Surge brought back from the dead
Surge is back from the dead

Coca-Cola launched the soda brand in the 1990s to compete with Mountain Dew. Sales didn't exactly take off.

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Platinum still sells far below its historical price ratio to gold. Will that gap soon close?

By Jim J. Jubak Jan 25, 2010 6:08PM

Jim JubakI'm going to take advantage of the selloff in emerging market stocks and global commodities on fears that China's government might slow China's economic growth to buy shares of Impala Platinum (IMPUY) for Jubak's Picks. (The stock is already a member of my long-term Jubak Picks 50 portfolio.)


My buy rests on three points.


First, despite a huge rally of more than 50% in 2009, platinum still sells far below its historical price ratio to gold. Right now an ounce of platinum buys 1.41 ounces of gold. That's about 23% below the ten-year average, according to Bloomberg. Recently commodity money has started to move from gold to platinum in a bet that the price gap to the historic average will close.


Second, while platinum is a physical store of value like gold, it is much more widely used in industrial processes.

 
Tags: gold

Two iconic apartment complexes in New York City are turned over to creditors after the owners miss a big payment.

By Kim Peterson Jan 25, 2010 2:09PM
Two massive New York City apartment complexes are so underwater on their mortgages that they might as well be renamed "Atlantis."

In what's considered the most expensive real-estate deal of its kind in recent history, the sister complexes -- 110 buildings and 11,000 units in all -- sold a few years ago for $5.4 billion.

Cue the enormous real-estate meltdown that hit New York particularly hard. And now, the apartment owners say they can't make a $16 million dollar loan payment and will have to turn the whole thing over to creditors, according to The Associated Press.  

The government is attacking large banks, making it very likely that smaller banks will thrive.

By Jamie Dlugosch Jan 25, 2010 12:18PM

Bank © Charles Smith/CorbisThe Obama administration proposed new regulations for large banks last Thursday. The news sent shares of large banks tumbling.

 

At the same time, astute investors pivoted to the community bank sector. The government, in concert with the Federal Reserve, is setting the table for little banks to thrive.

Names like Glacier Bank (GBCI), a small bank in Montana, FirstMerit Corp. (FMER) in Ohio, or First Niagara Financial (FNFG) in New York all jumped in value as investors acknowledged the shift in the competitive landscape. (In addition to small community banks, I really like these Top 10 Stocks for 2010.)

 

The rotation makes complete sense.

 

President Obama's 'Volcker Rule' will punish the wrong banks for the wrong crimes.

By Jim Cramer Jan 25, 2010 11:12AM
TheStreet

 By Jim Cramer, TheStreet

 

Nobody had more to do with breaking the back of inflation in this country than former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker. Thirty years ago, he stopped it in its tracks with higher interest rates. He was on top of his game in a way that many argue ultimately produced the great bull market that ended in 2000.

 

However, just as there are instances where other finance seers (as opposed to financiers) subsequently lost their way, especially Bob Rubin, a once revered Treasury Secretary, now known as presiding over a bank one-third owned by the federal government because of actions he approved, the question to ask is whether Volcker, an icon 30 years ago, still has a keen understanding of what went wrong in this banking crisis.

 

To wit, I cannot recall a single instance where proprietary trading, internal hedge funds, or private equity played a role in creating the banking mess that President Obama has decided to focus on with his much-ballyhooed "Volcker Rule."

 

 

The president thinks that if he demonizes banks and securities companies, it will lead to new jobs.

By Jim Van Meerten Jan 23, 2010 2:50PM
Every week after the market closes on Friday I go to Barchart and use the same methodology to gauge what happened to the market in the previous week and plan what my strategy will be for the next week.

Things started out fine early in the week, but then President Barack Obama dropped a bomb when he demonized the banks and everything on Wall Street.
 

Opportunistic short positions bring big returns.

