Stocks plunged Wednesday after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said a stronger economy may allow the Fed to end its bond buying program later this year.
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The sector shows promise, but some banks are struggling to raise money.
We now have more details and better projections on the European-bank stress test and on which banks are likely to fail the test.
The smaller-than-expected demand -- just $162 billion -- for three-month loans from the European Central Bank shows, I think, that the European banking sector is in better shape, as a whole, than initially feared. (For more on why this smaller draw is positive news, see this post.)
But the fact that some banks felt the need to grab up roughly $140 billion in six-day money yesterday, July 1, shows that some banks are still having trouble raising money in the financial markets. Analysts estimate that roughly 170 banks in Europe (out of 1,100) are having trouble accessing the markets for capital.
After 2 years of meager activity, companies are initiating some big programs in 2010. Here are some of your best bets.
While the U.S. government's balance sheet has been getting the lion's share of the attention lately, there's another American balance sheet that deserves investors' attention: corporate America's.
When the financial crisis hit in 2008, many U.S. companies began planning for the worst. And by cutting costs and streamlining operations to prepare for a potential depression, they put themselves in a very good position when the economy began to rebound.
According to one recent study by Credit Suisse, U.S. companies collectively have all-time-high levels of cash as a percentage of market cap and aggregate free cash flow yield.
Hospira is fighting the bear market, with sales predicted to increase 4% this year and 5.5% next year.
It's a specialty pharmaceutical and medication-delivery company that makes products for patient care. Its portfolio includes acute-care injectables and tools to manage medications and infusion therapy. It also offers manufacturing on a contract basis.
Generic medicine has a great future as medical care providers attempt to rein in costs. Hospira has a generic chemotherapy drug, Oxaliplatin, that should be a money maker. The company is now in the U.S., Europe and Asia, where socialized medicine in some of those countries likes generics.
With no new-quarter bump, no hint of a summer rally and the Fed out of ammo, the rules of yore no longer apply.
By Jim Cramer, TheStreet
We've thrown an awful lot of conventions out the window these past few months. We no longer think, for example, that there will be any new money in the market at the first of a new quarter, even if it is the second half. That used to be a big bump. We no longer expect or even talk about a summer rally. Unlike at the end of last year, there was no markup whatsoever. Favored stocks meant nothing.
Also, we no longer expect buyers to be attracted by yield, even though I can tell you that won't last, given the price of the 10-year T-note and the competition from the likes of DuPont (DD), 3M (MMM) and General Mills (GIS).
We don't care that Ford (F) has more money than we thought, or sales either. Autos used to be big.
China is on track for a drop in growth, and that's not a bad thing. But the markets are still scared.
Financial markets have been hoping that China would manage to slow its economy -- in order to keep inflation under control -- without causing a crash in either the stock or real-estate market.
There's mounting evidence that China is going to successfully engineer exactly the kind of "soft landing" that financial markets said they wanted.
But today, at least, stock markets don't seem very happy that they're getting what they wished for.
A European carrier will test dirt-cheap 'vertical seating.' One catch: You'll have to pay extra to use the toilet.
European airline Ryanair is determined to install stand-up airline seats -- even though regulators say the setup doesn't meet safety requirements.
The airline said it will start testing "vertical seating" next year, according to the Daily Mail. That's around the same time it will begin charging passengers one pound ($1.50 U.S.) to use the airplane lavatory.
The standing-room-only space will be ridiculously cheap, starting at $6, the airline says. The bathroom fee will help recover the money the airline loses on such cheap fares.
The electric-car maker's hot IPO shows a lot of interest in the future of transportation. Is this what's next?
The five minutes of fame that came with your electric car and subsequent and successful IPO have come and gone. In its place is the ultralight automobile that also flies.
Recently the Federal Aviation Administration gave Terrafugia and its Transition vehicle the go-ahead to start developing its car with wings.
Imagine the simplicity of being able to decide whether to fly or drive based on traffic patterns. Logjam on the freeway? No problem, I’ll just take to the skies.
At least 3 cases have been filed against Apple over reception problems affecting left-handed users.
The iPhone 4 is causing strange problems for left-handed users in particular. Users who snapped up Apple's (AAPL) new phone last week are finding that when they cover the bottom-left corner with their hands, signal strength drops.
The lefty problem is a glaring design weakness. It didn't help that Apple's chief executive, Steve Jobs, gave the tone-deaf suggestion to "just avoid holding it in this way." Yeah, OK.
Naturally, the lawyers began circling. This week, three lawsuits were filed against the company, alleging unfair business practices and false advertising, Bloomberg reports. At least two of those are class-action suits for other users to join.
