Energy boom makes oil a safe haven
Oil becomes a surprising haven

The idea of US crude being a shelter from turmoil abroad may not be as far fetched as it seems.

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Inflation is higher than expected in China, and the government's anticipated response is hammering Chinese stocks.

By Jim J. Jubak Nov 16, 2010 5:42PM

Jim JubakThe news is that China’s government is drafting policies to fight inflation. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said so on Monday from a supermarket in Guangzhou. The comments were broadcast on state TV, so they count as solid news.


The rumor is that China’s central bank is about to raise bank capital requirements (again) and increase its benchmark interest rates. The People’s Bank raised interest rates in October for the first time since 2007.


The news and the rumors have combined to hammer Chinese stocks -- and the shares of global commodity producers. The Shanghai Composite index was down 4% on Monday after falling 5% on Nov. 12.

 

Its leadership and growing market share make Ford a good buy

By InvestorPlace Nov 16, 2010 4:31PM

By Hilary Kramer


Hot stocks, and in particular, auto stocks are in the driver’s seat in this week, and you can attribute the renewed interest in the sector to GM’s IPO.  The bailed-out automaker’s shares are expected to garner very strong investor demand when they go public on Thursday, as many people want to get in on the ground floor of the iconic, yet troubled automaker’s future fortunes.  The way I see, however, investors should be looking at rival Ford Motor (F) if they really want their portfolios to keep on trucking.


Over the past year and a half, Ford’s turnaround has been nothing short of stunning.  Just 18 months after reporting a $1.4 billion quarterly loss, Ford reported record earnings that blew away Wall Street’s expectations. The stellar earnings beat caused investors to put the pedal to the metal on the stock, as Ford’s shares surged some 15% the week it announced earnings.

 

It's all about bonds, yuan and bailouts.

By Anthony Mirhaydari Nov 16, 2010 3:00PM

How quickly the summertime bliss has passed. The rally that saw stocks climb more than 17% between Aug. 31 and Nov. 5 in a smooth, uninterrupted arc has ended with the major averages slicing through trend-line support. Various technical indicators are also pointing to continued losses.

 

Whereas the post-August rally was driven by two big themes -- the Fed's QE2 money-printing operation and the prospect of more "business-friendly" Republicans in Congress -- the latest malaise is being driven by three big stories: selling pressure hitting bonds as investors price in higher inflation due to QE2; fears over Chinese overheating; and concerns over another round of bailouts in Europe.

Here's what you need to know. 

 

The company starts a service that collects user reviews of restaurants and other businesses.

By Kim Peterson Nov 16, 2010 1:16PM
Cheap dining © IT Stock Free/SuperStockGoogle (GOOG) is getting into the personalized recommendations business, launching a new site that lets you review restaurants, barber shops and other places.

Hotpot isn't a huge business for Google, but it opens up plenty of new advertising opportunities and gives users a social service along the lines of Yelp.

Hotpot hooks up user reviews with data from Google Places, and those reviews will show up in Google search results. Google describes Hotpot as a way to find new restaurants by consulting other people's recommendations. 
Tags: internet

But a bank loan chief acknowledges problems with the process.

By TheStreet Staff Nov 16, 2010 1:07PM

Bank foreclosure losing home © Photodisc Blue / Getty ImagesBy Dan Freed, TheStreet

finance and business news from thestreet 

Bank of America (BAC)'s home loan chief said the bank hasn't improperly taken over any homes despite its sloppy paperwork, according to a Bloomberg report Tuesday.

 

The report cited prepared testimony by Barbara Desoer, Bank of America's top home loan executive, to be delivered before the Senate Banking Committee today. David Lowman, who oversees the home loan business at JPMorgan Chase (JPM), is also scheduled to give testimony.

 

"Thus far we have confirmed the basis for our foreclosure decisions (has) been accurate," Desoer said, according to the report, though she acknowledged the bank has "not found a perfect process," adding "quite simply, it did not live up to our standards."

 

The legendary investors retained large holdings in gold ETFs and gold stocks in the third quarter.

