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Investors know what's working and what's not. Jim Cramer says these stocks could power higher through the end of the year.

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401k and IRA investors can protect themselves and find profits despite recent market turmoil.

By InvestorPlace Jun 13, 2011 2:51PM
Image: Mutual funds (© ThinkStock/SuperStock)By Tom Taulli, InvestorPlace.com
   

Over the past few months, mutual fund investors have been painfully aware that the U.S. economy has been running out of steam. A sure sign of this was disappointing jobs data for May, and the recent losing streak for stocks has driven the point home further.


Unfortunately for 401k investors, the slowdown may persist for some time. After all, there will continue to be budget tightening on Capitol Hill as well as many cash-strapped states.  Low real estate prices will hurt confidence and consumer spending.  Oh, and the American consumer is still weighed down by large debts.


So how can investors deal with such things?  Well, there are certain types of funds that should actually do well during tough times.  So let’s take a look:

 

Three former investing superstars made the wrong bets in the bank and automaking sectors. With video.

By Kim Peterson Jun 13, 2011 2:35PM
The economy has ruined three of the country's best stock pickers.

The funds run by investing hotshots Bruce Berkowitz, Kenneth Heebner and Bill Miller have hit rock bottom. They're the three worst performers among large diversified U.S. mutual funds, Bloomberg reports.

The funds have lost 11% to 12% through June 9, crushed by the 3.4% gain that the Standard & Poor's 500 Index ($INX) showed. It wasn't hard for some stocks to beat these guys this year. Kellogg (K) rose 11%. Starbucks (SBUX) gained 8%, as did Johnson & Johnson (JNJ). IBM (IBM) rose 13%. Even Wal-Mart (WMT), which is slumping under mismanagement and the economy, is break-even year to date.

The following video analyzes these stock pickers and their failures.

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Tags: aig

The charts show that several of tech’s big names have more room to fall before reaching technically oversold levels. Two in particular may begin to lag the S&P 500.

By MoneyShow.com Jun 13, 2011 1:44PM
By Tom Aspray, MoneyShow.com

Last week’s 3.1% drop in the Nasdaq-100 left the index up by just 0.1% for the year. The weekly studies for the Nasdaq-100 are negative, but the majority of stocks did make new highs in early May. This still suggests that we are seeing a correction, and not the start of a new bear market.

The Nasdaq-100 closed just 1.3% above the weekly Starc- band, which is at 2191. This suggests that it is likely to stabilize—if not rebound—over the next week or so. The Nasdaq-100 index last exceeded its weekly Starc- band on March 16.

By analyzing all the stocks in the Nasdaq 100, only three are within 2% of the weekly Starc- bands. Those are Paychex (PAYX), Microchip Technology, Inc. (MCHP), and Expeditors International Washington (EXPD).

Some of the tech sector’s biggest names, including NetFlix Inc. (NFLX), Google (GOOG), Amazon.com (AMZN), and Apple (AAPL) are still well above their weekly Starc- bands. This means that they are not yet oversold on a weekly basis. More importantly, the weekly technical readings for two of these tech giants have deteriorated, suggesting that they may now start to lag the S&P 500.
 

There are many reasons to be skeptical about the recovery, but my recent White House visit showed some signs of hope.

By InvestorPlace Jun 13, 2011 1:10PM
By Jeff Reeves, InvestorPlace.com

jeff reeves investorplaceinvestorplace.comLast week, I was part of a group of 25 financial journalists who took part in the White House's first Personal Finance Online Summit. We asked dozens of questions to top-ranking economic officials and had the privilege of a brief Q&A with President Barack Obama.


There are many reasons to be skeptical of the Obama administration. I've pieced together the most compelling reasons to worry in my recent article about ways Obama is inspiring panic, not confidence. But the truth is, the White House is making great strides in some areas that may surprise you:

 

The former GE chief executive is optimistic about the third quarter, with oil prices falling and auto production rising.

By Kim Peterson Jun 13, 2011 12:57PM
Jack Welch thinks the economy is on the mend and says the third quarter will see an improvement.

"I don't see a disaster on the economic front," the former head of General Electric (GE) said in an interview with CNBC. "I see things, if anything, looking a little better in the third quarter."

We won't have bad weather hurting sales or the economy, he said. And the damage from the Japanese earthquake and tsunami will have settled a little more. Oil prices are falling and automobile production will be big, he added. You can watch the full interview in the following video.

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The restaurant chain is being sold to a private-equity firm.

