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.

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US Airways, TPG Group and Delta would each bring different possibilities to the table.

By InvestorPlace Jan 17, 2012 12:26PM
Image: Airline (© Christie & Cole/Corbis)By Susan J. Aluise

The week before American Airlines' parent AMR Corp. (AAMRQ) filed for bankruptcy in November, I offered four ways for the struggling legacy airline to pull out of its tailspin. Now that it's taken the first step -- gaining Chapter 11 protection -- let's consider step two: merging with another carrier.


The airline industry has been awash in rumors this week of at least three potential suitors for American -- Delta (DAL), US Airways (LCC) and David Bonderman's private equity firm TPG Capital.

 

The company says it has new technology to keep food hot and crispy in transit.

By Kim Peterson Jan 17, 2012 12:08PM
Image: Hamburger (© BananaStock/Jupiterimages)Can't make it out for a Whopper? Burger King just might bring it to you.

The fast-food chain has begun delivering to homes in Washington, D.C., USA Today reports. If the test goes well, the King may expand the service to other cities.

Home delivery has always been a challenge for the food and beverage business. Pizza restaurants obviously have found success, but burgers and fries don't hold up quite as well in transit. They also lose some appeal in the microwave. Finally, the size of a fast-food order isn't normally large enough to justify the expense of delivery. 
Tags: MCDWEN

Goldman downgrades Philip Morris, while CIBC upgrades Potash Corp.

By MSN Money Partner Jan 17, 2012 11:59AM
Information provided by Theflyonthewall.com

Tuesday's noteworthy upgrades include:
  • Charles Schwab (SCHW) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Goldman
  • LyondellBasell (LYB) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Goldman
  • Medtronic (MDT) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Wells Fargo
  • Applied Materials (AMAT) upgraded to Outperform from Sector Perform at RBC Capital
  • Potash (POT) upgraded to Sector Outperformer from Sector Performer at CIBC
 

The timing of the Costa Concordia disaster could not be worse, as many cruises are booked at this time of year.

By Jonathan Berr Jan 17, 2012 11:10AM
image100/SuperStockShares of Carnival (CCL) and Royal Caribbean Cruises (RCL), two major cruise ship operators, plunged Tuesday as Italian authorities continued their probe of the sinking of the Costa Concordia. The timing of the disaster could not have been worse.

As Bloomberg News notes, about one-third of all cruise vacations are booked between January and March. Moreover, Europe accounts for about 38% of the revenue of Carnival, the corporate parent of Costa Concordia.  
Tags: CCLRCL

For income investors with a long-term horizon, here are 10 favorite dividend-paying blue chips.

By TheStockAdvisors Jan 17, 2012 10:58AM
Cory Docken/Spots Illustration/JupiterimagesBy Kelley Wright, IQ Trends

Our primary purpose is to assist investors in growing their capital and income base from which to derive cash for their current and future needs.

To that end we believe that high-quality stocks purchased at historically low-price-to-high-yield offers the best potential for downside protection and upside appreciation. 

Pioneer Natural Resources shifts away from natural gas as a new oil boom takes hold.

By Jim J. Jubak Jan 16, 2012 3:55PM
Image: Oil derricks (© Comstock/Corbis)I added Pioneer Natural Resources (PXD) to my long-term Jubak Picks 50 portfolio on Friday

To understand why I’m picking this oil and gas company from a long list of alternatives, you have to get deep inside the U.S. oil boom going on now.

That boom is a result of oil companies bringing new technologies to fields once thought to be either nearing the end of their lives or impossible to drill.
 
Tags: oilPXD

The maker of USB drives and flash memory cards will derive more of its value from them in the future.

By Trefis Jan 16, 2012 3:15PM
Image: Network cable (© Epoxydude/Getty Images/Getty Images)This year could be big for SanDisk (SNDK) as technology advancements, changing dynamics in the PC industry, new enterprise server and storage architecture, and hard disk drive (HDD) shortages boost the worldwide solid-state-drive (SSD) storage market.

According to a report from the research firm IDC, solid-state-storage industry revenue reached $5 billion in 2011, a 105% increase from the $2.4 billion in 2010, and it's expected to expand further in 2012 and beyond. The report estimates worldwide SSD shipments will increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 51.5% from 2010 to 2015. SanDisk competes primarily with Samsung and Toshiba in the SSD market. 
Tags: SNDK

However, changes in Chinese policy will likely increase capital expenditure and hurt the automaker's margins in the medium to long term.

By Trefis Jan 16, 2012 1:49PM
Image: China (© Brand X/SuperStock)In spite of the recent slowdown in the Chinese automotive market, General Motors (GM) managed to set a sales record in 2011 with 2.55 million vehicle sales, up 8.3% over 2010. GM's sales in China were supported by strong demand for the Buick Excelle, Chevrolet Cruze, Cadillac SRX and Wuling Sunshine minivan.

In comparison, Ford's (F) China sales totaled 519,390 units, about one-fifth of GM's total. GM's China sales also outpaced those of Honda (HMC) and Toyota (TM), as the Japanese automakers were hobbled by the March earthquake in Japan and floods in Thailand. 
Tags: FgmHMCTM

A Pennsylvania company has surpassed Boston Beer to become No. 1, though it still has only 1.2% of the US market.

