There are some picks in this sector that have excellent valuations and strong earnings growth.
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Skyrocketing food prices have put the Teucrium Corn and other agricultural funds in the spotlight.
By Don Dion, TheStreet
Here are five ETFs to watch this week.
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 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 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.
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).
A recent move to unionize store workers hints that the company's cultlike following among consumers and employees isn't bulletproof.
By Jeff Reeves, InvestorPlace.com
Apple (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.
So 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.
We may be seeing a standoff between Germany and the European Central Bank.
Concerns about profit and revenue dog the radio company, set to debut under the ticker symbol P.
This week brings us Pandora, another tech IPO that investors appear eager to snap up. But is the Internet radio company a good buy?
Investors are so enthusiastic that Pandora raised its price range Friday to $10 to $12 from the original $7 to $9 a share. The company also boosted the total offering by 1 million to 14.7 million shares.
If those shares go for $12, Pandora would raise $202.6 million in the initial public offering, Dow Jones reports. And the company would be valued around $1.9 billion.
Is Pandora truly the next big IPO, as the following video states?
Comparisons with Build-A-Bear and Heelys are ridiculous.
By Rick Aristotle Munarriz
Calling IMAX a fad stock and a premium cinema gimmick are some pretty heavy bearish assumptions. I spoke to IMAX CEO Rich Gelfond today, who naturally wasn't very happy with Larry Meyers' piece.
"IMAX has been in business for 43 years," Gelfond responds. "I find it unusual to call a 43-year old business a fad."
A spokesman for 1 of the 6 publicly traded banks tells TheStreet that the Fed's plan is actually a good idea.
By Philip van Doorn, TheStreet
The likely expansion of the Federal Reserve's stress tests beyond the largest banks could send these stocks reeling even further -- but is unlikely to have much of an immediate effect on most of the banks that would be subject to the ramped-up government scrutiny.
The Federal Reserve plans to expand its annual stress tests to review banks' capital adequacy to include all financial holding companies with total assets in excess of $50 billion, according to a Bloomberg report citing "people familiar with the discussions." So far, 19 banks have gone through two rounds of the tests.
Banks have been responding to a slew of new regulations in recent years. The CARD Act, passed in 2009, ended several practices that boosted credit card fee revenue. The Durbin Amendment, a provision of the Dodd-Frank banking reform legislation that will severely cap the interchange fees that large banks charge retailers to process debit card transactions, will soon present new challenges for banks.
Pump prices have fallen steadily over the past month as oil prices and demand have come down.
The average nationwide price for a gallon of regular gasoline is $3.72, down a penny from Thursday, 7 cents from a week ago and 24 cents from a month ago.
And it looks like that trend may continue for a while, the way oil prices are going. Friday saw a sharp drop in light sweet crude for July delivery to less than $100 a barrel. The price drop came after reports that Saudi Arabia would boost production to 10 million barrels a day in July.
On top of that, the demand for gas -- at least in the U.S. -- is down. In the four-week period ended June 3, gasoline use was 1.3% lower than it was in the same period last year, according to MasterCard. We've seen the same pattern for months now.
Sharp recent gains may mark the beginning of a new uptrend. Investors who act now can get solid entry points on 3 industry leaders.
Companies catering to the jobless -- including search services, for-profit educators and discount retailers -- might gain as the economy struggles.
By Jamie Dlugosch, Stockpickr
A 9.1% unemployment rate sounds like a bad number -- and it is -- but for some stocks, the poor jobs market is a boon for business. Companies catering to the unemployed, including job search and posting services, for-profit education businesses and discount retailers, all stand to prosper as the economy lags.
From a social perspective, the situation is bad -- and probably worse than the numbers show -- but we are here to make money. What I see in the current environment is fertile ground to grow. More importantly, the situation is unlikely to change soon.
That means profit opportunities will be steady and consistent for years. Given that the market usually affords such companies premium valuations for such dependency, I would encourage investors to snap up these stocks now before they go too far too fast.
The investor has endured controversy over the years but has managed to save face.
By Don Dion, TheStreet
"It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you'll do things differently." -- Warren Buffett
Although his successful, multi-decade investing career has drawn followers, the roots of Warren Buffett's appeal can be traced back to more than just his ability to make money.
Thanks to his extensive philanthropic work, optimistic outlook and folksy, grandfather-like charm, the world-famous investor has managed to construct a nearly bulletproof positive reputation.
That's not to say that this reputation has not been tested. On the contrary, over the past few years, a number of his actions have been greeted with ample criticism from market commentators and Buffett followers.
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These hot movers could rise by double digits in coming months.
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[BRIEFING.COM] Equity indices closed out the month of August on a modestly higher note. The Russell 2000 (+0.6%) and Nasdaq Composite (+0.5%) finished ahead of the S&P 500 (+0.3%), which extended its August gain to 3.8%. Blue chips lagged with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (+0.1%) spending the bulk of the session in the red.
The final week of August represented one of the quietest stretches for the stock market so far this year. The first four sessions of the week produced the ... More
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