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Be wary of dire market forecasts

The most likely scenario is that the markets will begin to rise from here -- and that bounce is just beginning to take hold.

VIDEO ON MSN MONEY

Money manager, author and blogger Vitaliy Katsenelson explains the malaise.

By V.N. Katsenelson Jan 7, 2011 12:28PM
Let's talk a bit about China, because you have written a lot about that country.  What is your overall outlook for the Chinese economy?  How will it affect the US economy and US investors?

China is extremely important to the global economy.  China to some degree helped to pull the global economy out of recession with its enormous stimulus.  However, I expect China’s economy to get worse at some point in the not too distant future


The Chinese economy grew at a very fast rate for long period of time.  The Chinese government is extremely concerned that if the growth rate of its economy slows down it is going to have high unemployment.  Ironically, though, this country that is supposed to be communist has less socialism than we have in the United States. 

 

Shares of Bank of America, Citigroup and other major financials are too cheap to pass up.

By Jim Cramer Jan 7, 2011 12:03PM

TheStreet's Jim CramerYou want to know which banks to buy?

 

How about Citigroup (C), Bank of America (BAC), Wells Fargo (WFC), PNC (PNC), JPMorgan (JPM) and Huntington Bancshares (HBAN)? How about U.S. Bancorp (USB)?

 

You know what these stocks have in common? Their prices are ridiculously low, kept down by rumor, innuendo, disbelieving analysts and lies.

 

Money manager, author and blogger Vitaliy Katsenelson explains the malaise.

By V.N. Katsenelson Jan 6, 2011 5:21PM

To paraphrase Nassim Taleb, "Giving interviews is the art of repeating oneself without anyone noticing." With the new book out, I have the pleasure and the opportunity to perfect that art. My latest interview, with my friend Bob Huebscher of Adviser Perspectives, is below; and here are links to my interviews with John Mihalijevic of Manual of Ideas (John is co-organizer of ValueEx; see below), Elliot Turner of Wall Street Cheat Sheet, and an audio interview with Jim Puplava of Financal Sense.  I tried very hard to offer new perspectives in each interview, even when we discussed the same subjects.  I tried.

 

After an epic 22% rally out of the August low, small-cap stocks start to falter.

By Anthony Mirhaydari Jan 6, 2011 5:01PM

The stock market has stalled over the past three days, and the main driver appears to be a surge in the U.S. dollar -- a sign of haven buying by investors looking to reduce risk. As a result, commodities like crude oil are under pressure. But there is other evidence of risk coming off the table.

 

The Risk Appetite Indicator maintained by UBS declined to 0.57 last week from 0.85 the week before and is down from a recent high of 1 on December 22. The primary driver has been the increase in the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX), which in turn is driven by option traders purchasing "insurance" option contracts on the S&P 500 index.

 

Rising inflation isn't sitting well with the European Central Bank. But there isn't much it can do.

By Jim J. Jubak Jan 6, 2011 4:42PM
Jim JubakTalk about getting caught between a rock and rocking the entire European Union.

Inflation kicked up to an annual rate of 2.2% in December in the European Union. That’s well above the European Central Bank’s oft-stated target of an annual rate "close but below" 2%.

In normal times, the European Central Bank, drawing on the remaining DNA from its ancestors at Germany’s Bundesbank, would raise interest rates to clamp down on inflation faster than you can say "Johannes Robinson."
 

These big military contractors are sporting historically small multiples.

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day Jan 6, 2011 2:30PM

Military © Stockbyte/SuperStockFool analyst Anand Chokkavelu loves trolling around in beaten-down sectors. Today's stop on his incessant search for value: the defense sector.

 

Rex Moore, Motley Fool Top Stocks editor

 

When a sector is beaten down, I get interested. When a sector is beaten down and nothing has fundamentally changed, I get really interested.

 

I believe that's the case in the defense industry.

 

The bakery spent a lot of money to modernize, but savings are small, losses are mounting, and debt is crippling.

