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Be wary of dire market forecasts

The most likely scenario is that the markets will begin to rise from here -- and that bounce is just beginning to take hold.

VIDEO ON MSN MONEY

The Brazilian government is trying to attract customers to Vale. What does that involvement mean for the company?

By Jim J. Jubak May 31, 2011 5:04PM
Jim JubakYou'd think news that the Brazilian government is so eager for Vale (VALE) to get into the rare-earth business that it was busy lining up potential customers would be nothing but good news for Vale. (Vale is a member of my Jubak Picks 50 long-term portfolio.)

You’d be wrong, however.

The move by the Brazilian government has added to fears that it wants to regain control of the company it privatized in 1997. Government pressure was key to pushing out Vale chief executive Roger Agnelli in April.

Financial markets have generally reacted favorably to new chief executive Murilo Ferreira, a Vale veteran who left the company in 2008, seeing him as an experienced mining executive rather than a political appointee.
 

It spends more than it brings in, and it's on track to hit its debt limit. Why can't it pull itself out of this mess?

By Kim Peterson May 31, 2011 4:53PM
The U.S. Postal Service is a disaster in the making. A recent BusinessWeek cover story showed just how big the Postal Service's problems are, and they are huge.

How is it that UPS (UPS) and FedEx (FDX) can run profitable, successful delivery services while the U.S. Postal Service blunders its way into insolvency? That's an easy question to answer after you read the BusinessWeek article.

The USPS brought in $67 billion in revenue last year, not nearly enough to cover its costs. It's nearly $15 billion in debt and will hit its debt limit this year. If this continues, the Postal Service will collapse.

Post continues after this video interview with BusinessWeek's editor about the article: 
Tags: ups

The stocks have soared over the past year, and they stand to benefit from low interest rates and more conservative investors.

By Kim Peterson May 31, 2011 3:42PM
The tobacco industry is smokin' hot right now. Just look at the recent performances of some of the biggest stocks. In the last year, Altria (MO) has soared 40%, Reynolds American (RAI) 53% and Lorillard (LO) 60%.

There is no stopping this sector. The top stock in the group? Analysts from UBS say menthol leader Lorillard is the top pick, and they're raising their price target on the stock to $124. Lorillard is trading at about $115 today.

Lorillard has a strong growth trajectory, and is expanding its Newport line to include non-menthol cigarettes such as its recently introduced Newport Red. In the first quarter of this year, Lorillard's sales rose nearly 13%, profit rose 7% and the company raised its dividend 16%. 

The chief executive, currently on medical leave, is on board to announce the company's new software offerings. With video.

By Kim Peterson May 31, 2011 11:49AM
Apple (AAPL) made an unusual move Tuesday in spelling out exactly what will be covered next Monday at the keynote address to kick off the company's annual developers conference.

Normally the company keeps its set list top secret. But on Tuesday, Apple was very clear that the event is all about software, including its new operating system, Lion. Apple will also talk about its next mobile operating system for devices like the iPad and iPhone, and finally its upcoming cloud services product, called iCloud.

And to top it all off, chief executive Steve Jobs will deliver the keynote. That wasn't expected, as Jobs went on medical leave in January. One large Apple shareholder talks about what he sees in the news in the following video.

Post continues after video: 

Traders playing the short side must be sure to avoid some common pitfalls. See what they are and discover several heavily shorted stocks that seem poised to move higher.

By MoneyShow.com May 31, 2011 11:48AM
By Tom Aspray, MoneyShow.com

The explosion in options volume over the past few years has made buying put options the favored trading method for those who think a stock is going to move lower. Historically, selling a stock short was the more common approach, and it is still a force in the market.

One readily available piece of information that put buyers and short sellers often ignore is the short interest data, which is published on a regular schedule and provided for free by Nasdaq.

Ignoring this information is a common put-buying mistake, and I have also found that most sell a stock short or buy a put based on fundamentals, as opposed to technical analysis. They either read something negative about a stock that convinces them that it “must” go down, or they form an opinion that the company’s business has no future.

One good example from several years ago was Pfizer Inc. (PFE), as the loss of the company’s patent on Lipitor was expected to doom the stock, yet it rose from a 2009 low under $12 to over $20 recently.
 

With low multiples and good products, the stock is compelling.