By TheStreet Staff Nov 16, 2010 12:51PM

more investment and finance news from thestreet© Stockbyte/SuperStockBy Alix Steel, TheStreet

 

John Paulson and George Soros are still big believers in gold but sidestep silver, according to recent 13F filings for the third quarter.

 

As gold prices hurdled to new highs in the investing period from July through September, legendary investor Paulson retained his position as the No. 1 holder of the SPDR Gold Shares (GLD) exchange-traded fund, with 31.5 million shares. Soros, on the other hand, dumped 547,689 shares of the GLD, reducing his position to 4.7 million shares, making him the eighth-largest holder.

 

A new Google handset can pay for items with a swipe -- just like plastic.

By InvestorPlace Nov 16, 2010 12:12PM

Credit cards © Fancy/Veer/CorbisDon't fool yourself into thinking it was fashion trends that put cargo pants and fanny packs out of business. Cell phone innovations have single-handedly made it possible to carry just about everything in a single pocket -- your address book, maps, phone, video games, music and books, to name just a few items.

 

And thanks to Google Inc. (GOOG) and its innovative Android operating system, your smart phone can now replace one more pesky item in your purse or pants pockets: your credit card.

 

That's right, the next version of Android will support a technology that allows consumers to use their handsets just like plastic to pay for a trip to the mall, movie theater or restaurant.

 

Buy 1, get 1 free: Seasonal drinks are the latest marketing trick in a long line of new products and promotions.

By InvestorPlace Nov 16, 2010 11:25AM

Credit: (© Anthony Bolante/Reuters)
Caption: Starbucks baristaStarbucks (SBUX) has had a busy year, what with its new line of Via instant coffee and a big retail push into bottled Frappucinos and Starbucks ice cream. But the marketing and product development divisions aren't done yet. The latest move from the coffee king is meant to capitalize on consumers taking a break from their hectic holiday shopping to enjoy a tasty seasonal beverages.

 

The new drinks hit stores today and are coupled with a special offer to customers: Buyers of a holiday drink will receive a second for free this Thursday through Saturday in the U.S. and Canada. Starbucks will set up temporary stores in major cities like New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, to spread the word about the new menu and promotions.


Check out some of the new holiday flavors:

 

The metal is a necessary cornerstone of any portfolio in these uncertain times. Buy more if you own some, and start a position today if you don't.

By Jim Cramer Nov 16, 2010 9:32AM

jim cramerFour hands went up. Four out of about 200. Last night at a terrific dinner to benefit the Madison Square Park Conservancy, a great charity for all of us old enough to remember how scary that place was in Manhattan, I asked for a show of hands to see who owns gold.

 

Sophisticated audience. High net worth. Four hands went up.

 

Not only that, but as I proceeded to describe why gold is a necessary cornerstone of a portfolio in these uncertain times -- the currency, not the commodity, part of your portfolio -- I could tell that I was being viewed as a bit of a nut. Not because I was speaking when gold had already run to $1,400 -- $1,300 and change now -- but because it was as if I was speaking about Armageddon and revealing my own inner paranoia.

 

After whiffing the second quarter, solar-cell producer SunPower regains momentum with its third-quarter results.

By Jim J. Jubak Nov 15, 2010 5:20PM

Jim JubakI'd say the actual dimensions of the positive surprise -- 13 cents a share -- were less important than the gain in credibility that came when SunPower (SPWRA) made its third-quarter numbers after the market close on Thursday.


Back in the second quarter, the company missed estimates of a penny-a-share loss by a very large 5 cents a share, and the stakes have only gotten higher as shares in the solar-cell producer climbed 40% from their August low. It didn't help that SunPower's guidance set an extraordinarily large range for earnings of between 8 and 15 cents a share on revenue of $450 million to $490 million.


Investors know that the company doesn't bear total responsibility for that high degree of uncertainty. Orders and margins in the solar-cell market have become extremely unpredictable as customers have struggled with uncertain financing and fast-changing national subsidy schemes.

 

The company says its new 'modern messaging system' will be fast and easy. Can it top Gmail?

