Apple is a market darling again
Apple is a market darling again

The company, which reports its quarterly earnings Tuesday, has once again become an investor favorite.

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National Presto provides some risk, as well as a tasty hidden payout.

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day May 12, 2011 11:41AM

By Anand Chokkavelu, CFA

 

Last week, I laid out the investment case for one massive hidden dividend. The company I was referring to was National Presto (NPK).

 

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.

By InvestorPlace May 12, 2011 11:40AM
Every day, millions of people catch up with buddies on Facebook, play games or just share something that's on their minds with the world. So why wouldn't users just do a little shopping while updating their status?

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.

By InvestorPlace May 12, 2011 11:10AM

investorplaceThere'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.

By Jim J. Jubak May 12, 2011 11:03AM
Jim JubakChina's annual inflation rate dropped to 5.3% in April, from March’s 5.4%. That 5.3% rate was above the 5.2% consensus projection by economists, as surveyed by Bloomberg. And it was still way above the government’s 4% inflation target.

In Shanghai, stocks fell a modest 0.25% for the day. The futures market priced non-deliverable yuan forwards to indicate a 2.4% appreciation in the yuan against the US dollar, from the current rate of 6.4926 yuan.

I think both the stock and currency markets may be a bit too optimistic.

The inflation data -- and continued heavy bank lending in the month (banks made 740 billion yuan ($114 billion) in new loans) -- say to me that the People’s Bank of China will raise interest rates at least two more times in 2011.
 

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 TheStreet Staff May 12, 2011 10:22AM

By Don Dion, TheStreet

 

A combination of factors is helping to boost the popularity of large, industry behemoths like General Electric (GE), Exxon Mobil (XOM)IBM (IBM), and Procter & Gamble (PG).

 

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.

By Jim Cramer May 12, 2011 9:08AM

jim cramerthe streetLooks 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!

 

Got that?

 

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.

By MoneyShow.com May 11, 2011 6:49PM
By Tom Aspray, MoneyShow.com

The sharp reversal in the crude oil and stock market has weakened the short-term outlook for both markets.

Though the stock market in particular has done everything to surprise us on the upside, I am seeing similar short-term chart formations in both commodities and stocks that suggest the current decline will continue.

The key support levels to watch are the lows we made last week. If we can hold these levels tomorrow, we can keep the short-term uptrend intact. If not, than we are likely to see a drop back to—and possibly below—the April lows.

The good news is that the S&P A/D line did make new highs this week, so after a correction the stock markets’ overall uptrend should resume. On the other hand, the failure of the Russell 2000 A/D line to move above the early April highs favors further weakness. 

Let’s look at the charts.
 

The top executive at Philip Morris International tells shareholders that smokes aren't so addictive.

By Kim Peterson May 11, 2011 3:02PM
Image: Man smoking (© Steve Mason/Photodisc Blue/Getty Images)I've known only one person who easily gave up cigarettes. He threw his last pack away and simply stopped then and there. It truly was that simple. Of the other ex-smokers I know, quitting was a nightmare.

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.

By V.N. Katsenelson May 11, 2011 2:35PM

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 TheStreet Staff May 11, 2011 1:21PM

By Don Dion, TheStreet

 

The ETF market now boasts over 1,000 funds, according to the April fund flow data compiled by the National Stock Exchange.

 

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 Motley Fool Pick of the Day May 11, 2011 12:50PM

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 TheStreet Staff May 11, 2011 12:11PM

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.

By Jim J. Jubak May 11, 2011 12:09PM
Jim JubakIt’s hard to understand how Telkom Indonesia (TLK) -- or, more formally, Telekomunikasi Indonesia -- managed to turn its first quarter into a disappointment.

But it did.

The company, Indonesia’s biggest telecom business, broke through the 100 million-subscribers ceiling in the quarter. And it also predicted that it would add 10 million to 12 million subscribers this year.

But big increases in operating and marketing costs negated all that good news. First-quarter 2011 net profit rose just 1.4% from the first quarter of 2010, to 2.83 trillion Indonesian rupiah ($330 million) from 2.79 trillion rupiah.

Marketing costs rising fast enough to wipe out profit increases from new subscribers are a bad sign in the telecommunications sector. It’s usually an indicator that the company is experiencing so much churn that it has to spend lots of money to replace those departing subscribers.
 

After April's rough patch, retailers have regained their footing, utilities are hopping and we are finally getting credit for Friday's terrific jobs number.

By Jim Cramer May 11, 2011 11:41AM
thestreetjim cramerDid the rough patch end? Did world growth begin to re-accelerate? We all know that the U.S. economy, and maybe the world's, hit a rough patch in April, perhaps in reaction to the suddenly high price of oil or because economic tightening policies are beginning to take effect -- although there are mixed emotions about China's inflation level this morning.

 

But the reports I am getting now about May do not indicate that things are slowing any further. And some of my auto, retail and industrial contacts say things are pretty darned good again. I know that it shouldn't fluctuate like this, but it does seem like the world's still humming.

 

Two of the best gauges I have -- the S&P Retail Index and the utilities -- are flashing out-and-out green after worrying me for a bit. The utilities, ones like Exelon (EXC) and FirstEnergy (FE), took huge hits not that long ago, when it looked like things were turning down again. Now they are hopping.

 

With growth slowing and inflation rising, we face a repeat of the difficult economic environment of the 1970s. Stocks will suffer as a result.

By Anthony Mirhaydari May 11, 2011 11:19AM

Speculative commodities like silver, gold, and crude oil have been on a flyer lately on big concerns over inflation. This, it was believed, would be caused by robust global growth as well as supply disruptions. Ultra-loose monetary policy from the Federal Reserve was also a contributor.


But things are changing now as the economy shows signs of slowing. We now face a rising threat of stagflation -- or high inflation with stagnant growth.


What's more, the problem is global. China is battling inflation, with consumer prices rising at a 5.3% annual rate. Britain's inflation rate is expected to hit 5% this year even as GDP growth stalls. And Europe is under pressure with growth slowing. This is a dangerous situation since there are no easy solutions or quick fixes for stagflation. Morgan Stanley warned clients that equities would "fall significantly" in this scenario -- one that looks increasingly likely.

 

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[BRIEFING.COM] Just like the geopolitical environment, things could have been better today for the stock market and they could have been worse.  They were worse in the early going as the major indices backpedaled quickly at the start of trading.  The ostensible catalysts for the opening retreat were geopolitical concerns over Israel's ground assault in Gaza and the troublesome diplomatic dealings in the wake of Malaysian Air flight MH17 being shot down over eastern Ukraine last ... More


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