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.


Nokia seizes control of the Symbian platform and looks to Apple's business model. But a key delay doesn't help.

By Jim J. Jubak Dec 20, 2010 5:34PM
Jim JubakNokia (NOK) wants to be the other cell phone maker besides Apple (AAPL) to make a profit and have control over its business.

Now if the company could just get its new phone, the E7, out the door.

The success of Apple’s iPhone is built on the extraordinary power that controlling both the software and the hardware gives Apple. The company can make sure everything works together because it decides what gets on the platform and what doesn’t. No lame pre-installed apps from cell phone service providers. No word-processing software that works differently in different programs on the same phone. No graphics that only kind of work.

Don't even think about shorting it, Reed Hastings writes in response to a fund manager's doubts.

By Kim Peterson Dec 20, 2010 3:57PM
Credit: (© Paul Sakuma/AP)
Caption: Netflix DVDFund manager Whitney Tilson wrote a long and compelling article Thursday about why he is short Netflix (NFLX). It was so good, in fact, that the "time to short Netflix" meme started making the rounds.

Today, Netflix chief executive Reed Hastings is fighting back. He posted a long response on Seeking Alpha telling Tilson: "Cover your short position. Now." But in a surprising bit of candor, Hastings acknowledged that one could in fact make money shorting Netflix.

Curiously, Netflix's share price did fine last week after Tilson's piece came out, climbing Thursday and briefly topping $184 Friday. But today, after Reed's defense, Netflix shares are down slightly to $178.17. 

Not just cheap but also dominant, these companies could ride a stronger-than-expected economy to huge gains next year.

By TheStreet Staff Dec 20, 2010 11:49AM

high tech © CorbisBy Jake Lynch, TheStreet


Technology stocks in the S&P 500 ($INX) have generated an average gain of 16% in 2010, the third-worst-performing industry group. But as the recovery ramps up next year, business and consumer spending will accelerate, and tech stocks may lead, analysts say. Value-focused Morningstar covers hundreds of technology stocks but awards its highest five-star rating to only four.


Here is a closer look at those four technology value stocks. They are expected to rise at least 53% and as much as 99%. Below, the stocks are ordered by potential return, from great to colossal.


4. Dow component Cisco Systems (CSCO) makes networking equipment. It holds the dominant position in ethernet switches, with roughly 70% market share, a stable figure. It is also the leader in routers, with Juniper (JNPR) grabbing second place.


US employees could get the same chance that UK staffers have to share in the company's success.

By InvestorPlace Dec 20, 2010 10:50AM

Credit: (© Michael Conroy/AP)
Caption: Customer in a Starbucks storeBy Jeff Reeves, editor of InvestorPlace.com

After a rough few years during the financial crisis and subsequent recession, Starbucks (SBUX) has been piping hot in 2010. Thanks to an innovative new line of Via instant coffee, a push into retail grocery sales and a number of successful promotions (including Starbucks' free holiday drink offer), the coffee giant is definitely on the upswing.

And it appears Starbucks is willing to share that success with workers in the new year via company stock. Not a bad Christmas present, considering SBUX is up 43% in 2010 -- about three times the broader stock market. 


Funds tracking commercial real estate and retail are likely to be active.

By TheStreet Staff Dec 20, 2010 10:41AM

Tools for your stock portfolio © CorbisBy Don Dion, TheStreet


Here are five ETFs to watch this week.


1. SPDR S&P Retail ETF (XRT)

Retail has been an exciting region of the market to watch this holiday season. As we head into the final stretch, malls will likely be packed with shoppers seeking last-minute gifts.


The anticipation of the holidays will make XRT an interesting fund to watch. The fund could also see some earnings-related action. Throughout the middle of the week, index constituents including Carmax (KMX), Finish Line (FINL) and Walgreens (WAG) are scheduled to release their most recent quarterly earnings reports.


With the dollar deflated, major US brands are cheaper than ever -- and forward-thinking foreign companies realize it.

By Jim Cramer Dec 20, 2010 9:58AM

more investing tips and stock picks from jim cramer at thestreetNews flash: These minuscule moves in the euro-dollar trade are no longer what matter, as much as underperforming hedge funds like to call media thought-provokers and make it seem that way.


What matters is that some Brazilian meat producer no one has ever heard of wants to buy Sara Lee (SLE), despite how poorly it is run -- if it is run at all.


Why is this so important? Because Sara Lee is also Kimberly-Clark (KMB), which is also Clorox (CLX), which is also Heinz (HNZ), which is also Kellogg (K) -- big brands that need better homes than they have. And they can be bought because the dollar is weak and the people who don't think small want these brands as a way to move beyond their home markets.


Keep a neutral to slightly negative bias as we march toward 2011.

By Jamie Dlugosch Dec 19, 2010 6:17PM

Right idea, horrible execution as the market began its annual winding down of the year with slower volume and disinterested trade.


The market closed up fractionally. Within that construct my ETF picks ended up dropping ¾ of a percent. What happened?


Sometimes no matter how right your predictions Mr. Market can manage to punish even if you are trying to be conservative as I was last week. The loss can be solely attributed to big losses in China last week.


That won’t happen again. We’ll jettison that pick in favor of the SPDR Regional Bank ETF (KRE) as I keep a market neutral portfolio heading toward the end of the year.

Tags: oil

Broad measures of U.S. industrial production keep improving, but some stocks in the sector stand out above others

By John Reese Dec 17, 2010 6:37PM

As the U.S.'s recovery from the "Great Recession" has progressed, one big driver of the turnaround has been the industrial and manufacturing arena. Industrial production rose in November by 0.4%, according to a new Federal Reserve report, marking the 15th time in 17 months that production has increased. And since bottoming in July 2009, the manufacturing sector has expanded for 16 straight months, according to the Institute for Supply Management.


