Gold bars & granules © Heinz-Peter Bader/Reuters
Americans prefer gold, real estate

As the market wades through what many people hope is a sixth bull year, some have grown nervous about how long the run can go.


Skyworks is upgraded to 'buy,' and Quanta Services is downgraded to 'sell.'

By MSN Money Partner Jul 19, 2012 11:37AM
Information provided by

Thursday's noteworthy upgrades include:  
  • Dominion (D) upgraded to Neutral from Underweight at JPMorgan
  • Dover (DOV) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at William Blair
  • FirstEnergy (FE) upgraded to Hold from Underperform at Jefferies
  • Hyatt Hotels (H) upgraded to Positive from Neutral at Susquehanna

Highly principled strategist Jeremy Grantham's top holdings all offer higher-than-average yields.

By InvestorPlace Jul 19, 2012 10:54AM

By Charles Sizemore

If you don't know who Jeremy Grantham is, you should. In fact, once you finish reading this article, you should drop whatever else you are doing, go to his website and read his latest quarterly letter. Make it a habit to read every quarterly letter as they come out, as you'll be a better investor for it.


(While you're at it, make it a habit to read his colleague James Montier's work as well. Montier's writing on behavioral investing is some of the most insightful I've ever seen.)


A survey reveals that nearly 25% of people believe unethical or illegal conduct is required in order to get ahead in the banking world.

By The Fiscal Times Jul 19, 2012 10:33AM
The Fiscal Times

By Suzanne McGee


Bob Diamond, Barclays (BCS) and Libor. HSBC (HBC) and drug money laundering. JP Morgan Chase (JPM), Jamie Dimon and the "London Whale." Goldman Sachs (GS) and those Abacus trades and the related e-mails -- not to mention last spring's resignation letter from a London-based banker featuring a comment that his colleagues view their clients as "muppets."


Could this just be the tip of the iceberg? According to a survey of financial industry participants on Wall Street and in the City of London, it may well be.


Chartists, analysts and the public missed the boat on some key earnings. How else can we explain these market moves?

By Jim Cramer Jul 19, 2012 10:05AM

Maybe the holders know nothing. Maybe they are spooked at every turn. Maybe they are all micro guys turned macro. Maybe the research out there is so bad that they make decisions based on faulty information.


How else can we explain these post-market moves on OK earnings?


Despite several positives, the aluminum giant is not without risks.

By Wall St. Cheat Sheet Jul 19, 2012 9:57AM

By Robert Kohut


Alcoa (AA) is blessed, or cursed, with the honor of being the first Dow component to report earnings each quarter. The aluminum giant kicked off the summer earnings season with a modest beat on drastically lowered estimates, and the stock price fell to a new 52-week low during the trading week and closed at a share price not seen since the early 1990s.

Lowered guidance, commodity price jitters and general palpitations over the state of the global economy all serve as likely culprits. However, while CEO Klaus Kinsfield noted strong demand for aluminum from both the automotive and the aircraft sectors, not even an announcement of a $1.4 billion deal with European aircraft manufacturer Airbus could stem the flow of red.

Tags: AA

With the deal, the wine and spirits company adds 3 California pinot noir labels.

By Jul 19, 2012 9:20AM

By Zacks Equity Research

Constellation Brands (STZ) has recently completed the acquisition of Mark West wine brand from California-based Purple Wine Company, LLC. The wine and spirits company paid a total sum of $160 million to complete the acquisition. This strategic move expanded its hard beverage portfolio.


Per the agreement, the acquisition will include some grape supply contracts and wine inventories from three California labels, i.e. a California pinot noir, a Russian River reserve pinot noir and a Santa Lucia reserve pinot noir.


The investment bank swings to a profit, and the Internet search giant is due to report after the closing bell.

By MSN Money Partner Jul 19, 2012 8:53AM
By Joseph Woelfel,

Google (GOOG), set to report after the close Thursday, is expected to post fiscal second-quarter earnings of $10.05 a share on revenue of $8.42 billion. Google posted a profit of $10.08 a share on revenue of $8.14 billion in the first quarter and earnings of $8.74 a share on revenue of $6.92 billion in last year's second quarter.

Shares of Google have fallen more than 10% this year, while the Nasdaq has gained 13%. Google's issues are well known, namely slowing revenue growth, margin pressures stemming from rapid expansion and a pricey acquisition of Motorola Mobility.


Marissa Mayer becomes the first pregnant woman to be named leader of a major public company.

By Jul 18, 2012 7:47PM

This week, beleaguered Internet company Yahoo (YHOO) made big news when it named as its new CEO 37-year-old Marissa Mayer, a former executive at Google (GOOG). But while analysts were debating Mayer's impact on Yahoo's future, speculation on the hire's implications was nearly eclipsed by the revelation that Mayer is six months pregnant.

Mayer reportedly informed the Yahoo board of the pregnancy during the recruitment process, and says she'll be on maternity leave for a few weeks, during which she plans to continue working.

