The chain still has quality management and strong retention rates.
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Spain may be scary, but this native company isn't.
A little-known investor named Warren Buffett advises that we be greedy when others are fearful. For our pick of the day, Jordan DiPietro zeroes in on one of the most fearful regions in the world.
Rex Moore, Motley Fool Top Stocks editor
You think 10% unemployment is bad? Try 20% -- that's the unemployment number right now in Spain, one of the many Eurozone countries getting dragged down by anemic growth, massive debt, and a rigid labor market. And now that Ireland has officially accepted an EU/IMF bailout for roughly $90 billion in external support, many speculators think Spain might be the next domino to fall.
These funds track India, Canada, retail and silver.
By Don Dion, TheStreet
Here are five exchange-traded funds worth keeping an eye on this week.
The Indian markets were sent into a tailspin last week, weighed down by concerns about the nation's corruption. As a result, ETFs designed to track the nation's economy were battered. The small-cap companies underlying SCIF were hit especially hard, leading the fund to crumble to new lows.
Investor sentiment will likely be pressured heading into the near future, and this could cause products such as SCIF and WisdomTree India Earnings ETF (EPI) to be shaky.
Memo to president: When companies make more money, they hire more workers. It's that simple.
The meeting at the White House this week has to be different. Many of the CEOs who have gone to see President Barack Obama so far have told me the meetings are superficial, totally done for the media. Photo ops. They are not substantive. They say the president doesn't understand how big business works. He thinks it is parasitic and all about profits, not about doing the right thing.
That's why Wednesday's meeting is so important.
We need the execs to leave with more than a photo. We need them to say that he listened and that he is going to take action on what they have to say. I just don't know, ideologically, whether Obama can accept the idea that hiring is a byproduct of CEOs trying to make a lot of money for themselves and for their shareholders.
How to play the market this week using ETF's
There is no sense being a hero in the middle of December. Professional investors are winding down the year making it difficult to predict anything given the expected lower volume for the remainder of the year.
On top of that general concern I am worried about stocks for the coming week. We saw the market rally more than 1% last week on top of 3% gains the week before. We have come a long way in a short period of time.
At the same time the politicians in Washington are up their old tricks. This time around it is the extension of the Bush tax cuts at issue. A supposed deal between Republicans and the President may be at risk given dissatisfaction among certain Democrats.
Put it all together and the time has come to play it safe in our ETF trading account. Front and center of that strategy will be to own the ProShares Short Russell 2000 (RWM).
After spending most of the year bouncing along the bottom, homebuilders are on the move again.
The housing market just can't catch a break. The expiration of the government's homebuyer tax credit resulted in a double-dip of sales activity over the summer. And now, prices are sliding again.
To make matters worse, the recent selloff to hit bonds -- which was the subject of my last post -- is pushing mortgage rates higher. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate has climbed from a record-low of 4.17% just a few weeks ago to more than 4.6% now. That's hitting housing affordability at just about the worst possible time as the "shadow" inventory of foreclosed homes starts to hit the market as the foreclosure moratorium related to shoddy bank paperwork comes to an end.
And by extension, the same goes for housing stocks. While the overall stock market is pushing to new multi-year highs, the Homebuilders Index ETF (XHB) has been stuck in purgatory since falling from its April highs and is down nearly 14% over the period. The same goes for its constituents, including Toll Brothers (TOL), PulteGroup (PHM), KB Home (KBH). But now, there is evidence that buyers are returning to the sector.
Despite criticism about printing money, the government struggles to make bills that work. A hedge fund takes desperate measures to try to close the book on a stock. The Treasury joins social media frenzy.
5. All about the 'Benjamins'
There's been a lot of talk -- largely related to the most recent round of quantitative easing -- about the government's penchant for "printing money." As it turns out, the government can't print money correctly.
Apparently the warehouse discounter thinks dealing with Apple's micromanaging style is too much hassle.
Unfortunately, Apple's strict supply and pricing rules seem to be a different story with retailers. Warehouse discounter Costco (COST) seems to think it's not worth the hassle to do business with Apple anymore -- even if it's products are wildly popular.
The video rental company now has 27% of the US market and is looking at side ventures.
One of those involves coffee. Redbox, a unit of Coinstar (CSTR), has partnered with the Seattle's Best Coffee chain to develop French-pressed coffee kiosks. About 10 of them are being tested, selling a cup of coffee for $1 (or $1.50 with flavoring added.)
It's an interesting side business for Redbox, which has seen amazing growth in recent years. Redbox's success boosted Coinstar's 2011 forecast for revenue to between $1.8 billion and $1.95 billion and profits of $3 to $3.50 a share.
