The most likely scenario is that the markets will begin to rise from here -- and that bounce is just beginning to take hold.
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Oil is surging to seven-month highs on worries the Iranian navy will close the crucial Strait of Hormuz transit point. Here's a look at the potential impact.
So, 2012 started right where the old one left off: Turmoil in the Middle East pushes crude oil higher, defanging the Federal Reserve on inflationary fears and threatening an already weak and fragile economy.
Sure, it's all about Iran this time and its boisterous saber rattling and nuclear ambitions instead of the blossoming of democracy during the Arab Spring. Specifically, with the European Union moving toward an embargo of Iranian oil imports, and with Israel and the United States getting itchy trigger fingers over Iran's nuclear program -- which claims it just enriched its first fuel rod -- the regime there has stepped up its threats to shut down the Strait of Hormuz through which 17 million barrels of oil per day flows. That's worth 35% of seaborne traded oil.
Yet the result is the same: Higher energy prices and the predictable consequences that will surely follow, as the U.S. Oil Fund (USO) closes at its best levels since June. Here's why.
The company's Asian variable annuity assets have been growing consistently at over 15% in the past couple of years.
"Happy Annuity," as it is called, requires no underwriting and offers guaranteed income for 15 years. It also offers dividends in addition to the annuity benefit at 16% of sum assured annually after the age of 55. Manulife is a leading Canada-based financial services group that has significant insurance and wealth management operations in Asia.
Surprising 2011 outperformance has left many big Dow stocks close to overbought, but several strong performers still have upside potential.
By Tom Aspray, MoneyShow.com
The disparity in the performance of the major averages in 2011 was unusually pronounced, as the Dow Jones industrials ($INDU) gained 5.5%, while the Standard & Poor's 500 Index ($INX) was flat and the Nasdaq Composite Index ($COMPX) was down 2.2% for the year.
This does not typically occur, as seen in 2010, when the Dow was up 1%, the S&P 500 gained 12.7%, and the Nasdaq Composite led the pack, up 16.8%.
The stock's IPO quiet period ends, and weak recommendations follow.
When it comes to IPOs, there are several arcane rules. One is the "quiet period," which bans a company's insiders and underwriters from making any forward-looking comments about the offering.
But once the quiet period expires 40 days from the IPO, you'll typically see plenty of analyst recommendations. While they usually glow, there are some exceptions. Just look at Groupon (GRPN). In mid-December, when Groupon's quiet period expired, the company's analysts issued recommendations that ranged from "neutral" to "sector perform" to "hold."
Stocks in the S&P 500 have been moving up and down with the broader index, making it hard for individual names to stand out.
"Correlation” isn’t usually a dirty word on Wall Street. The term refers to how closely two asset classes or securities move in relation to each other. As long as traders know what the relationships are, and are quick to catch on when those relationships change, they don’t tend to gripe too much about the specific ties that do or don’t exist.
Ask an investment manager what he or she thought of the correlations among stocks in the S&P 500-stock index in 2011, however, and you’re liable to meet with dark looks and unprintable comments.
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Berkshire Hathaway shares did not perform well in 2011.
Investors in Berkshire should be thankful that their money wasn't with a hedge fund manager such as John Paulson, who recently released a 24-page letter of apology after his fund tumbled more than 32% in its worst performance in 17 years. Disappointing performance at Soros Investment Management led to the departure of the firm's chief investment officer and prompted billionaire George Soros to return money to outside investors.
Could this mean long-term growth for Mead Johnson?
A continued dispute with pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts may cause Walgreen to lose prescriptions and sales.
In a move that hints at a renewed focus on merchandising, the company picks a Brookstone exec.
The company said Tueday it has hired away the CEO of Brookstone, Ron Boire, as its chief merchandising officer. Boire will report to CEO Lou D'Ambrosio, whom Lampert hired last year despite a lack of retail experience. Brookstone, long a fixture in America's malls, is holding its own financially -- which is more than can be said for Sears, where sales have declined for 18 straight quarters.
Dreamliner launch should help profits soar at this aerospace industry supplier.
Our top stock pick for 2012 is Titanium Metals (TIE), or TIMET for short.
Janney Capital Markets is concerned with the company's inflated margins and ability to sustain sales growth.
That's the message behind Janney Capital Markets' downgrade Tuesday of Williams Sonoma to "sell" from "neutral." The stock fell more than 3% to $37.19 as a result.
Williams Sonoma owns its namesake brand of home goods stores as well as the Pottery Barn and West Elm names.
Despite the recent slump in share price, Amazon's valuation remains sky-high.
The nattering and chattering over Amazon's (AMZN) foray into the tablet field with the Kindle Fire -- a product that costs more to produce than the company is selling it for -- is ultimately just a lot of smoke.
Yes, absolutely, Amazon is risking short-term profits and margins. So what? CEO Jeff Bezos always has managed the company beyond the quarterly demands of Wall Street's expectations. Amazon's razor-thin margins always have been under close scrutiny, and any time they come up short, investors punish the stock.
The company's fuel-efficient car batteries should help generate rapid growth.
Johnson Controls competes with major players such as Honeywell International (HON) and Siemens Building Technologies (SI) in the HVAC industry; Lear Corporation (LEA), Faurecia and Magna (MGA) in the automotive interior systems industry; and Exide Technologies (XIDE) and GS Yuasa in the automotive batteries industry.
Akamai, Verizon and Williams-Sonoma receive downgrades.
Information provided by Theflyonthewall.com
Tuesday's noteworthy analyst upgrades include:
Cisco (CSCO) upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at JP Morgan
American Eagle (AEO) upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at Piper Jaffray
Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank
Satellite television, railroads and beverage packagers should be early beneficiaries of any recovery.
The market could have done better in 2011, but, frankly, it didn’t do too badly either, considering the tumultuous challenges it had to overcome. Rather than collapse under numerous burdens -- including a wayward Europe, a tsunami in Japan and discombobulated leadership in the U.S. Congress -- it still ended higher, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ($INDU) up 5.5%.
Taking a closer look at market activity, almost all of the brand-name stocks -- like McDonald's (MCD), Apple (AAPL), Google (GOOG), IBM (IBM) and Pfizer (PFE) -- excelled over the year. It might be time now to revisit the non-brand stocks, at least for the intermediate term.
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Serious issues like drought and the deterioration of the developed world spell opportunity for this industry leader.
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[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market ended the holiday-shortened week on a mixed note as the Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 0.1%, while the S&P 500 added 0.1% with seven sectors posting gains.
Equity indices faced an uphill climb from the opening bell after disappointing quarterly results from Google (GOOG 536.10, -20.44) and IBM (IBM 190.04, -6.36) weighed on the early sentiment. Google reported earnings $0.15 below the Capital IQ consensus estimate on revenue of $15.42 ... More
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