5 reasons the market is seeing red
5 reasons the market is seeing red

Geopolitical crises are taking a toll on stocks as we head into the seasonally weak month of August.

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After a recession, several recalls, an earthquake and a tsunami, the Japanese auto giant wants its No. 1 spot back.

By InvestorPlace Dec 22, 2011 11:04AM

By Jeff Reeves


investorplaceToyota (TM) has had a rough few years. First the financial crisis and resulting recessions brutalized the automaking industry and prompted Toyota to post its first-ever loss in 2008. Then fears of "unintended acceleration" led to the recall of 9 million Toyotas in early 2010. Most recently, in early 2011, Toyota production was thrown into disarray by the earthquake and tsunami that affected businesses in Japan.


But investors and fans of the Prius and Camry should take heart: Toyota is revved up and ready for a comeback in 2012. And if you buy the pitch Toyota is selling, the Japanese company will return to its perch as the world's No. 1 automaker.

 

Deal or not, the two will continue to be the industry’s leaders and long-term attractive plays.

By Gene Marcial Dec 22, 2011 10:32AM

This is a case of No. 2 trying to gobble up No. 1. It won’t happen -- not yet, anyway.

 

The prevailing sentiment on Wall Street is that Vulcan Materials (VMC) will reject the unsolicited $4.8 billion buyout offer of Martin Marietta Materials (MLM). Vulcan, the largest U.S. producer of gravel and sand, has to decide in a few days whether or not to embrace the all-stock hostile bid by Martin Marietta, the second largest maker of construction aggregates. This may well be a protracted battle as Vulcan is expected to ask Marietta to back off, unless it raise the ante.

 
Tags: MLMVMC

The grocery chain raises its full-year guidance after delivering a strong fiscal third quarter.

By Zacks.com Dec 21, 2011 7:29PM
Image: Full Shopping Cart in Grocery Store© Fuse/Getty ImagesThe Kroger Co. (KR) delivered excellent results this month for its fiscal third quarter, driven by a stellar 5% increase in same-store sales.


Management raised its guidance for the remainder of the year off the strong quarter, prompting analysts to revise estimates higher and sending the stock to a Zacks No. 2 rank ("buy"). As it generates strong free cash flow, management has been rewarding shareholders through stock buybacks and dividend hikes. It currently yields 1.9%.

 
Tags: KR

Everyone seems to love the stock at this price. That's a problem.

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day Dec 21, 2011 4:51PM

By Rick Aristotle Munarriz

 

There's never a shortage of Apple (AAPL) bulls. The world's most valuable tech company is percolating globally and IS cheap by most historical measuring sticks.

 

There isn't a lot of suspense here. A whopping 50 of the 55 analysts following the company have the stock rated as a buy or strong buy. Does that worry you? It certainly concerns me.

 

If you can handle volatility, this shipping stock offers a double-digit yield.

By TheStockAdvisors Dec 21, 2011 4:32PM
By Paul Tracy, High-Yield International

Navios Maritime Partners L.P. (NMM) is a shipping firm with a fleet of 18 dry-bulk vessels used to transport commodities such as coal, iron ore and grains.

Shipping firms like Navios do not take ownership of the commodities they transport. They simply charge companies a fee, known as a day rate, to ship commodities on their vessels. 
Tags: NMM

Hundreds of billions of dollars are in play. Is this a good move, or did the eurozone take on a lot more risk?

By Jim J. Jubak Dec 21, 2011 3:13PM
The European Central Bank held a borrowing party Wednesday and everybody came.

A whopping 523 eurozone banks borrowed a huge 489 billion euros ($638 billion) at the central bank’s first offering of three-year cash.

That’s enough to refinance 63% of the debt, as estimated by Goldman Sachs, of eurozone banks that will mature and require refinancing next year. The European Central Bank’s next three-year funding will be held in February. At this rate, eurozone banks will be able to pre-fund all their refinancing needs for 2012 and into 2013 that month.
 
Tags: STD

Analyst sentiment has turned negative, but charts signal rally potential.

By MoneyShow.com Dec 21, 2011 3:10PM

Image: Stock market Bear (© Hemera Technologies/Jupiterimages)By Tom Aspray, MoneyShow.com


The market's technical outlook improved considerably after Tuesday's sharp gains. Still, there need to be further gains and positive market internals to firmly shift the evidence in the bull's favor. Stocks were generally lower in afternoon trading Wednesday.


Though individual investors and financial newsletter writers aren't giving any strong signals, the big brokerage houses and financial media seem to be getting more negative.

 

Customers are calling the shots in the business software market, demanding discounts that companies may not otherwise want to give.

