5 reasons the market is seeing red
5 reasons the market is seeing red

Geopolitical crises are taking a toll on stocks as we head into the seasonally weak month of August.


Seasonal strength means good opportunity in select oil and gas stocks as winter melts into spring.

By MoneyShow.com Feb 20, 2012 1:34PM

Image: Oil derricks (© Comstock/Corbis)By Tom Aspray, MoneyShow.com

Even though small-cap stocks had been correcting since the early February highs, the iShares Russell 2000 (IWM) was the best performer last week, gaining 1.87%. This beat out the 1.5% gains in the Spyder Trust (SPY) and the PowerShares QQQ Trust (QQQ).

Once again, the large-capitalization stocks in the Dow are lagging, as the SPDR Diamond Trust (DIA) was only up just over 1%.


The chain is adding new products and a new slogan to create some much-needed buzz.

By Kim Peterson Feb 20, 2012 1:04PM
Credit: (© Reed Saxon/AP)
Caption: Taco Bell restaurantCan a Doritos taco save Taco Bell?

The fast-food chain is in a bit of a slump, seeing sales fall amid increasing competition from Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG). Taco Bell has lost some buzz, its brand damaged by a recent lawsuit questioning the quality of the beef in its tacos.

So now the chain, owned by Yum Brands (YUM), is trying to mount a comeback. And key to its revival is a taco shell made entirely out of Doritos. The new line of Doritos Locos Tacos has been in test mode, with a national roll-out scheduled for March 8. 

The retail giant's investment in Chinese e-commerce company Yihaodian is a hint of more to come.

By Jonathan Berr Feb 20, 2012 12:20PM
Image: Price tag (© Hill Street Studios / Blend Images/Getty Images)Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) is betting big on China because growing its U.S. business has proved to be a vexing challenge.

The world's largest retailer announced Monday it is buying a controlling stake in the Chinese online shopping company Yihaodian to further solidify its position in the world's most populous country. Two weeks ago, Wal-Mart appointed Greg Foran to run its China operations as it overhauls the business after a series of scandals, including "a pork mislabeling issue last year that forced it to temporarily shut a dozen stores in central China," according to Reuters.    
Tags: WMT

It's unlikely that the rule will be passed into law in its entirety.

By Trefis Feb 20, 2012 10:59AM
Image: Businesswoman and businessman (© Eric Audras/PhotoAlto Agency RF Collections/Getty Images)It looks like the battle between the proponents of the Volcker Rule and the country's biggest banks will go on for quite a while.  

The banks are clearly in no mood to give up without a fight, given how much the proposed regulations would impact their businesses. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) received more than 16,000 comments regarding curbs on proprietary trading by banks. 

Key investors are upset that company management is installing its own hand-picked individuals on the board.

By Trefis Feb 20, 2012 10:18AM
Just when we thought that CEO Scott Thompson was getting ready to reinvent Yahoo (YHOO), the two long-standing issues of selling the company's Asian assets and disgruntled shareholders return to plague the company. 

There seems to be a tug-of-war going on among key investors as the Yahoo management is installing its recommended individuals on the company's board. And, at the same time, Yahoo's talks to sell its Asian assets -- Alibaba and Yahoo Japan -- have also reportedly hit a roadblock. 

With rapid growth in sales and earnings, these stocks offer excellent appreciation potential.

By TheStockAdvisors Feb 20, 2012 8:51AM
By J. Royden Ward, Cabot Benjamin Graham Value Letter

I screened our Ben Graham database for companies whose sales and earnings are growing very rapidly. Three of our favorites from this screen are Deere & Co. (DE), Foot Locker (FL) and Priceline.com (PCLN).

I believe each stock price will also grow very rapidly during the next six to 12 months, offering excellent appreciation potential with moderate risk. 

The company saw revenue grow by nearly 83%. So why did investors punish the stock Friday?

By Jim J. Jubak Feb 17, 2012 5:36PM
Shares of Chinese search engine company Baidu (BIDU) closed Friday down 3.5%, or $4.93 a share, after the company reported great fourth-quarter results Thursday. 

Earnings of 95 cents a share were 5 cents a share above the Wall Street consensus. (Baidu is a member of my Jubak Picks 50 long-term portfolio.)

Revenue grew by 82.6% from the fourth quarter of 2010 as the company saw a 13% increase in its base of active advertisers to 311,000 and a 62% increase in the average ad spend per customer.
Tags: BIDU

Some of the stocks that received the most short interest last year have posted strong gains in 2012.

By Kim Peterson Feb 17, 2012 4:53PM
Image: Businessman reading newspaper © A. Chederros/ONOKY/Getty ImagesThe stocks investors loved to hate last year are doing just fine, thank you very much.

The 26 stocks that investors were most expecting to fall have seen an 18% gain this year, Bloomberg reports. That's much higher than the 8.2% rise in the Standard & Poor's 500 Index ($INX).

Bloomberg measured the 26 companies in the S&P 500 that had the highest short interest. These are the shares speculators are borrowing to sell, with hopes of buying them back when the price dropped. 

