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Get your defensive plan ready

Indexes might not be in correction territory, but they're getting closer. Now's the time to consider what moves to make.


A quick and easy guide to deflation.

By Kim Peterson Sep 7, 2010 2:15PM
Deflation © Meiko Arquillos/Getty ImagesSo things get cheaper. How is that bad?

For the answer to that question, check out the "visual guide to deflation" at the Mint blog. It's a really nice overview of deflation, what causes it, what does it do to the economy and how do we fix it.

The guide is actually a little dated, but it's being resurrected by some financial types this week because deflation concerns are weighing heavily on economists' minds lately. 

Morningstar unveils the top stock sales from its 'ultimate stock-pickers' team.

By Kim Peterson Sep 7, 2010 1:59PM
Finding the best Mutual funds © ThinkStock / SuperStockBerkshire Hathaway (BRK.B) remains an all-star pick of fund managers, while Comcast (CMCSA) is in the doghouse.

Morningstar reported the second-quarter holdings of its 'Ultimate Stock-Pickers' this week, and for the most part, few of the top 10 had changed. The stock-pickers still like stability, choosing companies with solid revenue, sound balance sheets and a growing cash pile, writes analyst Greggory Warren.

All the usual suspects were on the list, including Coca-Cola (KO), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), ExxonMobil (XOM) and Microsoft (MSFT). Note: Microsoft publishes MSN Money.

But the list of top sales is where it gets interesting. 

Our northern neighbor has big opportunities in banks, railroads and more because of strong financial footing and natural resources.

By InvestorPlace Sep 7, 2010 12:46PM

canadian flag © CorbisBy Richard Young,

Canadian stocks are coming into favor as the specter of inflation rears its ugly head and the fate of the recovery is anything but certain. That’s because Canada’s financial system is stable and because the nation is rich with natural resources and can keep plugging along even if consumers don’t open up their wallets again anytime soon.

That means Canada investments could be big in 2011. Why Canadian stocks? Well, there are a few reasons:


While US vehicle sales slumped in August, sales grew in China.

By TheStreet Staff Sep 7, 2010 12:23PM

Car wheel © Brand X / SuperStockBy Ted Reed, TheStreet


A new report says passenger car sales in China rose 18% in August, boosting both General Motors and Ford (F).


The report, by the China Passenger Car Association, a research group, said August passenger car sales totaled 1.02 million and vehicle sales totaled 1.21 million.


In the U.S., August vehicle sales totaled 997,465, according to AutoData Corp. Overall, U.S. sales dipped by 21%, reflecting weak comparisons with a month when Cash for Clunkers was in full swing.


September and October have dark and stormy histories.

By TheStreet Staff Sep 7, 2010 10:04AM

Horror © Image Source/CorbisBy Gregg Greenberg, TheStreet


Strap yourselves in. Autumn is upon us.


Both the 1929 and 1987 stock market crashes occurred in October, and don't forget the Dow Jones Industrial Average's ($INDU) 554-point drop in October 1997. The market suffered back-to-back "massacres" in fall 1978 and 1979. And who can forget the panic in autumn 2008, when Lehman Bros. failed in September, followed by equities' biggest monthly point drop ever in October?


Yes, there is good reason to fear the fall. And in case those are not enough, here are a few more.


The charts show a market set to break out, with some shares hitting definitive bottoms and others already taking off.

By Jim Cramer Sep 7, 2010 8:52AM

jim cramerBy Jim Cramer, TheStreet


Is this the bearish investors' last stand? Or just too much enthusiasm in a holiday-addled week?


After an exhaustive look at every chart in the S&P Trendline's Daily Action Charts, my takeaway is that bearish investors will have to push the market back this week, because soon we'll see so many breakouts that the bears will be like Custer. Then it could be all over, and the market could rally 10%.


There's so much on the line for bearish investors who have mauled us every time it looked like we would break out. Right now, given good recent economic data, those bears look surrounded.


A buyout frenzy on Wall Street makes these picks very desirable.

By InvestorPlace Sep 7, 2010 8:45AM

By Louis Navellier,

A 21-month run of rock-bottom interest rates has created a perfect environment for corporate bonds, and as bond yields fall, bond prices rise and investors and companies have made out like bandits.

This has put so much cash in corporate coffers that cash (as a percentage of S&P 500 market capitalization and excluding financials) has soared from just 3% of market value back in 1999 to more than 12.5% today.

This cash is burning a hole in the pockets of many companies, and they are starting to use it to make bids for other companies so they can grab market share and expand on the cheap.


Some of the market's top minds are finding big values in big, high-quality blue chips.

By John Reese Sep 3, 2010 4:00PM

Individual investors remain quite bearish, with the American Association of Individual Investors' latest sentiment survey showing 42% of respondents to be bearish on stocks over the next six months, well above the 30% historical average. But some of the world's most successful investors are finding plenty of value -- and a couple gurus are finding it in the same place: big, high-quality blue chips.

One of them is Whitney Tilson, the money manager and columnist who was one of the few to warn about the housing bubble before it hit. Tilson this week told CNBC that he's seeing some of the best opportunities he's ever seen in big, high-quality blue chip equities. At the same time, he says, a bubble is forming in high-quality bonds. Investors are "seemingly willing to accept any yield no matter how low on safe bonds, like treasuries, for example, and yet they have no interest in the safest blue-chip companies, with the strongest balance sheets," he says. "And the companies are doing quite well, so that's where we're steering our portfolio."


