A stock market graph trending down © jmiks/Getty Images
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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It apparently escaped its cage in a New York airport on Aug. 25 and still can't be found. So feline lovers have taken Jack's cause to Facebook.

By Kim Peterson Aug 30, 2011 7:46PM
American Airlines (AMR) is in hot water after a cat it was supposed to transport apparently escaped his cage.

Jack has been missing since Aug. 25, when his owner, Karen Pascoe, checked him and his brother in as cargo for a flight from John F. Kennedy airport to California. It didn't take long for Jack to go missing. Pascoe was called by the airline soon after she cleared security, CBS reports.

She searched the inbound baggage area for an hour with no luck and eventually boarded a later flight with her other cat, Barry. The airline promised to keep searching. Jack still hasn't been found.

Cat lovers are ratcheting up the pressure on American, and Jack is now famous. A Facebook page with his picture has more than 4,000 fans. The news is spreading, and the last thing American wants is another embarrassing episode like United Airlines (UAL) faced with the United Breaks Guitars video on YouTube.  
Tags: amr

The hurricane was devastating, but it may end up giving the economy a much-needed boost.

By Kim Peterson Aug 30, 2011 7:16PM
Hurricane Irene was undoubtedly bad for the economy. Businesses were forced to close doors along most of the East Coast. Homes and shops were flooded, public transportation came to a standstill, and power outages were common.

Some of the damage was not insured, either. Estimates show the hurricane's cost to insurers at about $2.6 billion. The total economic losses, including the noninsured portions, could hit $7 billion.

But there may be a hidden stimulus package here. MarketWatch's Irwin Kellner said Irene might have reduced growth in the gross domestic product by as much as a full percentage point. But the effects of the storm could boost the fourth-quarter GDP by even more. 

A lesson in how to squander capital.

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day Aug 30, 2011 2:52PM
By Morgan Housel

 

Last month, I pointed out what I thought was an amazing statistic: Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) shares were so cheap that, based on average share buybacks over the last three years, the company would repurchase its entire market cap within the next decade. It didn't need to grow earnings. Ever. Just carry on, slow and steady. At well under 10 times earnings, repurchasing shares was likely a good use of capital that would treat shareholders well.

 

You know what happened next: The urge to do something dumb.

 

After offering to buy U.K. software company Autonomy for $10 billion in cash, HP management signaled in a conference call that it would effectively can its share repurchase plans for the near future. Buying Autonomy is a better use of its capital, it reckons.

 

These 3 mutual funds -- one of which was launched in 1929 -- stand out among thousands.

By TheStreet Staff Aug 30, 2011 11:45AM

Image: Mutual funds (© Don Farrall/Getty Images)By Frank Byrt, TheStreet

 

Whom do you want at the wheel of your ship in a hurricane when you're a mutual fund investor?

 

The hot shot with the yacht-club pedigree, white duck pants, cravat and the hat to match? Or the guy who's been around the world a few times, quietly displays his confidence and can back it up with double-digit returns that go back a decade?

 

The answer should be clear by now: the steady, experienced hand with nothing to prove.

 

Here are three funds cited by Standard & Poor's as giving a series of market storms a run and having proved their skills over the decades. Their managers oversee "blended" mutual funds. That is, they invest across different asset classes. The funds offer investors the potential for capital appreciation from equities along with income from bonds -- a combination that fits well in these turbulent times.

 

Opinion: America's real-estate market is in a decline that doesn't seem to be getting better.

By TheStreet Staff Aug 30, 2011 11:43AM

Image: Housing market © Ocean/Corbis/CorbisBy Gary Weiss, columnist for TheStreetTheStreet

 

The stock market, as measured by the

S&P 500 ($INX), rose almost 3% Monday, perhaps pleasantly surprised that the Northeast doesn't resemble the Gulf Coast -- Katrina-cable-TV hype notwithstanding.

 

So as traders picked their way across tree limbs and flooded roads on their way to work Monday, perhaps they overlooked a commonplace sight that was even more prevalent than clogged waterways: for-sale signs on lawns, sometimes with the nauseating come-on "auction today."

