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

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Norway is the fifth-largest oil exporter in the world.

By InvestorPlace Nov 11, 2010 4:22PM

By ETFGuide.com


Exchange-traded funds are in the news again today.


Global X Funds, a New York provider, has launched the Global X FTSE Norway 30 ETF (NORW).


Norway is the fifth-largest oil exporter and third-largest gas exporter in the world even though it is not a member of OPEC. The Scandinavian country has generated an extremely large trade surplus and has one of the largest sovereign wealth funds in the world. It also ranks third in GDP per capita, according to the World Bank.

 

This year's recommended books offer sage advice for investing in turbulent times. Today begins a 7-part series of suggested readings.

By V.N. Katsenelson Nov 11, 2010 1:58PM
Money books © gulfimages / Getty ImagesI originally wrote this 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. The first is presented today. Part 2 will follow tomorrow, and more segments will be published next week. I hope you enjoy them.

In these crazy times, all one could ask for is sanity. Yes, sanity – a clear mind, free of noise, to with which to face the insanity that the volatile, noisy stock market thrusts upon us. We find ourselves glued to our computer screens or CNBC, waiting to find out what the Dow’s next tick is going to be. What do we get out of it? Only a headache and wasted time.

 

The company suffers a huge hit to its stock price after detailing numerous challenges in its first quarter.

By Kim Peterson Nov 11, 2010 1:51PM
Arrow © Photodisc/SuperstockCisco Systems (CSCO) reported a choppy quarter that wasn't nearly as bad as you'd think, looking at the stock tankage today. Profit and sales beat expectations, but the company was hit hard on its outlook for the current quarter.

As I listened to the earnings call Wednesday, I was struck by how many times executives used the word "challenges." It was like every mention took the stock down a little further in after-hours trading.

Now the transcript is available on Seeking Alpha and I can get an official count. Number of times "challenges" was used: 26. 

Light-duty trucks outsold cars by a wide margin last month. Economists see this as a sign of how people feel about big-ticket purchases.

By Kim Peterson Nov 11, 2010 1:16PM
Credit: © Ford Motor Company
Caption: 2009 Ford F-150 XLTPickup sales are picking up, and that's a great sign for the economy.

Last month, trucks outsold cars by a higher margin than we've seen in five years, with light-duty trucks -- pickups, minivans and SUVs -- nabbing 54% of new-vehicle sales, The Associated Press reports.

These sales are important to economists, who view them as a measure of how people feel about spending on big-ticket items. Consumers could always buy used or try to get more life out of their current vehicles, so buying a new truck shows some confidence in jobs and the economy. 

The government's plan to add larger warnings to cigarette packs could create an investment opportunity -- or have no impact at all.

By TheStreet Staff Nov 11, 2010 12:40PM

TheStreetCredit: Courtesy of US Department of Health & Human ServicesBy Andrea Tse, TheStreet

 

The Department of Health and Human Services on Wednesday unveiled a proposal for larger and more graphic health warnings for cigarette packages and advertisements.

 

The announcement has left investment advisers and analysts with strong opinions on how the move could affect tobacco stocks.

 

Stephanie Link, the director of research for TheStreet, said the news could offer investors a reason to cash in on the rising prices of tobacco stocks. Altria (MO), which has gained 50% since Link began a position in July 2009, may have hit its upper price limit, Link says.

 

The summit in Seoul will be all about bashing Bernanke and the dollar, which means you want to be in gold.

By Jim Cramer Nov 11, 2010 9:43AM

jim cramerTough to play the G-20. You know why? Because I think the only way to make money off the conference is to bet that it won't go well, or that it will be reported as not going well. That means buy gold.

 

Gold has been on a tear of late. I am sure there is a propensity to believe that the run is done or has to be done soon. But meetings like the G-20's are going to be all about the U.S. telling the world: "Look, this is how it is going to be. We are not going to allow you to take our markets, have us defend you militarily, let you dump goods on us and tell us what to do." We are in a "new sheriff in town, and his name is Bernanke" mode.

 

That's a prescription for people who own dollars to move into the only currency that will hold its value no matter what, one that has increased in value for a decade: gold.

 

Westpac Banking, one of Australia's big four banks, has raised its dividend as profits climb.

By Jim J. Jubak Nov 11, 2010 3:10AM

Jim JubakThey have banks in Australia, too -- strong banks -- and a stronger economy and an appreciating currency against the U.S. dollar. 


And no government constraints on raising dividends if a bank wants to signal its confidence in the future. 


I'm going to use the weakness in Australian stocks over the last few days -- when China sniffles, Australia's stocks take to their sickbeds -- to buy one for my Jubak's Picks Portfolio.

 

Large stocks as a group may be cheaper than small stocks, but there are still plenty of little guys worth a look.

By John Reese Nov 10, 2010 3:08PM

In recent months, several top strategists have been saying that large-cap stocks are offering exceptional bargains. Having substantially lagged their smaller peers for years -- the S&P 600 small-cap index has returned more than 7% annually over the past decade vs. 0.46% for the S&P 500 -- large-caps are now much cheaper than small stocks, investing gurus like Donald Yacktman and Barton Biggs have said.

 

And they may be right. Many blue-chip-type companies' stocks, which usually trade at a premium because of the firms' visibility and popularity, are indeed selling at bargain-basement prices. But as an investor, it's always important not to fall into the trap of generalization -- just because large-caps may be cheaper as a group than small stocks, that doesn't mean you should ignore the little guys.

