The US isn't strong enough not to care about them now. But one day it will be, Jim Cramer says.
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The company is adding more revenue-generating activities to monetize its share of China's Internet search traffic.
Upcoming weakness in long-term Treasury bonds will send interest rates climbing again.
Investors are feeling frazzled, which is completely understandable. The selling pressure seen over the past few months has resulted in one of deepest oversold conditions since the late 1990s. Serious stuff.
People who were just beginning to feel optimistic again got broadsided and sought the safety of U.S. Treasury bonds. But this is no refuge, as I've noted in recent blog posts. I expect the combination of higher inflation, re-accelerating economic growth and uncertainty regarding the fight over the U.S. debt ceiling to weigh on bond prices.
But there are consequences of this event even for people not invested in T-bonds: Long-term interest rates are headed higher. Here's why and how you can take advantage.
Funds that invest in Treasury inflation-protected securities reap rewards as inflation picks up. But not everyone agrees that they're the best choice.
By Stan Luxenberg, TheStreet
During the past 12 months, the consumer price index rose 3.6% and oil prices climbed. Seeking to benefit from rising prices, investors scrambled to buy Treasury inflation-protected securities, or TIPS.
Inflation-protected funds, which invest in TIPS, returned 8% in the past year, outpacing the Barclays Aggregate Bond Index by nearly 3 percentage points, according to Morningstar.
Should you join the crowd and buy inflation funds? Perhaps. Many financial advisers argue that inflation funds make good choices for investors who seek to protect their purchasing power. But now some advisers have become lukewarm about TIPS, arguing that they have gotten a bit expensive. A vocal minority says investors should avoid TIPS altogether.
The search giant has long struggled with social networking. Analysts say adding one of these companies would immediately boost its presence in the popular space.
By Olivia Oran, TheStreet
The recent FTC probe into Google's (GOOG) dominance in the Web search market, which alleges Google has abused its market leading position by engaging in anti-competitive behavior, prompts the question: Is Google too big in search?
"Any company that gets nearly all of its money from one product is vulnerable," said Josh Bernoff, an analyst with Forrester. "The idea that they need to diversify their business is certainly valid."
If Google's position in the search market is threatened at all by the lawsuit, the pressure on the company to expand into new areas becomes intense. Google, which generates about 90% of its revenue from its core search business, is already diversifying into display and mobile ads.
But one area where Google has been unable make a name for itself is social networking, which is dominated largely by Facebook.
These global funds have badly underperformed major averages, and the charts indicate further weakness lies ahead.
The companies head east for growth, but the route is not necessarily smooth.
By Ted Reed, TheStreet
Boeing's recently released current market outlook, the leading annual forecast of air transportation growth, underscores China's importance. Boeing said 2010-30 air traffic within China will grow at 7.5%, compared with 7% in the Asia Pacific region, 4% in Europe and 2.3% in North America. In 2010, the Asia Pacific region was the world's biggest air travel market for the first time, Boeing said.
Meanwhile, a new report by Standard & Poor's notes that China auto sales reached 18 million in 2010, compared with 11.5 million in the U.S. China was easily the world's largest light-vehicle market.
Funds tracking the dollar, Italy, oil, agriculture and autos will be in the spotlight.
By Don Dion, TheStreet
Here are five exchange-traded funds to watch this week.
The U.S. dollar received some welcome strength during the second half of last week as jittery market action drove investors to safety. Further aiding the greenback's ascension were comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, who continued to write off the likelihood of additional quantitative easing.
QE2 is scheduled to end on June 30. The anticipation leading up to that date, combined with general market turmoil, could result in some interesting action from dollar-tracking UUP in the days ahead.
Earnings season is coming, and underlying positives bode well for stocks.
So close and yet so far, stocks got off to a nice start last week but ran into the wall of worry. By the end of the week, early gains disappeared as the S&P 500 index closed down fractionally for the period.
That puts us back on the losing side of the ledger after a one-week reprieve. The only positive is that technical lows on the S&P 500 index have held. A breech could trigger a complete washout turning a small correction into something quite worse.
In the absence of substantive news, bears are winning the speculative battle. It is far easier to be negative than positive in the current environment.
Thankfully, the second quarter ends this week. That means earnings season is near. My prediction is that it will be strong corporate profits that will turn things in the market.
The ETF to buy this week in advance of what should be a strong rally is SPDR S&P Homebuilders (XHB).
The amusement park operator will see its share price halved and could take investors on a roller-coaster ride.
By Jeff Reeves, Editor of InvestorPlace.com
Amusement park giant Six Flags Entertainment (SIX) has seen its stock price climb steadily over the past year, much like the steep hills its roller coasters climb right out of the station.
Monday, that stock price is going to lurch downward like the first gut-wrenching descent of that coaster as Six Flags' stock splits in two.
