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Pebblebrook has the means and expertise to snap up valuable properties.

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day Dec 1, 2010 11:47AM

Hotels have been a painful roach trap the last few years (investors check in, but they don't check out!). Alex Pape says all that pain has led to a great investment opportunity in cash-rich bargain hunter Pebblebrook. Enjoy your stay!

 

Rex Moore, Motley Fool Top Stocks Editor

 

If you like ugly, you're going to love my pick today.


There are plenty of suffering industries out there, but few more hideous than hotels. However, aesthetically beautiful but economically ugly hotels are Pebblebrook Hotel Trust's (PEB) bread and butter.

 

Analysis: International man of mystery Julian Assange appears to have a loaded publicity gun aimed at the bank.

By TheStreet Staff Dec 1, 2010 10:53AM
Banker © Radius Images/Jupiterimages By Lauren Tara LaCapra, TheStreet

 

In its latest perception battle, Bank of America (BAC) is up against an international man of mystery who appears to have a loaded publicity gun.

 

In just hours, he robbed shareholders of as much as $4 billion.

 

The man is Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks and known for blockbuster data dumps that have humiliated top diplomats and allegedly put lives in danger.

 

The EU's fund to backstop financial markets sounded good, but it's ending up smaller than advertised.

By Jim J. Jubak Dec 1, 2010 10:45AM

Jim JubakThe financial markets have started to do the math they should have done six months ago, and they don’t like what they’re seeing: The European Union’s much-vaunted financial backstop fund might not have enough money to rescue Spain, the numbers argue. That’s because the fund was never as big as advertised.


The realization that the attempt to paper over the euro crisis until 2012 or so isn’t very credible has savaged Portuguese and Spanish government debt today. As of noon the cost in the derivative market to insure Portugal’s government debt against default hit a record, and investors demanded the highest premium since the euro began to hold Spanish 10-year bonds instead of their German counterparts.


The euro itself dropped to a 10-week low Tuesday and was at $1.31 Wednesday.

 

The Apple tablet's sales have gained by almost exactly the rate that Kindle's have lost.

By InvestorPlace Dec 1, 2010 10:33AM

Credit: (© Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Caption: Apple iPadBy Jeff Reeves, editor of InvestorPlace.com


A recent survey shows that the once-dominant Kindle e-reader from Amazon (AMZN) is rapidly losing market share to the Apple Inc. (AAPL) iPad tablet computer. Customers who own the iPad have a higher rate of satisfaction, and future buyers are more likely to pick up the Apple gadget than a Kindle -- signs that the Kindle is fighting a major uphill battle.


In November, ChangeWave Research asked more than 400 e-reader owners about their habits. The most telling finding was that the Amazon Kindle saw a sharp decline in current ownership that almost exactly equaled the gains by Apple and its iPad.

 

Forget B of A, Wells Fargo and JPMorgan until they can avoid negative news long enough to sustain a 2-day rally.

By Jim Cramer Dec 1, 2010 5:14AM
Jim Cramer

So much for the big-bank-stock rally.

 

As I wrote Tuesday, the headlines are too overwhelming. You can't get any uglier than Tuesday's smoking gun at Bank of America (BAC) -- except a smoking machine gun. The company's shares hit an 18-month low of $10.95 amid speculation that the bank may be the next target of WikiLeaks.

 

The press is not going to let up. It doesn't matter if the net interest margins are getting better or the fees are growing or credit is stronger. What matter are mortgage malfeasance and the inability to put that issue behind the big banks.

 

A narrowing of breath suggests buyers are finding fewer bargains, a sign that lower prices are needed.

By Anthony Mirhaydari Nov 30, 2010 4:51PM

While stock prices have made little progress over the last two months, a key measure of the market's internal strength is fading. Breadth, or the number of stock that are participating in the uptrend, has moved to the lowest levels seen since August. Yet despite this, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDU) continues to trade at levels first seen in mid-October.


This is unsustainable -- like a house with a crumbling foundation. As investors become more skittish, with concerns over Chinese inflation, Korean artillery fire, and European bailouts, they increasingly focus on the best performing stocks. The laggards are ignored. But eventually, are an increasing percentage of issues halt their advance and turn lower, the broad market indices will follow unless buyers reengage.


Today, breadth measured moved to fresh lows. Of the 30 Dow components, just three stocks remain in uptrends as defined by their 9-day average being above their 18-day average. Here they are, along with a look at the recent losers:

 

News sites are reporting that Google is close to buying Groupon -- for a huge amount.

By Kim Peterson Nov 30, 2010 4:08PM
Online shopping © Comstock/SuperStockKudos to Groupon and its baby-faced young founder, Andrew Mason.

News sites are reporting that a deal is close in which Google (GOOG) would buy the hot discount deal site. The price tag is higher than what most expected, too, if reports are correct.

AllThingsD reports that Google has offered $5.3 billion for Groupon, making Groupon its largest acquisition yet. "It will move the search giant instantly to the top spot in local commerce online and give it huge troves of data about consumer buying habits and merchant information across the globe," writes Kara Swisher. 
Tags: internet

McDonald's doesn't sell as many kids' meals anymore. Has the company moved on?

By Kim Peterson Nov 30, 2010 3:11PM
Credit: (© Darren McCollester/Getty Images)
Caption: McDonald's restaurantTo hear McDonald's (MCD) talk about it, the Happy Meal doesn't seem like a big deal.

