You can still find small-cap superstars
Small-cap superstars still abound

There are some picks in this sector that have excellent valuations and strong earnings growth.


Both Coca-Cola and PepsiCo have announced significant investments in the country this year.

By Trefis Feb 3, 2012 3:11PM
Image: Bottled water (© Grove Pashley/Corbis)It seems like soft drink powerhouses Coca-Cola Co (KO) and PepsiCo (PEP) are betting heavily on Mexico. Both companies recently announced huge investments in the country.

Mexico has one of the highest obesity rates in the world and the government has undertaken several measures to promote a healthier lifestyle. Major food and beverage (F&B) companies are hoping to leverage the incentives provided by the government to build a healthy portfolio in the region.  

The politics of doom are almost overwhelming, but someone has to come out and say it: The economy is improving.

By Jim Cramer Feb 3, 2012 2:56PM

Someone had to say it, might as well be me. I am talking about this morning when, after listening to representatives of both parties say things are still way too weak after the bountiful employment number, I just blurted out: "Enough already. Things are better."


We have learned a lot in the past few years, chief among them that the only really good and trustworthy attitude to have toward the economy is to be gloomy. We know that the moment we aren't gloomy, the moment we present ourselves as outright positive about a hiring number, someone's going to run the tap of your effusiveness next month and you are going to look like a moron.


The liquor company is making a big bet that premium spirits will take off as the economy recovers.

By Kim Peterson Feb 3, 2012 2:50PM
Credit: © Tim Boyle/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Caption: Jim Beam on shelfBeam (BEAM) turned its focus to liquor and women last year, and those decisions are paying off nicely.

The liquor company beat Wall Street expectations in its fourth quarter, reporting Friday that profit rose to $94.1 million, or 59 cents a share, from $85.4 million, or 55 cents a share, a year earlier. Sales rose to $638 million from $630 million.

On an adjusted basis, profit was 69 cents a share -- higher than the 67 cents analysts expected. But sales didn't quite hit the $691 million analysts were looking for. Shares of Beam were up 2% on the news Friday. 
Tags: BEAM

Standard & Poor's equity analyst highlights favored opportunities among tech stocks and ETFs.

By TheStockAdvisors Feb 3, 2012 2:50PM
Image: Dollar sign on keyboard (© Corbis)By Dylan Cathers, S&P Capital IQ Equity Analyst, S&P The Outlook

Information technology is one of four sectors that S&P Capital IQ's Sector Strategy Group currently recommends investors overweight in their portfolios.

For investors with a favorable outlook for the technology industry, S&P Capital IQ equity analysts like several large-cap technology stocks, including IBM (IBM), Oracle (ORCL), Microsoft (MSFT), and Apple (AAPL), which all earn our highest five-star "buy" rating. 

Don't believe the drop in the unemployment rate. There is still something very wrong with the economy.

By Anthony Mirhaydari Feb 3, 2012 2:05PM

Risky assets are on the move after the January employment report beat expectations with 243,000 jobs created and the unemployment rate dropped two-tenths to 8.3%. While the headline numbers were good, the details are decidedly less so. But why let things like details and facts get in the way of a market melt-up? It's all sunshine, butterflies and rainbows, right?


I don't know how else to say this, but the "improvement" in the job market is a hoax. The drop in the unemployment rate is coming mainly from people leaving the work force in record numbers -- 1.2 million, mostly young folks who we need to support the housing market. Those who are finding work are finding part-time, low-wage positions. No wonder "hard" economic data such as a drop in retail sales and a rise in the savings rate suggest a lack of progress out there.


In fact, during the month the number of full-time workers fell by 1.1 million. Not exactly a sign of strength. And there's more where that came from.


As founder Zuckerberg wrote, the site's intent was 'to accomplish a mission -- to make the world more open and connected.'

By The Fiscal Times Feb 3, 2012 1:37PM
Facebook IPOBy Suzanne McGee, The Fiscal Times

When is free not really free at all?

That's a question that Facebook's execs are going to have to grapple with down the line, as they adapt their business to the realities of being a publicly traded company.  

Superstitious investors look to the Super Bowl's outcome for signs of the stock market's performance this year.

By Kim Peterson Feb 3, 2012 1:04PM
Credit: (© Matt Slocum/AP file)
Caption: New York Giants wide receiver Hakeem NicksIf the New York Giants win the Super Bowl, stocks will go up this year.

That's according to the Super Bowl indicator, which says stocks rise when the winning team is from the original National Football League. You may rightly scoff at this, but the indicator has about an 80% accuracy rate. The prediction has come true in 36 of the past 45 Super Bowls, starting with the first one in 1967.

The Giants are from the original NFL, while the New England Patriots harken back to the original American Football League. If the Patriots win, the indicator says, the stock market will fall. 

Seasonal strength in crude typically begins in February. Any pullbacks could represent good buying opportunities.

