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Mortgage woes weigh on the company, but the stock may be too cheap to resist.

By TheStreet Staff Jun 22, 2011 11:59AM

By Dan Freed, TheStreet

 

Bank of America (BAC) looks ugly, yes, but when do its shares become too cheap to pass up?

 

That's the question analysts and investors have been asking since October, when it finally sank in that housing-related legal challenges were likely to cost tens of billions of dollars and that Bank of America appeared to be on the hook for most of it as a result of its acquisition of Countrywide Financial in 2008.

 

Countrywide was one of the most aggressive actors out there when it came to making home loans that were unlikely to be repaid. The lender appears to have ramped up its mortgage operation just as the housing market was at its frothiest.

 

Streaming apps just don't work on Android.

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day Jun 22, 2011 11:17AM

By Tim Beyers

 

Android's versioning problems are far from over. In tests this weekend, I found that none of the major streaming apps aside from YouTube work on the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 I received during Google's (GOOG) I/O developer conference last month.

 

And that's after upgrading the underlying OS to the latest edition of Honeycomb, version 3.1. Knowing this, I wonder how any of us can be surprised that Apple's (AAPL) iPad still dominates the conversation when it comes to tablets.

 

To be fair, Apple users have their own issues with version 1.3 of the iPad edition of Netflix (NFLX). "I LOVED this app until the update prior to this last one," reviewer dailyink wrote of the app at Apple's website. "Now the app constantly crashes when searching titles.

 

This fund provides relief from the troubled eurozone.

By TheStreet Staff Jun 22, 2011 11:09AM

Image: Europe (© Corbis)By Don Dion, TheStreet

 

In light of Greece's debt woes, Europe has been under a cloud of uncertainty. While I urge investors to steer clear of the European Union at this time, risk-tolerant ETF investors looking to expand their portfolios' geographic reach into the region may want to put a fund like the iShares MSCI Switzerland Index Fund (EWL) on the radar.

 

Switzerland is outside of the troubled eurozone, and in the near term EWL will likely be more stable than products designed to track its euro-based neighbors.

 

Already the fund has shown promise as a haven for Europe-hungry investors. During the past 90 days, EWL has outperformed the EU-tracking iShares MSCI EMU Index Fund (EZU). Over that period, shares of EWL gained 8%, while EZU has dropped more than 1%.

 

Apple is later than usual with the update of its flagship smartphone, but the features may make it worth the wait for investors and consumers alike.

By InvestorPlace Jun 22, 2011 10:48AM

By Jeff Reeves, Editor of InvestorPlace.com


investorplaceIt's summer, and that typically means legions of Apple Inc. (AAPL) fans are worked into a lather about the latest iPhone launch. Since 2007, there has been a snazzy new model of the iconic smartphone released between mid-June and mid-July, just like clockwork.


Not this year. Turns out iPhone fans won't get their paws on a new gadget until September.

 

A market bounce after a long decline always looks fantastic. But it's worth buying only if the core data have actually improved.

By Jim Cramer Jun 22, 2011 8:59AM

jim cramerthe streetShocker. The same way that stocks don't go straight up, they don't go straight down either. It is entirely possible that we should have been down Tuesday. Given the litany of ailments, why not?

 

But that's not how the market works. Time and again I have seen big streaks of declines break, even if they shouldn't have. Only when the Western world was imploding in late 2008 have I ever seen crushing declines that could not be reversed in a heartbeat.

 

In fact, the amazing Nasdaq ($COMPX) rollover of 2000 to 2003 (the most breathtaking decline I have ever seen -- relentless, punishing, inexorable) was punctuated pretty constantly by rallies that sucked people in. The rallies actually looked a lot like Tuesday's Nasdaq rally, in which it was hard to imagine a more beautiful tape.

 

At a time when bank capital requirements are under intense scrutiny, PNC Financial makes a big buy.

By Jim J. Jubak Jun 21, 2011 4:14PM
Jim JubakThe global asset shuffle continues among the world’s banks.

Yesterday’s deal has PNC Financial (PNC), the sixth-largest U.S. bank by deposits, buying the U.S. retail banking and credit-card assets of Royal Bank of Canada (RY) for $3.6 billion in cash and stock.

