Why stocks are in for a rough ride this week
Stocks in for a rough ride this week

Longtime market bull Jeremy Siegel says investors could realize the market is behind the curve on interest rates.


A sovereign-debt serpent that feeds on itself could actually solve the crisis.

By Jim Cramer Dec 21, 2011 10:51AM

TheStreetThey didn't need Eurobonds. They have the financial Ouroboros, that snake that eats its tail and devours its own waste and prospers in good health. Isn't that really what the European banks are doing?

It's a pseudo-elegant solution, a bank run in reverse. Italian banks, the most hobbled banks in the universe and devoid of funding for months and months, are able to buy sovereign bonds, no matter how toxic, no matter how many of them there are, as long as they are allowed to lock in the ECB's gift rates, the ultra-low three-year guaranteed funds that the entity is offering. 


Securing an investment grade debt rating with a stable outlook reflects optimism about Aetna's future performance. Zacks rates Aetna short-term 'stron buy.'

By Zacks.com Dec 21, 2011 9:33AM

Bananastock/age fotostockBy: Zacks Equity Research

Last week, rating agency A.M. Best Co. assigned ratings to Aetna's (AET) securities that were recently registered through the universal shelf registration process. The rating agency assigned a "bbb+" rating on the company’s senior unsecured debt, "bbb" on subordinated debt and "bbb-" on preferred stock with a stable outlook.

Shelf registration is a process authorized by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which allows a single registration document from a company for the issuance of multiple securities.


Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, U.A.E and Kuwait are all high-income economies, and some are growing faster than those of BRIC countries.

By Trefis Dec 21, 2011 8:48AM
Pink/SuperStockBaskin-Robbins's strong international presence in strategically key locations could bolster Dunkin' Brands (DNKN) stock to $29. In addition to BRIC economies, the company is also expanding in the Middle East as its operations in this region have made significant gains of late.

A disappointing domestic performance by Baskin-Robbins is also prompting the company to look eastward for growth. There are about 4,000 Baskin-Robbins outlets internationally and revenues from this segment grew more than 10% year over year last quarter. Dunkin Brands competes with McDonald's (MCD), Starbucks (SBUX), Krispy Kreme, Dairy Queen and Cold Stone Creamery to name a few. 

The company has moved beyond its chemical past to become a diverse owner of high-growth businesses.

By Jim J. Jubak Dec 21, 2011 1:17AM
You’re entitled to feel whiplashed by DuPont (DD) over the past week or so.

First, on Dec. 9, DuPont announced that fourth-quarter earnings would come in at 28 cents to 36 cents a share, well below the Wall Street consensus of 46 cents a share. The problem, the company said, is that customers are cutting back on orders on fears of a global economic slowdown, preferring to draw down inventories rather than risk getting caught with raw materials they don’t need.
Tags: DD

Will the athletic retailer beat year-over-year expectations?

By Benzinga Dec 20, 2011 7:25PM

By Scott Rubin, Benzinga Staff Writer

Global athletic apparel retailer Nike (NKE) continued strong operational momentum in its fiscal second quarter, reporting profit of $469 million, or $1 per share, up from $457 million, or 94 cents a share, in last year's second quarter.

The results beat Wall Street analyst estimates of 97 cents a share. The company cited strong consumer demand, expense leverage and a lower average share count in driving the strong results.


High-end products are still selling well despite economic uncertainty.

By Kim Peterson Dec 20, 2011 5:44PM
Wanna buy a $15,600 Gucci purse?

CNBC reports luxury goods targeted to wealthy shoppers are selling briskly. The percentage of the population that apparently has shrugged off any recession is buying enough Christian Louboutins for all of us. The average transaction amount, by the way, at Christian Louboutin's Dallas store is just over $1,108. 

Researchers at the company see a day when passwords are irrelevant and devices read your mind.

By Kim Peterson Dec 20, 2011 5:11PM
Image: Crystal ball (© Brand X Pictures/Jupiterimages)In five years, you may never need to remember another password, and the energy you create while walking will be used to power your home.

Those are the latest guesses from the brains at IBM (IBM). Researchers there make annual predictions for what technology will be like in five years. Most of those predictions have something to do with IBM's products, of course, but the list is still interesting.

Here's what IBM sees for 2016: 
Tags: ibm

As the movie rental company rebuilds its image, keeping prices stable will be critical.

By Trefis Dec 20, 2011 3:34PM
(© Comstock/SuperStock)In light of Netflix's recent pricing changes, we have updated our  model to understand how different business segments impact Netflix's (NFLX) value.

We estimate that about 60% of Netflix's value is going to come from its domestic streaming business and about 25% from international streaming. The US DVD business accounts for the remaining 15% of our total price estimate for Netflix.

