8 reasons the market isn't worse
8 reasons the market isn't worse

Stocks should be crushed by global turmoil, Jim Cramer says. Instead, they're doing fine.

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These funds are positioned to take advantage of high crop prices.

By TheStreet Staff Mar 30, 2011 11:12AM

By Don Dion, TheStreet

 

With the days getting longer and the weather getting warmer, ETF investors may want to consider arming their portfolios for spring.

 

A number of agriculture-related ETFs should be on investors' radars. Since last summer, agriculture has dominated headlines as supply shortages and improving global economic conditions have pushed food prices to record levels.

 

Looking ahead to this year's growing season, the prices of a number of these crops appear set to remain high. According to a Bloomberg report, although corn acreage is forecast to increase to the second-highest level since the early 1940s, the yield will not be enough to satisfy demand for cattle feed and ethanol.

 

While the radiation problem is foremost on people's minds, there are signs that the country's $300 billion rebuild is starting to heat up.

By Jim Cramer Mar 30, 2011 9:31AM

the streetjim cramerHow delayed will the reconstruction be in Japan? That's on people's minds, given the seeming intractability of the radiation problem from the stricken nuclear power plants.

 

I don't underestimate the dangers of the radiation. I also think there is probably much more we don't know about what is going on right now. But I do believe we are already starting to see some of the firmness in the metals and mining complex that I am expecting to come from this event, and I think the materials needed are already being purchased.

 

There are two things we now know that we didn't initially: The destruction was far greater and more wide-reaching than first reported, and the nuclear option for electricity may be waning.

 

Retailers are hoping that buyers who are tired of skinny jeans will build new outfits based on the flared look. With video updates.

By Kim Peterson Mar 29, 2011 3:36PM
People are finally tired of skinny jeans, and women's designer jean sales dropped by 6% last year to $1.36 billion, Bloomberg reports.

That's a disturbing trend for everyone from Macy's (M) to True Religion Apparel (TRLG) to American Eagle Outfitters (AEO). They're all wondering about the next jean trend to jump on to recover those sales -- and now, they think the answer is in the flared look.

Macy's and Bloomingdale's are betting on $185 jeans from J Brand that look like upside-down martini glasses, Bloomberg reports.

"It's been a hit," the women's fashion director at Bloomingdale's tells Bloomberg. "We've all been wearing skinnies or jeggings for too long. It's a reason to buy."

Post continues after this video about the latest trends from Fashion Week: 

Thanks to Sprint and AT&T's latest products, 3D smartphones are looming large for telecom investors.

By TheStreet Staff Mar 29, 2011 2:20PM

By James Rogers, TheStreet

 

Not so long ago, the mere sight of a 4G smartphone would be enough to get a gadgethead's heart racing. Now, with 4G smartphones ready to flood the market, companies like AT&T (T) and Sprint (S) are looking to push the envelope by adding 3D technology to their phones in an effort to woo consumers and developers away from the Apple (AAPL) iPhone juggernaut.

 

Last week, at the CTIA International Wireless show, telecom giants were mercilessly beating the 3D drum. Sprint's Evo 3D, built by HTC, and AT&T's LG Thrill 4G, hit the market later this year.

 

The big question, though, is whether 3D smartphones are the next big thing . . . or simply the next big gimmick.

 

Providing cleanup on isles everywhere can be a very profitable business.

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day Mar 29, 2011 2:13PM

By Alyce Lomax

 

My Rising Star portfolio is designed to generate both financial and social dividends. Unfortunately, the world isn't as clean and green as many of us would like. Despite our growing desire for a purer planet, we still tangle with garden-variety garbage, hazardous materials in need of proper disposal, and occasional major accidents.

 

Somebody's got to clean that up. That's where my latest purchase, Clean Harbors (CLH), comes in.

 

The business
Clean Harbors provides environmental, energy, and industrial services focused on cleaning up messes (and avoiding them to begin with). The company says it's the largest hazardous-waste disposal provider in North America.

 

The company could ship 30 million of the upgraded tablet computers in 2011, according to the analyst firm Needham & Co.

By TheStreet Staff Mar 29, 2011 2:10PM

By James Rogers, TheStreet

 

Apple (AAPL), boosted by consumer clamor for its new iPad 2, could ship 30 million of the iconic tablets in 2011, according to the analyst firm Needham & Co.

 

"On the strength of a worldwide blowout launch of the iPad 2, we're raising our fiscal 2011 and 2012 iPad shipment forecast," said Needham analyst Charlie Wolf, in a note released on Tuesday. "The launch of the iPad 2 so far exceeded our expectations ... it was evident our 2011 and 2012 shipment forecasts were dramatically low."

