You can still find small-cap superstars
Small-cap superstars still abound

There are some picks in this sector that have excellent valuations and strong earnings growth.


High volatility and downside risk mean caution is warranted in advance of potential buying opportunities.

By Oct 3, 2011 11:24AM

By Tom Aspray,

September was a rough month in the markets, and the wave of selling last Friday did not help. The S&P 500 was down 7.2% in September and 14.3% for the quarter. For the year, the Dow Transports are down almost 18%, which looks pretty good when compared to the KBW Bank Index, which has lost 32.3%.

Commodity traders were also hit, as a surprising crop report pushed corn and wheat limit down in Friday’s session. Even gold was not immune, as the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) lost 11% in September, though it is still up close to 14% for the year.


Electronics resellers are seeing a surge of activity in anticipation of Tuesday's launch.

By TheStreet Staff Oct 3, 2011 11:16AM

the streetBy Olivia Oran, TheStreet


Weeks before Apple's (AAPL) iPhone 5 was rumored to be announced, Josh Kwolinski was already prepared.


The student and part-time AT&T (T) employee from Sacramento, Calif., had traded in his iPhone 4 to an online reseller called Gazelle, which offered him $300. He plans to use the funds to purchase Apple's fifth generation smartphone after its launch on Oct. 4.


"I'm an Apple nerd," Zwolinski said. "I deal with phones all day every day and constantly see problems with other phones, but not the iPhone."


Companies like Caterpillar and Honeywell have yet to see a slowdown in demand, yet their stocks are like hot potatoes that no one wants to hold on to.

By Jim Cramer Oct 3, 2011 8:57AM

the streetHere's a piece I don't want to write. Industrials seem determined to replay 2008. It doesn't matter that things are much better for them. It doesn't matter that there is ample credit around the world, something that crushed them the last time around.


It doesn't even matter that none, not one, of the industrial stocks I am close to -- Honeywell (HON), United Technologies (UTX), Cummins (CMI) or Caterpillar (CAT) -- have seen a slowdown. They all get whacked.


This endless decline is playing havoc with the performance of anyone who is trying to keep pace with the averages. Owning them has been anathema to making money.


In anticipation of the warehouse store's earnings, it's worth noting there's much more to its stock than low prices.

By InvestorPlace Oct 2, 2011 8:24PM
By Jeff Reeves,

Costco (COST) is America's largest wholesaler by revenue and is watched closely by investors and consumers alike as a sign of how the economy is doing in general. If folks flock to Costco for deals in bulk, it's probably not good news for most family budgets. If Americans spend more on name-brand and upscale products instead of the no-frills items at Costco, it's a sign consumers have more money to burn.

It should come as no surprise that Costco has been doing pretty well recently amid high unemployment and consumer spending woes. COST is up about 15% so far in 2011.

But more interesting is the fact that Costco isn't just riding this broader economic trend to bigger profits -- it's also stealing customers from low-price rivals, including Wal-Mart (WMT).

Here are three reasons Costco is beating Wal-Mart:


A disturbing retail report and a jump in inflation in Europe led to renewed fears for investors Friday.

By Jim J. Jubak Sep 30, 2011 4:27PM
No matter how many things you’re watching in this market, you can still get hit from an unexpected direction.

Friday morning, the two measures I urged everyone to watch Thursday -- one from China and one from the United States -- turned in decent if not uplifting results. Nothing to cheer about, but nothing to generate new worries (beyond the current already elevated level, that is.)

But the economic data moving the market Friday comes from Germany and the Eurozone, where news of the worst month-to-month retail-sales drop since May 2009 and of a jump in inflation to a 3% annual rate has sent the euro down and the U.S. dollar up -- with everything bad that implies for commodities and emerging-market stocks.

One major movie studio has said it will stop footing the bill for 3-D glasses next year. So who picks up the cost?

By Kim Peterson Sep 30, 2011 4:01PM
What if moviegoers had to pay for their own 3-D glasses? That could be a reality next year, because the Hollywood studios that have been footing the bill are tired of it.

