Stocks should be crushed by global turmoil, Jim Cramer says. Instead, they're doing fine.
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A surge in vacancy rates has left many locations struggling to fill empty stores and maintain revenue.
Many malls across the country are a shell of what they once were, having said goodbye to the likes of Mervyn's, Blockbuster, Circuit City and Borders.
The store closings continue. Sears Holding (SHLD) is closing as many as 120 Sears and Kmart locations. Gap Inc. (GPS) is closing 200 stores and downsizing others. Talbots (TLB) will close 110 stores by 2013. Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) closed 50 stores and is struggling financially.
Menu price increases contribute to a spike in the chain's comparable restaurant sales.
Chipotle's stock continues to outperform its rivals and has gained more than 10% so far this year. Chipotle competes mostly with quick-service and casual dining restaurant chains like Chili's, McDonald's (MCD), Burger King, Yum Brands (YUM) and Papa John's, among others.
The red-hot chain is expanding testing of at-table tablets.
By Kyle Woodley
For decades, scores of customers have flooded Buffalo Wild Wings (BWLD) for its sauced-up chicken.
Soon, they might be sticking around for the Apples.
Buffalo Wild Wings recently announced an expansion of its tester program to put Apple (AAPL) iPads in the hands of customers -- a tech initiative that could keep the good times rolling for this successful restaurant stock.
Why would anyone buy shares of this casino operator after looking at the fine print?
Traders paid little heed to all the red flags surrounding the stock, such as the vast number of shares that will flood the market in the future. Caesars sold shares at $9 each, but by midday Wednesday the stock price had climbed to $16.
This is an incredibly tiny IPO.
Will Coinstar be able to ride on the success of its new joint venture?
Shares of Coinstar (CSTR) surged more than 19% Tuesday following a very strong fourth-quarter earnings report that was released after the closing bell Monday. In addition, the parent company of Redbox, the ubiquitous DVD rental kiosks, announced a joint venture with Verizon (VZ) that will give it a footprint in the fast-growing streaming video content market. Coinstar also revealed that it was acquiring NCR Corp.'s (NCR) DVD rental kiosks, which are operated under the Blockbuster Express brand, for $100 million.
Shares slipped slightly Wednesday, opening at $57.69 and settling in around $57.23 by midday.
Groupon has risen quickly from obscurity -- and its downfall could be just as fast.
By Paul Larson, Morningstar StockInvestor
While Groupon (GRPN) has quickly made a name for itself, this recent IPO appears ripe for selling. Even though the stock fell after the IPO, it still looks richly valued. Caveat emptor!
Heavy spending and rapid expansion has helped Groupon establish a market for "daily deals" and email promotions for local businesses. With a database of more than 115 million email subscribers, Groupon has built a large audience to market deep discounts (called "Groupons") offered by local merchants.
BP is downgraded to 'hold,' and Costco is initiated with 'market perform.'
Wednesday's noteworthy upgrades include:
Better times lie ahead for the burger chain.
When Wendy's (WEN) CEO Emil Brolick was hired last year, the burger chain was in the midst of an identity crisis. That's no longer the case.
The company made famous in folksy commercials featuring its late founder Dave Thomas has moved into the lucrative fast casual market with premium offerings such as the W burger. Brolick is also sprucing up the chain's locations and stressing the importance of good service. Though he took the job only in November, he is already seeing results.
A breakup of the drugmaker into separate operating entities should unlock shareholder value.
By Gregory Dorsey, Leeb's Income Performance Letter
In addition to quantifiable metrics such as reasonable valuations, solid growth prospects and a strong balance sheet, one of the less tangible characteristics we look for is a history of maximizing shareholder value.
It adds a measure of safety that can protect investors if the market hits a rough patch. Such is the case with Abbott Labs (ABT). Abbott announced last fall that it was splitting itself in two, a move it expects to finalize toward the end of this year. Indeed, with this stock investors are getting 'two for the price of one' as the company.
It's certainly profitable, but unresolved spill liabilities still keep it risky.
By Aaron Levitt
What a difference just a year and half makes. It's been roughly 19 months since BP's (BP) Deepwater Horizon rig disaster. The resulting explosion killed 11 workers and created one of the worst oil spills in recent history. Since then, it's been a long, hard climb for the integrated oil major.
However, BP's Tuesday earnings report points to improved results and a potential turnaround. But with legal liabilities from the Gulf of Mexico spill still hanging over it, the question remains: Is BP a buy?
Investors can find safety not just in gold and Treasury bonds, but also in some of the market's large cap stocks.
Over the past few years, a number of macroeconomic events -- ranging from the 2008 financial crisis to the Arab Spring uprisings in the Middle East to Europe's debt problems -- have led investors to load up on assets that offer (or at least are perceived to offer) safety. Since the start of 2009, gold prices have just about doubled, and since mid-2009, yields on 10-year Treasury bonds have been just about cut in half.
But what's interesting is that many of the stocks that should be considered safest -- big, high-quality blue chips -- haven't been getting much love from investors. Over the past three years, the Vanguard Mega Cap 300 Index ETF (MGC) is up 59%; the Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF (VTI) meanwhile is up 68%, and the Vanguard Small Cap ETF (VB) is up more than 100%.
Experts say why they like stocks in the mattress, information database and gaming sectors.
Mattresses, information databases and gaming? The Zacks panel of experts takes them on, offering stock picks in each sector in the following video post.
A technical breakout bodes well for this cloud-computing play.
Rackspace Hosting (RAX), which provides Internet hosting and cloud-computing services, is our latest featured breakout stock.
Rackspace serves some 130,000 business customers and manages more than 66,000 servers, 2.1 million email accounts, and 417,000 cloud-hosting domains. It offers its products under the Fanatical Support brand and sells services to businesses in more than 120 countries. Rackspace has annual revenue of $957 million.
Apple's upcoming new tablet will be a potent weapon that can slow Amazon's newest Kindle.
Although Amazon's Kindle Fire fell short of the iPad in customer satisfaction in a recent market survey by ChangeWave Research, it scored higher than other non-Apple tablets, such as Research In Motion's (RIMM) PlayBook. Surveyed users said the most attractive feature was its low price of $199 -- less than half that of an entry-level iPad 2.
This screen for free cash flow to equity isolates stocks with both high yields and secure dividends.
The best tool I have found to determine what a company really has left after expenses for shareholder dividends is a little known metric called free cash flow to equity (FCFE).
FCFE strips out all capital expenditures and adds back net borrowings that can be used to pay dividends. Using FCFE in the denominator of the payout ratio instead of more traditional earnings measures can help separate the safer dividend plays from the more aggressive ones.
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