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The market sees a major plunge, aided in part by computer programs designed to protect investors.

By Jim J. Jubak May 6, 2010 4:18PM

Jim JubakWow! Or, maybe better, Yeeouch!


In the last hour of trading on Thursday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 1,000 points as it fell and kept on falling. Then just 350 points or so after it rallied off the bottom.


It closed near 10,500, off about 380, or a bit more than 3%.


My best guess on what happened is that the selling of the past two days and the first part of Thursday finally took prices on the major indexes low enough to trigger massive program trading.

 

Rumors on Wall Street say the actor's shares of Priceline.com are paying off handsomely.

By Kim Peterson May 6, 2010 1:46PM
William Shatner. Credit: (© Lionel Cironneau/AP)William Shatner made a name for himself on "Star Trek," but he's making his fortune from a travel website.

Shatner has filmed advertisements for Priceline.com(PCLN) since 1997, and received shares in the company as part of his compensation. We don't know the starting value of the shares he has received over the years, but Priceline has gone from under $10 a decade ago to nearly $250 now.

And the rumor on Wall Street is that Priceline has helped Shatner build his fortune to $600 million, according to Times Online

The shares retreat from previous gains this year amid talk of financial reform legislation and debt woes in Europe.

By TheStreet Staff May 6, 2010 1:41PM

By Laurie Kulikowski, TheStreetTheStreet.com

 

Citigroup (C) shares have slumped as weakness in the stock market has conspired with the government's decision to begin selling part of its stake in the bank to knock the shares down as much as 20% from recent highs.

 

The shares have sunk 14% since April 23, the last trading day before the US Treasury said it would begin selling 20% of the 7.7 billion Citigroup shares it owns in relation to the company's $45 billion bailout. On an intraday basis, using Wednesday's session low of $4.04 and a near-term peak of $5.07 on April 15, the stock was down 20%.

 

The KBW Bank index (BKX) is down just 5% over the same period. Citigroup's weighting in the index is 7.6%.

 

The precious metal gains as investors avoid the euro amid concerns about debt in the European Union.

By TheStreet Staff May 6, 2010 11:08AM

© Stockbyte/SuperStockBy Alix Steel, TheStreetTheStreet

 

Gold was rising today as investors seek safety from the sinking euro, Greece riots and Portugal debt fears.

 

Gold for June delivery was rising $10.30 to $1,185.30 an ounce at the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. Gold traded as high as $1,187.30 and as low as $1,173. The U.S. dollar index was rising 0.3% to $84.40 while the euro hit a one-year low, falling 0.5% to $1.27 against the dollar. The spot gold price Thursday was rising over $11, according to Kitco's gold index.

 

A falling euro is boosting gold prices as investors look for a hard asset that keeps its value. As the debt of European Union nations balloons, investors are speculating that the European Central Bank might have to print money to address the situation.

 

There are signs that buyers are returning to the market -- and that the downward move is mostly over.

By Anthony Mirhaydari May 6, 2010 10:38AM

MirhaydariStocks gapped lower in the opening minutes of trading Wednesday as concerns over the future of the eurozone and the solvency of the southern states lingered.

 

It was the first two-day drop since early February. The dollar jumped at the expense of the euro, and commodities were clipped.

 

But then suddenly, when the Dow Industrial Average seemed fated for another triple-digit down day, buyers regrouped and charged. Bears were caught off guard. Large-cap stocks briefly pushed back into positive territory before shares swiveled and moved back into the red. In today's trading, stocks continue to stabilize.

 

Think all high yield dividend stocks are blue chips in the Dow? Think again! (And know the risks before you buy.)

By InvestorPlace May 6, 2010 8:35AM

Save Money © CorbisHigh-yield dividend stocks were hard to come by in the recession, as some big blue chips slashed their payouts. But now, dividend growth appears to be back. 


According to Standard and Poor's, only 48 companies in the S&P 500 decreased their dividend payments during the first quarter of 2010 -- a vast improvement over the record 367 companies that slashed dividends during the same period in 2009 -- adding $6.4 billion in total dividends.


And not all stocks boosting payouts are the blue chips. Some small caps are offering mammoth yields right now -- including one tiny stock with a 12% dividend yield.

 

The only stocks going up are the ones that have sat around doing nothing all year.

By Jim Cramer May 6, 2010 7:40AM
Jim Cramer

If the market weren't up so much, I have to tell you, we wouldn't care so much about the contagion. If the quarters hadn't been so good, if the stocks hadn't flown when they reported, we would be sitting here feeling smug. Instead, we have to watch the futures get hammered, and we are afraid to bid for anything but Coca-Cola (KO) and PepsiCo (PEP).

 

I don't blame us. Wednesday was totally discouraging in that the only real buying was short-covering, hence the swift 130-point reversal. We have entered one of those zones where a whisper can take stocks lower, except for those that didn't go up before.

 

HPQ a good short candidate? Not at the moment.

