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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With trouble in developed markets and yields on interest-bearing assets still paltry, these funds offer potential.

By MSN Money Partner Jul 14, 2014 4:27PM
Image: Earth encircled by money © Bob Jacobson/CorbisBy Jeff Reeves, MarketWatch

Last week, I listed concerns of a stock market correction in the U.S., including high valuations and a weaker-than-expected economy. Investors seemed to acknowledge those risks, as stocks drifted steadily lower on the week.


At the same time, European equities had a shock as the solvency of a major Portuguese bank was called into question. Shades of the 2011 European debt crisis spooked investors, and stocks across Europe slid.


With trouble in developed markets and yields on interest-bearing assets still paltry -- and perhaps threatening to drift even lower given recent trends with the 10-year Treasury -- then where is an investor to turn?


I say go global -- and start staking out a position in emerging markets. The valuations are much cheaper, the momentum is much better and there are some very attractive ETFs that allow you to play the upside potential in these volatile regions but with enough diversification to reduce your risk significantly.

 
Tags: TSM

The CEO of Reynolds American could soon hold enormous clout in how quickly the sector switches from combustible smokes to nicotine products.

By MSN Money Partner Jul 14, 2014 3:52PM
Credit: © Chris Keane/Reuters
Caption: Susan Cameron, president and CEO of Reynolds AmericanBy Mike Esterl, The Wall Street Journal

Longtime tobacco executive Susan Cameron (pictured), the chief executive of Reynolds American (RAI), is a former smoker who these days puffs, or "vapes," on electronic cigarettes.


That in itself is a hint as to the strategy behind her company's talks to acquire Lorillard (LO), which makes Newport cigarettes and Blu e-cigarettes.


The possible deal between Reynolds and Lorillard presents a historic opportunity to reshape the tobacco industry, pushing it more quickly into new avenues like electronic cigarettes, which use battery power to turn nicotine-laced liquid into vapor and one day could displace traditional smokes.

 
Tags: LOMORAI

Take another look at some of those rules investors are supposed to abide by.

By MSN Money Partner Jul 14, 2014 3:04PM
Image: Stock investor © Tom Grill/CorbisBy Brett Arends, MarketWatch

At the start of the soccer World Cup a month ago, everyone knew, they just "knew," that Brazil was going to walk away with the tournament.


Brazil hadn't lost a major game at home in decades, said the experts.


The Brazilians had the best attack, the best defense, the best team -- the best everything, they said.


And these weren't just opinions. These were analyses. Quantitative Analysts had produced algorithms -- indeed, Proprietary Algorithms -- using vast quantities of data to prove their point. And if you can't trust a Proprietary Algorithm, what can you trust?


Really, what else was there to do but to prostrate ourselves in awe before the quants and begin chanting in worship once again "Algo akbur! Algo akbur!" -- "The Algorithm is Great! The Algorithm is Great!"


Oh well.

 

The chain adds the chocolate chip behemoth after discovering that most customers want dessert after a pie.

By MSN Money Partner Jul 14, 2014 2:19PM
Credit: © Pizza Hut via Twitter at http://aka.ms/Gzxmok
 
Caption: Pizza Hut’s Ultimate Hershey’s Chocolate Chip cookieBy Venessa Wong, Businessweek

After a Papa John's (PZZA) exec bragged about the popularity of its new pizza-size Mega Chocolate Chip Cookie, Pizza Hut has decided it, too, can make a big old cookie. 


On Monday, it launches an 8-inch chocolate chip cookie -- cut into eight triangular slices -- nationwide. It's the second Hershey-branded dessert on Pizza Hut's menu, joining Chocolate Dunkers. You can also get cinnamon sticks, as yet unbranded.


Pizza Hut has not always been on top of menu trends. It just launched barbecue pizza in May, long after Papa John's, Domino's (DPZ), and California Pizza Kitchen, and customers have not been impressed with its latest efforts. 

 

They haven't given up on shares of builders, lenders and other related companies. Here's why.

By MSN Money Partner Jul 14, 2014 12:57PM
Image: © Burle/Triolo Productions/JupiterimagesBy Ruth Mantell, MarketWatch

There's a lot that's holding back U.S. home sales and construction rates.


Just ask Federal Reserve officials, who laid out a laundry list last week of factors behind the sluggish housing market.


To name just a few: Credit standards are strict, families are having trouble saving enough for high down payments, and costs are rising.


The housing market has been so disappointing for so long that many have lost hope for much improvement. But big investors say the recovery hasn't petered out and are holding onto shares of builders, lenders and other housing-related companies.


Here are three reasons that big investors are optimistic about the housing market:

 
Tags: BACJPMLEN

'This is affecting the opportunity to make money,' a former Morgan Stanley executive laments.

