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Americans prefer gold, real estate

As the market wades through what many people hope is a sixth bull year, some have grown nervous about how long the run can go.

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The company raises big bucks in its first debt offering. But why is it panhandling?

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day May 20, 2011 11:52AM

By Rick Aristotle Munarriz

 

There are three stages of response to Google's (GOOG) decision to raise nearly $3 billion in debt this week.

 

The first stage is denial. Why is Google panhandling? The company has $36.7 billion in cash, equivalents and marketable securities. It can't be hard up for cash. Google is crazy!

 

The second stage is acceptance. Google's stock has lost its sizzle, trading 29% below its peak in 2007. A bond offering helps grease the palms of underwriters, ideally leading to favorable coverage. A secondary offering would do the same thing, but disgruntled shareholders would only bellyache about new shares being minted at price points well below all-time highs. Even now, Google is trading closer to its 52-week low than its 52-week high.

 

Wall Street seems to be turning bullish on emerging markets, but the chart action for one of the primary emerging-markets ETFs shows that there’s still cause for concern.

By MoneyShow.com May 20, 2011 11:25AM
By Tom Aspray, MoneyShow.com

Inflation fears have dampened the interest in many of the emerging markets over the past few months. Many investors have also moved to lower risk in their portfolios as we approach the end of QE2.

A recent report from Birinyi Associates detailed how the major Wall Street firms feel about emerging markets. Their analysis showed that the outlook for many of the markets—including China, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Turkey, and Brazil—had improved from earlier in the year. Brazil was the most favored market.

Over the years, I have often found that my opinion has been quite different from that of the big Wall Street firms, and as a result, the almost unanimous bullish outlook for Brazil has me concerned.

I have been closely following the action in the emerging markets, and my volume analysis for several of the emerging market ETFs suggests that the action throughout the next week or two will be critical. The improved technical outlook for the US stock market should be supportive for the emerging markets.
 

As important as we think we are, the eurozone, oil futures and China all have a bigger impact on stocks than the US does.

By Jim Cramer May 20, 2011 8:39AM

jim cramerthe street

There's always a routine in this business, one that's dictated by events, what's important, what will determine the day.

 

It used to be pretty simple -- antediluvian, even. When I first moved to the suburbs, I would get out of bed, throw some clothes on and walk to the end of the driveway to get the The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. I used to pay extra to be the first on the route, to get a jump on things. You didn't have to get in much earlier than 7 a.m. in those days, because the news wire didn't start until then.

 

You followed your stocks, the stock market, the broader economy and, at times, Washington. That was about it.

 

Issues would come in and out of the first focus. Sometimes it would be taxes, sometimes terror, sometimes takeovers. But for the most part it would be company-by-company news, and if something was happening in the broader market, you examined it to figure out what you needed to sell or buy into the overall market moves.

 

Deere increased full-year guidance on a solid second-quarter report. So why is Wall Street disappointed?

By Jim J. Jubak May 19, 2011 3:56PM
Jim JubakThe market apparently decided to be disappointed with Deere's (DE) quarterly financial report, issued before the market open yesterday. The stock closed down less than 1% yesterday, and was down slightly again today.

I think I understand why (and I care, because Deere is a member of my long-term Jubak Picks 50 portfolio), but you sure have to dig below a lot of good news to find anything to be negative about.

But let's get the shovels ready, shall we, and see if we can uncover the grounds for disappointment.

For the second quarter of its 2011 fiscal year (the quarter that ended in April), Deere reported earnings of $2.12 a share. That beat Wall Street earnings estimates by 6 cents a share -- or a penny a share, if you take account of the company’s lower tax rate for the quarter (which wasn’t figured into analyst estimates.)
 

Revamping women's clothing is the top priority for the retailer, which has watched North American sales slide.

By Kim Peterson May 19, 2011 3:32PM

Gap (GPS) is in a crisis, having tried unsuccessfully for years to turn business around. The company has booted its top designer and its president, and is desperate to get back on track by the holidays. Gap cut its full-year profit forecast this afternoon, and the stock has dropped nearly 13% in after-hours trading.

"I have a much higher sense of urgency," chief executive Glenn Murphy said in a rare interview. "This brand is just too damn important to not see that kind of effort being put forward," he told The Wall Street Journal.

The biggest priority for Gap is women's shirts. Gap can't get them right, and sales have been a mess for years, writes Elizabeth Homes. Sales at the Gap's 1,000 U.S. stores have fallen 32% since 2004. Now, Gap's North American stores contribute just a quarter of overall revenue, which isn't helping fund overseas expansion enough.

