Since she joined in July 2012, CEO Marissa Mayer has acquired dozens of startups.
VIDEO ON MSN MONEY
A long list of evidence, including 80 years of history, suggests the market has been overbought.
Over the past few weeks, we've seen all the cyclical sectors make dramatic blow-off moves before ceding the market leadership role to another group.
First it was technology, which jumped nearly 4% in the six days between Dec. 17 and 28. Then it was energy and materials, which went vertical early last week after perking up toward the end of December. The banks just started perking up last week.
On Monday, industrial stocks finally joined the party as the likes of General Electric (GE) broke out of a trading range that dates to mid-September (GE is up 8.5% in the three days to Monday after trading flat for more than three months). So what's next?
The best-performing stocks this year will be those of small companies that can grow quickly.
As I was doing research for my list of "Top Stocks to Buy for 2010," a couple of themes stood out.
Stocks have rallied across the board since the bottom last March. Those gains will make it more difficult to find winners going forward.
At the same time, a new business cycle is taking shape that will strongly favor companies that can grow quickly. A friendly business environment with low interest rates will be conducive to growth.
Specifically, that led me to focus my third annual list of stocks for the year on small stocks instead of behemoths.
The deep freeze that hit the country last week has OJ futures in a tizzy as traders worry about crops.
In the movie "Trading Places," the characters played by Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy wreak havoc on the orange-juice market with a fake crop report -- and stick it to Mortimer and Randolph Duke in the process. (Good ol' YouTube has the scene here.)
In reality, orange-juice trading is nowhere near that exciting. But this winter, as a widespread cold snap threatened to ruin crops in Florida, the orange-juice market has gone mad, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Prices rose 7% on Friday and then plummeted 13% on Monday, the Journal reports, when it appeared that crop damage wasn't as bad as feared.
As banks get the big paychecks ready, they're also scrambling to spin the issue as best they can.
But this year, things are a little different. Oh, the sizes of the bonuses haven't dropped off. In fact, signs point to an even bigger payout explosion than before.
What's different this time is the intense scrutiny and general disapproval of the bonuses -- from mainstream America to Washington, D.C. And banks are having a heck of a time figuring out how to spin the issue to be most palatable to critics.
We can already hear the violins. Some bonuses will have more stock in them this year, and bankers are complaining that they will be left short of cash. And even worse, some of the bonus pay will be -- gasp -- deferred!
Bottom line: Americans' finances are a mess, and the average household remains clueless.
By Lauren Tara LaCapra, TheStreet
With all the talk of surging national debt, it's worth looking at how Americans are handling their personal debt.
It would appear that Americans are deleveraging, with outstanding consumer credit having declined in each of the past 10 months. It would also appear that they're being smart about it -- paying down the most expensive debt first.
Revolving debt, mostly high-interest credit card loans, totaled $874 billion in November, on a seasonally adjusted basis. That's down 9.3% from a year earlier and 19% from the previous month, on an annualized basis. Less-expensive nonrevolving debt, such as auto and student loans, stood at $2.46 trillion, down 3.9% from a year earlier and 8.5% from October.
Part of that comes from responsible folks paying credit card bills and extinguishing other debt. But there are other factors at work.
Watch the announcement from Morningstar revealing who reigns as top mutual fund wrangler.
Optical scanners are at the center of inventory control, and ScanSources is at the center of its market.
As this economy begins to turn around, control of the movement of merchandise from manufacturer to wholesalers and distributors, and finally from retailers to the consumer, will be essential. SCSC distributes of the type of optical scanning devices that will be at the heart of
Collection includes James Bond and Pink Panther movies, and generates less than $300 million a year, not the $450 million previously thought.
The feedback from potential bidders on MGM who were sent financial packages last week: underwhelmed.
Apparently the documents -- which were sent out to about a dozen potential bidders last week -- are a lot more vague than might be expected when buyers will be expected to put up billions of dollars to buy the beleaguered studio.
But there was some important news to be gleaned: MGM’s 4,000–title library, which was believed to throw off $450 million per year, is now producing less than $300 million a year.
That library -- including the James Bond films, the Pink Panther franchise, "The Thomas Crown Affair" and many others
Use puts in cyclicals to protect yourself from irrational buying.
