You can still find small-cap superstars
Small-cap superstars still abound

There are some picks in this sector that have excellent valuations and strong earnings growth.

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At issue is a chemical used in caramel color. The claim: It can cause cancer.

By InvestorPlace Mar 6, 2012 10:19AM
By Jonathan Berr

Coca-Cola
(KO), PepsiCo (PEP) and the rest of the carbonated beverage industry have become public enemy No. 1 for the nation's self-appointed food police, and the battle is far from over.


The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) on Monday announced that it had found "high levels of 4-methylimidazole (4-MI), a known animal carcinogen" in samples of Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Diet Coke and Diet Pepsi that the group analyzed. The chemical is a byproduct of the manufacturing process used to create the distinctive brown caramel color in these popular beverages.

 

Hint: It has everything to do with the iPhone and the iPad.

By Trefis Mar 5, 2012 6:26PM
Credit: © 2012 Apple Inc
Caption: iPhone 4sInvestors continue to lap up Apple (AAPL). 

In the five weeks since the company released its bumper first-quarter earnings, the stock has seen tremendous buying interest, rallying more than 30%. Apple reached the enviable milestone of a $500 billion market cap last Tuesday.

As the stock inches closer to our fair price estimate of $550, there is speculation as to whether Apple can become the world's first trillion-dollar company.
 

Banks follow the money, and you don't have it.

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day Mar 5, 2012 5:27PM

Image: Credit card (© Fancy/Veer/Corbis/Corbis)By Dan Caplinger

 

Activist movements like Bank Transfer Day have been instrumental in getting ordinary people to take action when banks are taking advantage of them. But as much as banks claim to want everyone's business, the reality is that some business is a lot more lucrative than others. And when it comes down to it, banks will go to where the profit is -- even if it means treating its ordinary customers worse than they deserve.

 

One niche in which this emphasis on high-wealth customers is obvious is in the credit card industry. While everyday Americans worry about getting a low interest rate when they carry a balance or avoiding expensive fees, venerable Wall Street financial institutions are fighting tooth and nail for customers in what Occupy Wall Street would call the 1%.

 

The company sells a stake in AIA Group in efforts to raise $6 billion.

By Benzinga Mar 5, 2012 5:17PM

Image: Hand hiding banknotes under vest, studio shot (© Mike Kemp/Rubberball/Getty Images)By Jane Sanders, Benzinga Staff Writer


American International Group (AIG) has been steadily repaying its debt to the government after getting a $182 billion bailout in 2008. Now, it's trying to speed that along by selling a 14% stake in Hong Kong's AIA Group.


AIG is offering about 1.7 billion shares in AIA Group, each for between 27.15 to 27.50 Hong Kong dollars. That could raise as much as $6 billion.

 

The company prices its own gas lower in hopes it will increase shoppers' visits to its stores.

By Kim Peterson Mar 5, 2012 4:48PM
Image: Filling fuel tank (© Corbis)Rising prices at the pump make retailers' hearts sink. Wal-Mart (WMT) gets hit hard, for example, as shoppers make fewer trips to the store and have less room in their budgets.

But Costco (COST) is one of the few retailers that do better as gas prices rise, writes analyst Mark Miller at William Blair & Co.

"With the typical seasonal uplift in gas prices leading up to Memorial Day, and with uncertainties in the Middle East, we now believe that gas prices should be a neutral, or potential positive, factor to Costco's sales going forward," Miller writes in a report Monday. 
Tags: COSTWMT

Despite all the efforts of central bankers, the deep structural problems we face haven't gone away. Stocks are falling as investors begin to realize this.

By Anthony Mirhaydari Mar 5, 2012 4:27PM

If there was a theme song for the last few months, it would have to be Bobby McFerrin's "Don't Worry Be Happy." All the issues I've been warning about -- the looming Greek default and possible eurozone exit, the unfinished deficit debate in Washington, and the West's $8 trillion excess debt load -- were swept under the rug, much to my surprise.

 

Why? Investors focused on one thing: Buckets of cheap cash out of the central banks. It started back in November when the Federal Reserve started shoveling cheap dollars into European banks. It continued when the European Central Bank shoveled cheap euros into European banks. And now, Wall Street is waiting for the Fed to unleash a third round of quantitative easing or "QE3" after the last $600 billion "QE2" program ended last summer.

 

That's all ending now as everyone realizes that, like Humpty Dumpty, all the cheap cash in the world can't put this economy back together. Stocks are suffering as a result. Here's why.

 

Addition by subtraction is paying off for the refocused industrial specialist.

By MoneyShow.com Mar 5, 2012 4:17PM

Image: Airline (© Christie & Cole/Corbis)By Igor Greenwald, MoneyShow.com


"Telephones, hotels, insurance -- it's all the same. If you know the numbers inside out, you know the company inside out."


That's a quote attributed to Harold Geneen, the businessman who built ITT (ITT) into a global conglomerate during the 1960s. That was back in the day when spreadsheets were going to safeguard the Pax Americana, and when they failed, the CIA was ready to step in, subverting democracy in Brazil and Chile for ITT's benefit.

