The assembly line producing the Ford Fiesta car in Cuautitlan Izcalli, Mexico. © Susana Gonzalez/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Mexico will soon be next car capital

Some 80% of the vehicles built south of the border are exported to other countries, mostly to the US.

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The '00s belonged to Research in Motion, but Apple's iPhone changed everything. Can BlackBerry stay in the game?

By Kim Peterson Dec 29, 2009 1:28PM
Blackberry Curve 8900 (© Peter Morgan/AP)Rave about the iPhone all you want. The last decade truly belonged to the BlackBerry. But can the BlackBerry survive the next decade?

It was back in early 1999 that Research in Motion (RIMM) first introduced the BlackBerry, declaring that e-mail was the future, according to an excellent history of the device on Engadget.

And the first BlackBerry was pretty much that -- a gadget that served up mobile e-mail to business types. It became hugely popular: RIM's bet on e-mail was the correct one.  

Despite the turnaround in Russian stocks this year, investors should be skeptical about investing in this emerging nation.

By InvestorPlace Dec 29, 2009 1:14PM

Russia © Radius Images/JupiterimagesBy Robert Hsu, InvestorPlace.com

 

My expertise is in international investing, and because of this I'm often asked whether I think investing in Russia is a good idea. Certainly, one can't argue with the positive results seen in the country's benchmark RTSI index. It's been one of the best-performing stock markets year to date, up an incredible 130% in 2009.

 

Yet despite the impressive move in Russian stocks this year, I remain a skeptic when it comes to the upside potential of investing in this emerging nation. Why am I so skeptical? Well, there are two primary reasons.

 

Investors who rode the company's recovery should consider selling their shares to reap this year's big returns.

By TheStreet Staff Dec 29, 2009 12:11PM

TheStreetBy David MacDougall, TheStreet

 

As the financial markets collapsed in 2008, American Express (AXP) fell further and faster than its big credit card competitors MasterCard (MA) and Visa (V). The company collected $3.4 billion in TARP funds amid concerns about rising defaults and debt.

 

This year, the company repaid the money it received from the Troubled Asset Relief Program, and the stock has quadrupled. As stores tally their holiday sales, investors are waiting to find out whether American Express shares hit their peak or have room to grow.

 

Regardless of the outcome, American Express stock does not look like a bargain now. Investors who rode the recovery may do well to count their blessings and get out with sizable gains. Others looking to get into a credit card stock should consider MasterCard and Visa, which have less leverage and a wider appeal to merchants and customers.

 

Find a new broker and start trading

 

Gun maker stocks have fallen in anticipation of a slowdown in sales. Crime statistics may support more sales growth.

By  Dec 28, 2009 6:32PM

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), violent crime dropped in the first half of 2009.

 

Murders fell by 10% during the first half of the year as compared to the same period in 2008. Robbery and forcible rape dropped by 6.5% and 3.3% respectively.

 

Of all the things we have to be thankful for in 2009, a drop in these horrible crimes has to be at the top of the list.

 

At the same time, gun sales were surging, a fact pro-gun advocates have already connected to the drop in crime.

 

Are they really correlated? I'll leave that to others, but the possibility might be enough to help gun makers and their stocks in 2010.

 

Shares of Woods' sponsors, including Nike, PepsiCo and Electronic Arts, have dropped since the golf legend's sex scandal began.

By TheStreet Staff Dec 28, 2009 3:34PM

TheStreetBy Eric Rosenbaum, TheStreet

 

Add Tiger Woods to the list of factors that need to be modeled into risk algorithms.

 

A new study from the University of California, Davis, estimates that shareholders of Woods sponsors Nike (NKE) and Gatorade maker PepsiCo (PEP) have lost $5 billion to $12 billion in market value since news broke about the golf champ’s marital infidelity.  

 

While the public has focused on how the scandal has hit Woods’ endorsement earnings, the UC Davis study said the loss to shareholders of the companies who sponsor him would amount to decades’ worth of endorsement income.

 

Berkshire Hathaway companies shed 21,000 workers in the past year as the investment firm's stock trailed the market.