Post continues after this video about Gap's issues:

 

Rubber-stamping excessive executive compensation ruins things for the rest of us.

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day May 19, 2011 2:01PM

By Alyce Lomax

 

Last year, CEOs at the biggest American companies made better money than they did in 2007, despite the intervening economic havoc. Why did executives enjoy such a cushy payday? Because their biggest shareholders did nothing to stop it.

 

Ka-ching!
According to executive compensation research firm Equilar, the typical CEO made $9 million in 2010, a 24% increase over last year. In 2007, before the housing bubble burst and the financial crisis hit, the median pay for CEOs was $8.4 million. Although CEO pay did clock two years of declines, major CEOs have apparently quickly regained lost ground in pay levels.

 

Sadly, they seem to be among the few groups of individuals who have regained much at all in the last couple of years. While some of these CEOs undoubtedly deserve pay hikes for great performance, many don't.

 

We’ve been following three technically sound stocks whose strong overseas operations will also benefit if the US dollar stays weak. One is still a good buy, and a fourth stock has just emerged.

By MoneyShow.com May 19, 2011 11:42AM
By Tom Aspray, MoneyShow.com

Tuesday’s stock market decline was well supported, and Wednesday’s action suggests that the correction is likely over. Additional gains on Thursday will further stabilize that outlook and set the stage for the S&P 500 and Dow Industrials to challenge the early-May highs.

For an in-depth technical outlook on the stock market, read today’s Trading Lessons article, which will be available here this afternoon. (Sign up to receive the free eLetter.)

Crude oil and other commodity markets rebounded yesterday, and The New York Times’ somewhat bullish article on the dollar likely marks a short-term dollar top.

On April 14, I recommended three stocks that receive more than half of their revenue from overseas markets, all of which also looked positive technically.

All of the companies—United Technologies (UTX), McDonald’s (MCD), and Danaher Corporation (DHR)—did reach the recommended buying zones before turning higher.

One still looks like a good buy, as the recent correction has provided a good risk/reward entry point. I have also discovered another stock that fits the previous criteria and looks ready to move higher.
 

Funds that tap a mix of gold, silver, platinum and palladium can be useful in a variety of investing scenarios.

By TheStreet Staff May 19, 2011 10:51AM

By Don Dion, TheStreet

 

Precious metals have become a major region of interest for ETF sponsors. Since its introduction in late 2004, the physically based SPDR Gold Shares (GLD) fund has taken off in popularity, gathering over $60 billion in assets, making it the second-largest ETF in the world.

 

Over the ensuing years, the success of this fund has been noticed by large and small providers. Many, attempting to profit from interest in this corner of the market, have launched their own funds designed to offer investors access to these shiny resources.

 

While some firms, like Global X and Market Vectors, have opted to take the equity-based route with miner funds like the Global X Silver Miners ETF (SIL) and Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (GDX) respectively, others have chosen to use futures contracts or physical stockpiles to provide investors with direct access to their desired metals.

 

By pricing the stock more than 80% below its opening price, the social-media giant is left out while initial investors make big profits.

By InvestorPlace May 19, 2011 10:22AM

By Jeff Reeves, Editor, InvestorPlace.com


LinkedIn (LNKD) shares soared in their market debut Thursday, though the social-media giant made a nearly $300 million mistake with its IPO.

 

investorplaceThe company priced its long-awaited IPO at $45 a share Wednesday, but the stock opened at a stunning $83. By 11 a.m ET, shares were trading up a whopping 95% at $97.85. With 7.8 million shares up for grabs, LinkedIn made $351 million in its public offering. But had it priced the initial shares 84% higher, it would have raked in $647 million in capital instead.

 

In short, somebody made a fortune on this initial public offering, but it wasn't LinkedIn.

 

Analysts are all too eager to sound the alarm, but good stocks are good stocks -- period.

By Jim Cramer May 19, 2011 9:06AM

jim cramerthe street

Let's see, after you've had a good run in stocks, or after stocks have reported some good news, you are usually forced to chase them, courtesy the momentum people who want in and want up.

 

Occasionally, though, you get your entry points from the Street, which, since the 2000-03 and 2008-09 debacles, is always anxious to downgrade at a moment's notice, just when things are starting to look up.

 

Take Intel (INTC). Goldman, which had been saying that Intel was going to $21 and had a "hold" rating on it, went to an outright "sell" Thursday and changed its price target to $20. I have not been a fan of Intel, preferring ARM Holdings (ARMH), because Intel is not part of the vast Apple (AAPL) ecosystem. It does not have the proper smartphone entry. And it is still very much linked to a device in decline -- the personal computer. But it now has a new chip that has lots of power and uses a lot less energy, and that might be the perfect solution to its problems.