By Anthony Mirhaydari Jan 22, 2010 8:55PM

MirhaydariStocks fell sharply this week on a combination of worries over credit growth in China, Obama's plan to clamp down on Wall Street, and the future of Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke.


The Dow lost 4.1% in what was its worst five-day performance since March. Volatility screamed higher as the CBOE Volatility Index ($VIX), or "fear gauge" that is calculated based on S&P 500 options trading, jumped 55% -- the largest weekly gain since the financial crisis went nuclear back in October 2008.

 

Complicating matters was the ongoing strengthening of the U.S. dollar -- something I've been expecting since I wrote a column on the subject back in November. With fear on the rise among global investors, many are abandoning risky positions in emerging-market stocks and bonds and moving cash into the safety of U.S. Treasuries. This bolsters the dollar, which was up 2% this week; unfortunately, it also exerts pressure on commodities. Crude oil fell more than 7%. Gold lost 4.4%.

 

Thankfully, my portfolio at Wall Street Survivor was perfectly positioned to take advantage of these trends.

 

A number of factors riled investors this week. But there's still plenty of money to be made in the current market, if you look in the right places.

By John Reese Jan 22, 2010 7:51PM

This week offered a mixed bag of economic data and political twists, and we saw some significant volatility return to the stock market. But I believe there's still money to be made in the current market environment, and several of the Wall Street gurus I keep an eye on gave their takes this week on where to look.

For example, David Herro -- who Morningstar recently named one of its fund managers of the decade -- told Bloomberg that he's high on some financial stocks, particularly asset management firms. Herro says they get hit hard in downturns but over the long run are good businesses. He also says Japanese markets are starting to look attractive.

 

Another guru finding values: Mario Gabelli. He told CNBC that two areas he's targeting are natural gas firms and auto parts companies.

 

It's not a question you'd expect to hear when ordering up some fast food at Burger King -- but that's about to change.

By InvestorPlace Jan 22, 2010 7:46PM

InvestorPlaceBy Jim Woods

 

Burger King (BKC) announced it would be serving beer at its new "Whopper Bar" located in the South Beach section of Miami, which it plans to open sometime in mid-February. The move is widely seen as an attempt to compete with casual dining restaurants in the tourist-packed area. 

 

This is also likely an attempt to go after a younger (but not too young) crowd at a time when the restaurant industry is struggling and people are looking for cheaper dining options.

 

Bank stocks are likely entering a period of prolonged weakness as official policy goes from supportive to highly restrictive.

By Anthony Mirhaydari Jan 22, 2010 4:45PM

MirhaydariEver since the collapse of Lehman Bros. in 2008, a Faustian deal was forged between Wall Street fat cats and the politicos in Washington: Political ideologies would be thrown by the wayside to prevent a meltdown of the American financial system and help the economy heal.

 

First the Bush administration swallowed its free-market credentials to take over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac while handing the largest banks taxpayer cash to keep them afloat. Then the Obama administration resisted populist pressure to punish the bankers getting rich thanks to rising markets while unemployment continued to climb.

 

But that's changing now, and the attack dogs have been unleashed.

 

McDonald's delivers fourth-quarter earnings that beat analysts. European performance was key.

By Jim J. Jubak Jan 22, 2010 4:13PM

Jim JubakRonald McDonald delivered a big surprise Friday morning.


McDonald's (MCD) announced fourth-quarter earnings of $1.11 a share before the market opened. That was nine cents a share better than Wall Street had expected. 

In the fourth quarter of 2008, the company earned 87 cents a share. Revenue climbed 7.3% from the fourth quarter of 2008 to $5.97 billion. That, too, was above the Wall Street consensus (at $5.94 billion).


But the biggest surprise came

 

O'Brien's $45 million exit deal is the least of the network's financial worries. Now it must fill those empty prime-time slots. With video updates.

