Why stocks are in for a rough ride this week
Stocks in for a rough ride this week

Longtime market bull Jeremy Siegel says investors could realize the market is behind the curve on interest rates.

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The retailer sold 158 items per second on its peak shopping day.

By Kim Peterson Dec 28, 2010 1:41PM
Credit: (© Amazon.com)
Caption: Amazon KindleAmazon (AMZN) investors must have the patience of a saint. How else do you deal with a company that hides so much information?

The company's holiday press releases are exasperating. Amazon dribbles out some carefully chosen facts but is silent about so many others. As a result, we're left trying to decipher what those few numbers really mean about the retailer's holiday quarter.

In this case, the numbers are pretty impressive. Amazon said it sold 13.7 million items worldwide on its peak day, Nov. 29. That's 158 items every second -- a record for the company. 
Tags: internet

With a new year just a few trading days away, a few promising sectors stand out.

By TheStreet Staff Dec 28, 2010 12:16PM

StockpickrBull Market © First Light/Image StateBy Jonas Elmerraji, Stockpickr

 

This year is almost behind us, and what a year it has been. While the broad market's double-digit run-up has been nothing to scoff at, it has paled in comparison with the massive rallies that have taken place across specific industries and other asset classes.

 

Defense contractors are up nearly twice as much as the broad market this year. Small caps have rallied even more than that, and precious-metals funds are up more than four times as much as the S&P 500 in 2010.

 

But focused investing in those plays is easy when you have the benefit of hindsight. Instead, today we'll look at investments to focus on for 2011. With a new year just a few trading days away, a handful of industries stand out as attractive investments for 2011.

 

For-profit-education stocks have been massacred, leaving an opportunity or two in the aftermath.

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day Dec 28, 2010 12:15PM

College © Brand X Pictures/PhotolibraryDespite his penchant for Pink Floyd, Andy Louis-Charles is anything but laid back when he finds a good opportunity. Read on for screaming value in the education sector.

 

Rex Moore, Motley Fool Top Stocks editor

 

The market has been singing some Pink Floyd lately -- specifically, "We don't need no education!" It's music to my ears.

 

Everyone and his alma mater hates for-profit universities. An index of the sector is down 46% from its April highs, as investors seem to be bracing for sweeping reforms and draconian regulations, whether from Congress or the Department of Education.

 

Will the Santa Claus rally continue?

By Jamie Dlugosch Dec 27, 2010 6:14PM

Santa Claus © Digital Vision / Getty Images Santa was very good for investors this year. A very impressive rally that began after Labor Day plowed forward again last week for a solid gain of .9%. That puts gains for 2010 solidly in double digits.

 

Not bad considering the amount of pessimism surrounding the markets for much of the year. I guess that’s why contrarians have done so well.

 

I’ll continue to play it safe with my ETF trades this week. My favorite pick is the contrarian play against the so-called January effect that can propel small stocks higher.

 
Tags: etfoil

It's not an official indicator, but a jump in online employment ads bodes well for 2011.

By Kim Peterson Dec 27, 2010 3:44PM
Blue-collar job © image100/CorbisJob postings dropped to depressing levels a year ago as the economy foundered. But that has changed dramatically this month.

Major U.S. companies are advertising thousands of job openings, The Wall Street Journal reports. New data from the Indeed website shows that there were 4.7 million job postings online as of Dec. 1 -- up from 2.7 million a year ago.

The number of job postings isn't a very scientific view of the economic recovery. Many openings don't get posted online at all, and official payroll data haven't signaled a hiring rebound, the Journal reports. 

Attendance plummeted in 2010, even with deep discounts. Now promoters say admission prices will drop.

By Kim Peterson Dec 27, 2010 2:25PM
Credit: (© Briony Campbell/Lifesize/Getty Images)
Caption: ConcertFor some musical artists, 2010 was the year of the empty seat.

Musicians across the spectrum had a tough time selling tickets, as fans decided they had better things to do with their money. Seats that at one time could have sold for $100 or $200 had no takers, and artists like Christina Aguilera, the Eagles, John Mayer and Rihanna had to cancel shows or entire tours.

Not the greatest year for concert promoters like Live Nation (LYV), which merged with Ticketmaster in January and saw its stock price plummet 25% since April. So now the concert business is giving in and dropping ticket prices. 

In technology, as in life, sometimes things just don't work out.

By TheStreet Staff Dec 27, 2010 12:26PM

more small business and technology news from thestreetFrustrated © Jose Luis Pelaez/Getty ImagesBy Jonathan Blum, TheStreet

 

Failure was a common theme this year, particularly among companies selling next-generation business systems and technology.


Tech heavyweights such as Google (GOOG), imaging companies such as Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) or Lexmark (LXK), and even Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg -- Time magazine's Person of the Year, no less -- all brought truly bad products and services for small businesses to market.

 

We are not taking cheap tech shots here, bashing gadgets that merely failed to dazzle. Oh, no. These are the elite mistakes of the year, strategic blunders that indicate significant company dysfunction.

 

For an annual cost of less than 1%, you can get the market's best vehicle for physical gold.

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day Dec 27, 2010 12:08PM

Gold © Comstock Images/JupiterimagesGold is a controversial topic, and it's certainly not for everyone. If you do want some exposure to it, however, Fool analyst Andrew Sullivan explains an easy way to get it.

 

Rex Moore, Motley Fool Top Stocks editor

 

In my last article, I told you that I'm shifting my Rising Star Portfolio cash hoard into gold to protect my purchasing power because I believe gold still offers a much better risk-reward ratio than cash. Cash loses purchasing power dramatically over time, and with a global currency war and sovereign debt crisis just beginning, this threat is heightened. Thus my reasons for moving into gold, and here's how I'm going to do it.

