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

Trucks will soon have electronic devices that make it harder to fudge the numbers on hours driven.

By MSN Money Partner Aug 20, 2014 4:13PM
Credit: © Jetta Productions/Getty Images

Caption: Semi Truck driver in silhouetteBy Mamta Badkar, Business Insider

America is facing a shortage of truck drivers, and that problem is expected to get worse.


The current shortage is estimated to be at 30,000, and a new regulation will help drive that higher.


A mandate requiring commercial vehicles to have an electronic logging device is likely go into effect in early 2015. This will make it harder for drivers to fudge the numbers and work more than the legally mandated limit on hours.


Right now 75 percent of the industry does not have these logging devices. Analysts expect 100 percent compliance within a year or two of the rule going into effect.

 

The vehicles travel around with students throughout the day, giving the company inroads into one of its last uncharted territories: University campuses.

By MSN Money Partner Aug 20, 2014 3:22PM
Credit: © Starbucks
Caption: Guests at a new Starbucks mobile truckBy Venessa Wong, Businessweek

College campuses might be among the few remaining places to escape the shadow of Starbucks (SBUX). 


There are roughly 11,500 Starbucks outlets in the U.S., but only about 300 of them are on U.S. campuses. That means most students of the country's 4,700 colleges are buying their coffee somewhere else.


That is about to change at three schools. The ubiquitous chain will peddle caffeine from food trucks at Arizona State University (which has also partnered with Starbucks to offer employees scholarships for its online program), James Madison University in Virginia, and Coastal Carolina University in South Carolina.

 
Tags: ARMKSBUX

Some 80% of the vehicles built south of the border are exported to other countries, mostly to the US.

By MSN Money Partner Aug 20, 2014 2:52PM
redit: © Susana Gonzalez/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Caption: An employee works on the assembly line producing the Ford Fiesta car, at the Ford Motor Co. plant in Cuautitlan Izcalli, Mexico, on Tuesday, May 11, 2010.By Joann Muller, Forbes

Everything you need to know about the future of the global auto industry is printed on the business cards of Carlos Lozano de la Torre, governor of Aguascalientes, Mexico, a central province named for its abundance of hot springs.


Seated at an enormous round table inside the ornate 17th-century government palace where he has his office, he reaches into the side pocket of his dark gray suit and shuffles through a stack: Here's one version in German, another in Chinese, another in English. 


"I have them in ten languages, but I only speak Spanish," he says with a chuckle as he hands over the English version.

 

It's been a rough road for the car-rental company. Analysts downgrade the stock after the news.

By MSN Money Partner Aug 20, 2014 2:14PM
Credit: © Oliver Berg/EPA

Caption: A Hertz service counter at Cologne/Bonn airportBy Nathan Vardi, Forbes

Hertz Global Holdings (HTZ) shares fell sharply on Wednesday after the rental car company withdrew its financial guidance for 2014. 

The company said earnings would be "well below the low end of its 2014 guidance" because of  "operational challenges" and costs related to its accounting review.

In other words, things are a mess at Hertz. The company's stock has been a favorite among prominent hedge fund managers like Glenview Capital Management's Larry Robbins, York Capital Management's James Dinan and Fir Tree Partners' Jeffrey Tannenbaum.


Shares of Hertz plunged by more than 11 percent in Wednesday morning trading to $27.95, but recovered to a 9.5 percent loss in the afternoon. The stock had previously risen in August to a 52-week high of $31.61.

 
Tags: HTZ

The Nasdaq is booming, but some of the biggest names in technology haven't recovered.

By MSN Money Partner Aug 20, 2014 1:53PM
Credit: © Kris Tripplaar/Rex Features

Caption: The headquarters of Cisco Systems, Inc., in Silicon Valley, San Jose, Calif.By Tomi Kilgore, MarketWatch

While the Nasdaq Composite Index ($COMPX) has finally made it back to levels seen around the time the technology bubble popped more than 14 years ago, a number of tech-heavyweights that helped fuel the madness are still languishing at less than half their peak levels.


The tech-friendly Nasdaq Composite closed Tuesday at 4527.51, the highest level seen since March 31, 2000. 


The Nasdaq has soared more than four-fold since bottoming out at 1114.11 on Oct. 9, 2002, but is still an 11 percent rally away from its all-time closing peak of 5046.86 reached on March 9, 2000.

 

A 4.8% yield is drawing attention to this bundle of dividend stocks from Europe, Asia, Australia and Canada.

