You can still find small-cap superstars
Small-cap superstars still abound

There are some picks in this sector that have excellent valuations and strong earnings growth.

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Unlike Tuesday's sucker punch, a real rally must be based on lower stock prices and positive changes.

By Jim Cramer Jun 8, 2011 9:29AM

the streetjim cramerYou have to step back and look at Tuesday's action to know how the market has changed from being hospitable to being treacherous.

 

From the beginning of the day, stocks looked downright terrific. The euro was strong, and oil was moderating while copper hung in. Translation: The U.S. got the benefit of a weaker currency for export, while oil bucked the rally because OPEC was going to supply more crude. And copper showed us that the weakness in crude wasn't economically related but more about oversupply.

 

The trinity that has mattered kicked in.

 

But by the end of the day, while the dollar stayed weak and copper hung in, oil reversed, not budging, and $3.50 gasoline -- what we need to get this economy on a slightly better keel -- remained elusive. The dollar-euro relationship that had been good for stocks for most of the year failed to spur hedge fund buying, and traders who came in during the morning were left holding the bag.

 

The price-to-earnings ratio could be cheap or just right. It all depends on your time frame.

By Jim J. Jubak Jun 7, 2011 5:56PM
Jim JubakBank stocks look cheap on a historical basis. Unless, of course, revenue and earnings growth have ground to a halt in the sector.

That, unfortunately, is exactly what happened last quarter, as loan demand grew not at all at most banks, and earnings improvements came pretty much solely from the reduction of reserves against bad loans. And that's an increasingly consensus view of what banks will report for the second quarter as well.

I think we’re seeing a shift in investor attitudes -- from optimism about improving earnings, based on the bank reserves, to dismay at a lack of revenue and earnings growth from traditional bank businesses.

Partly that’s the result of reports that show a slowing in the U.S. economy -- bank revenues would be hit by any slowing in economic activity. And partly it’s a worry about changes to US and international banking regulations, which:
 

In other countries, courts are becoming more accepting about using Facebook to send notices to people who can't otherwise be found.

By Kim Peterson Jun 7, 2011 3:19PM
You can find out a lot about perfect strangers on Facebook. And some lawyers and courts are starting to take advantage of that.

Legal cases grind to a halt when people can't be found to get served with court notices, Bloomberg reports. But sometimes when they can't be found in person, they can be tracked down on Facebook.

Courts in New Zealand, Canada and other countries are becoming increasingly comfortable with serving papers over Facebook. In Australia, one lawyer used the website to serve a foreclosure notice to one couple who defaulted on their loan. So far, we haven't seen Facebook used to serve papers in the U.S. 

The new console features a breakthrough touch-screen controller. Will it reverse a long sales slump?

By Kim Peterson Jun 7, 2011 2:49PM
Nintendo (NTDOY) revolutionized the video-game business with the Wii. And next year, it's hoping to repeat that success with the Wii U.

The company unveiled its new system this week at the Electronics Entertainment Expo. Even in its early stages, one look at the Wii U shows that Nintendo is making a big bet.

The biggest difference with the Wii U is its wireless controller, which looks like a mini tablet computer with its own touch screen. It still has all the buttons and control sticks you'd expect, but in the middle is a color screen that can show a map, your health level, really any add-ons that enhance a game.

Check out the Wii U in the following video interview.

Post continues after video:
 

Some traders feel so scarred by the financial downturn that they're staying far away from the stock market.

By Kim Peterson Jun 7, 2011 1:46PM
Some U.S. investors were so burned in the financial crisis that they've given up stocks completely.

In a new study by Prudential Financial (PRU), 58% of investors say they've lost faith altogether in the stock market. The risks aren't worth it, some say. And 44% swear they're done with stocks for good and are not likely to put any more money into the market.

The study, which polled 1,274 Americans last winter, also suggested some fundamental changes in the way people think about saving for retirement. Nearly three out of four respondents said they need to think differently about retirement planning.

That makes sense, given how the financial crisis and recession destroyed two key notions about retirement saving. People who had hoped to rely on home equity watched the real-estate market implode. Others who thought they could depend on growth and income stocks saw intense fear and volatility as the market teetered. 

A proven technical tool indicates widespread recent selling has driven many shares to levels where good buying opportunities may emerge soon.