By TheStreet Staff Dec 28, 2009 12:46PM

TheStreetBy Eric Rosenbaum, TheStreet

 

It hasn't been the best year for the stocks in Berkshire Hathaway's (BRK.A BRK.B) investment portfolio. A recent filing shows that Warren Buffett has been cutting employees in response to performance shortfalls.

 

A Securities and Exchange Commission document filed last week as part of the upcoming acquisition of Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNI) said Berkshire Hathaway had 21,000 fewer employees than it had at the end of 2008. The company’s workforce fell 8.6% to 225,000 people from 246,000, the total given in the company’s 2008 annual report.

 

Berkshire Hathaway reported a first-quarter loss of $1.53 billion, or $990 a share, because of writedowns related to derivatives and weak oil stock investments. While Berkshire Hathaway's performance turned positive in the second and third quarters, the Omaha, Neb.-based company cut jobs throughout the year.  

 

Find a better broker now

 

Base metals rise 5 times more than gold, with little fanfare.

By Jon D. Markman Dec 27, 2009 6:12PM

Gold bugs have a cool nickname and get a lot of press, but their favorite investment instrument has not even come close to being the best-performing metal this year. That distinction goes to its redder big brother, copper, and, it's followed not too far behind by just about every other base metal -- including, most prominently, lead and nickel.

If that's a surprise to you, it's mostly because lowly copper and lead just don't call as much attention to themselves as gold. I didn't see too many ads for copper or lead necklaces this holiday season, and I have never heard anyone brag about being a lead bug.

But, boy, have they captured investors' attention since the start of 2009 because of their usefulness in heavy industry. Using exchange-traded funds tracking their futures prices as a measure, here are the numbers: Copper (JJC) is +131%; lead is (LD), +124%; steel (SLX) is +115%; nickel is +57%; and aluminum (JJU), is +36%.

 
Tags: gold

Christmas week was good, and the year's last few days are also looking up.

By Jim Van Meerten Dec 26, 2009 2:45PM
Each week I use BarChart to step back from all the noise and evaluate how the market really performed and determine my investing strategy for the coming week. I like the Value Line Index because it contains 1,700 stocks, giving me a much broader view of the market than the narrower S&P 500 or the very narrow Dow 30. The market as measured by the Value Line Index was up 3.60% for the week and 8.32% month to date. With only four more trading days left in 2009, we should end the year on a good note.

Value Line Index -- 1,700 stocks: All indicators are positive.
  • All 13 BarChart technical indicators have a buy rating for a 100% buy rating overall
  • The index closed Friday above its 20, 50 & 100 daily moving averages
  • The Index has had a price appreciation in 12 of the past 20 trading sessions and is 5 for 5 recently
  • The Index has had a 7.89% price appreciation in the last 65 sessions

BarChart Market Momentum Indicator -- percentage of stocks closing above their Daily Moving Averages for various time frames -- approximately 6000 stocks. Positive for all three time frames.

 

A temporary setback for the greenback should help energy and commodies.

By Anthony Mirhaydari Dec 24, 2009 1:20PM

MirhaydariThe dollar lost 0.5% Wednesday as it formed a "key reversal" pattern. This means that the dollar pushed to new highs before selling resistance was met, resulting in a close below the previous day's low. Such daily patterns can indicate a short-term trend reversal, though key reversals on the weekly and monthly charts are more important.

 

So the dollar's recent gains could be vulnerable to a consolidation before the long-term uptrend I've been expecting resumes. Coming into the session, the dollar had gained 4.7% since December 2 -- its best performance since the greenback's big downtrend started back in March. The weekly and monthly dollar charts still look bullish for the medium term.

 

A temporary slide in the dollar will have a number of mostly positive impacts.

 

The state continues to attract more people than it loses. It gained more residents than any other state last year.

By Kim Peterson Dec 24, 2009 1:18PM
Housing sales plummeted and layoffs abounded over the past year. And that means that Americans aren't moving around the U.S. like they used to.

That's causing some screwy things to happen with the normal migration patterns. People have stopped flooding into Florida and Nevada -- states that enjoyed a significant housing boom in the past, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Other states are seeing a drop in migration as well. But one state, Texas, has continued to attract new residents, and it has gained more people than any other for the fourth year in a row. 

