Energy boom makes oil a safe haven
Oil becomes a surprising safe haven

The idea of US crude being a shelter from turmoil abroad may not be as far fetched as it seems.

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It's a good time to buy.

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day Aug 19, 2011 2:18PM

By Dan Caplinger

 

Most of the news you've heard over the past couple of weeks has focused on how cataclysmic the big sell-off in stocks has been. But one group of investors should hope that the market keeps on dropping -- and be ready to swoop in to take advantage of the huge bargains that would result.

 

Steering clear of stocks? Not so much
Ever since the market meltdown in 2008 and early 2009, financial planners have had concerns about young investors staying away from stocks. The idea was that like those who grew up in the aftermath of the Crash of 1929 and the Great Depression, young investors who had only known the market's lost decade of the 2000s would conclude that stocks were a losing bet and avoid them in favor of other investments.

 

But recent research suggests that the impact on investors under age 40 hasn't been as big as once thought. On one hand, data from the Investment Company Institute shows that only 35% of those born between 1970 and 1979 own stocks, down from 55% 10 years ago.

 

A federal agency says the commission's practice of destroying records from closed investigations is wrong.

By Kim Peterson Aug 19, 2011 1:31PM
The Securities and Exchange Commission must be feeling mighty uncomfortable this week.

First there was a damning article in Rolling Stone detailing how the agency destroyed records of preliminary investigations once they were closed. The next day, the government's archives agency said that the SEC actions were improper and that the commission didn't have the authority to delete those files.

That has led to a grand debate over the SEC's actions. If the agency started an investigation and then decided there was nothing to it, what's wrong with destroying the file, some people ask.

But consider this: Those early investigations might have changed the course of history if something had come of them. 

Investors who avoid panic selling could get a better exit point in the weeks ahead.

By MoneyShow.com Aug 19, 2011 11:43AM
By Tom Aspray, MoneyShow.com

The Eurozone concerns hit the stock index futures very early Thursday, and by the time the regular session started in New York, the selling pressure was already high. The Philadelphia Fed survey hammered the markets even more.

Stocks did firm in late trading, but the selling carried over to the Asian session early Friday with the S&P futures down over 15 points an hour before the opening.

The short-term technical action shows no signs yet that the decline is over, and even though individuals are taking massive sums out of the equity markets, the sentiment is not yet that extreme. The last time investors took this much out of the market was in October 2008.

The most recent American Association of Individual Investors (AAII) sentiment survey as of August 18 shows that over 35% are still bullish. At the 2010 summer lows, the bullish percentage dropped below 21%, so investors can still get much more bearish. The sentiment on the institutional side seems more negative, as more are now looking for another recession.

Clearly, the interest rate spreads in Europe, despite the fears surrounding many banks, are not nearly as wide as they were in October 2008. Technically, the market also looks much better, especially the weekly analysis.
 

The goofy and sometimes creepy mascot is overthrown as part of the fast-food joint's rebranding efforts.

By InvestorPlace Aug 19, 2011 11:28AM
By Anthony John Agnello, InvestorPlace.com

investorplaceThe nation mourned Friday after Burger King executives broke into the guarded top floor of the fast-food chain's corporate headquarters in Miami, Fla., and took out the King in a shocking coup d’état. Releasing a statement Friday morning regarding the deposition of the long-standing monarchy, senior marketing vice president Alex Macedo said, "People want a reason to go back to Burger King."

The King wasn't killed, but the masked mascot was indeed shown the door. Burger King is kicking off a new marketing blitz that looks to rebrand the restaurant as a distributor of healthier, mom-friendly menu items.

The overthrow of the king is more symbolic than anything else. The real story of whether Burger King has changed will be told by its new menu,  including a centerpiece push that focuses on a California Whopper. 

If you're looking for a contrarian bet, these shares might become too cheap to resist.

By TheStreet Staff Aug 19, 2011 11:18AM

Image: Home under construction (© Corbis)By Chris Stuart, TheStreetTheStreet

 

No one is buying homes, never mind homebuilder stocks. Companies such as Pulte (PHM), DR Horton (DHI) and Lennar (LEN) may even be the most contrarian investment today.

