You can still find small-cap superstars
Small-cap superstars still abound

There are some picks in this sector that have excellent valuations and strong earnings growth.

VIDEO ON MSN MONEY

Any twists in these dramas could impact stocks and bonds. Keep your eye on them.

By MSN Money Partner 23 minutes ago
A member from the oil police force stands guard at Zubair oilfield in Basra, southeast of Baghdad
© Essam Al-Sudani/ReutersBy Marek Fuchs, MarketWatch

Here's hoping you sounded every last chime of the summer, because Tuesday marks the first day of the rest of the year.


Summer, after all, is a dainty season of linen and little news, but as of Tuesday, you better roust yourself from that slumber. 


The record-setting Dow Jones Industrial Average ($INDU) has risen nearly 3 percent since Memorial Day -- about half the year’s gains -- but the universe does not hold still forever.


Now it's back to reality. That's why September is, historically, such a God-awful month for stocks. Reality tends to bite. Before you get back to toting barges and lifting bales, though, take a moment. You need a sight line from which you can see -- or, at least, attempt to see -- the news stories that will define the rest of the year.

 

James Albertine at Stifel Nicolaus says investors' enthusiasm for the stock is like a 'freight train.'

By MSN Money Partner 33 minutes ago
Credit: © Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Caption: A sign for a Tesla showroom in Palo Alto, Calif.By Tomi Kilgore and Claudia Assis, MarketWatch

Shares of Tesla Motors (TSLA) rallied to record-high levels on Tuesday after Stifel Nicolaus analyst James Albertine turned bullish on the electric car marker, citing a "sizable head start" with respect to production over any potential rivals.


Albertine set a $400 price target on Tesla's stock, which implies a further 48 percent rally from Friday's closing price of $269.70. He raised his rating to buy after being at hold for a little more than a year.


He compared investors' enthusiasm for Tesla stock with a "freight train."


Albertine's price target is now the highest of the 16 analysts surveyed by FactSet, and well above the average price target of $259.62.

 
Tags: TSLA

Investors know what's working and what's not. These stocks could power higher through the end of the year.

By Jim Cramer 1 hour ago

Image: Stock investor © Tom Grill/CorbisBy Jim Cramer, TheStreet


You look at the charts. You study the fundamentals. And you get the same thing. 

TheStreet.com logo


Even on an up day like this one, the market's going to distinguish between stocks that get hurt by a Ukraine-Russia conflict and stocks that are unaffected by it. 


We are now well into discounting a protracted conflict on the Ukraine border without any sign of a diplomatic solution.


It's been a brutal period for some stocks and halcyon days for others. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index ($INX) keeps bumping into new highs because many of the U.S.-based international companies we had been banking on to produce multi-year growth, as they finally started getting revenue relief, are now rolling over and that money's pouring into domestic winners. 


It is true that many of the internationally oriented stocks have rallied since the downing of flight MH-17, the benchmark of the international downturn, but they are stalling out and you need up days like Tuesday to trim them.

 

The number of job openings is up, but executives still feel uneasy about committing to new employees.

By MSN Money Partner 2 hours ago
Image: Resume © Dynamic Graphics, age fotostockBy Lauren Weber and Rachel Feintzeig, The Wall Street Journal

It's getting tougher for companies to say "You're hired."

U.S. employers are taking longer -- 25 working days, on average -- to fill vacant positions. That is a 13-year high, according to the Dice-DFH Vacancy Duration Measure, an index created by University of Chicago economist Steven Davis. 


At companies with 5,000 or more workers, the time to hire is even longer, at 58.1 working days. The index defines working days as Monday through Saturday.


Economists and employers say there is no single cause for the slow hiring pace, but the lag time can be read as a proxy for corporate confidence in the economy. On one hand, companies are feeling sunny enough to post jobs -- openings reached 4.7 million in June, the highest number since 2001 -- but, fearful the economy could falter, they are finding it hard to commit to hires.

 
Tags: LNKD

These hot movers could rise by double digits in coming months.

By InvestorPlace Fri 2:48 PM

Image: Gold Bars © Stockbyte/SuperStockBy Anthony Mirhaydari


Fear and uncertainty is back in the air heading into the long Labor Day holiday thanks to Russian President Vladimir Putin.


This is a guy that, according to Time magazine's coverage naming him their 2007 Person of the Year, has the mental discipline to not blink when giving his blue steel staredown.


It's about intimidation, I guess.


But no-blink contests aside, Putin's demonstrated time and again his steely resolve to protect ethnic Russians living in diaspora. And after repeated feints at de-escalation, he seems to be moving all in on reports of large numbers of Russian soldiers, as well as heavy armor and artillery, engaging with Ukrainian military forces.