Our estimates assume that although competition from companies such as Amazon (AMZN) and Blockbuster under Dish Network (DISH) will increase and that new competitors might emerge, Netflix will be able to leverage its lead, repair its brand and continue to gain new subscribers. 

Major drugmakers are jumping into the potentially lucrative business of treating canine influenza.

By Kim Peterson Dec 20, 2011 3:13PM
Humans aren't the only ones suffering from the flu this time of year. Dogs get it, too, and drugmakers are busy spreading the word about canine flu vaccines.

Many dog owners aren't aware of the dog flu. Experts say it's a relatively new phenomenon. But after apparently spreading from horses in 2004, dog flu has popped up in 38 states, according to Merck (MRK). Dog flu does not transmit to people. 

The region is seen as one of the last remaining frontiers for large oil finds.

By Trefis Dec 20, 2011 2:50PM
 (© Kevin Phillips/Digital Vision/age fotostock)ExxonMobil (XOM) may be looking to acquire Kurdistan-focused Gulf Keystone Petroleum, according to The Independent,a British newspaper. While neither of the companies commented on the news, the development indicates Exxon's deepening interest in the semi-autonomous region of Iraq.

Kurdistan is believed to hold around 40 billion barrels of oil, and the Kurdish Regional Government's (KRG) willingness to negotiate lucrative production-sharing contracts is attracting large companies to start exploration there. Competing oil giant Chevron (CVX) is also rumored to be in negotiations with the KRG to begin operations in the future.  

Despite doubling in recent years, shares are a bargain by many metrics.

By TheStockAdvisors Dec 20, 2011 2:22PM
By Richard Moroney, Dow Theory Forecasts

Apple (AAPL) stock is cheap from nearly every angle. At 13.5 times trailing earnings, Apple hasn’t been this inexpensive in at least a decade.

The shares are trading 48% below their five-year average price-to-earnings ratio. Shares also trade below five-year averages for price to sales (17% discount), enterprise ratio (34% discount), price to operating cash flow (62% discount), and price to book value (29% discount). 
Tags: AAPL

BofA technical analyst doesn't put much hope in a Santa Claus rally.

By The Fiscal Times Dec 20, 2011 1:48PM
Bank of America StockBy Suzanne McGee, The Fiscal Times

Mary Ann Bartels, head of technical analysis at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, warned investors Monday that the Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell below its 50-day moving average last week and is now about to start testing the lows last seen in October, around 1,074 to 1,100.

Bertels gives even odds that those levels might not hold either, and that the S&P 500 might fall further, potentially dipping as low as 935 to 985. The index lost 1.2% on Monday to close at 1,205.35, but Bartels' forecast lows would mean a drop of another 22.5%. 

Higher commodity costs are only part of the problem.

By Jonathan Berr Dec 20, 2011 1:27PM
 (© David Arky/Corbis)Shares of General Mills (GIS) slid 2.5% in midday trading Tuesday after the maker of Cheerios reported disappointing quarterly earnings with costs rising faster than sales.

Though higher commodity prices are being blamed, there is another less well-known reason: People are eating less cereal.

Though nutritionists have said for years that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, it is also the most rushed. Research from the NPD Group shows that the average American spends about 13 minutes each day preparing and consuming breakfast.  

Nevada attorney general accuses the company of document fraud and illegal fee-splitting. Shares are likely to continue to decline.

By MSN Money Partner Dec 20, 2011 12:11PM

PhotoAlto/Eric Audras/PhotoAlto Agency RF/Getty ImagesBy: Abigail Field

The shares of Lender Processing Services (LPS) came under fire Friday, dropping nearly 20% on unusually high volume after Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto filed fraud charges against the company.

Although LPS, a billion dollar company by market capitalization, has several business lines, the fraud charges relate to its largest (by revenue) default services division. Given the nature of the charges and the mound of evidence AG Masto cites in the complaint, Friday’s fall in share price is likely only the beginning.


The 2011 flop was overdone, so buy CAT for the New Year.

By InvestorPlace Dec 20, 2011 12:05PM

Photodisc Green/Getty ImagesBy Dan Burrows, CBS MoneyWatch columnist

After nearly quintupling from the bear-market bottom of 2009, shares in Caterpillar (CAT) have had a lousy run in 2011. That's great news for investors looking to build a position in this high-quality stock on the cheap.


Caterpillar is the world's largest maker of construction and mining equipment, and it's trading at bargain-basement levels with fears of a global economic slowdown more than baked into its share price.



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[BRIEFING.COM] The major averages posted solid gains ahead of tomorrow's policy directive from the Federal Open Market Committee. The S&P 500 rallied 0.8%, while the Russell 2000 (+0.3%) could not keep pace with the benchmark index.

Equity indices hovered near their flat lines during the first two hours of action, but surged in reaction to reports from the Wall Street Journal concerning tomorrow's FOMC statement. Specifically, Fed watcher Jon Hilsenrath indicated that the statement ... More


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