A Mexican wave for Big Oil?
Mexico opens way for Big Oil

New legislation is allowing foreign companies to finally invest in the country's vast oil reserves.

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Every portfolio needs a high-yield component made up of strong assets with manageable risk.

By MoneyShow.com Jan 4, 2012 2:08PM

Image: Lumber, construction © fotog/Tetra images/Getty ImagesBy Tom Aspray, MoneyShow.com


The winning stock strategy for 2011 was to buy high-yielding stocks. Following Tuesday's surge in global markets, the focus may now move more towards growth stocks. The technical action in the stock market does favor further gains, though the market is likely to take a few days to digest its gains.


Nevertheless, I expect high-yielding stocks in strong sectors -- including the Dow stocks discussed here -- will do well, and these should make up a part of all portfolios.

 
Tags: REITRYNWY

The struggling Internet giant names the PayPal boss as its new CEO.

By InvestorPlace Jan 4, 2012 1:59PM
By Jonathan Berr, InvestorPlace


If PayPal head Scott Thompson can turn Yahoo (YHOO) around, he will earn a spot among the greatest CEOs of his era. The challenges facing the Sunnyvale, Calif., company are that formidable.


Thompson, who is replacing fired Carol Bartz, needs to bring a 20th-century company into the 21st century -- and fast. He did a good job at eBay's (EBAY) payments subsidiary, boosting users to more than 100 million and helping it generate an anticipated $13 billion by 2013. Yahoo, a diverse Internet portal, is a much different company, and Thompson's learning curve will be short.

 

Italian bank Unicredit raises money through a discounted offering, creating a potential ripple effect through the markets.

By Jim Cramer Jan 4, 2012 1:49PM

Image: Europe (© Photodisc/SuperStock)By Jim Cramer

 

Unicredit bank is NOT Joseph A. Bank (JOS). You don't want to get a two-for-one sale from a financial. You want one from a clothing store. Yet that's exactly what you got with this rights offering that drove Unicredit's stock down to the March 2009 level, the worst month I can ever recall for banks around the world.

 

The fact is that there were buyers at this 43% rights offering discount. So I guess we can say it was a success. But it also says that the prices people are paying for bank stocks in Europe with lots of leverage and lots of sovereign debt are about 43% too high, even after the declines this group has seen.

 

Customers found the DVD rental company wasn't indispensable when it raised its prices.

By Trefis Jan 4, 2012 1:41PM
Image: Hollywood (© Comstock/SuperStock)While 2010 saw Netflix (NFLX) transformed from a mainstream DVD rental provider to an online movie-streaming leader, 2011 was a mixed bag.

After the exceptional subscriber growth in the first half of the year, which propelled the company's stock to almost $300, terrible management decisions led to a momentous slide and tarnished its image. This has opened up a window of opportunity to newcomers like Amazon (AMZN) and Dish Network's (DISH) Blockbuster. 

Industry leader turns trash into cash.

By TheStockAdvisors Jan 4, 2012 1:00PM
Image: Garbage men operating garbage truck (© Don Mason/Blend Images/Corbis)This post is one in a series in which over 50 newsletter advisors share their Top Picks for 2012.

By Jason Cimpl, Top Stock Insights

Uncertainty in the markets could make the next two to three years excruciating for long-term investors. That's why it's important to pick the right stock in the right industry if you want to profit from your investments during the volatile years ahead. 
Tags: WM

Visa, MasterCard were downgraded to 'neutral,' and Intel was initiated with a 'neutral.'

By MSN Money Partner Jan 4, 2012 12:16PM
Information provided by Theflyonthewall.com:

Wednesday's noteworthy upgrades include:
  • CF Industries (CF) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Citigroup
  • American Eagle (AEO) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Janney Capital
  • Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) upgraded to Conviction Buy from Buy at Goldman
  • Dunkin' Brands (DNKN) upgraded to Neutral from Sell at Goldman
  • Lululemon (LULU) upgraded to Conviction Buy from Buy at Goldman
 

Internet IPOs last year reached highs not seen since the dot-com boom, but that still wasn't enough to make venture capitalists confident about 2012.