Don't buy any stock unless it is already down big.
By Jim Cramer, TheStreet
No bids. Nothing. Yesterday morning's persistent bid just disappeared. The buyers of individual stocks -- who seemed to like them so much at the opening -- totally disappeared, as if this were a gigantic game of three-card monte.
Of course, once we took out the key S&P ($INX) support levels, there was no one underneath, because the only buyers of any size would have been people who were buying because it held. And they, of course, were sellers when it didn't.
This is the thinnest market I can ever recall. It isn't the worst, just the thinnest, and that makes it totally treacherous.
Perhaps we'll see a trend upward in the short term -- but probably not for long.
The long Fourth of July weekend will help. No one wants to be exposed either long or short over a three-day market holiday.
I expect to see squaring of positions and declining volumes over the next two days as U.S. traders get ready for the weekend.
An oversold bounce is likely next week. The Standard & Poor's 500 ($INX) has dropped almost 200 points -- or 18% -- from the April 23 high of 1,217 to today's close at 1,031. That's a lot of plummeting in a very short period. That's usually good for a bounce or two.
Is the site's $10-a-month offering a threat to cable or Netflix?
But before you burn any bridges with Comcast (CMCSA), Hulu wants you to know that it's not a cable killer. Hulu wants to be complementary to cable, it says as it bats its eyelashes innocently.
But what about Netflix (NFLX)? Will Hulu eat into the DVD-by-mail and on-demand service that Netflix has carefully developed over the years? Analysts aren't too worried at this point.
Here's what the new service, called Hulu Plus, is all about:
The energy giant is giving distributors cash back for gasoline, but customers might not get a break.
BP is giving its distributors money back for every gallon of gas they purchase this summer, The Associated Press reports. Distributors along the Gulf Coast will get 2 cents back per gallon, and those in the East and Midwest will get a penny back.
The rebate is meant to help distributors and, in many cases, station owners, some of whom say sales are down as much as 40% since the disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico began.
History suggests that the recent market weakness is typical as the economy enters its 2nd year of growth.
Stocks have been absolutely drilled over the past two months on European debt worries and renewed concerns over the vitality of the economic recovery. Stocks are down more than 14% from their April high. And with Tuesday's big sell-off, stocks returned to levels first seen last August. That's right, nearly an entire year of stock market appreciation has been wiped away.
History suggests this is par for the course. According to research by Merrill Lynch analysts, coming out of the past five recessions (those of 1970, 1974, 1982, 1991, and 2001), increases in the ISM Manufacturing Index, corporate earnings, and consumer confidence slow considerably as the economy transitions from cyclical economic recovery into slower secular economic growth.
It's no surprise that stocks don't tend to do much in the second year of economic recoveries when investors become increasingly worried about the potential for an economic "double dip" back into recession. Here are a few examples, followed by reasons to remain hopeful.
Shares of the electric-car maker have climbed as much as 27%.
By Andrea Tse, TheStreet
Investors are still feverish over Tesla Motors (TSLA) a day after its initial public offering on the Nasdaq, driving shares up as much as 27%.
More than 10 million shares had traded by midday Wednesday. On their first day of trading, more than 18 million shares traded hands. At 1:10 p.m. ET, the shares had risen 16% to $27.65 as the S&P 500 ($INX) climbed 0.2%.
The IPO debuted Tuesday morning to robust trading. Tesla stock opened at $19 and climbed as high as $25 yesterday. This compares with the $17-a-share price the electric-car maker had announced for 13.3 million common shares ahead of the IPO.
Investors energized after the automaker says it will pay off $4 billion.
By Ted Reed, TheStreet
Ford's (F) move Wednesday to reduce debt seemed to halt a recent decline in the automaker's share price.
Ford said it will reduce its debt by $4 billion by paying $3.8 billion in cash to the United Auto Workers retiree medical benefits trust, not only making scheduled debt payments but also paying off the remaining balance on an outstanding note.
The company will also pay $255 million in previously deferred quarterly distributions on 6.5% cumulative trust preferred debt.
In midmorning trading, Ford stock was up 47 cents to $10.35.
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Plus, after much ado, Softbank is oh-so-close to acquiring Sprint.
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[BRIEFING.COM] Equities ended on their lows with the S&P 500 down 1.4%.
The S&P entered today's session with a week-to-date gain of 1.5% as investors expected reassuring words from today's Federal Open Market Committee Statement.
Stocks traded with slim losses until this afternoon's FOMC Statement and subsequent comments from Chairman Bernanke sent equities and Treasuries to their lows while also providing a significant boost to the dollar.
Today's Statement was ... More
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