The assembly line producing the Ford Fiesta car in Cuautitlan Izcalli, Mexico. © Susana Gonzalez/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Mexico will soon be next car capital

Some 80% of the vehicles built south of the border are exported to other countries, mostly to the US.


The all-electric competitor to the Toyota Prius and GM Volt hybrids will be made in Tennessee.

By TheStreet Staff Apr 20, 2011 1:21PM

By Ted Reed, TheStreet


Kicking off the New York Auto Show, Nissan's top U.S. executive said the automaker plans to boost its U.S. production, including adding Leaf production in Smyrna, Tenn., by the end of 2012.


Carlos Tavares, the chairman of Nissan Americas, said the primary cause of the move is the strong yen, which has inspired a desire to ensure that a product "sold in the regions (is) 85% made in the region."


"That's the driver," Tavares said. He added that the earthquake and tsunami in Japan underscored the need for higher U.S. production, although all Nissan's Japan plants are now operating.


Slow iPhone sales, a surge in low-margin iPads, and parts shortages in Japan may crimp the company's forecast.

By TheStreet Staff Apr 20, 2011 12:33PM

the streetBy Scott Moritz, TheStreet


Apple (AAPL) is looking sharp going into a tech earnings season that, until Tuesday afternoon, had been a dismal parade of dullards.


If Apple delivers on plan, it will be less like the streak of earnings disappointments from Google's (GOOG) profit-robbing spending splurge and Texas Instruments' (TXN) big miss Monday that somehow came in below the target it lowered last month.


Blowout numbers from Apple could put it in the class of upside surprises like IBM (IBM) and Intel (INTC), which both flew past analysts' targets with earnings reports Tuesday.


But Apple's guidance is a whole other game, and there's reason to think the outlook in Cupertino, Calif., may not be a winner.


Investors looking for exposure to non-dollar-denominated assets may choose from two liquid currency ETFs set to benefit from growth of the Chinese currency.

By Apr 20, 2011 11:45AM
By Tom Aspray,

Monday’s plunge in global equity prices briefly boosted the dollar, giving some hope that it was finally bottoming. The optimism didn’t last long, however, as the dollar gave up most of its gains on Tuesday.

The negative technical outlook for the dollar is in agreement with the bearish fundamentals, and S&P’s recent downgrade of its US debt outlook is likely to add further downward pressure over the next few months.

The downgrade of US debt may have accelerated plans by the Chinese government to make the yuan more of a global currency. A Tuesday Wall Street Journal interview with a Hong Kong monetary official hinted that discussions were underway to make it easier to bring yuan funds raised overseas back into China.

This would open up the Hong Kong debt markets to many companies, and they would be able to invest in China without converting to dollars. Under current guidelines, large transfers of all currencies coming into China must be approved by the government.

Recent data suggests that the yuan is already becoming more global, as 7% of the foreign trade in the first quarter was in yuan, which was a sharp increase from just 0.5% last year. 

New funds allow investors to gain exposure to small companies in Brazil, Russia, India and China.

By TheStreet Staff Apr 20, 2011 11:39AM

By Don Dion, TheStreet


The BRIC nations are popular for both investors and fund providers. The ETF industry offers a wide collection of products that tap into Brazil, Russia, India and China from a number of perspectives.


The field of BRIC-related ETFs expanded last week with the launch of Van Eck's Market Vectors Russia Small Cap ETF (RSXJ). The first fund of its kind, RSXJ provides investors with exposure to a diverse collection of small companies based in Russia.


So far, the fund has seen limited interest and is still vulnerable to liquidity issues. I urge investors to hold off on RSXJ until it gathers steam.


This pharmacy-benefits manager has a much brighter future than its current stock price implies.

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day Apr 20, 2011 11:19AM

By Bryan White


About $14 billion in annual sales of brand name drugs have come off patent annually since 2008, but that was just the beginning. Starting in December of this year through the end of 2012, approximately $35 billion worth of sales more will lose patent exclusivity, including Lipitor, Plavix, and Singulair. One industry positioned to profit from the wave of new generic launches is the pharmacy benefits managers, or PBMs.


Born in the 1980s, PBMs work for health-care payors such as insurance companies, employers, and government agencies which outsource prescription drug plan management and claims processing. PBMs are responsible for developing and maintaining the formulary, contracting with pharmacies, and negotiating discounts and rebates with drug manufacturers on behalf of their clients, the health-care payors.


