Once you get past the hype, there's little chance for long-term gain with this stock.
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The wireless provider scores dead last in a user survey.
This may not be a surprise to anyone with an iPhone. And it comes at just the wrong time for AT&T, if reports are correct that Apple (AAPL) will let Verizon (VZ) have the iPhone next year.
The top-scoring cell provider in Consumer Reports' user survey was U.S. Cellular (USM). And all the other majors came in ahead of AT&T, including Verizon, Sprint (S) and T-Mobile, which is a division of Deutsche Telekom (DT).
It may not be the best company in its industry, but it does have a low price and a catalyst to move.
Today our eye is on ION. We're ready to get geophysical. I can't think of any more seismic quips, so it's time for Bryan White to tell us why he's buying.
Rex Moore, Motley Fool Top Stocks editor
What do fireflies, roller coasters and China's bull run on commodities have in common? They all play into my investment thesis for buying a 3% position in ION Geophysical (IO), an oil-facing seismic technology company.
We needed a compromise on tax cuts and unemployment benefits for the market to go higher, and we have it. Now go grab some stocks.
Yep, this tax deal is terrific for the market. No doubt, though, someone will immediately sell on the news, saying it was "in the stock market." That it is the reason the Retail HOLDRs (RTH) is so strong or the industrials have been signaling it the whole time.
Ask the people who say this, "What is your exposure to the market? What percent net?" I am telling you that it will certainly be nowhere near 100%. Or 90%. Or 80%.
Not only is the deal good for stocks, it is bigger than even I (Mr. We Will Have a Deal) have been saying. It is truly better than expected. It is great, in particular, for the consumer-spending stocks and fantastic for gold, because it will cost the government more than $400 billion. That's what the two-year extension of the cuts and a payroll tax break will do to the budget.
The search giant ramps up its efforts to challenge Amazon.
By James Rogers, TheStreet
The Google eBookstore contains more than 3 million titles, according to a Google blog posting, and the Internet company says that it has hundreds of thousands of books for sale.
Rumors that Google was putting the finishing touches to its e-book effort emerged last week, with the Wall Street Journal reporting that the project had overcome several technical and legal hurdles.
It can be tough to give paper stock certificates, so here are some alternatives.
But the gift of stock isn't easy to give anymore. Sometimes you can't even get the paper certificate that certifies ownership. General Motors (GM) and Visa (V) don't offer them these days, USA Today reports.
There simply aren't many good options, and the ones that do exist come with hefty fees or sound like a huge pain. But if you're really motivated, Matt Krantz of USA Today lays out some ways to give stock:
The food company says its contract with the coffee giant is still valid and can't be ended early.
At the heart of the dispute are the bags of Starbucks coffee sold at grocery stores, which, as you might guess, make a lot of money for both companies. Kraft gets the coffee from Starbucks and then markets and distributes it to stores.
The partnership brings in $500 million in sales every year and great profit margins -- perhaps as much as 20%, Reuters reports. But now Starbucks wants out of the 12-year marriage.
It's a tough time for shopping centers and strip malls, and that means opportunity.
If you have any thoughts of investing in the beaten-down commercial real-estate space, we've got some advice for you. As Fool analyst Andy Louis-Charles explains, the key is not so much the horse but betting on the right jockey.
Rex Moore, Motley Fool Top Stocks editor
If you believe commercial real estate has bottomed out, I have a California strip mall I'd like to sell you.
Broad-market index funds start December with a bang, and an agriculture fund offers a good option for conservative investors.
By Don Dion, TheStreet
Here are five exchange-traded funds to watch this week.
Although U.S. markets stumbled in November, hindered by fears of euro debt contagion and concerns about China's steps to curb inflation, the SPDR S&P 500 ETF and other broad market index-tracking ETFs started off the final month of 2010 with a bang.
The lender is well-positioned to be the best repository of homes when people realize that mortgage rates are done dropping and the scramble for housing begins.
If Wells Fargo (WFC) takes out $29, you know what? It will be ready to roll. And I think you want to be there. Here's why.
