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Momentum-driven stocks that are plagued by skepticism have a tendency to rise into a positive earnings report.

By TheStreet Staff Apr 20, 2011 10:44AM

By Ali Meshkati, TheStreet

 

A few months ago, I wrote an article that said Netflix (NFLX) would outperform Apple (AAPL) during any market correction. What I should have written, at that time, was that Netflix would outperform Apple, period.

 

The point of the article was missed by most. I take full responsibility as I probably mixed in too many distracting points and topics. It's not about an Apple vs. Netflix war of technology, executives or each company's place within this technology-driven world.

 

The point of the article was that market psychology drives stock price, irrespective of fundamentals. When a momentum-driven trend begins in a company that is under a tremendous amount of scrutiny and doubt, it creates a support dynamic for the stock. It allows the stock to continue to a share price and market cap that not even the founders of the company could have imagined would be possible.

 

Though housing prices have dropped to new lows, folks aren't sure a home is a solid investment anymore.

By Kim Peterson Apr 19, 2011 2:02PM
Image: House with coins (© Digital Vision/Getty Images)Houses are dirt cheap right now. In fact, homes are more affordable than at any time since the National Association of Realtors began measuring the data back in 1970, Bloomberg reports.

But people aren't buying. The economy and the tightened lending market have all but removed the possibility of homeownership for some. But there's another interesting sentiment developing: More and more people just don't want to buy anymore.

The percentage of people who think of a home as a safe investment has dropped to just 64%, Bloomberg reports. That's the lowest ever reported in the national housing survey from Fannie Mae, and down from 83% in 2003.

So many people have turned away from homebuying, in fact, that we may be seeing a culture shift. Maybe the house with a white picket fence is no longer part of the American dream. 

DirecTV plans to offer on-demand movies just two months after their theatrical release. But the rental is pricey.

By Kim Peterson Apr 19, 2011 1:25PM
Image: Hollywood (© Comstock/SuperStock)Would you pay $30 to rent "Just Go With It," an Adam Sandler movie that critic Richard Roeper calls "a pile of steaming crap"? Me neither.

But that's what DirecTV (DTV) has chosen to launch its premium on-demand video service this week. The service plans to offer movies just two months after their release in theaters, and DirecTV thinks people will pay more money to take advantage of this early window.

The service is set to launch Thursday with "Just Go With It," available for a 48-hour rental, Bloomberg reports. It will reportedly get movies from Universal Pictures, Warner Bros. and Twentieth Century Fox.

Other movies coming in the next few months include "The Adjustment Bureau," "Cedar Rapids" and "Hall Pass," Bloomberg reports. 

The Verizon iPhone and a rush to prepaid plans have Ma Bell on the ropes. With video on the telecom sector.

By TheStreet Staff Apr 19, 2011 11:41AM

By Scott Moritz, TheStreet

 

Apple's (AAPL)iPhone made all the difference for AT&T (T) last quarter.

 

As big phone rivals AT&T and Verizon (VZ) square off this week on first-quarter earnings, Wall Street awaits the numbers from Ma Bell's wireless unit now that the iPhone sells at Verizon.

 

Analysts expect that the loss of Apple iPhone exclusivity took the steam out of AT&T's wireless growth. The number of new so-called post-paid-contract customers AT&T added in the first quarter fell uncomfortably close to zero, according to at least one analyst.

 

Investors who avoid overreacting to recent headlines will find favorable opportunities in a number of promising ETFs. Here are several risk-controlled buy set-ups.

By MoneyShow.com Apr 19, 2011 11:23AM
By Tom Aspray, MoneyShow.com

It has been a rough week for many of the world markets. A week ago, we had the Goldman Sachs (GS) sell signal for crude oil and other commodities. 

That was followed this week by Standard & Poor’s cautionary note about the future of US debt, which caused a new round of panic selling on Monday.

I have always been skeptical when there is a widespread reaction to the opinion of one analyst, firm, or country. Most veteran traders questioned the motives of Goldman Sachs, especially after crude oil plunged 3.5% and copper declined 1.7% the following day. Goldman has earnings due out Tuesday; I wonder if they showed a profit?

The market’s reaction to S&P’s cutting of its outlook for US debt hit the US stock market hard on the opening. Selling on the opening in reaction to almost any news is a bad idea because typically prices will bounce in the next few hours, even in a bear market.
 

