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It's no Alibaba, but the Citizens Financial Group offering is important to the market.


Materials stocks are outperforming the broad market, and the primary sector ETF is showing technical strength.

By Jan 26, 2012 1:14PM
Image: Stock market (© Digital Vision/SuperStock)By Tom Aspray,

The announcement from the Federal Open Market Committee that interest rates will remain low until 2014 appears to have ended the market's very brief corrective phase. The advance/decline lines moved sharply higher Wednesday, with more than 2,300 stocks advancing and just over 700 declining. 

Some of the previously lagging sectors are now showing signs of life. As further evidence that the economy is indeed getting stronger, new sectors are likely to become leaders (see also: Sector Selection Is the Key for 2012).


An increasingly aggressive, reckless Fed is gutting the greenback. Investors should play along.

By Anthony Mirhaydari Jan 26, 2012 1:09PM

The Federal Reserve on Wednesday, as expected, extended the period that it anticipates holding short-term interest rates near zero to late 2014. It also, as expected, held off on another round of money printing, known as quantitative easing, for now. But the Fed chairman teased additional action later this year -- something I warned of in my column this week.


Yet the real story, one that had Wall Street traders jumping in response, was the establishment of a long-term inflation target for the Fed -- 2% on personal consumption expenditures. But despite the Fed calling inflation "subdued" as it justified holding rates lower for longer,  its new target is already being exceeded.  


So it's like this: The Fed is now loudly advertising the fact that it is willing to push more monetary easing into the economy even as consumer price inflation runs at 3%. This is blatant dollar debasement. And it's only going to encourage the kind of mal-investment and speculative excess that brought about the housing bubble in the first place.


The good news is that it's creating an opportunity for profits in precious metals again as the dollar tumbles.


Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs get knocked just as business shows signs of picking up.

By Jim Cramer Jan 26, 2012 1:08PM

By Jim Cramer

Why are analysts so, so quick to downgrade? We caught a downgrade of Morgan Stanley (MS) and Goldman Sachs (GS) on Wednesday, for example, and I thought it was totally fatuous. These stocks had been dogs in 2011, but business could be picking up right now, with the stock markets worldwide doing better and all of the banks in Europe restructuring.

We got a hostile bid Wednesday: Roche's bid for Illumina (ILMN). We have an IPO calendar that could get hot. We have tables of employment that are now rationalized, and we have lower expense structures. This is when you should be looking to buy them, not sell them.


Why is Southwest the only carrier that's soaring?

By InvestorPlace Jan 26, 2012 12:34PM
Image: Airline (© Christie & Cole/Corbis)By Lawrence Meyers

Question: Why on earth would you want to buy an airline stock? Answer: You wouldn't. Except for one.

That's because airlines have an awful business model. If oil prices go up, the cost of flying the jets goes up even more, requiring carriers to hedge, which distracts them from what they should be doing: transportation.


E-Trade is downgraded to 'neutral' at Goldman.

By MSN Money Partner Jan 26, 2012 12:15PM
Thursday's noteworthy upgrades include:
  • Netflix (NFLX) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Citigroup, and to Hold from Sell at Gabelli
  • Life Technologies (LIFE) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Leerink
  • Textron (TXT) upgraded to Buy from Hold at EarlyBirdCapital
  • Equity Residential (EQR) upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Barclays
  • Consolidated Edison (ED) upgraded to Hold from Underperform at Jefferies
  • Illinois Tool Works (ITW) upgraded to Buy from Underperform at BofA/Merrill

The company's diverse portfolio and strategic deals in emerging markets are advantageous for the company.

By Trefis Jan 26, 2012 11:04AM
PepsiCo's (PEP) diverse portfolio ranging from sodas to snacks and juices, combined with its ability to innovate and launch products suited to the requirements of the localized markets, will go a long way in the growth of the company. At the same time, key acquisitions in developing markets over the last few years will give the company an opportunity to be a part of these fast-growing economies.

We believe the company is in a transitional phase, which makes the market undervalue the stock. PepsiCo competes with leading food & beverage companies around the world including Kraft Food (KFT), Coca Cola Co (KO) and Dr Pepper Snapple (DPS). 

We are encouraged by Grainger's successful market share strategy and retain our 'outperform' recommendation.

By Jan 26, 2012 10:35AM

‎By: Zacks Equity Research


W.W. Grainger Inc. (GWW) reported Wednesday earnings of $2.13 per share for the fourth quarter 2011, exceeding the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 2 cents. The result was 19% above the year-ago earnings of $1.79. The improvement stemmed largely from strong sales across all segments.

