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Be wary of dire market forecasts

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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With global markets expected to remain challenging over the next few quarters, the bank’s trading yield will also likely see a decline.

By Trefis Dec 15, 2011 3:36PM
Image: Piggy bank (© Corbis/Corbis)Morgan Stanley (MS) shares have lost more than half their value this year to trade at around $15 Thursday afternoon.

The global investment bank has been one of the most volatile financial stocks in recent months, along with Bank of America (BAC), and both have seen several single-day fluctuations of more than 5% as events related to the European debt situation unfolded. This extreme volatility can be largely attributed to the bank's extensive sales and trading operations, which can contribute anywhere between 30% and 50% of its total revenue from quarter to quarter.  
Tags: BACMS

With increasingly hostile opposition, AT&T has decided to withdraw its application and focus on securing Department of Justice approval.

By Trefis Dec 15, 2011 3:19PM
Image: Divorce (© Ingram Publishing/SuperStock)AT&T's (T) T-Mobile acquisition seems all but dead now.

The company and Deutsche Telekom (DT), T-Mobile's parent, announced Monday that they have asked a federal judge to stay further hearings until Jan. 18th so that they could “evaluate all options.” This comes after the Justice Department announced its intentions to postpone or dismiss its lawsuit seeking to block the deal. With AT&T's withdrawal of its merger application with regulators, the Justice Department has no reason to pursue the case. 
Tags: STVZ

VCs, whose entire business model revolves around their ability to focus on the upside potential of pretty much anything, are showing signs of unease.

By The Fiscal Times Dec 15, 2011 2:34PM

By Suzanne McGee, The Fiscal Times

Angst over the surprises that may lurk in 2012 isn’t confined to investors in stocks and bonds, or to the economists trying to puzzle out the impact of Europe’s sovereign debt crisis on global growth.

 

Even venture capitalists -- whose entire business model revolves around their ability to focus on the upside potential of pretty much anything, in pretty much any kind of scenario -- are showing signs of unease.

 

Transaction processors win favor as the global switch to electronic payments gains traction.

By MoneyShow.com Dec 15, 2011 2:13PM

 (© UpperCut Images/UpperCut Images/Getty Images)By Kate Stalter, MoneyShow.com


The choppy markets of 2011 have brought some predictable winners, such as discount retailers and dividend-paying big caps. But one "under the radar" industry that's fared well is that of transaction processors and electronic payment systems.


Two high-profile companies from that arena -- which some indices classify as finance and others as tech -- are S&P 500 components MasterCard (MA) and Visa (V).

 

What does this mean for energy stocks?

By MoneyShow.com Dec 15, 2011 1:45PM

(© Comstock/Corbis)By Tom Aspray, MoneyShow.com


The stronger dollar (read: plunging euro) and OPEC’s decision to keep output of crude oil at current levels was a double whammy on Wednesday.


As if that wasn’t enough, the US Energy Information Administration later reported higher-than-expected inventories, as well as demand for crude oil that was almost 9% lower than last year.

 

The stock takes off after the shipping giant announces solid earnings.

By Jonathan Berr Dec 15, 2011 12:53PM
By Jonathan Berr

FedEx's (FDX) better-than-expected fiscal-second-quarter earnings report, released Thursday, is more proof that the U.S. economic recovery is for real.

Net income at the Memphis, Tenn., parcel delivery company rose 76% to $497 million, or $1.57 per share, as more consumers used FedEx Home Delivery and FedEx SmartPost services during the holiday season. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg had expected earnings of $1.53. Revenue rose 10% to $10.59 billion, in line with estimates.  
Tags: BAFDXups

We need reasons beyond 'commodities down, buy financial assets' -- because we have been down this path so many times.

By Jim Cramer Dec 15, 2011 11:45AM
 (© Anthony Bradshaw/Photographer)People taking note of the banks holding up. People taking note of the FXE bouncing. People thinking a commodity collapse may not be all that bad. 

I get that. I get the constant desire to call the bottom. I get the idea that we could bounce.
 

Despite grim headlines, investment pros who know the stock say this is a good time to buy.

By Gene Marcial Dec 15, 2011 11:02AM

Shares of Best Buy (BBY) have gotten slammed and will likely continue to stagger.

 

But don't panic. Some investment pros who know the largest retailer of consumer electronics quite well are saying the seemingly unthinkable: Buy Best Buy's stock. It is probably the cheapest deal in the store right now.  

