Gold bars & granules © Heinz-Peter Bader/Reuters
Americans prefer gold, real estate

As the market wades through what many people hope is a sixth bull year, some have grown nervous about how long the run can go.


As the market wades through what many people hope is a sixth bull year, some have grown nervous about how long the run can go.

By MSN Money Partner 19 hours ago
Image: Home for sale © CorbisBy Barbara Kollmeyer, MarketWatch

You can keep your gold and stocks because there's no place like home for my money.

That seems to be the gist of a recent survey from Gallup, in which Americans picked real estate as the cream of the the long-term-investment crop. 

Their other choices were gold, stock and mutual funds; savings accounts and CDs; or bonds. Some 30 percent of those polled picked real estate, versus 24 percent each for gold and stocks, while 14 percent gave savings accounts/CDs the nod and just 6 percent said bonds were the way to go. 

The bond drag is not too surprising considering how investors have been fleeing funds like the Pimco Total Return Fund (PTTRX). Bonds have also been a consistent nonfavored option in the Gallup poll. This marked the first year gold was included as an option in the Gallup survey of 1,026 adults aged 18 and older.


Bank CEOs make for easy targets. But behind them are the potentially more powerful directors that should be held to account as well.

By The Fiscal Times 20 hours ago

Caption: A Citibank branch in Miami, Fla.
Credit: © Mark Elias/Bloomberg via Getty ImagesBy Suzanne McGee, The Fiscal Times

Mike Mayo has some questions for the big banks -- and he's hoping that the annual meetings will produce some answers.

Unlike most of his peers, Mayo -- an analyst at brokerage group CLSA who has spent the last 25 years tracking the banking industry -- has either acquired stock in some of the banks he covers or, in other cases, acquired the right to speak on behalf of a shareholder (as a "proxy").

All so that he can ask publicly some of the questions that analysts more normally ask behind closed doors.

Of course, Mayo and his peers continue to do this every quarter, when the banks host quarterly conference calls to discuss their latest batch of earnings.

Tags: C

The company's US motorcycle sales rose despite a harsh winter, sending the stock up 8%.

By InvestorPlace 20 hours ago

A Harley Davidson motorcycle during the company's 110th anniversary celebration in Milwaukee, Wis., on Thursday (© Morry Gash/AP)By Christopher Freeburn

Harley-Davidson (HOG) shares surged on Tuesday following a first-quarter earnings report of profits that beat Wall Street forecasts.

The stock was up 8 percent by midday Tuesday after the storied motorcycle maker said it grew revenue 10.2 percent from a year earlier to $1.73 billion, which drove profits up 18.7 percent to $265.9 million. On a per-share basis, earnings of $1.21 easily bested the $1.07 expected by Wall Street analysts.

Despite snowy weather, U.S. motorcycle sales increased 3 percent. By contrast, Asia-Pacific region motorcycle sales vaulted more than 20 percent, while sales in Europe, the Middle East and Africa climbed 8.2 percent. Worldwide, the company said it sold 57,415 motorcycles during the quarter, including 35,730 in the U.S.

Tags: HOG

Valeant Pharmaceuticals has teamed up with activist investor Bill Ackman and Pershing Square Capital Management for a $47 billion deal to acquire Botox maker Allergan.

By Staff 21 hours ago

Allergan Pred Forte eye drops © Stuwdamdorp/AlamyBy Antoine Gara, TheStreet

Pershing Square Capital Management may be re-writing the rules of activist investing after teaming up with Valeant Pharmaceuticals (VRX) on a takeover bid for Allergan (AGN). Valeant will offer Allergan $48.30 a share in cash and 0.83 of its shares in the bid, which values Allergan at an about 10 percent premium to its Monday closing share price. 

The takeover effort is the first that counts an activist hedge fund investor as a crucial piece and it raises the prospect of similar marriages between activist investors and deal-seeking corporations looking to press an unsolicited merger. 


Jeff Bezos has lost $6.3 billion so far this year as shares of his company have declined.

By MSN Money Partner 21 hours ago
File photo of Jeff Bezos on Nov. 16, 2012 (© Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)By Nick Summers, Businessweek

Jeff Bezos is one bad day -- or even just a middling one -- from an abysmal distinction. 

He'll have lost more money than anyone else on earth in 2014 if his net worth declines by just $200 million, relative to Mexican investor Carlos Slim, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

The Amazon (AMZN) founder has lost $6.3 billion so far this year, second only to Slim's $6.5 billion decline. Bezos (pictured) has most of his wealth tied up in company stock, which has declined 17.3 percent since Jan. 1, bringing his net worth to $29.7 billion. 

On a percentage basis, Slim has lost about half as much as Bezos, 8.8 percent, to cut his worth to $67.3 billion, the second-largest pile in the world.