The Happy Meal accounts for less than 10% of the company's U.S. business, a spokeswoman told Ad Age. McDonald's won't say much else about its Happy Meal sales and won't give specific numbers.

San Francisco doesn't think much about the Happy Meal. Its board of supervisors has now officially banned the Happy Meal -- in its current form, at least -- starting Dec. 1, 2011. (By the way, a dietitian has created Happy Meal ideas that would be acceptable under the ban. Turkey burgers, baked fries and steamed broccoli sound good to me.) 

How messed-up market expectations can work in your favor.

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day Nov 30, 2010 12:40PM

For our pick of the day we turn to Fool Jim Mueller, who employs the "expectations investing" strategy of Michael Mauboussin. Here, Jim shows us why Transocean's low expectations are providing us with a buy opportunity.

 

Rex Moore, Motley Fool Top Stocks editor

 

I think Transocean (RIG) is a buy right now because of Mr. Market's messed-up expectations. Let me explain.

 

Retailers used promotions and free shipping to lure shoppers. Sales of luxury goods and jewelry drove the increase.

By TheStreet Staff Nov 30, 2010 11:47AM

Online Christmas © BilderLounge/SuperStock By Jeanine Poggi, TheStreet

 

Online sales on Cyber Monday climbed 19.4% from a year earlier, helped by demand for jewelry and luxury goods.

 

The average order value grew 8.3% to $194.89 from $180.03, according to Coremetrics, a unit of IBM (IBM).

 

Shoppers have been increasingly turning to the Web for holiday gifts in recent years. Retailers, battling a sluggish economy for a third straight year, rolled out special online-only promotions and shipping deals to draw consumers.

 

The user experience keeps getting better in this rebellion against cable. No wonder people are buying the service -- and the stock.

By Jim Cramer Nov 30, 2010 10:00AM

jim cramerMaybe it all comes down to whether or not you use Netflix (NFLX). Because if you do, you understand why it is so terrific and why it could rally 7 more points. If you don't, then you are in Nowheresville.

 

I have been cribbing off my kids' Netflix ID, since in a roundabout way, I pay for them. But I decided to open my own account this weekend because they don't want me messing with the queue anymore.

 

I am still in the mail-order game, getting the DVD I want to watch when I want it. I do that because even though I have FIOS and DirecTV (DTV) (hopeless football fan) and have had Comcast (CMCSA), I frequently find there's nothing on the dial I want to watch when I want it.

 

The January effect is coming sooner than you think. Capitalize on the upside with these ETFs.

By InvestorPlace Nov 29, 2010 5:16PM
We got blindsided by external events last week. Ireland’s cry for help followed by hostilities in Korea conspired against the market.

 

I would not be deterred. Our Top ETF Buys for last week made money versus a loss for the overall market. I’m expecting the same this week.

 

My favorite top buy for the coming week is the ProShares Russell 2000 (IWM).

 

The January effect is coming earlier and earlier. I expect small cap stocks to do well in December.

 

Stores sold nearly nine iPads per hour.

By Kim Peterson Nov 29, 2010 3:09PM
Credit: (© Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Caption: Apple iPadA team of analysts from Piper Jaffray spent Black Friday sitting in Apple (AAPL) stores around the country. Why? To count the number of products being sold.

This shoe-leather research is useful for Gene Munster, the main Apple analyst at Piper Jaffray. He has predicted that Apple will sell 5.5 million iPads this quarter, and he wanted to see how that was holding up.

He thinks the number is still correct. Here's what his team saw on Black Friday, according to Fortune

The success of Amazon's Prime loyalty program has caught the attention of other retailers.

By Kim Peterson Nov 29, 2010 2:32PM
Reginald Armstead, Jr., of Phoenix, sends a package on its way after packing it at the 800,000 sq. ft. Amazon.com warehouse in Goodyear, Ariz. Amazon.com Inc (©Ross D. Franklin/AP)Are you in the cult of Amazon (AMZN) Prime? The endless parade of brown boxes showing up at your door would be the first sign.

You've broken up with other stores. After all, you've paid $79 annually to join Amazon Prime, so you might as well get your money's worth, with two-day shipping to boot.

Newsweek says Amazon Prime "may be the most ingenious and effective customer loyalty program in all of e-commerce, if not retail in general." It's such a cult, in fact, that other stores are rushing to copy it. 
Tags: internet

Consider these exchange-traded funds if you don't expect a bear market but wish to skirt the European debt crisis.

By TheStreet Staff Nov 29, 2010 1:08PM

ETF investment advice from thestreetGlobal economy © Comstock / SuperStockBy Gary Gordon, TheStreet

 

Notre Dame's Fighting Irish may have fans singing its football praises for pounding an Army squad 27-3. Yet the third weekend of November brought little cheer for Ireland itself as the country conceded its need for a financial bailout.

 

Meanwhile, the European Union and the world at large have been desperately trying to keep the dreaded debt scare from spreading. The problem is the sovereign debt crisis has been highly publicized for a full year.

 

Containment to Greece and Ireland hasn't been simple, as investors have been almost as unwilling to risk investing in the poor credit of Spain, Italy and Portugal.

 

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[BRIEFING.COM] The major averages finished the session on a modestly higher note, but not before heavy selling pressure sent the Nasdaq Composite (+0.3%) for a test of its 200-day moving average. The S&P 500, meanwhile, added 0.7% with all ten sectors posting gains.

Equities climbed at the open with the advance built on the relative strength of biotechnology and other momentum names. Despite the solid early gains in those areas, the market began fading from its high as multiple ... More


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