How long can the S&P 500 keep 2,000?
How long can the S&P keep 2,000?

The Federal Reserve and Congressional politics threaten to rain on the market party.

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Unconventional energy finds also come with unconventional risks, but investing in the majors can minimize the risk.

By InvestorPlace Dec 6, 2011 10:59AM
Comstock/CorbisBy Aaron Levitt


The Jed Clampett days of finding oil -- accidentally in the case of the old Beverly Hillbillies clan leader -- are a distant past. No longer can an oil company find elephant fields in someone's backyard and easily pull the crude out.


To meet rising global energy demand and dwindling conventional supplies, energy companies have been scrambling to find new sources of production. With oil's sustained high prices, the industry has turned to a variety of unconventional sources to meet future demand. From offshore fields in Ghana and Mozambique to oil sands deposits in Canada, these finds have become more profitable. And while political, environmental and financial risks to developing these supplies abound, investors who bet on them -- carefully -- could be handsomely rewarded.

 

The stock of this global cigarette maker looks bullish from a fundamental and technical standpoint.

By TheStockAdvisors Dec 6, 2011 10:50AM
Steve Mason/Photodisc Blue/Getty ImagesBy Leo Fasciocco, Ticker Tape Digest

Philip Morris International (PM) sells cigarettes such as Marlboro and Virginia Slims in 180 countries, generating annual revenues of $75.3 billion.

The stock was floated back in early 2008 -- as a spin-off from Altria Group (MO) -- and traded near 50 at that time. Since hitting its bear market low around 33 in 2009, the stock has been driving higher strongly.  
Tags: MOPM

Oil and oil services stocks represent the best buys and could do well on the next euro-related dip.

By Jim Cramer Dec 6, 2011 10:46AM

the streetYou know you have a strong oil market when Transocean (RIG) makes you more than 10% in an equity offering in no time flat. Last week, this most disgraced and scorned oil service company priced 26 million shares at $40.50, an unthinkable sale, given how much stock RIG has bought back at much higher prices.

 

Monday, though, Transocean traded as high as $45.50, a remarkable move that shows the power of this rally in oil.

 

Ross's continuous effort to increase its store base, coupled with the ability to deliver positive same-store sales, will augur well for its top-line growth.

By Zacks.com Dec 6, 2011 9:44AM

Getty ImagesBy: Zacks Equity Research

Ross Stores Inc. (ROST), the second largest off-price retailer of apparel and home accessories, reported last week a growth of 5% in comparable-store sales for the four-week period ended November 26, 2011. This was better than the company's forecast of a 2% to 3% increase for the month.


Sales in November increased 10% to $765 million from $696 million in the year-ago period. Regionally, Florida, California and Southwest were the top performing market with categories like Juniors and Shoes positively influencing results.

 
Tags: ROST

The oilfield services provider has seen strong North American growth, but international operations fell behind estimates.

By Trefis Dec 5, 2011 5:38PM
Image: Oil derricks (© Comstock/Corbis)Baker Hughes (BHI) saw international operations lag estimates for the third quarter as deterioration in the geographic and product mix of its services hit margins by 125 basis points.

The oilfield services provider expects international margins to recover to 15% in the current quarter. The company's performance fell short of our estimates, which were based on the assumption that operations would benefit from the acquisition of BJ Services last year.

Operations in North America, however, saw robust growth -- as was the case for larger operators Halliburton (HAL) and Schlumberger (SLB). 
Tags: BHIHALSLB

Strong acquisitions are key in this business, and SAP is showing more initiative with plans to buy SuccessFactors.

By Zacks.com Dec 5, 2011 5:15PM

SAP AG (SAP) launched another attack in its ongoing battle with rival Oracle (ORCL) with an announcement that it is on the verge of acquiring software company SuccessFactors (SFSF) for $3.4 billion in cash.

 

SuccessFactors is a leading developer of cloud computing software used by firms to evaluate employee performance. The acquisition is expected to give SAP a much needed growth platform in the software-as-a service (SaaS) market, where it faces significant competition from Oracle. Analysts believe that the acquisition will boost SAP’s competitive position in human resource applications, while reaffirming its commitment to SaaS as a key business model.

 

We expect American Airlines to emerge from bankruptcy as a stronger company, but the stock is still way too risky to buy now.

By Trefis Dec 5, 2011 4:59PM

After holding off from filing bankruptcy much longer than its peers, AMR Corp (AMR), the parent company of American Airlines, finally decided to file for Chapter 11 last Tuesday in a Manhattan court.

 

Alhough American's loss in the near term translates into its competitors' gains, we believe the company is using bankruptcy as a way to improve its cost structure and renegotiate contracts with labor unions.  In bankruptcy, we expect American to continue operations while cutting capacity, improving its operating costs and upgrading its fleet. But that doesn't mean you should buy the stock now.

 
Tags: amrDALual

The outcome of the European Central Bank's Thursday meeting could shed some light on the ongoing debt crisis.

By Jim J. Jubak Dec 5, 2011 4:41PM
Image: Europe (© Corbis)Do you sell on the news? That’s the tough call.