The Federal Reserve's obsession with policy easing, despite rising gas prices and bubbling inflation, is making matters worse.

By Anthony Mirhaydari Feb 17, 2012 3:55PM

For months, I've been warning that the Federal Reserve's hardheaded determination to pump trillions and trillions in ultra-cheap cash into the economy was passing the point of no return. Sure, the strategy worked great back in 2008 and 2009 when the financial crisis was raging. But now it's becoming increasingly counterproductive.


In fact, it's just making things worse for the average guy or gal on the street being squeezed between stagnant wages and higher prices. The resulting drop in consumer confidence and retail sales will act as a drag on growth in the months to come -- which, perversely, will encourage the Fed to unleash even more policy easing.


This time, the problem isn't with Tylenol but with its delivery method.

By Kim Peterson Feb 17, 2012 3:40PM
Image: Boy hiding eyes (© Ned Frisk Photography/Corbis)Just when it seemed Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) was getting its act together after a series of damaging recalls, it flubs again.

The company is recalling 574,000 bottles of grape-flavored Tylenol for children younger than 2 years old. You can read more about the recall here.

There's nothing wrong with the medicine. The problem is with the new system whereby parents stick a plastic dosing syringe into a small hole to draw out the liquid Tylenol. About 17 parents or caregivers complained that when they inserted the syringe, the doughnut-shaped cover fell into the bottle. 
Tags: JNJ

Greenlight Capital's recent SEC filing shows a lot of new tech positions.

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day Feb 17, 2012 3:11PM

By Evan Niu


As a hedge-fund superstar, Greenlight Capital's David Einhorn makes moves that are worth watching. It's about that time of year when quarterly 13-F SEC filings, which disclose the positions the fund is holding, are starting to roll in. Let's take a look at some of the notable changes in Greenlight's portfolio over the past few months to get an insight into what this value investor has his eyes on.


Increased position: Apple
During the fourth quarter, Greenlight increased its position in Apple (AAPL) from about 1.31 million shares to over 1.46 million shares, a roughly 11% increase in position size. This was also the quarter where Apple lost Steve Jobs, launched the iPhone 4S, and put up a surprise earnings miss relative to Wall Street expectations.


The dialysis provider's strong financial position could lead to acquisitions and further growth.

By Zacks.com Feb 17, 2012 2:02PM

Image: Insurance Money (© Comstock Images/Jupiterimages)By Zacks Equity Research

 DaVita Inc. (DVA) reported fourth-quarter income from continuing operations of $1.58 per share, which surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.48 and prior-year quarter earnings of $1.13. Operating income amounted to $149.4 million, compared with $111.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2010.

Including an after-tax debt refinancing and redemption charge of $42.9 million or 43 cents per share, the prior-year quarter's operating income amounted to $68.9 million or 70 cents per share.


The company made $7.59 billion in 2011, the largest profit in its 103-year history.

By The Fiscal Times Feb 17, 2012 1:37PM
GMBy Suzanne McGee, The Fiscal Times   The Fiscal Times

For the first time in more years than most Detroit residents care to remember, General Motors (GM) seems to be on top of the world once again.

Post-bailout GM has landed on solid ground, completing an IPO only about 16 months after emerging from bankruptcy protection in November 2010. Thursday, the company reported blockbuster financial results, which included the largest profit ever in its 103-year-old history -- $7.59 billion in 2011. 

The nature of its business may make it easier for the professional networking company to pacify the Chinese government than it was for Facebook or Google.

By Trefis Feb 17, 2012 1:11PM
Image: China (© Brand X/SuperStock)LinkedIn (LNKD) may be in talks with major Internet companies in China, according to reports, with plans to enter the lucrative Chinese market. But after what happened to Google (GOOG) and Facebook in the People's Republic, this could be a risky move, and is far from certain.

LinkedIn's success will depend on how it deals with the intense competition from Chinese incumbents, as well as the degree of censorship it is willing to concede to the regulatory bodies in China.  

If you're feeling the pain of rising gasoline prices, consider earning more gas money by investing in oil companies.

By Jim Cramer Feb 17, 2012 12:43PM

We can bemoan the price at the pump, and I know many of you are bemoaning it. Or we can figure out which companies have decided that this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make more money than we ever dreamed, and we are going to do it and do it big for our shareholders.


That was the lesson of Devon (DVN) Thursday. The company has decided the time is right to take a huge chunk of money and just go prospecting for oil. It makes sense that the stock could tack on still more points Friday, because Devon has a new find, still under wraps, that could be gigantic, a real needle mover -- and we know that needle movers get stocks rocking.



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[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market finished a down week on a cautious note with small caps leading the retreat. The Russell 2000 lost 0.5%, widening its weekly decline to 2.6%, while the S&P 500 shed 0.3%. The benchmark index ended the week lower by 2.7%.

This morning, the market was provided a basis to rebound with the July employment report, which was just right for the policy doves (209K versus Briefing.com consensus 220K). It showed payroll growth that was weaker than expected, ... More


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