8 reasons the market isn't worse
8 reasons the market isn't worse

Stocks should be crushed by global turmoil, Jim Cramer says. Instead, they're doing fine.

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The Fed chief says he's open to more easing but does not commit. Factory orders rise more than expected, while the Chicago PMI slows. Consumer sentiment increases. Facebook sinks to all-time low.

By Melly Alazraki Aug 31, 2012 9:12AM
stock marketLast updated at 11:41 a.m. ET

U.S. stocks went on a wild ride after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke released a much-anticipated policy speech. While he didn't commit to any stimulus, he said he is open to more stimulus. Meanwhile, data showed Chicago PMI decelerated and consumer sentiment and factory orders increased. European shares and commodities rose as well.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ($INDU) was up 129 points at 13,130. The S&P 500 ($INX) was up 11 points at 1,411. The Nasdaq Composite ($COMPX) was up 23 points at 3,072.

After a couple of weeks of speculation and low activity in the market, Bernanke finally addressed a symposium of central bankers in Jackson Hole, Wyo.

In his speech, Bernanke said he is open to using more quantitative easing but did not commit to taking action. The Fed chief said that "stagnation of the labor market in particular is a grave concern" and called the current growth "tepid." "The economy," he said, "needs more policy support than usual at this stage of the cycle." 

These stocks are historically undervalued and offer attractive yields.

By TheStockAdvisors Aug 31, 2012 7:21AM
Image: Arrow Up, Nicholas Monu,iStock Exclusive,Getty ImagesBy Isabelle Sender, S&P Capital IQ, The Outlook

In our latest stock screen, we looked for dividend-paying stocks with low P/E multiples that also earn a strong "buy" recommendation from our analysts.

For investors who believe U.S. equity valuations are unduly depressed, there are several stocks that carry S&P Capital's top ranking of 5 stars, or "strong buy," that trade significantly below current and historical benchmark valuations and offer attractive yields.

Currently, valuations appear attractive when compared with historical data. As of the S&P 500's Aug. 10 close, the large-cap benchmark was trading at a price-to-earnings multiple 13.6 times S&P Capital IQ equity analysts' earnings-per-share estimates for 2012, while the S&P 1500 Composite's P/E was 14.1. 

The warehouse chain offers a better glimpse into the economy than other retailers.

By Jonathan Berr Aug 30, 2012 7:26PM
Costco (COST), which offers a mind-boggling assortment of merchandise at its more than 600 stores ranging from chocolate cakes the size of your head to dress shirts that Mitt Romney allegedly fancies, is on a roll.

Sales at stores opened at least a year, a key retail metric, surged 6% in August, beating the 4.5% increase that analysts had expected. Net sales were $7.4 billion for the month of August, up 8% year-over-year. Shares of the Issaquah, Wash. company rose on the news.  
Tags: COSTGPSM

The company's business is hitched to a very unpredictable global economy, but investors are too focused on the small details.

By Jim J. Jubak Aug 30, 2012 6:55PM
Okay, I get it. The current stock market doesn't care about the long-term. Buy or sell on the now. That's it.

But do we all have to go along?

Case in point: Polypore International (PPO). The stock, not exactly a winner out of the gate since I added it to Jubak’s Picks on Jan. 13, got kicked hard on Aug. 28 by an analyst report that pointed out the obvious: General Motors' (GM) decision to close down the Detroit-Hamtramck plant, which makes the electric Volt, for four weeks isn't exactly good news for Polypore, which makes separators for lithium batteries used in electric cars. 
 
Tags: gmMXWLPPO

Several quick-service restaurant chains are finding new ways to ramp up sales during busy hours.

By Benzinga Aug 30, 2012 6:05PM
A sign outside the fast-food chain McDonaldBy Katey Stapleton

Recognizing that no one wants to stand in line, particularly for "fast" food, McDonald's (MCD) and other rivals are adapting new technologies to speed service along.


As the economy improves, fast-food chains have begun spending on new ways to cut the wait short, according to The Wall Street Journal. Along with shaving minutes off of order fulfillment during breakfast, lunch and dinner, the companies are beefing up employee hours to provide more hands in the kitchen.


"How many people we have on the floor during those peak hours and where are they positioned is very important to driving more transactions," McDonald's chief financial officer Peter Bensen said on a recent conference call.

 

While Gulf Coast residents assess the damage from the slow-moving storm, investors are evaluating the impact on stocks.

By The Fiscal Times Aug 30, 2012 4:50PM
By Suzanne McGeeThe Fiscal Times

Hurricane Isaac became Tropical Storm Isaac once again Wednesday after making landfall in the southeastern United States, but while Gulf Coast residents assess the damage from the slow-moving storm, investors are evaluating the impact on stocks across sectors such as energy, insurance and even gaming.

Offshore oil and natural gas production largely shut down leading up to the storm, according to the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, and gasoline prices saw their biggest one-day jump in 18 months, but early reports say the region's refineries were left largely untouched by the hurricane. Insurers and casino operators shouldn’t suffer big hits either. 

Not everyone on the business network is fawning over vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan.

By Jonathan Berr Aug 30, 2012 4:20PM
Before Paul Ryan accepted the Republican nomination for vice president Wednesday night, CNBC's Larry Kudlow said he hoped to hear details of the party's plans to get the U.S. economy growing faster. Alas, the curmudgeonly pundit was disappointed.

"There was too much emphasis on debt and not enough about growth," the former Reagan administration official said on the network, adding that the GOP's consistent harping about the federal government's debt problem has little meaning to someone without a job. 
Tags: CMCSANWS

The company is focusing on selling expensive tablets, televisions and other high-end electronics. Sound familiar?

