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It's big government vs. little plastic toys.

By Jamie Dlugosch Apr 28, 2010 11:42AM

McDonald's sign. Credit:  (© Darren McCollester/Getty Images)In an effort to battle child obesity, the Board of Supervisors in California's Santa Clara County voted to ban promotional toys used by McDonald's (MCD) to sell its iconic Happy Meals to young children.

 

Now I can see, say, the government going after bankers who nearly wrecked the financial system and regulators who surfed porn instead of watching said bankers.

But do we really need a crackdown on little plastic tchotchkes that come with burgers made by a very successful business that employs hundreds of thousands? Sure, too many Happy Meals aren't good for you. But unlike fancy financial products, what’s in them isn't a secret.

 

BAC stock has been weighed down by the Goldman Sachs scandal, but here are some reasons to buy BofA while its a bargain

By InvestorPlace Apr 28, 2010 10:56AM

By Jim Woods, Investorplace.com

 

bank of america bac stock logoThe banking industry is in the hot seat these days, with fraud allegations surrounding Goldman Sachs (GS) sparking a wave of financial stock downgrades recently.

 But negative news isn’t always a bad thing for investors, because it creates huge buying opportunities if you know where to look. And if you’re in the mood for bargain hunting in the financial sector, you may want to consider buying Bank of America (BAC) sooner rather than later. This financial stock looks to be doing just fine – and here are the top 5 reasons why:

 

Toyota's earnings are reviving, and the car company will get a boost once it puts its recall problems in the past.

By TheStreet Staff Apr 28, 2010 9:55AM

Car wheel © Brand X / SuperStockBy Gregg Greenburg, TheStreetTheStreet

 

Toyota (TM) will put its car-recall issues behind it and lead the auto industry as competition with Ford (F) heats up, according to Shuhei Abe, manager of the Hennessy Select SPARX Japan Fund (SPXJX).

 

Abe also said Japan's economy will accelerate and corporate earnings are getting a big boost as its politicians come under pressure to produce growth.

 

The mutual fund returned 7.1% in the first quarter, trailing the MSCI Japan Index's 8.3% gain. The Hennessy Select SPARX Japan Fund outperformed the benchmark index in four of the past six calendar years, including 2008 and 2009. Abe recently discussed his investment strategies with TheStreet.

 

The big headline stories are obscuring the best group of earnings I've seen since the 1990s.

By Jim Cramer Apr 28, 2010 8:59AM
Jim Cramer

By Jim Cramer, TheStreet

 

Portugal: Good excuse or good reason? Spain: Good excuse or good reason? Greek two-year at 19%: Good excuse or good reason? Goldman Sachs (GS) in the stocks instead of selling stocks: Good excuse, or good reason?

 

To me, Spain, Portugal and Greece are decent reasons to sell but Goldman Sachs was an EXCELLENT excuse to sell. Last night on a late panel with my old partner Larry Kudlow, we were trying to suss this issue out.


Larry's convinced that you have to be a little shaken by the 19% rates. I came back and said that watching the disembodying of the most important finance firm in the country is jarring to say the least and that it created its own level of uncertainty.

 

The chipmaker is seeing continued momentum, but the stock faces huge resistance at $12.

By Jim J. Jubak Apr 27, 2010 3:33PM

Jim JubakTaiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing (TSM), the largest chipmaker for Apple (AAPL)Intel (INTC) and other companies, reported first-quarter earnings Tuesday that were 10.1% above Wall Street's expectations. Earnings of $1.07 billion were the highest since the fourth quarter of 2007.


The company said it expects momentum to continue in the second quarter, with sales forecast to rise 8.7% to 10.9% from the level of the first quarter. That would push revenue to a company record for a quarter. Gross margin will climb to 48% to 50% in the second quarter from 47.9% in the first quarter, the company projects.


Ordinarily, that kind of upside guidance would lead me to increase my target price for a stock. But while as a company Taiwan Semiconductor may be cooking, Taiwan Semiconductor the stock (or actually ADR, American Depositary Receipt) has a problem that makes me reluctant to raise my target price above the $12.50 a share that I set on Jan. 29.

 

One group estimates the company makes $2.9 million to $3.2 million in profit per employee.

By Kim Peterson Apr 27, 2010 3:17PM

These are the kinds of numbers any company would drool over.

The online classifieds site Craigslist could see $122 million in sales this year -- and profits of $88 million to $99 million. That's according to a classified-ad consultancy, MediaPost reports.


Those numbers reflect a 22% increase in sales from 2009. Not a bad jump by any measure.

So how does a free site like Craigslist pull in this kind of profit?

 

A dwindling supply of corn has caused farmers to cut herd sizes. Meat prices are responding.

By Kim Peterson Apr 27, 2010 2:05PM

Shopping for deals © CorbisGot a big freezer? Might be time to stock up on meat.

Bloomberg reports that U.S. meat prices may hit record highs this summer, now that farmers have cut their herd sizes to the smallest in decades.

Already, prices are climbing. Wholesale pork saw a 25% increase last week to nearly 91 cents a pound. Beef is up to $1.69 a pound -- the highest price in nearly two years. In March, chicken had the biggest gain in 20 months.

 

The world's largest retailer is looking at locations in Greater New York, according to a report.

By TheStreet Staff Apr 27, 2010 2:03PM

TheStreetBy Jeanine Poggi, TheStreet

 

Speculation about Wal-Mart (WMT) opening stores in New York City has been floating around for years -- and now it might finally happen.

 

The discount giant has been scouting locations, which include a shopping center in Jamaica Bay, Brooklyn, according to Dow Jones Newswires.