Quarterly EPS excluded a 16 cent per share charge related to U.S. branch closures and a gain on the sale of Grainger's 49% ownership in MRO Korea. Including these items, EPS in the quarter was $2.04. The prior-year EPS excluded a gain of 4 cents per share pertaining to a change in paid time off policy. Including this, EPS was $1.83 in the year-earlier period.

Tags: GWW

The fast-food chain makes a push into morning sales, but can it compete with heavyweight McDonald's?

By InvestorPlace Jan 26, 2012 9:46AM

By Jeff Reeves

Taco Bell is largely responsible for the late-night snacking push across the fast-food world as one of the first major chains to stay open into the wee hours -- as late as 4 a.m. at most locations with its Fourthmeal menu.


Now the Mexican-style restaurant is looking to stay open so late that it'll actually open early. Taco Bell is introducing a breakfast menu at almost 800 restaurants.


Not the typical turnaround pick, this company has a problem with investor perceptions.

By TheStockAdvisors Jan 26, 2012 9:30AM
By George Putnam, The Turnaround Letter

Founded in 1886 by three brothers to produce first aid kits, Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) has grown into one of the largest healthcare products companies in the world, with one of the strongest balance sheets in American industry.

So how can we feature this as our latest turnaround stock? Because the stock price has gone essentially nowhere for about ten years. The stock traded at 65 in 2002 and it trades around 65 today. 
Tags: JNJ

The pharmaceutical company thinks Illumina is a good fit with its business strategy.

By Benzinga Jan 25, 2012 8:00PM

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

Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche (RHHBY) announced Wednesday a hostile takeover bid for Illumina (ILMN) worth $5.7 billion in cash, or $44.50 per share. 

Many financial analysts believed the offer to be light, and speculation about an increased offer prompted Illumina shares to rise 46% Wednesday to close at $55.15. In a note to clients, Wedbush analyst Zarak Khurshid stated that Roche would likely sweeten its offer. Wedbush raised its price target on Illumina to $50 from $35.


Company posts better-than-expected results and shows that, despite all the drama, subscriber levels have stabilized.

By Jonathan Berr Jan 25, 2012 6:14PM
Shares of Netflix (NFLX) are soaring in late trading after the company rebounded from a series of embarrassing blunders last year and posted fourth-quarter results that were better than expected. 

Profit at the Los Gatos, Calif., company fell 13% to $40.7 million, or 73 cents a share, from $47.1 million, or 87 cents a year earlier. Revenue rose 47% to $875.6 million as the company was able to quell a customer revolt over an unpopular fee hike. Analysts expected profit of 55 cents on revenue of $857.89 million. 
Tags: NFLX

The search giant isn't getting nearly the share of the tablet market for its apps that it thought it would from Amazon.

By Jim J. Jubak Jan 25, 2012 4:30PM
Image: young woman reading from Kindle (© Reggie Casagrande/Photographer)Some analysts and investors who read Apple's (AAPL) December quarter earnings report Tuesday are now anticipating the big fight in the tablet market between Apple's iPad and Amazon's (AMZN) Kindle Fire.

But there’s an increasing wave of opinion that argues these investors are looking at the wrong war. (For my take on Apple’s earnings, see my post.)

Oh, there's going to be a battle, no doubt about it, but the first combat, this view says, will be between Amazon and Google (GOOG).

From pipelines to water, a panel of experts explains which buys make sense.

By Jan 25, 2012 4:07PM

Wondering what are the top stocks to invest in 2012?

The Zacks panel of experts gives its picks for pipelines, engines, rails and water in the following video. Plus, with earnings season in full swing, our roundtable of Zacks analysts and editors discusses the new Federal Reserve transparency and what it means for opportunities in the market. 


If the social gaming giant enables users to play its casino-themed games with real money, it could lead to a significant increase in revenue.

By Trefis Jan 25, 2012 3:13PM
Image: Ball on Roulette wheel , close-up (© Adam Gault/Digital Vision/Getty Images)Zynga (ZNGA) is the leader in social gaming and is charging forward in the mobile gaming sector by acquiring mobile gaming studios and launching new games on iOS and Android.

We recently posted about a significant new opportunity for Zynga -- online gambling -- which could potentially generate billions of dollars in additional revenue, if Zynga makes a move in the sector soon. Zynga has now confirmed that it is seeking partners to launch new online gambling initiatives. 

Rig supplier and operator Helmerich & Payne is a promising play on the domestic drilling boom.

By Jan 25, 2012 2:54PM

Image: Oil drums (© Kevin Phillips/Digital Vision/age fotostock)By Igor Greenwald,

These are momentous times in the North American drilling industry.

On Monday, natural gas prices soared some 10% from a decade-low after key producer Chesapeake Energy (CHK) said it would cut its drilling of wells containing only natural gas by half, shifting resources to shale plays yielding the much more profitable crude and other liquids.



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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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