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day May 31, 2011 11:44AM

By Cindy Johnson, The Motley Fool

 

Dell (DELL) lost its No. 1 place in PC market share to Hewlett-Packard (HPQ)in 2006 and has been unsuccessfully struggling to regain its former glory ever since. Now, after years of looking like a turnaround that wouldn't ever turn, the company's recent earnings report suggests that Dell could be in the early stages of a turnaround. The company's new XPS 15z notebook, announced on May 24, provides more evidence that Dell's stock could be poised to take off.

 

The XPS 15z is Dell's answer to Apple's (AAPL) ultra-cool MacBook Air. Its predecessor, the Dell Adamo, was a series of mistakes that was put out of its misery in February.  

 

This time it looks as though Dell got it right. CNET describes the XPS 15z as "much more in line with what people have come to expect from Dell nowadays: some thoughtful style, decent quality, but still very accessible to mainstream consumers."

 

Will funds in defensive sectors continue to perform well?

By TheStreet Staff May 31, 2011 11:33AM

By Don Dion, TheStreet

 

Here are five ETFs to watch this week.

 

1.    iShares MSCI EMU Index Fund (EZU)

 

Europe took center stage last week as investors were once again reminded of the debt crises facing vulnerable euro members. During this week, it will be interesting to see if these issues remain on the forefront of investors' minds.

 

I continue to urge investors to avoid products with heavy exposure to nations like Spain, Italy, Greece and Ireland. Rather, risk-tolerant investors seeking exposure to this corner of the developed world may find nations outside of the euro bloc attractive. Over the most recent 30-day period, funds like the iShares MSCI Sweden Index Fund (EWD) and iShares MSCI Switzerland Index Fund (EWL) have managed to outpace EZU.

 

Netflix and Dean Foods are among the US benchmark's top gainers this year.

By TheStreet Staff May 31, 2011 11:25AM

Image: Stocks (© Digital Vision/Getty Images)By Jake Lynch, TheStreet

 

The S&P 500 Index ($INX) has fallen 3.1% from its 52-week high, recorded a month ago, as investors moved out of riskier assets, including commodities.

 

That leaves the benchmark with a 2011 gain of 5.5%, which is on pace to trail the performance of the previous two calendar years.

 

Amid the correction, leadership has shifted to defensive sectors like health care, consumer staples and utility stocks, which were previously bull-market laggards. In the past four weeks, S&P telecommunications stocks have delivered a median return of 6.4% and health-care shares gained 4.2%.

 

The list of concerns facing investors is piling up. Europe's debt woes, driven by Greece, threaten to stall economic growth in a region that's as large as the U.S. Japan just sank into a recession because of an environmental catastrophe, and China, the engine of global growth, is slowing amid higher interest rates.

 

Medical marijuana is already massively profitable for a handful of states, so it's no surprise pharmaceutical giants want in on the action.

By InvestorPlace May 31, 2011 10:18AM

Though it may not be politically correct to talk about the benefits of legalizing marijuana, the bottom line is that many folks are believers in the power of pot as a medication. And those believers include Big Pharma executives looking to boost their bottom lines.


Consider that medical marijuana sales in the U.S. already will reach $1.7 billion this year, with nearly $250 million coming from Colorado, according to a report released in March.  Further, the report predicts that medical marijuana sales will reach $8.9 billion if 20 more states allow its sale for medical use. 


If the U.S. government ever legalizes marijuana, sales would probably make the $11 billion Pfizer (PFE) raked in on Lipitor worldwide last year look like chump change.

 

It's time for investors to transition their portfolios for the proverbial summer rally.

By Jamie Dlugosch May 31, 2011 9:52AM

With May selling behind us it is time to drift over to the long side of the market. Selling in May and going away played out well for those short the market or with portfolios properly hedged.

 

Now that summer is coming, investors can position for the proverbial summer rally. The economy may be showing signs of weakness, but corporate earnings are still strong. It is those profits or the promise thereof that will lift stocks.

 

June is somewhat of a quiet month as the second quarter winds down. I expect investors to nibble at stocks here in anticipation of good profit numbers to be released in July. I would buy the rumor.

 

The ETF to buy this week is the iShares S&P North America Technology and Multimedia Fund (IGN).

 

The nation will get the money it needs only if it cedes control of its finances to the fund. That should help the euro rally and lead to a pretty good day for stocks.

