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VIDEO ON MSN MONEY

A fund manager ups his stake in the worst-performing stock in the index.

By MSN Money Partner Apr 30, 2012 10:29AM

By GuruFocus


First Solar (FSLR) earned two unfortunate titles in 2011: the worst-performing stock in the S&P 500 after falling 86%, and one of David Einhorn's most successful shorts. Yet Brian Rogers, the manager of $500 billion at T. Rowe Price, doubled his stake in the stock in the first quarter. Amid all the problems plaguing the solar industry, why would anyone choose this stock?

The Tempe, Ariz., company is the world's largest maker of thin-film solar panels. First Solar began 2011 at $133 per share but steadily declined to $33 by year's end as events developed in Germany, the world's largest photovoltaic market. Investors began selling in earnest around the time that German lawmakers passed a law in February which cut solar power subsidies as much as 15%, six months earlier than they had planned. Germany accounted for approximately 23% of First Solar's 2011 net sales.

 
Tags: FSLR

The restaurant chain has an uncanny ability to reinvent itself and grow sales.

By Trefis Apr 30, 2012 9:25AM
Image: McDonald’s restaurant © AFP/Getty ImagesMcDonald's (MCD) recently unveiled its first-quarter earnings. Revenue increased by 7%, and net income grow by 5%. The star of the show was not emerging economies but the U.S., where comparable sales grew 8.9%. International comp sales growth was tepid, with European comp sales increasing 5% while the corresponding figure for Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa was 5.5%.

The ability to keep reinventing itself to appeal to consumers domestically as well as internationally is the reason we think McDonald's deserves a higher price than the current market price. 

Stock declines can make for great buying opportunities, but sometimes shares are falling for a reason.

By Jim Cramer Apr 30, 2012 9:07AM

Are these declines worth buying or declines that have to be avoided? That's the biggest question I've seen during this earnings period, and it was on display big-time Friday.

 

First the declines you can buy. I want to take some Starbucks (SBUX) here, because I believe CEO Howard Schultz will turn things around in Europe, which was the only real weakness. Some would say why not go with Dunkin' Brands (DNKN). Good growth and no Europe. I think Starbucks, on a discount with one of the best CEOs in America, is worth the risk. But I am never going to say no to Dunkin'.

 

Every day this week, Top Stocks offers picks to give your baby. Tune in to read what our experts think are the best shares for the ages.

By Kim Peterson Apr 30, 2012 8:55AM
Image: Baby (© Elisa Cicinelli/Brand X Pictures/Jupiterimages)Every baby wants a clean diaper, a freshly warmed bottle and 100 shares of Intel (INTC).

Oh, they may not be asking for Intel now -- the word is a little tough to pronounce at that age -- but they will surely appreciate it down the road. When it's time to buy that first house, for example, or a new car.

We posed a question to our panel of stock experts here at Top Stocks: If you were to buy stock for a newborn, what would you pick?  

Shares of the bookseller soar on a $300 million investment from Microsoft. The stock exchange's earnings fall 32% after its failed merger.

By TheStreet Staff Apr 30, 2012 7:44AM

By Joseph Woelfel

 

Updated at 8:30 a.m. ET


Microsoft (MSFT) will make a $300 million investment for a 17.6% stake in a new Barnes & Noble (BKS) subsidiary that will bring together the bookseller's digital and college businesses. The partnership includes a Nook application for Windows 8, Barnes & Noble and Microsoft said.


Shares of Barnes & Noble were soaring 92% in premarket trading Monday to $26.29. Microsoft shares were up 0.7% to $32.19. The stock has risen more than 23% year to date. (Microsoft owns and publishes Top Stocks, an MSN Money site.)


NYSE Euronext (NYX) said first-quarter adjusted earnings declined 32%. The exchange saw a slowdown in trading, particularly in its derivatives trading unit, and was hit by costs associated with its failed merger with Germany's Deutsche Boerse. Adjusted profit in the quarter was 47 cents a share; analysts were looking for 48 cents.

 

Original programming is important, as it will help the company stave off competition and increase viewership.

By Trefis Apr 27, 2012 6:13PM
Image: Watching television (© Maria Teijeiro/Getty Images/Getty Images)Despite improved streaming data in its first-quarter earnings results, Netflix's (NFLX) stock plunged as investors fretted about the company's future.

Netflix's ability to continue growing profits will depend on how it differentiates itself from the competitors gaining strength. These competitors include Amazon (AMZN), Dish Network's (DISH) Blockbuster, Comcast's (CMCSA) Xfinity Streampix, Hulu and others.


A big part of this differentiation is going to be content, and Netflix shed some light on its content strategy during its recent earnings announcement.

 

The accessory maker has seen shares jump higher lately.

By Benzinga Apr 27, 2012 4:35PM

By Brett Callwood, Benzinga Staff Writer


Investors and traders should be paying close attention to Zagg (ZAGG). The company has performed consistently well as of late and, following Apple's (AAPL) results, was trading higher by nearly 15%.


Zagg makes protective coverings and other accessories for consumer electronic devices under the brand names invisibleShield, ZAGGaudio and ZAGGskins. Many of those accessories are designed for iPhones and iPads, putting Zagg in the enviable position of being subtly attached to Apple's fortunes.

 

The company has been through a rough patch, but the stock may just be ready for a recovery.

