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The only stocks going up are the ones that have sat around doing nothing all year.
If the market weren't up so much, I have to tell you, we wouldn't care so much about the contagion. If the quarters hadn't been so good, if the stocks hadn't flown when they reported, we would be sitting here feeling smug. Instead, we have to watch the futures get hammered, and we are afraid to bid for anything but Coca-Cola (KO) and PepsiCo (PEP).
I don't blame us. Wednesday was totally discouraging in that the only real buying was short-covering, hence the swift 130-point reversal. We have entered one of those zones where a whisper can take stocks lower, except for those that didn't go up before.
HPQ a good short candidate? Not at the moment.
First let me tell you about my bad experience. I decided to upgrade my computer so I went to Best Buy and purchased a new HP Pavilion Entertainment PC. When I got home I tried to connect it to my old and trusty HP LaserJet III but there was no place to plug in the printer's 25 pin cable so back to Best Buy to get a converter cable to connect to the USB port. I log on and try to print but nothing happens. I call HP customer support to get assistance connecting my HP computer to my HP printer. To me that sounds like a logical step but boy was I wrong.
Stocks are plunging, but new numbers show that the US economy is still recovering.
You'd never know it by looking at plunging U.S. stock prices, but the economic data this week have been solid.
The numbers point to a US economic recovery that is at worst chugging along and that at best might even be picking up speed.
So, for example, factory orders for March showed a big 1.3% increase. The consensus among economists called for a 0.2% decline. The government also revised February's numbers to show a 1.3% increase instead of the earlier 0.6% gain.
It's getting harder and harder to find a high-quality pick these days.
Is now a good time to buy stocks? Are any out there worth the effort?
The pickings are getting slimmer. Jim Jubak says investors are looking to get out of a market beset with woes. He suggests looking for bargains among growth stocks, but adds that stocks aren't going higher on good news these days.
Mark Hulbert at MarketWatch says "there are precious few stocks that qualify as genuinely very high quality."
It's a common investing dilemma: how early is too early, and how late is too late?
Would you rather by an established company with little risk but a relatively high price; a small-cap newcomer with more risk but potentially more reward, or even an early stage privately held company that may soar or sink?
One of the hottest stocks over the past two years has been Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (GMCR). Shares have appreciated nearly fivefold since the start of 2009.
But that was then. Last week’s sell-off in Green Mountain demonstrates the challenges of buying into a story late instead of early. Shares of Green Mountain dropped some 11% after providing guidance for the third quarter that was weaker than expected.
Shares of Cummins have lost recent gains, thanks to the European debt crisis.
Now, thanks to the European debt crisis, the shares have given up all that gain and a little bit more. And I'm adding Cummins to Jubak's Picks Wednesday.
As I wrote in my post, the U.S. economic recovery is on track for decent, if not spectacular, growth. In that environment, I want to own growth stories where the basic underlying positives of the U.S. economy get a rocket booster blast from pent-up demand that has built up during the Great Recession. (For more on that kind of growth stock, see this post.)
In its quest to topple fast food giant McDonald's, Burger King has a new trick -- $1 Icees.
In a war over fast food promotions, The King and Ronald McDonald continue to duke it out.
First it was the $1 double cheeseburger war, which irked some BK franchisees. Then, the fight over breakfast. Now it appears McDonald’s (MCD) and Burger King (BKC)have come to blows over summer drinks.
Many Mickey D’s locations are planning a summer drink promotion where customers can get any sized soft drinks or a 32-ounce sweet tea for just $1. Now the King has counter-punched, with a plan to sell medium-sized Icees in Coke flavor or Fanta Cherry flavor for just $1. The promotion starts May 24 and runs until June 20.
The bank's real battleground is still the SEC suit, which it may find difficult to settle.
Nothing worse than a leak of a Justice Department investigation. It can't be countered. It can't be softened. It can't be commented on. It's just out and out "there," to be had as a football for the media to play with.
Not only that, there is no way the Justice Department will ever come out and deny it, or even indicate when it started looking, or what it is looking at, if at all.
The simple truth from the beginning of this Goldman Sachs (GS) leak is that the government is rationally approaching the case. Does anyone believe that Justice wouldn't be looking into the situation? Does anyone believe Justice is ignoring the probe?
If you've been waiting to sell until later in May or June, rethink your timing.
Do you feel the psychology of this market changing?
