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Take bubble talk with a grain of salt

Jim Cramer asks, why pay any attention to letters from a manager who lost money in the first quarter?


Growth in Asia, low inflation and favorable interest rates could lift Dow to 12,000 this year and 13,000 in 2011.

By TheStreet Staff May 13, 2010 11:01AM

TheStreetArrow © Photodisc/SuperstockBy Peter Morici, TheStreet


The day of the "flash crash," I was asked at an executive seminar in Jersey City, N.J., what impact Greece would have on equity markets. I replied, "It should all be over by Wednesday."


I had taken the podium after the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDU) had fallen more than 250 points owing to Greek worries, but prior to the computer-trading blitz that created the now famous "V"-shaped pattern of stock prices in just about an hour. My BlackBerry turned off, no one alerted me to the panic unfolding on Wall Street.


Now that stocks have made up all their lost ground, what's next?


Citigroup isn't as promising as B of A or JPMorgan, but the company is growing and its stock could follow.

By Jim Cramer May 13, 2010 9:51AM

TheStreet's Jim CramerI had to put an end to the Citigroup (C) madness yesterday. It's not just the long trips with no sleep that bother me; it's the endless asking about Citigroup by everyone from strangers to fans, from Facebook to Twitter.


So, with the idea of clearing up the great mystery here and referring it to people, I like Citigroup. I think it is a good stock. It's not as good as Bank of America (BAC) or JPMorgan Chase (JPM), otherwise I would own it, too.

It is good, though, because it is getting to be a well-run international bank with superb leadership courtesy of Vikram Pandit, and a bench that is deeper than I thought. With 50% of its business coming from overseas -- much of it in emerging growth markets -- Citigroup is a growth vehicle, as its colossal revenue gains this last quarter made quite obvious.


Burger King just couldn't appeal to Israeli diners, so its 52 locations there will be converted into a local chain

By InvestorPlace May 13, 2010 7:16AM

So much for Whoppers in the West Bank.


Burger King (BKC) is closing the doors of locations in Israel this summer after a failed attempt to bring Western tastes to the Middle East. A local competitor, Burger Ranch, will take over the 52 locations in the nation.

You hear a lot about fast-food success stories on a global scale -- with Taco Bell recently making a splash with its potato and paneer burrito in India. But how about the failures? The reality is that Burger King’s failed Israel growth plan is just the most recent gaffe among big American restaurant giants.


The chief executive of Verizon confirms that he's working with Google on a tablet computer.

By Kim Peterson May 12, 2010 4:00PM

Credit: (© Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)Google (GOOG) and Verizon (VZ) have become best buds who apparently really want to knock Apple (AAPL) from its perch.

The two are already on the way there, working to kick the iPhone from the No. 2 spot in the U.S. smart-phone market. Now, Google's Android phones are in that position, behind the BlackBerry family, while the iPhone has been pushed back to No. 3.

Now that the iPhone assault is under way, Google and Verizon are turning to another target: Apple's iPad.


Netflix shares gain 8% amid rumors that Amazon is interested in buying the company.

By TheStreet Staff May 12, 2010 2:40PM

TheStreetUpdated at 5:33 p.m. ET


By Jeanine Poggi, TheStreet


Netflix (NFLX) shares gained 8% to $107.83 today after rumors resurfaced that Amazon (AMZN) might be interested in acquiring the company.


Speculation that Netflix might be a takeover target came up most recently in January. Netflix added 1.7 million subscribers during the first quarter, the biggest gain in its 11-year history.


While anything is possible (note the Hewlett-Packard (HPQ)-Palm (PALM) deal), Needham & Co. analyst Charles Wolf says a Netflix-Amazon deal is unlikely.


Regulators knew they didn't have a full picture of stock trading at US exchanges before the market's dramatic swoon on May 6.

By TheStreet Staff May 12, 2010 11:22AM

TheStreetBy Michael Baron, TheStreet


As regulators reveal more about their probe into the May 6 market mayhem, it’s becoming increasingly clear how ill-equipped they are to do their jobs.


Tuesday's testimony of officials from the regulatory agencies and exchanges is rife with details about unusual stock levels, outsized trading volumes and unprecedented percentage swings. Yet despite all the data presented, no definitive answers emerged.


While investigators continue to examine the roles of individual firms, the potential for erroneous trades, questionable market access standards and the differing rules governing various exchanges, the only conclusion that can be drawn so far is that regulators can't keep up with today's fast-paced digital markets.


The company is making a huge push with its Seattle's Best brand, including peddling java via vending machines

By InvestorPlace May 12, 2010 11:05AM

coffee drinkerWhen you think of a cup of joe for average Joes, chances are that mug doesn’t have a Starbucks (SBUX) logo on it. In fact, it’s a common complaint among consumers that the store’s coffee tastes “burnt” on top of be taking a big bite out of their wallet.

Well company executives are looking to change that, making a big push to roll out a milder and less expensive brand in fast food restaurants, food service and even vending machines in the coming months.

I’ll say that again in case you missed it: Starbucks is getting into the vending machine business.


Short positions in Citigroup rose to 482 million shares in April's second half from 416 million in the previous two weeks.

By TheStreet Staff May 12, 2010 10:41AM

By Dan Freed, TheStreetTheStreet


Citigroup (C) short interest rose in the second half of April, the same period in which Citigroup surprised analysts by turning in its first quarterly profit since the second quarter of 2007.