Your decision depends on your appetite for risk. At any rate, GM should be on investors' watch lists. With video on GM's prospects.

By TheStreet Staff Apr 20, 2011 10:59AM

By Jake Lynch, TheStreet


The new General Motors (GM)went public in November, collecting proceeds of $23 billion, which ranked as the second-largest offering in US history. The automaker was assisted by lead book-runners JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and Morgan Stanley (MS).


Although GM's stock -- initially valued at 7.8 times forward earnings, a sizable peer and market discount -- appeared cheap, it has tumbled from $33 to just over $29, as of Tuesday's close. The stock has tumbled 24% from a recent high around $39 to a fresh post-IPO low. What happened?


Momentum-driven stocks that are plagued by skepticism have a tendency to rise into a positive earnings report.

By TheStreet Staff Apr 20, 2011 10:44AM

By Ali Meshkati, TheStreet


A few months ago, I wrote an article that said Netflix (NFLX) would outperform Apple (AAPL) during any market correction. What I should have written, at that time, was that Netflix would outperform Apple, period.


The point of the article was missed by most. I take full responsibility as I probably mixed in too many distracting points and topics. It's not about an Apple vs. Netflix war of technology, executives or each company's place within this technology-driven world.


The point of the article was that market psychology drives stock price, irrespective of fundamentals. When a momentum-driven trend begins in a company that is under a tremendous amount of scrutiny and doubt, it creates a support dynamic for the stock. It allows the stock to continue to a share price and market cap that not even the founders of the company could have imagined would be possible.


Though housing prices have dropped to new lows, folks aren't sure a home is a solid investment anymore.

By Kim Peterson Apr 19, 2011 2:02PM
Image: House with coins (© Digital Vision/Getty Images)Houses are dirt cheap right now. In fact, homes are more affordable than at any time since the National Association of Realtors began measuring the data back in 1970, Bloomberg reports.

But people aren't buying. The economy and the tightened lending market have all but removed the possibility of homeownership for some. But there's another interesting sentiment developing: More and more people just don't want to buy anymore.

The percentage of people who think of a home as a safe investment has dropped to just 64%, Bloomberg reports. That's the lowest ever reported in the national housing survey from Fannie Mae, and down from 83% in 2003.

So many people have turned away from homebuying, in fact, that we may be seeing a culture shift. Maybe the house with a white picket fence is no longer part of the American dream. 

DirecTV plans to offer on-demand movies just two months after their theatrical release. But the rental is pricey.

By Kim Peterson Apr 19, 2011 1:25PM
Image: Hollywood (© Comstock/SuperStock)Would you pay $30 to rent "Just Go With It," an Adam Sandler movie that critic Richard Roeper calls "a pile of steaming crap"? Me neither.

But that's what DirecTV (DTV) has chosen to launch its premium on-demand video service this week. The service plans to offer movies just two months after their release in theaters, and DirecTV thinks people will pay more money to take advantage of this early window.

The service is set to launch Thursday with "Just Go With It," available for a 48-hour rental, Bloomberg reports. It will reportedly get movies from Universal Pictures, Warner Bros. and Twentieth Century Fox.

Other movies coming in the next few months include "The Adjustment Bureau," "Cedar Rapids" and "Hall Pass," Bloomberg reports. 

The Verizon iPhone and a rush to prepaid plans have Ma Bell on the ropes. With video on the telecom sector.

By TheStreet Staff Apr 19, 2011 11:41AM

By Scott Moritz, TheStreet


Apple's (AAPL)iPhone made all the difference for AT&T (T) last quarter.


As big phone rivals AT&T and Verizon (VZ) square off this week on first-quarter earnings, Wall Street awaits the numbers from Ma Bell's wireless unit now that the iPhone sells at Verizon.


Analysts expect that the loss of Apple iPhone exclusivity took the steam out of AT&T's wireless growth. The number of new so-called post-paid-contract customers AT&T added in the first quarter fell uncomfortably close to zero, according to at least one analyst.


Investors who avoid overreacting to recent headlines will find favorable opportunities in a number of promising ETFs. Here are several risk-controlled buy set-ups.

By Apr 19, 2011 11:23AM
By Tom Aspray,

It has been a rough week for many of the world markets. A week ago, we had the Goldman Sachs (GS) sell signal for crude oil and other commodities. 