By InvestorPlace Jan 6, 2011 1:09PM

Bankrupt © Hill Street Studios/Blend Images/Getty ImagesBy Jeff Reeves, editor of InvestorPlace.com


After bleeding red ink like the jelly out of a freshly bitten Krimpet, the makers of Tastykake snacks face a serious question: whether to sell the company at a fire-sale price or whether to just cry uncle under the crippling weight of its debt.


It's a sad development for the Pennsylvania sweets powerhouse that was born almost a century ago in Philadelphia. But what's perhaps most tragic is that the biggest reason pushing parent Tasty Baking (TSTY) to the brink of bankruptcy is a development that was intended to turn the company's battered finances around.

 

Though it will be an older model, users can get Apple's flagship smart phone -- and AT&T will get more data-hungry subscribers.

By InvestorPlace Jan 6, 2011 9:55AM

Credit: Apple CEO Steve Jobs holds up iPhone 4 as he talks about the Apple iPhone 4 at Apple headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., Friday, July 16, 2010 (© Paul Sakuma/AP)
 By Jeff Reeves, editor of InvestorPlace.com


If there's one thing Apple Inc. (AAPL) knows, it's the importance of staying on top of the personal-electronics game via constant refining. The iPhone is in its fourth incarnation since its launch, almost four years ago to the day, and a fifth version is expected soon. Consumers are already looking ahead to the iPad 2, even though the groundbreaking tablet PC is just 8 months old.


But it appears that someone at AT&T (T) didn't get the memo on this, despite the telecom's close ties with Apple on the iPhone. In a surprising move, AT&T has decided to push an already outdated Apple smart phone model with its latest scheme: a $49 iPhone 3GS, as long as customers sign a two-year contract. The deal starts Friday.


The move is puzzling on the surface, since most consumers won't be thrilled about the prospects of a nearly 2-year-old phone -- coupled with a contract that lasts until that phone almost turns 4. But a closer look at AT&T's books shows that it may be a very wise move in the long run -- both for consumers and the telecom giant.

 

The move in this group of stocks reveals the truth: Residential real estate has hit bottom and is on its way higher.

By Jim Cramer Jan 6, 2011 9:29AM

more market commentary and stock picks from jim cramerIt's not a question of when the housing recovery will occur but of how big it will be. That's how I have felt watching the stock market action since the year began.

 

I use a couple of classic tells to forecast housing sales and values, and they are flashing bright green, really defying gravity in their obvious way of saying, "Housing's back in 2011." This despite the universal "Housing's the same mess it has always been" rap, as well as the downbeat projections, mostly from the noisy folks at Zillow, many of which do not reflect the hard macro data kept by other entities.

 

Look at these breakouts we have seen just this year: Whirlpool (WHR), Lowe's (LOW), Sherwin Williams (SHW),Pier 1 (PIR), Ethan Allen (ETH), Masco (MAS), Stanley Black & Decker (SWK) and even Williams-Sonoma (WSM) after that disappointing outlook. That's incredible. These stocks are screaming that sales for homes are going higher and that the value of homes is going higher, or people wouldn't be throwing good money after bad.

 

Short-term factors have been pushing up the price of copper, but there's plenty of volatility ahead.

By Jim J. Jubak Jan 5, 2011 5:26PM
Jim JubakJust because your favorite roller coaster is closed for the winter doesn’t mean you have to give up thrills and spills -- there’s always the copper market.

Copper hit a record high on the London Metal Exchange on Jan. 4 and moved to a three-and-a-half year high in Shanghai. And then the next day, copper dropped by 1.1%, the most since Dec. 16.

In the short term, I think copper, the other golden metal, will move higher. There’s plenty of speculative juice for the remainder of January. I’d then look for a pullback of some sort around the beginning of February on a reversal of speculative sentiment. If you’re attracted to copper because of the likely long-term supply shortages and you haven’t built positions yet, I’d wait to see if early February brings the kind of dip that might let you slip a few shares of Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold (FCX) or Thompson Creek Metals (TC) into your portfolio.
 

The coffee chain will remove the outer ring around the siren image to give the brand more global appeal.

By TheStreet Staff Jan 5, 2011 4:07PM

StarbucksTheStreetUpdated: 3:55 p.m. ET

 

By Miriam Reimer, TheStreet

 

Starbucks (SBUX) unveiled a new logo Wednesday that no longer includes the company’s name.

