It's no Alibaba, but the Citizens Financial Group offering is important to the market.
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States and local municipalities are still barely getting their footing, but these companies will help them in their recovery.
By Benjamin Shepherd, Personal Finance
U.S. state and local governments shed about 244,000 jobs in 2011 and 249,000 jobs in 2010, according to government data. Since the height of the global credit crunch in mid-2008, almost 670,000 state and local government jobs have been eliminated.
But as the U.S. economy slowly heals, the outlook for state workers is beginning to improve.
Juniper and Wendy's are downgraded, while Transocean is upgraded.
Friday's noteworthy upgrades include:
Ford shares slump on disappointing results.
Net income at the Dearborn, Michigan-based company reported net income of $13.6 billion, or $3.40 per share, versus $190 million, or 5 cents per share the year before. Excluding one-time items, profit was $1.1 billion, or 20 cents per share, 5 cents below Wall Street consensus forecasts. Revenue rose to $34.6 billion.
Golar's speciality fleet is set to benefit from an expected boom in LNG shipping.
By Harry Domash, Dividend Detective
Thanks to new techniques for getting natural gas out of shale rock formations, the U.S. is suddenly producing more natural gas than we need.
That's a good thing because many foreign countries are eager to import our surplus natural gas. Meanwhile, falling natural gas prices have opened up an opportunity for investors in Golar LNG (GLNG).
The company stands to gain from the latest complex exploration methods.
Already we see strong revenue and earnings growth because of the rising interest in shale exploration and increasing deepwater activity. We expect Schlumbeger to leverage its global presence and its technological edge to benefit from the current era of high energy prices. The company competes with other players in the field, such as Halliburton (HAL) and Baker Hughes (BHI).
These picks fit the bill in a sector with great long-term prospects.
Heath care stocks are the no-brainer demographic trend that every investor should take advantage of.
Aging baby boomers will demand more services, prescriptions and medical care. Health care is recession-proof, since people rarely cut back on their quality of life even if money is stretched thin. The big-picture reasons go on and on.
The coffee behemoth has a record holiday quarter, but investors are wary of narrowing margins and a disappointing forecast.
The coffee giant reported a $382.1 million profit, or 50 cents a share, for the fourth quarter, a 10% rise from a year earlier. Revenue rose 16% to a record $3.44 billion. Analysts expected a profit of 49 cents a share on revenue of $3.29 billion.
The food company may be trying to divert investors' attention ahead of earnings.
The Purchase, N.Y., beverage giant announced Thursday that three of its brands -- Diet Mountain Dew, Brisk and Starbucks bottled beverages -- have each surpassed $1 billion in annual retail sales. There is less to this claim than meets the eye.
The stock flies high above the otherwise stagnant Brazilian steel industry. So is it time to buy?
With superior asset quality and conservative loan policies, this bank is the top play on Brazil's economic growth.
One of Brazil's most favorable characteristics is a strong banking system, a sector that should benefit as investment flows return to the country.
Banco Bradesco (BBD) is our favorite bank to gain exposure to this sector. Banco Bradesco is Brazil's second-largest private bank, with over 40 million customers and more than 4,000 braches.
Strong growth in 2012 will be driven by its infrastructure businesses and a good backlog of orders.
Revenue growth was lower than we expected partly because of project delays, which have helped GE build an exceptional order backlog.
The cable operator's investments in broadband networks have certainly paid off.
To offset these losses, the cable companies have resorted to investment in their broadband networks to improve speeds and increase their high-margin broadband subscriber base.
The company appears to be stabilizing its subscriber levels, but it has a lot to prove before it becomes the market darling it once was.
Instead, Netflix just wants to be an online premium network. Think HBO on the Web. It wants to offer big original shows that you can't find anywhere else, plus a ton of less significant programming that doesn't cost too much.
The long-heralded shift to a cashless society is happening faster than even companies like PayPal predicted.
The smartphone revolution -- just look at the gargantuan surge in the number of iPhones that Apple sold in the fourth quarter -- is finally starting to deliver on an old promise: Increasingly, those phones are doubling as our wallets.
PayPal, which is beginning to roll out in-store e-payment systems, starting with Home Depot (HD), will be one of those companies relying on smartphones as part of the new payment systems.
Materials stocks are outperforming the broad market, and the primary sector ETF is showing technical strength.
The announcement from the Federal Open Market Committee that interest rates will remain low until 2014 appears to have ended the market's very brief corrective phase. The advance/decline lines moved sharply higher Wednesday, with more than 2,300 stocks advancing and just over 700 declining.
Some of the previously lagging sectors are now showing signs of life. As further evidence that the economy is indeed getting stronger, new sectors are likely to become leaders (see also: Sector Selection Is the Key for 2012).
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The expected $3.36 billion offering from Citizens Financial Group won't come close to Alibaba's, but it will be an important one for the market.
Top Stocks provides analysis about the most noteworthy stocks in the market each day, combining some of the best content from around the MSN Money site and the rest of the Web.
Contributors include professional investors and journalists affiliated with MSN Money.
Follow us on Twitter @topstocksmsn.
[BRIEFING.COM] The commodity complex was under pressure today as a stronger dollar index weighed on prices.
Dec gold pulled back from its session high of $1226.30 per ounce set in morning action and traded as low as $1214.60 per ounce, its lowest since January 2014. Unable to gain momentum, it settled 0.8% lower at $1216.50 per ounce, booking a loss of 1.2% for the week.
Dec silver fell to four year lows after trading as high as $18.49 per ounce in early morning floor trade. It ... More
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