 

Wal-Mart has already tried to nab locations in Queens and Staten Island, but failed. The world’s largest retailer has faced opposition in New York from labor unions and small businesses.

 

 

Gold prices rally after Standard & Poor's cuts its rating on Greece and Portugal's debt.

By TheStreet Staff Apr 27, 2010 1:45PM

TheStreetBy Alix Steel, TheStreet

 

Gold prices are rallying as investors seek safety in the precious metal after Standard & Poor’s downgraded Greece and Portugal’s debt.

 

Gold for June delivery was surging $6.80 to $1,160.80 an ounce at the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. Gold rose as high as $1,165.30 and fell as low as $1,146.60. The US dollar index was adding 0.61% to $81.71, while the euro was sinking 0.55% against the dollar. The spot gold price today was topping $8, according to Kitco's gold index.

 

Standard & Poor's slashed Greece's sovereign credit rating to junk and lowered Portugal's long-term credit rating from A+ to A-.

 

The market saw an astonishing number of new highs on Friday. Are we approaching a correction?

By Kim Peterson Apr 27, 2010 12:20PM
© Kyu Oh/Getty ImagesWhen a stock price hits a new high, investors take notice. When the market sees 634 new highs in one day? Well, that's breathtaking.

Friday was a new-high bonanza, according to stock market blogger Chris Perruna. The 634 new highs on the NYSE that day were more than any seen in years.

There has only been one day with more new highs, Perruna writes. That would be Oct. 11, 1982, when 653 new highs materialized.

What to take away from this? 

The company has done everything wrong since it received a Wells notice from the SEC.

By Jim Cramer Apr 27, 2010 8:06AM
Jim Cramer

By Jim Cramer, TheStreet

 

Throughout last week we learned repeatedly about the holes in the government's case against Goldman Sachs (GS), holes that would make you think the government shouldn't have sued the company to begin with.

 

We know that emails were taken out of context; that Goldman lost a lot of money in mortgages, including $90 million on the synthetic CDO that's the focus of the government's case; that ACA Capital played a much bigger role in the selection of mortgages than hedge fund Paulson & Co.; and that Goldman didn't create anything it expected to fail because internally the firm was split on the health of the market.

 

But we are interested in stocks, not law. By the end of last week, Goldman's stock had finished below where it was when the news broke. If any of those points mattered to the company or its fortunes in the case, the stock would have regained some ground, especially after Goldman reported a shoot-the-lights-out quarter and received kind words from shareholder Warren Buffett.

 

So, if the case is so bad, why isn't the stock gaining?

 

 

March data shows a number of improving indicators, and that means things are looking up for housing stocks and home builders

By InvestorPlace Apr 27, 2010 6:56AM

housing market improvingSo far, 2010 has been very profitable for housing stocks. Take the SPDR S&P Homebuilders ETF (XHB).  This ETF is up over 30% year-to-date thanks to strength in its component companies. Or take building supply company Eagle Materials (EXP), which is up almost 50% since March 1. The Eagle Materials earnings report yesterday trounced forecast and sent the stock soaring.

 

But that’s only half the story. Bears are scoffing at soaring valuations for homebuilders and calling for a crash in housing stocks along with a rise in foreclosures and stalling real estate sales.

 

So is the bottom going to fall out of housing? Probably not. The fact is that we're most likely amid the beginnings of a sustained recovery -- and here are three top reasons why:

 

The company raises guidance for 2010 above Wall Street projections.

By Jim J. Jubak Apr 26, 2010 5:05PM

Jim JubakJohnson Controls (JCI) announced earnings of 43 cents a share (excluding one-time items) Friday. That was 4 cents a share above Wall Street estimates for the quarter.


Including special items -- since last year's second quarter included so many of them -- earnings per share climbed to a profit of 40 cents from a loss of 33 cents a share in the second quarter of fiscal 2009.


Revenue increased by 32% to $8.32 billion for the building management and auto supply company. Wall Street analysts had projected $7.92 billion.

 

Zoom Technologies made a big acquisition, and recently reported a stellar quarter.

By Wall Street Media on MSN Money Apr 26, 2010 4:48PM

Written by Douglas Estadt


Based in China, Zoom Technologies (ZOOM), is a fast-growing mobile phone company that manufactures, develops and sells electronic and telecommunication products. Having recently acquired Leimone Culture, a new brand of sleek handsets that now offer CCTV streaming content, Zoom is quickly delivering outstanding profits. For the fourth quarter of 2009, they reported : 

Apple had the second-largest market cap last week, but Microsoft has reclaimed its position.

By Kim Peterson Apr 26, 2010 3:08PM
I adore Apple (AAPL) products (I'm writing this on a MacBook, in fact) but what kind of crazy world do we live in where Apple claims the second-largest market cap in the S&P 500?

Yes, that happened last week when Apple kicked Microsoft (MSFT) to the No. 3 spot. Well, kind of. See, the S&P doesn't count shares that aren't available for active trading, so that leaves out a big chunk of Microsoft shares (including those held by Bill Gates).

So, if you add those shares, Microsoft is still worth about $25 billion more than Apple, writes Linda Stern at CBS MoneyWatch.com

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[BRIEFING.COM] Stocks continue trading near their recent levels, with the Nasdaq (+0.4%) maintaining its lead.

Earlier, we mentioned that the financial sector may hold the key to the afternoon performance among the major averages, and that is holding true thus far. The S&P 500's retreat from mid-session highs has been accompanied by weakness in the financial sector, which now trades lower by 0.2%.

The growth-sensitive group holds a modest loss as most large components hover ... More


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