By The Fiscal Times Jan 4, 2012 11:45AM
Image Source/Getty ImagesBy Suzanne McGee, The Fiscal Times

Last year was a bonanza for Internet startups trying to go public. Global Internet IPOs raised $9.3 billion in 2011, almost double the 2010 level, according to figures released by tracking firm Dealogic.

But while that’s higher than in any year since the dot-com boom went bust more than a decade ago -- and while one of the deals packing the most buzz, online gaming giant Zynga (ZNGA),  was a highlight of the fourth quarter -- IPO activity in the closing months of the year wasn’t lively enough to give the venture capital backers of those companies still languishing in the pipeline much cause for jubilation. 

Payment processor leads the charge at home and abroad.

By TheStockAdvisors Jan 4, 2012 11:14AM
Image: woman swiping a credit card © Rubberball/Mike Kemp/Rubberball/Getty ImagesThis post is one in a series in which over 50 newsletter advisors share their Top Picks for 2012.

By Amy Calistri, Stock of the Month

Every time you pay for something with a debit or credit card, chances are good that Visa (V) is profiting from your purchase.  
Tags: V

The fashion house bets on high-end consumers.

By Jonathan Berr Jan 4, 2012 10:55AM
Tim Pannell/CorbisWhen Liz Claiborne (LIZ) sold its namesake brand to J.C. Penney (JCP) late last year for $288 million, it became obvious that a name change was in order. The company indeed announced Wednesday that starting in May it would become Fifth and Pacific Companies, trading under a new ticker FNP.

The name reflects New York (Fifth Avenue) and Pacific (The Pacific Ocean). A new name is needed because the company is new and needs to create a new brand identity.  Fifth and Pacific is not a bad corporate name, but it doesn't obscure the challenges that lie ahead for the fashion house. 
Tags: JCPM

Long term, the giant contractors have strong hope to keep thriving.

By InvestorPlace Jan 4, 2012 10:29AM
 Tetra Images/CorbisBy Susan J. Aluise, Aviation, Auto & Transportation Writer

As U.S. defense officials start getting used to the idea of dramatic cuts to military spending, major contractors like Boeing (BA) and Lockheed Martin (LMT) are bracing for mandatory reductions of $600 billion in defense and national security budgets. Contractors saw the writing on the wall when the congressional supercommittee fumbled the deficit-reduction ball last Thanksgiving, triggering $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts beginning in 2013 in both defense and non-defense programs.


Faced with what Defense Secretary Leon Panetta termed a "doomsday scenario," he plans to scrap DOD's long-standing strategy of being able to fight two wars simultaneously. The havoc such a move would wreak on contractors' revenues adds an exclamation point to the defense sector's fears.

 

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.

By Anthony Mirhaydari Jan 3, 2012 6:21PM

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.

By Trefis Jan 3, 2012 5:45PM
Manulife (MFC) recently launched a new annuity offering in Thailand that helps customers save taxes before the end of the year and facilitates early retirement by limiting the premium-paying period to age 55.

"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. 
Tags: METMFCPRU

Surprising 2011 outperformance has left many big Dow stocks close to overbought, but several strong performers still have upside potential.

By MoneyShow.com Jan 3, 2012 5:38PM

Image: Arrow Up (© Image Source/Photolibrary)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.

By InvestorPlace Jan 3, 2012 5:31PM
Image: Young man and woman holding power tools, low section (© Thomas Barwick/Photodisc/Getty Images)By Tom Taulli

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.

By The Fiscal Times Jan 3, 2012 5:31PM
stock marketsBy Suzanne McGee, The Fiscal Times

"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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[BRIEFING.COM] The major averages punctuated a solid week with a subdued Friday session. The S&P 500 shed 0.2% to narrow its weekly gain to 1.7%, while the Nasdaq Composite (+0.1%) displayed relative strength. The tech-heavy index finished the week in line with the benchmark average.

Market participants went into today's session expecting to hear some new insight from Fed Chair Janet Yellen, who delivered the keynote address at this year's Jackson Hole Symposium. Unfortunately, the ... More


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