Once you get past the hype, there's little chance for long-term gain with this stock.
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Wednesday's circus in the oil market will probably lead to further declines in both crude oil and stocks.
Though first-quarter earnings have been solid, there are new concerns that the momentum won't continue.
While job growth, housing and wages have all lagged during the economic recovery to date, corporate earnings have been the bright spot as executives leverage a vast pool of cheap labor, rising global demand and a focus on cost cutting to expand margins and deliver impressive profitability growth despite modest revenue growth.
As a result, corporate profits have pushed to record highs, lighting a fire under the stock market. We've seen this reflected in first-quarter earnings. Of the 443 S&P 500 companies that reported though the week of May 6, 267 beat analyst earnings estimates, 299 beat on sales and 198 beat on both.
That's all well and good. But there is increasing evidence that the profit tailwind is set to subside. And with stock market valuations looking stretched and the economic outlook darkening, this is likely to put added pressure on equities in the months to come. Here's why.
National Presto provides some risk, as well as a tasty hidden payout.
By Anand Chokkavelu, CFA
Now I'm putting my money where my mouth is, buying shares for my real-money Rising Star portfolio.
Why I'm buying
Long story short, National Presto pays out a small, regular dividend each year, equating to a 0.9% dividend yield at today's prices. But counting its special dividend (which increased slightly from the year before), that yield jumps to 7.4%.
The company has a lot of moving parts, and there are definitely risks (which I'll detail below) that could keep it from prolonging its dividend magic, but I like the stock at today's prices -- and I like it even more if the stock falls further.
Some of the biggest names in consumer sales are forgoing traditional e-commerce to push sales directly via their Facebook accounts.
That's the mind-set of some of the biggest names in retail, anyway, as more and more merchants move away from traditional e-commerce websites and integrate sales directly into their Facebook accounts.
Is this just a craze, or could social media wind up killing traditional online retail sites as we know them?
A unique 'rental' plan providing Chrome computers to students could help fend off the iPad craze.
There's no doubt Apple (AAPL) and its runaway success with the iPad are taking a bite out of the laptop market. But for some folks, the flash of a tablet isn't worth the expense, and the comfortable old click of a keyboard is just plain faster for writing longer documents.
That's why Apple's Silicon Valley competitor Google (GOOG) is pushing forward with an ambitious plan to offer ultra-cheap laptops using its Chrome operating system. The gadgets go on sale for as little as $349.
But the real sales potential, according to a rumor first reported by Forbes, is that the Chrome laptop -- complete with Internet access can -- be "rented" for just $20 a month.
The People's Bank may raise interest rates at least twice more this year.
While the world's largest companies can seem boring, they are historically cheap and may catch up to their small- and mid-cap counterparts in the months ahead.
By Don Dion, TheStreet
Although mega caps such as these are often viewed as boring, this slice of the marketplace could prove attractive in the months ahead.
For one, companies in this mega-cap segment appear noticeably cheap. This week, both the Economist and Barron's cited an analyst report from Morgan Stanley that noted that, relative to the broader market, mega-cap companies are currently at their cheapest levels in a quarter century.
The sell-offs in silver, oil and stocks are necessary for markets to go higher on the basis of reality.
Looks like total end-of-the-world alert time. Let's spin it: Commodities prices are collapsing because there is a sudden cessation in demand, brought about by skyrocketing commodities prices. Because gasoline (which is going down now) had gone up so much, the consumer doesn't have enough left to spend. And because food prices (which are going to plummet) went up so much, households don't have enough left from their paychecks to buy anything.
When we see the prices of the big metals come down, something that the Chinese government has been waiting for so it can stop tightening its economy, then we have to sell stocks, because the Chinese government is tightening.
Housing prices, which are being kept down by aggressive selling of foreclosed homes, as the most recent existing-home sales numbers tell you, will keep going down because the foreclosed homes are weighing on pricing. Of course, the fact that even with all of the foreclosed homes being sold pricing is only off about 5% doesn't matter. Housing is crashing!
This week's corrections have turned the outlook for the markets almost upside down, at least in the short term. A big rally will be needed soon to get the uptrend back on track.
The top executive at Philip Morris International tells shareholders that smokes aren't so addictive.
Perhaps it was this person that Philip Morris International's (PM) chief executive was thinking about recently when he said that it's "not that hard to quit" cigarettes. Louis Camilleri was asked about the issue at the company's annual shareholder meeting. A nurse said that one of her patients told her it was harder to quit cigarettes than crack, cocaine or methamphetamine.