Tags: AMZN

As regulations tighten around coal, these natural gas and oil producers stand to benefit.

By Traders Reserve 21 hours ago

Image: Natural gas plant © Kevin Burke/CorbisBy Karen Riccio


The Environmental Protection Agency just announced plans to further stiffen regulations on coal-fired power plants and the emission of carbons.


This can only mean bad news for companies with profits tied to coal, and good news for profits tied to natural gas and oil. The EPA's move will ultimately increase the need for cleaner, more efficient producers of energy.

While solar and wind may have a purpose and contribution to the cause, the immediate beneficiary will be the explorers and developers of natural gas and oil. Natural gas reserves in the U.S. have increased two-fold over the past 14 years; and shale and tight gas production has more than doubled in the last four years. According to the International Energy Association (IEA), we are sitting on a 2.2 quadrillion cubic feet of proven and recoverable oil.


The company is growing, but it needs to grow fast enough for the uber-excited bulls.

By InvestorPlace 22 hours ago

Caption: The Facebook logo is seen on a tablet screen
Credit: © Lionel Bonaventure/AFP/Getty ImagesBy Jeff Reeves

Facebook (FB) has had a busy start to 2014. Earnings blew the doors off in January, the stock is up 8 percent despite a small loss for the broader S&P 500 Index ($INX) and the company has rattled off a bunch of big-time acquisitions.

But for the next few weeks, Facebook shareholders will be most concerned about the balance sheet instead of the drumbeat of headlines and daily FB stock charts.

That's because the biggest catalyst for FB stock performance lately has been its blowout earnings and revenue growth posted at the end of January; FB stock gapped up by double-digits the next day as a result and has stayed strong ever since.

So what's in store this time when Facebook earnings hit Wednesday?


Netflix and Halliburton plainly illustrate what's justifying this broad-market run.

By Jim Cramer 22 hours ago

(From top) Netflix Inc in San Jose Calif. & Halliburton manufacturing facility in Duncan, Okla. © MTP/Alamy; Robert Hughes/ZUMA PressWhen you listen to a Netflix (NFLX) call, you are sitting there thinking, "How can these guys be that good?"

Then you listen to a Halliburton (HAL) call and you say, "How can these guys be that good?"

Two calls. Two subjects. Two tours de force. logoNetflix is a plain-English company that has figured out that conference calls shouldn't be just about analysts trying to get help on their models. This is a much bigger-thinking company than that. Netflix is trying to explain why if you offer a superior product, be it Time Warner's (TWX) HBO or Amazon (AMZN) or anyone else, even Comcast (CMCSA), people will take it. But it has to be genuinely superior.

I love that Netflix goes into the viewing habits of customers. This company has actually thought about customers like good retailers do. It recognizes that people prefer to have all the content at once if they would like that content. Netflix also knows the foreign markets will work, because, well, they already work. Witness the comments about how "The Mentalist" is the No. 1 show in France. I'm surprised Netflix didn't mention that the French always loved Jerry Lewis. My favorite line: "The total addressable market over time are human beings that enjoy TV shows and movies, because everybody is going to be on the Internet."


All of these could one day be among the world's best income producers.

By StreetAuthority 23 hours ago
Arm & Hammer Baking soda boxes
© Richard Drew/APBy Tim Begany

Because no one can predict the future with 100 percent accuracy, spotting tomorrow's best income-producing blue-chip stocks today is extremely difficult.

However, I recently profiled one company I strongly believe is well on its way to achieving blue-chip status -- filtration technologies manufacturer Pall Corp. (PLL) -- and there are several others I think have the same type of potential.

Aside from being in retail, these three companies aren't much alike. One is a sodium bicarbonate maker best known for the Arm & Hammer brand, and the second is a leading discount clothing chain based in California. The third has carved out a profitable niche as a provider of farm and ranch supplies in rural areas.  

Analysts at Jefferies made a list of picks that have the potential to soar in price.

By Forbes Digital 23 hours ago
Caption: The Intel logo is displayed outside of the Intel headquarters in Santa Clara, Calif
Credit: © Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesBy Steve Schaefer, Forbes Staff

Business-focused social network LinkedIn (LNKD), retailer Lumber Liquidators (LL), growing ETF power WisdomTree Investments (WETF), cloud-based enterprise software company Workday (WDAY) and 3D-printing outfit 3D Systems (DDD) don't have much in common.

Except for the fact that analysts from Jefferies think all five could see their stocks double over the next two years.

In a lengthy note to clients Wednesday, Jefferies highlighted the five aforementioned stocks along with 23 others they believe have the potential to double in price over the next two years or so through a combination of earnings growth and multiple expansion.

An activist investor and corporate acquirer may be teaming up to make an offer for Allergan.

