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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.

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These utilities are attractive takeover targets. Plus, each is worth owning on its own merits.

By TheStockAdvisors May 1, 2012 12:17PM
Image: Power lines (© Digital Vision)By Roger Conrad, Utility Forecaster

My No. 1 rule is to never buy a takeover target you don't want to own if there isn't a deal. The six companies reviewed below meet this criterion.

All six are cheap and small enough for giants to swallow, their balance sheets are solid, dividends are safe and management is investing in long-term growth. Any serious offer will have to be compelling. 

Centerbridge Partners will buy the restaurant chain for $1.1 billion.

By TheStreet Staff May 1, 2012 12:08PM

By Antoine Gara

 

P.F. Chang's China Bistro (PFCB), the popular Asian-themed restaurant chain adorned with replica murals of 12th century China and sculptures that imitate the nation's Forbidden City, has agreed to sell itself to Centerbridge Partners in a private equity buyout valued at $1.1 billion, or $51.50 a share in cash.

 

The deal will net P.F. Chang's a near 30% premium to its share price at Monday's close, representing the culmination of a share recovery in the restaurant chain's stock after recent M&A speculation. Shares are now up 66% year-to-date.

 

Shares of the world's largest fast-food company defy worries over change in the executive suite.

By Gene Marcial May 1, 2012 11:55AM
Image: Hamburger (© BananaStock/Jupiterimages)The investment case for McDonald's (MCD) is unchanged: It remains an attractive long-term core value holding. As I've said before, McDonald's is the Apple (AAPL) of the fast-food industry: It's innovative, growing and profitable, and its stock continues to spiral upward.


The stock's advance over the past decade has been impressive, rocketing from $15 a share way back in 2002 to a high of $101 last year. The bulls predict the uptrend will continue, forecasting a leap to as high as $115 this year, in spite of macro headwinds. 

 
Tags: AAPLMCD

Costco is downgraded to 'hold,' and Vantiv is initiated at several firms.

By MSN Money Partner May 1, 2012 11:06AM
Information provided by Theflyonthewall.com

Tuesday's noteworthy upgrades include:  
  • Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at UBS
  • Cameron (CAM) upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at HSBC
  • SunPower (SPWR) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Citigroup
 

The soaring stock isn't as good a deal as it was, but it's good enough if you're not distracted by the GDP.

By MoneyShow.com May 1, 2012 10:30AM

By Igor Greenwald, MoneyShow.com

 

GDP, SchmeeDP. Investors had a cursory glance at the U.S. economy's mildly disappointing 2.2% growth rate in the first quarter, then hurried on to more pressing business. That would be the business of deciding how much to pay up for earnings that have broadly exceeded expectations.

 

Three-quarters of the S&P 500 companies reporting so far have posted positive surprises, and more impressively still they were, as of last week, on pace for year-over-year earnings growth just shy of 10%, well ahead of the 2% consensus forecast.

 

In the 2 years since the flash crash, not much has changed for the robots, despite calls for increased regulation.

By MSN Money Partner May 1, 2012 9:57AM

Image: Wall Street trader at trading desk (© Tom Grill/Photographer)By Sarah Anderson, guest columnist

 

On May 6, it will be two years since high-frequency traders played a role in the flash crash that sent the Dow Jones industrials ($INDU) into a free fall. Since then, the SEC has done little beyond introducing circuit breakers on daily price gyrations. Regulators have not set limits on the number of orders firms can make or cancel each second and still lack the ability to track such trading in real time.

 

Recent research has fueled concerns that the robots may be not only manipulating markets but could very well go haywire and drag us through another crash.

 

The solar sector is still collapsing, but its fortunes will change as the world continues to use more energy.

By Jim J. Jubak May 1, 2012 9:18AM
Image: Solar energy (© Mick Roessler/Corbis)One in a special Top Stocks series on buying stocks for newborns.

Pampers, check. Binky, check. "Goodnight Moon," check.

But what do you give the baby for a portfolio warmer?

It's an interesting thought experiment for anyone who claims to be a long-term investor, even if there is no baby shower on the horizon. So what stock would you buy if you had a 20-year holding period ahead of you?

Something cheap now because it's either deeply out of favor or barely a glint in a Sergey Brin's eye.
 

Cloud services and online gambling could take the social gaming site to the next level.

By Trefis May 1, 2012 9:10AM
Zynga (ZNGA) reported first-quarter results last week. It continued to add active users by launching games such as Hidden Chronicles, Slingo and Scramble with Friends last quarter and made some high-profile acquisitions like OMGPOP, the maker of Draw Something.

Its monthly active user base expanded to 292 million, up 24% year over year, after seeing a decline in the second half of 2011.  
Tags: DISEAZNGA

E&P needs companies like CGG-VERITAS to tap unconventional reserves.