 
Tags: ANVIAG

Here's how you can get on the bandwagon with telecom gear, cloud-based software and data analytics.

By Jim Cramer Fri 10:59 AM

Close up of smartphone on laptop keyboard © Marek Mnich/Getty ImagesSo Workday (WDAY) couldn't do it. It couldn't get the high-growth stocks going.


But a trio of Avago (AVGO), Veeva (VEEV) and Splunk (SPLK) sure will.


Here you've got semis for mobile phones and telecom gear, cloud-based software for the life science industry and big data analytics all shining at once -- three for three! Plus, Veeva and Splunk are heavily shorted, the former in a way that has pretty much shocked a lot of cloud enthusiasts because the clients themselves love the stuff.


The move couldn't be happening at a better time for tech, because there are plenty of worries out there that DRAM supply is coming on. Remember when Micron (MU) was a leader? And the shorts were out in full force at the end of the day on Salesforce.com (CRM) betting its big move was a one-off.

 

The Ukraine crisis festers and other fresh concerns boil to the surface, knocking down markets and giving volatility some life.

By InvestorPlace Thu 6:32 PM

Credit: © John Moore/Getty Images
Caption: Traders work the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on July 30, 2014By Anthony Mirhaydari


Some fear returned to the stock market on Thursday and the Standard & Poor's 500 Index ($INX) dipped back below 2,000 on growing evidence that Russian forces have moved into Ukraine with significant military assets.


NATO released satellite images of what it identified as Russian artillery battalions cross the border and setting up offensive positions against Ukrainian forces.


And after the close, President Barack Obama said Russia's "ongoing incursion" into Ukraine was responsible for the violence there and that the latest events would bring "more costs and consequences for Russia."


This comes as the summertime lull looks set to end (traditionally, after the Labor Day holiday) with stocks looking vulnerable perched at new highs (barely) amid collapsing volume and fresh signs of concern.


Investors need to take notice.

 

The jeweler's stock continues to defy gravity thanks to a combination of new products and improved performance.

By InvestorPlace Thu 4:22 PM

Credit: © Rex Features
Caption: Tiffany & Co jewelry store in Moscow, RussiaBy Will Ashworth


Tiffany & Co. (TIF) delivered a sparkling second-quarter earnings report Wednesday morning that easily beat analyst expectations.


When it comes to luxury retail, hardly anyone with the exception of Michael Kors (KORS) seems to be doing nearly as well ... so what makes Tiffany & Co. better than most?


Well, there are many reasons for Tiffany stock's strong performance, some of which are company-specific and others have more to do with competitor weaknesses.


Ultimately, successful retail is about executing a plan to near-perfection. To use a sports vernacular, Tiffany & Co. is currently operating in the zone, which makes it very hard to stop. So while Tiffany stock might be trading within 5 percent of its all-time highs, management optimism suggests there are future gains in the offing.

 

The electronics retailer is burning through cash and could run out by the end of 2015.

By TheStreet.com Staff Thu 12:10 PM

A RadioShack store in Greenwich Village, New York on Aug. 27, 2014 © Richard Levine/Demotix/CorbisBy Richard CollinsThe Deal


Electronics retailer RadioShack (RSH)  has several options on the table it is considering, including a refinancing and a bankruptcy filing, said sources familiar with the matter.

The desired endgame is a refinancing, sources familiar with the situation said, even as bankruptcy is being weighed.

The Fort Worth, Texas-based company has struggled in recent years as it has attempted to make itself relevant in the age of Amazon's (AMZN)  e-commerce empire and Apple's (AAPL) sleek modernist stores.

New York hedge fund Standard General LP may be the one to ride to the rescue by helping to arrange that financing.

 

The back-to-school season could be strong, and this year's holiday season could follow suit.

By Jim Cramer Thu 10:34 AM

Macy's Store in Kennewick, Wash. © Francis Dean/REXBest Buy (BBY) and Macy's (M) say it all. Both missed. Both guided down. Both were pretty shocking. Macy's because it has been amazingly consistent and Best Buy because, honestly, the commentary could not have been more negative.


Macy's got hammered, and it turned out to be a fabulous buying opportunity. Why? Try as I have, I don't know. Maybe it is just a belief that things are getting better. Maybe because people believe that the lower gasoline goes, the better Macy's does. Perhaps it was an aberration? Maybe they saw how J.C. Penney (JCP) came back but not so much that it made a difference? Maybe it was a recognition that there has been less price cutting in the group? We don't even know. No one has the answer, but I have heard a lot of conjecture.