Investors continue to add to their gold positions, and miners like Newmont are outperforming.

By Jim J. Jubak Sep 3, 2010 3:45PM

Jim JubakAt some point in every gold rally, the market flips a switch and gold mining stocks start to outperform gold itself. I think we're at that inflection point now.

Analysts on Wall Street are calling for gold to hit $1,500 an ounce by December 2011. That would be roughly 18% above the record $1,266.50 reached on June 21.  

But I think you can do even better in gold stocks during that time, because the operating leverage of gold miners gives you more upside than the metal does. At this point, I'd be looking at the majors such as Barrick Gold (ABX)Goldcorp (GG), and Newmont Mining (NEM), because they have a heavy weighting in the gold ETFs that are a big favorite of investors right now. My pick of the three would be Newmont Mining. (I already own shares of Goldcorp in Jubak's Picks.)

Tags: gold

Is the new free Wi-Fi at Starbucks making open tables an endangered species?

By Kim Peterson Sep 3, 2010 2:55PM

Credit: (© Michael Conroy/AP)
Caption: Customer in a Starbucks storeInvestor Paul Kedrosky uses a term I like: Star-squatters, also known as people-who-sit-at-Starbucks-forever-using-free-Wi-Fi.

"Local Starbucks full of Star-squatters ever since launch of free Wi-fi," Kedrosky wrote on Twitter. "Zero tables/seats. Ever."

The Starbucks (SBUX) near my house is starting to fill up as well, with plenty of open laptops. Sometimes, there isn't even a drink at the table. It makes me wonder: How will Starbucks' free Wi-Fi policy affect its bottom line?


Some machines in Japan have cameras and sensors that analyze your image to offer more-personalized service.

By Kim Peterson Sep 3, 2010 1:55PM

Imagine walking up to a soft-drink machine and having your appearance analyzed. A young woman, for example, could then see advertising for Diet Coke or bottled water.

A man walking up a minute later would have a totally different experience.

That kind of technology is being used in Japan, where vending machines at train stations and other locations tweak their wares to fit a person's gender and age, The Wall Street Journal reports. "The idea is to transform billboards and the like into sophisticated marketing tools that identify and target a specific audience."


These famous blue chips should be sold immediately -- or shorted if you like options trading.

By InvestorPlace Sep 3, 2010 12:46PM

high tech © CorbisBy Louis Navellier,

With the merger war between Dell (DELL) and Hewlett Packard (HPQ) at last drawing to a close with the latest $33-a-share offer from HP for 3par (PAR)tech stocks have really been in focus lately. A spate of mergers and acquisitions has prompted a renewed focus on information technology companies, particularly cloud computing stocks.

However, don't be fooled into thinking that a bunch of big spenders in the technology sector means that all tech picks are doing well. In fact, a number of big-name blue chips in the industry continue to face very difficult roads ahead. Here are five big tech stocks stumbling now.


After 2 consecutive positive quarters, the company might return to the doughnut fore.

By TheStreet Staff Sep 3, 2010 12:25PM

TheStreetCredit: © Mark Lennihan/AP
Caption: Box of Krispy Kreme doughnutsBy Jonathan Heller, TheStreet


Krispy Kreme's (KKD) doughnuts are so good that some folks evidently use them as hamburger buns. Really.


Great doughnuts, however, don't necessarily translate into a great stock. The company went public back in 2000 at $21 per share amid much fanfare, opened at $32 and rose to $37 on the first day of trading. By December of 2001, the share price had quadrupled.


After it topped out in December 2003 in the $49 range, it's been pretty much all downhill since, and this former high flyer now trades around $4.


Shares of Akamai and Netflix have climbed more than 30% since the companies reported 'poor' quarters.

By Jim Cramer Sep 3, 2010 8:45AM

the streetBy Jim Cramer, TheStreet


Look at them go, the chosen few: Akamai (AKAM), Netflix (NFLX), (CRM) and Chipotle (CMG). Four forces of nature. Three are directly involved with pulling things from the Net, and a fourth has the antidote to Burger King's (BKC) growth problems -- good, fresh, natural food. How opposite can that be!


Akamai and Netflix both reported "poor" quarters. Since Akamai reported its horrible, terrible quarter, its stock is up 33%. Akamai's crime at the time? Recognizing that it has secular growth and spending on it.


Netflix's crime? Same as Akamai's: spending for the future, spending on different, non-mail ways to get video to you. The stock has rallied 40% since that self-inflicted crime.


Investors don't expect price drops in iron ore to last long.

By Jim J. Jubak Sep 2, 2010 4:41PM

Jim JubakIt's hard to imagine this happening with any other "product": The price drops 12% for the next quarter, and the stock market essentially shrugs it off.  

On a bad day for the market, Aug. 30, when the Standard & Poor's 500 stock index dropped by 1.47%, the shares of the world's biggest producer of this product fell by 1.29%.  

And on a good day for the market, Sept. 1, when the S&P 500 jumped by 3%, shares of the largest producer rocketed upward by 5.5% and shares of number two went up 6.1%.



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[BRIEFING.COM] The major averages finished the session on a modestly higher note, but not before heavy selling pressure sent the Nasdaq Composite (+0.3%) for a test of its 200-day moving average. The S&P 500, meanwhile, added 0.7% with all ten sectors posting gains.

Equities climbed at the open with the advance built on the relative strength of biotechnology and other momentum names. Despite the solid early gains in those areas, the market began fading from its high as multiple ... More


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