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.


Electronic Arts could see sales dip by 5.5 million copies as football faces a work stoppage next year.

By InvestorPlace Feb 16, 2011 10:53AM

Even when business lags, Electronic Arts (ERTS) can rely on the "Madden NFL" video game franchise. Last year marked the game's 22nd anniversary, and it still has lost no cache with devoted fans.

But gamers, and EA shareholders, could have a rude awakening this year, thanks to the looming lockout in professional football. With no NFL season, we may see the end to a long and successful run for the video game as well.

"Madden NFL 2011" was the second-best-selling game in the U.S. last year, beat only by Activision Blizzard's (ATVI) "Call of Duty: Black Ops." The football franchise sold 5.5 million copies in 2010, making it a big hit for businesses and clearly a big hit on home video game consoles as well.


Investors have been missing out on opportunities, scared off by the drumbeat of negativity that has accompanied this market rally.

By Jim Cramer Feb 16, 2011 10:24AM

jim cramer of thestreet.comthestreetWhere is that darned commercial-real -estate crash? Where did it go? Wasn't it supposed to have happened a year ago? Didn't it threaten to bring down the entire banking system in part two of the housing crisis?


And where's the collapse of real-estate investment trusts? Weren't they just an accident waiting to happen, overleveraged, undercapitalized? Where are the huge losses they were supposed to generate?


Or how about the overbuilding in hotels and apartments -- shouldn't they have affected the balance sheets of every lender? Weren't there too many timeshares built, too many hotels to count, most of them empty?


These are the questions people seem afraid to ask, or maybe they don't want to embarrass the legion of folks who told us this was the other shoe. I feel like taking off my shoe and banging it on the table and telling the people who made a cottage industry out of being real-estate Cassandras that we will bury you. Where's Nikita Khrushchev when you need him?


Banco Bilbao has seen its domestic market share plummet. But it may have new opportunities amid sector reform.

By Jim J. Jubak Feb 15, 2011 3:32PM

Jim JubakThe draconian reform of Spain's undercapitalized caja banking sector is shaping up as a major opportunity for Spain's big international banks, Banco Santander (STD) and Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA)

The biggest opportunity lies with Banco Bilbao, I think, because it has neglected its home market for the last 10 years and the troubles at the cajas give the bank a chance to rebuild a domestic market share that has fallen to 11% from 16% a decade ago. 

I own Banco Santander in my Dividend Income portfolio, where it's up 18.3% since I added it on May 28, 2010. (The trailing 12-month yield is 6.65%.)  Today, Feb. 15, I'm adding Banco Bilao Vizcaya Argentaria to my Jubak's Picks portfolio.

Spain's cajas, the country's unlisted savings banks, are being forced into reform by Spanish finance minister Elena Salgado, who has taken the job of fixing the sector away from the Bank of Spain.


Two senators want to ban chew from Major League Baseball.

By Kim Peterson Feb 15, 2011 3:16PM
Credit: (© Rob Carr/AP)
Caption: Philadelphia Phillies Marcus Giles taking a dip of smokeless tobacco before batting practice at a spring training baseball gameChewing tobacco and Major League Baseball fit together like hand in glove. It's a tradition that, for better or worse, dates back more than a century.

Two U.S. senators are ready to end that relationship, calling for a ban on chew and other tobacco products in professional baseball. "MLB is undoubtedly complicit in attracting many young people to try smokeless tobacco after seeing their baseball heroes chew tobacco," the Democratic senators, Dick Durbin and Frank Lautenberg, wrote in a letter to commissioner Bud Selig.

The senators raise some interesting questions. Do baseball players implicitly encourage kids to use chewing tobacco? If so, how much does baseball help stocks like Altria Group (MO) and Reynolds American (RAI)? Both shares, by the way, dropped slightly in trading after the senators released their letter. 

The secretly guarded formula for the world's most popular beverage was published by NPR's 'This American Life.'

By TheStreet Staff Feb 15, 2011 3:10PM

By Miriam Marcus Reimer, TheStreet


Coca-Cola's (KO) tightly guarded recipe was reportedly published by National Public Radio's This American Life earlier this week.


"The formula for Coca-Cola is one of the most jealously guarded trade secrets in the world," the radio program's Web site wrote. "Locked in a vault in Atlanta. Supposedly unreplicable. But we think we may have found the original recipe."


To find the top secret 125-year-old recipe This American Life turned to a 1979 edition of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, a newspaper in Coca-Cola's hometown. Apparently page 2B of the Feb. 18 edition contained a photo depicting a hand-written copy of John Pemberton's original recipe in a leather-bound recipe book, a book that contained other ointment and medicinal formulas and was passed down for generations to family and friends.


