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Be wary of dire market forecasts

The most likely scenario is that the markets will begin to rise from here -- and that bounce is just beginning to take hold.

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Washington Mutual lenders partied hard in 2006, celebrating the toxic mortgages that would ultimately doom the bank.

By Kim Peterson Apr 14, 2010 1:43PM
Bling © Image Source/CorbisCould it get any more embarrassing than this?

The year was 2006. Right before the mortgage industry collapsed. Lenders from Washington Mutual were partying at a retreat on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. Some of them broke into song, performing their own version of the 1992 hip-hop song "Baby Got Back."

"I like big bucks and I cannot lie," the WaMu rappers sang. "You mortgage brothers can't deny." 

A new online marketplace tracks buying habits and suggests new products, worrying some privacy advocates

By InvestorPlace Apr 14, 2010 7:22AM

mastercard shopping online computerIt’s a shopaholic’s dream and a privacy advocate’s nightmare -- a credit card that knows what you’ve been buying and can make recommendations on what to splurge on next.

 

Through a new partnership with an Internet company specializing in personalized shopping, MasterCard (MA) just rolled out a Web shopping mall call MasterCard Marketplace on Monday. The gimmick is that it can predict what MA cardholders are likely to purchase and make suggestions. Now that consumer spending is actually above it’s 2008 peak (really!), now is the perfect time for such a program.

 

This quarter points to a secular shift -- and it means there's more upside to come.

By Jim Cramer Apr 14, 2010 7:18AM
Jim Cramer

By Jim Cramer, TheStreet

 

Cyclical or secular? This is the question I always used to put to my team on any stock that just beat numbers so big that I have to ask if there is something larger than just a bump in sales that made things better.

 

And on Intel (INTC), I say "secular," meaning new product cycle that is unique to Intel. The reason so many analysts were lukewarm or negative on Intel was that all of the ordering was perceived to be restocking. That the inventories had gotten so low that there was simply a dearth of supply, not that demand had gotten more aggressive or that they had something new and compelling that could last.

 

 

This Chinese Pharmaceutical company is in a great position

By Wall Street Media on MSN Money Apr 13, 2010 4:45PM

Written by Douglas Estadt

 

TPI is a Chinese Pharmaceutical Company that offers traditional Chinese medicine and prescription and over-the-counter medication. With now 39 drugs in their cabinet and 17 more in the pipeline learn why we bought this stock:

 

  • Company currently at $98 million market value and sitting on $12 million in cash.
  • ROTH China Healthcare investment banker left the company to become TPI’s new CFO.
  • Have low p/e ratio, pay 2.7% dividend, and growing 10% quarter over quarter.
  • Founder had started another company prior, which now has a one billion dollar market value.

To hear more about TPI, view the video below

 

Putting cost cutting in the rear-view mirror, Starbucks hopes to open thousands of stores in China over time.

By Jamie Dlugosch Apr 13, 2010 3:49PM

They say a tiger cannot change its stripes.

 

In the case of Starbucks (SBUX), it was only a matter of time before Chief Executive Howard Schultz would lose patience with the slower-growth, cost-cutting strategy that the company embarked upon in response to the global recession.

Starbucks is set to turn up the heat on the competition with a bold goal of opening thousands of stores in China.

 

 

I thought Starbucks ran into trouble by carpet-bombing markets with stores on every street corner. Apparently the company did not learn its lesson.

 

Or did it?

 

The market's reaction to Intel's earnings will speak volumes about investor sentiment.

By Jim J. Jubak Apr 13, 2010 3:06PM

Jim JubakIntel (INTC) reports first-quarter earnings Tuesday after the close.


The market's reaction to Intel's numbers will tell us more about the market than about this technology stock. (For more on the prospects for earnings season as a whole, see this post).


I expect good numbers out of Intel. The company finished 2009 with gross margins at a record 65%, thanks to a shift towards more profitable products. With sales of more expensive and higher-margin chips for servers roaring ahead, I expect margins towards the top of the company's usual 50% to 60% range.

 

From actor Nicolas Cage to former Wall Street executives, the nation's wealthiest homeowners are seeing a wave of foreclosures.

By Kim Peterson Apr 13, 2010 2:42PM
Homes of the Rich  © CorbisIt took a while, but the foreclosure epidemic is finally reaching the rich and famous.

In February, there were 352 homes with loans of at least $5 million that were scheduled for foreclosure auction, The Wall Street Journal reports. In all of 2009, only 1,312 homes in that category went to auction.

It took longer for foreclosures to hit at this level because the wealthiest had more financial wiggle room as the economy tanked, the Journal reports. They had more savings, or could get more loans. 

It means the fear of high prices. And if you've got it, this market has you quaking in your boots.

By Kim Peterson Apr 13, 2010 1:09PM
 new car shopping © Thinkstock / Jupiter ImagesThe Reformed Broker suggests a great word of the day: Hypselotimophobia. It's an actual word, and it means the extreme fear of high prices.

The market has been inundated by 52-week highs lately, and that doesn't exactly have investors jumping for joy.

Only two types of investors are taking all these 52-week highs well: the nimble and the desperate, writes Joshua Brown of the Reformed Broker. 