The company hopes to hire 50,000 workers today in an effort to put the burger-flipping stereotype to rest.

By Kim Peterson Apr 19, 2011 11:18AM
McDonald's (MCD) is the home of the original "McJob," though that's not a term the company particularly favors. The word even made it into the Oxford English Dictionary as "an unstimulating, low-paid job with few prospects."

Good luck hiring with that stereotype. But that's exactly what McDonald's is doing today in a push to hire 50,000 new workers. "We're proud of our food, and we're just as proud of the jobs we create," the company says about what it has called its National Hiring Day. 

Search no more: Current negativity gives long-term investors a better price.

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day Apr 19, 2011 11:10AM

By Alyce Lomax

 

My Rising Star portfolio is designed to yield both financial and social dividends. So far, its holdings include three consumer-facing stocks, a solar company, a power demand response firm, and a corporation that cleans up waste, toxic and otherwise. But as yet, it still lacks a representative of our social, electronically connected world.

 

Let's fix that. Google's (GOOG) recent quarter caused Wall Street types to choke on their pricey Kobe burgers. What better time to ignore the negativity and buy into a company with surprisingly lofty goals, including its famous motto: "Don't be evil."

 

The business
Google's everywhere, summoned by multitudes of browsers, countless times a day, to search for everything from the educational to the mundane. Some people have substituted Google's Chrome Web browser for Microsoft's (MSFT) Internet Explorer. Other rebellious types even reject Microsoft's Office products for Google Docs.

 

These funds all offer investors direct access to the semiconductor industry, but each has its own strategy.

By TheStreet Staff Apr 19, 2011 10:41AM

By Don Dion, TheStreet

 

As I explained Monday, this week's busy earnings calendar is laden with companies from across the technology industry. I highlighted the iShares Dow Jones U.S. Technology Sector Index Fund (IYW) as a product investors can turn to in order to gain adequate exposure to a number of these companies. However, hands-on investors can also tailor their IT exposure to suit their specific desires through a variety of subsector tech ETFs.

 

For instance, investors can use ETFs to home in on the semiconductor industry, which will be a major focus of this week's earnings-related press. Texas Instruments (TXN) kicked things off on Monday, and three other major names from this region of the tech market will follow suit this week: Intel (INTC), Qualcomm (QCOM) and Advanced Micro Devices (AMD). Broadcom (BRCM) and Nvidia (NVDA) are slated to report in late April and May, respectively.

 

After failing to bolster its brick-and-mortar business, the company forms a digital retail division.

By InvestorPlace Apr 19, 2011 8:40AM

investorplace logoIt's been a busy few months for Wal-Mart (WMT). The retail giant has said it will improve the nutritional value of its store brands, build smaller stores in urban areas, deliver groceries to inner-city residents and return to its roots by offering lower prices every day.


But if you think Wal-Mart is settling down, think again. According to reports, Wal-Mart has agreed to buy social-media startup Kosmix and form a digital sales division with the hip name @WalmartLabs.


The world’s largest retailer is trying to say loud and clear that it wants to be taken seriously as an online retailer. But amid all these other efforts, is Wal-Mart simply a jack of all retail trades and a master of none? Or can an online push really prop up sliding sales?

 

The stock of Central European Distribution is cheap enough to buy, but don't expect a fast jump.

By Jim J. Jubak Apr 18, 2011 4:16PM
Jim JubakCentral European Distribution (CEDC) hit a new 52-week low on April 13.

At $10 or so a share -- down from $22.85 on Feb. 28, and from a 52-week high near $40 a share back in the spring of 2010 -- the stock is cheap enough to buy. I think $12 a share is a reasonable six-month target.

But don’t expect a quick bounce to $12, or a fast run to anything above that. Results in 2010 were so bad that they have -- probably -- put a floor under these shares. But 2010 also left management’s credibility in tatters, and it’s going to take a few quarters in which the company actually delivers on its projections before investors believe a word management utters.

The immediate problem was the company’s March 1 earnings release.
 

The billionaire investor recoups the loan he gave the investment bank during the financial crisis. With video on Goldman Sachs' earnings.

By TheStreet Staff Apr 18, 2011 4:11PM

TheStreet

Eric Rosenbaum, TheStreet

 

Goldman Sachs (GS) has repaid Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B) the $5.5 billion that Chairman Warren Buffett lent Goldman during the financial crisis, CNBCreported Monday.

