Gold bars & granules © Heinz-Peter Bader/Reuters
Americans prefer gold, real estate

As the market wades through what many people hope is a sixth bull year, some have grown nervous about how long the run can go.


Investors should take the country's recent GDP gains with a grain of salt.

By TheStreet Staff Dec 10, 2010 1:41PM

more ETF investing strategy from thestreetglobal economy © Comstock / SuperStockBy Kevin Grewal, TheStreet


Japan recently witnessed its fourth consecutive quarter of economic growth, enabling it to reclaim from China its position as the world's second-largest economy after beating gross domestic product expectations.


That growth could affect the iShares MSCI Japan Index (EWJ), the iShares MSCI Japan Small Cap Index Fund (SCJ) and the Vanguard Pacific Stock ETF (VPL).


The Japanese economy expanded by 4.5% in the third quarter of the year, exceeding analysts' expectations by 0.6% and eating away at the nation's massive deflationary gap. Further, the expansion has led to Japan's minister of economic and fiscal policy to peg an estimated annual growth for the year at around 2.6%.


His recent trip to a Wyoming mine has investors wondering whether the industry will receive his blessing.

By TheStreet Staff Dec 10, 2010 12:16PM

more etf and energy investing tips from thestreetCoal Mine © Digital Vision / SuperStock By Don Dion, TheStreet


A long-term proponent for the global economic recovery over the past year, Warren Buffett has made a number of interesting decisions that have helped to position his portfolio for strength over the long term. One avenue some observers feel the famous investor has taken a particularly strong liking to is the coal industry.


At the close of 2009 and the start of 2010, Buffett stole headlines when he announced plans to purchase the remaining shares of Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad. The deal, valued at $34 billion, has earned the title as Berkshire Hathaway's (BRK.A) largest acquisition.


Don't wait for a physical copper ETF to play this commodity, because COPX is soaring.

By InvestorPlace Dec 10, 2010 9:54AM

Tools for your stock portfolio © CorbisBy Jeff Reeves, Editor of

There has been a lot of speculation in recent weeks that iShares, ETF Securities and other companies will soon bring an exchange-traded fund to the market that tracks physical copper the way the SPDR Gold Shares ETF (GLD) tracks physical gold or the iShares Silver Trust ETF (SLV) follows silver.

While any physical copper fund will certainly make a splash, don't feel you have to wait until such an ETF debuts to capitalize on copper price inflation. One of the biggest movers in the past several days has been the Global X Copper Miners ETF (COPX), and it could continue to push upward next week and beyond if copper extends a record-setting run.

Here's my take on COPX and four other hot ETFs for the coming week:


The EPA is backing away from tighter restrictions on pollutants. The news will be good for Peabody and Arch.

By Jim Cramer Dec 10, 2010 9:52AM

more stock picks and investment strategy from jim cramer at thestreetWe know who won the elections in November: coal.


That's right. With the news this morning that the Environmental Protection Agency is backing away from placing tighter restrictions on pollutants, the coal-burning utilities are going to be able to keep burning all the coal they want without much fear.


The stunning turn would be the green light allowing the 30- to 40-year-old plants, the ones that spew the most into the atmosphere, to keep running rather than being forced into retirement, as we would have expected.


The company needs a lot of natural gas to mine potash in Mendoza, and now it should have the supply.

By Jim J. Jubak Dec 9, 2010 5:11PM

Jim JubakThe biggest winner from Argentina's huge natural gas from shale discovery in Patagonia? 

Well, YPF Sociedad Anonima (YPF) is certainly a winner. The find of 4.5 trillion cubic feet of gas is roughly double the Argentine company's previous proved natural gas reserves of 2.7 trillion cubic feet. YPF already produces some natural gas from four wells at the Loma La Lata field with a daily output of 100,000 cubic meters. 