By Jonathan Berr Dec 21, 2011 2:43PM
Shares of Oracle (ORCL) plunged nearly 14% Wednesday after the software company reported its worst earnings shortfall ever. Tech investors are nervous -- with good reason.

The company said many of the deals it expected to close in the quarter did not, even after it added 1,700 salespeople in the first half of the year. Revenue at Oracle rose 2% to $8.8 billion, and new software license revenue -- a critical metric -- rose just 2% to $2 billion. 

The world's largest chain of indoor water parks expects to end year with a splash.

By Zacks.com Dec 21, 2011 1:54PM

By Zacks Equity Research
 

Great Wolf Resorts (WOLF) recently raised its revenue per available room (RevPAR) and adjusted EBITDA outlook for the upcoming fourth quarter as it believes the business is progressing impressively and above expectation.


The Madison, Wis., company expects adjusted EBITDA to exceed the higher end of its previous guidance range of $10.5 to $12.5 million and same-store RevPAR growth to be 8.5%, up from the earlier projections of 6 to 8%.

 
Tags: WOLF

The fix appears to address some, but not all, user complaints.

By Kim Peterson Dec 21, 2011 1:36PM
The excitement around Amazon's (AMZN) Kindle Fire release has been dampened by a number of user complaints, and Wednesday the company unveiled some fixes.

Amazon has issued a free software update that "enhances fluidity and performance." The update is also supposed to improve the tablet's touchscreen after complaints that the screen was slow to respond. 
Tags: AMZN

The bank reduces risk and gets some breathing room from its leading critic.

By The Fiscal Times Dec 21, 2011 1:22PM
He huffed and he puffed -- but he stopped short of blowing the house down.

The "he" in this case is Sean Egan of Egan-Jones Ratings, the bête noire of embattled investment bank Jefferies Group (JEF) and its CEO, Richard Handler. Egan on Tuesday held back from making further demands on Jefferies to bolster its balance sheet by raising new equity -- at least for the time being. 

Users nationwide are seeing spotty 3G and 4G service just weeks after an earlier outage.

By Kim Peterson Dec 21, 2011 1:01PM
Verizon (VZ) customers nationwide were having trouble accessing the company's data network Wednesday. Again. It was the second time this month that Verizon's network has had problems.

Investors are shrugging off the situation. Verizon shares were down only 26 cents -- less than 1% -- Wednesday morning to $38.95. 
Tags: VZ

Growing demand and rising dividends make this miner a top pick for income investors.

By TheStockAdvisors Dec 21, 2011 12:57PM
Image: Elevated view of freight cars with coal © Joseph Sohm-Visions of America/Photodisc/Getty ImagesBy Ian Wyatt, Top Stock Insights

Emerging markets are industrializing, increasing expenditure on energy and infrastructure projects, and creating a massive demand for industrial resources.

One of the most vital of these industrial resources is cheap, dirty, plentiful coal. While we're all fans of renewable energy, coal still remains a major part of energy generation, and it will remain so for many years into the future. 

Oracle is downgraded to 'hold,' while GM and Ford are initiated with a 'buy.'

By MSN Money Partner Dec 21, 2011 12:25PM
Information provided by Theflyonthewall.com

Wednesday's noteworthy upgrades include:
  • Research in Motion (RIMM) upgraded to Buy from Hold at ThinkEquity
  • Hershey (HSY) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at BofA/Merrill
  • Cobalt (CIE) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Goldman
  • Amphenol (APH) upgraded to Top Pick from Outperform at RBC Capital
  • Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Argus
 

Rail traffic is likely to benefit from surge in retail and online sales.

By Trefis Dec 21, 2011 12:23PM
James Lauritz/Digital Vision/Getty ImagesThe Association of American Railroads (AAR) continued to show gains in rail traffic in its November monthly report. The holiday shopping season had a great start this year, with retail sales up 16% during the Thanksgiving weekend and online sales increasing by 26% on Black Friday compared to last year. The demand to move goods within the country will benefit freight carriers such as Norfolk Southern (NSC), CSX (CSX) and Union Pacific (UNP).

Elevated fuel prices and limited truck capacity have also altered the way goods are transported, benefiting railroads, which provide a sustainable solution to carrying goods at reasonable rates. 
Tags: csxNSCUNP

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[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market punctuated July with a broad-based retreat that sent the S&P 500 lower by 2.0% with all ten sectors ending in the red. The benchmark index posted a monthly decline of 1.5%, while the Russell 2000 (-2.3%) underperformed to end the month lower by 6.1%.

To get a better feel for what led to today's retreat, we'd like to look back to Wednesday, when the market had ample reason to rally, but did not. Instead, it ended basically flat after a sloppy day of ... More


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