 

The $5.5 billion payment made by Goldman Sachs to Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway covered $5 billion in preferred shares and a $500 million dividend payment.

 

There have been signs for months that Goldman Sachs was preparing to repay Buffett. In March, Goldman Sachs received approval from the Federal Reserve to buy back the preferred stock bought by Buffett in September 2008. Goldman paid an additional 10% penalty to redeem the shares and had previously indicated that April 18 would be the repurchase date.

 

Russell 2000 shares have soared, prompting predictions of a pullback that favors large stocks.

By Kim Peterson Apr 18, 2011 4:03PM
The smallest stocks have been the market darlings for a while now, but they've become so expensive that investors are starting to pause.

So are large-caps are making a comeback? That could be the case, if history is a decent guide.

Small-cap stocks have run so high that the Russell 2000 Index, which includes 2,000 of the smallest ones, is nearing 2% of a record close, The Wall Street Journal reports. By contrast, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is 13% from a record close, and the S&P 500 index is 16% away.

Some of the hottest small-cap stocks include Dollar Thrifty Auto (DTG), up about 44% year to date. Other stars include Pier 1 Imports (PIR), Jazz Pharmaceuticals (JAZZ) and Select Comfort (SCSS).

Post continues after this video interview about top small-cap picks: 

Investment managers offer their best stock ideas in response to Standard & Poor's decision to lower its rating outlook for US debt to 'negative.'

By TheStreet Staff Apr 18, 2011 3:32PM

By Robert Holmes, TheStreet

 

Standard & Poor's decision to lower its outlook on the long-term rating of US sovereign debt to "negative" may have caught investors by surprise, but Michael Pento, senior economist with Euro Pacific Capital, has been making this case for years.

 

"It's not a surprise to me," Pento says of Standard & Poor's revision. "It's clearly late. But at least S&P is now waking up to the fact that the American sovereign debt picture is unsustainable and eventually we have to default on our debt in some form."

 

Just how late is S&P's revision to its outlook of U.S. debt? "I heard that the ratings agencies just downgraded the Titanic's chances of crossing the Atlantic," Pento jokes.

 

Investors have plowed more than $1 trillion into exchange-traded funds, which are getting increasingly complex.

By Kim Peterson Apr 18, 2011 2:58PM
Exchange-traded funds are among the most actively-traded securities, The Wall Street Journal reports. They're so popular, in fact, that they are changing the way stocks and bonds trade.

ETFs are mutual funds that track an index, but unlike most mutual funds, they can be traded like stocks throughout the day. They're cheaper to trade than mutual funds, and they get traded a lot, creating a volatility that some experts are uncomfortable with.

ETFs started out simply, with the first one, SPDR S&P 500 (SPY), launching in 1993 to track the S&P 500-stock index, the Journal reports. But they've become increasingly complicated as Wall Street creates more complex schemes to make a buck. Some of the crazier ETFs can implode in an up-and-down market. In last May's Flash Crash, 70% of the securities that fell the most were ETFs, the Journal reports.

It's hard to ignore these funds, given their popularity. Investors have loaded more than $1 trillion into ETFs. But how can you control these potentially wild horses?

Post continues after this video about whether ETFs have gone too far: 

Though the bank's stock is stuck below $5 and its first-quarter earnings fell, investors have been piling into the company. With video analysis on Citigroup's financial results.

By TheStreet Staff Apr 18, 2011 12:43PM

By Frank Byrt, TheStreet

 

If you're an individual investor looking for a rifle-shot buy, Citigroup (C) may not be it, given the compelling alternatives in energy, metals and industrial stocks. But if you follow the wizened heads who run some of the biggest U.S. mutual funds, pay attention.

 

Mutual fund managers are piling into financial services, which badly lagged other sectors last year after rebounding strongly in 2009.

 

That's because Citigroup has been beaten down and may be at a generational low that's worth a look, since it's the world's largest and most diverse financial-services company. Big institutional investors are starting to load up on the stock.

 

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[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market ended the midweek session on a mixed note. Blue chip listings bolstered the Dow Jones Industrial Average (+0.4%) and S&P 500 (+0.3%), while the Russell 2000 (-0.4%) and Nasdaq Composite (-0.02%) underperformed.

Equity indices began the day in the red, but wasted no time regaining their flat lines. Small-cap stocks were not as fortunate as the Russell 2000 spent the day in the red.

Upon returning into positive territory, the key indices were ... More


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