Get ready for a flood of IPOs
Flood of IPOs land this week

If everything goes as planned, this week will be the busiest for initial public offerings since 2000.


Funds tracking producers can offer relief from economic headwinds while outperforming the physical metal during rallies.

By TheStreet Staff Jun 16, 2011 11:24AM

Image: Gold ingots (©Anthony Bradshaw/Photographer)By Don Dion, TheStreet


Thanks to exchange-traded funds, gaining access to gold has become simpler than ever. With products such as SPDR Gold Shares (GLD), iShares Gold Trust (IAU) and ETFS Physical Gold Shares (SGOL), investors can gain exposure to physical bullion.


However, there are other options gold-hungry investors may want to consider, including gold-miner-backed funds like the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (GDX) and Market Vectors Junior Gold Miners ETF (GDXJ). Unlike GLD and other physically backed products, GDX and GDXJ do not track a physical stockpile of the metal. Instead, they spread their assets across a wide collection of global gold producers.


Of the two funds, GDX stands out as the strongest and most stable option for conservative, long-term investors. Top holdings include Barrick Gold (ABX), Goldcorp (GG) and Newmont Mining (NEM).


Rising material costs, weak existing-home prices and a glut of distressed properties on the market are crushing builder confidence.

By TheStreet Staff Jun 16, 2011 10:58AM

Image: Home under construction (© Corbis)By Miriam Reimer, TheStreet


Homebuilder sentiment fell to an eight-month low in June as a perfect storm of weak existing-home prices, rising material costs, distressed property sales and sluggish consumer confidence brewed in the housing market.


"Builders are being squeezed by the continuing weakness in existing-home prices -- against which they must compete -- as well as rising material costs," said Bob Nielsen, a homebuilder from Reno, Nev., and the chairman of the National Association of Home Builders.


"In addition to the ongoing impacts of distressed property sales on home prices, appraisal values and consumer confidence, rising costs for materials such as roofing, copper, wallboard, vinyl siding and other components have made it extremely difficult to construct a new home and sell it at a price that covers the costs."


The economy has hit a soft patch, but corporate America is healthy.

By TheStreet Staff Jun 16, 2011 10:26AM

Image: Value stocks (© Photodisc/Getty Images)By Jake Lynch, TheStreet


After a one-day relief rally, stocks resumed their decline Wednesday.


Although Tuesday's consumer spending report beat expectations, it marked the first year-over-year monthly decline since June 2010 as higher gasoline and food prices weighed on Americans. Then, Wednesday, the New York Area General Economic Report dropped to negative 7.8, signaling contraction, as manufacturing slowed. Making matters worse, June's national survey of U.S. homebuilders fell to a nine-month low as demand outlook weakened.


A negative-data deluge is pushing stock prices to discounts. Although the pace of growth has weakened in recent weeks, corporate America remains healthy, and a soft patch may provide an attractive entry point for equity investors. It's difficult to buy when others are fleeing the market, but long-term investors should be on the lookout for bargains in both ETFs and equities.


Despite a 20% sell-off in 2011, the retail banking giant could be a breakout pick for aggressive investors.

By InvestorPlace Jun 16, 2011 9:31AM

By Jeff Reeves, Editor,


jeff reeves investorplaceYes, my decision to buy Bank of America (BAC) on Dec. 31 at $13.34 has made me the subject of much ridicule among my colleagues. As the stock creeps down toward $10, more and more folks ask, "So, are you ready to sell now?"

My answer is firm: No way. Because my rule is that you should never make a sale unless you look at the stock in a vacuum and ask yourself, "If I didn't own stock, how would I feel? Would I think it's a buy or look elsewhere?"

And when I look at B of A, I still see reasons to buy. So much so that I'm seriously considering doubling down in my position. Here's why:


This time around, Greek riots don't pose as big a threat to US markets. But the same can't be said for European banks.

By Jim Cramer Jun 16, 2011 8:55AM

jim cramerthe streetThe last time I saw Greek protesters running down the streets and causing a big ruckus, the market plummeted almost 1,000 points. For the first 300 points, we thought it was all about Greece. It was only after we saw Procter & Gamble (PG) drop 30 points that we recognized that it was a revolt by the machines.


Still, I found it pretty uncomfortable, a little more than a year later, to see this same replay and recall that Greek protests were the proximate cause for an event that drove people out of this market like there was no tomorrow. Of course, there was a tomorrow, but a lot of people didn't stick around to see it.


