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.


The radio host is likely to enter contract talks with Sirius XM in the coming year. Can Sirius afford to keep him?

By Kim Peterson Dec 22, 2009 10:19AM
Howard Stern, Credit: (© Evan Agostini/AP)The Associated Press comes awfully close to suggesting that Howard Stern is full of hot air in his threats to leave Sirius XM Radio (SIRI).

Stern's five-year, $500 million radio contract with Sirius is winding down, and he will likely begin negotiating this next year for a renewal.

The problem for Stern is that few other places will offer that kind of money. And who knows if Sirius will even come close to matching its previous offer? 

The New York Times calls for a one-time banker tax, and it scoffs at banks' threats to leave the country.

By Kim Peterson Dec 22, 2009 9:59AM
Banker © Radius Images/Jupiterimages Banks are awarding their executives huge bonuses based on the profits they're making. But those profits were funded by lots of cheap money from the Federal Reserve, The New York Times writes.

"This is a windfall that they should not be allowed to keep," the Times writes in an editorial.

Instead, the U.S. government should take a cue from the British, who recently enacted an immediate 50% tax on bonuses above about $40,000. The British government stands to make about $1 billion from the move.

The U.S. could see a much greater slice, since its financial sector is larger, the Times writes. And the government could use that money to create jobs for out-of-work Americans. 

The S&P 500 is up more than 60% from its low. Should you sell your stocks and wait for a correction?

By Ken Kam Dec 21, 2009 10:00PM
As we end a dramatic year, a lot of investors are wondering if they have missed the buying opportunity of a lifetime and they're agonizing over whether to invest more money in stocks so soon after getting badly burned.

Here are the highlights from our recently published report, What Should Investors Do Now?, detailing the end-of-year judgment calls we are making for our clients. If you would like to receive the full report, click here.

The old rules have not worked

Take a look at the chart of the S&P 500 going back 60 years. Notice how different the chart for the last 15 years looks 

Fertilizer stock gets beaten up on Wall Street after rumors of trouble in China.

By Jim J. Jubak Dec 21, 2009 3:50PM

Jim JubakI don't remember putting “volatility” on my Christmas list, but Santa has sure delivered a big box of the ups and downs to shareholders of Potash of Saskatchewan (POT).

In the last two weeks, the stock was hammered on rumors that potash spot prices in China would stay stuck below $350 a ton well into 2010 -- and that contracts for long-term supply now being negotiated could be for prices as low as $300 a ton. 

That took the shares down to $105.01 on Friday from $116.59 on December. (It traded at around $109 Monday.)

But what December takes away December can give back:


CEO says it will take 2 years for the insurer to repay $80 billion in government loans. It might take shareholders a lot longer to see their money returned.

By TheStreet Staff Dec 21, 2009 3:18PM

TheStreetBy Lauren Tara LaCapra, TheStreet


Anyone who has been a holder of American International Group (AIG) shares since before its gigantic bailout must consider not just how long it will take to repay taxpayer loans but how long it will take for AIG shares to multiply by 20.


AIG's brash leader, Bob Benmosche, told the Financial Times he expects it will take at least two years for the insurer to repay $80 billion in remaining loans from the federal government. Once that happens, the government would presumably begin to wind down its 80% stake in AIG.


But the horizon for long-term shareholders will need to be much longer. Although the firm's fortunes have improved since Dec. 31, 2008, AIG shares are down 10% this year. Since June 30, 2008, before the rescue package that would eventually reach $180 billion was unveiled, AIG's stock has declined 95%.


Find a broker and trade now


The best-performing funds over the past 10 years have capitalized on emerging markets in Eastern Europe and Russia.

By Kim Peterson Dec 21, 2009 2:50PM
cash globe © PhotoAlto/SuperStockIn light of the news that we're ending the worst decade ever for stocks, maybe it's a good time to look at the best-performing fund in that period.

A Stockholm-based equity fund has produced a 1,524% return over the past decade, EFinancialNews.com reports. How? By betting heavily on emerging-market stocks.

The East Capital Ryssland fund specializes in Eastern Europe and Russia, according to EFinancialNews. If you had handed $10,000 to this fund in 2000, you'd have about $152,400 by now.

Here are the other funds in the top five, according to data from Morningstar: 

The depressed dollar won't mount a solid recovery for 6 to 12 more months, the notorious economist says.

By Kim Peterson Dec 21, 2009 2:20PM

Hey, you. Yeah, you with the little smile on your face, humming some song about a red-nosed reindeer. You're far too jolly this week. How about a dose of Dr. Doom?

It's been too long since the dark clouds of Nouriel Roubini rained over this blog. Luckily, the well-known economist (dubbed "Dr. Doom" for his dire predictions of the economy) spread some holiday "cheer" at an event recently.

Roubini said the U.S. dollar will continue to stink for another six to 12 months, according to Reuters. And that means the carry trade will continue for a bit longer.


Stocks have lost value each year since the end of 1999. Even the lowly savings account performed better.

By Kim Peterson Dec 21, 2009 1:49PM
Arrow © Photodisc/SuperstockSo long, 2000s. And no need to pass the tissues. We won't get too weepy about this goodbye.

The past 10 years have been the worst decade ever for stocks, reports The Wall Street Journal. We suffered through two bear markets, and stocks on the New York Stock Exchange lost 0.5% a year, on average, since the end of 1999.