The Chinese video site had a great IPO this week, but now the stock is crumbling.
Youku shares took a huge dive Friday, plunging to $38.61 at midday from nearly $50 in the morning. That's still well above the $12.80 IPO price. Youku was one of five Chinese IPOs scheduled for this week.
What's so bad about Youku? For starters, its revenue for the first nine months of this year was just $35 million, and it lost $25 million in that time, writes Shane Farley.
This REIT has plans to expand -- and possibly increase its payout as well.
Rex Moore, Motley Fool Top Stocks editor
I like companies that put cash back into my portfolio, and that's part of the reason I'm buying Sabra Health Care REIT (SBRA) for my Rising Stars Portfolio. The company is a recent spinoff of Sun Healthcare (SUNHD) and is poised to take advantage of the ailing commercial property market as it ramps up its own operations under former Sun CEO Richard Matros.
Investors should take the country's recent GDP gains with a grain of salt.
By Kevin Grewal, TheStreet
Japan recently witnessed its fourth consecutive quarter of economic growth, enabling it to reclaim from China its position as the world's second-largest economy after beating gross domestic product expectations.
The Japanese economy expanded by 4.5% in the third quarter of the year, exceeding analysts' expectations by 0.6% and eating away at the nation's massive deflationary gap. Further, the expansion has led to Japan's minister of economic and fiscal policy to peg an estimated annual growth for the year at around 2.6%.
His recent trip to a Wyoming mine has investors wondering whether the industry will receive his blessing.
By Don Dion, TheStreet
A long-term proponent for the global economic recovery over the past year, Warren Buffett has made a number of interesting decisions that have helped to position his portfolio for strength over the long term. One avenue some observers feel the famous investor has taken a particularly strong liking to is the coal industry.
At the close of 2009 and the start of 2010, Buffett stole headlines when he announced plans to purchase the remaining shares of Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad. The deal, valued at $34 billion, has earned the title as Berkshire Hathaway's (BRK.A) largest acquisition.
Don't wait for a physical copper ETF to play this commodity, because COPX is soaring.
By Jeff Reeves, Editor of InvestorPlace.com
There has been a lot of speculation in recent weeks that iShares, ETF Securities and other companies will soon bring an exchange-traded fund to the market that tracks physical copper the way the SPDR Gold Shares ETF (GLD) tracks physical gold or the iShares Silver Trust ETF (SLV) follows silver.
While any physical copper fund will certainly make a splash, don't feel you have to wait until such an ETF debuts to capitalize on copper price inflation. One of the biggest movers in the past several days has been the Global X Copper Miners ETF (COPX), and it could continue to push upward next week and beyond if copper extends a record-setting run.
Here's my take on COPX and four other hot ETFs for the coming week:
The EPA is backing away from tighter restrictions on pollutants. The news will be good for Peabody and Arch.
We know who won the elections in November: coal.
That's right. With the news this morning that the Environmental Protection Agency is backing away from placing tighter restrictions on pollutants, the coal-burning utilities are going to be able to keep burning all the coal they want without much fear.
The stunning turn would be the green light allowing the 30- to 40-year-old plants, the ones that spew the most into the atmosphere, to keep running rather than being forced into retirement, as we would have expected.
The company needs a lot of natural gas to mine potash in Mendoza, and now it should have the supply.
The biggest winner from Argentina's huge natural gas from shale discovery in Patagonia?
Well, YPF Sociedad Anonima (YPF) is certainly a winner. The find of 4.5 trillion cubic feet of gas is roughly double the Argentine company's previous proved natural gas reserves of 2.7 trillion cubic feet. YPF already produces some natural gas from four wells at the Loma La Lata field with a daily output of 100,000 cubic meters.
Repsol YPF (REP), the Spanish oil and gas company that controls YPF, is certainly a winner, too. Media reports, unconfirmed by either company, say the find could hold as much as 250 trillion cubic feet of gas. By contrast, Argentina's proved natural gas reserves before the find totaled 12 to 13 trillion cubic feet. ("Proved" is a much more meaningful measure than "reported in the newspaper," I'd note.) Repsol is planning to sell 15% of YPF in a public offering.
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[BRIEFING.COM] The major averages continue chopping near their flat lines with the Nasdaq (+0.1%) maintaining a slim lead.
Going into this week, many participants had expected to see the start of a seasonal 'Santa Claus rally' where stocks tend to rise into the end of the year. However, with the second week of the month nearing completion, those participants have yet to find something other than coals in their stockings.
The S&P 500 is lower by 1.7% in December while the Dow ... More
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