By Kim Peterson Nov 15, 2010 3:04PM
Credit: © Paul Sakuma/AP
Caption: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg talks about the new email service at an announcement in San Francisco, Monday, Nov. 15, 2010Facebook has officially unveiled its new e-mail system -- just don't call it e-mail.

The kids don't like e-mail. They view it as old-fashioned and formal compared with texting or sending an IM. So Facebook is calling its new product a "modern messaging system," TechCrunch reports.

According to chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, communication needs to be immediate and easy. To that end, Facebook made three components of its system, according to TechCrunch: seamless messaging, conversation history and a social inbox. 

The season's tea leaves show good shopping lies ahead.

By Kim Peterson Nov 15, 2010 1:34PM
Holiday buying © CorbisAll signs point to a good holiday for retailers, perhaps the best one they've seen in years.

People are spending again, though largely on their own terms, and retailers like Amazon (AMZN), Wal-Mart (WMT) and Target (TGT) are preparing for a solid shopping season. That's despite an unemployment rate hovering at 9.6%.

We're not talking about a home run here. Forecasts predict only a 2% sales increase this holiday, but even that's welcome news to stores that limped along miserably in the recession. Let's take a look at some of the indicators and what they mean. 

Part 3 of this year's list of recommended books focuses on how to think critically.

By RPrichard Nov 15, 2010 11:34AM

Money books © gulfimages / Getty ImagesBy Vitaliy N. Katsenelson

I originally wrote a list in 2008 and again last year. I intend to keep adding to and revising it every year. It contains seven sections: Selling, Think Like an Investor, Behavioral Investing, Economics, Stock Market History, Risk and Books for the Soul. Today's segment is Part 3. Read Part 2 here, and expect Part 4 tomorrow. I hope you enjoy it.

 

The right temperament is crucial in investing. Being a critical thinker and knowing how to value stocks are important, but it is all a waste if your emotions get the better of you. The following books will help you to recognize the shortcomings of your hard wiring and help you to devise strategies to deal with it.

 

"Psychology of Investing," by John R. Nofsinger, is short and to the point. You'll become an expert on behavioral investing in about an hour. Well, not quite, but close.

 

Pay close attention to funds tracking sugar, home construction and natural gas.

By TheStreet Staff Nov 15, 2010 10:46AM

Tools for your stock portfolio © CorbisBy Don Dion, TheStreet

 

Here are five exchange-traded funds you should watch this week.

 

1. SPDR S&P Retail ETF (XRT)

 

The most concentrated portion of the current earnings season will wrap up this week when Wal-Mart (WMT) reports Tuesday. Other companies reporting include Urban Outfitters (URBN), TJX (TJX), Gap (GPS) and Nordstrom (JWN).

 

The coming holiday shopping season should benefit discounters, luxury destinations and teen retailers. However, picking individual winners can be difficult, as certain aspects of the retail industry usually outperform others.

 

Gold, semiconductors, small caps and short S&P funds all make the list.

By InvestorPlace Nov 15, 2010 9:58AM

Jamie Dlugosch, InvestorPlace.com

 

Exchange-traded funds are just like stocks -- they can track the market, lag the market or outperform. It all depends on what you buy. The stock market as measured by the S&P 500 was down nearly 2% last week. My 5 ETF picks were down about 1%.


Now that more folks are saying the market is ready to capitulate again, it's time to change things up a bit by focusing on a short-side ETF that actually profits when the market goes down -- the ProShares Short S&P 500 (SH) -- in addition to funds focusing on areas of opportunity.

Here are my top five ETF buys for this week.

 

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[BRIEFING.COM] The S&P 500 remains near its flat line with one hour left in the trading day. This morning was relatively quiet with respect to quarterly earnings, but participants will have to deal with another heavy dose of reports as the week progresses.

Following today's closing bell, industrial names Jacobs (JEC 53.70, -0.29), Owens & Minor (OMI 34.94, +0.50), and Masco (MAS 20.27, -0.63) will headline the list of reporting companies, while tomorrow ... More


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