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VIDEO ON MSN MONEY

MSN Money's Charley Blaine answers Facebook questions about the real-estate market in 2012.

By MSN Money Partner Jan 19, 2012 11:26AM
With about a third of homeowners owing more on their mortgages than their houses are worth, Americans would like to know where the housing market is headed in 2012. MSN Money columnist Charley Blaine thinks the worst is over but cautions not to expect big price increases for some time.

 

He fielded questions from our Facebook community, including one on housing stocks. 

But hold the champagne and jolly song. Despite improving operations, the banks are still a long way from a recovery.

By Jonathan Berr Jan 19, 2012 11:12AM
 Photodisc/SuperStockShares of Bank of America (BAC) and Morgan Stanley (MS) rose Thursday as the banks' earnings beat Wall Street's low expectations on one-time events and improving results.

However, both companies, whose shares have plunged more than 40% over the past 52 weeks, remain far from a recovery.

Net income at Bank of America was $2.0 billion, or 15 cents a share, reversing a year-ago loss of $1.2 billion, or 16 cents a share. Revenue at the second-largest U.S. lender rose 11% to $25.1 billion.  
Tags: BACMS

Increasing global voice & data usage boosts the outlook for the wireless tower operator.

By TheStockAdvisors Jan 19, 2012 10:51AM
By James Moorman, S&P Capital IQ Equity Analyst, S&P The Outlook

This week’s Focus Stock of the Week is American Tower Corporation (AMT), which carries S&P Capital IQ’s highest investment recommendation of 5- STARS, or Strong Buy.

American Tower Corporation operates the largest independent portfolio of wireless communications and broadcast towers in North America, based on the number of towers and revenue. 
Tags: AMT

Given the right price point and enhanced customer convenience and satisfaction, DVDs can still be sold.

By Trefis Jan 19, 2012 9:48AM
 Maria Teijeiro/Getty Images/Getty ImagesWhile the overall home video market in the U.S. fell in 2011, certain trends emerged that demonstrate that it is not just the form -- be it physical or electronic -- that matters, but the convenience and price points also play a very critical role in determining how the home video business grows.

Nevertheless, the fall in DVD sales is a concern for media companies like Time Warner (TWX), Viacom (VIA) and Disney (DIS). For this reason, these companies are striking more online content licensing deals. Time Warner has even decided to increase the DVD sell-through window to 56 days, double the earlier period. Let's take a quick look at 2011 home video market growth and what it means. 

The Costa Concordia tragedy spells severe headwinds for cruise liners' future bookings.

By Gene Marcial Jan 19, 2012 9:21AM

 image100/SuperStockVacationers, for sure, will continue going on cruises to seemingly exotic places, but for investors, shares of companies that own and operate cruise ships, such as Carnival (CCL) and Royal Caribbean Cruises (RCL), should be off limits. Wall Street believes investors should stick to dry-land investing for now. The reason: The Costa Concordia disaster that has so far claimed the lives of eight people -- and counting.

 

"We are downgrading shares of Carnival and Royal Caribbean to neutral from positive as a result of the Costa Concordia tragedy this weekend," says Rachael Rothman, analyst at Susquehanna Financial Group.

 
Tags: CCLRCL

The company says it has new financing and can continue operating while it restructures.

By Kim Peterson Jan 19, 2012 2:27AM
Image: Woman with camera (© Corbis)It's the end of an era for Eastman Kodak. The legendary American company said early Thursday it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, unable to shore up the cash it needs to continue operating.

The stock has been delisted from the New York Stock Exchange. Its shares were falling in over-the-counter trading Thursday under the new symbol EKDKQ.

The 131-year-old company had been trying desperately to sell its huge collection of digital-imaging patents, saying it needed the money to survive. 

The company converted to a real-estate investment trust in 2010.

By Jim J. Jubak Jan 18, 2012 5:58PM
Image: Home under construction (© Corbis)I added Weyerhaeuser (WY) to my Jubak Picks 50 long-term portfolio on Friday. (See my post Friday for all the changes to the portfolio.)

Why? Because as much as I'd hate to pick a precise month for the bottom in the real estate market, I think that we're close enough to a bottom so I'm willing to put some money to work in the sector -- if I get paid to wait for the precise turn. 

Weyerhaeuser converted to a real-estate investment trust in 2010 (2.97% current dividend) so I’m getting paid better than a 10-year Treasury bond yield while I wait for a bottom in the second half of 2012 or sometime in 2013.
 
Tags: WY

Will the numbers yield long-term growth for the homebuilder?

By Benzinga Jan 18, 2012 5:39PM

Image: Construction Workers Carrying Window (© Steve Hix/Somos Images/CorbisBy Gordon Wilcox, Benzinga Staff Writer


Shares of PulteGroup (PHM) surged nearly 6% Wednesday after positive housing data extended a now lengthy bullish run for the homebuilding sector at large. Maybe the housing bottom has finally arrived.


