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Get your defensive plan ready

Indexes might not be in correction territory, but they're getting closer. Now's the time to consider what moves to make.


Don't let the overreaction to the downside dissuade you from buying these great companies.

By Jim Cramer May 3, 2010 7:37AM
Jim Cramer

If you didn't know any better, you would think that all drilling in the world is being done in the Gulf, that the Gulf is finished as a place to drill -- a la California after the huge Santa Barbara Unocal spill of a different generation -- and that all the drillers should therefore be sold.


If you looked at the bank stocks, you would presume that the Senate is going to run roughshod over the group and trash all but the smaller regionals, when I think the opposite is true. Sen. Chris Dodd is well aware of the anger in America, and yet he wants to be constructive, and the declines this morning are totally out of sync with what's happening in Washington, as there is some negative analyst chatter that I think does not read Congress correctly.


There are issues in both cases. I do not know the impact for Transocean (RIG), although the consensus is they will owe nothing because they are immunized by BP (BP).


The market closed down for the week but up for the month -- and the last 3 months too.

By Jim Van Meerten May 2, 2010 12:19PM
Time for Financial Tides' weekly stock market wrap-up. April was a good month but the past week wasn't a good week. Too much news about Greece, Goldman Sachs and the Gulf oil spills. Bummer! Let's use our 3 standard yardsticks from Barchart to quantify the damage and then move on.

Value Line Index: Contains 1700 stocks, so it's much broader than the S&P 500 or the even narrower Dow 30 -- down for the week but up for the month
  • Index down 3.16% for the week but still up 4.94% for the month
  • The Index closed Friday below its 20 day moving average but above its 50 & 100 DMA
  • Barchart technical signals have a 40% short term sell but an 8% overall buy signal
  • Index was positive 3 months in a row

Barchart Market Momentum: The percentage of stocks closing above their daily moving averages for various time periods -- above 50% means a rising tide floats all boats -- slight weakness this week


Jeremy Grantham and others are keying on high-quality large-caps. Here's a few that my Guru Strategies think are the best of the big boys.

By John Reese Apr 30, 2010 8:12PM

GMO's Jeremy Grantham, the longtime bear who in late 2008 and early 2009 said stocks had become cheap for the first time in more than two decades, is sounding gloomy again. In his latest quarterly letter, released last week, Grantham says he thinks U.S. stocks have blown past fair value and are now "very overpriced".

But Grantham says one particular area of the market is still offering good buys: U.S. high-quality large-caps. And he's not alone. BusinessWeek reported this week that two other fund managers with excellent long-term track records -- Thomas Perkins and Donald Yacktman -- are finding bargains in similar areas. Perkins, whose Mid Cap Value fund has beaten 94% of its peers in the past decade, says large-caps "have gotten so cheap that they should outperform for the next several years"; Yacktman, whose fund has beaten 99% of funds in its category over the past three, five, and ten years, according to Morningstar, has big positions in high-quality blue chips like Coca-Cola (KO) and Pfizer (PFE).


While my Guru Strategies -- each of which is based on the approach of a different investing great -- are currently finding value in a number of different areas of the market, Grantham's, Perkins', and Yacktman's comments got me wondering which large-caps these models might be highest on. And, right now, according to my models, one stock may clearly be the best of the large-cap bunch.


There will be winners and losers if financial regulatory reform passes. Giant banks will be stung; smaller ones will win out.

By Jamie Dlugosch Apr 30, 2010 5:10PM

Now we know why Wall Street lobbyists are out in force in the fight against financial regulatory reform.


The New York Times is reporting that new rules with respect to trading of derivative securities would cost banks billions.


Of course this issue boils down to big dollars. For too long Wall Street firms have operated in a shadow environment whereby the rules were fast and loose. As a result of market inefficiency with respect to complex financial derivatives, big bucks were made.



To the extent regulations are passed those profits could evaporate, hurting the biggest banks of the world. But that pain will benefit the smaller banks that I will mention below.


There are three areas to examine to see how global markets could perform in the future.

By Jim J. Jubak Apr 30, 2010 2:52PM
Jim JubakTrying to figure out where the stock market -- or, actually, stock markets, since global markets aren't closely correlated right now -- is headed from here?

Remember that trends always run further and longer than investors expect. So what does that mean at the moment?

U.S. outperformance. The U.S. stock market will continue to be the best performing stock market in the world into the summer. The Bureau of Economic Analysis report Friday on first-quarter gross domestic product numbers didn't put a period to that trend.

A whistle-blowing lawyer claims Lehman's chief executive lied to Congress about his salary.

By Kim Peterson Apr 30, 2010 2:02PM
Richard Fuld. © AP Photo/Kevin WolfThis drama has all the right elements: A whistle-blowing lawyer. Possible lies to Congress. Hundreds of millions of dollars quietly pocketed.

Pass the popcorn! Oh, wait. The case of the salary of former Lehman exec Richard Fuld is just a drop in the bucket. There are countless scandals now involving Wall Street bosses, their ridiculous salaries, the investor money they lost and how it all helped the economy implode.

Will the case of Dick Fuld's missing money get any traction? It all centers around the claim that Fuld, the boss at Lehman as the corporate ship was sinking, lied to lawmakers about the salary he was bringing home. 

Warren Buffett's apprehension toward derivative reform is interesting, given his past view of this slice of the market.

By TheStreet Staff Apr 30, 2010 9:39AM

Image credit: © Chip East/ReutersBy Don Dion,


Given Warren Buffett's knack for making money, it's no wonder that the ears of investors around the globe perk up when he opens his mouth -- but what Buffett says doesn't always coincide with what he does.