By InvestorPlace Aug 20, 2014 1:40PM

Caption: Illustration of a businessman standing on stock prices looking up at line graphs over globe
Credit: © Roy Scott/Getty ImagesBy Kyle Woodley


If you're a dividend investor, chances are you're holding many of the space's stalwarts -- big, blue-chip American companies with rock-solid financials and gobs of cash that you can ride through thick and thin.


That's good. Don't stop doing that.


But if you're truly looking to diversify your holdings, that also means protecting yourself against a slump in the U.S. And one of the best ways to do that is to target the same types of big, blue-chip dividend companies you like here in the States . . . but elsewhere on the map.


One of the best ways to hunker down internationally is the iShares International Select Dividend ETF (IDV), a bundle of high-yielding dividend stocks from Europe, Asia, Australia and Canada.

 
Tags: DVYIDVSDY

Low interest rates are supposed to get money circulating, but instead investors are hoarding cash.

By MSN Money Partner Aug 20, 2014 12:46PM
Image: Money with lock © Ingram Publishing, SuperStock​By Rex Nutting, MarketWatch

The conventional wisdom says the Federal Reserve is keeping interest rates so low that it doesn't pay to play it safe and that it's encouraging investors to do all sorts of crazy things to earn a higher yield.


Supposedly, the central bank is prompting investors to pump up stocks, junk bonds, farm land and all the other bubbles you've been reading about.


It's a nice story, but the data show that U.S. investors are still conservative about where they put their money.


Just how conservative are they?

 

The heavy-machine maker is getting killed in Asia. Its performance may say a lot about the world economy.

By MSN Money Partner Aug 20, 2014 12:17PM
Credit: © Jessica Rinaldi/Reuters
Caption: The CAT logo is seen on the side of a Caterpillar machineBy Myles Udland, Business Insider

Caterpillar's (CAT) sales keep falling.

The heavy-machine maker just released its latest three-month rolling retail sales stats, which showed that sales, particularly in its Asia/Pacific segment, keep falling. 


Worldwide, total machine retail sales were down 12 percent in May, 10 percent in June and 9 percent in July when compared to the prior year period. 


These declines compare to year-on-year declines of 8 percent, 12 percent and 13 percent in February, March and April. 


In its Asia/Pacific segment, total machine sales were down 30 percent, 30 percent and 29 percent for the months of May, June, and July, respectively. 

 
Tags: CAT

The dollar is down, the Gaza truce is off, the Fed's minutes come out today, and company news is all bad.

By Jim Cramer Aug 20, 2014 11:57AM

A pedestrian carrying an umbrella passes a U.S. flag on Wall Street in front of the exterior of the New York Stock Exchange in New York © Scott Eells/Bloomberg via Getty ImagesThe Germans and Russians were potentially working things out in Ukraine. Home Depot (HD) and some other retailers put up terrific numbers, and housing starts got stronger even as gasoline and mortgage rates went lower. Gaza was peaceful. The dollar was stable, and we seemed not to have all that much to worry about regarding the Federal Reserve.


Keep those circumstances in mind, because those were the thoughts that framed Tuesday's closing bell.


Now consider today.


TheStreet.com logoFirst, the dollar is soaring again, much harder than what we have seen of late. Why? Maybe because Ukraine wants more concessions and the Russians don't want to go quietly into the night? Second, at the Bank of England, the prior consensus to keep interest rates lower is unraveling as two members want higher rates. Third, the Gaza truce is off and the fighting is back on.

 

Do your research. There's a reason it's the No. 1 rule in the book.

By MSN Money Partner Aug 19, 2014 4:04PM
Credit: © Nati Harnik/AP

Caption: Warren Buffett
By Patrick Morris, The Motley Fool

Looking for how to make money in the stock market? A new paper reveals there's one easy way.


And it turns out it's one thing Warren Buffett (pictured) has admitted he does almost every day.


According to a recent paper released by the National Bureau of Economic Research, or NBER, entitled "Financial Knowledge and 401k Investment Performance," now, more than ever, the ability for an individual American to properly save and invest is critical.


The paper notes that as a result of the changes in how employers contribute to employee retirement accounts -- pension plans have become less common and things like 401k accounts, which require more decisions from individuals, have grown -- "the ability to invest wisely and earn better returns will therefore be increasingly critical for national retirement well-being in an aging world."

 

The market is setting itself up to hit new highs that should last through November.

