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Sony gets hacked. Cisco restructures again. Federal appeals court rules against whistle-blowers.

By TheStreet Staff May 6, 2011 10:43AM

TheStreetHere is this week's roundup of the dumbest actions on Wall Street.

 

5. Sony makes world safe for hackers

 

For the hackers who haven't figured it out yet, Sony's (SNE) online security code is up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, triangle, X, start.

 

We're joking, of course. (Or maybe we're not...?) Regardless, Sony's sure making it look like it's as easy to get a PlayStation 3 user's credit card number and other personal information as it was to get extra lives in Contra about 25 years ago.

 

If the news stays good and the markets continue to go down, there will be stock bargains galore.

By Jim Cramer May 6, 2011 8:38AM

the streetjim cramerSo much good happened Thursday we should have been up, not down.

 

Think about it: We had the possibility of a 10% cut in the price of gasoline; we had one of the most important central banks decide that raising rates again is suicidal; we had General Motors (GM) in a position to pay back the United States within a couple of quarters; AIG (AIG) in a similar position, despite the big loss last night.

 

We also have the makings of a budget deal that could keep a debt ceiling crisis from happening. We had a major break in the froth, the silver speculation. We had better-than-expected sales from so many retailers. We had a huge decline in mortgage rates that could bring on a level of stability and affordability in housing.

 

And the one dark spot, a weekly jobless claims number, may not be that daunting given that the Federal Reserve  has said it will still use any means necessary to make sure things get better.

 

Renren, thought of as the 'Chinese Facebook,' soars in its opening but fell more than 6% the next trading day.

By Jim J. Jubak May 5, 2011 10:23PM
Jim JubakThe May 4 initial public offering of Renren (RENN), dubbed the "Chinese Facebook," shot out of the gate.

The shares, priced at $14, climbed to $18.01 at the close, a 29% gain. At the initial $14 offering price, Renren was valued at 72 times last year's revenue. Shares closed Thursday at $16.87.

Facebook -- or should I say the "American Renren"? -- isn’t yet public, but a Goldman Sachs (GS) investment in the company recently valued it at 25 times sales.

Once you’ve gotten over marveling at this valuation -- not bad for a company that had to revise its IPO prospectus (it had inflated the number of active monthly users it added in the first quarter to 7 million, when the total was actually 5 million) -- take a look at what the Renren offering did to the rest of China’s Internet sector: It sent their stock prices tumbling.
 

Wall Street scrambles as the greenback ends its long, multi-month decline.

By Anthony Mirhaydari May 5, 2011 3:42PM

After spending a week mired in a tight sideways channel, the U.S. dollar blasted higher against the euro Thursday in a big way-- sending shockwaves through the financial system. You see, the dollar isn't just what we use to buy our morning coffee. It's status as the world's de facto reserve currency means its undulations has far reaching impacts from the price of commodities like crude oil to the level of interest rates.

 

Lately, as I've discussed in my recent columns and blog posts, the dollar's sustained and persistent decline has big increases in dollar-sensitive assets like silver and crude oil -- increases which now threaten our fragile recovery.

 

All of this is changing now. The catalyst: A less "hawkish" European Central Bank and a stready stream of weak economic data. Hedge fund types are scrambling to exit anti-dollar "carry" trades. For consumers, this is great news. And it can be great news for investors too. Here's how the play the dollar's bounce.

 

With crude prices down considerably, investors wonder wheter the industry has played out.

By TheStreet Staff May 5, 2011 12:55PM

Image: Oil drilling platform (© Scott Gibson/Corbis)By Jonas Elmerraji, Stockpickr

 

With most markets looking wishy-washy this week, it's time to take a technical look at what's going on with the biggest-name stocks on Wall Street.

 

Technical analysis is used every day by proprietary trading floors, the Street's biggest financial firms and individual investors to get an edge on the market. And according to some sources, skilled technical traders can bank gains as much as 90% of the time.

 

Every week, we take an in-depth look at large-cap stocks that are telling important technical stories. This week, we're focusing on oil.

 

Internet calling wasn't a good fit at eBay, but Google or Facebook might find a way to make it work.

By TheStreet Staff May 5, 2011 12:21PM

By Scott Moritz, TheStreet

 

Skype's delayed journey toward an IPO has attracted interest from Facebook and Google (GOOG) as possible acquirers.