 

With US-listed Chinese companies under the SEC's microscope, investors should venture into China-focused funds carefully.

By TheStreet Staff Dec 27, 2010 11:53AM

more ETF investing tips from thestreetTools for your stock portfolio © CorbisBy Don Dion, TheStreet

 

Here are five exchange-traded funds to watch this week:

 

1. PowerShares Golden Dragon Halter USX China Portfolio (PGJ)

 

TheStreet and other financial media outlets have been buzzing recently about the SEC's probe into U.S.-listed Chinese companies. It's unclear how far the investigation will reach, but for now investors should use a sharp eye when venturing into some China-focused ETFs.

 

PGJ is more worrisome than other large-cap China ETFs, such as the iShares FTSE/Xinhua China 25 Index Fund (FXI). Whereas FXI tracks a basket of companies traded on China and Hong Kong exchanges, PGJ tracks a collection of U.S.-listed Chinese ADRs. These companies, which have a dual listing on U.S. stock exchanges, are more likely to fall under the SEC's scrutiny.

 

Whatever the company has planned for its enormous new data center could be enough to break the stock out of its current range.

By TheStreet Staff Dec 27, 2010 9:34AM

more stock picks and market commentary from Jim Cramer at TheStreetWhat does Apple (AAPL) have in mind for its new 500,000-square-foot data center that opens Jan. 6?


I think it's going to be for Mac applications. It could be huge, and like everything else with Apple, it might usher in a new era in computing.

 

Or maybe it is a place where Apple can offer applications in a cloud-like way. Maybe it will be a place for a developer to get virtual shelf space for new Mac applications. They don't have that today.

 

Lindsay's first-quarter miss was due to one part of its business. But the other part is performing well.

By Jim J. Jubak Dec 24, 2010 4:32PM
Jim JubakAh, if Lindsay (LNN) were just a pure play irrigation company.

Then Lindsay wouldn’t have missed fiscal first quarter earnings by 15 cents a share on Wednesday.

But, on the other hand, then investors wouldn’t be able to pick up one of the few global irrigation plays on the day’s 5.2% drop. (Lindsay was one of the 10 stocks I recommended for 2011 in my post.)
 

A drug in development reduces the feelings of pleasure that come from alcohol.

By Kim Peterson Dec 23, 2010 2:48PM
Beer © CorbisTests are under way on a pill that may curb binge drinking while still allowing a person one or two cocktails.

The pill, called nalmefene, is made by H. Lundbeck A/S (HLUKY), a drugmaker that pulls in most of its revenue from the anti-anxiety drug Cipralex. Nalmefene blocks brain signals that make drinking and sex feel good, Bloomberg reports.

Some people are interested in this as a treatment for alcoholics, many of whom simply don't want to stop drinking. People can still drink with nalmefene, but they won't feel any pleasure from doing so. 

Intrade is taking bets on whether embattled Brian Moynihan will be out by June.

By Kim Peterson Dec 23, 2010 1:54PM
Bank © Charles Smith/CorbisDoes WikiLeaks have enough dirt on Bank of America (BAC) to force chief executive Brian Moynihan out of office?

Intrade, the market prediction site, has now opened up that possibility for betting. You can buy and sell "shares" in the chance that Moynihan will depart by June 11. The contract is here. So far, it doesn't look like anyone has made a trade on this.

The founder of WikiLeaks said last month he has enough insider dirt to take down one or two major banks. He didn't say which ones, but Wall Street gossip quickly focused on Bank of America -- and the bank's shares dropped 3% in one day. 

Although technology remains absent from the investor's list of sure things, investors shouldn't write the industry off.

By TheStreet Staff Dec 23, 2010 1:18PM

TheStreetWarren Buffett. Credit: (© Paul White/AP)By Don Dion, TheStreet

 

A large part of Warren Buffett's success as an investor has hinged on his ability to pick out companies he considers to be sure things. To the famous investor, sure-thing investments are typically companies in boring industries, are easy to understand and hold promise for long-term growth.

 

Utilizing these criteria, the famous investor has been able to identify, purchase and profit from companies such as Coca-Cola (KO), Wells Fargo (WFC) and Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad. However, it has also caused the Oracle of Omaha to overlook other attractive regions of the market.

 

In the Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) portfolio, consumer goods, energy, industrials and the financial industry can all be pointed to as regions of the market Buffett understands and likes.

 

The stocks leading this run are like an army division on the move, assaulting new highs in rhythm and showing no signs of giving up.

By Jim Cramer Dec 23, 2010 10:38AM

more of jim cramer's stock picks and market commentary from thestreetHere's a new indictment of this terrific market: "It looks tired. Exhausted." To which I say: What are we supposed to do? Tell it to take a nap? Give it some Lunesta? Have it lie down in a nice warm bed and give it 40 winks?

 

I mean, come on, give me a break. Tired? You call Jabil Circuits (JBL) tired after it shoots the lights out and then gains the most in the S&P 500 ($INX)? Doesn't seem all that tired to me. Does Carnival (CCL) need a good night's sleep? How about rosy-by-association Royal Caribbean (RCL)? Does that stock seem exhausted, sleep-deprived? To me, Carnival is on Red Bull, and Royal is on that energy drink in that little bottle that says beware of heart palpitation.

 

Or how about Netflix (NFLX) and Google (GOOG)? They need to spend some time in the sack?

 

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[BRIEFING.COM] The major averages ended the midweek session with slim gains after showing some intraday volatility in reaction to the release of the latest policy directive from the Federal Open Market Committee. The S&P 500 added 0.1%, while the relative strength among small caps sent the Russell 2000 higher by 0.3%.

Equities spent the first half of the session near their flat lines as participants stuck to the sidelines ahead of the FOMC statement, which conveyed no changes to the ... More


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