Yesterday I explained the Stock Market Game for students and gave you the first 3 picks of the 10 stocks I like for the Game. Here are the next 3

By Jim Van Meerten Feb 15, 2011 3:00PM

Yesterday I shared with you information about the Stock Market Game for students across the country.  During the next 10 weeks I'll update you on how the teams I'm mentoring at Charlotte Latin in Charlotte , NC are doing in the competition and what the students are learning.

The next 3 stocks I put into my portfolio and the factors I considered are as follows:

St. Jude Medical (STJ)

Technical Analysis:
  • 100% Barchart technical buy signal
  • Trend Spotter (tm) buy signal
  • 9 new highs and up 13.21% in the last month
  • Relative Strength Index 78.29% and rising
  • Trades around 46.99 with a 50 day moving average of 42.10

J.D. Power projects global light vehicle sales to hit a record 76.5 million in 2011.

By TheStreet Staff Feb 15, 2011 1:55PM

By Ted Reed, TheStreet


As GM (GM) touted its commitment to China in a Beijing media briefing, a new J.D. Power forecast said global auto sales will likely set a new record this year.


The consulting firm said it expects global light vehicle sales of 76.5 million units in 2011, 6% higher than the existing record of 72 million light vehicles sold in 2010.


The report is one more sign that the world's primary manufacturing industry is poised for continuing gains during the current year.


The company now blows away all other techs in terms of market value.

By Kim Peterson Feb 15, 2011 1:46PM
Credit: (© Matthias Schrader/AP)
Caption: Apple logo on the exterior of storeApple (AAPL) is by far the most valuable tech company in the world. It wasn't too long ago that it and Microsoft (MSFT) were neck and neck, but the past few months have sealed it.

Apple's market value is now at $330.9 billion, about $102 billion higher than Microsoft's value. That's huge. The market cap of Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) is only $105 billion, writes MG Siegler at TechCrunch. "Apple is now worth an HP more than every other tech company," Siegler adds.

Apple and Microsoft both had market caps of about $227 billion in May, Siegler writes. But since then, Apple has gained more than $100 billion in value, while Microsoft has gained almost $2 billion. (Microsoft owns and publishes MSN Money.)

Microsoft's growth has been so slow, in fact, that it could end up getting passed by Google (GOOG) and perhaps even IBM (IBM), Siegler writes. 
Tags: ibm

Give your portfolio a kick with this sodas-and-snacks specialist.

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day Feb 15, 2011 12:22PM

Credit: (© PepsiCo)
Caption: New Diet Pepsi canToday, Alyce Lomax brings a little John Belushi to her socially responsible portfolio: "No Coke. Pepsi!" So pop a top and read how Pepsi's innovative CEO is bringing new ideas to an old stalwart.


Rex Moore, Motley Fool Top Stocks Editor


PepsiCo's (PEP) quarterly results and outlook cast a pall on the stock last week. And I don't mind at all.


Given my Rising Star portfolio's focus on socially responsible investing for the long term, a little temporary bearishness on Pepsi merely offers me a reasonable price for this high-quality household name.


Two funds draw on the strengths of a troubled sector while paying out steady dividends.

By TheStreet Staff Feb 15, 2011 12:07PM

Image: Home for sale (© Digital Vision Ltd.)By Don Dion, TheStreet


Despite facing staggering headwinds, the domestic marketplace has rebounded impressively from the depths of the recent recession. But while conditions appear to be improving across many sectors, there are still corners of this market that have me concerned.


Real estate, for instance, is one region that I feel will continue to be tricky to navigate, and it must be approached with extreme caution.


With exchange-traded funds, this slice of the market can be targeted from a number of angles, allowing investors to capture pockets of strength.


Residential real estate remains particularly worrisome as oversupply issues continue to weigh heavily on its long-term prospects. Homebuilder-focused funds such as the iShares Dow Jones U.S. Home Construction Index Fund (ITB) and SPDR S&P Homebuilders ETF (XHB) will likely experience volatility as the market sorts these issues out.


Analysts rank the banking behemoth as their favorite Dow stock for 2011.

By TheStreet Staff Feb 15, 2011 11:52AM

By Jake Lynch, TheStreet


JPMorgan Chase (JPM) ranks as analysts' favorite Dow stock for 2011. The New York global bank receives 28 "buy" ratings and five "holds." About 85% of researchers expect the stock to outperform U.S. indexes in the next 12 months.


During the fourth quarter, JPMorgan's adjusted earnings, or profit excluding one-time items, surged 83% to $1.12, exceeding analysts' consensus estimate by 12%. Revenue, at $24 billion, missed the consensus narrowly.