By InvestorPlace May 1, 2012 8:37AM

By Aaron Levitt

 

At this point, it's no secret that global energy demand is rising at exponential rates. Overall, the Energy Information Administration's latest global forecast predicts that the world's energy use will jump nearly 53% by 2035 as strong demand from emerging markets such as India and China continues to rise.

 

And with traditional reserves quickly dwindling, energy and production companies have literally gone to the ends of the earth to find new ways to meet that demand. These unconventional sources are becoming the norm when it comes to production and reserves. Tools such as hydraulic fracturing and horizontal deep-sea drilling rigs are now standard equipment, and regions such as Africa's fertile oceans and America's shale formations are dotted with activity.

 

The drug maker tops first-quarter profit estimates, but sales fall. The satellite radio company beats revenue expectations on strong subscriber growth.

By TheStreet Staff May 1, 2012 7:53AM

By Alexandra Zendrian

 

Updated at 9:30 a.m. ET


Drug maker and Dow component Pfizer (PFE) reported first-quarter earnings excluding items of 58 cents a share, just beating analysts' estimates of 56 cents a share. Quarterly revenue was $15.4 billion, down from $16.5 billion a year ago and slightly below estimates. The company said U.S. sales fell 15% as its cholesterol drug Lipitor faced generic competition. The pharmaceutical giant is fresh off last week's agreement to sell its nutrition business to Nestlé for $11.85 billion. Shares of Pfizer ticked down 15 cents, or 0.66%, in premarket trading Tuesday to $22.75.

 

Sirius XM Radio (SIRI) beat Wall Street's revenue estimate in the first quarter, boosted by strong subscriber growth. The satellite radio giant brought in revenue of $805 million, up from $724 million in the prior year's quarter, and above analysts' estimates of $803.83. Excluding items, Sirius earned 2 cents a share, compared to a penny a share in the same period last year, and in line with the estimates of analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters. Sirius shares inched up 3 cents, or 1.55%, in premarket trading Tuesday to $2.29.

 

Two directors are leaving the daily-deals company. On the bright side, they're being replaced by board members with significant accounting experience.

By Benzinga Apr 30, 2012 7:06PM

Image: Arrow Down (© ImageSource/PictureQuest)By Gordon Wilcox, Benzinga Staff Writer


Issues continue to mount for Groupon (GRPN), the purveyor of daily Internet deals. Just a month after revising its fourth-quarter loss to $64.9 million from $42.3 million, Groupon is once again causing consternation for investors as two board members depart.


Shares of Groupon plunged almost 11% Monday on above-average volume, with losses accelerating late in the session following a report by AllThingsD that said Starbucks (SBUX) CEO Howard Schultz and Accel Partners' Kevin Efrusy will voluntarily leave the Groupon board.

 

The company shoots down market speculation that it would buy the energy-drink powerhouse.

By Kim Peterson Apr 30, 2012 4:41PM
Coca-Cola (KO) is shooting down the idea that it might buy Monster Beverage (MSNT), sending shares of the energy-drink maker down after a wild trading day.

Coke sent out a pretty definitive denial late Monday. "At this time, we are not in discussions to acquire the Monster Beverage Corporation," the company said in a statement. "We continue to review the best ways to maximize the value of our relationship."

That statement effectively erased all the gains Monster shares made Monday after The Wall Street Journal reported that Coke was in talks to buy Monster.  
Tags: KOMNST

Novo Nordisk commands a high price on the market -- and finds itself up against high expectations as well.

By Jim J. Jubak Apr 30, 2012 4:11PM
Image: Medical doctor (© Creatas/SuperStock)Stocks that trade at a premium don't need to do much to disappoint. 

In the case of Novo Nordisk (NVO), the world's largest maker of insulin, the disappointment was sales growth of 13% year-to-year that missed Wall Street projections by a percentage point. Net profit climbed by 15% from the first quarter of 2011. 

The company raised its guidance for full-year 2012 sales growth to 8% to 11% in local currency. EBIT (earnings before interest and taxes) are now projected to grow by at least 10%. That's a very slight tweak from the earlier guidance for "about" 10%.
 

The maker of performance apparel knows what it takes to succeed.

By Melly Alazraki Apr 30, 2012 2:57PM

Credit: © G Fiume/Getty Images
Caption: Detail view of a Under Amour brand batting glove as a Baltimore Orioles player holds a batOne in a special Top Stocks series on buying stocks for newborns.


If you could buy your newborn a stock like Nike (NKE), which in its first decade of trading returned nearly 600% and by today -- more than three decades later -- has returned nearly 15,500%, wouldn't you?


Under Armour (UA), which has a lot in common with Nike in its early days, also has the potential to be a stellar long-term performer.

 
Tags: DKSLULUUA

Pizza for breakfast and red meat throughout the rest of the day? This is not a healthy diet.

By Kim Peterson Apr 30, 2012 2:53PM
Trading stocks on Wall Street is a high-pressure, big-money game that apparently requires a lot of calories.

Bloomberg set out to discover what Wall Street traders eat, and the answer is not pretty. 

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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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