Its stores add a hefty markup on packages they send through the U.S. Postal Service, the NYT finds.

By Kim Peterson Dec 24, 2009 12:52PM
The New York Times breaks some shocking news: UPS (UPS) costs more to ship than the post office!

A UPS office can send items through the U.S. mail -- a convenience for people who would rather avoid the post office. But each UPS store is individually owned, and it can slap whatever surcharge it wants on top of the normal postal rates.

Reporters from the Times found that a package that the post office charges $8.80 to ship is significantly marked up at some UPS stores. One store charged $19.90.  
Tags: UPS

How to profit from the big gains in 'Wall Street' stocks.

By Anthony Mirhaydari Dec 23, 2009 4:02PM

MirhaydariWithin the financial sector, the action among brokerage stocks has caught my eye: OptionsXpress (OXPS), State Street (STT) and TD Ameritrade (AMTD) have all initiated powerful new uptrends.

 

These are the most impressive moves since the beginning of the July market rally -- a possible indication that Wall Street insiders are positioning themselves for further market gains and increased trading activity. Brokerage stocks are the beneficiaries of popular participation in stocks. And right now, Main Street investors aren't that interested in stocks.

As I noted in my recent "pessimism bubble" post, opinion polls show low levels of confidence in stocks as a long-term investment. And mutual fund flow data from the Investment Company Institute show that average investors are much more enamored with bond investments than stocks at the moment. Cash is moving from ultra-safe money market mutual funds to safe bonds. Eventually, as the bull market rolls on, these funds will flow into stocks and boost the earnings of brokerages.

 

The personal-finance guru talks about the future of the economy, real estate no-nos and bond investing.

By Kim Peterson Dec 23, 2009 3:59PM
Suze Orman (© Evan Agostini/AP)Suze Orman is very good at what she does. Need evidence? Look no further than the multimillion-dollar empire she built by giving personal-finance advice to ordinary folks.

She knows her stuff. But when it comes to talking about the national economy, she's more smiles than specifics. CNBC host Larry Kudlow asked Orman about the subject recently (video below) and billed the interview as "the world according to Suze Orman."

Orman's view of the economy is quite simple: We'll be OK next year and the year after that. We could get into trouble again in 2012 and 2013.  

Children have much longer investment horizons than adults, so if you start investing for them when they are young, it can make a big difference in their lives.

By Ken Kam Dec 23, 2009 3:33PM
When my daughter was born I set up what I call a "Bicycle Trust". Its mission is to assist her to become a self-sufficient and a valuable member of society. Just as a bicycle enables you to travel farther and faster than someone on foot, we want this trust to amplify her own efforts so she can go farther and faster than she otherwise would have. But, a bicycle won't take you anywhere unless you pedal. If for some reason, our daughter doesn't want to do the "pedaling" required to develop her talents, we would rather have the money go to help another child (or grandchild) who does.

The power of compounding over long investment horizons is truly amazing. I calculated that if I put aside $2,000 a year, and we got the long-run average market return, by the time my daughter turns 70, those $2,000 annual gifts will have grown to more than $30 million! It's enough to make a big difference in her life. 

After a bad turn on its own investment portfolio, State Street returns to a business model that works.

By Jim J. Jubak Dec 23, 2009 2:17PM

Jim JubakJubak Picks 50 portfolio member State Street (STT) is gradually finding its way back to its core business of collecting fees for managing assets that belong to others and away from an ill-fated build up of its own investment portfolio.


At the height of that past strategy, State Street's investment portfolio had climbed to 50% of total assets, according to Morningstar. 


That strategy rested on a base of cash raised in the short-term markets, was sometimes invested in complex instruments that carried more risk than advertised, and led the company into using off-balance-sheet accounting gimmicks to diminish reported risk.

It all blew up on State Street

 

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[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market ended the midweek session on a mixed note. Blue chip listings bolstered the Dow Jones Industrial Average (+0.4%) and S&P 500 (+0.3%), while the Russell 2000 (-0.4%) and Nasdaq Composite (-0.02%) underperformed.

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