By Jim Cramer, TheStreet
When I see moves like I did Monday in bread-and-butter names like those, without even so much as an analyst nod, I ask myself: How many crosscurrents created that upswing? How technically driven was this rally? How easily could we and will we give back these gains?
You could see that people were shorting calls near the strikes for these and figured they wouldn't be called away or come in short next week. You could see that people thought that with employment so weak, who the heck would want to own a cyclical.
The company might mandate charitable giving to cool the furor over bonuses, but the real problem is its excessively high compensation.
Does Wall Street have a heart? Goldman Sachs' putting billions of dollars in bonus money to good work would certainly seem so.
Not to be cynical, but I suspect anything Goldman does at this point is all public-relations oriented. If the company could go back to operating profitably in anonymity, it would in a heartbeat. Who needs the spotlight?
The problem is that the spotlight is not going away anytime soon. What I find interesting is that shareholders are staying relatively quiet on the subject.
The fear, of course, is that cutting bonuses or compensation would only hurt profits in the long run. But what if the opposite were true?
The company has cut prices and results look good.
We bought some shares Monday in ValueVision Media (VVTV) at 4.91. I have been watching this stock for close to a year and missed it at its low last year.
However, I think there is a chance that buying now will still provide some gains. I heard the management team last fall and it sounded like they were making smart moves. (Click "read more" to see the show.)
The most recent annual report shows what I believe are good solid trends. The first thing the company has done is substantially lower the average selling price of goods offered. Its ASP at the end of the third quarter for the prior nine months was $114, and in the third quarter alone it was down to $95. That was a 49% lower price than the same quarter the year earlier.
Yara International foresees price increases in next few months as demand outpaces supply.
The Norwegian fertilizer company reported that the nitrogen fertilizer market was headed for demand-driven price increases in the first half of 2010. Urea supply, a major form of nitrogen fertilizer, should remain tight in 2010, with only three projects likely to come on line.
Supply (except for China) in 2010 will increase by 3%, according to Deutsche Bank, while demand will climb 5%, the bank projects.
Ford surprised Wall Street and Main Street in 2009 by rising out of Detroit's ashes, but can the automaker keep its momentum in 2010?
Ford Motor Co. (F) has turned over a new leaf in 2010, starting this year with a heck of a lot more promise than the last. Over the weekend, Ford nabbed the North American Car of the Year honors at the Detroit auto show for its Fusion hybrid -- and quickly followed that up with the Truck of the Year award for its European-styled Transit Connect van. All this on the heels of impressive December sales numbers about a week ago, showing Ford continues to gobble up market share from its bankrupt Detroit counterparts GM and Chrysler.
Not bad, considering at this time last year we were talking about the likelihood of bailouts and bankruptcy for the members of the Big 3. But in stark contrast to General Motors and Chrysler, Ford has risen to the occasion and emerged from the recession stronger than ever before.
He doesn't want Kraft to give up undervalued shares for a deal. But that's exactly what his own company is doing.
So why, then, is Buffett doing the same thing with his purchase of Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNI), asks Barron's. Good question.
It amounts to what Barron's calls the "Buffett paradox": Do as I say, not as I do.
New technology allows companies to get more oil out of places they gave up on before.
Sometimes it's not worth the effort to drill from tough zones, leading companies to abandon the sites altogether.
But new technology is overcoming those problems. That -- along with the high price of oil -- is spurring companies to return to difficult areas to attempt another extraction.
This could create new opportunities for oil companies -- and their investors.
MORE ON MSN MONEY
Copyright © 2013 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.
John Stumpf acknowledges that growth has been slow, but he says he's still optimistic.
Top Stocks provides analysis about the most noteworthy stocks in the market each day, combining some of the best content from around the MSN Money site and the rest of the Web.
Contributors include professional investors and journalists affiliated with MSN Money.
Follow us on Twitter @topstocksmsn.
[BRIEFING.COM] S&P futures vs fair value: +1.50. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: +1.70. U.S. equity futures display modest gains after spending the bulk of the overnight session in negative territory. The S&P 500 futures trade higher by 0.1%. Among news of note, Democratic and Republican lawmakers have reached a budget agreement that would avoid another government shutdown. However, the plan still needs to be approved by both chambers of Congress.
Reviewing overnight ... More
More Market News
|There’s a problem getting this information right now. Please try again later.|