As a result, industrial and manufacturing stocks -- which were hammered during the recession and bear market -- have outpaced the broader market since the March 2009 low. But, just as there's still slack in U.S. production, so too are there still bargains in the industrial and manufacturing areas. And, with government stimulus continuing to flow into the economy, consumers regaining some of their confidence, and companies having cut a lot of fat during the downturn, some of these stocks are in good position to continue rebounding.


Keep in mind, however, that as we get deeper into the recovery, the rising tide that may have lifted a lot of industrial/manufacturing-type stocks should lessen, and investors will likely become more discriminating about which of these stocks they buy. That means you better pay attention to fundamentals on a stock-by-stock basis. With that in mind, I recently used my Guru Strategies, each of which is based on the approach of a different investing great, to uncover some of the industrials and manufacturers that have the best fundamentals. Here's a sampling of what I found. 



Potash of Saskatchewan thinks a 5% increase in grain production is needed in 2011 to keep up with consumption.

By Jim J. Jubak Dec 17, 2010 6:08PM
Jim Jubak
Potash of Saskatchewan (POT), a stock in my Jubak Picks 50 portfolio, offered a modestly optimistic view on potash fertilizer demand for 2011 -- and a very bullish view for global agriculture -- in a presentation Wednesday at the Bank of America/Merrill Lynch Global Industries conference.

Potash first.

The company affirmed its guidance for 2011 of sales of 9.3 million metric tons. Working backward from Potash's share of the global market, that puts total global demand roughly at the low end of Merrill's projected 55 to 60 million metric tons in 2011.

Profit from Moody's recent downgrade of Ireland.

By Wall Street Media on MSN Money Dec 17, 2010 5:43PM

Written by Douglas Estadt

Moody’s (MCO) downgraded Ireland Friday, which resulted in a mad rush to buy U.S. Treasuries. This reaction is startling due to the fact that the term PIIGS (describing doomed European countries) has been tossed around for some time.  

PIIGS is an acronym describing the struggling economies of Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain.

Tags: etf

One firm has been killed on its short position, but it's sticking to its guns.

By Kim Peterson Dec 17, 2010 2:48PM
Credit: (© Paul Sakuma/AP)
Caption: Netflix DVDNetflix (NFLX) has some dedicated bears, and fund manager Whitney Tilson is one of them. So far, shorting Netflix has been a disaster of an investment strategy for Tilson -- check out the one-year chart below -- but he's sticking with it.

Tilson, the founder of investment firm T2 Partnerships, even put out a "Why we're short Netflix" presentation Thursday. You can download it here.

Netflix shares are up about 1% Friday to $183; a year ago they were at $53. "We've lost a lot of money betting against Netflix, which is currently our largest bearish bet," the presentation notes. Here are the main reasons Tilson continues to short the stock: 

Airlines turn to fees instead of service to boost profits. Gap slips up by selling 'Made in USA' bags made in China. Starbucks' tormented love-hate relationship with Kraft.

By TheStreet Staff Dec 17, 2010 2:36PM

TheStreetTheStreet.com on MSN MoneyHere's our weekly roundup of the dumbest news in business.


5. High-flying airline fees

According to a report released Monday from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, U.S. airlines collected about $4.3 billion in fee revenue during the first three quarters of 2010. That's $4.3 billion in fees added to the coffers without airlines having to improve service. It's roughly equivalent to the industry's anticipated total profits for the year.


The investor has a considerable interest in the company, which expects growth in its core business next year.

By TheStreet Staff Dec 17, 2010 12:48PM

Warren Buffett. Image credit: © Chip East/ReutersBy Don Dion, TheStreet


General Electric (GE) looks promising. Upward action from this U.S.-based conglomerate will mean a nice payday for investors in 2011.


This week, GE CEO Jeff Immelt provided an optimistic forecast. In comments made to investors during the company's annual meeting, he explained that, though demanding, the steps taken after the global economic crisis have helped GE get back on track. He expects core businesses to grow in 2011.


Immelt pointed to China as a promising region for the company in the new year, saying the company expects to see high-double-digit growth.


After blowout reports from Oracle, RIM and Accenture, stock futures should be roaring today.

By Jim Cramer Dec 17, 2010 9:43AM

more stock market commentary and investing tips from jim cramerI don't like days when futures are up huge early and then we get a total slam-down, which seems to have happened nearly every time stock futures have risen abruptly in 2010.


Yet today they should be up. Having just read through the conference call and post-analyst notes on Oracle (ORCL), Research In Motion (RIMM) and Accenture (ACN), I am astounded at how these companies are doing.


"Everyone" knew that Oracle was doing well, but the growth the company is talking about is the kind you would expect from a much younger company. I am continually surprised when I read a call like that by how many companies don't already have Oracle or database management software. Or that so many are obviously not thinking of Salesforce.com (CRM).


While the big-box discounter is not a deeply discounted stock, it has goodness at its core.

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day Dec 17, 2010 9:09AM

Green investing © Bob Jacobson/CorbisFool analyst Alyce Lomax believes it's perfectly possible to aim for above-average returns and social dividends when investing. If you agree, you might want to follow her socially responsible portfolio.


Rex Moore, Motley Fool Top Stocks editor


Believe it or not, a warehouse retailer with fluorescent lights and concrete floors has social responsibility at its heart. This month's pick for my socially responsible portfolio is Costco (COST).



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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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