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It's no Alibaba, but the Citizens Financial Group offering is important to the market.


Is China playing games with its rare-earth reserves? The move says a lot about the future of rare earth.

By Jim J. Jubak Oct 20, 2010 4:40PM

Jim JubakChina's Ministry of Commerce said Saturday that the country could run out of medium and heavy rare-earth reserves in 15 to 20 years at the current rate of production.

Could this be true? Or is it simply justification for China's decision to cut export quotas by 72% in the second half of 2010 -- and slap a de facto ban on rare earth exports to Japan to protest the seizure of a Chinese fishing boat? A New York Times story today says that Chinese customs officials are also stopping rare earth shipments destined for Europe and the U.S.

I vote both are true.


Lower costs and better choices are some of the advantages.

By InvestorPlace Oct 20, 2010 4:14PM


Exchange-traded funds have seen impressive growth over the past several years.

Despite the growth, hardly any of it has come from retirement plans like 401(k)s.

Critics claim that ETFs have no business inside 401(k) plans, but are they right? Will ETFs shakeup the slow-moving 401(k) market?

Let’s analyze why ETF(k) retirement plans make sense. 


Legg Mason's Bill Miller gets bullish and sees the best market since the Reagan era.

By Anthony Mirhaydari Oct 20, 2010 1:56PM
Over the past two months, I've been focusing on how stocks are preparing for an epic bull market, thanks mainly to the current boom in bonds. (See columns here and here.) At its most basic, the catalyst will be corporate releveraging as executives take advantage of ridiculously low bond yields to conduct M&A activity, increase dividends and repurchase shares.

It looks like I'm not the only one.

Legg Mason Capital Management chairman Bill Miller told CNBC today that he thinks it's "the best time since the early 1980s to buy." His rationale? The same as mine: Stocks are undervalued relative to bonds. Here's why. 

Steve Jobs' comments Monday are still getting attention as RIM responds with strong words. We pick the winners.

By Kim Peterson Oct 20, 2010 12:57PM
Credit: (© Paul Sakuma/AP)
Caption: Apple CEO Steve Jobs holds the new iPhone 4Meow! We're seeing a hissing match of epic proportions this week as tech executives blast each other in the smart-phone wars. Let's see what's being said and pick the winners.

Kicking things off, of course, was Apple (AAPL) chief executive Steve Jobs, who went on a remarkable rant against competitors in his earnings call Monday. He unloaded on Google (GOOG) and Research In Motion (RIMM) in particular, and those companies are responding in kind. Or not so kind.

"Many customers are getting tired of being told what to think by Apple," Jim Balsillie, co-chief executive at RIM, said in a statement posted online. His comments came after Jobs said, "We've now passed RIM, and I don't see them catching up."

An iPhone on the nation's largest wireless carrier would be nice, but Verizon's stable of smart phones shows Apple may need it more.

By TheStreet Staff Oct 20, 2010 12:37PM

thestreetBy Jason Notte, TheStreet


If a Verizon (VZ) iPhone comes to pass, its shelf space won't be padded by the same pushovers that surround it at AT&T (T).


If speculation holds and Verizon brings Apple's (AAPL) iPhone into the fold in the first quarter of next year, its 14.1 million in sales last quarter -- a 91% improvement over the same period last year -- could be easily eclipsed. JP Morgan (JPM) estimates that the iPhone will boost Verizon profits by 11%. Unlike AT&T, though, where 13 million iPhone subscribers at the end of the first quarter of this year accounted for 15% of the wireless subscriber base and 25% of wireless revenues, Verizon has a few more toys in the box.


Verizon's Motorola (MOT) Droid X, Droid Incredible and Droid 2 Google (GOOG) Android phones, for example, accounted for about 27% of total Android sales in the second quarter of this year. Also, roughly 4% of Verizon's smart-phone users use 2 gigabytes of data per month, compared with only about 2.5% of AT&T's iPhone customers.


Here's a look at the iPhone and how it stacks up against five smart-phone alternatives.


