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From fast food to salons and energy to tech, here are some ideas with great long-growth potential.

By TheStockAdvisors Dec 23, 2011 3:15PM
Image: Woman shopping at beauty store (© Jack Hollingsworth/Brand X/Getty Images)By Mike Cintolo, Cabot Market Letter

There is still potential for short-term market drops back toward the August lows, and until that probability is greatly reduced, it would be prudent to continue to hold a large cash reserve.

In the meantime, we continue to track numerous stocks with great growth potential; here, we present the current top prospects. If you do choose to invest in some of these, take care to buy on dips. And if you incur losses, keep them small, so you’ll still be in the game when the next big bull market gets rolling. 

The new 4G device has impressive features, but competitors aren't standing still.

By InvestorPlace Dec 23, 2011 2:53PM
Image: Businesswoman on cellphone (© Corbis)By Anthony John Agnello, Consumer and Technology Writer


Mobile technology heading into 2012 is all about the marriage of two features: the lowest price tag and the highest specifications. Look no further than Apple's (AAPL) strategy with the recently released iPhone 4S. With a two-year contract at Verizon (VZ), AT&T (T) or Sprint (S), you can get a fine iPhone that sports a voice-operated personal assistant and an 8-megapixel camera that can shoot HD video in 1080p -- all for just $200. Some fancy specifications and a nice price.


Sony (SNE), true to tradition, is pushing at least the high-end aspect with its latest mobile devices.

 

Gogo aims to raise $100 million in an offering to help it expand operations.

By Kim Peterson Dec 23, 2011 2:43PM
Image: Passengers on an airplane (© Image Source/Getty Images)If you accessed Wi-Fi on a flight in North America recently, chances are you used technology from Gogo.

The company is the main provider of on-board Wi-Fi in the U.S., and needs more money to expand its business. Gogo has filed paperwork to raise $100 million in an initial public offering, and will trade under the ticker symbol GOGO.

Gogo handles in-flight Internet for nine of the 10 North American airlines that offer the service, including Delta Air (DAL), Alaska Airlines (ALK), US Airways (LCC) and American Airlines, owned by AMR (AMR). It's on a trial basis with United Airlines (UAL). 

The business uniform supplier blows past analyst estimates and raises 2012 guidance.

By Zacks.com Dec 23, 2011 2:10PM

Image: Couple ordering meal in restaurant © NULL/CorbisBy Todd Bunton
    ‎  

Cintas (CTAS) delivered excellent second-quarter 2012 results Tuesday. Earnings per share came in at 57 cents, crushing the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 9 cents. It was a whopping 50% increase over the same quarter in 2011. 


Revenue rose 9% to a record $1.02 billion, ahead of the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1 billion. Organic revenue increased a solid 7% as the company maintained momentum in its rental uniforms and ancillary products segment, as well as in its first aid, safety and fire protection services segment. Operating income improved 30% year-over-year, while operating margin improved from 10.9% to 13%.

 
Tags: CTAS

The video-streaming and DVD company is cutting the annual stock-option allowance for Reed Hastings.

By Kim Peterson Dec 23, 2011 1:13PM
Image: Woman with computer (© Don Mason/Blend Images/Corbis)Netflix (NFLX) wasn't exactly happy with CEO Reed Hastings' performance this year -- and for good reason. As a result, Hastings isn't getting as many presents under the tree.

The company has cut Hastings' annual stock-option allowance by half to $1.5 million, Bloomberg reports. A year ago, he was given $3 million in stock options.

Hastings didn't get a raise, either. His salary of $500,000 will stay the same. 
Tags: NFLX

Despite many challenges, Jamie Dimon's bank will be one of the winners on the new Wall Street.

By The Fiscal Times Dec 23, 2011 12:55PM
JPMorganBy Suzanne McGee, The Fiscal Times

Analyst Todd Hagerman of Sterne Agee hit the nail on the head when he identified headwinds that JPMorgan Chase (JPM) is going to face in the coming months. They range from the sluggish global economy to the new regulatory environment and other "structural changes that are affecting most of the bank’s core businesses."

And maybe Hagerman is right to suggest caution when it comes to loading up on the bank's stock -- on Wednesday he cut his rating on JPMorgan shares to "neutral" from "buy." Certainly, JPMorgan's much-lauded CEO Jamie Dimon appears to have a tin ear regarding the world beyond Wall Street, having dismissed the financial crisis as just another cyclical downturn and, more recently, shrugged off populist outrage at the behavior of behemoth banks. 

Did management pass on possible acquisition talks?

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day Dec 23, 2011 12:47PM
Image: Arrow Down Red (© Kyu Oh/Photodisc/Getty)ByEvan Niu

 

There's really no way to sugarcoat it: Research In Motion (RIMM) is rapidly spiraling the drain toward irrelevance.

 

There are plenty of ways it could have avoided its current quandary, starting by taking the advice of shareholders and employees instead of allowing co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie to blindly charge ahead with their misaligned strategy. Reports are now surfacing that there could have been another outcome; it didn't have to be this way.

 

Ariad Pharmaceuticals, Monsanto and Accenture are a few names that could benefit if these events come to pass.