By MSN Money Partner Mon 5:42 PM
Image: Plastic surgery © Adam Gault/Digital Vision/Getty ImagesBy David Benoit, Dana Mattioli and Jonathan D. Rockoff, The Wall Street Journal

William Ackman and Valeant Pharmaceuticals International (VRX) are teaming up to try to buy wrinkle-treatment Botox maker Allergan (AGN), according to people familiar with the matter, in a unorthodox alliance between an activist investor and corporate acquirer.

Ackman's Pershing Square Capital Management LP has built a nearly 10 percent stake in Allergan, according to people familiar with the matter, worth about $4 billion and representing his biggest investment ever, the people said.

The two companies, both midsize in the pharmaceutical industry, have market capitalizations of more than $40 billion. Any offer for Allergan would likely come with a premium above $116 a share, the price Allergan traded at before Pershing Square began rapidly building its stake, said one of the people.


If you want targeted exposure to the world's best companies, add these to your portfolio.

By StreetAuthority Mon 4:25 PM
Image: Earth encircled by money © Bob Jacobson/CorbisBy David Sterman

Over the past half decade, the exchange-traded fund (ETF) industry has caught the mutual fund industry off-guard. The assets being managed by ETFs have more than doubled in size since 2009, compared with flat growth for their more mature counterparts (though mutual funds still manage more assets overall).

​ETFs have proved to be especially popular with investors seeking global exposure. There are now a few hundred country- and region-specific stock and bond ETFs, enabling investors to glean very targeted exposure. For example, as I wrote recently, I think Chile and Vietnam represent sound investment environments.

The appeal of country ETFs is self-evident: They are much cheaper to own than comparable mutual funds, and lower expense ratios can add up to big savings over the short or long haul.  

Experts discounted the potential for the sector coming into 2014, but large caps have been soaring.

By Benzinga Mon 4:08 PM

Caption: Oil and gas platform
Credit: © curraheeshutter/Getty ImagesBy David Fabian

The energy sector has been trading sharply higher as rising oil and natural gas prices create a sturdy tailwind for many integrated service and exploration companies.

After a frightening dip in January that tested the 200-day moving average, the Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) has rocketed to new all-time highs. In fact, XLE has now gained over 4 percent in the month of April and more than 13 percent since its February low.

This ETF is the largest and most heavily traded large-cap energy index, which encapsulates 44 companies and over $10 billion in total assets.

Many experts discounted the potential for the energy sector coming into 2014 as skepticism about the future of commodity prices weighed on revenue growth prospects.


If you believe that the economy will keep recovering, then this is the sector to own.

By MSN Money Partner Mon 3:38 PM
Railroad cars crowd the tracks at the CSX Transportation rail yard in Baldwin, Fla
© Oscar Sosa/APBy Bryan Borzykowski, CNBC

It's been another harrowing week for investors, with all the major U.S. markets falling by about 1 percent between April 10 and 15. For the average investor, selloffs bring fears of another recession, but for more astute stock pickers, a market drop is often a chance to pick up stocks at a bargain.

There's one sector that investors should consider taking advantage of during a dip: U.S. industrials. If you believe that the economy will keep recovering, then this is the sector to own -- it always does better when the country's fortunes improve.

Just look at its post-recession returns for proof. Between Sept.19, 2008, and March 6, 2009, America's industrial sector, which accounts for about 11 percent of the market, fell by about 55 percent, compared with 45 percent for the  Standard & Poor's 500 Index ($INX). Since the market bottomed on March 6, 2009, the S&P 500 is up 149 percent, compared with 230 percent for the S&P 500 Industrials Index.


The high yield behind this asset class earns it consideration as a core holding, but watch out for interest-rate movements.

By InvestorPlace Mon 2:56 PM

© woraput/Vetta/Getty Images
Stock AnalystBy Daniel Putnam

Preferred stocks don't receive much attention, but maybe it's time that changed.

The asset class, which investors can access easily via the iShares U.S. Preferred Stock ETF (PFF), offers the compelling combination of competitive returns, low risk and an outstanding yield.

And yet, PFF has just $9 billion under management -- just a fraction of the $157 billion held in the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY).

Based on a number of measures, it looks like investors are missing an opportunity.

The first benefit of preferred stocks is, of course, their yield. PFF currently offers an SEC yield of 5.8 percent, well above the 1.9 percent available on SPY.

Tags: PFF


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[BRIEFING.COM] S&P futures vs fair value: -0.50. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: flat. The S&P 500 futures trade less than a point below fair value.

Asian markets ended on a mixed note after the release of China's HSBC Manufacturing PMI, which ticked up to 48.3 from 48.0 (expected 48.4). Even though the reading improved, it remained in contraction (below 50) for the fourth month in a row.

In other regional data, Australia's CPI rose 0.6% quarter-over-quarter (expected ... More


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