The lawsuit won't go to trial, but it undermines much-needed confidence in the American banking system.

By Jim Cramer Oct 20, 2010 8:42AM

thestreetBy Jim Cramer, TheStreet


If you think Bank of America (BAC) is going to buy back those bonds, even if the Fed's involved, then you might as well forget the rule of law. Lots of bonds were issued, bought and sold by everyone during this period, and, believe me, the ones that BAC or its Countrywide unit packaged were no worse and most likely better than others.


I think that it is a way to get a little something back and that maybe, down the line, BAC will settle for some dollar amount that is probably not yet reserved but will be.


What bothers me about this is that, once again, it is the flipside of this administration and this era.


The surprise move is causing a ripple effect in markets worldwide.

By Jim J. Jubak Oct 19, 2010 4:21PM

Jim JubakChina caught global financial markets flatfooted Tuesday by raising its benchmark interest rates for the first time since 2007.

The People's Bank of China raised its one-year lending rate to 5.56% from 5.31% and its deposit rate by 0.25 percentage points to 2.5%.

The move sent markets lower around the world. The Dow Jones industrials were down 2% at 3:30 ET. In Europe, the FTSE 100 was down 0.7%, and Brazil's Bovespa was down 1.6%.


Proposed new rules and a crackdown on the business model at for-profit schools hit the sector hard.

By Kim Peterson Oct 19, 2010 3:32PM
University of Phoenix building (©Joshua Lott/Bloomberg/Getty Images)For-profit education stocks like Apollo Group (APOL) were hot as the recession hit. Laid-off workers will return to school to sharpen their skills, right?

But those stocks have fallen hard. Their business models are lousy, with big profits ultimately funded by taxpayer dollars. They have come under fire by lawmakers and stockholders and are now having to change the policies that made them profitable in the first place.

For a glimpse at just how shoddy those policies are, consider this report issued three weeks ago by Sen. Tom Harkin. Here's how some schools rake in profits at taxpayer expense: 

Apple is on a course that no company has ever traversed. Consider the following insights from Steve Jobs.

By TheStreet Staff Oct 19, 2010 12:45PM

Credit: (© Paul Sakuma/AP)
Caption: Apple CEO Steve Jobs holds the new iPhone 4By Jason Schwarz, TheStreet


Steve Jobs couldn't help himself. He just had to sit in on Apple's (AAPL) first $20 billion quarterly conference call. His presence certainly added to the depth of insight coming from Apple management.


In fact, Jobs revealed four insider opinions on the future of tech that, if true, will cause Apple's stock to continue its run to overtake ExxonMobil (XOM) as the world's largest stock by market cap.


As a rare jack-of-all-trades innovator, Apple is blazing a trail that no company has ever traversed. Consider the following four insights from the brain of Steve Jobs:


As the beverage giant reports an increase in earnings, this may be the time to grab its shares.

By TheStreet Staff Oct 19, 2010 12:19PM

Credit: (©Jeff Chiu/AP)
Caption: Coca-Cola bottlesBy Andrea Tse, TheStreet


Coca-Cola (KO) reported an increase in third-quarter earnings amid solid volume growth.


The company said net income attributable to shareholders of the Coca-Cola Co. increased by 8% to $2.055 billion, or 88 cents a share, from $1.896 billion, or 81 cents, a year earlier.


Shares of Coca-Cola were rising 0.5% to $60.32 in midday trading.


Strong corporate earnings make it tough to bet against stocks, but nothing keeps going up in a straight line.

By InvestorPlace Oct 19, 2010 9:59AM

By Jamie Dlugosch

Exchange-traded funds have been successful for us as of late, but it appears that a pause may be around the corner.

One of the biggest mistakes investors can make is to project their own personal situation to the market or stocks in general.

If times are tough, the assumption is that times are tough everywhere and that stocks will likely falter. All sorts of emotions, including envy and jealousy, can come out of the woodwork when things aren’t going well personally. 


Researching your picks and making an informed play off the news will give you a competitive advantage. Just look at Allergan.