Wal-Mart, Colgate-Palmolive and Medco Health Solutions are TheStreet Ratings' favorite large-cap companies.

By TheStreet Staff Apr 13, 2010 10:59AM

TheStreetCost of prescription drugs © CorbisBy Jake Lynch, TheStreet

 

Large-cap stocks have lagged behind small- and mid-caps during the past year. TheStreet's quantitative equity model, which evaluates stocks based on fundamentals and performance, rates these large-cap stocks "buy." Analysts are overwhelmingly bullish on the shares.

 

3. Wal-Mart (WMT) is the world's largest retailer.

 

Quarter: Fourth-quarter profit increased 22% to $4.6 billion, or $1.23, as revenue grew 4.5% to $114 billion. The operating margin widened from 6.2% to 6.6%. Wal-Mart has $7.9 billion of cash and $41 billion of debt, translating to a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.6.

 

As Verizon and AT&T fight for control of the iPhone-dominated smartphone market, Sprint falls further behind.

By TheStreet Staff Apr 13, 2010 10:00AM

Woman on cell phone  © CorbisDavid MacDougall, TheStreetTheStreet

 

AT&T (T), Verizon (VZ) and Sprint (S) have been slugging it out for years, most recently fighting for control of the iPhone-dominated smartphone market. While there's no clear winner, the weakest player is obvious. Avoid Sprint.

 

The war between AT&T and Verizon has been raging for months, with each company claiming the other's network is garbage. Noticeably absent from the debate is Sprint, which spends most of its advertising dollars on chest-thumping ads about its fourth-generation network, even though that network isn't available to customers living outside major cities in the Midwest.

 

The pessimism I'm reading this earnings season isn't helpful unless balanced with some optimism.

By Jim Cramer Apr 13, 2010 7:38AM
Jim Cramer

By Jim Cramer, TheStreet

 

As earnings season begins in earnest, I always like to point out how hard it is to make money during this period. We rarely see any good gains once the report cards come out, based on a combination of confusion, information overload and run-ups ahead of numbers. That's been the pattern for years. That's why I always stress that you can't just wait for the all-clear to buy, that the hard buying -- before all is known -- is often more fruitful if you have a longer-term thesis driving your stock-picking.

 

But the flipside of that method really gets to me. I can't stand it when I see someone say, "You can't buy now," after they never told you to buy in the first place.

 

 

The drive-in restaurant brings back carhops on wheels, but is it a personal-injury lawsuit waiting to happen?

By InvestorPlace Apr 13, 2010 7:19AM

Hamburger © BananaStock / Jupiter ImagesCarhops on roller skates are one of those quaint throwbacks rarely seen outside of grainy '60s-era movies. Men in fedoras would pull up in a car with giant fins and order a phosphate soda from a bouncy blonde on eight wheels and think nothing of it.

 

Well if you’ve got a hankering for nostalgia -- or just enjoy some entertainment while you eat -- you’re in for a treat. Fast-food chain Sonic (SONC) recently announced plans to revive carhops on roller skates at its drive-in restaurants across the U.S.

The real question for shareholders, of course, is whether the move will cause customers will roll in at Sonic’s 3,500 chain restaurants . . . or just result in sprained ankles and worker's comp claims.

 

New deal with the European Monetary Union gives Greece breathing room, but problems await.

By Jim J. Jubak Apr 12, 2010 5:52PM

Jim JubakIt's hard to see how the European finance ministers' deal with Greece, announced Sunday, fixes the crisis. Postpones the day of reckoning, sure. 


News that members of the European Monetary Union have agreed to provide up to $41 billion in loans to Greece over the next year will almost certainly allow the country to refinance the $40 billion or so in debt that comes due in 2010. And at a lower 5% rate of interest than the 7.45% the market was demanding on two-year Greek bonds last week.


But provide Greece with a long-term path to solvency? No.

 

A Redbox survey hints that the company may be exploring online streaming.

By Kim Peterson Apr 12, 2010 4:13PM
Redbox kiosk. Credit: (© Al Behrman/AP)Netflix (NFLX) and Redbox have been able to grow nicely without locking horns, but that might soon change.

If Redbox, owned by Coinstar (CSTR) is considering getting into the movie-streaming business, the two companies could become fierce rivals.

The question is how seriously is Redbox mulling this move, and how much money does it want to sink into it? The company reportedly sent a survey to customers asking how interested they would be in a movie-streaming service for $3.95 a month. 

A lot of the stock action this year has been in small caps, but let's not forget the big dogs.

By Jamie Dlugosch Apr 12, 2010 3:44PM

Groceries © Tom Grill/CorbisIn the consumer staple space, stocks like Procter & Gamble (PG), Colgate-Palmolive (CL) and Kimberly-Clark (KMB) are basically forgotten -- trading up fractionally or down slightly so far in 2010.

 

But news that these consumer staple companies are ramping up advertising spending tells me they expect some solid growth.

These giants understand advertising very well and what will happen when ad spending increases.

 

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[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market finished the Wednesday session on an upbeat note with the Nasdaq (+1.3%) ending in the lead. The S&P 500 settled higher by 1.1% with all ten sectors posting gains.

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