By Kim Peterson Jan 22, 2010 2:21PM

Conan O'Brien. Credit: (© Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)I knew NBC was going to pay big bucks after Conan O'Brien stepped down from "The Tonight Show," but this Reuters article details exactly how costly this whole debacle has become.

First, there was O'Brien's $45 million goodbye kiss, which was largely expected (his last show is tonight). But the bigger problem for the network will be the hole in its lineup after Jay Leno leaves prime time to return to "The Tonight Show."

One analyst thinks NBC will have to spend about $300 million to develop new dramas and comedies for the open slots, according to Reuters.

And that $45 million exit deal for Conan?

 

The federal agency is trying to straighten out a messy, inefficient system for processing tips and complaints.

By Kim Peterson Jan 22, 2010 1:29PM
frustrated © Comstock/JupiterimagesIf you want to blow the whistle on someone's tax fraud, you could get money from the Internal Revenue Service. Got a tip for the Federal Trade Commission? It has a call center for just that.

Want to report some funny business to the Securities and Exchange Commission? Good luck. You might get a better response launching a note in a bottle off to sea.

The SEC can be deaf to whistle-blowing, writes The Washington Post. And for evidence of that, look no further than one Bernard Madoff, the Ponzi king the SEC was warned about on numerous occasions.

And a lesser-known Ponzi schemer, R. Allen Stanford, was first reported to the agency five years before he got busted. 

Wireless and financial companies waive donation fees, and Congress works to make contributions tax-deductible.

By Kim Peterson Jan 22, 2010 1:04PM
Credit cards online © Chemistry / PhotographerCredit-card and cell-phone companies have moved remarkably fast in getting in line with relief efforts in Haiti.

After some initial criticism, four major credit card companies -- Visa (V), MasterCard (MA), American Express (AXP) and Discover (DFS) -- are waiving fees for donations to some charities. Those companies normally take a small percentage of the donation as a service fee.

And major wireless companies are also waiving fees for text-message donations, USA Today reports. These companies normally wait until the customer pays the monthly bill before distributing the donation, but this time they are passing most of the money along very quickly.

MSNBC has more information on how you can help earthquake victims in Haiti. 

The president needed someone to blame, so he went after banks. The whole thing is shameful.

By Jim Cramer Jan 22, 2010 7:59AM
TheStreet

By Jim Cramer, TheStreet

 

What did Goldman Sachs (GS) do to deserve this? That's all I can think of in the second day of President Obama's nuclear strike against companies that invest in anything other than plain-vanilla loans.

 

If you parse the words of Obama's statement Thursday, you come away with two thrusts: Smaller banks will keep us out of trouble and will not need to be bailed out, and what causes a bank to need bailing out is private-equity and hedge fund investing.

 

In other words, Goldman Sachs could cause a bailout because it does the most hedge fund and private-equity investing of any of the publicly traded companies.

 

 

This stock is up even as the market has been falling.

By Wall Street Media on MSN Money Jan 21, 2010 7:06PM

Written by Douglas Estadt

 

Todd Sullivan of ValuePlays.net always proves the success of one of his main investing ideas: Stick with the plan if you like thesis behind why you’ve invested.


Today it shone for American Capital (ACAS). The stock is up 10%-15% over the past three days with the market way down. Todd’s other main points today:

  • President Barack Obama is making decisions (all too often) based on reactions.
  • It's illogical to invest in banks when you don’t know what kind of rules they are going to operate under in the next few weeks.
  • Todd’s pick GGWPQ is up today, and shoddy research is quickly shut down (once again).

Watch the video below to see more about Todd’s investing thesis.

 

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[BRIEFING.COM] The dollar index remained in the red in afternoon trading, which helped provide price support to commodities.

  • Crude oil had a nice run today, gaining over $2/barrel on a steady climb upwards. Oct crude oil finished the day $2.02 to $94.91/barrel 
  • Oct natural gas has a nice run today too, extending yesterday's gains. Oct NG closed 6 cents higher to $3.99/MMBtu 
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