Energy boom makes oil a safe haven
Oil becomes a surprising haven

The idea of US crude being a shelter from turmoil abroad may not be as far fetched as it seems.


The company shifts money around the world to get the lowest tax rates possible. It's legal, but is it right?

By Kim Peterson Oct 21, 2010 1:24PM
Making tax shelters © Ingram Publishing / SuperStock Google (GOOG) loves to talk about the ways it makes money, but it stays mostly silent on one of its most profitable units: its tax lawyers.

Those lawyers have made Google and its shareholders oodles of money by devising ways to funnel profits out of high-tax countries and into island tax havens like Bermuda.

It's all perfectly legal -- though it does make some people skeptical of Google's "Don't be evil" mantra. And as a result, Google has cut taxes by $3.1 billion in three years and lowered its overseas tax rate to a jaw-dropping 2.4%, Bloomberg reports
Tags: ibm

The hamburger chain beats analyst estimates for the third quarter with a 6% jump in comparable sales.

By Kim Peterson Oct 21, 2010 10:34AM
Big Mac © McDonald’sShares of McDonald's (MCD) hit an all-time high Thursday after the company beat analyst estimates for its third quarter.

The company said interesting menu items like frappes and smoothies helped drive traffic, as well as the continued appeal of the dollar menu in tough economic times. Comparable sales were up 6% worldwide.

McDonald's reported a $1.39 billion profit, or $1.29 a share, for the quarter. That's up from $1.26 billion, or $1.15 a share, in the year-ago period. Analysts had expected $1.25 a share. 

Whether you favor Google's rise to dominance or GE's resurrection, you can gain exposure to either corporate giant through these funds.

By TheStreet Staff Oct 21, 2010 10:18AM

By Don Dion, TheStreet


Given the company's massive pile of cash and numerous acquisitions throughout 2010, more market commentators are looking to Google (GOOG) as the General Electric (GE) of the 21st century. Using exchange-traded funds, you can gain ample exposure to either company.


Throughout 2010, Google has been on a remarkable shopping spree. Often considered a one-trick pony, the tech Goliath has taken a number of steps in hopes of expanding beyond the search engine business, which has traditionally been its bread and butter.


Since February, the company has bought at least one name a month, expanding its reach into various outlets. Companies acquired 2010 are in industries such as social gaming, photo editing, advertising and travel technology.


Unless judges and pols want to sink the economy, the foreclosure mess won't shut down the banks. Wells Fargo, for one, is doing much better.

By Jim Cramer Oct 21, 2010 8:43AM

jim cramerBy Jim Cramer, TheStreet


Don't waste another moment thinking about this foreclosure mess until you listen to the Wells Fargo (WFC) conference call -- a turgid affair but one that will make you realize that there is no way this process is going to be shut down unless the judges and politicians really do want to bankrupt the banks and kill the U.S. economy. Given how costly it was to save the banking system, even anti-bank President Barack Obama is not in favor of putting it on its heels again.


Maybe because there are so many business outlets writing and commenting on issues, or maybe because of the unchecked nature of the Web, it has become almost common and accepted wisdom that many things were done wrong on the paperwork of loans themselves.


I think that's wrong. If you listen to Wells Fargo -- and I have never thought they were liars -- the process has pretty much been the same all along, and there are no title-chain complications WHATSOEVER. It remains a good, profitable, growing business for WFC.


Is China playing games with its rare-earth reserves? The move says a lot about the future of rare earth.

By Jim J. Jubak Oct 20, 2010 4:40PM

Jim JubakChina's Ministry of Commerce said Saturday that the country could run out of medium and heavy rare-earth reserves in 15 to 20 years at the current rate of production.

Could this be true? Or is it simply justification for China's decision to cut export quotas by 72% in the second half of 2010 -- and slap a de facto ban on rare earth exports to Japan to protest the seizure of a Chinese fishing boat? A New York Times story today says that Chinese customs officials are also stopping rare earth shipments destined for Europe and the U.S.

