Stocks have rallied 177%, and while calling a top is the easiest thing to do, it might not be the most accurate, Cramer says.
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Keep an eye on funds tracking gambling, materials, energy and housing.
By Don Dion, TheStreet
Here are five exchange-traded funds to watch this week.
Last week, Wynn Resorts (WYNN) reported earnings, providing investors with insight into its performance over the past quarter and outlook for the gaming industry. The numbers were strong, highlighted by double-digit revenue increases at both its Las Vegas- and Macau-based establishments.
The standout performance seemed to be overshadowed, however, by the bold comments by CEO Steve Wynn in the conference call. When discussion turned to the topic of government, Wynn said, "This administration is the greatest wet blanket to business, progress, and job creation in my lifetime."
Semiconductors, beauty products and newspapers increased payouts last week.
Earnings season is in full swing, with many of the biggest companies reporting results over the past week. Stellar numbers from standout companies such as Apple (AAPL), McDonald’s (MCD) and Verizon (VZ) have grabbed the financial headlines, but on the dividend stock front, there's also been plenty of big news that's made investors smile.
We saw a bevy of big companies increasing payouts to shareholders, and that's a continuation of the trend we saw through the first six months of the year. Here are five noteworthy picks that just boosted their paydays:
It may be rough going early on, thanks to the debt ceiling debate, but earnings are likely to push stocks higher later in the week.
A strong performance by the S&P 500 last week masked underlying difficulties for a majority of stocks. The large index gained more than 2% last week, but other sectors lagged. The biggest gainers were from companies that reported strong earnings reports.
As for sentiment, there is still much fear in the market. Recent moves have been nice, but we are far from a rip-roaring rally even though corporate profit growth is strong.
This week will be marked by the pointed debate in Washington regarding raising the debt ceiling. On Friday after the market closed we learned that the bickering sides were retreating to their respective corners. Stocks are likely to be lower initially, but a debt ceiling rally could be in store later in the week.
I would view any selling on this issue as an opportunity to buy. The debt ceiling will be raised eventually.
The SPDR S&P 500 (SPY) is the ETF to own this week based on a continuation of the strong earnings results coming from companies that make up the index.
Gold, consumer goods and inflation-adjusted bonds suggest we should brace for rising prices.
By Jeff Reeves, Editor, InvestorPlace.com
There has been a lot of talk about unemployment lately, as a number of recent jobs reports have been disappointing. At the same time, the media remain focused on the looming Aug. 2 deadline to raise the debt ceiling. That has pushed one of the most pressing economic issues to the back seat. That issue is, of course, inflation.
Investors need to keep an eye on inflationary pressures for many reasons. Rising costs cut into margins for many industries, whether it's fuel costs for airlines or food costs for restaurants or materials costs for manufacturers. And, of course, you have to remember that your nest egg grows only if it can top the rate of inflation. A 1.2% high-yield savings account is actually a money-losing investment if the annualized rate of inflation hits 1.3% or higher.
The Federal Reserve and many politicians continue to insist that inflation is insubstantial. Maybe. But there also are signs it's a growing problem -- and five big reasons inflation is on the march:
As deadlock continues over a debt deal, ride out the impasse with good stocks and some gold and cash.
What happened? Did the politicians learn enough from the bad old Bear-Lehman days but not enough to make a difference? Is that where they came up with this oh-so-tense "by the time the Asian markets open" nonsense? Did they jog the cobwebs free from 2008, dust off the game plan and just go out with it, as if this is some sort of a simulated dramatic crisis?
It does seem that stupid, doesn't it? Almost as if they want the market to crash so each side can say, "We had to do it to save your 401k." That way everybody's butt is protected. They can say, "We did it for you, because look what happened when we didn't get it open in time for Asia."
Unfortunately for the "lawmakers," it looks like we didn't get much of a crash after all. It looks like we were as prepared for this one as we were unprepared for Bear. And where the heck is JPMorgan's (JPM) Jamie Dimon when you need him?
Last week's rally will need to last into an early-week deal in Washington on the debt ceiling, or we could see a correction ahead.
Any company with a 45% share -- and growing -- of a Chinese market is worth your attention.
US Bancorp is one U.S. bank that's actually seeing banking business grow.
Credit Suisse gets investigated. Carl Icahn raises his bid for Clorox. Lions Gate hires Charlie Sheen. Rupert Murdoch gets pie on his face.
