Energy boom makes oil a safe haven
Oil becomes a surprising haven

The idea of US crude being a shelter from turmoil abroad may not be as far fetched as it seems.

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Conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East are growing concerns, yet the market doesn't seem too worried, former Pimco boss Mohamed El-Erian says.

By MSN Money Partner Jul 21, 2014 12:20PM
Image: Stock market © Zurbar/age fotostockBy Matthew J. Belvedere, CNBC

Investors should be paying more attention to the uncertainty being created by the turmoil in Ukraine and the Mideast, Mohamed El-Erian told CNBC on Monday.


The financial markets believe the two crises are containable, but that might be fleeting, the former Pimco co-CEO said in a "Squawk Box" interview.


As the world piles pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin over Moscow's possible role in the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, the U.N. Security Council is expected to vote Monday on a resolution demanding international access to the crash site in eastern Ukraine crash.


In the Mideast, Israeli ground forces advanced into Gaza's most densely populated city in the deadliest day of fighting for both sides since the conflict began two weeks ago. Secretary of State John Kerry is headed to Cairo to push for a cease-fire.

 

The online video-streaming company is expected to show a strong increase in new members, driven by its original programming.

By MSN Money Partner Jul 21, 2014 12:03PM
File photo of Netflix envelopes (© Paul Sakuma/AP)By Rex Crum, MarketWatch

Netflix (NFLX) will report its second-quarter results on Monday after the ball. Analysts expect the online video-streaming company to show strong growth in new subscribers, driven by its offering of popular original programs like "House of Cards."


Earnings: Analysts surveyed by FactSet estimate Netflix will earn $1.14 a share compared with 49 cents a share during the same period a year ago. Netflix itself had forecast a profit of $1.12 a share for the quarter.


Revenue: Analysts expect Netflix to report second-quarter sales of $1.34 billion, with $1.14 billion coming from video-streaming sales and the remainder from DVD rentals. Netflix has forecast streaming revenue of $1.14 billion for the quarter.


Stock performance: For the year, Netflix shares have risen almost 20 percent, to trade recently at around $440. However, the stock is down 7.5 percent since reaching a 52-week-high of $475.87 on July 2.

 
Tags: NFLX

These companies have one thing in common: optimism.

By Jim Cramer Jul 21, 2014 12:03PM

Jubilant investor in front of a display panel © Jan Mammey/Getty ImagesThe commonality of success is now coming through loud and clear. We are now seeing and refining what buyers are looking for before they are willing to pay up beyond the last sale. It's a convincing formula, and I will use four strong companies to lay it out: Alcoa (AA), Intel (INTC), PPG Industries (PPG) and Honeywell (HON).


First, the obvious. Each company in its earnings release makes it very clear that there was a clean beat on the top and bottom lines. The magnitude of the beat varies, but it is certainly better than what the high analyst was looking for. Unlike in previous earnings periods, you need both sales and earnings to surprise -- we have been content for a while with just earnings. Plus, you have to have a noticeable percentage of the sales increase that is above what the Street was looking for from an organic base -- meaning new products that didn't exist until very recently.

 

The Federal Reserve chair can spot pockets of risk or overvaluation as soon as they appear.

By The Fiscal Times Jul 21, 2014 11:55AM

Credit: © J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo
Caption: Federal Reserve Chair Janet YellenBy Suzanne McGee, The Fiscal Times


Janet Yellen is taking a lot of flak for speaking her mind.


Last week, the Federal Reserve released a biannual policy report just as Yellen, the Fed's chair (pictured), began testifying to Congress on the state of the U.S. economic recovery, the outlook for inflation and what’s happening in financial markets these days.


What Yellen had to say on the last of those factors sent many folks into a tizzy.


The Fed views valuations in some parts of the market -- especially for smaller social media companies and biotech stocks -- as being "substantially stretched," even after a "notable downturn in equity prices for such firms early in the year."


In other words, in spite of all of Yellen's reassuring words to the contrary in recent months, there may be some kind of asset bubble taking shape in at least some corners of the financial market.

 
Tags: FBIBBTWTR

After going through a chilly period, sales of the frozen treat are poised to rebound, an analyst says.

By MSN Money Partner Jul 18, 2014 4:47PM
Credit: © Chinatown Ice Cream Factory via Facebook at http://aka.ms/Tkghkk
Caption: Chinatown Ice Cream Factory ice cream conesBy Bo McMillan, CNBC

Ice cream sales may have cooled off in the past few years, but consumers are expected to be melting over the frozen treat once again.


"I think we've reached the turning point where the industry is going to bounce back," said Andy Brennan, a market analyst for IBISWorld. "We're certainly forecasting a rebound."


Trends toward healthier eating as well as the growing popularity of frozen yogurt trimmed revenue at ice cream store franchises by 4 percent to $3.2 billion from 2008-13, according to an IBISWorld report.