By Kim Peterson Jan 16, 2012 1:06PM
Image: Beer (© Corbis)A new beer maker has surged ahead to become the largest in America -- and it probably isn't the one you think.

Anheuser-Busch, the maker of the No. 1 beer Bud Light? Nope. That's a subsidiary of Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD), which is based in Belgium.

How about MillerCoors, which makes No. 2 beer Coors Light? Nope. MillerCoors is a joint venture of London's SABMiller (SBMRY) and Molson Coors (TAP), which operates out of Montreal and Denver. 
Tags: BUDSAMTAP

Stable attach rates and expected growth in IT spending should favor the chip designer.

By Trefis Jan 16, 2012 12:53PM
Image: Global communication (© Maciej Frolow/Brand X/Getty Images)Nvidia's (NVDA) stock reached promising heights early in 2011 before falling to current levels later in the year. The initial excitement generated by the launch of its dual-core Tegra chips and the announcement of Project Denver died down as Tegra sales turned out lower than expected and the U.S. economic recovery came under threat from the European debt crisis.

The launch of accelerated processor units (APU) by Intel (INTC) and AMD (AMD) further weighed on Nvidia's stock as investors worried that this would affect Nvidia's business in graphics processing units (GPU). 

This high-yielding oil and gas royalty trust is still a buy after its recent run-up.

By TheStockAdvisors Jan 16, 2012 11:50AM
Image: Oil Well Pumpjack © Roger Milley/Vetta/Getty ImagesThis post is one in a series in which more than 50 newsletter advisers share their Top Picks for 2012.

By Paul Tracy, Top 10 Stocks

As a royalty trust, SandRidge Mississippian Trust (SDT) owns a stake in dozens of wells run by its parent company SandRidge Energy (SD).  
Tags: SDT

When you see all-too-rare sell calls, you'd better duck and cover.

By InvestorPlace Jan 16, 2012 10:20AM

ImageSource/PictureQuestBy Jeff Reeves


Wall Street is a rigged game. And if you're an individual investor with just a few thousand dollars at play, the quicker you learn this, the better off you'll be.


Right now, we're in the middle of earnings season, one of the biggest pieces of Wall Street theater, and lots of folks will be crowing about "beating expectations." But consider that most stocks in the S&P 500 index have beaten the Street every year since the third quarter of 1998. Particularly galling was that in Q3 of 2009, right after the market bottomed, nearly 80% of companies in the S&P topped forecasts.

 

The drugmaker is creating a buzz because of its recently approved blood cancer treatment and its potential as a buyout candidate..

By MSN Money Partner Jan 16, 2012 9:30AM

SuperStockEven as a relatively young drugmaker, Incyte (INCY) is already creating buzz because of its recently approved blood cancer treatment -- and its potential as a takeover target. The stock has been in an uptrend of late, climbing to $16.87 a share on Jan. 13, 2011, from $11.80 on Nov. 25. Some analysts see the stock driving up to as high as $25 over the next 12 months. The stock hit a 52-week high of $21 last year.  

  

Much of the stock's recent strength has been due to the Food and Drug Administration's approval on Nov. 16, 2011, of Incyte's chief product, Jakafi, a drug for the treatment of high-risk myelofibrosis, a life-threatening type of blood cancer. Incyte is partnering with Novartis (NVS) for the marketing of the drug outside the U.S. starting later this year.

 

Every high-flying market is bound to find patches of rough air, and the charts show a potential decline is in store. However, several plays should defy these trends.

By MoneyShow.com Jan 15, 2012 11:30PM

By Tom Aspray, MoneyShow.com


Even disappointing retail sales numbers and a pickup in unemployment claims couldn't stop the market from closing higher last Thursday.


However, market internals indicated that the market was struggling to move higher. Each day it seemed a bit weaker, until the sellers stepped in on Friday -- the potential of an S&P downgrade of France’s debt rating was the good reason to sell they were waiting for.

 

Data released Thursday may be a worrying sign for those monitoring macro trends, but it would be foolish for investors to view all retail stocks through the same prism.

By The Fiscal Times Jan 13, 2012 7:36PM
Macy'sBy Suzanne McGee, The Fiscal Times

December may have been a less-than-jolly month for retail sales, but that doesn’t mean that investors should demand discount valuations from all retail stocks in the same way that they insist on bargains at the mall.

Yes, the retail sales figures released Thursday disappointed economists and investors, especially those hoping for another "pop" like the ones from September and October (up 0.7% and 0.5%, respectively.) Alas: Despite the annual holiday shopping frenzy, overall retail sales edged up a mere 0.1% over November levels (or 0.2%, leaving out sales of automobiles), the slowest rate reported since May, as economists and analysts were quick to point out. That compares to economists’ forecasts of a 0.3% advance.
 

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[BRIEFING.COM] The major averages ended the midweek session on a flat note after spending the day inside narrow ranges. The S&P 500 hovered near the 2,000 mark for the majority of the trading day, but slumped to new lows during the last hour of action. The index then returned to its flat line, where it settled for the day. For the third day in a row, participation left a lot to be desired with just 487 million shares changing hands at the NYSE.

Equity indices opened with slim gains, ... More


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