Repsol YPF (REP), the Spanish oil and gas company that controls YPF, is certainly a winner, too. Media reports, unconfirmed by either company, say the find could hold as much as 250 trillion cubic feet of gas. By contrast, Argentina's proved natural gas reserves before the find totaled 12 to 13 trillion cubic feet. ("Proved" is a much more meaningful measure than "reported in the newspaper," I'd note.) Repsol is planning to sell 15% of YPF in a public offering.


The retailer will put kiosks in its Pennsylvania stores by working around strict state laws.

By Kim Peterson Dec 9, 2010 4:52PM

Wine © Stockbyte/PhotolibraryWine bottles from a vending machine? Interesting idea. And Wal-Mart (WMT) is all over this one, at least in parts of Pennsylvania.

The retailer has received a green light from the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board to put wine kiosks in stores across the state, CBS Pittsburgh reports.

The machines will reportedly have more than 50 varieties of wine. But before you buy, you'll need to swipe your driver's license and puff into a Breathalyzer.

The machines are already drawing some fairly ridiculous concerns, according to CBS Pittsburgh.


Copper stocks have soared to 52-week highs. One stock, however, may be the last deal standing.

By Jim J. Jubak Dec 9, 2010 4:10PM

JIm JubakIt's not like you you're going sneak up on an undiscovered bargain in a copper mining stock these days. 

Copper has been selling near record highs this year on an anticipated shortfall in supply in 2011 and on increased demand from commodity investors. On Tuesday, copper closed at $4.05 a pound. The close marked a retreat from a new all-time high but was still the highest price for the metal since July 2008. 

And copper stocks such as Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold (FCX) and Southern Copper (SCCO) have responded by moving up to 52-week highs.


The maker of Tide and Olay finds daytime dramas no longer the best place to reach women.

By Kim Peterson Dec 9, 2010 3:07PM
Credit: (© Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)
Caption: Twitter homepageProcter & Gamble (PG) produced 20 soap operas over the decades, thinking that daytime drama was the best place to advertise detergent and skin cream. No more.

The company is done with soap operas after its last one, "As the World Turns," whimpered to a finish in September, losing two-thirds of its audience over the years, The Associated Press reports.

Women aren't chained to the ironing board anymore, and P&G has changed its media focus to social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook. Although the company still buys some commercial spots on daytime soaps, it has backed off of production. 

This nimble niche player is riding the smart-phone wave.

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day Dec 9, 2010 1:38PM
There are growth investors, and there are value investors. And then there are the GARPers -- those in the middle looking for "growth at a reasonable price." Foolish tech specialist Eric Bleeker believes he's found a candidate in Cirrus Logic


Rex Moore, Motley Fool Top Stocks editor


Investors looking for growth at a reasonable price seem to be finding fewer opportunities these days, especially in the tech world. However, one continuing trend -- the growth of smartphones -- is presenting fantastic opportunities. Chief among these is audio products whiz kid Cirrus Logic (CRUS).


Funds focusing on consumers in developing nations may be among the key investments 'of our lifetime.'

By TheStreet Staff Dec 9, 2010 1:26PM

Tools for your stock portfolio © CorbisBy Don Dion, TheStreet


Emerging-market ETFs continue to be wildly attractive options for investors seeking growth opportunities outside of the United States.


Evidence of the developing world's popularity can be seen in November's flow data compiled by the Nation Stock Exchange. During the month, the Vanguard Emerging Market ETF (VWO) scored the No. 1 position among all exchange-traded products, pulling in $1.7 billion.


This week, Jim O'Neill, the man responsible for making the BRIC acronym a household word within the investing world, offered a promising forecast for this quartet and other emerging markets. In an interview with Bloomberg, O'Neill fingered emerging-market consumers as a key investment "of our lifetime."


The satellite radio service renews its contract with host Howard Stern, and investors reward the move.

By Kim Peterson Dec 9, 2010 1:11PM
Credit: (© Evan Agostini/AP)
Caption: Howare SternAfter making a lot of noise about ditching Sirius XM (SIRI), radio shock jock Howard Sternnow says he's staying. Guess it's hard to turn down hundreds of millions of dollars.