 

The outlook for the housing market, as reported by the mass media, is not good. In case you've missed them, here are a few of the headlines from over the past several weeks:

 

 "No recovery in sight for US housing market"

 

"July real-estate market fell short of expectations"

 

"Housing data show sector is still weak"

 

The stock plummets more than 20% as the company also announces a major strategic overhaul.

By TheStreet Staff Aug 19, 2011 10:14AM
the street

By James Rogers, TheStreet

 

Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), desperate to boost its margins, unveiled a major corporate and strategic overhaul Thursday, which will involve ditching its WebOS devices and potentially spinning off its PC business.

 

HP turned on a firehouse of announcements, reporting its preliminary third-quarter results and confirming the purchase of U.K. tech company Autonomy, which makes data analytic software.

 

Investors responded negatively to the slew of announcements and HP's weaker outlook, sending shares tanking 21.2% to $23.25 Friday morning.

 

After intense speculation about a possible HP breakup, the company confirmed that it wants to get rid of its PC business.

 

Until stocks fall to the point where the anarchy in Washington is fully discounted, we just have to presume prices are too high.

By Jim Cramer Aug 19, 2011 9:11AM

jim cramerthe streetI was soul searching all day about whether the people in Washington, D.C., just have no idea what makes business tick or actually just don't care for business.


I say this because the disastrous NetApp (NTAP) call wasn't about low taxes -- what some people in Washington believe is the panacea -- it was about rancor and ugliness and the loss of confidence in our country.

 

I keep thinking back to a moment when I was on "Meet the Press" just a couple of weeks ago and said this brinkmanship could actually hurt orders, hurt business. I was hearing it anecdotally from execs.

 

It's no longer anecdotal. Now it is empirical.

 

Wasteful multibillion-dollar buyouts, no innovation, a lack of leadership and a bloated corporate structure plague this struggling tech giant.

By InvestorPlace Aug 19, 2011 8:00AM

By Jeff Reeves, Editor, InvestorPlace.com


investorplacejeff reeves msnThe market had quite an ugly day on Thursday. But for a brief moment, Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) swam upstream on news that it is working out a massive $10 billion buyout of software company Autonomy. Of course, the gains were fleeting and Hewlett-Packard stock finished the day down, along with nearly every other stock on Wall Street. Some investors were fooled for about an hour, and then the profits evaporated. In premarket trading Friday, it was down 13%.


Thursday's news is a fitting example of how HP is trying to manage its business these days. The 10-figure buyouts. The claims that it is rethinking its role in the tech sector. The blatant flaunting of its massive cash stockpile at a time when companies claim to be suffering from the economic downturn.


Hewlett-Packard is everything that's wrong with corporate America right now, exhibiting stupidity, a lack of innovation, bloated operations and no leadership.

 

Recent data are gloomy enough to remind the financial markets of the dark days of 2008. But there is a plus side.

By Jim J. Jubak Aug 18, 2011 4:28PM
Jim JubakJust in case you thought it might be safe to jump back in.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ($INDU) and the Standard & Poor's 500 ($INX) have had a tough week.

The carnage has been even greater in Europe, which is only appropriate, since recent fears have focused on Europe's banks.

A forecast from Morgan Stanley (MS) on Thursday cut the company's projection for global growth to 3.9% in 2011, from a previous forecast of 4.2%. The forecast cited "recent policy errors, especially Europe's slow and insufficient response to the sovereign debt crisis."
 

US investors are wading back into equities and ETFs, even as the markets continue to sell off.

By TheStreet Staff Aug 18, 2011 3:12PM

TheStreet

By Robert Holmes, TheStreet

 

The S&P 500 ($INX) appears to be firmly in the jaws of bears, but data actually show that U.S. investors are slowly turning bullish on equities again.

 

Mutual fund data from research firm TrimTabs suggests that retail investors are bottom-fishing, dipping a toe into the pool of U.S. stocks. The data come as the major stock indices are plunging anew, with the S&P 500 down 4.5% Thursday and the Dow Jones Industrial Average ($INDU) also down close to 4% shortly before 3 p.m. ET.

 

TrimTabs says that preliminary figures show that U.S. equity mutual funds saw inflows of $6 billion on Aug. 15 and Aug. 16 after redeeming $41.8 billion in the previous 12 sessions.

 

The city has ended its rating contract withs S&P after the agency downgraded its investment portfolio.