By Kim Peterson Jun 13, 2011 12:14PM
Wendy's and Arby's, which combined in 2008 to become the third-largest fast-food chain in the country, are splitting up.

Wendy's/Arby's Group (WEN) announced Monday it will sell Arby's to a private-equity firm for $130 million in cash. And so ends one of the worst fast-food marriages in recent history.

The company has suffered since the 2008 merger, losing money in most quarters since then. Arby's brought down the numbers, with the chain deeply in debt, bleeding cash and contributing only about a third of overall sales. Last year, same-store sales for Arby's dropped a surprising 9.2% to $966 million, Forbes reports

Now that Toyota has stalled, Ford seems to have its sights set on GM's Volt.

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day Jun 13, 2011 11:58AM

By Rich Smith

 

If you thought Ford's (F) biggest worry in auto sales was how to beat Toyota (TM), well, maybe it was, once upon a time. But this week, Ford showed us that the bigger blob on its threat radar is actually General Motors (GM).

 

Sunday, Ford announced plans to create a new mini-minivan called the C-Max hybrid. This is big news, and I'll tell you why: A couple of years back, when the hybrid-car revolution was just getting started, Ford announced that it would build a hybrid Escape and all-electric Focus in response to the runaway success of Toyota's Prius. Of course, that was before the Prius literally began running away from its own drivers.

 

Fast-forward one unintended acceleration debacle, and one monster earthquake-cum-tsunami, and Toyota's on the ropes.

 

Skyrocketing food prices have put the Teucrium Corn and other agricultural funds in the spotlight.

By TheStreet Staff Jun 13, 2011 11:55AM

By Don Dion, TheStreet

 

Here are five ETFs to watch this week.

 

1.    Teucrium Corn ETF (CORN)

 

This futures-based corn ETF took off late last week after the USDA's decision to slash supply expectations. The fund is trading at all-time highs.

 

Skyrocketing food prices are helping to thrust equity-based agricultural ETFs into the spotlight. As I noted last week, the veteran Market Vectors Agribusiness ETF (MOO) has become wildly sought after. According to the May flow data compiled by the National Stock Exchange, the fund topped the list of inflow gainers.

 

Why? Because receiving automotive accessories, tools and home improvement products is about as exciting as watching oil drain or plaster dry.

By TheStreet Staff Jun 13, 2011 11:50AM

Image: Father with family (© Rayman/Photodisc/Getty Images)By Jason Notte, TheStreet

 

Father's Day in the retail world usually means unloading ties, steering-wheel covers and electronic gadgets onto frazzled gift givers, but dads really get the same thing every year: second billing.

 

Father's Day was a $10 billion holiday last year, according to market research firm IBISWorld, and is expected to jump 4.6% to $10.8 billion this year. Fathers will get $1.4 billion worth of clothing, $1.3 billion in gift cards and $2 billion in dinners and trips to the ballgame, but they'll still fall roughly $4.8 billion short of the $14.9 billion in gifts their counterparts get on Mother's Day.

 

For perspective, Mother's Day ranks fourth in holiday spending behind Christmas ($135 billion), Thanksgiving ($30 billion) and Valentine's Day ($17.6 billion). If not for Halloween ($6 billion), Father's Day would be dead last among retail holidays.

 

These shares are looking better as domestic growth slows.

By TheStreet Staff Jun 13, 2011 11:45AM

Image: Umbrella (© Photographers Choice RF/SuperStock)By Jake Lynch, TheStreet

 

The U.S. stock market has declined in six of the past seven trading days. More than $3 trillion of equities' value has eroded worldwide since the start of May.

 

Which stocks can survive rising U.S. unemployment, higher oil and food prices, increasing interest rates in Asia, Japan's recession, Europe's debt overload and the end of the Fed's QE2 bond-buying program?

 

That's a tall order, but in times of turmoil, defensive sectors, including health care, utilities, telecommunications and consumer staples, tend to outperform. Here are five dividend-paying and defensive Dow stocks to consider now. With leverage to emerging markets, these companies may skirt a soft patch in the economy. They offer steady dividends.

 

Look for a rally as stocks bounce off technical lows.

By Jamie Dlugosch Jun 13, 2011 9:51AM

So how do you like that buy-and-hold strategy today?

 

Investors who have stood pat during what is becoming a very significant market correction have watched their investment gains for 2011 evaporate. Stocks lost ground again last week, and the major indexes are essentially even for the year.