The simple fact is that there is a huge bid under retail and Macy's is retail.

 

There are some picks in this sector that have excellent valuations and strong earnings growth.

By Zacks.com Wed 4:57 PM

Credit: © Henrik Jonsson/Getty Images
Caption: Examining financial data through a magnifying glassBy Tracey Ryniec

 

In 2013, the Russell 2000 ($TOMX) had a torrid year, gaining 33.2 percent, but after hitting another new all-time high in March, the small caps have lagged. They're barely in the green this year, gaining about 1.5 percent, while the Standard & Poor's 500 Index ($INX) has surged over 9 percent.


But this pause in the small-cap bull market presents an opportunity.


If you were afraid after last year's hot market that you had missed the small-cap boat, now is the time to climb onboard.


There are still small-cap stocks that have the ultimate investing trifecta: excellent valuation, strong earnings growth, and a Zacks Rank of #1 (Strong Buy) or #2 (Buy) but you just have to know where to look.

 
Tags: WGO

Energy, auto and even beer companies all have something to lose in the international crossfire.

By InvestorPlace Wed 4:45 PM

Credit: © Metzel Mikhail/ITAR-TASS/Corbis
Caption: Russia's President Vladimir PutinBy Charles Sizemore, InvestorPlace


Russia made news last week by shutting down four Moscow McDonald's (MCD) restaurants, ostensibly for health code violations.


But the move is widely viewed as Russia's latest "countersanction" against the West in retaliation for Western sanctions against Russia for its involvement in Ukraine.


Funnily enough, McDonald's first Russian restaurant -- opened in 1990 when Russia was still the communist Soviet Union -- is the most-visited McDonald's location in the world.


While Russia is one of the company's biggest markets outside of North America, the closures are expected to be temporary and are not expected to inflict major long-term damage on the stock.


Other Western companies might indeed feel the pinch, and not just from Western sanctions or Russian countersanctions. Russia's economy also is contracting, potentially taking consumer spending with it.

 
Tags: XOM

The stock rises 9% after the company reveals strong second-quarter results.

By MSN Money Partner Wed 4:31 PM
Credit: © Tim Boyle/Getty Images

Caption: A Michaels store in Mount Prospect, Ill.By Tomi Kilgore, MarketWatch

Maybe Michaels Companies (MIK) just went public two months too early.


The arts-and-crafts retailer's shares got off to a rather disappointing start as they debuted on June 27, a time when the retail sector was struggling to deal with a penny-pinching consumer


The shares closed below the initial-public-offering price of $17 on just their third-day of trading. Analysts said relatively high debt levels were also a concern.


But after strong fiscal second-quarter results Wednesday, the stock has started catching up to the pack. It ran up more than 9 percent in afternoon trade Wednesday to within 3 ercent of its IPO price.

 

There's a place to express your views about politics, but it's not with your core retirement savings.

By MSN Money Partner Wed 2:56 PM
Image: 401k © Photodisc, SuperStockBy Ron DeLegge, U.S. News & World Report

Even though the Standard & Poor's 500 Index ($INX) has once again broken to record highs (just above 2,000) and is now up 164 percent since bottoming in 2009, the unfortunate plight of far too many investors is consistent market underperformance.   

 

In truth, it's alarming whenever a person’s investment portfolio has subpar performance. It's especially alarming when that lackluster performance occurs smack dab in the middle of a raging bull market


Simply put, if a person's investment portfolio can't perform well during favorable periods, how can they expect to do well during less favorable times? It's delusional to believe, after years of poor performance, a person's portfolio will suddenly change for the better.


This week's portfolio report card is for Charles in Sweetwater, Oklahoma. He’s a 66-year-old cattle farmer. 

 
Tags: BACCHK

Shares fell 9 percent during the quarter, which offers a compelling entry price now.

By TheStreet.com Staff Wed 11:31 AM

A ConocoPhillips filling station seen on July 14, 2011, in Irving, Texas © Tony Gutierrez /APBy Marc Courtenay, TheStreet


ConocoPhillips (COP) is a popular energy holding for investors wanting growth and income. That's why it surprised me to learn that perhaps the smartest investor of all time, Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) made major reductions in his exposure to the company this year.


Buffett is the quintessential buy-and-hold investor who once quipped, "Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago." He'd rather buy a company in its "seedling" stage and patiently wait for it to grow to maturity before he decides to be seller.


That seems to be his view of the oil giant. According to Berkshire's latest report, it reduced its Conoco holdings by nearly 88 percent although it still owns 1,355,228 shares worth over $1.09 billion as of June 30.

 

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