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Banco Santander gets solid Latin American profits, but buffers risk with business in the U.S. and U.K.

By Jim J. Jubak May 28, 2010 4:44PM

Jim JubakI don't know when the euro debt crisis will be over or when European stocks, particularly European bank stocks, will stop sinking like stones. 


Certainly investors aren't out of the woods yet: Fitch Ratings downgraded Spain to AA today (finally), for example.


But I do know that with a yield of 9.5% Friday, Banco Santander (STD) is paying me quite handsomely to wait.

 

Several of the market gurus I follow are seeing Europe's problems as a buying opportunity -- not a reason to panic

By John Reese May 28, 2010 3:19PM

It was another anxiety-provoking week for stock investors, as Europe's debt woes continued to send the U.S. markets on a volatile, and generally downward, path. But according to many of the market's top strategists, the Euro Zone's problems aren't a reason to shun stocks. 


Kenneth Fisher, for example, says the Europe fears are overblown. While the market tumbled Friday amid news that Fitch downgraded Spain's credit rating, Fisher says investors shouldn't give much credence to rating agencies -- whose failings to properly evaluate debt were a big part of how the U.S. credit crisis developed. “It’s simply astounding, after all we’ve seen in recent decades, that anyone pays attention to credit ratings put out by the officially sanctioned rating agencies,” Fisher writes in his latest Forbes column. “Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s compound investors’ worst sins, including the tendency to make a mountain out of a molehill.”

Fisher says investors shouldn’t give in to fear. “Panics pass. This one will, too,” he writes. “Stop thinking about short-term market jitters and more about long-term investing.”

 

He's not alone in his bullishness.

 

 

The toy retailer files plans for a public offering, trading under the symbol 'TOYS.'

By Kim Peterson May 28, 2010 1:57PM

Kim PetersonToys R Us, which was taken off the markets to become private in 2005, is getting ready for a new initial public offering.

Is this stock worth a look? After reading through the company's prospectus, I'd say no. Toys R Us hasn't grown its sales and is burdened by huge debt.

Let's go through some of the details of what's happened to this company in the last five years. Here's a rundown of the challenges Toys R Us faces:

 

Just because Apple shares are trading for $250, people think the stock is expensive. Here's why it's a steal.

By Jim Cramer May 28, 2010 10:22AM

TheStreetYep, Apple (AAPL) is a focus of mine. Yesterday on "Morning Joe" -- my favorite talk show (I can't wait when I am booked) -- we were all playing with our iPads and the crowd was in disbelief that Apple could be so big.

 

To me, though, the question is how can Apple be this cheap?

 

We have to use Karen Cramer's old 10-to-1 rule. You need to divide this stock by 10 to think about it. Would you buy a $25 stock at a 12 multiple that has $5 in cash, no debt and is growing quickly -- perhaps by as much as 20%? How about if it only had a single-digit share in all of its key markets? How about if it had new product cycles, several of them, happening all at once?

 

Evidence that the 'smart money' crowd is betting on a rebound rally.

By Anthony Mirhaydari May 28, 2010 10:11AM

MirhaydariStocks launched higher on Thursday, clearing significant technical resistance and breaking the sideways amble that has characterized trading over the last few days. It appears the balance of power is beginning to shift back towards the bulls: The S&P 500 gained 3.4% while the Russell 2000 added 4.3%. 

 

And the standard measure of fear, the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX), continued to melt lower -- losing another 13.6% to cap a five-day loss of nearly 34%. This is the fastest and hardest drop for the VIX seen since late 2008 as the doom and gloom that has pervaded the scene over the last few weeks has started to clear.

 

From a sentiment perspective, a rebound rally was due. To prepare for what seemed to be an economic disaster scenario, amateur options traders were frantically bidding up equity put options over the past few days. This is the kind of behavior that is frequently seen at market lows. But all the while, Wall Street pros were quietly turning bullish.

 

Yum Brands' latest expansion of Americanized Mexican fast food will open in June.

By InvestorPlace May 28, 2010 9:37AM

Yum Brands (YUM) has been getting a decidedly global flavor at its KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut restaurants in recent years. And the next global market in its sights is the United Kingdom.


Yum! Brands will launch a Taco Bell chain in England next month according to reports, debuting at Lakeside Shopping Centre in Essex. The fare will be similar to what American diners are used to, with a menu that features cheap tacos and burritos and caters to value-conscious consumers.


This is just a small part of an ambitious growth strategy for Taco Bell and other YUM brands.

 

Don't read too much into any selling Friday. The real test comes next week.

By Jim J. Jubak May 27, 2010 5:27PM

Jim JubakSo, where does the stock market go from here?


U.S. stocks are bouncing off the February 2010 low near 1,040 on the Standard & Poor's 500 index ($INX), which closed above 1,100 Thursday.


Good news for anyone with money in the stock market. But what does it mean?

 

 

There are two possibilities.

 

Shares of the satellite radio provider sank 10% yesterday after staying mostly above $1 for the past month.

By TheStreet Staff May 27, 2010 12:36PM

TheStreetBy Andrea Tse, TheStreet

 

Since April 14, Sirius XM Radio (SIRI) stock has almost consistently closed at more than $1, except for small dips on May 20 and 25.

 

Shares of the satellite radio provider plunged 10% on Wednesday, ending the day at 88 cents. The decline triggered flashbacks to the days when Sirius faced delisting threats from the Nasdaq. Today, the stock has taken back losses Thursday morning, jumping more than 10%.

 

Sirius shares have fallen 31% annually for the past five years. The company, which relies on subscribers, struggled to remain profitable as the recession hurt spending and the car industry slumped.

