8 reasons the market isn't worse
8 reasons the market isn't worse

Stocks should be crushed by global turmoil, Jim Cramer says. Instead, they're doing fine.

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Improving global demand for aluminum bodes well for the battered stock.

By Gene Marcial Jan 12, 2012 1:22PM
Image: Stock trader with phone (© Comstock/SuperStock)Watch Alcoa. It may be signaling re-invigorated economic times ahead.

 

Since April of last year, shares of Alcoa (AA), one of the world's largest manufacturers of aluminum and alumina, have been in a downspin. They tumbled from more than $18 a share in April, 2011, to a low of $8.52 on Dec. 28. But the stock's recent jump to $9.80 -- even after reporting a fourth quarter loss on Jan. 10 of 3 cents a share -- indicates to some pros that the negative sentiment towards Alcoa may be abating.

 
Tags: AA

Is the timing right?

By Jonathan Berr Jan 12, 2012 1:07PM
Image: Woman Using a Spirit Level on a Sink in a Domestic Bathroom (© Alex Wilson/Digital Vision/Getty Images)Home Depot (HD), the largest home improvement retailer, is speeding up plans to hire 70,000 seasonal workers ahead of its busy spring shopping period. The move comes as consumer spending is slowing.

The chain, which raised its earnings outlook in November for the third time in six months, says the workers will help it maintain high levels of customer service as the public buys plants, gardening equipment and grills, along with other seasonal merchandise. Tim Crow, Home Depot's executive vice president of human resources, told Bloomberg News that the Atlanta, Ga., company is starting the hiring process earlier this year, beginning next month in South Florida. 
Tags: BBYHDMTGT

The venerable company this week introduced the second generation of its scratch-resistant glass for tech gadgets.

By The Fiscal Times Jan 12, 2012 12:45PM
corningBy Suzanne McGee, The Fiscal Times

Can a "gorilla" get the monkey off Corning's (GLW) back?

That's certainly what the manufacturer of glassware and related products is hoping, just as a decade ago it counted on fiber-optics to revive its fortunes. The gorilla in question is actually the second generation of Corning's Gorilla Glass. This tough and scratch-resistant glass is used by manufacturers of smartphones, tablets and other consumer electronic gadgets can use to make their own products more appealing to consumers. 

Meanwhile, smaller rival ConocoPhillips is downgraded to 'hold.'

By MSN Money Partner Jan 12, 2012 12:06PM
Information provided by Theflyonthewall.com

Thursday's noteworthy upgrades include:
  • EMC (EMC) upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at JP Morgan
  • BP (BP) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Jefferies
  • Urban Outfitters (URBN) upgraded to Neutral from Underperform at Wedbush
 

If the restaurant reservation site's increasing spending outpaces revenue growth, margins will take a serious hit.

By Trefis Jan 12, 2012 11:50AM
Image: Couple ordering meal in restaurant © NULL/CorbisOpenTable's (OPEN) shares rose from under $75 at the beginning of 2011 to breach $118 in April before plunging to below $30 -- all within a period of seven months.

The company's shares are currently trading at around $40 apiece. This is not far from the $45 and $49 price targets with which Goldman Sachs (GS) and Credit Suisse (CS), respectively, initiated their coverage of the company recently. A few weeks ago, we presented our views on the extreme fluctuation witnessed in the online restaurant reservation company's stock price last year. 
Tags: OPEN

This bond fund acts like a large-cap stock in bull markets and a defensive stock when times are tough.

By TheStockAdvisors Jan 12, 2012 11:35AM
Image: Stock market (© Digital Vision/SuperStock)This post is one in a series in which over 50 newsletter advisors share their Top Picks for 2012.

By Rick Pendergraft, ETF Master Portfolio

Given the current global economic uncertainty, I don't expect big things from the equity markets in 2012. With that in mind, my pick for 2012 is the SPDR Barclay's Capital High Yield Bond ETF (JNK). 
Tags: JNK

Newly listed companies are often among the market’s best performers. Here are some small-cap names with solid support since their debuts.

By MoneyShow.com Jan 12, 2012 11:26AM

By Kate Stalter, MoneyShow.com


I regularly track recent IPOs -- meaning any company that’s gone public within the first ten or 12 years of its existance -- for signs of fundamental and technical strength.


These newer companies often have products and services that are still hot and in demand, and company management often remains creative and enthusiastic. All together, that can be a recipe for healthy growth.

 
Tags: IPOSDTSO

Some popular chains have become a little more palatable.

By InvestorPlace Jan 12, 2012 11:20AM

Image: Care © Moxie Productions/Blend Images/Getty ImagesBy Lawrence Meyers


With so many concept restaurants to choose from, one has to wonder whether the market can sustain them all. The answer is simple: They are sufficiently different from each other and are healthy competitors -- so they can all make a buck. That's the American way, and three cheers for being able to chow down on any kind of meal you please.