 

Crosscurrents in the currency and credit markets are creating opportunities in US stocks.

By Anthony Mirhaydari Nov 10, 2010 2:55PM

The main driver of stock market weakness this week has been the resurgence of the U.S. dollar, which has put pressure on gold, silver and emerging-market stocks. The dollar gained 1% Tuesday, topping a three-day gain of 2.5%. That's the best performance for the dollar since August.

 

Adding to the sense of unease among investors has been the growing chorus of criticism over the Fed's $600 billion QE2 announcement. Leaders worldwide have had plenty to say about the strategy ahead of the G-20 meeting in South Korea later this week. And in addition to the flak coming from political operatives like Sarah Palin, a growing list of Federal Reserve officials are coming out against QE2. 

 

The FDA unveils its new packaging requirements. Will the disturbing images help smokers quit?

By Kim Peterson Nov 10, 2010 2:45PM
Credit: Courtesy of US Department of Health & Human ServicesCorpses. Screaming babies. Cancer victims. Cemetery headstones. Grieving relatives. Are these the best images for cigarette packages?

Yes, says the U.S. Food and Drug Association. The FDA is making huge changes to cigarette boxes, plastering gruesome warnings on half of the front and back of each pack.

The FDA is considering 36 label possibilities and has posted them here. The labels have large images on them, many of which are disturbing, frightening and sad -- and that's exactly what the FDA wants. 

A top portfolio manager explains why typical gold investing is about as useful as owning a pile of bricks.

By MSNMoney partner Nov 10, 2010 1:17PM
Gold © Comstock Images/JupiterimagesThinking about joining the recent gold rush? With the price of the yellow metal soaring, the temptation is understandable. But author and philanthropist Rick Ferri, the investment manager behind Portfolio Solutions, bucks the hype.

Dan Bortolotti of the Canadian Couch Potato blog chatted recently with Ferri, who likens typical gold investing to owning a pile of bricks.


So many investors are piling into the ETF SPDR Gold Shares (GLD), Ferri notes. "But it's a piece of paper," he says. "They are not going to issue you gold bars. If the banking industry collapses, how are you going to get your gold? If Armageddon comes along, you might say, 'That's OK, because I own gold.' But you don't own gold, you own GLD. I suppose you could go to the vault in London with your piece of paper and ask for your gold -- assuming that airlines are still flying. Good luck with that."

 

A tough growing environment in Africa has led some cocoa farmers to drop their crops -- spurring predictions of a world shortage.

By Kim Peterson Nov 10, 2010 1:16PM
Chocolate © image100/CorbisTime to start hoarding Hershey's (HSY)? Some experts in the cocoa industry say that the world could run out of affordable chocolate within 20 years, according to The Independent.

Cocoa is headed for a shortage, they say, and eventually a single chocolate bar could cost $11 on average. The price of cocoa has already shot to an all-time high lately.

"In 20 years chocolate will be like caviar," said a conservation researcher in Ghana, a hot spot for cocoa production. "It will become so rare and so expensive that the average Joe just won't be able to afford it." 

Despite a tough job market, the tech giant is showing its employees it doesn't take them for granted. But why?

By InvestorPlace Nov 10, 2010 12:15PM

teens with cash © Jose Luis Pelaez, Inc./Blend Images/CorbisIf you’re one of the 23,000 people working for Google (GOOG), you awoke to a nice surprise in your e-mail inbox this morning.

 

Earlier today Google’s CEO, Eric Schmidt, sent a message to every Google employee informing them of the $1,000 Christmas bonus they will receive, in addition to the 10% pay increase they can expect next year. If you know a Google employee, now’s the time to e-mail your holiday wish list.


But what is the reason for such a generous move at a time when unemployment remains high and employers seem to hold all the cards?

 

The move is part of the company's rebranding to appear more healthful and natural compared with top competitor McDonald's.

By InvestorPlace Nov 10, 2010 10:17AM

Credit: (© Wilfredo Lee/AP file)
Caption: Wendy's restaurantWhileMcDonald's(MCD) has been making a splash recently with the return of its pseudo-pork product the McRib, Wendy's (WEN) is taking quite a different marketing approach. Armed with the slogan "Quality is Our Recipe," the fast-food restaurant has made a number of digs at McDonald's recently, from pointing out its fish sandwich is hand-cut North Pacific cod to making it clear that its beef is never frozen.


This theme continues with the newest fresh and natural addition to the Wendy's menu, skin-on russet potato fries with sea salt.


The taste, texture and size will be slightly different from those of the old fries, which have been peddled for Wendy's without a serious change for the past 41 years.

 

The Fed chairman is not only taking on Washington, he's taking on the world to get this economy moving again. And that's a lot more than anyone else is doing.

By Jim Cramer Nov 10, 2010 9:22AM

jim cramer of thestreet"QE2 bubble attacks!" That's pretty much all I am hearing these days.

 

I don't hear many people saying what I'm feeling: What are we supposed to do, tolerate ultra-high unemployment and just accept it as a fact? What are we supposed to do, just "hope" that things will get better? What are we supposed to do, depend on Congress to help us? What are we supposed to do, rely on our trading partners to help us? You know, the ones that we defend with our military, our treasure, and the ones that have dumped stuff on us forever?

 

Is that the plan?

 

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