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Cinderellas can bust your brackets -- but they can also juice your portfolio.

By John Reese Mar 19, 2012 6:06PM

March Madness is upon us and the big question on every college basketball fan's mind is, who will play Cinderella in this year's NCAA tournament? Every year, smaller schools and other unheralded teams push the country's basketball powerhouses to the limit during the tournament, with some successfully playing David to the big guys' Goliath.


Last year two big Cinderellas -- Butler University and Virginia Commonwealth University -- made it to the Final Four of the prestigious tournament, with both schools making runs that were as remarkable as they were unexpected. This year several Cinderellas have already crashed the dance, including Ohio University, which has made it to the Sweet 16 as a 13th seed. 

 

The company is well poised to increase its snacks market share as it expands into emerging economies.

By Trefis Mar 19, 2012 5:49PM
PepsiCo (PEP) has been under fire, especially after its latest earnings report didn't meet investor expectations.

The disappointing numbers helped feed news that CEO Indra Nooyi might step down, but the company has quashed all such rumors for now. Although Coca-Cola (KO) has been outperforming PepsiCo in terms of beverage volumes sold, it is important to understand that PepsiCo has evolved into more than just a beverage company over time. In fact, you could argue Pepsi is a snacks company with a beverage business on the side. 

The Zacks panel of experts offers its top stock picks for the cosmetic, payment terminal and pharmaceutical industries.

By Zacks.com Mar 19, 2012 5:40PM

The Zacks panel of experts offers its top stock picks for the cosmetic, payment terminal and pharmaceutical industries.


Stocks covered include Ulta Cosmetics (ULTA), VeriFone (PAY) and Questcor Pharmaceuticals (QCOR).


Plus, Zacks experts weigh in on whether we will see March Mania in stocks or just more of a slow steady climb higher and on latest inflation data.

 

McDonald's, however, is still far out of reach for any of its rivals.

By Benzinga Mar 19, 2012 3:30PM

Image: Family eating burgers (© Bananastock/Jupiterimages)By Brett Callwood, Benzinga Staff Writer


The fast-food industry was significantly shaken on Monday by news that Wendy's (WEN) has knocked Burger King from the No. 2 spot.


According to the Associated Press, an upcoming report by food research company Technomic shows that Wendy's knocked Burger King aside in U.S. sales volume for the first time since Wendy's was founded in 1969. McDonald's (MCD) continues to reign supreme at the top of the pile.

 

The sector will soon enter a period of seasonal strength, and two stocks in particular look like attractive buys on any upcoming pullbacks.

By MoneyShow.com Mar 19, 2012 3:01PM

Image: Combines in field (© Mark Karrass/Corbis/Corbis)By Tom Aspray, MoneyShow.com


Despite the stock market’s impressive performance so far in 2012, some industry groups are still flat or down for the year. These are the groups to keep an eye on, as we have seen new sector rotation that has continued to propel the major averages higher.


The materials sector has been lagging and is still below the February highs. A strong close this week in the Select Sector SPDR Materials (XLB) would turn the volume analysis positive and might be enough to make it a market leader.

 

Analysts are upping their price targets for Apple, catching the excitement from the latest iPad, a rumored TV and a just-announced dividend.

By The Fiscal Times Mar 19, 2012 2:54PM
Image: Arrow Up (© Nicholas Monu/iStock Exclusive/Getty Images)By Suzanne McGee, The Fiscal TimesThe Fiscal Times

Wall Street is calling it the "700 Club" -- the group of buy-side analysts who have gone public in recent days with projections that Apple’s (AAPL) stock will soar to $700 or more.

The stock has edged closer to that goal Monday, gaining more than 2% after the company's announcement that it will start paying a quarterly dividend of $2.65 a share and launch a $10 billion, three-year stock buyback program. 

One Silicon Valley entrepreneur says he will part with his Los Gatos mansion for a stake in the social-networking company.

By Kim Peterson Mar 19, 2012 2:33PM
Caption: Forrester Estate Exterior
License: PR 1yearThe pre-IPO excitement for Facebook shares is getting ridiculous.

One Silicon Valley enterpreneur wants to trade his 10,000-square-foot mansion in Los Gatos, Calif., for a chunk of Facebook stock. He'll take home a nice profit in the process.

Kenneth Raasch and his wife bought the property known as the "Forrester Estate" in 1997, and it was valued at $4.7 million in 2011, according to the Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal. 
Tags: IPO

The CDC takes its gloves off and goes after Big Tobacco.

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day Mar 19, 2012 2:21PM
By Sean Williams

 

The tobacco sector is a giant. It spends approximately $10.5 billion a year on marketing and advertising in order to keep 20% of the American public smoking. This isn't to say it doesn't acknowledge the harmful effects of smoking, or that it ignores the growing number of smoking dissidents campaigning against them; it's just that I equate this situation to poking a dinosaur with a twig.

 

Well, the twig just got a little bigger.

 
Tags: LOMOPMRAI

The stock will now have solid buying support during what is normally a summer slump.

By Jim J. Jubak Mar 19, 2012 1:42PM
Image: Crystal ball (© Brand X Pictures/Jupiterimages)What's most interesting to me about Monday morning's dividend announcement by Apple (AAPL) is the schedule for the payout.