 

Needham raised its 2011 iPad forecast from 20 million to 30 million units and its 2012 projection from 30 million to 40 million units.

 

Amid the Japan crisis, US dealerships are getting warnings about parts that may be hard to find. And certain colors for new models are off-limits, too. With video updates.

By Kim Peterson Mar 29, 2011 1:30PM
Toyota (TM) dealerships might have a tough time fixing cars as a result of the Japan earthquake.

The company has warned dealers about a shortage of some parts it sends worldwide for repairs, The Wall Street Journal reports. Toyota is already up and running with most replacement parts, but a small fraction -- about 233 -- are in short supply.

That's because those 233 parts are from Japanese suppliers who were hit hard in the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. Those suppliers won't resume production for at least a month, the Journal reports, and it could be longer. Toyota now says those parts, which include shock absorbers, oil seals, radiator supports and fender parts, are on "controlled allocation."

You wouldn't expect paint to be a problem coming out of the Japan quake, but it is. Chrysler and Ford (F) are running into shortages with specific colors that use pigment from Japanese suppliers.

Post continues after this video analyzing the parts shortage: 

As emerging markets fall back into favor, several funds offer exposure to this growing region.

By TheStreet Staff Mar 29, 2011 10:27AM

Image: Singapore (© Bill Lai/Corbis)By Don Dion, TheStreet

 

Many emerging nations got off to a rough start this year as issues such as the political protests sweeping through the Middle East and North Africa and rapidly rising food prices tested investor nerves and drove many traders into the comfort of the developed world.

 

Now, however, as we head into the second quarter, some of these recently unloved countries have begun to fall back into favor. In the weeks ahead, investors may want to keep on their radar ETFs designed to track these nations. In the event that strength continues, they may present attractive investment opportunities.

 

Southeast Asian countries have become an area of focus as investors take cautious steps back into emerging markets. The Market Vectors Indonesia ETF (IDX) and the iShares MSCI Thailand Investable Market Index Fund (THD) are two funds that risk-tolerant investors may want to keep a close watch on. Both have staged impressive rallies in recent weeks, recovering back to levels seen prior to their drops early in the year.

 

Phillips-Van Heusen has the strong names and clever management needed to overcome rising raw costs.

By Jim Cramer Mar 29, 2011 9:42AM

the streetjim cramerNike (NKE) cut a wide swath of negativity in the apparel world with its poor quarter. Let's see if Phillips-Van Heusen (PVH) can stitch it back.

 

Last night, I spoke with the always fabulous Manny Chirico, who delivered an oh-so-solid quarter in the face of all of the headwinds that felled Nike. But unlike Nike, PVH made some changes to fabric, sourced better -- in less expensive countries than China -- and raised prices for its best stuff, notably Tommy Hilfiger.

 

What happened? Sales went up, but costs held steady. That gave PVH the confidence to raise its guidance for the full year (even though the current quarter wasn't raised because of some one-off promotions) and made me feel that PVH, like VF Corp. (VFC) and Polo Ralph Lauren (RL), is in charge of its destiny.

 

The retailer will begin selling Apple's newest iPad, and investors take notice.

By Kim Peterson Mar 28, 2011 3:59PM
Credit: (© 2011 Apple)
Caption: ipad 2Is RadioShack (RSH) becoming relevant again?

The retailer will start selling the iPad 2 tomorrow -- welcome news for RadioShack investors. The stock jumped more than 5% today to $15.04 on the news.

The iPad 2 will only be available at about 500 RadioShack locations, but hey, that's a start. And it could help shoppers who have looked everywhere for the new device. Even Apple (AAPL) can't keep enough supply on hand, telling online customers to expect a wait of between three and four weeks.

Apple has expanded its distribution channels for the iPad 2. It's already being sold at Best Buy (BBY), Target (TGT) and Wal-Mart (WMT), and at Verizon (VZ) and AT&T (T) retail stores. 

Major cinemas have hired lobbyists to ward off a proposed rule requiring them to disclose nutritional secrets of one of their biggest profit generators. With video updates.

By Kim Peterson Mar 28, 2011 1:46PM
A large container of movie theater popcorn can contain 1,000 calories. Add a few hundred more for the "butter" topping.

If theater chains told customers this dirty little secret, sales would fall. Popcorn is one of their biggest profit generators -- a $6 tub costs about 15 cents for ingredients. So cinema operators are fighting proposed rules that would require them to disclose the calories in concession food, The Los Angeles Times reports.