By MoneyShow.com Jun 7, 2011 11:28AM
By Tom Aspray, MoneyShow.com

The selling continued Monday, with all the major averages closing lower. The Dow industrials held up the best, losing only 0.5%, while the S&P 500 was down 1.08% and the KBW Bank Index was down by more than 2%.

The market internals were solidly negative, with declining stocks swamping advancing issues by almost 4 to 1. The number of stocks making new lows also picked up, but it is still well below the levels seen last summer.

The McClellan Oscillator has dropped to minus 177, which is getting oversold, although it hit a low of minus 268 in March.

There are many ways to gauge whether an individual stock is overbought or oversold. Last week's article Gain an Edge with Volatility Analysis prompted quite a bit of interest in the Starc bands, so I want to look at the stocks in the Dow to find those that are the most oversold in terms of their weekly and daily Starc bands.
 

Rough global markets led to $770 million in net outflows last month.

By TheStreet Staff Jun 7, 2011 11:22AM

Image: ETF investor (© Tom Grill/Corbis)By Don Dion, TheStreet

 

The National Stock Exchange's new report on ETF flow data for May provides a wealth of information on investor preferences.

 

Overall, May was a trying month for investors. As the global marketplace ran into turmoil, investor interest in exchange-traded funds waned. For the first time in 2011, the industry saw net outflows. The $777 million in net outflows marked a dramatic shift from April, when there were $20 billion in inflows.

 

Industry leaders including State Street (STT), PowerShares, and BlackRock (BLK) witnessed the most staggering outflows, totaling $5.98 billion, $2.16 billion and $1.95 billion respectively. Smaller fund providers such as ETF Securities and Guggenheim ran into notable headwinds as well.

 

Some believe halcyon days will return after a few more deals.

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day Jun 7, 2011 10:55AM

By Tim Hanson

 

The past couple of years have been a fascinating and volatile time to be investing in Chinese stocks, but the past couple of weeks have shown definitively the challenges and opportunities in the sector. On the challenges side, there's the now well-known story of Longtop Financial (LFT), a Chinese financial software company that was once valued at more than $2 billion and owned by several high-profile investors. It said that its Big Four auditor, Deloitte, and its CFO were both resigning and that the Securities and Exchange Commission was beginning a probe into the company's accounting. This revelation comes after several short-sellers publicly called the company's numbers into question -- and were right.

 

Longtop is likely headed for delisting, a plight that has befallen several other Chinese companies that were revealed as alleged frauds thanks to sound short-side research.

 

It's not all bad
On the flip side, there was the announcement from China Fire & Security (CFSG) that it would be acquired by Bain Capital Partners, a reputable firm no doubt, for $9 per share -- a better than 20% premium to where the stock had been trading.

 

I hate being part of the consensus, but right now the view that the market will go flat before finding a bottom seems like the most realistic one.

By Jim Cramer Jun 7, 2011 10:24AM

the streetthe streetSometimes you have to own the fact that it's right to be grim about what is happening. I have long held that we need employment growth to sustain this remarkable rally that began in March of 2009. We aren't getting it.

 

I have long held that the government had levers to raise employment: easy policies by the Fed and stimulus by Congress. Those are over or about to end.

 

I thought leadership by the president could help create jobs, as we have seen with other presidents, notably Bill Clinton. That's been a definitive failure.

 

Four-dollar gasoline, the break point for 2008's economy, hasn't helped. The difference, of course, is that we are awash in oil, even before the OPEC meeting.

 

But the government seems unsophisticated, not seeing that oil has become like stocks, a necessary portfolio allocation, with the big difference that it's a small market prone to easy manipulation. We know that now from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission's discovery that a couple of tiny hedge fund managers and a shipper were able to keep oil from coming to the market in 2008.

 

A Florida auction of some of the scammer's personal belongings raises about $400,000 for victims of his Ponzi scheme.

By Kim Peterson Jun 6, 2011 6:11PM
Convicted con man Bernie Madoff can say goodbye to 14 pairs of boxers. Someone actually paid $200 for them at a Miami auction last weekend.

Hundreds of people showed up to check out items that authorities confiscated from Madoff's home in Palm Beach, the Miami Herald reported. For some, the auction was merely a chance to peek at the private lifestyle of the man whose massive Ponzi scheme took billions of dollars from investors worldwide.

Others wanted to buy what they considered a piece of history. And it seems that just about everything Madoff touched had some value to them, including a tin sculpture of a bull (appraised at $210, sold for $5,000) and a pair of leather chairs (appraised at $1,200, sold for $5,000). 