 

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has discussed a takeover of the Luxembourg-based Net calling service, according to a Reuters report that hit late Wednesday. The story also says that Google has explored a joint venture deal with Skype.

 

Last month, Skype filed for a public stock offering, but a shakeup of top management caused the company postpone its IPO. With a little more time to consider its options in a shaky equities market, it's not too surprising to see some big players kicking Skype's tires.

 

Head to the sidelines and wait for a further stock drop -- or for the company to make production progress.

By Jim J. Jubak May 5, 2011 11:18AM
Jim JubakI think it’s a good time to give shares of Thompson Creek Metals (TC) a rest. Say, a three- to six-month rest.

So today, I’m selling Thompson Creek Metals out of my Jubak’s Picks portfolio.

The market seems to be rotating away from commodities and materials stocks, as fears about an economic slowdown in the United States, China, Brazil, India, or the economy of your choice move to the fore.

I don’t think the bottom is about to fall out of the sector as it did in 2008, but I do think it will be hard for stocks in this sector to move up significantly against this tide. A month or two back, it seemed like it would be time to look for a bottom in a commodity such as copper in July or so.
 

Since assets topped $1 trillion at the start of 2011, the selection has continued to grow.

By TheStreet Staff May 5, 2011 11:01AM

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

 

As evidenced by the National Stock Exchange's monthly fund-flow data, April proved popular for ETF investors. Since ETF assets initially broke through the $1 trillion mark at the start of 2011, the universe has continued to grow at an impressive stride. At the close of April, total assets stood near $1.12 trillion.

 

Additionally, the industry welcomed 23 new funds. This lifted the total product count to 1,030.

 

On top of market appreciation, strong investor inflows played a major role in boosting assets. During the opening weeks of the second quarter, the ETFs saw net inflows totaling more than $21 million. This represents the largest single-month inflow of the year.

 

The sector has emerged as a leader, and an impending pullback should present a golden buying opportunity.

By MoneyShow.com May 5, 2011 10:58AM
By Tom Aspray, MoneyShow.com

With stocks under pressure this week, there has been increased interest in consumer staples, and Ralcorp’s (RAH) rejection of ConAgra Foods’ (CAG) bid has stoked the fires.

The disappointing ADP jobs report on Wednesday has renewed concerns over the economic recovery, and the focus on Friday’s monthly employment report is now even more intense. If the economy does soften or the recovery stalls, the goods that consumer staples companies sell should remain on the must-have list.

This quarter, the Select Sector SPDR - Consumer Staples (XLP) is up 5.6% versus 1.6% for the S&P 500. The technical action of XLP suggests that a pullback is likely in the next few weeks.

The major breakouts in some of the big-name consumer staples stocks should allow for some excellent opportunities to buy on a pullback.

There is one in particular that I want to bring to your attention, and I will also update the stocks featured recently in “7 Ways to Profit from Consumer Staples.”
 

Value investor David Einhorn and Credit Suisse believe the out-of-favor electronics retailer represents a contrarian value pick. With video on April chain-store sales.

By TheStreet Staff May 5, 2011 10:25AM

By Jake Lynch, TheStreet

 

Value investor David Einhorn, who runs the hedge fund firm Greenlight Capital, disclosed a position in out-of-favor electronics retailer Best Buy (BBY) in his latest quarterly letter, ahead of his firm's official 13-F filing. Best Buy's stock has fallen 30% in 12 months, underperforming U.S. stock indices. Because of that, Einhorn's pick merits attention.

 

Best Buy has fallen 8.9% this year, and Einhorn, who established his position at an average price of $33.33, is in the red on this bet. Still, he makes a compelling argument for the down-but-not-out security.

 

Of note: Greenlight's long-run annualized return since 1996 is close to 25%. It ranks as one of the best-performing U.S. hedge funds, despite a focus on mainly domestic equities. Also, unlike its peers, Greenlight has a small staff and rarely trades. Its operations are focused on researching and then owning, or shorting, stocks, not vacillating on its investments.

 

In his quarterly letter, Einhorn stressed that investors are far too concerned that Best Buy has reached its growth limit and will suffer declining sales in the future. In particular, he views Best Buy's holiday dip as a fleeting issue rather than a signal of looming obsolescence.

 

The automaker posts its fifth consecutive quarterly profit -- an impressive $3.2 billion -- but the news may not be as good as investors and consumers think. Includes video.