By Benzinga Aug 30, 2012 3:20PM
By Louis Bedigian

Sony (SNE) wants to sell consumers the most expensive products possible, including high-end tablets and an 84-inch 4K television that may sell for five figures.


It might sound like overkill, but it's part of the company's strategy to become more like its most successful competitor, Apple (AAPL). This is a role reversal for the two tech companies; at one point Apple co-founder Steve Jobs wanted his firm to be more like Sony.

 

Net farm income is expected to rise nearly 4% this year. Insurance payments and high grain prices are contributing to the gains.

By Kim Peterson Aug 30, 2012 2:28PM
There is no doubt that the widespread U.S. drought this summer has devastated farmers. Crops are damaged beyond repair, and the impact will be felt for years.

But despite the damage, or maybe because of it, farmers are on track to have their most profitable year on record, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Net farm income is expected to hit $122.2 billion this year -- a nearly 4% increase from last year and the highest on record. If you adjust for inflation, it's the second-highest profit after 1973, the Financial Times reports
Tags: DE

The current model of the e-reader just sold out, and a market share claim causes controversy.

By Minyanville.com Aug 30, 2012 2:04PM
Amazon.com logo copyright Spencer Platt, Getty ImagesAmazon.com (AMZN) just bid an official goodbye to the Kindle Fire, which made history as one of the first Google (GOOG) Android tablets to actually make a dent in the market.

According to Amazon, the Kindle Fire accounted for 22% of tablet sales in the U.S. during its time on the market. This number is causing some controversy in the financial Twitosphere as it seems awfully high, so I decided to investigate. 

I hit Amazon up with a phone call, email, and Tweet. They haven't gotten back to me, so I took a stab at figuring it out myself. 

One thing to remember is that while Apple (AAPL) faithfully reports iPad sales numbers each quarter, Amazon does not do the same for the Kindle Fire. That makes this exercise a little bit tough. 
 

Despite its recent struggles, the retailer maintains a positive outlook.

By Benzinga Aug 30, 2012 1:41PM
Sears store in Milford, Connecticut, Spencer Platt, Getty ImagesBy Joe Young

Since Sears Holdings' (SHLD) public float has fallen below the 50% threshold required for inclusion in the S&P 500 -- and stayed that way for some time -- the company is being replaced by LyondellBasell (LYB) as of Sept. 4.


Shares of Sears have tumbled more than 8% in afternoon trading, while LyondellBasell is up almost 4% on the news.


Sears' removal from the S&P 500 follows news that the retailer is trying to separate its Hometown and Outlet businesses. Sears Holdings will no longer have any ownership rights over the Hometown business, which will become a separate, publicly traded entity.

 

Stocks are lower at midday and the sluggish trading environment persists as investors remain on the sidelines ahead of Bernanke speech.

By MSN Money Partner Aug 30, 2012 12:54PM
Wall Street sign copyright Corbis SuperStockInformation provided by Theflyonthewall.com

DuPont (DD) agreed to sell its Performance Coatings business to Carlyle Group (CG) for $4.9 billion. Shares of the two moved in opposite directions following the announcement, with DuPont down about 0.5% and Carlyle up about 0.4%.

U.S. retailers, including Target (TGT), Macy'’s (M), Gap (GPS), Limited Brands (LTD) and Costco (COST), delivered strong comparable sales for August that were boosted by back-to-school buying.

Among the notable market gainers Thursday were Flagstone Reinsurance (FSR), up 21% after agreeing to be purchased by Validus (VR) in a cash and stock deal, and Pandora (P), up 19% after it reported a break-even Q2, surpassing estimates, and issued a better-than-expected Q3 revenue forecast. 
 

The popular menu item could offset parent company Yum Brand's falling fried-chicken business.

By InvestorPlace Aug 30, 2012 12:38PM

By Alyssa Oursler


investorplaceMunchers in America may not be too excited by Colonel Sanders' drive-thru fried chicken these days, but they're going crazy for Taco Bell's Dorito Loco Taco.

 

Sales of the snack -- seasoned beef, cheddar cheese, sour cream, lettuce and tomatoes tucked into a crunchy Doritos shell -- recently reached 200 million after debuting in March, making it the most successful product since the chain began 50 years ago.

 

If the company's new Mongolian mine can secure power from China, it could become a crucial growth project.

By Trefis Aug 30, 2012 12:13PM
Trefis LogoGold Bars copyright Photodisc SuperStockRio Tinto (RIO) has expressed confidence that it will reach an agreement with China over the power supply for the Oyu Tolgoi project in time to begin production as scheduled. 

Oyu Tolgoi, in Mongolia, is one of the world's largest undeveloped copper and gold assets, with a resource base estimated at 41 billion pounds of copper and 21 million ounces of gold. 

Rio Tinto is spending close to $6.2 billion on the mine's development in the first phase. About 94% of the work is complete. Initial output of copper and gold concentrate is set to begin before the end of this year, and commercial production is expected to start in the first half of 2013.
 
Tags: RIO

Humana is downgraded to 'neutral,' and Vertex is initiated with a 'buy.'

By MSN Money Partner Aug 30, 2012 11:31AM
fly logoInformation provided by Theflyonthewall.com

Thursday's noteworthy upgrades include:
  • Pandora (P) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Canaccord, and to Buy from Neutral at SunTrust
  • Cigna (CI) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse
  • Louisiana-Pacific (LPX) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at BofA/Merrill
 

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[BRIEFING.COM] The S&P 500 (+0.3%) remains near its best level of the session, while the Dow (-0.1%) remains in the red.

Since our last update, the International Monetary Fund has lowered its growth forecast for the U.S. to 1.7% from 2.0% and said the Fed may need to delay its first rate hike due to the contraction that took place in the first quarter. Furthermore, the IMF described the U.S. labor market as 'reasonably healthy.'

The remarks had little impact on equities as ... More


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