It's worth debating for a moment, though, whether we are in better shape to handle the potential collapse of a country's treasury and its bonds than we were the last time Greece reached crisis mode.


The capital raising has run ahead of the income for Navios Maritime Partners.

By Jim J. Jubak Jun 15, 2011 5:22PM
Jim JubakNothing wrong with the yield on Navios Maritime Partners (NMM) -- 9.48% on a trailing-12-month dividend track record.

But how do you feel about the volatility of this master limited partnership as we head into the possibility of a slowing global economy? Dry bulk shippers are extremely sensitive to changes in global economic activity, since day rates for their ships and the number of days those ships are under contract vary with how much iron ore and coal and the like need to go from hither to yon.

The partnership units, which trade at $17.93 today, fell to $13.96 in last year’s summer slump. The low, during the global economic crisis, was $2.86 on Nov. 20, 2008.

That’s too much risk for me, even with the big dividend yield. And that’s why I dropped the stock from my Dividend Income portfolio on May 6, 2011. See my post for more on this.

The retail giant turns to small and midsized buildings in an effort to draw more US shoppers.

By Kim Peterson Jun 15, 2011 2:37PM
Wal-Mart (WMT) stores are about to get smaller. The new ones, anyway.

The company still runs the giant, sprawling supercenters that we're familiar with. But now it's opening more midsized stores under the Walmart Market name. They're about the size of an average supermarket.

Wal-Mart already has 185 such markets and wants to open 90 to 100 more by January. That total will ramp up to 300 by fiscal 2013, the company said.

And Wal-Mart is getting even smaller with Wal-Mart Express, its answer to the dollar stores that have been stealing its business. Wal-Mart Express stores get you in and out fast, with milk, eggs, a pharmacy, check-cashing services and gasoline pumps. 

Here are a few names that have disappointed some top fund managers.

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day Jun 15, 2011 1:24PM

By Matt Koppenheffer


"Managers don't go from geniuses to idiots overnight."

-- Russell Kinnel, director of mutual fund research at Morningstar


The quote above comes courtesy of a recent Bloomberg article that discussed the lackluster performance of mutual fund all-stars Bruce Berkowitz, Ken Heebner and Bill Miller so far this year.


We could actually read that quote a couple of different ways. The obvious read is that when a top-performing manager's performance dips, it doesn't mean that he's suddenly lost his touch. However, we could also take the view that when a stock picker's performance badly falters, perhaps he wasn't the genius that we originally assumed he was.


Of course Berkowitz, Heebner and Miller aren't just any trio of schmoes who had a few years of good returns. In fact, they have delivered outstanding performance over extended periods and provided good reason for us to believe that they have legitimate skill.


The stock looks to be in correction mode as institutional traders have lost interest. What's its future?

By Kim Peterson Jun 15, 2011 12:59PM
Starbucks (SBUX) went on an amazing run from August 2010 through the end of March, with shares rising more than 50%.

But we really haven't seen much from the stock in the past three months. Shares bounced between $35 and $37, and Wednesday they were slipping below $35.

So is it time to buy or sell? In the following video, we get arguments for both moves. Dan Fitzpatrick of TheStreet says the technicals show big institutions have lost interest in Starbucks, while Jim Cramer says the institutions will be back and the stock is worth buying. 

The sector's popularity has inspired funds that track farming.

By TheStreet Staff Jun 15, 2011 12:08PM

Image: Corn field (© Sean Way/Design Pics/Corbis)By Don Dion, TheStreet


As I explained earlier this week, commodities have become difficult to tame as the broad market works through this current rough patch. While attempting to target the wide resource spectrum as a whole may be tricky now, there are individual segments that are showing promising strength.


Agriculture, for instance, has stood out in recent weeks as crops such as corn and wheat have generated headlines. This scenario is boding well for equity-backed ETFs linked to farming.


The veteran Market Vectors Agribusiness ETF (MOO) has enjoyed a welcome jolt of activity as rising food prices drive investors toward farming-related companies like Mosaic (MOS), Deere (DE) and Monsanto (MON).


The stock was priced at $16 and has soared as high as $26. What are investors seeing here?

By Kim Peterson Jun 15, 2011 11:31AM
Updated 4:30 p.m. ET

Online music service Pandora Media (P) saw a nice jump in its initial public offering Wednesday. The company raised about $235 million, pricing shares at $16 each.

