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Banks and their stocks just can't be trusted right now.

By InvestorPlace Oct 4, 2011 11:11AM

By Louis Navellier, Blue Chip Growth

It’s chaos out there. Market volatility has investors rushing in and out of stocks frantically trying to scoop up profits any way they can. It’s a dangerous Wild West, and the mob is running the show.

I have to say, I understand investors’ frustrations and reason for panic. The economic picture is hazy at best, jobs aren’t picking up, we’ve lost faith that our elected officials can come to the table with real solutions (not to mention pass them into law) and there’s the ongoing saga in Europe.


It was a dismal third quarter for funds, and the short-term outlook isn't getting better.

By TheStreet Staff Oct 4, 2011 10:46AM

By Frank Byrt, TheStreetTheStreet


There's nowhere for investors to hide.


The fourth-quarter kickoff Monday saw the S&P 500 ($INX) slip below 1,100 to a one-year low, while oil and commodities extended their declines in a sign global economies may be headed toward a recession.


And in the third quarter, which ended Friday, 45 of 46 countries' stock indexes posted declines, and U.S. stocks had their worst quarter in three years. More importantly, many of the issues that prompted those miserable performances remain unresolved, which bodes poorly for the stock market for the rest of the year.


Shareholders hope the latest model will help the tech giant shine through the economic gloom.

By TheStreet Staff Oct 4, 2011 10:15AM

the streetBy James Rogers, TheStreet


Apple (AAPL) investors are confident that the iPhone 5 will help the gadget maker and new CEO Tim Cook shine through the gloom enveloping much of the tech sector.


"I think that it will push the share price forward," Michael Yoshikami, the CEO of YCMNET Advisors, told TheStreet. "I think that people will get that Apple is becoming a wireless company and that computers will be ancillary to the iPhone."


"Apple still has some growth ahead of it in the phone game, and this release, like previous ones, should open even more doors for the company," added Chad Brand, the president of Peridot Capital Management.


With endless lawsuits, it's tough to forecast anything, let alone earnings.

By Jim Cramer Oct 4, 2011 9:47AM

the streetI had to laugh this morning when the "shocking" news came out that Deutsche Bank withdrew its profit forecast because of the uncertain times we are in.


Profit forecast? How quaint. How sweet that they even had one.


In truth, isn't that what really ails the banks right now, both in the U.S. and in Europe? Over there, the sovereign debt holdings are humongous. And why shouldn't they be? What was the safest paper to be in?


Over here, we know the holdings are better. But where is the earnings power? What is the earnings power, for example, of Bank of America (BAC)? What is it? Does it have any? Does the government or governments want them to be in business? And what the heck is with that Countrywide preferred stock that is blowing out? Will they Chapter 11 it? Can they?


The economic downturn is taking a toll on these mainstays.

By InvestorPlace Oct 4, 2011 9:20AM
By Jeff Reeves,

It has been ugly on Wall Street lately. Investors are spooked, consumers have prepared for the worst and businesses remain defensive. The Greek debt debacle is stealing recent headlines, but don’t fool yourself — persistent problems of high joblessness, a battered housing market and huge losses at financial firms continue to take a toll on the entire global economy.

While the big picture still is unfolding, there are a few stories for particular players that are rapidly approaching an unfortunate end. Victims of both the general downturn and of specific troubles related to their businesses, these iconic American brands are about to disappear.


Unlike in years past, there are multiple product rumors and stories swirling around the cult tech stock. Here are the top 5 to watch.

By InvestorPlace Oct 3, 2011 8:41PM
By Jeff Reeves,

The world is on the edge of its seat again as we approach yet another landmark Apple (AAPL) launch. It's a little later than the previous summer splashes reserved for the latest iPhone -- the iPhone 5 -- but has just as much fanfare.

And for several reasons, the unveiling could be the most important event in the history of the iPhone since the first big reveal in 2007. One easily could argue that Apple has a lot more riding on this launch.

Here's what's at stake:


Are we headed into recession? A few nuggets of positive news could signal stronger-than-expected growth.

By Jim J. Jubak Oct 3, 2011 5:10PM
The Economic Cycle Research Institute, which has a good record in predicting the ups and downs of the business cycle, told its clients Friday that the U.S. economy is headed into recession. (For more on that call and a little horn tooting by the ECRI, see this.)

Even if the institute is right, though, that doesn’t mean the road to recession won’t be paved with some bumps and potholes. (Don’t confuse the Economic Cycle Research Institute, which is in the business of predicting the business cycle for clients, with the National Bureau of Economic Research, which calls the cycles after they’ve happened.)

Monday, just days after the institute’s recession call, the Institute for Supply Management reported that its manufacturing index had climbed to 51.6 in September from 50.6 in August. (Remember, anything above 50 shows that the manufacturing sector is expanding.) 

AMR Corp. leads a wide sector slump on concerns about the economy and corporate travel budgets.

By Kim Peterson Oct 3, 2011 4:18PM
Investors are always ready to push the panic button on American Airlines, which is thought to be the weakest airline financially.

The panic button got a workout Monday. Shares of American's parent company, AMR Corp. (AMR), plunged 33% to close below $2. Investors are worried that the airline sector will suffer even more as the economy sputters and companies cut travel budgets.

Analysts at Citi cut ratings Monday for two other airline stocks: United Continental (UAL) and US Airways (LCC). Those stocks plummeted as well, by 12% and 16%, respectively. But it was AMR that took the most damage. 
Tags: amrtravel

Bank of America customers experience 2 straight business days of website problems.