By MSN Money Partner Jul 14, 2014 12:34PM
Credit: © Tetra Images/Getty Images

Caption: Empty trading desks with computers and phonesBy Katy Burne, Justin Baer and Saabira Chaudhuri, The Wall Street Journal

UBS' (UBS) trading floor in Stamford, Conn., once teemed with traders occupying a space equal to two football fields. The Guinness World Records recognized it as the biggest such facility on the planet. And the Swiss bank used it to showcase its Wall Street credentials.

Stu Taylor, a former UBS managing director in trading who now runs trading-technology company Algomi Ltd., remembers when guests were brought around the gallery regularly. "It was very much a showpiece," he said.


Today, there are virtually no traders shouting into their phones or staring at terminals. UBS's cavernous floor is taken up mostly by back-office, legal and technology staffers, according to people familiar with the bank.


A spokeswoman for UBS said the trading floor was built for 1,400 traders, but wouldn't disclose the number of employees at the facility.

 

One market strategist thinks the shopping malaise could contribute to a 'shallow US recession' early next year. Others disagree.

By MSN Money Partner Jul 14, 2014 12:20PM
Nicho Sodling/Folio Images/Getty Images
Man shopping for clothesBy Alex Rosenberg, CNBC

It's Wall Street's latest worry: The current state of the American consumer.


Despite a blockbuster June employment report, buffeted by positive auto sales and same-store retail sales numbers, many investors and strategists worry that American consumers just don't have the cash, or the willingness to spend it, that is required for the recovery to continue.


These concerns have recently come to the fore, as companies from Wal-Mart (WMT) to Rent-A-Center (RCII) have warned that slack consumer demand will weigh on results.

 
Tags: WMTYUM

The Swiss company is buying Russell Stover Candies, becoming the No. 3 chocolate maker in the US.

By MSN Money Partner Jul 14, 2014 12:07PM
Credit: © Gianluca Colla/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Caption: Lindt chocolate products sit on display
By John Revill, The Wall Street Journal

Chocoladefabriken Lindt & Spruengli is betting the U.S. chocolate market will remain the world's sweetest for years to come.

On Monday, the Zurich-based maker of high-end confections said it was buying Russell Stover Candies for an undisclosed sum. When the deal closes, Lindt will be the third-biggest chocolate maker in the U.S., behind Hershey (HSY) and privately held Mars Inc


Mintel Group, a market research company, estimates the combined company would have had roughly 11 percent of the U.S. market last year.

 
Tags: HSYMDLZ

Investors can make big gains using basic fundamental value metrics combined with some common sense.

By Traders Reserve Jul 14, 2014 11:55AM
Credit: © Jessica Rinaldi/Reuters
Caption: The CAT logo is seen on the side of a Caterpillar machineBy Jamie Dlugosch

 

It's earnings season! Are you pumped up or what?


I sure am. Why? Because earnings season is a time to crush Wall Street at its manipulative best.


Most traders avoid earnings given the uncertainty and volatility. Hogwash!


Earnings season is the perfect money-making opportunity. It is the one time when for a brief moment the market gets to price a stock based on actual operating performance instead of nonsensical speculation. Using some basic fundamental value metrics combined with some common sense and you have the ingredients to make some big money, fast.


Already we saw Alcoa (AA) report earnings easily surpassing expectations. What did the stock do thereafter? It went up, of course, impressively.

 

With this purchase, Whiting could surpass the production of current Bakken champ Continental Resources.

By Jim Cramer Jul 14, 2014 11:47AM

A Whiting Petroleum Co. pump jack pulls crude oil from the Bakken region of the Northern Plains near Bainville, Mont. © Matthew Brown/APDid Whiting Petroleum (WLL) hear footsteps? That's the first thing I thought about when I heard the company is offering 0.177 shares of its stock for each share of Kodiak (KOG), a $3.7 billion fellow traveler in the fast-growing Bakken region of North Dakota.


Exactly a year ago, with Kodiak stock at $8 and change, this company tried to sell itself. Presumably, Whiting, one of the largest independent producers in the state, most likely took a look and passed on it.


Since then, there's been a real acceleration in finds in the Bakken as the state has become the second-largest oil producer in the country. Whiting, with this deal, should surpass the production of current Bakken champ Continental Resources (CLR). That said, given the extraordinary production rates demonstrated by Harold Hamm's Continental, who knows if a combined Whiting-Kodiak would be able to keep up.

 

CEO Tim Cook has started gaining the confidence of shareholders as Apple looks to refresh its key products in the second half of the year.