I vote both are true.


Lower costs and better choices are some of the advantages.

By InvestorPlace Oct 20, 2010 4:14PM


Exchange-traded funds have seen impressive growth over the past several years.

Despite the growth, hardly any of it has come from retirement plans like 401(k)s.

Critics claim that ETFs have no business inside 401(k) plans, but are they right? Will ETFs shakeup the slow-moving 401(k) market?

Let’s analyze why ETF(k) retirement plans make sense. 


Legg Mason's Bill Miller gets bullish and sees the best market since the Reagan era.

By Anthony Mirhaydari Oct 20, 2010 1:56PM
Over the past two months, I've been focusing on how stocks are preparing for an epic bull market, thanks mainly to the current boom in bonds. (See columns here and here.) At its most basic, the catalyst will be corporate releveraging as executives take advantage of ridiculously low bond yields to conduct M&A activity, increase dividends and repurchase shares.

It looks like I'm not the only one.

Legg Mason Capital Management chairman Bill Miller told CNBC today that he thinks it's "the best time since the early 1980s to buy." His rationale? The same as mine: Stocks are undervalued relative to bonds. Here's why. 

Steve Jobs' comments Monday are still getting attention as RIM responds with strong words. We pick the winners.

By Kim Peterson Oct 20, 2010 12:57PM
Credit: (© Paul Sakuma/AP)
Caption: Apple CEO Steve Jobs holds the new iPhone 4Meow! We're seeing a hissing match of epic proportions this week as tech executives blast each other in the smart-phone wars. Let's see what's being said and pick the winners.

Kicking things off, of course, was Apple (AAPL) chief executive Steve Jobs, who went on a remarkable rant against competitors in his earnings call Monday. He unloaded on Google (GOOG) and Research In Motion (RIMM) in particular, and those companies are responding in kind. Or not so kind.

"Many customers are getting tired of being told what to think by Apple," Jim Balsillie, co-chief executive at RIM, said in a statement posted online. His comments came after Jobs said, "We've now passed RIM, and I don't see them catching up."

An iPhone on the nation's largest wireless carrier would be nice, but Verizon's stable of smart phones shows Apple may need it more.

By TheStreet Staff Oct 20, 2010 12:37PM

thestreetBy Jason Notte, TheStreet


If a Verizon (VZ) iPhone comes to pass, its shelf space won't be padded by the same pushovers that surround it at AT&T (T).


If speculation holds and Verizon brings Apple's (AAPL) iPhone into the fold in the first quarter of next year, its 14.1 million in sales last quarter -- a 91% improvement over the same period last year -- could be easily eclipsed. JP Morgan (JPM) estimates that the iPhone will boost Verizon profits by 11%. Unlike AT&T, though, where 13 million iPhone subscribers at the end of the first quarter of this year accounted for 15% of the wireless subscriber base and 25% of wireless revenues, Verizon has a few more toys in the box.


Verizon's Motorola (MOT) Droid X, Droid Incredible and Droid 2 Google (GOOG) Android phones, for example, accounted for about 27% of total Android sales in the second quarter of this year. Also, roughly 4% of Verizon's smart-phone users use 2 gigabytes of data per month, compared with only about 2.5% of AT&T's iPhone customers.


Here's a look at the iPhone and how it stacks up against five smart-phone alternatives.


The lawsuit won't go to trial, but it undermines much-needed confidence in the American banking system.

By Jim Cramer Oct 20, 2010 8:42AM

thestreetBy Jim Cramer, TheStreet


If you think Bank of America (BAC) is going to buy back those bonds, even if the Fed's involved, then you might as well forget the rule of law. Lots of bonds were issued, bought and sold by everyone during this period, and, believe me, the ones that BAC or its Countrywide unit packaged were no worse and most likely better than others.