At least a case can be made for getting closer to that bottom and the ensuing rebound following Wednesday's bullish data. Applications for new home loans jumped 23.1% from the prior week, according to the MBA Mortgage Applications Survey.

 

Antipiracy bills under consideration in Congress are flawed, but their goal is valid.

By Jonathan Berr Jan 18, 2012 5:10PM
Image: Couple with laptop (© Daly and Newton/OJO Images/Getty Images)Google (GOOG) and other Internet companies may win the battle against antipiracy bills being debated in Congress, but they may ultimately lose the war.

Though the bills lawmakers are considering -- the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and its Senate companion, the Protect IP Act (PIPA) -- are deeply flawed, that doesn't change the fact that pirated content is a serious problem. Exactly how serious, though, is up for debate. The Freakonomics blog did a solid job recently showing that estimates of the scope of the piracy were inflated, but the problem is still real. 
Tags: GOOG

Investors are seeing a mixed bag of quarterly results as banks reel from weak trading revenue.

By Kim Peterson Jan 18, 2012 4:09PM
Image: Bank Vault (© Radius Images/Jupiterimages)Bank of America (BAC) is next up in what's turning out to be a series of unpredictable earnings reports this week.

And if the other reports are any indication, Bank of America's earnings report Thursday may not be pretty. Many of the nation's largest banks and regional banks reported declines for the fourth quarter, battered by weak trading revenue.

Citigroup (C) announced an unexpected drop in fourth-quarter earnings this week as trading revenue declined. 

It's all a matter of perspective.

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day Jan 18, 2012 4:01PM

By Evan Niu

 

Last year saw many overhyped IPOs, and Zynga (ZNGA) probably takes the cake -- although it may have to compete for that title with Groupon (GRPN), which is trading slightly above its $20 offering price.

 

Still, the month since Zynga shares started changing public hands has been a pretty lackluster one. After the offering priced at $10, shares broke that threshold on just the first day and have remained in single-digit territory ever since. But in a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal, CEO Mark Pincus added some detail on why he considers the offering a success.

 

With so many global opportunities to take advantage of $100-a-barrel crude, drilling stocks like Schlumberger are too cheap to ignore.

By Jim Cramer Jan 18, 2012 3:09PM

Will the drillers catch up with crude? Or will crude go down to where the drillers are?

 

Every day I ponder how oil can be up so big and the drillers be so heavy, especially given the fact that there's no real sense that oil is going to come down soon. Despite the fact that oil usage diminished last quarter, I don't see pricing coming down because of the Iranian Strait of Hormuz threat, because of the potential for more unrest in Nigeria and the Mideast, but most importantly because of a return to faster growth in China and the United States, which will offset the European recession that clearly is on the horizon.

 

Given its brand name, marketing muscle and distribution network, the soft drink and snack maker has maintained healthy margins even with low pricing.

By Trefis Jan 18, 2012 2:52PM
Image: Potato chips (© Image Source/Getty Images)Although PepsiCo (PEP) is increasing its marketing spending to boost flagging soft drink sales, the stock's true value is likely to come from its snack business via the Frito-Lay segment. PepsiCo's recent acquisitions in strategically key locations give it a strong platform and ensure long-term growth.

What many investors will find surprising is that Frito-Lay's contribution to the overall stock price is almost half of the value, while the soft drink segments make up a far smaller percentage, according to our analysis.  
Tags: DPSKOPEP

New bottom formations on the charts for two embattled emerging ETFs signal better days may be coming.

By MoneyShow.com Jan 18, 2012 2:04PM

By Tom Aspray, MoneyShow.com


On Tuesday, economic data out of China encouraged traders and helped boost the stock market. Even though the data reflected a contracting economy, it was not as weak as most expected. Foreign direct investment declined in November for the first time since 2009 and further lowering of bank reserves is likely in the coming months.


Brazil's rate cut in August caught the markets by surprise and likely avoided pushing the Brazilian economy into a technical recession. That nation's economy seems to be turning the corner, as November's data on economic growth beat forecasts. The market is now expecting another rate cut later Wednesday.

 

The cost advantage of the solar panel maker has eroded because of lower prices across the polysilicon-based PV module supply chain.

By Trefis Jan 18, 2012 1:47PM
Image: Solar energy (© Mick Roessler/Corbis)First Solar (FSLR), the world's largest player in the thin cell photovoltaic (PV) segment, has been subject to intense price competition from Chinese manufacturers over the past few quarters. 

First Solar's thin cell Cd-Te technology gave the company a cost advantage over its competition, but that has eroded considerably of late mainly because of lower prices across the polysilicon-based PV module supply chain.  

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[BRIEFING.COM] The headlines generally favored Tuesday being another good day for the stock market.  Instead, it was just a mixed day with modest point changes on either side of the unchanged mark for the major indices.

For the most part, the stock market was a sideshow.  The main trading events were seen in the commodity and Treasury markets, both of which saw some decent-sized losses within their respective complex.

Dollar strength was at the heart of the weakness in ... More


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