The reportorial coverage on homes, as I have told you again and again, is very weak. Those of us who follow this industry closely and are involved in real estate are relatively amazed that the reporting is bad.
It hadn't mattered much. The stocks connected with housing had done nothing at all. Until now.
As the eurozone crisis fades, the credit-driven bull market in stocks is set to continue.
One factor that had me so worried last month was the sell-off that hit the global bond market, which pushed down the price of everything except U.S. Treasury bonds. Since the bull market in stocks is built on the foundations of a credit bull market (see my column on the subject here), this was very bad news.
That's all changed now, and investors are returning in droves. The European Central Bank has restarted its monetary spigots, calming the eurozone bond market dramatically. Portuguese bond yields fell from 7.1% to just 5.8% last week as a country that seemed destined to follow Ireland into the eurozone bailout club got a new lease on life.
As a result, the risk trade-up theme that I outlined in my column has resumed. But not all investments will benefit equally.
Deposits that don't pay interest? Banks love 'em. And JPM has a growing stash.
With banks, it's the spread that counts. And it looks like the turmoil in the financial markets is expanding the spread between what banks have to pay for funds and what they can charge for their loans.
That should add to bank profits in the fourth quarter. If you're looking to take advantage of that trend, look for banks with big deposit-gathering machines. My choice would be JPMorgan Chase (JPM). The stock is already a member of my Jubak's Picks portfolio.
Here's how spreads work: Banks pay for funds either through interest to investors who buy their short-term commercial paper (and other debt) or in the interest paid to depositors. They then lend that money to borrowers in the form of home mortgages, small-business loans, real-estate development loans, corporate loans, whatever.
The company is willing to pay big bucks to get more in-season shows in its library.
That's a glaring deficiency for Netflix, and the company is trying to change that. Problem is that getting current-season episodes costs a lot of dough.
The New York Post reports that Netflix is approaching television studios with wads of cash, willing to pay between $70,000 and $100,000 per episode. Netflix would not officially comment on the report.
History's best investors use both types of shares.
Are you a value investor or a growth investor? In my dozen-plus years of studying history's most successful investment strategies, one of the biggest lessons I've learned is that you can -- and should -- be both.
While often portrayed as polar opposites, value and growth are really more like cousins. As Warren Buffett put it in his 2000 letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders, "market commentators and investment managers who glibly refer to 'growth' and 'value' styles as contrasting approaches to investment are displaying their ignorance, not their sophistication. Growth is simply a component -- usually a plus, sometimes a minus -- in the value equation."
If you can play the contrarian and wade into an unpopular sector, opportunity awaits.
Everybody hates big banks right now, and for good reason. But if you're able to take on some risk, Motley Fool banking expert Anand Chokkavelu says current valuations in the sector are revealing some big opportunities.
Rex Moore, Motley Fool Top Stocks editor
The headline of this article may surprise you.
Especially if you've read some of my previous articles throughout the banking meltdown and recovery. I've repeatedly warned against the big banks because their balance sheets are utterly inscrutable.
The Kardashian Kard goes kaput. Amazon springs a WikiLeak. Wal-Mart uses centenarian to thwart theft. EA wants a Tiger who wins.
Here's our roundup of the most bizarre news in business this week.
5. Karma comes for the Kardashian Kard
Few people were shocked when they heard about the demise of the Kardashian Kard this week. The University Bank of St. Paul, Minn., must have realized the folly of not capitalizing on previous reality-TV role models like Paris Hilton and Hulk Hogan and pounced on the opportunity to plaster the three Kardashian sisters on a fee-ridden prepaid card under the MasterCard (MA) network. The card was intended to appeal to viewers of the popular reality series "Keeping Up With the Kardashians."
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[BRIEFING.COM] A solid November employment report translated into a solid day of gains for the major averages. While there was some talk that the encouraging job growth raised the odds of the Fed announcing a tapering at its December meeting, the message of the markets today was either that it didn't believe there would be a tapering this month or that it doesn't fear a tapering this month.
It was just one day, yet there was ample meaning wrapped up in the connection that the 10-yr ... More
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