Sounds scary for investors and thrill-ride fans alike, right? Well, relax. In reality, this white-knuckle ride doesn't change a thing and may actually be profitable for savvy traders who know what to do.
This market seems to believe that growth is impossible without inflation. It's lying.
It happened in passing. Someone blithely mentioned it on some show that went in one ear and out the other. It was a throwaway. The line? "Sure, so what if inflation has peaked?"
I wanted to laugh because it shows you how out of control this moment is versus what we should be thinking, how wrong this market may be on a daily basis compared with the pathetic way that it trades. Can a market, I ask myself, be disingenuous? Can markets be mendacious?
Because it sure seems that this one is.
Somewhere along the line we forgot what the business cycle is and how it affects stocks. In 2008, we had a phony multi-month rally based on the increase in commodity prices. Underneath, we all knew that aside from Freeport (FCX) and National Oilwell Varco (NOV), the two big headliners of that rally, the market was as sick as a dog, with whole segments long-since faltered.
The markets have largely shrugged off damaging world events until recently. Now the possibility of another downturn is too stark to ignore.
First, he looks at the combination of weird slams to the global economy this year. The earthquake in Japan disrupted some of the world's supply chains. The turmoil in the Middle East has contributed to the runup in oil prices and the corresponding spike in gasoline prices (both of which, thankfully, have come down).
Add to that the financial instability in Greece, Ireland and Portugal. And don't forget the rising prices for food and commodities, stoking concerns about high inflation.
The young woman who designed the iconic image received a $35 check for her work. Nike made up for that later.
"I don't love it," chairman Phil Knight said at the time, according to The Oregonian, "but maybe it will grow on me."
And it did. The curvy, uplifting swoosh logo became Nike's signature mark. The image is now so powerful that it's instantly recognized around the world as the symbol of the athletic gear company.
These funds allow broad investment at a level of risk appropriate to each investor.
By Roger Nusbaum, TheStreet
For the last few months, most of my articles for TheStreet have mentioned the narrow industry ETFs like the Global X Fishing Industry (FISN) or the small-cap country funds like the Market Vectors Small Cap Russia (RSXJ) or even small-cap specialized funds like the Global Agribusiness Small Cap (CROP).
The latest flurry, however, has been with broad-based domestic-index funds offering slight variations on indices like the S&P 500 ($INX) and the Russell 1000. A few weeks ago PowerShares debuted the S&P 500 High Beta Portfolio (SPHB), which owns the 100 most volatile stocks in the S&P 500, and the S&P 500 Low Volatility Portfolio (SPLV) which own the 100 least volatile stocks in the S&P 500.
In the last few days, index provider Russell Investments launched a suite of 10 ETFs similar to the two PowerShares funds but with more granularity for its own large-cap Russell 1000 Index and small-cap Russell 2000 Index:
General Mills' cereal sales have been soggy lately, but the popularity of one of America's favorite breakfast staples endures.
It's still the best-selling cereal on the shelves. Well, technically, Honey Nut Cheerios is tops, but that still counts. One of every eight cereal boxes sold at U.S. stores is in the Cheerios family, The Associated Press reports.
To celebrate the big birthday, the city of Buffalo, N.Y., is holding a special Cheerios breakfast near the General Mills (GIS) plant that makes the cereal. You might associate Buffalo with the chicken wing, but the city has had a longer relationship with Cheerios. It's been making them at its waterfront plant since 1941, and the Buffalo chicken wing, the little youngster, has been around only since 1964.
Research In Motion's CEOs engage in awkward semantic debate. Netflix battles tech woes. CenturyLink puts its name on a stadium.
By Gregg Greenberg, TheStreet
5. RIM's silly semantics
Research In Motion (RIMM) reported its fiscal first-quarter results late last week, beating analysts' earnings estimates by 1 cent while missing sales estimates by an ugly $200 million. Research In Motion also significantly lowered its outlook for the full year. The lowered guidance had traders unloading RIM's stock -- it's down nearly 20% since last Friday and sitting near multiyear lows -- almost as quickly as customers are abandoning its gadgets in favor of Apple's (AAPL) iPhone and devices powered by Google's (GOOG) Android operating system.
Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis, the company's co-CEOs, didn't help things when they engaged in a semantics debate on a call with analysts. After announcing a wide-reaching plan to overhaul its organization through new product launches, cutbacks and layoffs, Balsillie challenged an analyst for referring to his reforms as a "restructuring." Read more
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Like many companies this winter, the fast-food giant blamed a drop in same-store sales on the weather. But could its problems be bigger than a snowbank?
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[BRIEFING.COM] The major averages began the new trading week on a slightly lower note with small caps leading the weakness. The Russell 2000 shed 0.3% while the S&P 500 slipped less than a point with six sectors ending in the red.
Equity indices began the day in negative territory with only the Nasdaq (-0.04%) making a very brief appearance in the green. After sliding through the first hour of action, the major averages reversed and spent the remainder of the session climbing off ... More
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