A few weeks ago, I think you could have accurately said that investors on the sidelines were waiting to get into what they saw as a continuing stock market rally. I think that was true as late as April 15 (when the Standard & Poor's 500 index was at 1212) or even April 23 (when the S&P 500 was at 1217).
But now, I think it's fair to say that many investors in the market are looking for a day to get out.
A newspaper analysis shows that some in Congress made bets against the economy through ETFs.
It's entirely within their right to make those bets, and smart investors were doing the same thing all around. Still, there's just something unsettling about a lawmaker shorting the economy.
The Wall Street Journal analyzed congressional disclosures and found that 13 members of Congress (or their spouses) made bearish bets in investment accounts in 2008 through exchange-traded funds, or ETFs.
Vanguard jumps into the brokerage price war, removing the commissions on its 46 ETFs.
The company's ETFs are already super cheap. Now, it's offering commission-free transactions on those funds. For all other ETFs and stocks, commissions will be between $2 and $7, reports ETF Trends.
Low fees have served Vanguard well. The company is now the third-largest ETF provider in the world, with an average ETF expense ratio of 0.52%, reports ETF Trends.
The warehouse retailer is seeing strong sales and strong dividend growth.
By Jim Woods, Investorplace.com
Costco (COST) was a darling of investors during the economic downturn as the warehouse discounter offered cash-strapped consumers a deal and saw strong profits as a result. But with the worst of the global recession in the rear-view mirror, investors are wondering what’s in store for Costco stock.
Now that economic conditions are improving, will shoppers keep ringing Costco’s register? Chances are they will, if strong sales numbers recently are any indication. That means investors could still see some upside in COST shares.
If you’re on the fence about Costco, here are three reasons you should hold your shares or buy in:
Investors need to tread carefully amid Europe's growing debt crisis.
By Don Dion, TheStreet
The debt crisis in Europe has damaged the reputation of the euro and opens the door for much greater losses if one of the larger economies, such as those of Spain or Italy, succumbs to a fate similar to Greece’s.
An announced bailout deal for Greece (in the form of bilateral loans) failed to spur an immediate euro rally, even after the German cabinet approved the deal.
Previous bailout announcements spurred rallies that eventually turned back into pumpkins, and it's likely that investors have finally learned their lesson. Unless the Germans pass the bailout, there will be no bailout.
A new study shows that lodging surcharges are on the rise, prompting fears of more nickel-and-diming.
Customers have long been complaining about how most airlines nickel-and-dime them on everything from food to extra bags to seat assignments. Well brace yourself, weary travelers, because it now appears that hotels are getting in on the act by tacking on the fees.
A new study from New York University found that while total fees collected by U.S. hotels declined to $1.55 billion last year, they are on the rise in 2010 -- tracking toward $1.7 in annual surcharges. According to NYU staff, the dip last year was largely due to a faltering economy and as booking increase so will the add-ons.
The fees were initially started by high-end hotels in the late 1990s for access to spas and putting greens -- now they appear to be creeping across even moderately priced hotel chains.
Given the new consumer optimism, good luck to anyone who wants to short this sector.
How badly would I want to short retail, if I were at my old hedge fund?
Consider Nordstrom (JWN). I mean, what the heck? How can that stock be up this much on absolutely nothing? We have a story about how Sears (SHLD) basically doesn't have a real CEO, and the stock is up 20% in a month.
Every single show company I follow has had dramatic moves. Can Guess? (GES) and J. Crew (JCG) keep going up on nothing, or Gap (GPS), which seems to be galloping to $30? Isn't this supposed to be the weak quarter for Polo Ralph Lauren (RL)? How many times can Lew Frankfort, CEO of Coach (COH), say things are great? Terry Lundgren has been flogging the turn in Macy's (M) for 8 points now. Jones Apparel (JNY) has gone up fivefold on the fact that things aren't as bad as they were.
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Try as the bears might, they couldn't break U.S. stocks. But investors still face frothy prices and considerable headwinds.
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[BRIEFING.COM] Stocks entered the weekend on a mixed note as the S&P 500 shed 0.1% while the Dow ended with a gain of 0.1%.
The major averages began the day on a lower note as nine of ten sectors saw losses of more than 0.5%.
The consumer staples sector was the lone exception as the group spent the entire day in positive territory thanks to the relative strength of Dow component Procter & Gamble (PG 81.89, +3.19). The second-largest staple stock advanced ... More
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