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Standard & Poor's equity analyst highlights favored opportunities among tech stocks and ETFs.

By TheStockAdvisors Feb 3, 2012 2:50PM
Image: Dollar sign on keyboard (© Corbis)By Dylan Cathers, S&P Capital IQ Equity Analyst, S&P The Outlook

Information technology is one of four sectors that S&P Capital IQ's Sector Strategy Group currently recommends investors overweight in their portfolios.

For investors with a favorable outlook for the technology industry, S&P Capital IQ equity analysts like several large-cap technology stocks, including IBM (IBM), Oracle (ORCL), Microsoft (MSFT), and Apple (AAPL), which all earn our highest five-star "buy" rating. 

Don't believe the drop in the unemployment rate. There is still something very wrong with the economy.

By Anthony Mirhaydari Feb 3, 2012 2:05PM

Risky assets are on the move after the January employment report beat expectations with 243,000 jobs created and the unemployment rate dropped two-tenths to 8.3%. While the headline numbers were good, the details are decidedly less so. But why let things like details and facts get in the way of a market melt-up? It's all sunshine, butterflies and rainbows, right?

 

I don't know how else to say this, but the "improvement" in the job market is a hoax. The drop in the unemployment rate is coming mainly from people leaving the work force in record numbers -- 1.2 million, mostly young folks who we need to support the housing market. Those who are finding work are finding part-time, low-wage positions. No wonder "hard" economic data such as a drop in retail sales and a rise in the savings rate suggest a lack of progress out there.

 

In fact, during the month the number of full-time workers fell by 1.1 million. Not exactly a sign of strength. And there's more where that came from.

 

As founder Zuckerberg wrote, the site's intent was 'to accomplish a mission -- to make the world more open and connected.'

By The Fiscal Times Feb 3, 2012 1:37PM
Facebook IPOBy Suzanne McGee, The Fiscal Times

When is free not really free at all?

That's a question that Facebook's execs are going to have to grapple with down the line, as they adapt their business to the realities of being a publicly traded company.  

Superstitious investors look to the Super Bowl's outcome for signs of the stock market's performance this year.

By Kim Peterson Feb 3, 2012 1:04PM
Credit: (© Matt Slocum/AP file)
Caption: New York Giants wide receiver Hakeem NicksIf the New York Giants win the Super Bowl, stocks will go up this year.

That's according to the Super Bowl indicator, which says stocks rise when the winning team is from the original National Football League. You may rightly scoff at this, but the indicator has about an 80% accuracy rate. The prediction has come true in 36 of the past 45 Super Bowls, starting with the first one in 1967.

The Giants are from the original NFL, while the New England Patriots harken back to the original American Football League. If the Patriots win, the indicator says, the stock market will fall. 

Seasonal strength in crude typically begins in February. Any pullbacks could represent good buying opportunities.

By MoneyShow.com Feb 3, 2012 12:55PM

Image: Oil drums (© Kevin Phillips/Digital Vision/age fotostock)By Tom Aspray, MoneyShow.com


As of Thursday's close, the April crude oil contract was down over $3 for the week. Often, the price of crude leads the stock market, but this has not been the case recently. Crude peaked in early January and has been declining since, while stocks have remained strong.


From a seasonal perspective, crude oil typically bottoms in February, and therefore, any further declines should be watched closely.

 
Tags: APCoilXLE

In the current climate, a good defense can be your best offense.

By MoneyShow.com Feb 3, 2012 12:37PM

Image: Baker (© Blend Images/SuperStock)By Elliott Gue, Personal Finance


Investors are caught between a rock and a hard place. Yields offered by traditional safe havens, such as U.S. Treasury bonds and high-grade corporate debt, are near multi-year lows.


Meanwhile, ongoing concerns about the E.U. sovereign debt crisis and the U.S. economy have made investors reluctant to roll the dice on equities. That's given legs to the rally in high-quality, large-cap stocks.

 

Goldman upgrades Eastman Chemical and downgrades Vertex Pharmaceuticals.

By MSN Money Partner Feb 3, 2012 12:33PM
Information provided by Theflyonthewall.com

Firday's noteworthy upgrades include:
  • Urban Outfitters (URBN) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Janney Capital
  • Liberty Interactive (LINTA) upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley
  • National Oilwell (NOV) upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley
 

Employment report shows a decline in the number of jobs in financial activities.

By Jonathan Berr Feb 3, 2012 12:08PM
CorbisThe unemployment rate tumbled to a three-year low in January, but some workers on Wall Street may not feel like celebrating.

Government data released Friday showed that a better-than-expected 243,000 jobs were created last month and the unemployment rate fell to 8.3%. Yet, the report also showed that the financial services sector lags the rest of the economy.  
Tags: BACCGSMS

The Canadian oil producer offers a high yield, strong growth and low risk.