And if that doesn't hurt enough, try rubbing some inflation on that wound. If you adjust for inflation, the S&P 500 index has lost 3.3% a year since the 1999, the Journal reports.

No other decade has been this bad.  

The fact is, the best way to stimulate the economy would be to NOT give gifts at all. I guess it really is the thought that counts.

By Louis Navellier Dec 21, 2009 1:04PM

Holiday buying © CorbisAs we watch retailers slash prices and shoppers make a mad dash for their last-minute gifts, there is sure to be an endless stream of commentary on Wall Street about holiday sales. Economists are convinced that Grandma's spending on ugly sweaters this December will accurately measure how strong the American economy is right now and forecast growth in the New Year.


Well, not to be a Grinch, but I have news for you. Contrary to all the buzz in the media, Christmas shopping doesn't matter. In fact, I'll show you why being a Scrooge at Christmas is actually good for the economy.


I know this is hard to believe. Many people want to believe Santa has a very special accountant elf who delivers economic prosperity to investors every time an American swipes his or her charge card at the mall. But making holiday sales a major economic indicator doesn't make sense for a number of reasons. Here are the facts.


At the end of each week, I take a close look at the market and objectly evaluate the numbers.

By Jim Van Meerten Dec 18, 2009 7:04PM
It's time again for me to step back, objectively see what the market accomplished in the last week and plan my investing strategy for the coming week. I use BarChart for my data and the Value Line Index as my market barometer. I like this index because it uses 1,700 stocks instead of the narrower S&P 500 or the very narrow Dow 30.


Value Line Index rose 1.06% for the week and is up 4.56% month to date, a small but respectable gain.

  • The index closed above its 20-, 50- and 100- day moving averages
  • BarChart short-term rating -- 80%
  • BarChart mid-term rating -- 100%
  • BarChart long-term rating -- 67%
  • Overall rating -- 88%, 11 buys and 2 holds
  • Index closed at 2,207.56, almost back to its year to date high of 2239.69

Quiet days on the market allow traders to take advantage of news and rumors.

By Jim J. Jubak Dec 18, 2009 6:23PM

Jim JubakThere's nothing like a market where volume is drying up, as it usually does at the end of the year, to help traders move stocks on news and rumors. 

Especially when the world is so busy supplying lots of potentially market-moving headlines.

It's a potent combination -- enough to send stocks on roller-coaster rides and investors curling into fetal balls. No wonder the top question I'm getting right now is, "What's the matter with ….?" (You fill in the blank.)

Much of the time, the answer is, “not much.”


There's still more upside to the rally -- if you know where to look

By John Reese Dec 18, 2009 4:26PM

It's a stock-picker's market -- that seems to be the general theme emerging among the market gurus I study.


In the past week, several of these gurus have talked about opportunities in equities, with a number saying that, while plenty of gains are still there for the taking, they won't come as broadly and swiftly as they have in 2009.  


Take Mark Mobius, Templeton Asset Management's executive chairman. Mobius -- whose Templeton Emerging Markets Fund is up about 116% this year, far outpacing the MSCI Emerging Markets Index -- says investors shouldn't expect the kind of percentage returns they've gotten this year during the rally. But, he says, that doesn't mean they won't be able to make hay in emerging markets in 2010.


The President and I have very different definitions of the label 'fat cat.' What's yours?

By Jim Van Meerten Dec 18, 2009 2:22PM

Maybe I read too much between the lines when I see political sound bites, but I know that the words are well chosen and should have been vetted by several aides before being given to the President.

Recently he said that fat cat bankers didn't deserve their big bonuses. He also said that his new job bill would make it so that every person who "wanted" to work could find a job.

Am I wrong to ask why he didn't say that his job bill would provide a job for every "able bodied" person? What's with this "wanting" to work? Everyone between 21 and 62 needs to work.


Reports say the golfer offered a big interview in order to cover up photos showing an affair.

By Kim Peterson Dec 18, 2009 2:09PM
Credit: (© Andrew Brownbill/AP)Call it what you want, but to me it sounds like Tiger Woods got blackmailed by American Media in 2007.

The behavior of every player in this episode is shameful, if reports in The Wall Street Journal and elsewhere are true.

Here's what happened, according to the Journal. A photographer with the National Enquirer took pictures of Woods meeting a woman in his car in a church parking lot in Florida.

What exactly took place in the car is unclear, as is the identity of the woman (though the Journal suggests she was  

The bank's stock could fare best among shares of the 3 big institutions that recently repaid bailout funds.

By TheStreet Staff Dec 18, 2009 1:50PM

By Lauren Tara LaCapra, TheStreet


Of the three big banks that recently repaid bailout funds, Wells Fargo (WFC) could be the one whose post-TARP shares fare best.


Analyzing the impact of the Treasury's preferred stock investments in Wells Fargo, Bank of America (BAC) and Citigroup (C) is difficult. Besides getting rid of hefty dividend payments, the other benefits of paying back funds from the Troubled Asset Relief Program appear harder to value than the toxic assets themselves.


How does one put a price tag on uncertainty or the value of a well-paid executive versus a less-well-paid one? Is it possible to quantify the impact on operations of intangible populist pressure? And how can investors truly determine whether these stocks are expensive or cheap, when Wall Street estimates have been horribly amiss?


Find a new broker for 2010



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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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