 

A pullback in the dollar and a more relaxed policy stance could mean big gains for Chinese stocks.

By Anthony Mirhaydari May 27, 2010 12:00PM

MirhaydariSince investors started worrying about the inability of governments to pay their rising debt loads -- starting with Dubai in November and continuing with troubled European nations like Greece -- the U.S. dollar has strengthened.

 

This was a big reversal of fortune for the greenback. As a result, U.S. stocks started to outperform foreign stocks as traders looked to park their cash in a rising currencies.

 

But now, with the dollar extremely overbought and ripe for a pullback, emerging market stocks are starting to perk up. China in particular is looking strong with the iShares China ETF (FXI) moving over its 9-day and 18-day moving averages in trading today. Similar bounces in the past have presaged the initiation of new up trends.

 

Reports about the possibility of China dumping European bonds in response to debt crisis are absurd.

By Jim Cramer May 27, 2010 10:46AM
TheStreet's Jim Cramer

OK, let's figure out some other way to take the euro down.


I am talking about what now looks to be the totally specious report by the Financial Times that the Chinese were going to dump their holdings in European bonds, something I dismissed last night as highly unlikely, because unlike the US, the tariff-happy Europeans would have quickly put import duties on the 25% of Chinese exports that head to Europe.


The story seemed too perfectly timed. Lots of hedge funds --which are known for betting on falling stocks -- have had a great May and it would have been horrible to ruin that performance with a couple of good days inspired by American fundamentals and a better Chinese market.

 

Chimera Investment is one under-$5 stock that offers investors an outsized dividend.

By TheStreet Staff May 27, 2010 10:44AM

By Robert Holmes, TheStreetTheStreet

 

Investors bruised by the recent stock market correction have turned to dividend-paying stocks for stability, and several under-$5 names like Chimera Investment (CIM) offer outsized dividend yields to those willing to take the risk.

 

Dividend stocks are attractive during times of uncertainty because of the consistent cash payout. While share prices can move sharply, as evidenced in the so-called "flash crash" on May 6 when the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped nearly 1,000 points intraday, dividends typically hold steady. Over the last month, the Dow has fallen roughly 10%, putting the index in correction territory.

 

"When the markets start correcting, investors normally gravitate toward more defensive stocks," says Paul Nolte, managing director with Dearborn Partners. "Those defensive stocks typically have consistency in earnings and a bulk of them pay dividends and may even increase dividends. Investors can get money while they're waiting for the market to turn around in addition to owning a company that has a pretty good earnings flow."

 

Atomic force microscopes and plenty of PhD's go into rebranding the struggling hair care brand

By InvestorPlace May 27, 2010 9:40AM

Pantene, the hair care line that generates $3 billion for personal products giant Procter and Gamble (PG), is no stranger to makeovers. And after the recession drove consumers into the arms of cheaper rivals, Pantene is reinventing itself yet again – the third rebranding since 1999 – in an effort to reconnect with consumers.


According to Business Week, some of the big ideas behind more than two years of research and reformulation include both an “atomic force microscope, similar to one used on NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander, and micro-computed tomography, used to measure bone density” to ensure the shampoos were truly making hair healthier.

 

Both companies are still behind Exxon Mobil on the S&P 500 index, however.

By Kim Peterson May 26, 2010 3:56PM

© Kyu Oh/Getty ImagesAll it took Wednesday was a little bump in Apple's (AAPL) price, and a tiny drop in Microsoft's (MSFT), and bam: Apple became the world's most valuable technology company.

Apple shares closed Wednesday at just over $244, making its market cap about $222.9 billion. Microsoft shares dropped about 4%, bringing its market cap down to $218.7 billion.


Both companies are still behind Exxon Mobil (XOM), which is the largest company on the S&P index and valued at about $279 billion. But the way Apple has been going, Exxon could be steamrolled soon.

 

Marvell Technology shares popped after its last earnings report, but performance has slipped.

By Jim J. Jubak May 26, 2010 3:13PM

Jim JubakI'm going to use Wednesday's bounce to sell Marvell Technology Group (MRVL)


I don't know how long this bounce will run -- it could go to 1220 or so on the Standard & Poor's 500 or be cut short by investors selling into strength -- but I would like to lighten up on technology for the summer quarters.


Marvell Technology is the most volatile of my tech holdings. That will be good news when the group rallies, but right now it exposes me to more risk than I'd like. (For more on my short-term take on the market, see this post).

 

Gold prices rise as investors seek a safe haven from uncertainty in Europe.

By TheStreet Staff May 26, 2010 3:00PM

TheStreet© Stockbyte/SuperStockBy Alix Steel, TheStreet

 

Gold prices were rising Wednesday as jittery investors sought safety from global economic uncertainty.

 

Gold delivery for June was rising $15.50, or 1.3%, to $1,213.30 an ounce at the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. Gold has traded as high as $1,216.90 and as low as $1,201.


The U.S. dollar index was rising 0.75% to $87 while the euro was falling 1.14% to $1.22 against the dollar after hitting an eight-year low on Tuesday. The spot gold price Wednesday was adding more than $11, according to Kitco's gold index.

 

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[BRIEFING.COM] The Nasdaq Composite (+0.5%) and S&P 500 (+0.2%) posted modest gains on Thursday, but not before enduring a morning dip into the red, which took place in reaction to reports indicating Russia has commenced military exercises on the Ukrainian border.

The news from Europe knocked the key indices from their early highs, while giving a boost to safe-haven assets like gold futures (+0.5% to $1290.80/ozt), Treasuries (10-yr yield -1 bps to 2.69%), and the Japanese yen (102.30 ... More


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