Get ready for a flood of IPOs
Flood of IPOs land this week

If everything goes as planned, this week will be the busiest for initial public offerings since 2000.

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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.

 

Even after last week's ugly losses, the stock charts show impressive resilience.

By Jim Cramer Nov 15, 2010 9:58AM

jim cramer of thestreetAfter all of the carnage last week, after all of what looked to be commodity-related and interest rate-related stumbling, the stock charts show a level of resilience that makes me think that after we get the Chinese tightening and if we get some certainty out of Washington, we're not over yet. We're not over.

 

In fact, some groups look better than they did the week before. That Atlas Energy (ATLS)-Chevron (CVX) deal ignited a whole host of natural-gas plays, including Range Resources (RRC) and EQT (EQT) -- both Marcellus plays -- as well as Devon Energy (DVN). ExxonMobil (XOM), ConocoPhillips (COP) and Chevron look terrific.

 

All the drillers, led by National Oilwell Varco (NOV), were standouts, and you can see that the Iraqi settlement is helping the international drillers like Weatherford International (WFT) and Schlumberger (SLB).

 

Sugar prices had been on a 30-year high, and Brazil's Cosan seized the opportunity to sell stockpiled inventories.

By Jim J. Jubak Nov 15, 2010 9:54AM

Jim JubakSugar prices, which had been at a 30-year high at the beginning of last week, went through their biggest sell-off in 30 years. That gives us a chance to pick up shares of Cosan (CZZ), Brazil's big sugar processor and ethanol producer, on the dip.


The company announced quarterly results Wednesday, and those numbers should give you confidence that Cosan can ride the ups and downs of this commodity.


Cosan announced that profit for the fiscal second quarter of 2011 (ended Sept. 30) climbed by 154% from the second quarter of fiscal 2010. Profit of 439 million reais (the plural for Brazil's real), or $257 million, beat analysts' projections of 221.3 million reais. Revenue climbed by 32%.

 

Dividend increases make these stocks attractive buys.

By InvestorPlace Nov 12, 2010 3:59PM
By Jeff Reeves, InvestorPlace.com

Dividend information is some of the most sought after and high yield dividend stocks continue to be in favor with investors, as we brace for the pending inflation and shake-up in bonds that is sure to come from a weak dollar in the wake of the Fed’s newest round of “quantitative easing.” Income investors who are wise not only get the decent 3% or 4% payback from dividend picks, but also a nice bit of share appreciation.


Last week there were a boatload of dividend increases to note – and I covered a lot of ground in my roundup of 15 stocks raising dividends. The list this week is a bit shorter as we move out of the heart of earnings season and into the lazy days before the holidays, but there are some big names this week boosting dividends nonetheless – including tech powerhouse Intel (INTC) and German industrial stock Siemens (SI).

 

The coffee giant wants to open more than one store a day, and it's focused heavily on China.

By Kim Peterson Nov 12, 2010 3:10PM
Credit: (© Anthony Bolante/Reuters)
Caption: Starbucks baristaStarbucks (SBUX) headed for the sidelines in the worst of the economic downturn, shuttering stores and rethinking its real-estate strategy.

But now the company is back with a fury and plans to open more than one store a day, Bloomberg reports. Most will be outside the U.S.

"Our ability to navigate through the financial crisis and come out much stronger gives us reason to start growing the company again," chief executive Howard Schultz told Bloomberg. He wants to open 500 stores in the next year -- and only 100 of those will be in the U.S. 

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[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market ended the Tuesday session on a lower note after generally upbeat earnings took the back seat to geopolitical concerns. The S&P 500 (-0.5%) and Nasdaq Composite (-0.1%) ended on their lows, while the Russell 2000 (+0.3%) displayed relative strength.

Once again, market participants were focused on quarterly reports in the early going, but geopolitical worries overshadowed the impact of mostly better than expected earnings. Specifically, equities ... More


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