By Kim Peterson Oct 3, 2011 3:03PM

Updated: 5 p.m. ET


As if Bank of America (BAC) needed any more problems.

What first looked like a technological hiccup has turned into ongoing website issues for the bank. Some customers can't access their accounts, the bank is on the defensive and the stock price hit a new 52-week low Monday, closing down 9.6% to $5.53. The stock price has fallen below $6 for the first time since the financial crisis.

For two business days now, the bank's website has given users a short warning: "Some of our pages are temporarily unavailable. Thanks for your patience."

Tags: internet

Fund investors seeking exposure to gold should consider holding a mix of bullion -- via an ETF -- and mutual funds that invest in gold miners.

By TheStreet Staff Oct 3, 2011 2:56PM

By Stan Luxenberg, TheStreetTheStreet


Gold has been whipsawing investors lately, and shareholders of precious metals funds have special reasons to feel disappointed.


So far this year, gold prices have climbed 14% to $1,662, while precious metals funds have dropped 15.7%, according to Morningstar.


The performance is unusual because most often the funds rise along with bullion prices. Fund portfolio managers offer several theories about what has caused the poor returns.


Utilities funds were among the only gainers as the stock market rout gathered steam. Here are 5 utility stocks that led the sector.

By TheStreet Staff Oct 3, 2011 12:25PM

By Frank Byrt, TheStreetTheStreet


U.S. stock mutual funds that invest in a diverse array of companies turned in a shameful performance last quarter, as none -- that's right, none -- made money.


Among funds that buy mainly U.S. stocks and use no leverage or short positions, only three sector-specific funds eked out gains from the beginning of July to the end of September, according to research firm Morningstar: Icon Telecommunications & Utilities (ICTUX), up 1.9%; Franklin Utilities (FKUTX), up 1.7%; and Invesco Utilities Investor (FSTUX), up 0.3%.


The stock market rout gathered steam last month on concerns that the U.S. economy is slipping into another recession and Europe's debt burden will sink more banks and lead to a further decline in global corporate profits. In September, materials stocks fell the most, by 13%, followed by energy at 10% and financial services at 8.3%, according to Capital IQ. Utilities shares were the sole sector to rise, by 1%.


Investors should look for defensive trades in this shaky market. Funds tracking China and silver could be due for more wild swings.

By TheStreet Staff Oct 3, 2011 12:13PM

By Don Dion, TheStreetTheStreet


Here are five exchange-traded funds to watch this week.


1. Market Vectors Agribusiness ETF (MOO)


In the second week of October, Alcoa (AA) will provide what many market watchers consider the bellwether earnings report of the season. However, in the days leading up to this event, there will a handful of companies representing the industrials and agricultural sector that will report ahead of the aluminum giant.


For instance, Monsanto (MON), an agricultural powerhouse, will report its quarterly earnings along with its outlook on Wednesday. ETF investors looking to target this firm should turn to the equity-backed MOO.


Designed to provide investors with exposure to the largest and most recognizable companies in the global agriculture industry, MOO sets aside ample exposure to companies like Mosaic (MOS), Deere (DE) and Potash of Saskatchewan (POT). Monsanto is the fund's largest position, accounting for 8% of its portfolio.


High volatility and downside risk mean caution is warranted in advance of potential buying opportunities.

By Oct 3, 2011 11:24AM

By Tom Aspray,

September was a rough month in the markets, and the wave of selling last Friday did not help. The S&P 500 was down 7.2% in September and 14.3% for the quarter. For the year, the Dow Transports are down almost 18%, which looks pretty good when compared to the KBW Bank Index, which has lost 32.3%.

Commodity traders were also hit, as a surprising crop report pushed corn and wheat limit down in Friday’s session. Even gold was not immune, as the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) lost 11% in September, though it is still up close to 14% for the year.


Electronics resellers are seeing a surge of activity in anticipation of Tuesday's launch.

By TheStreet Staff Oct 3, 2011 11:16AM

the streetBy Olivia Oran, TheStreet


Weeks before Apple's (AAPL) iPhone 5 was rumored to be announced, Josh Kwolinski was already prepared.


The student and part-time AT&T (T) employee from Sacramento, Calif., had traded in his iPhone 4 to an online reseller called Gazelle, which offered him $300. He plans to use the funds to purchase Apple's fifth generation smartphone after its launch on Oct. 4.


"I'm an Apple nerd," Zwolinski said. "I deal with phones all day every day and constantly see problems with other phones, but not the iPhone."


Companies like Caterpillar and Honeywell have yet to see a slowdown in demand, yet their stocks are like hot potatoes that no one wants to hold on to.

By Jim Cramer Oct 3, 2011 8:57AM

the streetHere's a piece I don't want to write. Industrials seem determined to replay 2008. It doesn't matter that things are much better for them. It doesn't matter that there is ample credit around the world, something that crushed them the last time around.


It doesn't even matter that none, not one, of the industrial stocks I am close to -- Honeywell (HON), United Technologies (UTX), Cummins (CMI) or Caterpillar (CAT) -- have seen a slowdown. They all get whacked.


This endless decline is playing havoc with the performance of anyone who is trying to keep pace with the averages. Owning them has been anathema to making money.



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[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market finished an upbeat week on a mixed note. The S&P 500 shed less than a point, ending the week higher by 1.3%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (+0.1%) cemented a 1.7% advance for the week. High-beta names underperformed, which weighed on the Nasdaq Composite (-0.3%) and the Russell 2000 (-1.3%).

Equity indices displayed strength in the early going with the S&P 500 tagging the 2,019 level during the opening 30 minutes of the action. However, ... More


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