The controversy comes out of the federal healthcare law, which says restaurants with at least 20 locations in the U.S. must come clean about calorie counts, the Times reports. OK, but what does that have to do with the movies? The Food and Drug Administration said it wants to enforce the rule at movie theater concession stands, as well as at grocery stores.

That has struck fear into the hearts of major theater chains like Regal Entertainment Group (RGC) and Cinemark (CNK), which can get up to a third of their revenue from snacks.

Post continues after this video about why theater chains are raising ticket prices: 

A mood of austerity requires some adjustment as Congress and the Obama administration wrangle over spending.

By MSNMoney partner Mar 28, 2011 12:48PM

Image: Washington, D.C. (© Corbis)Wall Street Journal on MSN MoneyBy Joe Light, The Wall Street Journal

 

Just as consumers begin to spend again, some companies are staring down almost certain belt tightening by their biggest customer, the federal government.


As Congress and President Barack Obama continue to wrangle over which federal spending to cut and by how much, companies such as Computer Sciences Corp. (CSC), Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO) and ITT Corp. (ITT) that rely on government contracts for large portions of their business are dialing back expectations or developing contingency plans should some funding fall through.


"There's no question that we're going to see austerity. What's not at all clear is what that austerity will look like," said Stan Soloway, the chief executive of the Professional Services Council, a trade association for the government-services sector.


In the 2010 fiscal year, federal agencies spent $535 billion on contractors, down from $550 billion the year before, the first drop in more than a decade, the Office of Management and Budget said last month. In March 2009, the Obama administration set a goal to cut $40 billion in contract spending annually by 2011.

 

The BlackBerry maker is falling painfully behind as the market for wireless devices moves toward an application-driven format.

By TheStreet Staff Mar 28, 2011 12:46PM

By Ali Meshkati, TheStreet

 

To keep your head in the financial markets, you must realize when situations are obvious to most investors. Case in point: Research In Motion (RIMM).

 

The maker of the popular but increasingly outdated BlackBerry line of phones is becoming painfully irrelevant as wireless devices move toward an application-driven format.

 

RIM has been slow to react to the lightning pace of technology evolution. This has cost RIM about $60 billion in market cap over the past two and a half years. More importantly, it may have cost it the opportunity to recover customers who have switched to Apple's (AAPL) iPhone or a Google (GOOG) Android device.

 

Investors who want an international portfolio but are daunted by world tensions should consider these 2 funds.

By TheStreet Staff Mar 28, 2011 12:33PM

Image: Mutual funds (© ThinkStock/SuperStock)By Stan Luxenberg, TheStreet

 

With markets disrupted by unsettling news from Japan and the Middle East, should you dump your foreign funds and bring assets back to the U.S.?

 

That's a hard question. If you don't feel equipped to decide, consider buying global funds. They pick stocks anywhere in the world. With a global fund, you can rely on a professional portfolio manager to set the allocation for each country.

 

Top managers have proved adept at deciding what to overweight. In recent years, many managers have emphasized hot emerging markets and avoided sluggish areas such as Japan. As a result, the funds have been able to consistently outdo their benchmarks. During the past 15 years, world stock funds have returned 7.0% annually, outpacing the MSCI World benchmark by 3 percentage points, according to Morningstar.

 

Keep an eye on funds in Egypt, Japan, energy and agriculture.

By TheStreet Staff Mar 28, 2011 11:12AM

By Don Dion, TheStreet

 

Here are five ETFs to watch this week.

 

1.    Market Vectors Egypt ETF (EGPT)

 

The Egypt ETF has been one of the more interesting funds to watch this year. In late January, the nation's markets were closed because of sweeping political protests. With the stock market halted, share creation in EGPT was halted as well. With no new shares coming to market, the fund essentially became a closed-end fund. EGPT separated from its underlying index and a massive premium developed.

 

In the middle of last week, this premium was largely wiped out when share creation restarted, after the Egyptian stock market reopened. The fund has had some rocky sessions as it has reverted back to its underlying index. It will be interesting to see how it holds up this week.

 

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[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market capped the trading week with losses across the major averages. The S&P 500 fell 0.5% to surrender its weekly gain, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (-0.7%) and Russell 2000 (-0.9%) underperformed. The two indices posted respective losses of 0.8% and 0.6% for the week.

Equity indices were pressured from the get-go after several heavyweights disappointed the market with their earnings and/or guidance, which led to some broader profit-taking. After ... More


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