ITunes Match will scan your computer for music and match the songs with its own versions in iCloud.

By Kim Peterson Jun 6, 2011 5:08PM
Got a few hundred, or maybe thousand, illegally downloaded songs that you're feeling a teensy bit guilty about? It sounds like Apple (AAPL) will help you wipe the slate clean.

At its annual developers conference Monday, the company announced an upcoming service called iTunes Match that will search the songs on your iTunes and match them from its own library of 18 million songs.

So if you have a bunch of songs on your computer that you ripped from a CD or, ahem, obtained illegally, Apple will match them with the legitimate songs on its iTunes servers. And it will upgrade their quality, if needed, to 256Kbps and store them in the iCloud. 

An increase could boost commodity stocks.

By Jim J. Jubak Jun 6, 2011 4:21PM
Jim JubakThe European Union and the International Monetary Fund approved the fifth installment of the $161 billion bailout for Greece on June 3. That clears the way for a new, more comprehensive bailout program, which is still under negotiation.

More importantly for the near term, I think, the IMF and European Central Bank approval clears the way for the ECB to clearly signal its intention to raise interest rates in July.

The bank raised its benchmark interest rate to 1.25% in April, creating speculation that the bank was about to start a series of rate increases to fight inflation. That speculation drove the euro higher against the dollar, since the U.S. Federal Reserve had all but announced that U.S. interest rates weren’t headed higher until the end of 2011 at the earliest.

In May, the bank disappointed traders by signaling that it wouldn’t raise interest rates in June, as some had hoped. That fed into a decline in the euro against the dollar that was also getting plenty of fuel from renewed worries about a Greek debt default.
 

Microsoft will bring some version of live TV to its Xbox Live service, but the details are still to come.

By Kim Peterson Jun 6, 2011 3:08PM
The details are still sketchy, but Microsoft (MSFT) said Monday it plans to offer live television on its Xbox 360 video gaming console.

With the announcement, it's clear that Microsoft is very serious about making its gaming system the entertainment center of the living room. The company also plans to bring YouTube to the console.

I'm not sure how earthshaking the news is. After all, the median age for broadcast audiences has climbed to 50.1 at NBC, 52.3 at ABC, 45.4 at Fox and 56 at CBS. The typical Xbox 360 player seems not to watch a whole lot of live network TV. But still, Microsoft is knocking down another content door for users. (MSN Money is a division of Microsoft.) 

These stocks with rising analyst expectations have both short-term gain catalysts and longer-term growth potential.

By TheStreet Staff Jun 6, 2011 1:40PM

Image: Stock market (© Comstock)By Jonas Elmerraji, Stockpickr

 

Market strength has been seriously lacking in the first week of June, as the biggest single-day drop of 2011 last Wednesday complemented a similar economic-data-induced dip on Friday. The abundant supply of shares doesn't bode well for investors right now -- especially as the S&P 500 ($INX) flirts with the 1,300 support level, which has been hotly watched by traders for the past few months.

 

Even though stocks are on shaky ground right now, there's still a way to seek out upside potential. The key is to look for sentiment strength. To do that, we're turning once again to a new set of Rocket Stocks to bet on Wall Street's favorite plays right now.

 

For the uninitiated, Rocket Stocks are companies we think have short-term gain catalysts and longer-term growth potential. To find them, I run a quantitative screen that seeks out stocks with a combination of analyst upgrades and positive earnings surprises.

 

Analysis: As the Fed's stimulus winds down, international and domestic risks will spell stormy seas for stocks.

By TheStreet Staff Jun 6, 2011 1:07PM

Image: Life ring (© Gary S Chapman/Photography)By Peter Leeds, TheStreet

 

Even with $600 billion in stimulus money from round two of quantitative easing, job growth has been virtually stagnant (9.1% unemployed), consumer sentiment has fallen (61% in May from 72% in March), and now Reuters is predicting a double dip in home prices.

 

It is clear that QE2 kept the struggling economy on life support but did little to revive it. As it ends on June 30, don't expect smooth sailing for the markets, as myriad of international and domestic risks will conspire to weigh on stocks.

 

With the Federal Reserve's fiscal stimulus ending, an economic vacuum may be left in its wake. The 600-point drop in the Dow over the past month has shown us that we are already beginning to witness the fallout. In fact, QE2 may have done little besides dilute the purchasing power of the dollar and spark domestic inflation.

 

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