By Feb 3, 2012 12:55PM

Image: Oil drums (© Kevin Phillips/Digital Vision/age fotostock)By Tom Aspray,

As of Thursday's close, the April crude oil contract was down over $3 for the week. Often, the price of crude leads the stock market, but this has not been the case recently. Crude peaked in early January and has been declining since, while stocks have remained strong.

From a seasonal perspective, crude oil typically bottoms in February, and therefore, any further declines should be watched closely.

Tags: APCoilXLE

In the current climate, a good defense can be your best offense.

By Feb 3, 2012 12:37PM

Image: Baker (© Blend Images/SuperStock)By Elliott Gue, Personal Finance

Investors are caught between a rock and a hard place. Yields offered by traditional safe havens, such as U.S. Treasury bonds and high-grade corporate debt, are near multi-year lows.

Meanwhile, ongoing concerns about the E.U. sovereign debt crisis and the U.S. economy have made investors reluctant to roll the dice on equities. That's given legs to the rally in high-quality, large-cap stocks.


Goldman upgrades Eastman Chemical and downgrades Vertex Pharmaceuticals.

By MSN Money Partner Feb 3, 2012 12:33PM
Information provided by

Firday's noteworthy upgrades include:
  • Urban Outfitters (URBN) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Janney Capital
  • Liberty Interactive (LINTA) upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley
  • National Oilwell (NOV) upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley

Employment report shows a decline in the number of jobs in financial activities.

By Jonathan Berr Feb 3, 2012 12:08PM
CorbisThe unemployment rate tumbled to a three-year low in January, but some workers on Wall Street may not feel like celebrating.

Government data released Friday showed that a better-than-expected 243,000 jobs were created last month and the unemployment rate fell to 8.3%. Yet, the report also showed that the financial services sector lags the rest of the economy.  

The Canadian oil producer offers a high yield, strong growth and low risk.

By TheStockAdvisors Feb 3, 2012 10:53AM
Comstock/CorbisBy Lou Gagliardi, Cabot Global Energy Investor

My latest featured stock pick is Baytex (BTE), a leading Canadian heavy-oil producer with an exceptional dividend to provide downside share support in a rocky market. 

Geopolitical tensions, i.e. Iran, continue to rear their ugly head and reinforce our bullish outlook for crude prices and the energy sector. 
Tags: BTEoil

The president may not deserve the credit, but these companies have thrived since he took office.

By InvestorPlace Feb 3, 2012 10:26AM

Cory Docken/Spots Illustration/JupiterimagesBy Jeff Reeves

There's a lot of bluster this election year about the economy and President Barack Obama's effect on jobs and the stock market. But what you may not realize is that many comparisons aren't exactly fair.

Yes, in November 2008 when Obama won the election, unemployment was just shy of 7%, and when he took office in January it was under 8%. But comparing our current unemployment rate of 8.3% to what things were like when the president took office isn't so simple. After all, the financial crisis was really only beginning in late 2008, and the Great Recession didn't peak until mid-2009.


The closure of Petroplus and other key refineries should tighten the industry surplus situation.

By Trefis Feb 3, 2012 10:15AM
Chris Knorr/Design Pics/CorbisChevron (CVX) and other vertically integrated oil majors like Exxon Mobil (XOM) and British Petroleum (BP) could begin to see margins from their struggling downstream businesses rise in Q1 2012 as independent refining plants across the U.S. and Europe close down. Dropping margins have resulted in the closure of Petroplus, the largest refinery in Europe, and other key refineries, and this should tighten the industry surplus situation. Chevron and other oil companies reported a drastic fall in refining margins in Q4 2011 and lower volumes because of high crude prices.

We have a $109 price estimate for Chevron, which is at a 5% premium over its current market price.

Tags: bpCVXXOM

The company's Bydureon diabetes shot finally gets the green light from regulators.

By Benzinga Feb 2, 2012 10:18PM

Image: Medical doctor (© tetra images/Getty Images/Getty Images)By Scott Rubin, Benzinga Staff Writer

Last Friday, the Food and Drug Administration finally approved Bydureon, a once-weekly diabetes shot developed by Amylin Pharmaceuticals (AMLN) and Alkermes PLC (ALKS).

Bydureon is a long-acting form of Byetta, a twice-daily injection developed by Amylin and Eli Lilly & Co. (LLY) in a partnership which was dissolved last year. The drug had been rejected twice before, which caused Amylin to lose nearly half of its market value in October 2010.



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[BRIEFING.COM] Equity indices closed out the month of August on a modestly higher note. The Russell 2000 (+0.6%) and Nasdaq Composite (+0.5%) finished ahead of the S&P 500 (+0.3%), which extended its August gain to 3.8%. Blue chips lagged with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (+0.1%) spending the bulk of the session in the red.

The final week of August represented one of the quietest stretches for the stock market so far this year. The first four sessions of the week produced the ... More


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