While the food at each of these places may be good, are their stocks worth buying? In the past, I've found these stocks to be perpetually overvalued. Let's see if they still are.

 

The smarter tech companies have already moved away from the personal computer.

By Jim Cramer Jan 12, 2012 10:37AM

Image: Old computer equipment © Image Source/Getty ImagesWhat would have happened if Microsoft (MSFT) had said something positive about personal computers this week instead of something negative? How much would the stock have moved? How much would the group have moved?


Maybe the issue, though, is that there isn't much of a group anymore. Remember the PC makers? How about the PC component makers? They've all kind of realized this day would come, when the personal computer wouldn't have growth, and they have all moved on, including Microsoft.

 

The beverage giant notified federal regulators that it detected a fungicide in some of its and a competitor's products.

By Kim Peterson Jan 12, 2012 2:05AM
Image: Parents and children eating at table © Maria Teijeiro/Digital Vision/Getty ImagesCoca-Cola (KO) and PepsiCo (PEP) control nearly two-thirds of the U.S. orange-juice market. And both companies are in the spotlight this week over concerns that a fungicide has contaminated some of their juice.

It all started Dec. 28, when the Food and Drug Administration got notice that one of the major juice companies found low levels of a pesticide, carbendazim, in its and a competitor's juice products.

At first, Coke refused to admit that it was the company. ("Why does that matter?" a spokesman asked Dow Jones.) 
Tags: KOPEP

The master limited partnership can offer cash distribution even in periods of losses.

By Zacks.com Jan 11, 2012 6:49PM
Image: Oil drums (© Kevin Phillips/Digital Vision/age fotostock)Plains All American Pipeline LP (PAA), a master limited partnership focused on crude oil, gas and related products, has announced a new quarterly cash distribution rate of $1.025 per unit on all of its outstanding limited partner units.


The partnership has a long history of increasing distributions to unit holders. With this distribution, Plains has increased the quarterly distribution to limited partners in 29 of the last 31 quarters. Plains' consistent hike in distribution bespeaks the partnership's commitment to provide increasing returns to stakeholders, leveraging its profitable assets.

 
Tags: EPDPAASXL

The shoe company has defied critics with annual sales that jumped 27% from 2010.

By Kim Peterson Jan 11, 2012 6:11PM
Image: Shoebox of money (© Jonathan Kitchen/Getty Images/Getty Images)Crocs (CROX) surprised investors this week by announcing that it's now a $1 billion company. Imagine that.

Shares of the footwear retailer jumped more than 16% in response to close at $18.56.

We'll get the official results for Crocs' fourth quarter and full year next month. But the company couldn't resist offering a little peek at what to expect. For the fourth quarter, revenue will be at the high end of the company's previous guidance of $200 million to $205 million. 
Tags: CROX

Some experts believe the micro-blogging site has a point. Investors aren't worried -- yet.

By Jonathan Berr Jan 11, 2012 5:38PM

Image: Man with laptop (© Comstock Images/Jupiterimages)Google (GOOG) and Twitter are at odds over the search engine giant's plan to offer more personalized results.  

 

The micro-blogging site, which may go public this year, argues that Google is unfairly promoting its Google+ social network at Twitter's expense through its Google Search Plus Your World feature.  A leading search engine industry observer wrote today that Twitter may have a point.

 
Tags: GOOGMSFT

The country is one of the luxury retailer's key growth drivers, and holiday sales there were disappointing.

By Jim J. Jubak Jan 11, 2012 4:45PM
Image: Credit card (© Burke/Triolo Productions/BrandX/Getty Images)Bad news for the entire luxury retail sector from Tiffany & Co. (TIF) Tuesday in the company’s update of holiday sales.

I’d look to cut my short-term exposure to the sector -- and that includes shares of companies such as Coach (COH) that aren’t luxury retailers in the United States but are in their fastest growing market, China.

As of Wednesday, I’m selling Coach out of my Jubak’s Picks portfolio with a gain of 80.47% since I added to that portfolio on Nov. 20, 2009.
 
Tags: COHTIF

After seeing their parents' portfolios get hammered, they're turning to low-risk, low-reward options.

By Kim Peterson Jan 11, 2012 3:04PM
Image: Woman with computer (© Jose Luis Pelaez/Getty Images/Getty Images)After the market madness of the past few years, it's easy to see why a growing number of Americans want nothing to do with stocks.

But what's particularly striking is that younger investors are steering clear of the market. After watching their parents' fortunes evaporate, they're avoiding equities altogether.

A recent investing survey by MFS Investment Management found that 29% of investors said they would never be comfortable in stocks, Reuters reported. That feeling rose to 52% of investors younger than 31. 

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