A Mexican wave for Big Oil?
Mexico opens way for Big Oil

New legislation is allowing foreign companies to finally invest in the country's vast oil reserves.


With last week's downgrade of the outlook for US debt, it's time the Fed came clean about interest rates and Treasury bond buying.

By InvestorPlace Apr 26, 2011 11:14AM
investorplace logoBy Richard Band, InvestorPlace.com

The clock is ticking on "Bubbles" Bernanke. Come June 30, his latest quantitative easing program (QE2) is scheduled to end. The big question on everyone’s mind is: what happens next?

Surely such big-picture ideas will be discussed tomorrow at the central bank's first-ever press conference. But the bottom line is that the reckless behavior of the Federal Reserve demands closer scrutiny -- and harder questions.

Here is one I want a straight answer to: "Chairman Bernanke, what would you do if, one of these days, the Chinese placed a $100 billion order to sell their U.S. Treasury bonds?" 

The yellow metal needs to be part of any portfolio. But if you already own some, stand pat for now.

By Jim Cramer Apr 26, 2011 9:10AM

the streetjim cramerIf you don't own gold, buy some. If you do own gold, I would wait. That's not contradictory, despite how it may sound.


I think gold has to be an integral part of every portfolio. I have been saying that for about five years now, and I mean it. You have to have it. It has to be part of your diversification, because it is both a currency and a commodity.


Here's the problem, and it is a real high-quality problem: If you have been listening to me, you are struggling right now with the size of your gold position. I think it should be up to 20% of your portfolio. But for some of us -- like in my retirement plan -- gold is now 30%. It has just moved up and up. It is too big. It is now the swing factor.


Now, I don't mind that it is so big. There are plenty of places to put your money that are worse than gold.


However, to buy more here if you have that kind of exposure is just averaging up in the worst way. No thanks.


Rising prices for granular urea, along with strong farm commodity prices, could put Yara within reach of its 52-week high.

By Jim J. Jubak Apr 25, 2011 4:23PM
Jim JubakShares of Yara International (YARIY) look like they’ve finally worked through persistent problems that sent the stock from a high of $60.15 (on Jan. 18) to a low of $44.38 (on March 16). Shares were at $53.24 in afternoon trading.

The problems go back to February, when the company issued a warning that fourth-quarter EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) would total just 3 billion Norwegian kroner (about $523 million). Analysts had been expecting something more like 3.8 billion kroner.

A bit of the shortfall was intentional: Yara said it had deferred some sales into 2011, in order to take advantage of a rising trend that promised higher fertilizer prices in 2011.

Another part was the result of trends, such as higher energy costs, that were challenging companies across the sector.

China will surpass the US as the world's largest economy soon -- sooner than most people expected, according to an IMF report.

By Kim Peterson Apr 25, 2011 3:36PM
Image: American Eagle (© Steve Allen/Brandx Pictures/Photolibrary)The "Age of America" is ending in just five years.

That's according to forecasts from the International Monetary Fund, which has set 2016 as the year when China's economy officially surpasses that of America as the world's largest.

To put this into perspective, only 10 years ago the U.S. economy was three times the size of China's, according to Brett Arends at MarketWatch. We knew this was coming, but this is the first time the IMF has put an actual date on it. "Most people aren’t prepared for this," Arends writes. "They aren’t even aware it’s that close."

The Daily Mail puts it starkly: "Whoever wins the 2012 presidential election will have the dubious honour of presiding over the fall of the United States." Even at its peak, Japan only had half of America's economic output, the Mail adds, and the USSR produced only a third. 

The company has seen profit drop for 2 years and needs a new system to jump-start sales.

By Kim Peterson Apr 25, 2011 1:25PM
Nintendo (NTDOY) will debut a new video-game system next year to replace the Wii, the surprising success that revolutionized the industry.

It's good timing, as Nintendo has now seen two years of profit declines. The company didn't reveal many details about the upcoming console, saying in a short statement only that it will have a playable model to show off in June at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles. Expect an official launch before the holiday season.

The Wii elicited snickers from the industry when it debuted in 2006, coming on the heels of Nintendo's disappointing GameCube, but the system and its motion-sensing controller were a phenomenal success.  

The latest fund to tap the roaring BRIC economy reduces single-stock risk with a more diversified approach.

By TheStreet Staff Apr 25, 2011 11:18AM

Image: Brazil (© Donald Edwards/age fotostock)By Roger Nusbaum, TheStreet


Brazil has become a very popular investment destination in recent years, and that has led to the creation of multiple exchange-traded products focused on this emerging market.