Apple will pay a quarterly dividend of $2.65 a share -- roughly a 1.75% yield -- beginning sometime in its fiscal third quarter, which starts July 1. That yield is in the ballpark of Wall Street expectations for something around 2%. Apple also said it will launch a share-buyback program sometime after the company's fiscal year ends on Sept. 30. 

Together, the two measures will cost the company $45 billion over the next three years. Apple finished calendar 2011 with $98 billion in cash. Analysts estimate that the company will generate $75 billion in cash in 2012.
 
Tags: AAPL

For starters, just look at the amazing performances of Starbucks and Whole Foods.

By Jim Cramer Mar 19, 2012 1:34PM

Amid a host of unbelievably good charts -- including almost every bank, homebuilder, real-estate investment trust and retail play -- comes a group that can be described only as the senior growth cohort, the stocks with both terrific earnings power and higher growth than the average stock that seems to have real staying power.

 

We are all blinded by the staying power of Apple (AAPL) -- and now Apple's cash -- but have you looked at Nike (NKE) lately? It's reporting this week. We should only hope it sells off! That's what we got on Ross Stores (ROST) on Friday, but I bet that's just a temporary stop as we saw with Bed Bath (BBBY) and Costco (COST) recently. Meanwhile, the breathtaking moves in Chipotle (CMG), Alexion Pharma (ALXN) and Monster (MWW) seem to know no stopping, as is the case with Intuitive Surgical (ISRG), Priceline (PCLN) and F5 (FFIV). (All of the internet video plays seem to have come alive again, including Akamai (AKAM) and Level 3 (LVLT), of all things.)

 

There wasn't a huge investor reaction to word of the company's upcoming dividend and share buyback.

By Kim Peterson Mar 19, 2012 1:29PM
Image: Apple logo © BECK DIEFENBACH//ReutersUpdated 4:30 p.m. ET

Apple
(AAPL) shares rose 2.7% Monday to close at $601.10 after the company announced it would pay a quarterly dividend of $2.65 per share.

The dividend and stock buyback news was momentous, yet investors seemed to take it in stride. Did the market already know about the announcement?

That might be one reason shares didn't spike Monday. In fact, Apple shares dropped in early trading before climbing back at midday to a gain of more than 2%. 
Tags: AAPL

This biotech company shows strong fundamentals while technically poised to break out to new highs.

By TheStockAdvisors Mar 19, 2012 12:59PM
By Leo Fasciocco, Ticker Tape Digest

Celgene (CELG) produces drugs to treat cancer and immune-inflammatory-related diseases. Its primary commercial-stage products include Revlimid, Vidaza, Thalomid and Abraxande.

Technically, the long-term chart shows the stock soaring from 5 back in 2003 to a peak of 77 in 2008. The stock has now regrouped and is pushing once again toward its breakout point.  
Tags: CELG

Sure, there were lines out the doors at stores worldwide, but some observers say the fervor was muted compared with the iHysteria of old.

By TheWeek.com Mar 19, 2012 12:35PM
© Tony Avelar/Bloomberg via Getty ImagesIn what has become a bankable ritual of the digital era, Apple (AAPL) stores on Friday opened their gleaming glass doors to long lines of acolytes clamoring for the tech giant's latest gadget. 

New iPads flew off the shelves, and fans held their sleek toys triumphantly aloft as they exited stores to the applause of sales staffers. Yet some reports suggested that not all was right: The lines were distinctly shorter than in past years, some people whispered, the roll-out more subdued. Apple CEO Tim Cook says sales for the new iPad broke records, but he is keeping mum on details.
 
Tags: AAPL

The video game retailer, which is due to report earnings this week, has met or topped estimates over the last four quarters.

By Zacks.com Mar 19, 2012 12:24PM

Image: Teenage boys watching television with 3-D glasses © Robert Daly/OJO Images/Getty ImagesBy Zacks Equity Research
    ‎ 
GameStop Corp. (GME), a video game and entertainment software retailer, is slated to report its fourth-quarter 2011 financial results before the opening bell on March 22. 


The current Zacks Consensus Estimate for the quarter stands at $1.72 per share, representing an estimated year-over-year increase of about 10%. Revenue, as per the Zacks Consensus Estimate, is $3,709 million.

 
Tags: AMZNGME

The company makes its biggest move outside of coffee.

By Jonathan Berr Mar 19, 2012 12:01PM
Image: Pears with linen napkin (© Michael Grimm/Digital Vision/Getty Images)Starbucks Corp. (SBUX) acquired Evolution Fresh for $30 million last year and now seeks to capitalize on the fruit juice maker.

The coffee company has opened its first Evolution Fresh location in the Seattle suburb of Bellevue. It will offer freshly squeezed fruit and vegetable juices along with wraps, salads and soups. Vegan and vegetarian options will be available as well. Previously, Evolution Fresh juices were available at grocery stores. If the pilot store is successful, as it probably will be, Starbucks will open others. This is a risk worth taking. 

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[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market ended the midweek session on a mixed note. Blue chip listings bolstered the Dow Jones Industrial Average (+0.4%) and S&P 500 (+0.3%), while the Russell 2000 (-0.4%) and Nasdaq Composite (-0.02%) underperformed.

Equity indices began the day in the red, but wasted no time regaining their flat lines. Small-cap stocks were not as fortunate as the Russell 2000 spent the day in the red.

Upon returning into positive territory, the key indices were ... More


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