Some companies hit all-time records last month, while others missed forecasts.
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World economies are likely to hike interest rates by the end of the year. Here's when to expect the changes.
Here's an interest rate calendar for the economies of the developed world that you can put up on your office wall -- but it is subject to revision. (I know it's shocking, but markets do get this stuff wrong from time to time.)
Right now, the futures markets are priced for expectations that the United Kingdom will start raising short-term interest rates, now at a low 0.5%, in June. By the end of 2011, the markets say, the Bank of England will have raised short-term rates to 1.25%.
The European Central Bank will go next with its first rate increase expected in September. Short-term rates, now at 1.0%, will be at 1.5% by the end of 2011.
Last up will be the United States, which the markets now say won't move until December. The Fed funds rate, now at an effective 0.13%, will climb to 0.5% by the end of 2011. The driver in all this isn't a rapid rise in inflation expectations, but expectations for a gradual return to normal economic times.
Students compete in a contest with $100,000 simulated portfolios.
Twice a year, the Foundation for Investor Education holds a stock market game for students across the country. The students open portfolios online and can invest in a $100,000 simulated portfolio. They have 2 goals over the 10 week competition: 1 - beat the S&P 500 and 2- of course beat all the other schools that have entered. For several years I've mentored the Senior Economics class at my daughter's Alma Mater - Charlotte Latin. Mr. Gregory the instructor breaks the class up in teams of 3 and they are in charge of their own portfolios.
I spend some time exposing the class to all the free websites that they can use to research stocks, we meet in the Library's computer lab to make trades and at the end of the 10 weeks each team makes a report on how they did and what they learned. I also give them a homework assignment to complete with their parents. I ask them to watch Jim Cramer's Mad Money and also Fast Money with their parents. They are to discuss as a family if they think the shows are valid investment advice that could be followed or just a form of "reality show" and just pure entertainment. Boy do we have a lot of diverse opinions on that assignment.
I'm going out on a limb and substituting my picks on our competition on the Wall Street Survivor. I'll pick my own portfolio but instead of trading, I'll buy and hold for the entire 10 week period. Over the next 10 weeks I'll write a series of posts to tell you how the students are doing and how my portfolio is progressing.
Wunderlich Securities raises its price target on the satellite radio company stock to $2 from $1.75. The company will report fourth-quarter results tomorrow.
By Theresa McCabe, TheStreet
Wunderlich analyst Matthew Harrigan maintained his "buy" rating on Sirius and raised his price target one day before the company reports its fourth-quarter performance. Harrigan said car sales, subscriber growth and trends in Internet radio, such as Pandora's plan to go public, will influence Sirius' growth.
"Pandora is apt to get even more notoriety after having just filed for an IPO," Harrigan said in a research note.
After pulling its Super Bowl ads amid mounting criticism, Groupon flubs a Valentine's Day deal with FTD.
But the discount-deals company is stumbling in 2011. Its latest headache started off as a fairly typical promotion. In a bid to get more Valentine's Day sales, FTD offered a $20 discount on $40 worth of flowers.
That sounded good to the 3,000 people who bought the deal and were directed to a specific FTD website for purchase. But some users found that the flowers on that site were marked up. In fact, some of the very same flowers could be found elsewhere on FTD's site for less, Consumerist reports.
A rash of complaints followed. FTD responded by saying that while some flowers were indeed marked down by $5 or $10 elsewhere on the site, Groupon's users were still getting the better deal with a $20 discount. And anyway, FTD said, it was clear that the Groupon deal didn't apply to sale items.
With the Egyptian markets in flux, investors should avoid this fund or understand the implications of short-term trading.
By Carolyn Dion, TheStreet
The Market Vectors Egypt ETF (EGPT), which became an overnight success since the country's crisis began in late January, could become even more bloated with cash this week as further delays in Egypt combine with an existing creation halt. Investors should avoid this fund or understand the implications of short-term trading.
Since Jan. 28, Egypt's stock markets have been at a standstill after protest sent shares tumbling. Soon after, EGPT managers halted the creation of new shares of the ETF, citing the inability of authorized participants and fund managers to take incoming cash, buy EGPT's underlying components and release new shares of the ETF into the market to sate demand. While the redemption process remained untouched, both creation and redemption are needed in order to provide accurate pricing and trading of an ETF.
This tech player leads in all the right areas.
Fittingly, Fool analyst Sean Sun draws on Sun Tzu for investing inspiration. Today Sean is all about knowing yourself, knowing your enemy, and knowing your business. If you know what I mean.
Rex Moore, Motley Fool Top Stocks Editor
At the Dada Portfolio, we invest in a broad spectrum of high-return opportunities. We combine our aggressive stock picking with conservative portfolio management, because at the end of the day, we want each of our holdings to have a significant impact on our portfolio's upside -- but only a limited impact on its downside.
Today we're going to open up a 5% initial position, or $800, on a new stock that's been on my radar screen for quite a while now.
Qlik Technologies (QLIK) makes business intelligence (BI) software. Sun Tzu said that "if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles." That's what BI is all about.
As yields rise, investors are wary. The smart money is moving into niche fixed-income investments.
By Gregg Greenberg, TheStreet
TheStreet searched for the best bond ETF ideas with Tom Lydon, the editor of ETF Trends, and Christian Magoon, the CEO of Magoon Capital.