By Jim Cramer Oct 19, 2010 8:26AM

jim cramer


By Jim Cramer, TheStreet


The other day, while I was speaking and signing books at the 92nd Street Y, someone asked me what I thought of the "perfect market theory," that everything is pretty much known about stocks simultaneously and no one can get an edge.


I laughed. I said give me a break. It's wrong EVERY DAY.


Monday was no different. Consider the biggest gainer, Allergan (AGN), which rose 5.5% on its approval of Botox for migraines. When the approval news came out after the bell on Friday, I was confident of two things: (1) The "in the know" people would know this is no surprise and (2) the "out of the know" people would think it was revelatory and take the stock up much higher.


We know about the BRIC countries. Now a new crop of nations could become the next investing hot spots.

By Kim Peterson Oct 18, 2010 4:32PM
global economy © Comstock / SuperStockA civet is a cat-like animal that produces musk used in perfumes. But to investors, CIVETS may be the new BRIC.

BRIC, the countries of Brazil, Russia, India and China, have long been recognized as an investment goldmine. Economists at Goldman Sachs (GS) have suggested that BRIC could become huge forces in the world economy by 2050.

Now some are suggesting investors update their international focus to CIVETS: Colombia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt, Turkey and South Africa. The bank HSBC reportedly first coined the term, with the chief executive saying he liked the countries for the following reasons: 

The investor says that he bought the famous company to get revenge -- and that he could have made a wiser choice.

By Kim Peterson Oct 18, 2010 1:33PM

Credit: (© Paul White/AP)Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A). You can't think of one without the other.

But that's not what Buffett would have preferred. In fact, he told CNBC that Berkshire is the dumbest stock he's ever bought. Buying the company was a $200 billion blunder, he said.

How did Buffett get saddled with one of the biggest mistakes of his life? The story has lessons for any investor -- not just the world's richest. Here's what happened.

Back in 1962, Buffett was running a hedge fund worth about $7 million, he told CNBC. He found a small textile company that was going downhill -- closing mills and buying stock with the proceeds.

He bought the stock and decided to tender it to the company for a small profit, eventually agreeing to a sell price of $11.50 a share. But a few weeks later, the company sent documents showing a sell price of $11.375.

That enraged Buffett, who thought the company was trying to pull a fast one on him. Fueled by revenge, he bought enough shares to control the company and fired the manager who had set the price. 

"The truth is I had now committed a major amount of money to a terrible business," he said. "And Berkshire Hathaway became the base for everything pretty much that I've done since."

So Buffett was stuck with a run-down textile company, which he slowly molded into the Berkshire Hathaway that he is known for. But if he had just started out with a regular insurance business, he told CNBC, it would be worth another $200 billion -- twice as much as Berkshire is now.

More from MSN Money:


Citigroup and Bank of America are ridiculously low. But while their shares offer good value, that's not enough to justify buying them.

By Jim Cramer Oct 18, 2010 12:11PM

jim cramerBy Jim Cramer, TheStreet


Which way does it cut? Which way? That's what I found myself muttering when the newsstand kid asked me whether he should buy Bank of America (BAC) and Citigroup (C).


Normally, I would tell you no bottom is in sight, right? Kid over his head? Except the past three times he has told me what he was doing, he was buying Riverbed (RVBD) about 50% ago, Visa (V) in the 30s and Chipotle (CMG), all down hard on something he thought was ridiculous.


Those were tremendous buys, and I remember he told me he was going to buy them; this wasn't some sort of "Hey, Jim, I bought Chipotle last week" kind of thing.



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[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market finished an upbeat week on a mixed note. The S&P 500 shed less than a point, ending the week higher by 1.3%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (+0.1%) cemented a 1.7% advance for the week. High-beta names underperformed, which weighed on the Nasdaq Composite (-0.3%) and the Russell 2000 (-1.3%).

Equity indices displayed strength in the early going with the S&P 500 tagging the 2,019 level during the opening 30 minutes of the action. However, ... More


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