 
Tags: BBY

These picks are undervalued based on a price-to-earnings growth strategy.

By TheStockAdvisors Dec 15, 2011 10:38AM
By J. Royden Ward, Cabot Bejamin Graham Value Letter

Twenty-seven years ago, Standard & Poor’s created the PEG ratio (price-to-earnings growth) to measure the degree to which a growth stock is undervalued.

We use the ratio to find growth stocks selling at reasonable prices. The PEG ratio is calculated by dividing the price to earnings (P/E) ratio by the earnings growth rate. The growth rate is our estimated rate of EPS growth for the next five years. A PEG ratio of less than 1.00 indicates that a stock is undervalued.  

Capitalizing on the huge demand for Apple's smartphone, China Unicom should be able to increase its mobile market share.

By Trefis Dec 14, 2011 5:08PM
Image: China (© Brand X/SuperStock)China Unicom (CHU) will finally be able to sell the long-awaited iPhone 4S in mainland China, according to a report in the Beijing Morning Post.

China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has issued a network permit to China Unicom, the country's second largest carrier, to sell the phone from this month onward, making it likely that the phone will be available for Christmas. Since its debut in October, Apple's (AAPL) iPhone 4S has ruled smartphone sales for two consecutive months at the three major carriers in the U.S.: Verizon (VZ), AT&T (T) and Sprint (S). 

Some of the world's best investors are keying in on natural-resource plays.

By John Reese Dec 14, 2011 5:01PM

Image: Coal miners (© Digital Vision/SuperStock)Some of the world's most successful investors have been bullish on natural-resource stocks recently as the world population continues to rise, global economies operate on non-renewable resources, and central banks inject huge sums into the financial system.

 

One is Jeremy Grantham of GMO, who has been high on resource stocks as longer-term investments for some time. "I like (personally) resources in the ground on a 10-year horizon," Grantham wrote in his recent third-quarter letter to clients.

 

The company says it will return to full operations at its Grasberg mine by early next year.

By Jim J. Jubak Dec 14, 2011 4:51PM
The strike at Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold’s (FCX) huge Grasberg mine is over.

The settlement with union workers is reasonable -- a 40% increase in wages over two years will raise pay to $7.50 an hour from the current $2.50 -- especially considering that initial demands were for $200 a hour. Credit Suisse estimates the agreement will raise costs at Grasberg by 2% in 2012 and 4% in 2013.
 
Tags: FCXgold

The soft-drink giant strikes a $980 million deal with a Saudi soda company.

By Benzinga Dec 14, 2011 4:37PM

By John Thorpe, Benzinga Staff Writer


Coca-Cola (KO) announced Wednesday that it has reached an agreement to buy half of Saudi Arabia's Aujan Industries' drinks business.


The deal, valued at $980 million, gives the U.S. beverage maker a significant inroad to the growing food and beverage markets in the Middle East and North Africa. The company said in October that it wanted to move into those markets wherever it was strategically possible to do so. Now, it seems to have that foothold.

 

Major homebuilders have soared since early October, and some analysts say there's no real justification for the rise.

By Kim Peterson Dec 14, 2011 4:23PM
The single-family housing market is a mess. So why are homebuilder stocks so high?

A foreclosure glut is still dragging the sector down. The National Association of Realtors just said the market downturn was worse than it thought. Freddie Mac's chief economist is predicting "another bumpy ride" for 2012.

But shares of D.R. Horton (DHI) were up nearly 50% this week from early October. Toll Brothers (TOL) was up more than 45% in that time. Lennar (LEN) was up more than 50%. 
Tags: DHILENTOL

Rumors swirl that the telecom giant could acquire the red envelope. But such a deal could be bad for both companies -- and worse for customers.

By MSNMoney partner Dec 14, 2011 3:54PM
The Week

On Tuesday, an investment banker told Bloomberg that Verizon is "very serious" about buying Netflix, sending a flurry of rumors flying across the tech world. Just last week, it was reported that Verizon was considering launching its own streaming service to compete with Netflix. Would it make more sense for the company just to acquire Netflix? What would such a deal mean for Verizon, Netflix and customers?

It wouldn't do either Netflix or Verizon any good: Though there are exploitable synergies between the companies, they're better off remaining independent, says Todd Campbell at Seeking Alpha.  
Tags: TWXVZ

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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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