During recent months, Buffett has diverged from his teachings several times. 


At the end of 2009, Buffett expressed his disapproval for Kraft Foods' (KFT) stock-heavy bid for Cadbury.


The launch of instant coffee Via is only the beginning of an ambitious (but vague) product line for retailers.

By InvestorPlace Apr 30, 2010 9:26AM

That green Starbucks (SBUX) mermaid has long been a staple of cityscapes, airports and strip malls -- but if executives at the coffee company have their way, the logo will become just as prevalent on the shelves of your local grocery store.

Starbucks is making a concerted push into the staples retail marketplace -- starting with a new summer strategy that includes new ice cream flavors. (Check out the complete Starbucks summer menu here!)

Though some stores already carry the company’s coffee beans, this is just the beginning of an ambitious line of products across the next year or two that will put the company’s name on a variety of other foods consumers crave.


The recession just ended, but you can't expect companies to begin bringing employees back just yet.

By Jim Cramer Apr 30, 2010 7:58AM
Jim Cramer

We want badly to relate the end of a recession to hiring, but unfortunately for the millions of people who are unemployed, it doesn't work that way.


That disconnect is particularly problematic in this recession, with a proximate cause of a total shutdown of the credit markets. Many companies, in order to assure that they had access to the credit markets, had to fire people to show they had the cash flow necessary to get loans.


You can't expect companies, even within a year after firing people, to bring them back on. In fact, the only companies I have seen take that action are companies that furloughed people specifically to bring them back when things got better, a policy that was not widespread.


The history of leading economic indicators shows the recovery is well on its way since the market lows.

By InvestorPlace Apr 30, 2010 7:21AM

Bull © Photographers Choice RF/SuperStockPlenty of investors still believe the U.S. economy is still just one shock away from another crash. But a hard look at the data shows that point of view simply doesn't hold water.

Look at the latest bullish housing market data for March -- including stronger permits and sales. Or check out the host of stocks raising dividends now that they're cash-rich once more. The list goes on.

If you're still turning up your nose at talk of the recovery, there's probably little that can be done to change your mind. But if anything will convince even the bearish bear that things aren't so bad, it's a set of charts showing strength in nearly all of the major economic indicators. Take a look:


Long-term investors might want to stay with Potash, but the company could face a rough year in 2010.

By Jim J. Jubak Apr 29, 2010 3:39PM

Jim JubakSo was that good news or bad news that Potash of Saskatchewan (POT) announced Wednesday?

For the first quarter of 2010, the company reported earnings of $1.47 a share and revenue of $1.71 billion. Both numbers beat Wall Street projections of $1.32 per share for earnings and $1.48 billion for revenue.

Clearly good news. But then the report gets confusing.


Reading between the lines, there are signals that a deal could happen.

By Kim Peterson Apr 29, 2010 3:34PM
There might be a chance that the Securities and Exchange Commission's case against Goldman Sachs (GS) could head to a settlement.

That's the conclusion of Bloomberg BusinessWeek, which parses some of Goldman's recent statements and sees the company signaling for a deal.

Case in point: Arthur Levitt, a former SEC chairman who is now an adviser to Goldman. "This is a suit which I think should be settled promptly, not just for Goldman Sachs, not just for the industry, but for the economy as a whole," he told Bloomberg TV.  

The carmaker's shares have fallen in recent days as some analysts question Ford's growth potential.

By TheStreet Staff Apr 29, 2010 3:04PM

TheStreetBy Andrea Tse, TheStreet


Ford (F) stock tumbled 2.4% on Wednesday as mixed forecasts about the company's upcoming quarters emerged -- despite the company's strong first-quarter results.


The reaction has hardly surprised Ford equity analysts.


"Ford has had a strong run over past year, so it's not surprising that people have locked in profits," Standard & Poor's analyst Efraim Levy says. "The question is, what will you do for me next?" Craig-Hallum Capital analyst Steve Dyer says "it's natural that people would begin to question how much upside is left."


The Apple chief executive pens a long and public letter about the deficiencies of Adobe's Flash.

By Kim Peterson Apr 29, 2010 3:00PM
Apple CEO Steve JobsPeople hang on every word Steve Jobs says. So when the Apple(AAPL) chief executive writes a long letter bashing another company's product -- well, it's the talk of the tech world.

That happened Thursday, when Jobs released 1,671 words about the Flash software system from Adobe (ADBE). Adobe shares dropped a couple of percentage points in response but were recovering at midday, while Apple shares were up slightly.

The letter may have been a defensive move in part, since Apple has taken a lot of heat for banning Flash from iPhones and its new iPad tablet. Flash is so pervasive online -- it's been the go-to platform for videos, advertising and games -- that banning it was a pretty shocking step (and, in the short term at least, one that hurts the experience of Apple users). 

Friday's GDP report will show the recession is over, but that the recovery is moderate and disappointing.

By TheStreet Staff Apr 29, 2010 11:23AM

TheStreetBy Peter Morici, TheStreet


On Friday, the Commerce Department will report its first-quarter gross domestic product estimate. Economists are forecasting a 3.5% increase, further confirming the end of the recession and that the recovery is moderate and disappointing.


Unemployment will hang above 8% or 9% well into 2011, and most workers will continue to face a tough job market and declining living standards.


This recovery is decidedly anti-middle class. Wages won’t keep up with rising prices, health care premiums and taxes. A good deal of the gains, so far, are going to Wall Street and the medical and intellectual property industries.



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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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