JPMorgan continued to strengthen its balance sheet during the fourth quarter. Its Tier 1 common ratio clocked in at 9.8%, and its Tier 3 ratio hit 7%. At quarter's end, the bank held $33 billion in credit reserves, with a loan-loss-coverage ratio of 4.5% of total loans. JPMorgan's global franchise is improving, with the retail financial-services and card-services divisions swinging from year-earlier losses to quarterly profits.


These companies have built customer loyalty, so they can pass along rising food costs without losing business.

By Jim Cramer Feb 15, 2011 10:14AM

jim cramerthestreetWhole Foods(WFMI), Hain Celestial(HAIN), Panera Bread(PNRA), Chipotle Mexican Grill(CMG) -- these are all about the same theme: healthful eating.


Wall Street, which was blindsided by the performance of all four, seems not to understand that these are not traditional supermarkets like Safeway(SWY), not traditional food purveyors like ConAgra(CAG) or Kraft(KFT), and not regular restaurant chains like Brinker International (EAT) or Darden Restaurants(DRI) or McDonald's(MCD) or Wendy's(WEN). They defy easy characterizations and simple price-to-earnings-multiple analyses.


Jack Hartung, the CFO of Chipotle, came out and said it on my show Friday. The company's healthful-eating Food With Integrity program allows it more than enough leeway to keep sales strong without raising prices. These companies aren't nearly as levered to commodity pricing -- though bearish investors endlessly try to force those concerns onto them -- as they are to loyalty.


The iPad and iPhone are old news. Patent filings and other buzz hint at some innovative new projects in the works.

By InvestorPlace Feb 15, 2011 10:02AM
By Anthony John Agnello, InvestorPlace.com

Apple Inc.
(AAPL) is off to a roaring start in 2011. The long-awaited iPhone 4 for the Verizon (VZ) network in the U.S. is making waves. The iPad 2 is all but confirmed for a late spring release. But in the fast-moving world of consumer tech, the iPad and Verizon iPhone are already old news.

The question everyone is asking now is "What's next?"

Recently revealed Apple patents, compelling hints buried in the code of beta software releases and industry rumors paint a portrait of Apple's new efforts due in 2012 and beyond. Here are five big ideas that could be the next consumer technology craze:


World economies are likely to hike interest rates by the end of the year. Here's when to expect the changes.

By Jim J. Jubak Feb 14, 2011 7:02PM

Jim JubakHere's an interest rate calendar for the economies of the developed world that you can put up on your office wall -- but it is subject to revision. (I know it's shocking, but markets do get this stuff wrong from time to time.)

Right now, the futures markets are priced for expectations that the United Kingdom will start raising short-term interest rates, now at a low 0.5%, in June. By the end of 2011, the markets say, the Bank of England will have raised short-term rates to 1.25%.

The European Central Bank will go next with its first rate increase expected in September. Short-term rates, now at 1.0%, will be at 1.5% by the end of 2011.

Last up will be the United States, which the markets now say won't move until December. The Fed funds rate, now at an effective 0.13%, will climb to 0.5% by the end of 2011. The driver in all this isn't a rapid rise in inflation expectations, but expectations for a gradual return to normal economic times.


Students compete in a contest with $100,000 simulated portfolios.

By Jim Van Meerten Feb 14, 2011 3:29PM

Twice a year, the Foundation for Investor Education holds a stock market game for students across the country.  The students open portfolios online and can invest in a $100,000 simulated portfolio. They have 2 goals over the 10 week competition:  1 - beat the S&P 500 and 2- of course beat all the other schools that have entered.  For several years I've mentored the Senior Economics class at my daughter's Alma Mater - Charlotte Latin.  Mr. Gregory the instructor breaks the class up in teams of 3 and they are  in charge of their own portfolios.

I spend some time exposing the class to all the free websites that they can use to research stocks, we meet in the Library's computer lab to make trades and at the end of the 10 weeks each team makes a report on how they did and what they learned.  I also give them a homework assignment to complete with their parents.  I ask them to watch Jim Cramer's Mad Money and also Fast Money with their parents.  They are to discuss as a family if they think the shows are valid investment advice that could be followed or just a form of "reality show" and just pure entertainment.  Boy do we have a lot of diverse opinions on that assignment.

I'm going out on a limb and substituting my picks on our competition on the Wall Street Survivor.  I'll pick my own portfolio but instead of trading, I'll buy and hold for the entire 10 week period. Over the next 10 weeks I'll write a series of posts to tell you how the students are doing and how my portfolio is progressing.



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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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