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Financial reform proposals could hurt Berkshire Hathaway, so the company is lobbying hard on derivatives.
Well, it turns out that Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B) has a $63 billion derivatives portfolio, according to The Wall Street Journal. And Buffett has been lobbying Capitol Hill to protect that portfolio by exempting it from new rules in the financial reform proposals.
Since his "weapons of mass destruction" comments, Buffett has backtracked a little to make his position clear. Yeah, derivatives can be dangerous, but he still uses them. You just have to be careful.
Buffett has a lot at stake here.
China-Biotics (CHBT) is the largest provider of probiotic bacteria in China.
Written by Douglas Estadt
Probiotics are beneficial, live bacteria used as dietary supplements and food additives to improve intestinal health and digestion. Our friend, Dr. Eric Jackson, of Ironfire Capital LLC, joins us today to share some facts about CHBT which he learned during his China trip and meetings with management. Eric also explains why the expansion opportunity is so vast.
- By 2014, probiotics market in China is expected to reach $9 billion (CHBT is #1 producer).
- Top-line revenues have a CAGR of 35% for the last three years.
- Gross margins of 71% for the last two years.
We don't need new regulations we need enforcement of the ones we already have.
Investing in publicly traded companies should be a level playing field. We should all be able to read an annual report, other public filings or press releases and narrow our investments to companies that are having real increases in their sales and earnings. The problem is the alphabet soup did not do their job. Financial statements and press releases were worthless.
Who is the alphabet soup? I'm talking about CEOs, CFOs, CPAs, CFAs, SEC and of course S&P. All these people had a fiduciary responsibility to make sure that the press releases and public filings on publicly traded companies fairly represented the true financial results of the companies they were responsible for.
You have to forget the top-down frets -- this economy is making an enormous turn.
By Jim Cramer, TheStreet
This economy's just out-and-out strong.
Whether it be the turn in steel as articulated by Dan DiMicco of Nucor (NUE) -- he had to admit it! -- or the wood products rally spurred by the housing turn that the bearish media refuses to admit, or the decline in the credit losses that we have seen for a week, or the turn in auto builds or the aerospace boom or the PC acceleration, we are beginning to fire on all cylinders. Andrew Gould, CEO of Schlumberger (SLB), says the turn is at hand for drilling, even as the fire rages in the Gulf and some wells are poisoning water in a Southeast nat gas shale.
That's a lot of industries on the rebound.
GS shares have been beaten down by the SEC investigation, giving long-term investors a huge buying opportunity.
By Hillary Kramer, InvestorPlace.com
Although Goldman Sachs (GS) was beaten down recently on news of a civil fraud investigation by the SEC, don’t count this Wall Street giant out. The fact is that the bad press has driven down shares to bargain levels, and my proven three-point stock screening system is clearly indicating that long-term investors could make the buy of a lifetime snatching up GS shares at current valuations.
Consider that Goldman is now trading at 1.3 times book with its current price of around $157. GS should trade at 1.6 times book -- putting shares somewhere in the $210 range. That’s a 34% return for anyone with the guts to buy in right now!
Still not convinced that Goldman is a buy? Check out these three reasons that GS stock is likely to surge over the next 12 months:
My weekly market barometer of just the facts
Value Line Index -- Contains 1700 stocks so it is broader than the S&P 500 or much narrower Dow 30 -- Still climbing
- Index up this week by 3.55% -- up for 3 months in a row
- Index closed Friday above its 20, 50 and 100 day moving average
- Hit new highs in 12 of the last 20 trading sessions and was 5 for 5 last week
- 7.21% price appreciation for this month
- 100% Barchart technical buy -- 13 of 13 technical buy signals
It's not always a sure sign of success, but when a company's execs buy shares of their employer it's worth taking note
By Jim Woods, InvestorPlace.com
When you're looking for stocks to add to your portfolio, a good thing to ask yourself is "What are those who are 'in the know' buying?" Those in the know could be analysts, or they could be top stock advisors. The bottom line is that insider buying is sometimes a key indicator of success.
Company insiders such as CEOs, board members or other corporate officers are perhaps best able to assess their own company and its stock's potential, as they have the inside scoop on the goings on within their firm.
It's not always true, of course, but it's worth noting. To that end, here are five stocks seeing insider buying right now:
China-Biotics is the largest provider of probiotic bacteria in China.
China Biotics (CHBT) is the largest provider of probiotic bacteria in China. Probiotics are beneficial, live bacteria that can be used as dietary supplements and food additives to improve intestinal health and digestion.
