Apple is a market darling again
Apple is a market darling again

The company, which reports its quarterly earnings Tuesday, has once again become an investor favorite.

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Hyatt Hotels and Marriott are upgraded to 'buy,' while Starwood Hotels is downgraded to 'neutral.'

By MSN Money Partner Jan 10, 2012 11:59AM
Information provided by Theflyonthewall.com

Tuesday's noteworthy upgrades include:
  • Juniper (JNPR) upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at Piper Jaffray
  • EOG Resources (EOG) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank
  • Valeant (VRX) upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley
  • Tractor Supply (TSCO) upgraded to Neutral from Sell at Goldman
  • Hyatt Hotels (H) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at BofA/Merrill
  • Marriott (MAR) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at BofA/Merrill
 

This cost-containment company helps keep fraud and overpayments down while healthcare spending goes up.

By TheStockAdvisors Jan 10, 2012 11:41AM
Image: Medical doctor (© Creatas/SuperStock)This post is one in a series in which over 50 newsletter advisors share their Top Picks for 2012.

By Jim Oberweis, Jr., The Oberweis Report

For a play on healthcare reform in this country, HMS Holdings (HMSY) is a small cap to own. The company provides cost-containment services for state Medicaid programs and other third-party payors by ridding the system of fraud and errors.   
Tags: HMSY

When it comes to spending, the rich aren't so different.

By Jonathan Berr Jan 10, 2012 11:06AM
Image Source/CorbisShares of Tiffany & Co. (TIF) are slumping this morning after the luxury retailer reported weaker-than-expected holiday sales. This is further evidence that the economic recovery may be starting to falter.

Tiffany reported that holiday revenue rose 7% to $952 million, fueled by double-digit gains in Asia along with smaller increases in Europe and the Americas. Same-store sales rose 4%, the New York-based company said. 
Tags: TIF

With expectations low, a beat-and-raise quarter may be in the cards.

By InvestorPlace Jan 10, 2012 10:30AM
Photodisc/Getty ImagesBy Dan Burrows

Aluminum giant Alcoa (AA) kicked off fourth-quarter earnings season on Monday by swinging to a deep net loss compared with a strong year-ago profit. And Alcoa's report was actually pretty good news. If the Dow component's results are any indication of things to come, a relatively lackluster earnings season could still provide a lift to stocks.


That's because even though Alcoa recorded a net loss, on an adjusted basis it matched Wall Street's estimate, according to data from Thomson Reuters. Even better, revenue came in well above analysts' average forecast, and the company said demand for aluminum is rising.

 

The reinvention of the iconic car is the first creation with truly integrated Chrysler and Fiat technologies.

By InvestorPlace Jan 10, 2012 9:58AM
By Jeff Reeves

Chrysler was already sputtering when the financial crisis hit, and the Great Recession caused the automaker to break down entirely. Only a partnership forged with Italy's Fiat allowed the once-great automaker to survive bankruptcy in 2009.


Merging the car companies has been slow and sometimes painful for both sides. However, American motorists will have their first real chance to explore what the Chrysler-Fiat partnership can offer with a blast from the past: a sleek redesign of the iconic Dodge Dart compact.


It is the first true test of shared platforms and technology. But will it sell?

 

The online game developer hasn't been able to match its IPO price lately.

By Kim Peterson Jan 10, 2012 9:41AM
Image: Couple with laptop (© Corbis)Zynga (ZNGA) continues to cement its place as the biggest IPO failure of 2011.

The online game developer, known for its "Mafia Wars" and "FarmVille" franchises, saw shares drop 9% Monday to just $8 -- 20% below its IPO price of $10 a share.

Is Zynga getting a bad rap? After all, as Forbes points out, Zynga owns the top five games played on Facebook in terms of daily active users. About 95% of its revenue comes from Facebook, in fact. 

The stock plunges despite the company's high subscriber growth, indicating the market believes the future is highly uncertain.

By Trefis Jan 9, 2012 7:09PM
Image: Teens with MP3 player (© RubberBall/SuperStock)Pandora (P) is the leader in Internet radio and offers a personalized music experience based on each listener's preferences and feedback.

The company went public in June, and since then its stock has seen several ups and downs. While Pandora continued its rapid user growth over the course of the year, competition has intensified. Apart from being available online, Pandora has also launched apps for Apple's (AAPL) iPhone, Research in Motion's (RIMM) BlackBerry and other smartphones operating on Google's (GOOG) Android platform. 

Bristol joins Gilead, Merck, Vertex, Roche and others in a race to treat hepatitis c.

By MSN Money Partner Jan 9, 2012 5:12PM

Minyanville on MSN MoneyBy Brett Chase

 

The big drug maker Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY) is shaking up the race toward a new hepatitis C treatment, entering a field that's already crowded with several top players. In a weekend announcement, Bristol-Myers said it will pay $2.5 billion to take over Inhibitex (INHX), a development stage drug company.