Sirius confirmed that it signed a new five-year contract with Stern and said Stern's programs will go to mobile devices for the first time. Sirius investors were pleased, pushing up shares more than 6% Thursday to $1.40 in midday trading.

Stern's original five-year, $500 million contract was set to expire in less than a month. We still don't know how much the new deal is worth -- both sides aren't saying. 

Semiconductor-maker ASML has boosted guidance across the board. Given its diverse clientele, this is huge for the sector.

By Jim Cramer Dec 9, 2010 10:07AM

stock picks and insights from jim cramerWhen ASML (ASML) moves, when it says things are good, that ends the debate in semiconductor land. ASML has spoken, and it has spoken loudly: It's lifting guidance for orders across the board, for just about all important equipment, including flash, memory and logic chips.


The stock has led a semiconductor jailbreak over in Europe, moving up 8% and taking every stock along with it.


As someone who's extremely bullish on semiconductors, I would have been happy just hearing how companies that make chips for Apple (AAPL) are strong. But ASML makes products that give you a read on companies as varied as SanDisk (SNDK), Micron (MU), Broadcom (BRCM), Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), Nvidia (NVDA) and all the rest of the gang.


MarketWatch gives the Apple chief the award, citing Jobs' revolutionary leadership and drive.

By Kim Peterson Dec 8, 2010 4:22PM
Credit: (© Paul Sakuma/AP)
Caption: Apple CEO Steve JobsForget the award for CEO of the year. Too easy. How about CEO of the decade? MarketWatch hands that title to none other than Steve Jobs of Apple (AAPL).

"Steve Jobs is known as both mercurial and visionary, part rock-star CEO and part master salesman, a meticulous micromanager who can drive his employees to distraction -- and one of the most important figures in American industry in the past half-century," writes Russ Britt.

It's hard to argue with his choice, even though Apple shares were in the basement for the full first half of the decade in question. But what a remarkable climb they started in 2006, eventually making Apple the single most important company in the sector, with a market cap of $294 billion. 

One powerful senator is reportedly trying to legalize online poker as part of the tax-cut deal.

By Kim Peterson Dec 8, 2010 1:49PM

Gambling © Jamie Grill/PhotolibraryWe've heard plenty about this messy tax-cut compromise that President Barack Obama and Republicans have been negotiating. But in the middle of this is an effort by Sen. Harry Reid to legalize online poker, Politico reports.

The Nevada Democrat is trying to get support for tucking the online poker legislation into the deal to extend Bush-era tax cuts. Politico even obtained a draft of the online poker bill.

Reid's bill says Internet gambling sites must be licensed in order to operate. The bill has big implications for companies like MGM Resorts International (MGM), which -- ahem -- contributed $192,000 to Reid's re-election campaign, and Wynn Resorts (WYNN).


Analysis: A very rare combination of market factors is in the works. Fortunately, playing this move is really easy.

By TheStreet Staff Dec 8, 2010 1:14PM

Oil © Scott Gibson/CorbisBy Daniel Dicker, TheStreet


Oil is looking like an unstoppable beast, recently trading above $90 a barrel. But there are three market factors telling me that this move is not temporary and will set the stage for a powerful follow-though, sending oil above $100 a barrel by the second quarter of 2011.


Now is the time to buy integrated oil stocks, still the best proxy for crude prices, despite how far many of them have run already in the past two months.


One rare market factor convincing me of the strength of this move is the action of the European Brent crude benchmark. While Brent is a sweet grade of crude, like the U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate, it normally trades at a discount to its American counterpart.



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[BRIEFING.COM] The S&P 500 (-0.2%) hovers near its session low with one hour remaining in the trading day. Meanwhile, the price-weighted Dow Jones Industrial Average (-0.1%) continues outperforming as 20 index members display losses, while the remaining ten components sport gains.

The index has received a measure of support from Boeing (BA 130.06, +2.51), which trades higher by 2.0% after beating on earnings and revenue. Elsewhere, Procter & Gamble (PG 80.31, -0.30) ... More


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