I think that it is a way to get a little something back and that maybe, down the line, BAC will settle for some dollar amount that is probably not yet reserved but will be.


What bothers me about this is that, once again, it is the flipside of this administration and this era.


The surprise move is causing a ripple effect in markets worldwide.

By Jim J. Jubak Oct 19, 2010 4:21PM

Jim JubakChina caught global financial markets flatfooted Tuesday by raising its benchmark interest rates for the first time since 2007.

The People's Bank of China raised its one-year lending rate to 5.56% from 5.31% and its deposit rate by 0.25 percentage points to 2.5%.

The move sent markets lower around the world. The Dow Jones industrials were down 2% at 3:30 ET. In Europe, the FTSE 100 was down 0.7%, and Brazil's Bovespa was down 1.6%.


Proposed new rules and a crackdown on the business model at for-profit schools hit the sector hard.

By Kim Peterson Oct 19, 2010 3:32PM
University of Phoenix building (©Joshua Lott/Bloomberg/Getty Images)For-profit education stocks like Apollo Group (APOL) were hot as the recession hit. Laid-off workers will return to school to sharpen their skills, right?

But those stocks have fallen hard. Their business models are lousy, with big profits ultimately funded by taxpayer dollars. They have come under fire by lawmakers and stockholders and are now having to change the policies that made them profitable in the first place.

For a glimpse at just how shoddy those policies are, consider this report issued three weeks ago by Sen. Tom Harkin. Here's how some schools rake in profits at taxpayer expense: 

Apple is on a course that no company has ever traversed. Consider the following insights from Steve Jobs.

By TheStreet Staff Oct 19, 2010 12:45PM

Credit: (© Paul Sakuma/AP)
Caption: Apple CEO Steve Jobs holds the new iPhone 4By Jason Schwarz, TheStreet


Steve Jobs couldn't help himself. He just had to sit in on Apple's (AAPL) first $20 billion quarterly conference call. His presence certainly added to the depth of insight coming from Apple management.


In fact, Jobs revealed four insider opinions on the future of tech that, if true, will cause Apple's stock to continue its run to overtake ExxonMobil (XOM) as the world's largest stock by market cap.


As a rare jack-of-all-trades innovator, Apple is blazing a trail that no company has ever traversed. Consider the following four insights from the brain of Steve Jobs:


As the beverage giant reports an increase in earnings, this may be the time to grab its shares.

By TheStreet Staff Oct 19, 2010 12:19PM

Credit: (©Jeff Chiu/AP)
Caption: Coca-Cola bottlesBy Andrea Tse, TheStreet


Coca-Cola (KO) reported an increase in third-quarter earnings amid solid volume growth.


The company said net income attributable to shareholders of the Coca-Cola Co. increased by 8% to $2.055 billion, or 88 cents a share, from $1.896 billion, or 81 cents, a year earlier.


Shares of Coca-Cola were rising 0.5% to $60.32 in midday trading.


Strong corporate earnings make it tough to bet against stocks, but nothing keeps going up in a straight line.

By InvestorPlace Oct 19, 2010 9:59AM

By Jamie Dlugosch

Exchange-traded funds have been successful for us as of late, but it appears that a pause may be around the corner.

One of the biggest mistakes investors can make is to project their own personal situation to the market or stocks in general.

If times are tough, the assumption is that times are tough everywhere and that stocks will likely falter. All sorts of emotions, including envy and jealousy, can come out of the woodwork when things aren’t going well personally. 



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[BRIEFING.COM] Equity indices hover near their rebound highs with the S&P 500 lower by five points.

The first half of today's session has lacked any concerted sector leadership, which is still the case at this juncture. Materials (+0.02%), telecom services (+0.4%), and utilities (+1.1%) hover in the green, but the three sectors account for less than 10.0% of the entire market.

Elsewhere, consumer staples (-0.5%) and industrials (-0.9%) trail the broader market, while the ... More


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