 

We're in the middle of a real-estate depression, folks, and it's not getting any better. Perhaps it's good news that the financial markets have gotten used to the bad news out of the housing market, because the bad news keeps coming. But if the housing-market woes are an indication of the direction of the economy, we're in sorry shape. And as with a number of questions I've explored recently, it comes down to this: What, if anything, is the Obama administration going to do about it?

 

The company reached a licensing agreement with Green Mountain Coffee Roasters back in March.

By TheStreet Staff Aug 30, 2011 11:39AM

By Michael Baron, TheStreet

 

Starbucks (SBUX) said Tuesday that K-Cup portion packs of its coffees for the Keurig brewing system manufactured by Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (GMCR) will be available for retail sale in the United States in November.

 

Starbucks and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters reached a licensing agreement back in March for Starbucks to be the "exclusive licensed super-premium coffee brand" for Keurig system.

 

"We are excited to expand our presence in the multibillion-dollar single-cup coffee category with the introduction of Starbucks coffee K-Cup Portion Packs, which offer a convenient at-home brewing solution utilizing the popular Keurig Brewer," said Jeff Hansberry, the president of Starbucks Global Consumer Products Group.

 

The brick-and-mortar bookstore has largely been written off, but the stock is surging thanks to Nook sales

By InvestorPlace Aug 30, 2011 11:21AM

By Jeff Reeves, Editor, InvestorPlace.com


In the wake of the Borders bankruptcy, there's a lot of jeering about how brick-and-mortar book retailers are destined for the trash heap. Conventional wisdom claims that in the same way Blockbuster was passed by as DVD rentals became a quaint anachronism, so will booksellers become another victim of the Internet revolution.


Not so fast. Barnes & Noble (BKS) just provided a glimmer of hope with its earnings report Tuesday. Numbers impressed Wall Street and sent shares soaring as much as 18% in early trading.


So what is B&N doing right these days?

 

The sector typically outperforms the market from September onward, and the shares of 2 low-cost retailers may soon present favorable buying opportunities.

By MoneyShow.com Aug 30, 2011 10:50AM

By Tom Aspray, MoneyShow.com


The 0.5% rise in July consumer spending helped give stocks a boost on Monday, as it was the best number since December 2009. Tuesday’s consumer confidence numbers are unlikely to be as positive.


The market’s strength following Friday’s impressive reversal clearly got some of those on the short side a bit nervous. The Advance/Decline (A/D) lines on the major averages are now rising more sharply, but it is still too early to tell if they have really bottomed out.


The bear flag formations discussed last week are still intact, but do allow for a rally in the S&P 500 to the 1225-1230 area. It will be the strength of any pullback once stronger resistance is reached that will shed light on the intermediate term.

During the recent market decline, there have been several market sectors that have performed better than the S&P 500. One such sector that is now entering a strong seasonal period is retail, and while one big-name stock is encountering strong resistance, two others are looking much more attractive.

 

Despite the somber talk of more recession and a deeper market retracement, the picture is bright. By the end of the year, we could be up smartly.

By MoneyShow.com Aug 30, 2011 9:37AM

By Jim Lowell, special to MoneyShow.com


The markets have continued to demonstrate both relative strength and positive resilience in the face of heated political snafus here and globally.


Of course, the weighty question of whither goes the markets from here has become an even more burdensome one, thanks to political rather than economic interests. What else is new?


I continue to think we’ll net a 10% to 15% gain by year's end, based on fundamentals that exhibit earnings growth rather than contraction. I also continue to think it will be a hard slog from here to there.


At the outset of this year, I talked about how we’d likely see another dip in the housing market and a stall in the jobs market. That’s where we are, but where are we heading?

 

Stable revenue, recent growth and an extraordinary dividend history make this consumer play a great buy.

By InvestorPlace Aug 30, 2011 6:47AM
By Jeff Reeves, Editor, InvestorPlace.com

Hershey Co.
(HSY) reported strong earnings at the end of last month. As a result, Hershey stock is up almost 3% in the past 30 days while the markets remain down about 5%, thanks to a volatile August.