"It's gone through a period of intense competition with frozen yogurt, which has grown at 20-30 percent per year," Brennan said.

 
Tags: DNKNYELP

A Chicago faucet company penalizes workers who spend more than the allotted minutes in the washroom outside their normal breaks.

By MSN Money Partner Jul 18, 2014 4:20PM
Credit: © Christopher Stevenson/Getty Images

Caption: Restroom signBy Amy Langfield, CNBC

If you work at WaterSaver Faucet Co.,  when you gotta go, you might not want to go.


The Chicago company installed a new system that monitors bathroom breaks and penalizes employees who spend more than six minutes a day in the washroom outside their normal breaks.


"The HR woman literally goes through every person's bathroom use and either hands out a reward or discipline," said Nick Kreitman, an attorney for Teamsters Local 743, which represents 80 workers at the plant, which coincidentally manufactures taps and other sink fixtures.


Employees who don't use extra breaks get a dollar a day while others who exceed more than one hour in a 10-day period will get a warning, which can lead to termination, he said.

 

Shares rise more than 3% Friday after the company reported strong revenue growth.

By MSN Money Partner Jul 18, 2014 2:46PM
Credit: © Paul Brown/Alamy
Caption: Google Headquarters in Mountain View, Silicon Valley, Calif.By Rolfe Winkler and Alistair Barr, The Wall Street Journal

Accelerating revenue growth in the second quarter pleased Google (GOOG) investors, who sent the search giant's shares higher in Friday trading despite rising expenses and the departure of a top executive.


The search giant said revenue for the quarter rose 22 percent to $16 billion from $13.1 billion a year earlier, excluding the Motorola Mobility business Google plans to sell to China's Lenovo Group.


The company surpassed analysts' revenue forecast of $15.6 billion on that basis, according to S&P Capital IQ.


Net income for the period, excluding Motorola, totaled $3.5 billion, or $5.09 a share, up 26 percent from the same period a year earlier.

 

The company has had a brutal time since its IPO in October.

By InvestorPlace Jul 18, 2014 2:25PM
A Potbelly Corp. sandwich & drink cup in Washington, DC, on Friday (© Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)By Tom Taulli

Potbelly (PBPB), an operator of sandwich shops, pulled off a huge IPO back in October, with the stock soaring 120 percent to $34 on its first day of trading.


But since then, life as a public company has been downright miserable. Lately, the stock's price has been hovering just above $11.


What's going on here? Well, the growth rate is slowing down.


Just look at the latest announcement from the company, which provided a warning for fiscal second-quarter earnings. Potbelly expects to post a meager 6.9 percent increase in sales to $83.6 million, which compares to the Wall Street estimate of $87 million.


And don't expect the situation to improve anytime soon. Potbelly also provided a revision of its full-year forecast. Earnings are now forecast at 18 cents to 21 cents per share, down from 43 cents to 46 cents per share. Oh, and comparable store sales are expected to be flat-to-negative low single digits. (Potbelly will report its official earnings on Aug. 5.)

 
Tags: PBPB

They have not let you down in this bizarre, contrary period.

By Jim Cramer Jul 18, 2014 2:16PM

Road sign to bond market © vaeenma /Getty ImagesThe market has taken a benign view of the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17, I think perhaps because it is so chilling that both sides have to tread more carefully. A needless escalation is good for no one.


Meanwhile, while any casualties are bad, attempts by the Israelis to stop the rocket-launching are, so far at least, surprising people in their lack of Arab street outcry.


With all that said, the crosscurrents remain great and the opportunities constrained by what can happen over the weekend.


TheStreet.com logoJust keep in mind that we are back in the vise grip of the bond market. Anything that sends rates up is now somehow viewed as positive for the overall market, not just the financials, and that's coloring so much.

 

The retail sector has been hammered but consumer spending will come roaring back. Focus on these high-end names.

By Traders Reserve Jul 18, 2014 2:14PM

Caption: Polo Ralph Lauren clothing fashion retail outlet in Maine
Credit: © Jeff Greenberg/AlamyBy Jamie Dlugosch


Say what you will about a dicey market . . . I'm jumping on the rally train.


Who's joining me? You will if you want your portfolio to rock. If that is the case, just what stocks should you be buying today?


I like to buy the downtrodden, as those stocks that are out of favor today become the darlings of tomorrow.


And if there was ever an out-of-favor sector, it would be the retail space. The weather-related mini-recession (or at least that's what I call it) is long passed. In its place is an economy that is growing and growing strongly.


Retail sales are on the upswing fueled by gains in the job market and improving incomes.


At the end of the day, people in this country want to spend money. It's our favorite pastime and though our balance sheets may have been crushed by the financial crisis, our willingness to spend was not.

 

Investors need to know more about the Malaysian jet crash before trading, the CNBC host says.

By MSN Money Partner Jul 18, 2014 12:19PM
Image: Stock market © Zurbar/age fotostockBy Lee Brodie, CNBC

Jim Cramer often says to buy on weakness. This, however, isn't one of those times.