By Jim Cramer May 31, 2011 8:50AM

the streetjim cramerIt's taken long enough, but the IMF has finally gotten in gear to say "enough is enough."

 

For the last year, Greece has strung out everyone on austerity measures that were supposed to make a difference but haven't. Now, at last, it looks like the IMF has a free hand. That means, basically, that if you want the big IMF money you have to turn over your finances to the IMF, just as the IMF has done whenever it truly takes hold and has to part with big money because the IMF doesn't lose money and it always gets its man.

 

The euro can rally on that for a while because what it says is the rest of Europe is not going to protect Greece and it is not kicking the issue down the road gently but forcefully which could mean, for some, the end of the "break the euro" faction for the foreseeable future.

 

Despite bearish headlines, the markets were surprisingly strong...but what does that mean heading into June?

By MoneyShow.com May 27, 2011 5:53PM
By Tom Aspray, MoneyShow.com

Last week’s financial headlines may have caused many stock investors to run for the exits, as there was very little to make one think that stocks could move higher. 

Despite the concerns over debt contagion, a double dip in the economy, and slower growth in China, the US stock market was surprisingly strong. The early-morning declines on Wednesday and Thursday were met with good demand.

Therefore, even though the major averages made new correction lows, the market had plenty of reasons to drop more sharply. For most of the week, Tuesday’s headline from the Financial Times, “Investors swept up in wave of bearishness,” said it all.

So even though the stock market was not as strong as I had forecast last week, I am sure most were surprised that it closed higher. Sentiment measures continue to get more negative, with only 25% bullish in a recent AAII survey. This is the lowest reading since last summer.
 
Tags: gold

It is important to understand that even a much-followed stock like Cisco will suffer from inefficiency.

By V.N. Katsenelson May 27, 2011 2:37PM
Markets are efficient, or so we’ve been told. I am not here to put a rebuttal to this academic nonsense, but let me give you one of the core reasons why markets are and will remain inefficient: because human beings are efficient.

 

To function in everyday life, our brains are used to simplifying complex problems, through pattern recognition.  We become accustomed to drawing straight lines when we see two points, and if we get a third or fourth point that fits the line, our confidence about the longevity (continuity) of the line increases exponentially.  We become excited, even certain, about prospects of the company we’ve invested in when its stock has gone up for a long period of time, while we often dismiss stocks that have declined or flat-lined, especially if that happened for a considerable period of time.

 

The bank pared holdings of more than half of its touted stocks, filings show.

By TheStreet Staff May 27, 2011 2:32PM

the streetBy Jake Lynch, TheStreet

 

A so-called Chinese Wall is supposed to exist between investment banks' research and asset-management divisions, but recent calls, especially coming from subprime-securities proponent Goldman Sachs (GS), warrant further scrutiny.

 

Goldman helped to catalyze the recent commodity sell-off as its researchers expected little upside when the economy hit a soft patch. Crude oil tumbled beneath $100 on that report. Then, three days ago, with few fundamental changes in the demand outlook, Goldman reversed its stance, advising clients to buy.

 

This flip-flopping from Wall Street's most closely followed researcher is being perceived by some as client-fleecing since the bank is able to trade in proprietary accounts before it releases research and the markets react, as they often do to Goldman's calls.

 

The BlackBerry maker faces a class-action lawsuit and shrinking market share as analysts cut their price targets on the stock.

By Kim Peterson May 27, 2011 2:30PM
The bad news just keeps piling on Research In Motion (RIMM). The company got hit with a new class action fraud this week. Analysts are holding their noses at the stock. The share price has plunged 37% since February.

This wasn't supposed to happen. RIM just launched the PlayBook tablet, its answer to the Apple (AAPL) iPad. And U.S. businesses are recovering and spending more, which should have been just the thing the BlackBerry maker needed.

Check out this analyst discussion about the stock, which one calls "a disaster." Post continues after video

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[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market ended the holiday-shortened week on a mixed note as the Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 0.1%, while the S&P 500 added 0.1% with seven sectors posting gains.

Equity indices faced an uphill climb from the opening bell after disappointing quarterly results from Google (GOOG 536.10, -20.44) and IBM (IBM 190.04, -6.36) weighed on the early sentiment. Google reported earnings $0.15 below the Capital IQ consensus estimate on revenue of $15.42 ... More


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