The latest is First Trust Brazil AlphaDEX Fund (FBZ), one of nine international AlphaDEX funds that were recently launched.


First Trust defines the AlphaDEX brand and strategy as enhanced indexing, meaning First Trust takes an index, screens all its components for fundamental and growth factors, and then selects the top-scoring stocks for inclusion in a fund.


First Trust has had success using this process with domestic ETFs. With the launch of the Brazil AlphaDEX and its eight sister funds, the company is betting it can repeat that success with international indexes.


A look at the coffee king through Porter's Five Forces.

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day Apr 25, 2011 11:12AM

Image: Coffee (© HD Connelly/Getty Images/Getty Images)By Jason Moser


Not too long ago I opened a position in Starbucks (SBUX) for my Rising Star portfolio. The idea was (and is) pretty simple: The company has a brand recognized the world over, and there are plenty of growth opportunities still ahead.


Still, I think some of management's biggest challenges lie in growing market share in places like China and India as well as growing the consumer-packaged-goods segment to one day rival that of the retail store segment.


I always find it helpful to take a look at companies through Porter's Five Forces to get a better grip on their competitive advantages and potential areas of weakness; threat levels can range from high to low and everywhere in between.


The Internet retailer has become more expensive than the far superior Apple.

By TheStreet Staff Apr 25, 2011 11:09AM

By Jake Lynch, TheStreet


In the early 2000s, Amazon (AMZN) distinguished itself as a dot-com survivor, emerging from the tech wreck bloodied but unbowed. Today it is among the most powerful companies on the Web.


Superlative inventory management, low pricing and innovative rewards programs have helped Amazon propel revenue 32% a year since 2008. But despite Amazon's outstanding fundamentals, its stock is overvalued and overloved.


There are signs that the growth trajectory at Amazon is tapering. Whereas sales expansion remains brisk, hitting 36% in the seasonally strong fourth quarter, profit growth was marginal. Amazon's quarterly net income rose 8.3% and earnings per share ascended 7.1%, earning a growth score of 1 out of 5 from TheStreet Ratings' quantitative equity model.


While big banks continue to struggle, the charts for these regional banks appear to be bottoming, making them possible star performers once financials turn around.

By MoneyShow.com Apr 25, 2011 10:52AM
By Tom Aspray, MoneyShow.com

It has been a generally mixed quarter of earnings so far for the financial stocks, and technically, the Select Sector SPDR - Financial (XLF) is still lagging well behind the overall market. It is trying to hold the key support at $15.79 and shows a pattern of lower highs.

The earnings from the large banks have not really been encouraging, as the 45% profit drop by Morgan Stanley (MS) necessitated a restructuring plan that it hopes will stabilize its financial outlook.

Citigroup, Inc.’s (C) earnings were not much better, as profit was down 32%, although it improved from the fourth quarter of 2010, beating analyst estimates. Citigroup had a nearly $3 billion drop in profits from its institutional securities business and the reverse stock split is still on the minds of many investors.

Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC) also beat estimates, but its stock was still hit hard, down 4.5% last week on the heaviest volume since last October.

Though I have been negative on the big banks for some time, there are clearly going to be some winners in the financial sector.

Many of the regional banks could double from current levels and still be worth only half of what they were in 2006. I have found three regional banks stocks where the charts suggest that the worst of the selling may be over.

As Amazon, eBay and Netflix prepare to report earnings, Internet stock funds will try to build on last week's tech rally. Gold, energy and aerospace are other sectors to keep an eye on.

By TheStreet Staff Apr 25, 2011 10:32AM

By Don Dion, TheStreet


Here are five exchange-traded funds to watch this week.


1. First Trust Dow Jones Internet Index Fund (FDN)


So far, earnings season has proven largely positive for the technology sector after firms including Intel (INTC), Apple (AAPL), and IBM (IBM) all reported stellar performance over the past three months.


For FDN, however, the first few weeks of earnings season have been a mixed bag. Yahoo (YHOO) and Juniper Networks (JNPR) reported promising numbers last week. Meanwhile, however, index leader Google (GOOG) has struggled to regain ground after releasing a troublesome report.


FDN will be back in the spotlight this week as a number of major components announce their quarterly earnings, including Amazon (AMZN), eBay (EBAY), Akamai (AKAM) and Netflix (NFLX) are slated to report throughout the week.


Look for earnings to power stocks higher again this week

By Jamie Dlugosch Apr 25, 2011 9:49AM

Earnings from major technology players including Intel (INTC) and Apple (AAPL) propelled the market higher last week. Those strong reports helped the overall market as measured by the S&P 500 gain 1.3% for the week.