By MSN Money Partner Dec 23, 2011 11:18AM

Image: Woman reading newspaper in livingroom © Tetra images/Getty ImagesBy Peter Leeds, guest columnist

 

The coming year will see major events play out, such as the presidential election, continued turmoil in Libya, and the potential fall of the euro.  Each of these will create some key investment opportunities.  Based on analysis I conduct for my  financial newsletter, I'm expecting the following events to occur in 2012. I normally focus on penny stocks, but here I list some larger stocks I think will enjoy strong performances as a result of these events.

 

1.  Obama will be re-elected

Based on percentages coming in from 9 battle ground states, and the number of electoral college votes from each, it appears that Obama would win if the election were held today.  I expect his lead to increase as the campaign enters full swing.

 

The list includes names poised for capital appreciation over the next year.

By TheStockAdvisors Dec 23, 2011 10:36AM
Image: Bull figurine on ascending line graph and list of share prices (© Adam Gault/OJO Images/Getty Images)By Standard & Poor's The Outlook

A dynamic, actively managed portfolio, the S&P Top Ten Portfolio is comprised of stocks that S&P Equity Research believes to be well positioned for solid capital appreciation over the next 12 months.

Stocks must have our highest five-stars ranking to enter the portfolio. If the ranking drops below four stars, the stock will be removed.

In addition, any stock in the portfolio may be replaced with a five-star stock at any time. 

Will the card giant be able to reinvent itself in 2012?

By Benzinga Dec 22, 2011 6:57PM

Image: Birthday (© Simon Jarratt/Corbis/Corbis)By Jay Wong, Benzinga Staff Writer


American Greetings (AM) shares plunged Thursday after the company said that third-quarter earnings fell almost 40% as sales and marketing costs rose. With those expenses eating into the bottom line, the company sharply cut its forecast for 2012.


Quarterly profit of 50 cents a share severely missed analyst estimates of 81 cents a share. The company further irritated investors by refusing to answer many analyst questions on its conference call, instead opting for "no comment" responses.

 

There are so few banking and tech stocks that buck the economy's headwinds, so why bother with them?

By Jim Cramer Dec 22, 2011 5:20PM

Image: Bank Vault (© Radius Images/Jupiterimages)There's good tech and then there's bad tech. There are good banks and then there are bad banks. These are huge sectors and they can't be regarded as unified or uniformed. Yet that's what people do.


There has always been a sector pull to these two, but it's never been as great as now because of the ETF-ization of everything, making it so that stocks that shouldn't trade together trade together, and it causes someone like me, who wants to endorse particular stocks, to be tarred as changing his mind and flip-flopping like "Jim, you hate tech, how can you like Google (GOOG)?"

 

The restaurant chain, which saw shares hit a new 52-week high Thursday, has strategies for both good times and bad.

By Jonathan Berr Dec 22, 2011 4:38PM
Image: Family eating burgers (© Bananastock/Jupiterimages)McDonald's (MCD) is the ideal stock for investors worried about the prospects of a double-dip recession next year -- and for those who think the economic recovery will continue.

The world's largest restaurant chain appeals to the budget-conscious consumer through its dollar menu and its value meals. People with more money to spend are buying more expensive items such as coffee drinks and premium chicken sandwiches. This dual strategy is working like a charm for the Oak Brook, Ill. company. 
Tags: MCD

If Europe slumps to recession levels next year, the company could see sales growth stall.

By Jim J. Jubak Dec 22, 2011 4:13PM
I’ve been looking for an exit on Maxwell Technologies (MXWL) for a couple of weeks now. I was hoping for something closer to $18, but after repeated drops to $14.95 (on Dec. 19) and $14.77 (on Dec. 14), the $16.09 close on Dec. 21 looks to be about as good as I’m going to get in a market that isn’t treating anything that smacks of technology or China too kindly. 

Maxwell was trading at $16.39 on Thursday afternoon.
 
Tags: MXWL

In a year that saw stunning underperformance by some big-name stocks, one indicator proved most useful.

By MoneyShow.com Dec 22, 2011 4:00PM

Image: Stocks circled in newspaper (© Digital Vision/Getty Images)By Tom Aspray, MoneyShow.com


No matter what happens in the last few days, this trading year has been an especially rough one for stock investors. While the S&P 500 is still down for the year, the Dow Industrials are actually up almost 5% (at time of writing).


So how could investors have known to be in the SPDR Diamond Trust (DIA), which tracks the Dow, instead of the Spyder Trust (SPY), which tracks the S&P 500?

 

Cigarette sales by subsidiary Philip Morris underpin profitability, stock price.

By Trefis Dec 22, 2011 2:51PM
Image: Man smoking (© Steve Mason/Photodisc Blue/Getty Images)Philip Morris USA, Altria Group's (MO) subsidiary, has hiked its cigarette prices for the second time this year. The price increase of 5 cents per pack will affect all of its 14 brands.

Cigarette manufacturers across the country have continued to raise prices as they adjust to shrinking demand. Reynolds American (RAI) is also raising prices by 5 cents per pack, while Lorillard (LO) will increase prices by 6 cents per pack. 
Tags: LOMORAI

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