 

Starbucks' streamlined logo removes the outer green circle that bears the Starbucks Coffee name, enlarging the inner siren, sometimes referred to as a sea nymph, in the company's signature green hue.

 

In a video posted on the Starbucks Web site, CEO Howard Schultz talked about the decision to update its emblematic logo on the 40th anniversary of the company in March.

 

The discount chain's stock falls after a disappointing first-quarter earnings report.

By TheStreet Staff Jan 5, 2011 2:43PM

Dollar store © Randy Faris/2007/CorbisBy Jeanine Poggi, TheStreet

 

Family Dollar Stores (FDO) shares were falling as much as 9% after the discount retailer's fiscal-first-quarter profit missed Wall Street's forecast.

 

During the quarter, the company earned $74.3 million, or 58 cents a share, from $67.8 million, or 49 cents, in the year-ago period. Analysts were calling for a profit of 61 cents a share. By early afternoon, shares had fallen 8.5% to $45.12.

 

Family Dollar chairman Howard R. Levine said the company had its best first-quarter sales performance in more than 12 years. However, lower gross margins and higher freight costs hurt its profit. Its gross margin slipped to 36% from 36.1%.

 

This once-rotten business has taken an appealing turn.

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day Jan 5, 2011 1:38PM

Why, yes, that is a banana in Alex Pape's portfolio. It's a nice investment opportunity he found while peeling back the layers of the food industry. Read on to see if Chiquita Brands is ripe for you.

 

Rex Moore, Motley Fool Top Stocks editor

 

I'm just going to put this out there: I love bananas. They are tasty. They are convenient. They can be used to slip up the Mario Kart character chasing you. Today, I'm putting my money where my mouth is and buying Chiquita Brands International (CQB), the leading banana seller in Europe and the runner-up in the U.S.

 

The telecom's already strong position in 3G and 4G technology gets a wireless boost from the acquisition of rival Atheros.

By TheStreet Staff Jan 5, 2011 1:23PM

thestreetChips © Jamie Grill/PhotolibraryBy Scott Moritz, TheStreet

 

Analysts and investors applauded Qualcomm's (QCOM) $3.1 billion move to acquire wireless chip rivalAtheros (ATHR), announced Wednesday.

 

Typically, expensive deals like the $45-a-share cash offer from Qualcomm for Atheros would send the buyer's shares down on dilution worries. But this deal is getting only positive blowback, largely because it will give Qualcomm's already strong position in 3G and 4G technology a boost in areas like WiFi and GPS technology.

 

The move comes as Qualcomm announced Wednesday that its Snapdragon processors and LTE chips will be inside new 4G devices at Verizon (VZ). Verizon is expected to introduce some of those mobile devices Thursday at CES in Las Vegas.

 

The iPad stole the spotlight as the first on the scene, but these up-and-comers could take a piece of Apple's pie.

By InvestorPlace Jan 5, 2011 10:44AM
Credit: (© Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Caption: Apple iPadBy Anthony John Agnello, InvestorPlace.com

There's no denying that the release of Apple's iPad last April was the catalyst that changed tablet PCs from curios to consumer gold. That device is now the standard bearer for consumer and investor expectations, as  iPad sales for 2010 are expected to exceed 14 million, and analysts like Deutsche Bank's Chris Whitmore now expect Apple to sell 28 million iPads through 2011.


But those projections could be sketchy, based on the idea that Apple is the only game in town. As three other tablets show, the iPad may have a tough time retaining dominance as competitors roll out innovative -- and sometimes flashier -- tablets.

 

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[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market ended the holiday-shortened week on a mixed note as the Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 0.1%, while the S&P 500 added 0.1% with seven sectors posting gains.

Equity indices faced an uphill climb from the opening bell after disappointing quarterly results from Google (GOOG 536.10, -20.44) and IBM (IBM 190.04, -6.36) weighed on the early sentiment. Google reported earnings $0.15 below the Capital IQ consensus estimate on revenue of $15.42 ... More


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