Instead, Cramer is cautious of stocks, broadly.


Although Cramer doesn't enjoy focusing on money in the wake of tragedy, especially when lives have been lost, Cramer believes any and every catalyst that moves the market must be weighed by investors. Nothing less would be prudent.


And on Thursday, a powerful catalyst roiled markets. A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 with 295 people aboard crashed and burned in an eastern Ukraine wheat field near the Russian border. Ukrainian officials called the crash an act of terrorism and said the plane might have been shot down by a Russian-made antiaircraft system.

 

Though stocks have been hitting new highs, something was bound to spook investors -- and that something was a downed Malaysian jet.

By InvestorPlace Jul 17, 2014 4:54PM
Caption: A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange
Credit: © Justin Lane /epa/CorbisBy Anthony Mirhaydari

It was all going so well. Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen was in front of Congress this week brandishing her dovish tendencies. Large-cap stocks are pushing to new highs. CNBC was attacking the skeptics on air with great vitriol. All was right in the world.


But all changed on Thursday after a Russian surface-to-air missile streaked through the East Ukrainian sky and, in a flash, ended nearly 300 lives at 30,000 feet when it brought down a Malaysian 777 airline bound for Kuala Lumpur.


Both Kiev and the pro-Russian separatists are blaming each other, but it's clear that this is going to escalate the situation -- especially in the wake of Wednesday's new U.S. economic sanctions against Russia.


But the bigger story is that this confirms the apprehension I noticed deep within the market earlier this week. Insiders didn't know what, exactly, was going to spook the market . . . only that things had gone too far.

 
Tags: IBB

Over the past 15 years, US sales of incontinence products have roughly tripled to around $1.5 billion.

By MSN Money Partner Jul 17, 2014 3:36PM
Image: Group of older people seated © Image Source, Getty ImagesBy Serena Ng, The Wall Street Journal

Procter & Gamble (PG) is getting back into a business it exited more than a decade ago -- making products for adults suffering from incontinence -- as it takes aim at the growing ranks of aging Americans.

Births peaked in the U.S. at 4.32 million in 2007 and declined for five years before leveling off recently. Some 3.96 million babies were born in the U.S. last year, according to preliminary data from the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention.


The number was up slightly from 2012, but the country's fertility rate dropped to a record low of 62.9 births per 1,000 women of childbearing age. Meanwhile, over 3 million Americans are now turning 65 each year, according to the Pew Research Center.


"The flip side of the low birthrate is we're all living longer," Kimberly-Clark (KMB) Chief Executive Tom Falk told an investor conference earlier this summer. While demand for the company's Huggies training pants has been weakening, its sales of incontinence products have been growing steadily, he said.

 
Tags: PG

The hepatitis C treatment Sovaldi costs $1,000 a day. That's a steep price for state budgets to cover.

By MSN Money Partner Jul 17, 2014 1:51PM
Credit: Gilead Sciences/AP

Caption: The Hepatitis-C medication Sovaldi made by Gilead SciencesBy Bertha Coombs, CNBC

The nation's Medicaid programs could find themselves on the hook for more than $55 billion to pay for breakthrough hepatitis C treatments like Sovaldi, which costs $1,000 a day for a 12-week treatment, a new study says.


That's even with a 23 percent Medicaid plan discount for the drug,pharmacy benefits firm Express Scripts said in its state-by-state analysis that estimated the staggering costs of the treatment.


"These states are saying 'What is it we're supposed to do?'" said Dr. Steve Miller, Express Scripts medical director. "This is just unimaginable for state budgets today."


Nationally, Express Scripts estimated that more than 750,000 Medicaid patients and prisoners now covered under state health programs suffer from chronic hepatitis C, a viral infection that can lead to deadly liver cancer.

 

The sector continues to confound the billionaire investor and partner Charlie Munger. They have bemoaned their bad luck for years.

By MSN Money Partner Jul 17, 2014 1:05PM
Caption: Billionaire investor Warren Buffett
Credit: © Nati Harnik/APBy Anupreeta Das, The Wall Street Journal

To Warren Buffett, it is the one area where he says his investing track record is "awful," "pretty bad" or "really bad."


Berkshire Hathaway's (BRK.A) tiny gaggle of retail businesses -- from See's Candies to Ben Bridge Jeweler and Nebraska Furniture Mart -- gets little attention from investors and analysts, and the companies are profitable.


But the retail sector continues to confound the billionaire investor and his partner Charlie Munger. They have bemoaned their bad luck in retail investing for years, speaking about their retail "failures" at annual meetings and in interviews. More recently, the duo -- famously averse to technology bets -- have lamented how the Internet is rapidly reshaping shopping habits and affecting Berkshire-owned retailers in ways they didn't expect.

 

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[BRIEFING.COM] Equity indices hover near their rebound highs with the S&P 500 lower by five points.

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