Sony Pictures Entertainment has said it will stop paying for 3-D glasses by next May, and other studios are likely considering the same thing, according to The Hollywood Reporter. It can cost a studio as much as $10 million to provide 3-D glasses for each blockbuster movie.

So who's going to pay for those glasses now? The burden shifts to theater owners, and they're not happy about it at all. Regal Entertainment (RGC), which saw its stock price drop more than 8% this week, warned studios this week that it may show fewer 3-D films as a result. 
Tags: Hollywood

Here's why gold and silver prices are falling, and why there's reason to believe they will rise again.

By TheStreet Staff Sep 30, 2011 3:31PM

By John Browne, TheStreetTheStreet


Fall officially began on Sept. 23, but it's not just leaves that are cascading downward. In the few market days of the new season, precious metals prices have seen significant drops, some 11% for gold and 31% for silver. In its lurch downward, gold plowed through support levels at $1,750, $1,700 and $1,645 an ounce. I'm sure many readers are concerned.


After all, by the time gold put in its recent peak on Aug. 22, it had logged a stunning 44% appreciation in calendar year 2011. And even after its recent tumble, the metal is still 22% higher than it was on Jan. 27, the 2011 low. Therefore, some may conclude that gold has further to fall, and that the descent could be steep.


Given this anxiety, it might be helpful to summarize some factors we see impacting prices. Emotions loom large in the financial world, and it is easy to lose one's focus during periods of uncertainty. From as rational a perspective as I can gain during these irrational times, here is my view on why precious metals have recently pulled back so violently:


Investors of dividend-generating securities need to acknowledge the fact that dividends can and do experience declines.

By TheStreet Staff Sep 30, 2011 3:22PM

By Ron Rowland, TheStreetTheStreet


There is a raging debate regarding the best way to live off your portfolio. Young adults are told, by those older and wiser, to save and invest for retirement. There is never a shortage of ideas and suggestions on how to build a nest egg. For those lucky enough to have accumulated a nest egg large enough to meet their financial needs, the dilemma is determining the best way to tap that egg.


When it comes to defining the best solution for this task, there are two major camps -- and they rarely see eye-to-eye. In one corner are the total return proponents. They believe the optimum approach is to manage the portfolio for total return. They assume the income generated by the portfolio will not be sufficient to cover retirees' annual financial needs and therefore some holdings will need to be sold to make up the shortfall.


In the other corner is the dividend income camp. That camp believes the optimum approach is to invest strictly in dividend-generating securities that kick out the required income without ever having to sell any holdings. The dividend camp makes some compelling arguments, but that is a subject for another article.


Meet your enemy, shareholders.

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day Sep 30, 2011 3:21PM

By Morgan Housel


"HP's Board of Directors Is Pathetic."


That was the headline floating around last week. It's hard to disagree. Hewlett-Packard's (HPQ) board is getting good at two things: tripping over their own incompetence and handing out dynastic pay packages.


It started last year when HP's board pushed out then-CEO Mark Hurd for allegedly abusing $20,000 worth of corporate expenses. For his misdeeds, Hurd was shown the door with a $35 million severance package, and quickly took up an executive position at rival Oracle (ORCL). Some claim the board's hands were tied with the severance package, and that it was contractually obligated to make the payout. Blarney. As Nell Minow of the Corporate Library pointed out, by letting Hurd resign, rather than firing him, the golden parachute was entirely voluntary.


Evidence builds that a major market turnaround is nearing as economic fundamentals improve and technical indicators reach extremes.

By Anthony Mirhaydari Sep 30, 2011 2:31PM

As the third quarter ends, it's been a terrible few months for stocks and other risky assets. Since early July, the S&P 500 has lost more than 15%. The small caps in the Russell 2000 have been hit even harder, down nearly 24%. Industrial commodities like copper have been hit, too: The iPath Copper (JJC) is down 31%. Even gold, a perennial favorite of the doom mongers, has lost 16% in just the past few weeks.