By Gregg Greenberg, TheStreet
5. Credit Suisse gets clocked
Credit Suisse (CS) admitted late last week that the U.S. Justice Department is digging into its offshore business as part of a larger probe into suspected American tax cheats. Credit Suisse said it will work with the Feds within the parameters set by Swiss banking secrecy laws.
After blasting higher on fears over the US debt ceiling and a second Greek bailout, metals look vulnerable to a big pullback.
With all the chaos and volatility of the past few weeks -- from concerns over the economy, the U.S. debt ceiling, and a new, more dangerous phase in the European debt crisis -- one asset class has prospered. I'm taking about precious metals.
Since July 7, Gold SPDR (GLD) is up nearly 5%, while iShares Silver (SLV) has gained more than 10%. Over the same period, the S&P 500 is down around 1%, junk bonds are essentially unchanged, and iShares 20+ Treasury Bond (TLT) has added about 1.9%. I recommended that my readers and newsletter subscribers take advantage of the move back on July 12 via silver miner Silver Wheaton (SLW) and the leveraged ProShares Ultra Gold (UGL).
Now things are changing as investors regain their confidence and these big political concerns begin to fade. That leaves precious metals vulnerable to nasty short-term pullback. While I am still optimistic about the medium-term prospects for silver and gold, as I outlined in a recent column, now's the time for active traders to sell their positions and for long-term investors to step aside. Here's why.
Expect short-term pullbacks in these precious-metals ETFs to set up good buying opportunities next week.
The billionaire investor has remained steadfast in his optimistic outlook.
By Don Dion, TheStreet
Maintaining a bullish outlook on the markets over the past few years has been difficult. With talk of double dips and stall-outs cropping up at every sign of weakness, even the most optimistic individuals can begin to question their views and the strength of the worldwide economic recovery.
Despite these bouts of often deafening uncertainty and resounding negative sentiment, it is impossible to deny the market strength we have seen since the U.S. financial crisis and global market meltdown. Now all three major U.S. indexes are within range of pre-crisis levels. The Nasdaq ($COMPX), in fact, has recovered all of the ground lost during the period and is currently sitting at 2007 levels.
One individual who has managed to hold strong during periods of both optimism and doubt has been the Oracle of Omaha, Warren Buffett. On numerous occasions, the billionaire investor has taken doubters to task, presenting a consistently optimistic outlook on the recovery, especially that of the United States.
Steve Jobs and company are sitting on more than $76 billion in cash. A streaming video catalog would bolster their gadget offerings -- and pose a challenge to Netflix. With video.
By Jeff Reeves, Editor, InvestorPlace.com
Apple Inc. (AAPL) has made a habit of posting stunning profits, then hoarding its cash, quarter after quarter. Apple earnings this week stuck to the playbook, with profit more than tripling to $7.31 billion and helping push the tech giant's war chest up to a stunning $76.2 billion in cash and equivalents.
But what good are those profits if Apple doesn't put them to use? Many investors have been wondering for a while just what Steve Jobs and company plan to do with all that cash, and this week, a rumor emerged that might provide an answer.
Apple might buy online TV programming powerhouse Hulu.
As prices of the yellow metal continue to test new highs, investors should consider other hard assets to diversify their holdings.
By Jeff Reeves, InvestorPlace.com editor
Gold prices just won't quit. The precious metal rolled back a bit in May but has come roaring back, with prices up about 8% in three weeks to top $1,600 an ounce. And in the long term, gold has seen even more dramatic gains -- up about 50% in the past year and a half, compared with a price of about $1,080 in late January 2010.
The company is a cash machine. I bet it bottoms and starts going right back up.
For example, people were upset with United Technology's (UTX) quarter, squabbling over the loss of aircraft engine orders, bemoaning the results of Pratt & Whitney. By Thursday, the stock was flying as people realized there wasn't really anything all that wrong and it could be a one-time bummer.
Or take the stock of Goldman Sachs (GS), a company that disappointed investors and was decidedly downbeat about the future. Now the stock is up big and doesn't seem like it's going to quit -- good call by Doug Kass the other day to buy the ugliness.
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The solid report comes a month after the retailer closed all of its Canadian operations.
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[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market finished an upbeat week on a mixed note. The S&P 500 added just over a point, holding its weekly gain at 1.0% while the Nasdaq lost 0.4%.
The major averages began the day on an upbeat note, but relinquished their opening gains during the first 90 minutes of action. The early sentiment was boosted by a better-than-expected nonfarm payrolls report for February (175K versus Briefing.com consensus 163K), but a closer look into the report suggested that ... More
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