High-yield, or junk, bonds are a good place to find steady yield during a low-interest-rate environment. Lydon says the SPDR Barclays Capital High Yield Bond ETF is a good place for investors seeking those elevated yields, provided they can handle the extra risk. The fund normally invests at least 80% of total assets in securities that comprise its benchmark index. At last check, the yield on JNK was 9.7%.
A mini-iPhone may be in the works as Apple combats Google's growing share of the smart-phone market.
By Scott Moritz, TheStreet
A smaller, cheaper, all-screen iPhone is in the works, according to The Wall Street Journal. If the report is true, the move would imitate Apple's expansion of the iPod by shrinking new iPhones.
The plan also calls for the $99 MobileMe service, a cloud-based media syncing system, to be offered for free.
Apple is expected to use the new MobileMe as a storage and delivery mechanism for songs, videos, photos and other user content that has typically been stored on computers and Apple devices. Apple watchers would call this the long-anticipated arrival of an iTunes streaming service that could be announced with the iPhone 5 this summer.
Funds tracking agriculture, retail, real estate and emerging markets look to continue rallying.
By Don Dion, TheStreet
Here are five exchange-traded funds to keep an eye on this week.
The agriculture industry remains in vogue as rising demand and supply concerns fuel the industry, pushing the price of corn, wheat, sugar and other crops higher.
Last week, corn was in the spotlight after a report from the United States Department of Agriculture indicated that stockpiles are expected to fall, further constricting supply. This news proved beneficial for the corn-linked Teucrium Corn ETF (CORN), resulting in new all-time highs for the fund.
The Seattle giant jumps into the $500 million market for K-Cups, which could sink smaller rivals.
By Jeff Reeves, editor of InvestorPlace.com
In December, there was big news as coffee giant Starbucks killed its contract with Kraft, scrapping a 12-year distribution deal to retail outlets and prompting speculation that Starbucks would make a bigger push into grocery aisles and even sparking a legal battle.
But now that a judge has ruled that Starbucks (SBUX) indeed is within its right to cancel its relationship with Kraft (KFT) as of March 1, the Seattle coffee behemoth is forging ahead with its new retail plans. Its first major change is a splash into the single-serve-coffee market for machines like the Keurig K-Cup brewing system.
That could mean tens of millions of dollars in new revenue for Starbucks and perhaps spell the end of the line for smaller single-serve companies that have seen big growth in the absence of a major competitor.
It's time to tap the brakes again by swapping out an earlier pick.
Living in Minnesota, I learned many years ago to drive in icy conditions. The first thing you are taught is never to slam on the brakes. If you do, you will slide out of control.
Instead, the best way to stay safe on ice is to tap the brakes gently in order to slow to a gentle stop in complete control. That is the concept I suggest investors use with respect to the current market state.
Last week I hit the brakes a bit with my five ETF buys for the week.
I’ll tap the brakes again by suggesting traders swap out one of last weeks picks in favor of the ProShares Short Russell 2000 (RWM).
JDS Uniphase is the right stock for the right time as people look beyond Qualcomm.
Last week, I took a look at one of my favorite stocks, JDS Uniphase (JDSU), to ponder whether the deal is done and the stock had run. I came back with an unequivocal no, not yet, and backed it up with Ken Shreve's analysis (man, has he been hot).
You can always tell when a stock is under-owned, and that's what JDS Uniphase must be, as it gapped up and then just continued to ramp on top of the gap. I think people have been looking for 4G plays, trying to broaden beyond Qualcomm (QCOM), and have stumbled on JDS Uniphase as a company that you must use to test 4G systems. It looks like the company will be rolling out a new line this week at the big Barcelona telecom equipment conference.
I also think people are recognizing that JDS Uniphase powers a key portion of the Kinect, the cool-as-all-get-out Microsoft (MSFT) game system -- and you don't have to own the boring Microsoft stock to get the benefit. (Microsoft owns and publishes MSN Money.)
A recent investigation prompts layoffs of illegal immigrants, which will surely increase labor costs.
Written by Douglas Estadt
Despite Chipotle Mexican Grill's (CMG) recently reported positive results and its all-too-tasty fajita burrito bowl, we believe shorting CMG will prove to be profitable. The company's steady rise in stock value and its recent earnings report are trumped by its current labor issue and its overrated build-up by momentum players. A recent investigation by Immigration and Customs Enforcement prompted a major layoff of illegal immigrants that will surely increase the company's labor costs. We consider these facts before shorting the stock:
Economists have begun to lower their forecasts for economic growth in India.
The fund manager that made a big bet against Netflix says he was wrong. But he's still not recommending a buy on the stock.
Tilson's arguments hit a nerve, and Netflix's chief executive went online a few days later to defend the stock. Reed Hastings posted a long response on Seeking Alpha telling Tilson: "Cover your short position. Now."
It didn't help Tilson's case that Netflix shares have risen 25% since that argument. So Tilson ended up taking the advice, saying this week that he closed out his position because he was no longer confident that his investment thesis was correct.
You gotta admire the guy for owning up so publicly about this. Here are the three reasons why he abandoned his short strategy:
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The retailer labels the character's fake memoir as non-fiction. This comes weeks after it categorized the the Bible as fiction.
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[BRIEFING.COM] The drive for five continued today and it was a success. For the fifth straight session, the S&P 500 ended lower. Like the previous four sessions, though, the losses were fairly modest in scope. The S&P 500 declined 0.4%, bringing its total loss for the five sessions to 22 points or 1.2%. All in all, that still qualifies as a pretty tame slide considering the S&P 500 had risen 150 points, or 9.1%, over the previous eight weeks.
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