By Jim J. Jubak Apr 27, 2012 4:12PM
Image: Coal miners (© Digital Vision/SuperStock)I'd like to blame the weather. And there is no doubt that weather in Brazil's rainy season hurt Vale's (VALE) first-quarter earnings reported on April 25.

But when the drop in quarterly earnings is the third in a row, then I think you can be pretty sure something more serious is going on. (Vale is a member of my long-term Jubak Picks 50 portfolio.)

What's most important, though, to investors who have made money on Vale in the past and have been looking to see when they might be able to make money on Vale in the future is that all these quarterly declines in earnings are setting up a potentially good second half for the stock.
 

MSN Money's Jim Jubak answers Facebook users' questions about our financial institutions.

By MSN Money Partner Apr 27, 2012 1:38PM
Did the U.S. government's bank bailout fix anything? Or are our financial institutions still too big and corrupt?

In this video, MSN Money columnist Jim Jubak looks at the current state of our banking system and takes questions from MSN Money's Facebook community. 

Bruce Berkowitz's financial fund just sells in the first quarter.

By MSN Money Partner Apr 27, 2012 1:28PM

By GuruFocus

 

Bruce Berkowitz still seems comfortable with Fairholme Fund's (FAIRX) portfolio of 90% financials, as he made no new purchases in the first quarter, and likely only sold to meet redemptions.


This year has been a vindication for the money manager, as he ranks in the top 1% of performance year-to-date with a return of 26.18%, after ranking in the bottom 99% last year.

 

After months in the doldrums, precious metals and related mining stocks are perking up in a big way as the dollar drops.

By Anthony Mirhaydari Apr 27, 2012 1:20PM

Image: Golden Nest Egg (© Chris Collins/Photographer)With the economy performing in fits and starts, investors have sought safety in numbers -- crowding into the latest hot trade. Right now, it's Apple (AAPL). But for a long time, it was precious metals. Gold led the way in 2009 and 2010. Silver had an epic run-up in late 2010 and early 2011 before crashing hard as the dollar jumped after Seal Team 6 brought America's justice to Abbottabad.

 

Over the past year, most people couldn't be bothered with the shiny stuff, with both silver and gold mired in big, persistent downtrends. Silver is down more than 37% from its April 2011 high. Market Vectors Gold Miners (GDX) is down more than 30%. Gold had a nice run after the U.S. Treasury lost its AAA rating last August, but it has been grinding lower ever since.

 

Stocks edge higher despite Spain's credit downgrade and slower-than-expected growth in US GDP.

By MSN Money Partner Apr 27, 2012 12:54PM
Information provided by Theflyonthewall.com

Amazon.com (AMZN), Ford (F) and Starbucks (SBUX) all exceeded  expectations on the top and bottom lines, but only Amazon was rewarded by investors. Shares of the internet giant advanced more than 14% on the heels of upgrades from Goldman, Merrill Lynch, Nomura and Sun Trust on its strong results.

The three Dow components reporting earnings, Chevron (CVX), Merck (MRK) and Procter & Gamble (PG), all declined in spite of the fact that each beat consensus earnings expectations.  

These stocks have yet to claw their way back to their perches before the financial crisis, but they're finally showing signs of life.

By MoneyShow.com Apr 27, 2012 12:27PM

By George Putnam III, The Turnaround Letter


In early March, we marked the third anniversary of the stock market's low point following the 2008-09 financial meltdown. We thought this might be a good time to reflect on what lessons we might all learn from the market's behavior over the last three years.


The most important one: Don't try to time the market.

 

A global acquisition strategy is boosting the spirits of this premium liquor distributor.

By TheStockAdvisors Apr 27, 2012 11:54AM
Image: Beer (© Corbis)By Paul Tracy, High-Yield International

Diageo (DEO) is the world's leading alcoholic spirits company, with market-leading brands including Smirnoff, Johnnie Walker, J&B, Baileys, Captain Morgan and Tanqueray. Beer sales are primarily driven by its top-selling global stout brand, Guinness. The company also owns a 34% stake in Moet Hennessy, the company behind a number of luxury cognacs and champagnes.

The most appealing feature of Diageo is that although the company has around 45 brands of alcoholic drinks in its portfolio, 81% of its earnings come from its 14 strategic global priority brands. 

They're riskier small caps, but they're cheap sources of income.

By InvestorPlace Apr 27, 2012 11:29AM

Image: Money (© Corbis)By Jeff Reeves


Sometimes investors feel like they have to choose between low-priced stocks and high-dividend payers that can often be costly per share. Sure, Coca-Cola (KO) announced a 2-for-1 split to bring its share price down from almost $80 to under $40, but not all dividend payers are willing to execute a similar move. And to many investors who have small portfolios and don't like to buy a handful of shares, even $40 might be a bit pricey.


Thankfully, there are a handful of big dividend payers under $10 a share -- if you know where to look for them.

 

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Top Stocks provides analysis about the most noteworthy stocks in the market each day, combining some of the best content from around the MSN Money site and the rest of the Web.

Contributors include professional investors and journalists affiliated with MSN Money.

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  • June gold traded in positive territory for most of today's pit session. Prices advanced as high as $1307.10 per ounce and dipped to a session low of $1297.90 per ounce in mid-morning action. The yellow metal eventually settled with a 0.3% gain at $1303.40 per ounce. 
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