By InvestorPlace May 5, 2011 9:30AM

By Jeff Reeves, editor of InvestorPlace.com


investorplace logoIn November, General Motors Co (GM) emerged from bankruptcy and raised more than $20 billion re-entering the stock market at $33 a share. But there haven't been a lot of fireworks since then. Almost six months later, the stock price is largely unchanged.

 

But there was good news Thursday for investors looking for growth and consumers worried about their favorite brands like the iconic Corvette. The company just reported great sales for first quarter of 2011, marking the fifth consecutive quarterly profit.

 

So what does this mean for General Motors cars, customers and investors? Well, unfortunately, the news may not be as good as you think.

 

As the overheated crude market begins to resemble reality, is there a level at which consumer stocks and oil companies both win?

By Jim Cramer May 5, 2011 9:04AM

jim cramerthe streetGoing into this week, the national average gasoline price hit $3.99. Right now it looks like it will NOT take out that $4 mark that was so devastating to demand last time, especially after this morning's collapse in crude.

 

At last we are seeing a semblance of reality in this overheated market -- one that, anytime you say might be inaccurate or overstated, is defended by the "free marketeers" who actually try to explain that the market is an honest one that correctly prices crude.

 

Markets don't collapse like this if they are honest barometers of the price of the commodity. The price of oil should have been in free fall for a while but for the combination of momentum oil ETF buyers, fears about Libya that are dissipating post-Osama Bin Laden, and the small amount of capital required up front to control a lot of oil.

 

Green Mountain has another blowout quarter.

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day May 4, 2011 2:37PM

By Rick Aristotle Munarriz

 

Can life get any better for Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (GMCR)?

 

Analysts had set the bar high for the maker of Keurig brewers and java-loaded K-Cup refills. They figured that Green Mountain's net sales would soar 94% to $629.4 million, with adjusted profitability nearly doubling to $0.38 a share.

 

Slackers! Green Mountain's net sales more than doubled to $647.7 million, with non-GAAP earnings skyrocketing 131%, to $0.48 a share.

 

Remember the bears fretting about decelerating growth? Care to call up the worrywarts that were concerned that brewer sales were outpacing K-Cups, pointing to waning usage of these single-cup systems?

 

The highflying metals have been hit hard recently, but a look at the volume analysis and chart patterns shows they haven't yet completed major tops.

By MoneyShow.com May 4, 2011 12:07PM
By Tom Aspray, MoneyShow.com

CME Group (CME) smacked the silver market hard over the past week with three margin hikes, and silver traders finally got the message. The widely followed iShares Silver Trust (SLV) closed Tuesday 15% below last week’s highs following the heavy selling.

Gold also reversed after making convincing new highs on Monday, but the selling in gold has been muted, as the Spyder Gold Trust (GLD) is just 2.4% below its highs. Though silver and gold are generally lumped together, their trading characteristics are often quite different.

Though my long-term outlook for gold and silver are similar, I expect the trading in gold to be different than that in silver over the next couple months. The bottom line is that my monthly volume analysis suggests that neither gold nor silver have completed major tops. 

Let’s look at the evidence.
 
Tags: gold

Quarterly results from PetroHawk and SandRidge will provide additional clues into the current state and future prospects of natural gas.

By TheStreet Staff May 4, 2011 11:53AM

By Don Dion, TheStreet

 

It has been a busy few weeks for energy-focused investors. On top of following oil's rise and seeing its effect on consumers at the pump, investors, commentators and market analysts have been closely monitoring the pack of energy producers that have stepped up to the earnings plate.

 

Oil was in the spotlight last week as international integrated energy majors, including Exxon Mobil (XOM), Chevron (CVX) and ConocoPhillips (COP), released their quarterly numbers to the public. For the most part, the Goliaths witnessed impressive strength buoyed by crude oil's gains.

 

Throughout this week, natural gas has become the energy source to watch as major players from this sector release their earnings reports. So far, the numbers have been mixed.

 

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[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market is little changed at midday with participants not showing much willingness to step in ahead of the 14:00 ET release of the FOMC minutes from the July policy meeting. The S&P 500 (+0.1%) sits just above its flat line with five sectors showing gains, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (+0.2%) outperforms. Small-cap stocks have not been as fortunate with the Russell 2000 (-0.5%) spending the first half of action below its flat line.

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