The stock opened at $20 surged to $26, but ended up closing the day at $17.42. At the $20 opening, the company was valued at more than $3 billion. Fairly outrageous, since Pandora has never made a profit, gets revenue mostly from advertising and faces enormous competition.

Check out this video discussion about Pandora's pros and cons and why the company can't achieve economies of scale.  

Closed-end mutual funds can offer discounts of 10% or more. But do your homework before jumping in.

By TheStreet Staff Jun 15, 2011 11:25AM

Image: Mutual funds (© Don Farrall/Getty Images)By Robert Holmes, TheStreet


The stock market slump has led some investors to turn more defensive, and now they are clamoring for the safety of securities with high yields.


That means bond funds, Dow stocks and REITs. But they may be overlooking closed-end funds, such as the BlackRock Credit Allocation Income Trust (BTZ), which offer discounts of 10% or more and generous yields that may produce positive returns this year.


Picking a closed-end fund with an outsized yield trading at a discount to its net asset value (the perceived value of its underlying investments) can seem like finding a needle in a haystack. But with diligence and research, they can be found, says Patrick Galley of RiverNorth Capital, a Chicago company with nearly half of its $1 billion in assets invested in closed-end funds.


Utilities are heating up, and these three stocks have found strong support, creating attractive—and relatively safe—buying opportunities for income-minded investors.

By Jun 15, 2011 11:13AM
By Tom Aspray,

Tuesday’s action in the stock market has caused the short term Advance/Decline (A/D) indicators to turn up from oversold levels. Clearly, bearish sentiment had reached levels that are normally associated with important turning points.

The futures’ early reaction to this morning’s CPI number has been extremely negative, causing the market to give up much of Tuesday’s gains. A close above Tuesday’s highs is needed to signal that a short-term low is in place.

During the correction, I have been monitoring what I’ve deemed “The Best Sectors for Summer,” all of which are back to first good support. 

In particular, the utilities sector, as tracked by the Select Sector SPDR - Utilities (XLU), and many of the utility stocks are now looking quite interesting. They have declined over the past month, now reaching good chart and retracement support. The longer-term volume patterns do suggest that this correction is a buying opportunity.
Tags: etf

Where tech investors crave growth -- in cloud services and the surge in smartphones -- Pandora is a hit. With video on Pandora's first day of trading on Wall Street.

By TheStreet Staff Jun 15, 2011 11:13AM

By Scott Moritz, TheStreet


Prudent Pandora Media (P) watchers have focused on many of the flaws in the company, but the bigger picture is so much kinder.


Sure, the company will continue to drip red ink for the rest of the year, maybe longer. Yes, with only 9.2% of the outstanding shares being sold in the IPO, it qualifies as a so-called sliver offering, a distortion of thin supply and heavy demand that helped overheatLinkedIn's (LNKD) debut.


It's also an easy-to-imitate service that, even with its vaunted predictive musical-taste-matching system, seems to offer a limited selection and repetitive results.


Yet while all that may be true, Pandora has what investors crave.


The iPhone maker will probably find a quick replacement for Ron Johnson, who is leaving to lead JCPenney.

By TheStreet Staff Jun 15, 2011 10:55AM

By James Rogers, TheStreet


Apple (APPL) should shrug off the departure of its retail guru Ron Johnson to JCPenney (JCP), according to Goldman Sachs (GS), which says the company's growing network of stores will continue their upward trajectory.


"While Mr. Johnson has been a key figure in Apple's expansion and we view his departure as a loss, the company's retail strategy is now well established," explained Bill Shope, an analyst at Goldman Sachs, in a note released on Tuesday. "As a result, there is a firm retail template in place and we see little disruption to the company's plans or performance."


Johnson will assume the Penney CEO's position on Nov. 1, according to the Plano, Tex.-based retailer, succeeding Myron (Mike) Ullman III. In a statement, Penney also confirmed that Johnson will join its board of directors, effective Aug. 1.



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[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market began the last week of July on a quiet note with the S&P 500 ending less than a point above its flat line. Like the benchmark index, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (+0.1%) also posted a slim gain, while the Russell 2000 (-0.5%) and Nasdaq Composite (-0.1%) lagged throughout the session.

The major averages were awakened from their weekend slumber with an opening retreat that pressured the S&P 500 below its 20-day moving average (1975). Even though ... More


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