 

I'm getting whacked, too, with my five ETF picks, but because I’m using a long-short absolute return approach, the losses are nowhere near as severe as the overall market's.

 

Investors are clearly concerned about this little economic soft patch becoming something a bit more severe. Irrational or not, the selling has definitely helped take some of the steam out of market valuations.

 

Given the multiple weeks of selling, the rational call for this week is for stocks to recover. The ETF to buy this week is the iShares Russell 2000 (IWM).

 
Tags: etf

A recent move to unionize store workers hints that the company's cultlike following among consumers and employees isn't bulletproof.

By InvestorPlace Jun 13, 2011 9:17AM

By Jeff Reeves, InvestorPlace.com


investorplaceApple (AAPL) tries hard to hide the fact that, deep down, it's really just another corporate behemoth. The company will top $100 billion in revenue this year, and it typically trades north of 13 million shares of stock each day.


Somehow Apple has managed to cling to its brand as a hip outsider in the business world, known as a company of innovators succeeding with a focus on individual expression and creativity. But as the company continues to grow beyond its already titanic influence, the paint is starting to peel on that colorful corporate identity.


The clearest sign that Apple's cultlike following may be at risk is a small effort to unionize employees -- clearly setting workers apart from their bosses, not beside them.

 

China's lending slowdown will help the country move toward sustainable growth. Once that's achieved, we will have removed a key problem in the world economy.

By Jim Cramer Jun 13, 2011 9:17AM

jim cramerthe streetSo China's lending is slowing, and now we freak out? We sit here every week fretting about what the Chinese central bank will do to slow down its economy, and when we get a sign of a soft landing -- like lower lending -- that sends property stocks down?

 

Oh, please. This is exactly what we want, for the Chinese to get rid of real-estate speculation. If we can just see some slowing of wage inflation, we could be getting there.

 

Where is getting there? When the Chinese achieve sustainable growth, we will be removing one of the key negatives in the world's economy. No, it doesn't cure Japan, and it won't send oil down. Greek bonds will still make Europe tremble. But it's been six weeks straight down, and we know that one of the proximate causes is tightening in China.

 

Frustrated investors shouldn't unpack the station wagon just yet...while the markets looked gloomy last week, a rebound appears possible in the next few weeks.

By MoneyShow.com Jun 10, 2011 7:40PM
By Tom Aspray, MoneyShow.com

It was another rough week for the stock market, as Thursday’s rebound was quickly erased on Friday. This has left many investors shellshocked, while traders are either quite happy or quite frustrated. The close below 12,000 in the Dow will not set a good tone for the upcoming week.

The initial support levels I discussed last week have all been violated, with the next key support levels for the Spyder Trust (SPY) at $125.28—about 2% below Friday’s close. The SPY has declined about 6.8% from the early May highs, a deeper correction than I was expecting.

Of course, economic news has fueled the market’s decline, as both investors and consumers are doubting the health of the economic recovery.

Ben Bernanke’s comments last week did not help—some were hoping for news on QE3. Clearly, sentiment is getting more negative, which makes July’s second-quarter earnings results even more important.

Investors with a short-term focus are likely wondering whether they can afford a vacation this summer. If tourism falls this year and consumers stop spending, it will likely cause a further slowdown in the economy.

But investors should not give up. As I discuss in more detail below, the intermediate-term analysis remains positive for the stock market. It continues to suggest that the current correction will set up a good buying opportunity.
 

We may be seeing a standoff between Germany and the European Central Bank.

By Jim J. Jubak Jun 10, 2011 4:56PM
Jim JubakThe German government and European Central Bank are playing "huhn" (chicken, to us Anglophones) with the euro and the Greek debt crisis.

With the deadline for a new "solution" to the Greek debt crisis closing fast -- June 24 is the date that keeps coming up -- both sides have stepped up the rhetoric.

German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble told German legislators today, June 10: "Participation of private creditors in cases of insolvency is indispensable."

Meanwhile, European Central Bank president Jean-Claude Trichet not only repeated his statement that the ECB opposes any effort to require holders of Greek debt to participate in any mandatory extension of maturities on Greek bonds, but has turned that opposition into a warning.
 

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[BRIEFING.COM] The headlines generally favored Tuesday being another good day for the stock market.  Instead, it was just a mixed day with modest point changes on either side of the unchanged mark for the major indices.

For the most part, the stock market was a sideshow.  The main trading events were seen in the commodity and Treasury markets, both of which saw some decent-sized losses within their respective complex.

Dollar strength was at the heart of the weakness in ... More


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