By TheStockAdvisors Feb 3, 2012 10:53AM
Comstock/CorbisBy Lou Gagliardi, Cabot Global Energy Investor

My latest featured stock pick is Baytex (BTE), a leading Canadian heavy-oil producer with an exceptional dividend to provide downside share support in a rocky market. 

Geopolitical tensions, i.e. Iran, continue to rear their ugly head and reinforce our bullish outlook for crude prices and the energy sector. 
Tags: BTEoil

The president may not deserve the credit, but these companies have thrived since he took office.

By InvestorPlace Feb 3, 2012 10:26AM

Cory Docken/Spots Illustration/JupiterimagesBy Jeff Reeves


There's a lot of bluster this election year about the economy and President Barack Obama's effect on jobs and the stock market. But what you may not realize is that many comparisons aren't exactly fair.


Yes, in November 2008 when Obama won the election, unemployment was just shy of 7%, and when he took office in January it was under 8%. But comparing our current unemployment rate of 8.3% to what things were like when the president took office isn't so simple. After all, the financial crisis was really only beginning in late 2008, and the Great Recession didn't peak until mid-2009.

 

The closure of Petroplus and other key refineries should tighten the industry surplus situation.

By Trefis Feb 3, 2012 10:15AM
Chris Knorr/Design Pics/CorbisChevron (CVX) and other vertically integrated oil majors like Exxon Mobil (XOM) and British Petroleum (BP) could begin to see margins from their struggling downstream businesses rise in Q1 2012 as independent refining plants across the U.S. and Europe close down. Dropping margins have resulted in the closure of Petroplus, the largest refinery in Europe, and other key refineries, and this should tighten the industry surplus situation. Chevron and other oil companies reported a drastic fall in refining margins in Q4 2011 and lower volumes because of high crude prices.

We have a $109 price estimate for Chevron, which is at a 5% premium over its current market price.

 
Tags: bpCVXXOM

The company's Bydureon diabetes shot finally gets the green light from regulators.

By Benzinga Feb 2, 2012 10:18PM

Image: Medical doctor (© tetra images/Getty Images/Getty Images)By Scott Rubin, Benzinga Staff Writer


Last Friday, the Food and Drug Administration finally approved Bydureon, a once-weekly diabetes shot developed by Amylin Pharmaceuticals (AMLN) and Alkermes PLC (ALKS).


Bydureon is a long-acting form of Byetta, a twice-daily injection developed by Amylin and Eli Lilly & Co. (LLY) in a partnership which was dissolved last year. The drug had been rejected twice before, which caused Amylin to lose nearly half of its market value in October 2010.

 

The company's quarter was propelled by strong sales in its engine segments.

By Jim J. Jubak Feb 2, 2012 9:54PM
So much for any worries about that quarter.

Thursday, before the market opened in New York, Cummins (CMI) announced fourth-quarter earnings of $2.56 a share (excluding non-recurring items). Cummins is a member of my Jubak’s Picks portfolio

That was a 55.4% increase from earnings of $1.84 in the fourth quarter of 2010. The earnings results beat Wall Street estimates by 29 cents a share. (Much of this beat -- 18 cents -- came from a favorable change in the company’s tax rate. But an 11 cents-a-share surprise isn't shabby.)
 
Tags: CMI

The transportation company expects good results from strong commercial rentals and used-vehicle sales.

By Zacks.com Feb 2, 2012 5:19PM

Image: Moving van (© Digital Vision/Getty Images/Getty Images)By: Zacks Equity Research


Transportation company Ryder System (R) reported fourth-quarter adjusted earnings of 97 cents -- in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate and up 49% from 65 cents a year earlier.


The year-over-year growth reflected accelerated organic growth in the company's commercial rental and supply chain businesses alongside acquisitions gains, improved asset use and higher used-vehicle sales. Adjusted earnings exclude a negative impact of 5 cents related to post-acquisition restructuring costs.

 
Tags: R

Pundits complain that this earnings season has been a bust, but companies that disappointed have actually held up -- or even rallied -- since blowing their quarters.

By Jim Cramer Feb 2, 2012 4:38PM

the streetWhat's the definition of a strong tape? How about Boeing (BA) being up huge while the Pentagon surprises with a big cutback on an important program? How about Navistar (NAV) rallying huge despite preannouncing a shortfall because of a deal with Clean Energy (CLNE) (which I actually announced a week ago)?


And is anyone in?

 

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[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market finished an upbeat week on a mixed note. The S&P 500 shed less than a point, ending the week higher by 1.3%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (+0.1%) cemented a 1.7% advance for the week. High-beta names underperformed, which weighed on the Nasdaq Composite (-0.3%) and the Russell 2000 (-1.3%).

Equity indices displayed strength in the early going with the S&P 500 tagging the 2,019 level during the opening 30 minutes of the action. However, ... More


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