By Kim Peterson Aug 18, 2011 2:49PM
Don't like what Standard & Poor's has to say about you? Fire 'em.

That's what the city of Los Angeles did after S&P downgraded its $7 billion investment portfolio to AA from the perfect AAA rating. The city will no longer hire S&P to rate its investments, The Los Angeles Times reported.

"We have really lost faith in S&P's judgment," the city's interim treasurer said.

After cutting its rating on the U.S. debt this month, S&P went on a downgrade binge that included dozens of cities, counties and other municipalities. And some of those governments are joining Los Angeles in their dismissal of the agency. 

US presidents have very little control over global oil prices. Could the candidate change that?

By Kim Peterson Aug 18, 2011 2:21PM
Candidates make a lot of promises on the campaign trail, but super-cheap gas isn't normally one of them. It's pretty much impossible for one lawmaker to accomplish that.

But Michele Bachmann is going to try.

"The day that the president became president, gasoline was $1.79 a gallon. Look at what it is today," she said in South Carolina. "Under President Bachmann, you will see gasoline come down below $2 a gallon again. That will happen." 

Anchors Jim Cramer and Simon Hobbs tussle about whether we could be in a 'Lehman moment.'

By Kim Peterson Aug 18, 2011 1:39PM
Worries about European banks triggered a blistering argument Thursday morning between CNBC anchors Jim Cramer and Simon Hobbs.

Tensions between the two have been growing lately, and everything exploded after Cramer suggested the possibility that this could be a Lehman moment. Check out the following video. 

Extreme bullish sentiment and technical indicators signal a pullback in gold and its popular ETF could lie ahead, and a covered-call strategy may be the best way to profit.

By MoneyShow.com Aug 18, 2011 12:23PM
By Tom Aspray, MoneyShow.com

The more-than-20% gain in the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) since the July 1 close has been relentless, and domestic and global news has provided daily reinforcement that gold is the only “safe” investment.

As gold has powered to several new highs over the past two weeks, the only thing missing has been analysts who are voicing even a short-term bearish outlook for the yellow metal. In fact, it has almost become un-American to question whether gold will ever stop going higher.

It is important to separate the short-term from the long-term trend analysis. The monthly on-balance volume (OBV) analysis of both GLD and the Comex gold futures is still pointing higher, as it has been for the past seven years. The same is also true for the weekly analysis, so one might ask, “What’s the problem?”

The Starc band analysis can be used to identify high- and low-risk areas to buy or sell based on daily, weekly, or even monthly time frames. When a market reaches a historically high-risk buying area using both the weekly and the monthly analysis, the odds of some consolidation or a more significant pullback are very high. 

From a money-management point of view, this can allow even long-term investors to protect profits by hedging their positions.
 

After a brief respite, stocks are plunging again. We're retesting the lows, but the bottom hasn't fallen out.

By Anthony Mirhaydari Aug 18, 2011 12:19PM

Stocks were plunging Thursday in reaction to some very poor economic data. The Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook Survey dropped to its worst levels since early 2009 as results badly missed Wall Street estimates. The General Business Conditions component dropped to negative 30.7 vs. the positive 1 analysts were expecting. Ugliness was seen in new orders, shipments and employment.


If there was any silver lining, it was that the Philly Fed and Wednesday's Empire State Index don't yet suggest the all-important economy-wide ISM Manufacturing Index has dropped into recessionary territory. Moreover, the Philly Fed survey was conducted between Aug. 8 and 16, so it was no doubt affected by the recent financial market volatility.

 

If markets rebound -- as I expect heading into next week's speech by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke in Jackson Hole, Wyo., where new market-supporting initiatives will likely be unveiled -- business confidence should be restored quickly. Remember that while a new recession is still a distinct possibility, we don't have the normal preconditions. Profitability is still growing, interest rates are near zero, jobs are being created, inflation is low, and the Fed is being extremely accommodative.

 

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[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market capped the trading week with losses across the major averages. The S&P 500 fell 0.5% to surrender its weekly gain, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (-0.7%) and Russell 2000 (-0.9%) underperformed. The two indices posted respective losses of 0.8% and 0.6% for the week.

Equity indices were pressured from the get-go after several heavyweights disappointed the market with their earnings and/or guidance, which led to some broader profit-taking. After ... More


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