This industry-wide reshuffling is a reaction to new capital requirements from global regulations in Basel III and moves by national regulators to require stronger balance sheets at banks under their jurisdiction.

Banks know that they will have to hold more capital against their assets -- even though as of yet they don’t know how much more. And they’re examining their balance sheets to see if it's better to sell off some assets (thus lowering the amount of capital they’ll have to have), or keep them and raise the extra capital that regulators will require.
 

The end of QE2, an economic rebound and more powerful inflationary pressures are set to hit one of the market's favorite havens.

By Anthony Mirhaydari Jun 21, 2011 3:11PM

We're on the cusp of some major changes for the economy and the stock market, changes I've covered in recent posts and columns.

 

The recovery looks ready to re-accelerate. Inflation is rising. The Federal Reserve, which started its two-day policy meeting Tuesday, is set to end its $600 billion money-printing stimulus but keep interest rates pegged near zero. And risk appetites have returned as the situation in Europe moves toward a new solution.

 

All of this is a perfect recipe for big losses on the one asset class considered to be "risk free": U.S. Treasury bonds. Here's why.

 

Cable companies hope better service keeps customers from ditching cable for Internet video.

By Kim Peterson Jun 21, 2011 2:49PM
Image: Watching television (© Digital Vision Ltd./SuperStock)The cable repair guy said he'd show up between noon and 4 p.m. So you took the afternoon off from work, only to watch the hours tick by. Now it's 3:58 p.m. Where in the world is he?

Situations like these hurt Comcast (CMCSA). The cable company won the "worst company in America" crown from the Consumerist website last year, and slow customer service was likely a big factor there.

So Comcast is trying to clean itself up, starting with that nasty four-hour cable guy window. By next year, the cable giant wants to shorten its repair window to two hours or less, Bloomberg reports.

This isn't as easy as it sounds. The company is adding new dispatch technology and giving all of its technicians laptops and handheld devices, Bloomberg reports. It's part of the broader overhaul of the cable system, which Comcast is renaming "Xfinity." 

The stock ran hot right out of the box but overheated and plunged, tempting many investors.

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day Jun 21, 2011 2:35PM

By Anders Bylund

 

Pandora Media (P) took the plunge and hit the public market. Now you, too, can own a piece of your favorite streaming music service. But Mr. Market has hated this stock so far -- if you were first in line to buy shares on Wednesday, you've lost 44% of your investment already.

 

Fellow Fool Rick Munarriz called it: Amid Pandora's scorching hot IPO, he told you to stay away from the launch. Though revenue is growing like gangbusters, costs are tagging along as well and the company hasn't figured out how to turn a profit. And the share offering price more than doubled from the initial plan as fellow online darling LinkedIn (LNKD) and others threw chum in the IPO waters. LinkedIn hasn't done much better, by the way. Just short of a month into its public life, the stock has taken a 25% haircut from where it opened on its first day.

 

I have publicly stated that I want to own Pandora shares, going so far as calling it a serious threat to Apple (AAPL) iTunes and Sirius XM Radio (SIRI).

 

Security experts say core US infrastructure and even Google could be targeted. Which companies could benefit?

By TheStreet Staff Jun 21, 2011 1:49PM

the streetBy James Rogers, TheStreet

 

From Lockheed Martin (LMT) to Citigroup (C) and even the CIA, the list of major organizations falling victim to hackers is growing at an alarming rate, fueling worries that core U.S. infrastructure is the next big target.

 

"If you are talking about hackers that work for foreign governments, then I think the focus would continue with defense contractors as well as anything related to the U.S. infrastructure," said Jim Stickley of cybersecurity specialist TraceSecurity. "That could include the power grids as well as oil refinery companies and phone systems."

 

Underlining the importance of this issue, the National Security Agency has reportedly started a project called Perfect Citizen, which aims to monitor key infrastructure such as power grids and nuclear reactors for potential attacks. The NSA has not yet responded to TheStreet's request for comment on this story.

 

Will the gruesome images make any difference?

By Kim Peterson Jun 21, 2011 1:46PM
Credit: (© U.S. Food and Drug Administration)
Caption: New FDA warning label for cigarette packsCigarette packages will get a new look over the next year, and the face-lift is not pretty.