By Jim Van Meerten May 5, 2010 3:09PM
Here is a company I really have mixed feelings about. Just after a bad customer support experience with my HP computers and printers, I read a posting on Marketocracy that asked: "What's behind this dinosaur? Not much!.....To me HPQ looks like a great short opportunity."

First let me tell you about my bad experience. I decided to upgrade my computer so I went to Best Buy and purchased a new HP Pavilion Entertainment PC. When I got home I tried to connect it to my old and trusty HP LaserJet III but there was no place to plug in the printer's 25 pin cable so back to Best Buy to get a converter cable to connect to the USB port. I log on and try to print but nothing happens. I call HP customer support to get assistance connecting my HP computer to my HP printer. To me that sounds like a logical step but boy was I wrong. 

Stocks are plunging, but new numbers show that the US economy is still recovering.

By Jim J. Jubak May 5, 2010 2:59PM

Jim JubakYou'd never know it by looking at plunging U.S. stock prices, but the economic data this week have been solid. 


The numbers point to a US economic recovery that is at worst chugging along and that at best might even be picking up speed.


So, for example, factory orders for March showed a big 1.3% increase. The consensus among economists called for a 0.2% decline. The government also revised February's numbers to show a 1.3% increase instead of the earlier 0.6% gain.

 

It's getting harder and harder to find a high-quality pick these days.

By Kim Peterson May 5, 2010 2:46PM

Shredded cash © RubberBall/SuperStockIs now a good time to buy stocks? Are any out there worth the effort?

The pickings are getting slimmer. Jim Jubak says investors are looking to get out of a market beset with woes. He suggests looking for bargains among growth stocks, but adds that stocks aren't going higher on good news these days.

Mark Hulbert at MarketWatch says "there are precious few stocks that qualify as genuinely very high quality."

 

It's a common investing dilemma: how early is too early, and how late is too late?

By Jamie Dlugosch May 5, 2010 2:17PM

Coffee shops © CorbisWould you rather by an established company with little risk but a relatively high price; a small-cap newcomer with more risk but potentially more reward, or even an early stage privately held company that may soar or sink?

 

One of the hottest stocks over the past two years has been Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (GMCR). Shares have appreciated nearly fivefold since the start of 2009.

But that was then. Last week’s sell-off in Green Mountain demonstrates the challenges of buying into a story late instead of early. Shares of Green Mountain dropped some 11% after providing guidance for the third quarter that was weaker than expected.

 

Shares of Cummins have lost recent gains, thanks to the European debt crisis.

By Jim J. Jubak May 5, 2010 1:32PM

Jim JubakBack on April 20, I said that I'd like to add shares of Cummins (CMI) to Jubak's Picks. Well, the stock ran away from me -- I mean, really ran, before I could get in a buy.


Now, thanks to the European debt crisis, the shares have given up all that gain and a little bit more. And I'm adding Cummins to Jubak's Picks Wednesday.


As I wrote in my post, the U.S. economic recovery is on track for decent, if not spectacular, growth. In that environment, I want to own growth stories where the basic underlying positives of the U.S. economy get a rocket booster blast from pent-up demand that has built up during the Great Recession. (For more on that kind of growth stock, see this post.)

 

In its quest to topple fast food giant McDonald's, Burger King has a new trick -- $1 Icees.

By InvestorPlace May 5, 2010 9:08AM

burger king bkc mcdonalds mcdIn a war over fast food promotions, The King and Ronald McDonald continue to duke it out.


First it was the $1 double cheeseburger war, which irked some BK franchisees. Then, the fight over breakfast. Now it appears McDonald’s (MCD) and Burger King (BKC)have come to blows over summer drinks.

Many Mickey D’s locations are planning a summer drink promotion where customers can get any sized soft drinks or a 32-ounce sweet tea for just $1. Now the King has counter-punched, with a plan to sell medium-sized Icees in Coke flavor or Fanta Cherry flavor for just $1. The promotion starts May 24 and runs until June 20.

 

The bank's real battleground is still the SEC suit, which it may find difficult to settle.

By Jim Cramer May 5, 2010 7:43AM
Jim Cramer

Nothing worse than a leak of a Justice Department investigation. It can't be countered. It can't be softened. It can't be commented on. It's just out and out "there," to be had as a football for the media to play with.


Not only that, there is no way the Justice Department will ever come out and deny it, or even indicate when it started looking, or what it is looking at, if at all.

 

The simple truth from the beginning of this Goldman Sachs (GS) leak is that the government is rationally approaching the case. Does anyone believe that Justice wouldn't be looking into the situation? Does anyone believe Justice is ignoring the probe?

 

If you've been waiting to sell until later in May or June, rethink your timing.

By Jim J. Jubak May 4, 2010 4:22PM

Jim JubakDo you feel the psychology of this market changing? 


A few weeks ago, I think you could have accurately said that investors on the sidelines were waiting to get into what they saw as a continuing stock market rally. I think that was true as late as April 15 (when the Standard & Poor's 500 index was at 1212) or even April 23 (when the S&P 500 was at 1217).


But now, I think it's fair to say that many investors in the market are looking for a day to get out.

 

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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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