and send Skype texts.

 

"Exact pricing is still being worked on, but we plan to offer the equipment and service at a low monthly rate," said Peter Dobrow, a Comcast spokesman, in an email.

 

"TV has evolved into a social experience, and Comcast and Skype will be delivering a product that personalizes the TV experience even more, and brings friends and family together through the biggest screen in their homes," said Neil Smit, Comcast Cable president.

 

US carriers collected $3.4 billion in baggage charges and $2.3 billion for reservation changes last year.

By Kim Peterson Jun 14, 2011 12:53PM
All those fees airlines slap on to check bags and change flights are adding up to big money. New figures show that U.S. airlines collected almost $5.7 billion in fees last year, a 10% increase from 2009.

The biggest fee hog was Delta Air Lines (DAL), which led the industry in fees for both categories, Reuters reports. In fact, Delta collected more than 20% of the entire industry's total. American Airlines, owned by AMR Corp. (AMR), came in second. You can see the full list here.

Check out the following video report about the fees.

Post continues below: 

Investors who buy the metals in the current environment take a big risk, as the charts predict further declines.

By MoneyShow.com Jun 14, 2011 12:53PM
By Tom Aspray, MoneyShow.com

Gold and silver weakened on Monday, and many investors have been surprised that the metals have failed to rally, given the ongoing debt problems in Greece. There seems to be a wide range of opinions about where the metals are heading, with some investors convinced a major top is in place and others looking for gold to reach $5,000.

Many traders and investors who missed the move up to May's highs are itching to buy so they can participate in the next parabolic move up. They are likely to be chopped up, however, because technical damage like what occurred in the silver market will typically take at least a few months to repair.

The daily charts for the key gold and silver futures, as well as the ETFs that track both metals, show apparent continuation patterns. These should be viewed as a pause or interruption in the corrections from the May highs.

Monday's weakness suggests that we are getting closer to the resumption of the daily downtrends. The positive weekly and monthly analysis still suggests that these will be corrections in the longer-term uptrends.

A further decline should take silver below the May lows, and I do not think that all the weak longs have been stopped out just yet. Gold is likely to hold up better on a further decline, which should eventually set up a good buying opportunity, but a patient strategy will likely be required.
 
Tags: etfgold

Buffett's company is approaching book value.

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day Jun 14, 2011 11:58AM

By Morgan Housel, The Motley Fool

 

You can't go back in time. If you could, investing in any number of cherry-picked companies would solve most people's present-day financial problems. Ah, if only.

 

The next-best thing? Buying good companies at valuations even investors with a time machine couldn't.

 

That's where Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) shares sit today.           

 

How Berkshire should be valued is a regular matter of debate. It isn't a normal company, so some normal valuation metrics lack relevance. Many of Berkshire's investments generate no net income yet still reward shareholders handsomely.

 

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[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market ended the holiday-shortened week on a mixed note as the Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 0.1%, while the S&P 500 added 0.1% with seven sectors posting gains.

Equity indices faced an uphill climb from the opening bell after disappointing quarterly results from Google (GOOG 536.10, -20.44) and IBM (IBM 190.04, -6.36) weighed on the early sentiment. Google reported earnings $0.15 below the Capital IQ consensus estimate on revenue of $15.42 ... More


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