Is her pregnancy a big deal? Here, four talking points.


Greenpeace's latest attack on the company's Arctic drilling is a little too effective.

By Kim Peterson Jul 18, 2012 7:20PM
Credit: ©,
Caption: Screenshot of a user-generated ad mocking Shell from a website created by GreenpeaceRoyal Dutch Shell (RDS.A) has a problem on its hands: a little website that looks authentic and for weeks has called attention to the company's Arctic oil exploration plan.

The website, at, was expertly crafted to look like a Shell company site. But it doesn't take much investigating to realize there are hijinks afoot. The picture of a polar bear carrying the bloody head of a baby polar bear in its mouth might give a clue.

The site is an elaborate setup by Greenpeace, which has clearly learned that online protests can make more of an impact than some of its other methods. 
Tags: RDS

Bad earnings are still bad, even if they were expected.

By Jonathan Berr Jul 18, 2012 6:03PM
Image: Broken-Pencil (© Christian Zachariasen/Jupiterimages)This quarter is proving that mediocre corporate earnings are sometimes good enough to appease Wall Street.

(MATreported Tuesday that profit rose 20% to $96.2 million, or 28 cents a share, as price increases offset rising costs for raw materials even though revenue was little changed at $1.16 billion. Goldman Sachs' (GS) second-quarter net income plunged 12% to $962 million, or $1.78 per share. Revenue at the New York investment bank fell 9% to $6.63 billion. Coca-Cola's (KO) quarterly profit barely budged and revenue rose 2.7% to $13.09 billion.

Yet these are all Wall Street "winners."

For the rest of 2012, purely American companies are better positioned to deliver than multinationals.

By Jim J. Jubak Jul 18, 2012 5:19PM
Image: US currency (© Steve Allen/Brand X Pictures/Jupiterimages)Looking at the second-quarter earnings reports out so far from the likes of Coca-Cola (KO) and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), and putting those together with Wednesday's very positive report on the U.S. housing sector, I can't help but think that I'd like to own more exposure to the U.S. domestic economy and less exposure to Europe.

Not just because European revenue growth looks just about non-existent this quarter, which it does, but also because the strong dollar is killing company earnings when revenue in currencies such as the euro is translated back into dollars.

From money laundering to trading blunders, here's a roundup of recent wrongdoings.

By Kim Peterson Jul 18, 2012 2:36PM
Image: Jail (© Darrin Klimek/Getty Images/Getty Images)Bankers behaving badly? That's nothing new. But a whole army of naughty Wall Streeters getting busted repeatedly for truly breathtaking scandals?

That's exactly what we've seen this summer. We're talking about financial manipulation on a global scale. A money laundering case that reads like a Hollywood thriller. An investigation at the Vatican. An investing disaster that led to a suicide attempt.

The hits just keep coming, yet it's unclear what's triggering all this slimy behavior. Is there something new here, or was Wall Street acting like this all along and we're just figuring that out? 

Word, PowerPoint, and Excel are all getting a touchscreen-friendly facelift, and eager PC users can even try them out now for free.

By Jul 18, 2012 2:00PM

Microsoft (MSFT) announced the latest addition to its long line of cubicle-friendly Office software on Monday and, surprisingly, it isn't a piece of "inscrutable, soul-killing bloatware per the company's productivity suite tradition," says Alexandra Chang at Wired, and may even be "borderline cool." 

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer introduced what he calls the "biggest and most ambitious Office yet," which melds the company's vision for a touchscreen-ready future for applications like Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and more. Ballmer didn't give an actual launch date, but analysts are predicting late January or early February. 

Here are five things you should know:

Tags: MSFT

Vivus becomes the second pharma this year approved to sell a weight-loss treatment.

By Jul 18, 2012 1:49PM
Vivus (VVUS) has been approved by U.S. officials to sell its diet drug Qsymia, setting up a battle for the prescriptions of millions of obese Americans.

Vivus will compete with Arena Pharmaceuticals (ARNA), which is preparing its own launch of a diet drug. 

Remember, when it comes to technical analysis, numbers can't lie.

By InvestorPlace Jul 18, 2012 1:23PM
mage: Bull figurine on ascending line graph and list of share prices (© Adam Gault/OJO Images/Getty Images)By Chris Johnson

This market has become extremely sensitive to the charts, given that the fundamental picture has become just too hazy and confusing.

As we've pointed out in the past, when the market can't see through the "fundamental fog," traders shift to a "fly by instrument" approach, where the technical patterns become the key gauge on their panel.



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[BRIEFING.COM] Equity indices strung together a daylong rally on Tuesday, giving the S&P 500 its sixth consecutive advance. Some selling during the final hour of action pressured the indices from their highs, but they still ended with the bulk of their gains. The benchmark index added 0.4% with eight sectors finishing in the green, while the Nasdaq (+1.0%) outperformed throughout the session.

Although the stock market began the day on a flat note, the major averages quickly took the ... More


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