 

CSCO is a recent addition that has underperformed, and the index should focus more on consumer tech than corporate tech.

By InvestorPlace May 19, 2011 9:03AM

By Jeff Reeves, Editor, InvestorPlace.com

 

jeff reevesNext Thursday marks 115th birthday of the much-followed -- and much maligned -- Dow Jones Industrial Average. Charles Dow created the benchmark on May 26, 1896, at a reading of 40 points, representing the dollar average of 12 stocks from leading U.S. industries.


There have been a host of changes to the index over the years, with the lineup of component stocks growing to 30 and involving 48 different formulations since its inception. Of course, some of the most recent changes include booting out victims of the financial crisis: General Motors (GM), American International Group (AIG) and Citigroup (C).


But why wait until a company goes bankrupt or gets bailed out to rejigger the index? If the Dow is so widely cited by the media and economic analysts, shouldn't it be a precise gauge of the stock market and the American economy as a whole and not just a nostalgic list of old giants that have seen better days?

 

The high-end grocer has seen its share price go through the roof in the last year.

By Kim Peterson May 18, 2011 3:37PM
Retailers and grocers are struggling in this era of high gas prices and growing costs. But you wouldn't know it from looking at Whole Foods Market (WFM).

The company's second-quarter earnings were the strongest in five years. Whole Foods is making so much money, in fact, that it repaid outstanding debt ahead of the August 2012 due date. How often does that happen?

Standard & Poor's raised its corporate credit rating on Whole Foods to BB+, which is the top notch before investment-grade levels. "The rating on Whole Foods reflects our expectation that the company will maintain its sales and profit growth and enhance credit metrics," S&P analyst Charles Pinson-Rose told Dow Jones. 

Fund managers surveyed by Merrill Lynch have cut exposure to risky sectors and assets as they become less confident about economic growth and profits.

By Anthony Mirhaydari May 18, 2011 2:46PM

Based on the findings of the latest Merrill Lynch fund manager survey, the "smart money" has become a lot less excited about the future. Growth expectations are being marked down, and earnings are expected to stagnate.

 

These are all consequences of the negative factors I've been discussing in my recent columns and blog posts. From fresh losses for the housing market to a peak in corporate earnings growth to the end of accommodative monetary and fiscal policy to surging inflation, disappointing economic data and renewed concerns over the health of the euro zone, investors have plenty to worry about.

 

And now, based on the survey findings, the big boys are starting to pull in their horns. The overall takeaway: Fund managers surveyed, who collectively control more than $800 billion in assets, are questioning whether global economic growth can continue to press ahead, given all the headwinds we face. As a result, they're starting to take action.

 

For the average investor, it might pay to wait until after shares go public.

By InvestorPlace May 18, 2011 1:49PM
By Tom Taulli, InvestorPlace.com
   

investor placeLinkedIn is expected to price its initial public offering on Thursday. All in all, it looks like the investor demand is substantial, as the company boosted the per-share price range on the deal to $42-$45 from $32-$35.


LinkedIn doubled its revenue last year – reaching $243.1 million – and the company is even profitable. The IPO will also give investors a taste of the social-networking market — the LinkedIn website has more than 100 million registered members.


So how can you get shares in the IPO? Here’s a look at some of the options:

 

Top funds disclose their moves for the past three months.

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day May 18, 2011 1:45PM

By Dan Caplinger

 

Many investors pay mutual fund managers thousands of dollars each year to make the right moves with their money. But thanks to Securities and Exchange Commission disclosure rules, you get a free look every three months at the investments that mutual funds buy. Although they come with a time lag, that information can give you some great insight into the way that professional investors think about strategy.

 

Every quarter, institutional investors and mutual funds that meet certain size requirements must disclose their holdings to the SEC on what's called Form 13F. These 13F reports provide most of the information that market trackers follow in seeing what top investors like Warren Buffett and George Soros are doing with their money.

 

Following the manager of the decade
Bruce Berkowitz is no stranger to the limelight. Thanks to his Fairholme Fund success, Berkowitz earned Fund Manager of the Decade recognition from Morningstar.

 

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[BRIEFING.COM] S&P futures vs fair value: -1.60. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: -1.80. U.S. equity futures remain under modest pressure even though most quarterly reports received since yesterday's closing bell have been better than expected. On that note, AT&T (T 35.60, -0.69), Boeing (BA 131.10, +3.55), Delta Air Lines (DAL 36.58, +1.63), Gilead Sciences (GILD 75.69, +2.83), and Yum! Brands (YUM 79.99, +2.51) all reported above-consensus earnings, ... More


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