Hershey stock has been a great low-risk investment recently, but what's next for the snacks giant? Well, conventional wisdom holds that small pleasures and consumer staples are recession-proof, so there's no risk of any downturn erasing these gains. And if the numbers are any indication, there is even more success in store for Hershey.


That makes this company a great dividend stock investment for your portfolio.

 

The new managing director of the International Monetary Fund angers some officials by saying there is still a European debt crisis.

By Jim J. Jubak Aug 29, 2011 5:12PM
Jim JubakChristine Lagarde, the new managing director of the International Monetary Fund, didn’t make any friends Friday when, at the U.S. Fed’s conclave for the world’s central banks, she said that European banks have an urgent need to raise capital.

European bank regulators and finance ministers spent the weekend shooting back. About the kindest thing they’ve had to say is that Lagarde, the former French finance minister, is "confused," "misguided" and doesn’t understand the nature of the euro crisis.

Which means, of course, that you can be pretty sure that she precisely understands this crisis, that European banking officials know it and that they are really angry at her for daring to suggest that there’s still a debt crisis. Their strategy, you see, is to stop mentioning the problem, and hope that the financial markets will simply forget about it.
 

Large shares are moving in tandem, which means investors might have to change their strategies.

By Kim Peterson Aug 29, 2011 3:58PM
Picking stocks has always been tough, but lately it's almost a fool's errand.

The Wall Street Journal calls it a "dead art" because global economic concerns have overshadowed the differences among companies. Investors have so much on their plates that they don't have time to discern whether one stock is better than another.

The result? Stocks are moving up and down together. In fact, they're showing shockingly high levels of correlation, which is the way they move in relation to each other. 

Travelzoo leads the pack with a gain of more than 10% at midday.

By Kim Peterson Aug 29, 2011 2:52PM
Updated 6 p.m. ET 

Travelzoo (TZOO) is starting to recover from a month-long beating that took shares down more than 60%.

The stock closed up 10% to $36.93 Monday in a surge that carried along other online travel companies as well. HomeAway (AWAY) also saw a 10% gain, and Expedia (EXPE) closed up 4%.

No one seems to be sure why the sector is seeing renewed interest Monday. Perhaps all the Labor Day travel deals after Hurricane Irene is one culprit. Or maybe it's because Travelzoo has been mentioned as a good acquisition target for a rival like Expedia. 
Tags: travel

The damage from the hurricane wasn't as bad as initially feared, and that gave insurers and reinsurers a boost Monday.

By Kim Peterson Aug 29, 2011 2:22PM
Updated 6 p.m. ET

Insurance companies are breathing a sigh of relief Monday after the damage from Hurricane Irene turned out to be less than initially feared.

Allstate (ALL) closed up 8.5% to $26.30. Hartford Financial Services (HIG) soared nearly 13% to $19.42. One exchange-traded fund that tracks insurance stocks, SPDR KBW Insurance (KIE), rose nearly 6%.
 

This booming emerging market remains a red-hot opportunity for investors.

By InvestorPlace Aug 29, 2011 12:49PM

By Jeff Reeves, Editor, InvestorPlace.com


In July, some soccer fans were surprised as star footballer Carlos Tevez was debating a departure from England's Premier League to take up a spot on the roster of a team based in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Why would a top player even think of abandoning the bright lights of Europe’s soccer scene for a second-tier market in Latin America?


However, this is not a new trend. As The Financial Times reported a few weeks ago, soccer salaries in Brazil have been soaring as the pay scale in Europe has flatlined. If this trend keeps up, Europe might become the second-tier market before long.


Why should you care if you are one of the tens of millions of Americans who couldn’t care less about soccer? Because this trend says a lot about Brazil, its middle class and the region’s economy in general - especially as an investment opportunity.

 

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[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market finished the Wednesday session on an upbeat note with the Nasdaq (+1.3%) ending in the lead. The S&P 500 settled higher by 1.1% with all ten sectors posting gains.

The benchmark index spent the entire trading day in the green, rallying to new highs during the last hour of action. The tech-heavy Nasdaq, meanwhile, briefly dipped into the red during morning action, but was able to recover swiftly.

Stocks began the trading day with modest gains ... More


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