Our friend, Dr. Eric Jackson, of Ironfire Capital LLC, likes the stock for these reasons:
- By 2014, the probiotics market in China is expected to reach $9 billion
- The company shows gross margins of 71% for the last two years
- It's retail business can definitely grow from only 100 stores today. And CHBT’s biggest opportunities are in dairy and animal feed.
- All revenue is based on an old facility with limited production capability. The company opened a new facility in February and is expected to raise production quickly.
- China is a net importer because it cannot presently produce enough probiotics domestically.
Starbucks will aggressively expand its instant-coffee product into grocery stores this year.
Starbucks (SBUX) is back on track, recently reporting a better-than-expected quarter that showed customers are returning to stores and spending more money.
Starbucks also gave us a glimpse of another weapon in its arsenal, one that could prove to be a major business driver moving forward: Via instant coffee.
We tend to crinkle our noses at the idea of instant coffee in the U.S., but the product is better received elsewhere in the world. So Starbucks is taking Via global, and recently launched it in Japan -- the world's biggest instant-coffee market.
The broader market's future is uncertain, but some of the investing world's best strategists are still finding value.
Where is the stock market headed in the coming weeks and months?
It's an interesting question, but a better one is, "where are the values right now?" And this week, a number of the investing gurus I follow said that -- while they're not finding nearly as many good values as they were a year ago -- they're still seeing opportunities in a variety of sectors, industries, or types of stocks.
Take value manager Whitney Tilson, one of the few who saw the housing meltdown coming. Tilson told Forbes.com that with the market up some 80%, the big bargains that existed a year ago have faded
Shares of the company were flat after a good earnings report. The market is still nervous.
Unless a company delivers great earnings and ups guidance as well, shares have been selling off on just good news this quarter.
That's the way this market is expressing its nervousness about the Greek debt crisis, monetary tightening in China, and the uncertainties of Wall Street reform during this earnings season. (For more on why so many stocks are selling off on good earnings news this quarter, see this recent post.)
Shares of AIG are rising following a report that the US government may soon sell its stake.
By Lauren Tara LaCapra, TheStreet
The Treasury Department owns $47 billion of preferred stock in AIG, which can be converted into common shares. The government holds an 80% stake in the insurer, whose market value is less than $6 billion.
Bloomberg reported today that the Treasury is forming plans to wind down its AIG stake over two years, citing unnamed sources. The process could begin as early as the fourth quarter.
A provision in US Airways' contract with its pilots halted merger talks between the airlines.
By Ted Reed, TheStreet
Before US Airways (LCC) ended merger talks with United Airlines’ parent UAL (UAUA) on Thursday, the two airlines had talked for months and agreed on many key issues, including the selection of Glenn Tilton of chief executive of the merged company, say people familiar with the talks.
But United executives were uncomfortable with a change-of-control provision in the US Airways pilots’ contract that would require US Airways to acquire United, say the sources, who could not be named because they were not authorized to speak about the negotiations.
United executives were concerned about US Airways’ ability to assemble the financial resources needed to reward shareholders of United, whose market capitalization is three times larger.
With Apple gunning for Amazon in the reader market, few growth drivers remain to justify Amazon's lofty valuation.
Amazon shares are taking a hit today after a disappointing earning report. The problem, according to this report: The market wanted to see momentum picking up with the economy. Instead, investors see roadblocks.
To my mind, one of the big hurdles is a little Apple (AAPL) product called the iPad. Books are going digital, and Amazon is chasing that market with its Kindle. But more versatile iPad, which does a lot more than read books, threatens to become a category killer.
For 40 years I've tried to find the ideal investment strategy. Five years ago I put it to the test.
I was reading Forbes magazine's "Best of the Web" and decided to take their recommendations. In that issue they recommended Marketocracy as one of the top stock market simulation games and Barchart as one of the easiest stock screeners to use.
Soon my funds were getting green stars from Marketocracy, meaning that they were beating at least 75% of the other 100,000 plus portfolios rated by Marketocracy. I begin asking questions in the forums and found the M100 guys -- those top 100 out of more than 100,000 -- to be very honest and giving of their time.
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Try as the bears might, they couldn't break US stocks. But investors still face frothy prices and considerable headwinds.
Top Stocks provides analysis about the most noteworthy stocks in the market each day, combining some of the best content from around the MSN Money site and the rest of the Web.
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[BRIEFING.COM] Stocks entered the weekend on a mixed note as the S&P 500 shed 0.1% while the Dow ended with a gain of 0.1%.
The major averages began the day on a lower note as nine of ten sectors saw losses of more than 0.5%.
The consumer staples sector was the lone exception as the group spent the entire day in positive territory thanks to the relative strength of Dow component Procter & Gamble (PG 81.89, +3.19). The second-largest staple stock advanced ... More
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