By TheStreet.com Staff Jul 14, 2014 11:42AM

The logo of Apple at an Apple Store in Hong Kong, China © Xiao qiang xg/Imaginechina/CorbisBy Chris Ciaccia, TheStreet


Apple (AAPL) shares ticked higher after Barclays upgraded the stock to "overweight," after having downgraded the stock in April for the first time in a decade.


Barclays analyst Ben Reitzes upgraded shares, giving them a $110 price target, stating that his belief in Apple CEO Timothy D. Cook has returned, as Cook has "solidified his strategy and re-gained the confidence of Apple stakeholders in many ways -- reversing many of the warning signs we saw earlier in the year." He also noted that Samsung's recent weakness provides a buffer for Apple, and the pipeline into 2015 is so strong, that Reitzes and his team are "compelled to get on board even if its midway through the rebound trade."

 

Investors who want to diversify could do well to look overseas for stability and versatility.

By Benzinga Jul 11, 2014 2:39PM
Credit: © Stefan Wermuth/Reuters
Caption: The logo of AstraZeneca is seen on a medication packageBy Jonathan Yates

Investors should naturally be thinking risk management and protecting gains in this record bull market for the Dow Jones Industrial Average ($INDU) and the Standard & Poor's 500 Index ($INX).


An effective way to accomplish this is by diversifying holdings with British blue chips such as Unilever (UL), AstraZeneca (AZN), BHP Billiton (BBL), BAE Systems (BAESY) and Rosslyn Data, a software firm active in the cloud and big data.


Other British stocks can be good diversifying plays as well, such as Audioboom, and Litebulb Group. Like Unilever, a consumer goods firm with many familiar brands such as Vaseline and Lipton, Litebulb Group sells consumer products around the world. Audioboom has a global reputation as the "YouTube of Radio."

 

He's made some mistakes in the sector and sat out much of the US shale boom. Now, however, Berkshire is building some positions.

By MSN Money Partner Jul 11, 2014 2:22PM
Credit: © Nati Harnik/AP

Caption: Warren BuffettBy Tim Mullaney, CNBC

Warren Buffett (pictured) has been a big believer in and buyer of U.S. energy -- indirectly. 


When it comes to direct investments in energy stocks, though, Buffett -- famous for using an elephant-gun analogy to describe his hunt for acquisitions -- has been notably gun-shy.


Some recent bets on big oil and gas stocks suggest that Buffett and his stock-picking lieutenants -- former hedge fund managers Todd Combs and Ted Weschler -- are open to a wider range of direct energy stock investments. 


Buffett's biggest-ever acquisition, Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway, is an indirect play on Western coal transport as well as the Bakken shale boom and the railcars now being relied on to move the oil to market. 

 

Reynolds American and Lorillard confirm they are in merger talks. Here's what analysts have to say about it.

By TheStreet.com Staff Jul 11, 2014 1:49PM

Credit: © Matt Rourke/AP Photo

Caption: Camel cigarettes, a Reynolds American brandBy Chris Ciaccia, TheStreet


Reynolds American (RAI) confirmed Friday it was in talks to acquire smaller rival Lorillard (LO) following news that London-based Imperial Tobacco said it would buy certain assets and brands owned by both companies, essentially forcing the hand of the companies to admit to merger talks.TheStreet.com logo


In a statement, Lorillard said, "No agreement has been reached and there can be no assurances that any transactions will result. Unless circumstances dictate otherwise, Lorillard does not intend to make any additional comments regarding this matter."


The news comes after Reuters first confirmed the talks in May, citing sources close to the negotiations.

 

While the market is up, these ugly picks are all down significantly in the past month.

By InvestorPlace Jul 11, 2014 1:03PM

Caption: Coach Inc. store in New York
Credit: (© Scott Eells/Bloomberg via Getty Images)By Jeff Reeves


It has been a decent year, all in all, for the Standard & Poor's 500 Index ($INX).


The benchmark is up about 6.5 percent year to date, and a handful of picks, including Micron (MU) and Electronic Arts (EA), are up as much as 50 percent in 2014.


But after disappointing first-quarter numbers and negative guidance the norm for most stocks in the second quarter, we've started to see sentiment shift a bit and a lot more pessimism around the stock market.


Now, pessimism alone doesn't mean a crash and there are plenty of stocks still at or near all-time highs.


But there is indeed a group of stocks that are struggling now as we enter earnings season, and have momentum working against them big time.

 

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[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market ended the Wednesday session on a mixed note. The tech-heavy Nasdaq displayed relative strength, climbing 0.4%, while the S&P 500 added 0.2% with five sectors settling in the green. For its part, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (-0.2%) spent the entire session below its flat line.

Equities started the midweek affair on a rather unassuming note in the absence of market-moving news or economic releases. With those pieces missing from the equation, ... More


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