 

The $26 a share cash offer represents a 163% premium over Inhibitex's closing stock price on Friday. 

 
Tags: BMYMRK

The iconic Budweiser brand continues a long slide out of favor with American drinkers, falling to third place.

By Kim Peterson Jan 9, 2012 4:57PM
Image: Beer (© Corbis)Coors Light has officially booted Budweiser to become the No. 2 beer in America.

If Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD) isn't panicking yet, it should be. This is the first time in nearly two decades that Anheuser-Busch hasn't controlled the top two beers in the country. The King of Beers is on its way to becoming court jester.

Budweiser has seen sales drop for years, and ran into serious trouble in 2009 and 2010. 
Tags: BUDSAM

Investors are optimistic so far this year despite broad concerns about the economy and fourth-quarter earnings results.

By Jim J. Jubak Jan 9, 2012 4:25PM
Image: Bull (© Photographers Choice RF/SuperStock)Have we been here before?

It feels like those days in 2011 when the U.S. stock markets were the best performers in the world. But this isn't just a replay of 2011. There are significant differences.

In 2011, U.S. stock markets beat all the other major markets in the world.

The overall absolute performance for 2011 wasn’t all that great: The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index ($INX) climbed just 1.2%.
 

Here's what to expect from the likes of Dell and Hewlett-Packard at the annual Consumer Technology Show.

By Kim Peterson Jan 9, 2012 3:31PM
Image: Watching television (© image100/Corbis)Throngs of technology enthusiasts are gathering in Las Vegas this week for the annual Consumer Electronics Show, a blaring whirlwind of gadgets and doodads.

CES, as it is called, generally sets the agenda for the technologies and trends that will be hot this year. The show may be losing some of its importance, however. Apple (AAPL) doesn't attend, and Microsoft (MSFT) will pull out after this year. (Microsoft owns and publishes Top Stocks, an MSN Money site.)

Even if this year is the last hurrah, it's worthwhile for investors to note what the show is highlighting. Here are the hot topics: 

The medical device company tackles spinal cord injury with multiple technologies.

By TheStockAdvisors Jan 9, 2012 3:03PM
Image: Medical doctor (© image100/Corbis)This post is one in a series in which over 50 newsletter advisors share their Top Picks for 2012.

By Tom Bishop, BI Research

The financial impact of spinal cord injury (SCI) is staggering, estimated at between $244,000 and $829,000 in the first year alone. Over a lifetime the costs could add up to $1 to $4 million.  
Tags: NVIV

The irony surrounding the Atlanta skyscraper is pretty tall, even if the company doesn't own it.

By InvestorPlace Jan 9, 2012 2:55PM
Atlanta’s Bank of America Plaza is one of the 10 tallest structures in the U.S. And thanks to troubles at its namesake Bank of America Corp. (BAC) and other tenants, the skyscraper could be one of the tallest foreclosure tales of the financial crisis.

News came out recently that the company that owns the office building is struggling to meet its debt service as offices remain empty and the real estate crash continues to take a toll. 

With stricter environmental regulations in the U.S. and signs of a slowdown in China, coal's importance to freight carriers will likely decline.

By Trefis Jan 9, 2012 2:47PM
 Image: Coal miners (© Digital Vision/SuperStock)For years coal has been the commodity most transported by railroads, accounting for more than 40% of total carloads originating in the U.S. in the third quarter of this year.

While coal production and demand are likely to grow over the next few years, driving traffic volume for freight carriers such as CSX Corporation (CSX) and Union Pacific (UNP), there may be a long-term shift away from this reliance.  
Tags: csxUNP

Bullish chart patterns and relative performance analysis make these stocks worth buying on dips.

By MoneyShow.com Jan 9, 2012 2:23PM

By Tom Aspray, MoneyShow.com


As noted on Friday, the daily analysis of the PowerShares QQQ Trust (QQQ) shows that it has now started to outperform the S&P 500.


In my weekly Starc band analysis of the Nasdaq 100 stocks, I wanted to concentrate not only on those that were the closest to their weekly Starc+ or Starc- bands, but also on how these stocks had performed against the major averages since October.

 

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Market index data delayed by 15 minutes

[BRIEFING.COM] As expected, the major averages began the session on a strong note with small caps in the lead. The Russell 2000 is higher by 0.6%, while the S&P 500 trades up 0.3% with eight sectors in the green.

Energy (+0.9%) and health care (+0.8%) have grabbed the early lead, while industrials (+0.6%) and technology (+0.6%) follow not far behind. On the flip side, countercyclical consumer staples (-0.3%) and telecom services (-0.3%) hold modest losses.

Also of note, ... More


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