All of this has been driven by a massive markdown in economic growth expectations, something I warned of as far back as late April, just days ahead of the market's topping out. In "Investors, it's time to run and hide" I discussed how negative catalysts like Japanese supply chain woes, new concerns in Europe and rising inflationary pressures were about to pop the bubble in bullishness as the economy started to sag.


Demonstrators in New York and San Francisco rail against power, money and influence.

By Kim Peterson Sep 30, 2011 1:18PM
"They got bailed out; we got sold out." That's one of the lines being chanted by the hundreds of people who have been protesting on Wall Street this month.

The protests have gone on for two weeks straight in New York and have recently moved to San Francisco and other parts of the country. Many media sources have summarily dismissed the group, as you can see in the following video, but that isn't taking any steam away from the demonstrations. 

Use proven market tools to determine whether it's truly safe.

By Sep 30, 2011 10:40AM

By Tom Aspray,

Most investors have heard the phrase "buy the dips" from the financial pundits when the stock market has been in a well-established uptrend.

But to most, a dip is quite a vague term and it means something different to a fundamental analyst than it does to a technical analyst. This was illustrated in a recent column in The Wall Street Journal by Jason Zweig titled Why Buying on the Dips Isn’t All It’s Cracked Up to Be.

In a nutshell, Zweig looks at how buying on a 2% or a 5% market correction impacted the performance when compared a single purchase over a ten-year period. I think his conclusion misses the point, however, as to most traders or technical analysts, buying the dips generally refers to a specific issue, and not the market as a whole.


There are many reasons everyday investors are losing interest in stocks, but the daily beatings we receive from across the pond might be the most frustrating.

By Jim Cramer Sep 30, 2011 9:30AM

the streetIf you are like me, you tire of knowing you are going to be down big because Germany is down 3% or France is down 2.5%. It takes any joy or hope out of the game. We know that we are less important than they are, and we can't just decide that because jobless claims were better than expected by a couple of thousand we are now free to trade on American news.


There are several debilitating aspects of this business right now that have simply made stocks unpalatable -- justifiably -- to everyday investors.


Technical analysis offers no support to a market in decline. In other words, look out below.

By InvestorPlace Sep 30, 2011 8:59AM
By Sam Collins,

Stocks opened with a technical recovery Thursday after a drubbing on Wednesday. That followed positive news from Europe and a drop in weekly jobless claims.

A late rally recovered most of the losses, but the Nasdaq closed the day down. And judging by sentiment early Friday, it looks like we could be headed lower again to end the week.

Thursday's extreme volatility may not be evidenced by the closing numbers. And the prospect of end-of-quarter window dressing may also mask some of the mayhem. But if you look at the charts, you can see a rather ugly story unfolding in the days ahead.

It's time for investors to get very, very worried. Just see for yourself in these charts:


Two pieces of economic news could move the markets.

By Jim J. Jubak Sep 29, 2011 4:40PM
Fasten your seat belts. Friday could be a bumpy ride.

Two economic numbers, one from China overnight (from a U.S. perspective) and one from the U.S. before the market opens, have the power to move stocks in the current very volatile environment.

The Chinese number is the official version of the preliminary manufacturing purchasing managers' index (PMI). The preliminary version, released by HSBC and Markit Economics on Sept. 22, showed the manufacturing PMI falling to 49.4 in September from 49.9 in August. Any index level below 50 indicates that the sector is contracting. [Update, 7 am ET, Sept. 30: The PMI came in at 49.9 in September].



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[BRIEFING.COM] Equity indices closed out the month of August on a modestly higher note. The Russell 2000 (+0.6%) and Nasdaq Composite (+0.5%) finished ahead of the S&P 500 (+0.3%), which extended its August gain to 3.8%. Blue chips lagged with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (+0.1%) spending the bulk of the session in the red.

The final week of August represented one of the quietest stretches for the stock market so far this year. The first four sessions of the week produced the ... More


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