By InvestorPlace Aug 19, 2014 3:51PM

Caption: Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange
Credit: © Spencer Platt/Getty ImagesBy Anthony Mirhaydari


Stocks continued to push higher Tuesday in response to a batch of "Goldilocks" economic data.


Consumer price inflation was softer than expected, providing the doves at the Federal Reserve with more ammunition to keep the hawks at bay. And housing looks set to get a lift as new construction starts jumped 8 percent, ending two months of declines.


The broad market looks ready for a Fed-fueled melt-up heading into Chairwoman Janet Yellen's speech on Friday. That likely will set up a push to new highs that should last through November. Helping in this has been the diminishing geopolitical tensions in Ukraine and Iraq.


In fact, after largely skidding sideways over the last few months, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index ($INX) looks set for another move toward the 2,000 mark and new all-time highs. Here's why.

 

Sales at the retailer are plunging, leading executives to roll out some dramatic fixes. Shares rise 4% in response.

By MSN Money Partner Aug 19, 2014 2:44PM
Pedestrians walk past the Urban Outfitters Inc. store in San Francisco, Calif. (© David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images)By Hayley Peterson, Business Insider

Urban Outfitters' (URBN) namesake brand is struggling.

The brand's same-store sales plunged 10 percent in the second quarter over last year, marking the fourth straight quarter of comparable sales declines.


By comparison, same-store sales increased 21 percent at Free People and 6 percent at Anthropologie in the second quarter. 


The company blamed Urban Outfitters' poor performance on fashion misses and "what had become incessant promotional activity" in an earnings call with analysts Monday. 

 
Tags: URBN

The businesses reporting the largest increases in sales per share can help when picking stocks.

By MSN Money Partner Aug 19, 2014 2:28PM
Caption: The 'Facebook' logo is seen on a tablet screen
Credit: © LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP/Getty ImagesBy Philip van Doorn, MarketWatch

Now that second-quarter earnings season is nearly over, it's time to find out which companies moved up the ranks in their industry.


But how do we find out? Earnings results are so often affected by one-time items that comparisons have become essentially meaningless.


To address that problem, last week we looked at the 10 Standard & Poor's 500 Index ($INX) stocks that had seen the greatest increases in consensus 2015 earnings estimates since June 30. Forward estimates don't include one-time items. 


We also listed the 10 S&P 500 stocks suffering the largest cuts in earnings estimates.

 

The beauty company's stock sinks 24% on a steep decline in sales of celebrity fragrances.

By MSN Money Partner Aug 19, 2014 2:09PM
Credit: Joel Ryan/Invision/AP

Caption: Justin BieberBy Phil Wahba, Fortune

After years of great effort trying to become the pre-eminent purveyor of celebrity fragrances, troubled beauty company Elizabeth Arden (RDEN) has placed the blame for its collapsing business on two of its biggest stars.


Net sales for the quarter ended June 30 fell 28.4 percent to $191.7 million because it introduced fewer new fragrances. But it also said popular ones are fading fast.


"The decline in sales of celebrity fragrances, particularly the Justin Bieber (pictured) and Taylor Swift fragrances, was steeper than anticipated," the company said.

 
Tags: ELWMT

Excitement is growing about the company's new iPhone, expected this fall.

By MSN Money Partner Aug 19, 2014 1:30PM
The Apple logo is seen on the facade of the Apple Store
 
© Maja Hitu/epa/Corbis
 Updated 5 p.m. ET

By CNBC.com staff

Apple (AAPL) hit $100 a share during midday trading on Tuesday for the first time since its seven-for-one split in June. The stock closed the day up 1.4 percent to $100.53.

The stock followed a general upward trend after the milestone, putting shares above their split-adjusted record close of $100.30 set on Sept. 19, 2012, just shy of the split-adjusted all-time high of $100.72 from Sept. 21, 2012.


At pre-split levels, individual shares traded just above $705 each in September 2012 and fell to trade near $600 in May of this year.


Shares have risen more than 8 percent since the split, when the stock opened near $92 a share. Apple shares had not traded below $100 each for five years.

 
Tags: AAPL

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[BRIEFING.COM] S&P futures vs fair value: +5.70. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: +14.00. U.S. equity futures hover near their highs amid subdued action overseas. The S&P 500 futures trade six points above fair value. The benchmark index will enter the final session of the month with an August gain of 3.4%. Meanwhile, nine of ten economic sectors are on course to finish the month higher, while the smallest sector by weight-telecom services-will enter the session with an August decline ... More


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