Eurozone leaders will have something to announce at their Dec. 9 summit. There’s been enough activity this week involving German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi and International Monetary Fund general director Christine Lagarde to guarantee some sort of plan to address the euro debt crisis emerges from the summit.

Everyone knows that putting nothing forward would be a disaster.
 

The delivery company is a key component of some manufacturing supply strategies.

By Trefis Dec 5, 2011 4:10PM
UPS (UPS) has increased capacity on flights between Asia and North America after determining that a third-quarter slowdown in volumes was an isolated occurrence.

The delivery firm had previously scaled back routes to Asia when it recorded a drop in consignments of consumer electronics, echoing a slump seen by competitor FedEx (FDX). But UPS Airlines President Mitch Nichols told Dow Jones the slowdown has now been reversed, bolstering the firm's supply chain outlook. If this division keeps expanding, we see a potential 17% upside to the stock's value. 
Tags: FDXups

Some stocks could benefit if other companies follow the lead of France's Atos and ban internal email.

By Kim Peterson Dec 5, 2011 3:41PM
Image: Office worker (© Ebby May/Getty Images)You get into the office, coffee in hand, ready to start the workday. You fire up the computer, only to find a bunch of email from your bosses and co-workers.

Groan. There goes the morning.

That's exactly the buzzkill French tech company Atos wants to avoid, so it's banning office email. Instead, the company's 74,000 employees will be required to use instant-messaging tools or a Facebook-style chat interface, ABC News reports

Changing orthopedic surgery, one robot at a time.

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day Dec 5, 2011 3:32PM

By David Meier

 

Last week, in "5 Stocks With Explosive Potential," I quoted venture capitalist Peter Thiel, who believes that "swinging for the fences is probably less risky than people think."

 

I think he's right, and that's why I am looking for TNT companies -- ones with:

 

  • Tranformational technologies.
  • Nascent performance.
  • Talented management.
 

All are top picks for growth next year.

By TheStockAdvisors Dec 5, 2011 3:30PM
By Jack Bowers, Fidelity Monitor

What are the best stock funds to hold in 2012? The following are four choices among Fidelity funds that we think are well-positioned for the upcoming year:

Fidelity Contrafund (FCNTX), Fidelity Low-Priced Stock (FLPSX), Fidelity Blue Chip Growth (FBGRX) and Fidelity Stock Selector Small Cap (FDSCX). They are listed in increasing order of risk. 

With two large American companies being investigated for health emergencies in China, the business environment there could be worsening.

By Benzinga Dec 5, 2011 3:29PM

Image: China (© Lawrence Manning/Corbis)By Daniel James Hayden IV, Benzinga Staff Writer


Investors may want to take note of a disturbing trend among Chinese officials, who lately seem more interested in blaming American parent companies for health emergencies. In September, Chinese authorities said American battery manufacturer Johnson Controls (JCI) was responsible for a number of lead poisoning cases in Shanghai.

 

Now they are investigating none other than Coca-Cola (KO) for selling milk products that allegedly caused the death of a young boy and sickened his mother in the city of Changchun, the capital of Jilin province.

 

The stocks of discount stores have seen incredible runs this year. For that reason, they may not be the best picks.

By Jonathan Berr Dec 5, 2011 1:55PM
Image: A bunch of dollar bills (© Tetra Images/Getty Images)Can anything slow Dollar General (DG) down?Apparently not -- though that doesn't mean the stock is a good buy.

Net income at the Goodlettsville, Tenn., company rose to $171.2 million, or 50 cents a share, from $128.1 million, or 37 cents, a year earlier. Revenue rose more than 11% to $3.6 billion, fueled by increases in customer traffic and customer spending. The results beat Wall Street consensus forecasts of 47 cents on revenue of $3.57 billion.

The good news didn't stop there. 
Tags: DGDLTRFDO

Two investment houses upgrade American Eagle, while Goldman downgrades Alcoa to 'neutral.'

By MSN Money Partner Dec 5, 2011 1:10PM
Monday's noteworthy upgrades include:
  • Time Warner Cable (TWC) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Wells Fargo
  • Willis Group (WSH) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Citigroup
  • Transocean (RIG) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at BMO Capital
  • American Eagle (AEO) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at BMO Capital and to Equal Weight from Underweight at Morgan Stanley
  • Nabors Industries (NBR) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at BMO Capital
  • D.R. Horton (DHI) upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Barclays
  • TE Connectivity (TEL) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Goldman
  • International Game (IGT) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Roth Capital
  • eBay (EBAY) upgraded to Strong Buy from Market Perform at Raymond James
  • Dunkin' Brands (DNKN) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Raymond James
 

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[BRIEFING.COM] Equity indices are little changed at midday with the S&P 500 hovering within a point of its flat line. Small caps underperform with the Russell 2000 trading lower by 0.2%.

The first two sessions of the week produced the lightest volume totals of the year so it was not surprising to see the key indices respect narrow ranges through the first half of action today. After opening on a slightly higher note, the S&P 500 has remained within two points of its flat line. ... More


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