 

The government has plenty of tools to keep growth at the rate it desires.

By Jim J. Jubak Mar 5, 2012 4:00PM
Image: (Shanghai, China © Yang Liu/Corbis)The news is very straightforward. China will cut its target for economic growth this year to 7.5% from the 8% goal that's been in place since 2005, Premier Wen Jiabao told the annual meeting of the National People's Congress today.

But what does it mean?

Financial markets have decided that a lower-growth target means China's leadership is forecasting lower growth.
 

Earnings jump as the food company leverages new supply and distribution networks in developing markets.

By Trefis Mar 5, 2012 3:26PM
Image: Chocolate (© image100/Corbis)Kraft Foods' (KFT) acquisition of Cadbury in 2010 is now yielding results as the parent company leverages the name recognition of its products with Cadbury's supply and distribution networks in developing markets. 

Kraft reported a 54% jump in full-year earnings on Feb. 21. Revenues from developing markets rose 16% to $15.9 billion and now constitute almost 30% of the total revenues.  
 

The fuel is a cheaper alternative to gasoline, and there's plenty of it. Now if only there were more fill-up stations.

By Kim Peterson Mar 5, 2012 2:39PM
Image: Truck drivers (© Exactostock / SuperStock/SuperStock)The price of gas has climbed to an average of $3.77 a gallon nationwide -- a tough break for an economy just starting to recover.

But there's another gas in the United States that's awfully cheap and in abundance: natural gas. In fact, new drilling technologies have made this country the largest natural-gas producer in the world. Why aren't automakers looking at more ways to use it? 

Data show a lot of investors betting against these shares, but with the technical indicators pointing higher, the short crowd may soon get flattened.

By MoneyShow.com Mar 5, 2012 2:33PM

By Tom Aspray


A monthly short-interest report is watched by some analysts, as it provides data on stocks that have the largest short positions. 


It can often alert you to some interesting opportunities. But keep in mind that short sellers aren't always right, and many rely on fundamental, not technical, analysis.

 
Tags: BKEMRRCI

The largest US retailer of specialty pet products is on track to exceed last year's 27% earnings jump.

By Gene Marcial Mar 5, 2012 2:21PM

Image: Dog (© Alley Cat Productions/Brand X/Corbis)

If you like to cuddle your dog or cat, you know the happiness pet ownership can bring. Owners of PetSmart (PETM) have reason to be happy, too.


The stock has been a phenomenal sprinter. Steadily rising since hitting a low of $13 in 2008, PetSmart has more than quadrupled, currently trading at close to $56 a share. The huge rise prompted some earlier investors to take profits, but that's OK. Most of them are now waiting for the stock to dip so they can get back in again.

 
Tags: PETM

India's tea-drinking culture will make it challenging for Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts to break into the beverage market.

By Trefis Mar 5, 2012 1:03PM
Image: India (© Donald Edwards/age fotostock)Barely two weeks after Starbucks (SBUX) announced plans to partner with Tata Beverages to open its first outlet in India, Dunkin' Donuts revealed that it will also open its first outlet in the country by June, setting the stage for a heated battle in the coming years. 

Dunkin' Donuts is owned by Dunkin' Brands (DNKN). Apart from Starbucks, Dunkin' Brands also competes with McDonald's (MCD), Krispy Kreme, Dairy Queen and Cold Stone Creamery to name a few.
 

If prices don't take a break and do nothing for a while, they will tumble.

By Jim Cramer Mar 5, 2012 12:34PM

Waiting for stocks to pull back has been a total sucker's game so far in 2012. You have scored the best performance by not waiting for a prudent pullback and instead by being rash, seizing the trend and plunging right into it.

 

The stocks that have been the best -- Apple (AAPL), Chipotle (CMG), Autozone (AZO), Intuitive Surgical (ISRG), Priceline (PCLN), Dollar Tree (DLTR) -- haven't had much of a correction at all but are now in a place where it just looks hideous to step in. Their stock trend lines on charts look like, without rest, they are going to crash right though the upper right-hand corner of the page.

 

With few benefits and many faults, the new hybrid electric vehicle hits a sales wall.

By Jonathan Berr Mar 5, 2012 12:29PM
General Motors (GM) has idled production of the Chevrolet Volt because it had difficulty finding people crazy enough to buy the hybrid electric vehicle.

For one thing, the four-door sedan is insanely expensive. With a sticker price of about $41,000, it is pricier than much nicer cars made by Audi, BMW and even GM's sister brand Cadillac.  
Tags: gm

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[BRIEFING.COM] Equity indices closed out the month of August on a modestly higher note. The Russell 2000 (+0.6%) and Nasdaq Composite (+0.5%) finished ahead of the S&P 500 (+0.3%), which extended its August gain to 3.8%. Blue chips lagged with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (+0.1%) spending the bulk of the session in the red.

The final week of August represented one of the quietest stretches for the stock market so far this year. The first four sessions of the week produced the ... More


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