Look for the trend to continue this week.


Oh, sure there are plenty of things to worry about. At the top of the list is oil. Crude prices supported by earnings momentum crossed $110 per barrel. Gasoline at the local station for many is now at or approaching $4 per gallon.


Can the economy sustain such prices?  No matter the answer, the issue does create a wall of worry for stocks. From a contrarian standpoint such a state is actually bullish for stocks.


At least in the short term I look for more gains. My top ETF buy for this week is IShares North American Technology-Multimedia Networking (IGN).

Tags: etfoil

The Fed chief may not have everything figured out, but after 2 years of great stewardship, he deserves the benefit of the doubt.

By Jim Cramer Apr 25, 2011 9:14AM

thestreetthestreetYou have to like a market that makes sense, that does what it is supposed to when big macro events occur that are good for earnings.


Which is why I liked last week. We have a dollar that is going down so fast that the big international companies will be able to beat numbers year over year so strongly that it makes you want to buy everything from United Technologies (UTX) and Ingersoll Rand (IR) to Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) and IBM (IBM).


Last year at this time the euro was falling apart, taking with it the chances for companies like Eaton (ETN) and Honeywell (HON) -- which had expanded aggressively overseas, especially in Europe -- to beat the numbers. Now only those companies with no international winds at their back -- read the banks and the retailers -- are going to be laggards.


The style queen launches a spring pet line, offering items such as a belted trench coat and a windbreaker. Seriously.

By InvestorPlace Apr 25, 2011 9:07AM

investorplace logoImage: Dog in purse (© Corbis)Just because it's raining cats and dogs doesn't mean your cats and dogs have to get wet. The "pet apparel" industry has been going strong for years now, and a new spring line at PetSmart (PETM) includes a host of waterproof rain gear for the pampered pooch in your life.


But these aren't just silly hats or sweaters knitted by Grandma. For the first time, Martha Stewart Pets will get in on the act. The chic line includes a belted trench coat in tan cotton poplin (complete with shoulder cape) and an "athletic-style" windbreaker with pockets and Velcro closures.


According to a PetSmart marketer, "dogs love their walks, rain or shine," and owners just can't stay inside just because of a little bad weather in spring. But perhaps a better lesson from this product line is that pet owners remain one of the most free-spending groups, despite overcast skies for consumers in general, a trend that both PetSmart and Martha Stewart Living (MSO) hope to cash in on.


The technical readings indicate that the US and many foreign markets can still move significantly higher as we head into May.

By MoneyShow.com Apr 22, 2011 5:01PM
By Tom Aspray, MoneyShow.com

Every time I sit down to write next week’s column, I take a look at my analysis from the week before, and what I concluded. I’ve been a professional technical analyst for almost 30 years, so I’ve had my share of mistakes and missed opportunities.

So when the E-mini S&P futures were down almost 30 points in the first hour Monday, last week's headline—"The Week Ahead: Stocks to Rally Despite the Short Week"—seemed to be dead wrong.

The markets teach us all painful lessons. Two that I learned early were:
  • When the market does what you don't expect, take another look at the evidence;
  • Have risk management in place, so when you’re wrong you can limit the damage.
So I looked at the evidence again. By early Tuesday morning, the data that led me to expect higher prices had not changed significantly after Monday's plunge. Therefore, I concluded that the market panic had, in fact, created a buying opportunity.

And with all of the major averages closing higher for the week, the technical readings indicate that the US and many foreign markets can still move significantly higher as we head into May.

The Donald says that his net worth changes from day to day, depending on his attitude.

By Kim Peterson Apr 22, 2011 3:55PM
Donald Trump takes the phrase "feel like a million dollars" seriously. Or, in his case, it's feel like a billion dollars.

That's because The Donald says that his net worth is, well, whatever he feels it is on any given day. "My net worth fluctuates, and it goes up and down with the markets and with attitudes and with feelings, even my own feelings," he said in a legal deposition from 2007. CNN obtained a copy of the deposition recently.

Post continues after this video interview with Trump: 


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[BRIEFING.COM] The major averages punctuated a solid week with a subdued Friday session. The S&P 500 shed 0.2% to narrow its weekly gain to 1.7%, while the Nasdaq Composite (+0.1%) displayed relative strength. The tech-heavy index finished the week in line with the benchmark average.

Market participants went into today's session expecting to hear some new insight from Fed Chair Janet Yellen, who delivered the keynote address at this year's Jackson Hole Symposium. Unfortunately, the ... More


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