The government is requiring that packages show gruesome images designed to remind people of the health dangers of smoking. Those images include corpses, diseased lungs, endangered babies and a man with a tracheostomy hole. (You can see all the images here.)

The images are the first major changes to cigarette warning labels in 25 years. Altria Group (MO), Reynolds American (RAI) and Lorillard (LO) will be watching anxiously to see how the new labels affect sales. Click here to see before and after pictures of how the cigarettes will look on store shelves.

Will the new packaging make any difference? 

While the overall market struggles, these shares are ripe for new buying.

By MoneyShow.com Jun 21, 2011 11:57AM
By Tom Aspray, MoneyShow.com

The major averages spent the month of May declining and the selling picked up in June. In contrast, the S&P Railroads index made a closing high of 733 on May 10 and retested these highs at the end of May. So far in 2011, the index is up over 10% versus just 1.6% for the S&P 500.

The railroads are an economically sensitive industry, and of course, they did suffer during the recession. The Transportation sector has been a market leader since the March 2009 lows, and during the recent correction, the railroad stocks have held up better than the overall market.

Of the three railroad stocks that look the best technically, two of them—Union Pacific Corp. (UNP) and Norfolk Southern Corp. (NSC)—also yield over 2%, while the third, CSX Corp. (CSX), yields less than 1%. Of course, it is more important that all three appear to have completed their corrections and have positive relative performance, or RS analysis.
 
Tags: csx

The delivery service, which reports its earnings on Wednesday, accounts for 10% of the ETF's index.

By TheStreet Staff Jun 21, 2011 11:09AM

By Don Dion, TheStreet

 

Although much of the economic-related headlines and debate throughout this week will be focused on the comments made during Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's press conference and the troubles facing the European Union, there are a handful of other stories investors will want to keep tabs on in the days ahead.

 

For instance, on Wednesday, the transportation sector will be interesting to watch as FedEx (FDX), the delivery services titan, steps up to the earnings plate.

 

ETF investors looking to target FedEx and the rest of the transportation industry during the week will want to turn to the iShares Dow Jones Transportation Average Index Fund (IYT).

 

The beaten-down sector won't lag the market forever.

By TheStreet Staff Jun 21, 2011 11:01AM

By Dan Freed, TheStreet

 

Financial stocks have underperformed the broader market year to date, which may be a good reason to beef up bets in the sector.

 

The Financial Select Sector SPDR (XLF), a popular exchange-traded fund that tracks financial stocks, was down 6.7% year to date as of Monday's close, versus a more than 4% gain for the Dow Jones Industrial Average ($INDU).

 

Which financial stocks do analysts like best? One ranking system offers an answer.

 

As the market slides, the iPad maker is looking more attractive, prompting this safety-first researcher to add it to its 5-star-stock list.

By TheStreet Staff Jun 21, 2011 10:29AM

By Jake Lynch, TheStreet

 

Morningstar (MORN), the safety-first investment-research firm, recently added technology darling Apple (AAPL) to its exclusive list of five-star stocks.

 

Morningstar covers more than 1,700 stocks, and only 45 receive five-star rankings. That number has increased quite a bit in the past few weeks as the equity market has slid. Morningstar says Apple, which is down to $315 from a 52-week high of $365, is now at an attractive discount price.

 

During the second quarter, Apple roughly doubled its operating income and boosted sales by 83%. Such growth is remarkable, especially considering the company already has a market value of $290 billion. IPhone revenue surged 126%, Mac revenue climbed 32%, iTunes revenue increased 23%, software sales stretched 17%, and peripherals sales advanced 23%. IPod sales declined 14%. The iPad has no year-over-year comparison, but it delivered $2.3 billion in quarterly sales. Put simply, business is booming.

 

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[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market finished the Wednesday session on a modestly lower note, but it is worth mentioning today's retreat took place after six consecutive gains. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (-0.1%) and S&P 500 (-0.2%) settled not far below their flat lines, while the Nasdaq Composite (-0.8%) lagged throughout the session.

Equity indices started the day in the red, with the Nasdaq showing early weakness as large cap tech names and biotechnology weighed. The technology ... More


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