Citigroup short interest rose to 482 million shares from 416 million during the previous two-week period. Citigroup is perennially the most actively shorted ticker on the New York Stock Exchange. That's not surprising since the bank is nearly always the most actively traded name on the long side as well.


Citigroup short interest had risen for several successive reporting periods spanning at least four months until that string was broken in the second half of March. Citigroup short interest had continued to fall since that time.


Congressional debate about financial reform and drilling rules is causing stocks to waver and creating buying opportunities.

By Jim Cramer May 12, 2010 9:47AM

Congress is killing us. Mark Twain was right: "No man's life, liberty, or property is safe while Congress is in session." (Thanks to my colleague, Matt Horween, for remembering that quote.)


Every swoon I saw yesterday seemed to start in Congress, or revolved around rumors in Congress of action against drillers, against oil companies, against banks. These are big parts of the S&P 500 Index ($INX) and they reversed several times today off of Congressional musings.


One of the reasons I am so adamant that the financials are a buy is that they struggle mightily when Congress is in session, but once we get reform, even it if isn't perfect, I believe these stocks will roar off of what is a well-defined base.



The king of retail will sell games, hardware and even used DVDs at 5 test locations.

By InvestorPlace May 12, 2010 7:00AM

video game stocksWal-Mart (WMT) is looking to jump back into the used PlayStation, Wii and Xbox business.


Specifically, Wal-Mart has entered into a lease agreement with a small retailer called Game Trade to test used-video-game sales, buybacks and trade-ins in five stores.

This isn’t the retail king’s first foray into the used video-game business -- but there are a few reasons to think this venture may succeed where others failed.


The company is facing threats on all sides, from Mother Nature to deep-pocketed rivals.

By Kim Peterson May 11, 2010 3:49PM
Credit: © Henry Arden/Cultura/Getty ImagesTake a look at the three-month chart for Monsanto (MON). It's not pretty.

Shares have fallen from $78 in February to current levels of about $58. On Tuesday, the stock was down another 3%. Barron's suggests investors think about selling their shares.

Monsanto is getting hit from everywhere, it seems. After decades of unparalleled success with its Roundup weed-killer, nature is striking back with a vengeance. 

Value investors can find a lot of diamonds in the rough if they crunch the right numbers

By InvestorPlace May 11, 2010 3:19PM

If you’re a value investor, the low P/E ratios on Wall Street are the stuff of fantasies right now. That means now is the time to go bargain hunting if you have some extra cash.

To be clear, we're not talking about Europe stocks to buy after the Greece debt debacle. The jury is still out on whether the euro zone has stopped the bleeding across the pond. And we're not talking about fuzzy math using trailing profits or revenues to juice the numbers. We all know that year-over-year comparisons for the first quarter earnings made everyone look good.

These bargain companies are the real deal. Let me give three examples in blue chips across three very different sectors:


One study says Americans are paying the lowest taxes since Harry Truman was president.

By Kim Peterson May 11, 2010 2:44PM

Tax protest © Brian Hagiwara/Brand X/CorbisWe hear lots of talk about high taxes, but the truth is that Americans are paying their lowest level of taxes since 1950, USA Today reports.

About 9.2% of Americans' personal income went to federal, state and local taxes in 2009, the newspaper reports. Historically, we've paid about 12%.

Why are taxes so low? Several reasons. First, there were the tax cuts that were part of the $862 billion stimulus package last year, USA Today reports. A third of that stimulus went straight to tax cuts.


Gold is approaching the end of its rally, and emerging-market stocks are looking better.

By Jim J. Jubak May 11, 2010 1:54PM

Jim JubakI don't want to get greedy here and am going to sell Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (GDX) out of Jubak's Picks.

Gold is near its all-time high of $1,227.50 an ounce, set on Dec. 3, 2009, and you don't have to look far to find the reasons -- the European debt crisis and inflation fears in China come to mind. 

I do think gold could run higher from here, though. The debt crisis isn't over, considering that the credit-rating companies that haven't rated Greek government bonds as junk are threatening to do so. And I think we'll see at least one more spasm of fear from China.

Tags: gold

Five things we still don't know about the Dow's 1,000 point plunge.

By Money Staff May 11, 2010 12:51PM

By Heidi N. Moore, The Big Money


On Tuesday, the House Financial Services Committee will hold a hearing to find out what exactly happened on Thursday, May 6, to send the Dow Jones Industrial Average diving 1,000 points in a matter of minutes.


This is perhaps the first time that a congressional hearing will actually be useful in financial fact-finding. The truth of what happened is buried among records of billions of Thursday trades. The New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq, unable to publicly explain the cause, chose a “kill them all and let God sort them out” approach, cancelling thousands of trades.



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[BRIEFING.COM] The Nasdaq Composite (+0.5%) and S&P 500 (+0.2%) posted modest gains on Thursday, but not before enduring a morning dip into the red, which took place in reaction to reports indicating Russia has commenced military exercises on the Ukrainian border.

The news from Europe knocked the key indices from their early highs, while giving a boost to safe-haven assets like gold futures (+0.5% to $1290.80/ozt), Treasuries (10-yr yield -1 bps to 2.69%), and the Japanese yen (102.30 ... More


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