That was followed this week by Standard & Poor’s cautionary note about the future of US debt, which caused a new round of panic selling on Monday.

I have always been skeptical when there is a widespread reaction to the opinion of one analyst, firm, or country. Most veteran traders questioned the motives of Goldman Sachs, especially after crude oil plunged 3.5% and copper declined 1.7% the following day. Goldman has earnings due out Tuesday; I wonder if they showed a profit?

The market’s reaction to S&P’s cutting of its outlook for US debt hit the US stock market hard on the opening. Selling on the opening in reaction to almost any news is a bad idea because typically prices will bounce in the next few hours, even in a bear market.

The company hopes to hire 50,000 workers today in an effort to put the burger-flipping stereotype to rest.

By Kim Peterson Apr 19, 2011 11:18AM
McDonald's (MCD) is the home of the original "McJob," though that's not a term the company particularly favors. The word even made it into the Oxford English Dictionary as "an unstimulating, low-paid job with few prospects."

Good luck hiring with that stereotype. But that's exactly what McDonald's is doing today in a push to hire 50,000 new workers. "We're proud of our food, and we're just as proud of the jobs we create," the company says about what it has called its National Hiring Day. 

Search no more: Current negativity gives long-term investors a better price.

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day Apr 19, 2011 11:10AM

By Alyce Lomax


My Rising Star portfolio is designed to yield both financial and social dividends. So far, its holdings include three consumer-facing stocks, a solar company, a power demand response firm, and a corporation that cleans up waste, toxic and otherwise. But as yet, it still lacks a representative of our social, electronically connected world.


Let's fix that. Google's (GOOG) recent quarter caused Wall Street types to choke on their pricey Kobe burgers. What better time to ignore the negativity and buy into a company with surprisingly lofty goals, including its famous motto: "Don't be evil."


The business
Google's everywhere, summoned by multitudes of browsers, countless times a day, to search for everything from the educational to the mundane. Some people have substituted Google's Chrome Web browser for Microsoft's (MSFT) Internet Explorer. Other rebellious types even reject Microsoft's Office products for Google Docs.


These funds all offer investors direct access to the semiconductor industry, but each has its own strategy.

By TheStreet Staff Apr 19, 2011 10:41AM

By Don Dion, TheStreet


As I explained Monday, this week's busy earnings calendar is laden with companies from across the technology industry. I highlighted the iShares Dow Jones U.S. Technology Sector Index Fund (IYW) as a product investors can turn to in order to gain adequate exposure to a number of these companies. However, hands-on investors can also tailor their IT exposure to suit their specific desires through a variety of subsector tech ETFs.


For instance, investors can use ETFs to home in on the semiconductor industry, which will be a major focus of this week's earnings-related press. Texas Instruments (TXN) kicked things off on Monday, and three other major names from this region of the tech market will follow suit this week: Intel (INTC), Qualcomm (QCOM) and Advanced Micro Devices (AMD). Broadcom (BRCM) and Nvidia (NVDA) are slated to report in late April and May, respectively.


After failing to bolster its brick-and-mortar business, the company forms a digital retail division.

By InvestorPlace Apr 19, 2011 8:40AM

investorplace logoIt's been a busy few months for Wal-Mart (WMT). The retail giant has said it will improve the nutritional value of its store brands, build smaller stores in urban areas, deliver groceries to inner-city residents and return to its roots by offering lower prices every day.

But if you think Wal-Mart is settling down, think again. According to reports, Wal-Mart has agreed to buy social-media startup Kosmix and form a digital sales division with the hip name @WalmartLabs.

The world’s largest retailer is trying to say loud and clear that it wants to be taken seriously as an online retailer. But amid all these other efforts, is Wal-Mart simply a jack of all retail trades and a master of none? Or can an online push really prop up sliding sales?



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Market index data delayed by 15 minutes

[BRIEFING.COM] Not much change among the major averages as they continue holding modest gains. Countercyclical sectors have traded in the green since the start of the session, while cyclical groups have been mixed.

Only two growth-oriented sectors have been able to stay out of the red with both financials (+1.0%) and technology (+0.6%) hovering near their highs at this juncture.

Interestingly, the gains in equities have not led to outflows from the bond market. To the contrary, ... More


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