Camilleri acknowledged that cigarettes are harmful and addictive. "Whilst it is addictive, it is not that hard to quit," he told the nurse. "There are more previous smokers in America today than current smokers."
But this time it might succeed. Private equity and eBay, which still owns 30% of Skype, could sell.
When I wake up in the morning and check news for the companies I own, I worry. I don't worry that my companies missed their quarterly guidance by a few pennies – running a business is an art, and things don't usually work out in a precise, linear fashion. The companies that have a "deliver the quarter" culture often just play their financial statements as a musical instrument.
No, I am not worried about that. What worries me is that a company in my portfolio will pull a "Microsoft" – announce a stupendous, "transformative" acquisition, like the $48 billion takeover of Yahoo that Microsoft announced in 2008, but that Yahoo's management was too ... (fill in the blank) to accept. (I spent some time looking at Yahoo last week. Its stock is at $18, almost half the price that Microsoft offered, and I find the company only mildly undervalued if you give a significant value to the assets alibaba.com and Alibaba Group that Yahoo acquired in 2006 and which were not worth nearly as much in 2008.)
The new First Trust NASDAQ Global Auto Index Fund offers investors a way to tap the growth in the global car industry.
By Don Dion, TheStreet
The industry's rapid growth and expansion has resulted in products designed to reach corners of the marketplace. Despite this wide selection, there are still areas that have remained largely untouched by ETFs.
The car industry has traditionally been one such category. Despite the fact that the industry's resurgence has been one of the major success stories in the global economic revival, there is no pure-play ETF option available, leaving auto enthusiasts to struggle to capture the strength of car makers and parts suppliers.
Reverse splits aren't always the kiss of death.
By Dan Caplinger
Sirius XM Radio (SIRI) fought against it for years -- and won. Fellow Fool Rich Munarriz thinks YRC Worldwide (YCRW) needs it bad. And now that Citigroup (C) has finally succumbed to its allure, the question remains: Will the big bank's reverse split spell disaster for the company's stock?
As fellow Fool Cindy Johnson explains here, many think the answer is a definite yes. But judging from its first day of trading after its 1-for-10 reverse split took effect, Citi investors are answering with a resounding "I don't know." Having closed at $4.52 last Friday, the stock finished at $44.16 yesterday, amounting to a 2.3% loss on an up day for the market. But longer term, shareholders must wonder whether it would be better to get out now before any more damage gets done.
Why reverse splits are scary
It's been a while since the go-go days of the 1990s, when stock splits seemed to be a dime a dozen. But back then, companies paid close attention to their share prices, making sure that investors who were used to dealing in 100-share lots wouldn't find their stock too expensive as it grew in value. To remedy the situation, when a stock's price got too high, the company would split its shares. The split would have no effect on the value of current investors' positions -- they'd have more shares at a lower price each -- but it would make those 100-share lots cheaper for new investors.
Emerson Electric, Baker Hughes and PNC Financial are well positioned for growth as the global economic recovery takes hold.
By Stephanie Link, TheStreet
Global economies and equity markets have improved significantly from their March 2009 lows. Manufacturing activity continues to improve, the global banking system has strengthened and corporate earnings have recovered significantly.
Simply put, the last three years of easy global fiscal and monetary policy (including the Federal Reserve's massive QE2 program in the United States) not only rescued the world economies from one of the most severe recessions, but have provided the stimulus for growth. Commodities have surged, GDP has recovered and the consumer has remained resilient.
Of course, all is not perfect. China continues to try to slow its economy, European debt remains problematic and Japan has endured an incredible personal and economic tragedy. But a recovery is evident, and I see three stocks that should benefit as economic growth continues to pick up.
Slow profit growth is a worry one leader of Indonesia's telecom sector.
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Shares of the food company are up nearly 50 percent this year and it's hard to justify buying in now at $45.
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[BRIEFING.COM] Various pundits have suggested today that the November employment report increases the odds of the Fed making a tapering announcement in December or January. The early action suggests either the market isn't buying the notion of a December tapering or that it isn't fearful of a December tapering.
To wit, stocks have rallied sharply, Treasury prices have increased as stock prices have increased, gold prices (+$2.60 at $1234.50/oz.) are up modestly, and the US Dollar ... More
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