You can still find small-cap superstars
Small-cap superstars still abound

There are some picks in this sector that have excellent valuations and strong earnings growth.

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The search company is going after ad-heavy websites with nothing to offer viewers.

By Kim Peterson Feb 28, 2011 2:08PM
Image: Man with laptop (© Comstock Images/Jupiterimages)It happens all the time: Search for something on Google (GOOG), click on a promising result and get a page full of spam and advertising.

People had figured out how to work the system so that their phony websites climbed higher in the results -- and that was hurting Google's credibility. The problem was spiraling out of control at Google, and so the company recently began cracking down on the cheaters.

The result? In less than a week, some junk websites are dropping to the bottom of results. And that's opened up room for legitimate sites from Wal-Mart (WMT), Amazon (AMZN) and Time Warner (TWX) to rise to the top, a study has found.

This change was a big deal; nearly 12% of U.S. search queries will now see substantially different results, Time reports. And that can make or break a company whose success depends quite heavily on how well it places in Google's results. 

The next iteration of the iPad is expected to come with a camera and twice the RAM, but the most important new feature may be a lower price tag.

By TheStreet Staff Feb 28, 2011 12:34PM

Credit: (© Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Caption: Apple iPadBy Anton Wahlman, TheStreet

 

Apple (AAPL) has invited the press to an event on Wednesday that will include the introduction of the iPad 2. What will be the most talked-about feature of this new device?

 

First, let's stipulate that most of the hardware specifications of the iPad 2 are known, more or less, thanks to endless blogger speculation: one or two cameras, a faster processor, twice the RAM, some tinkering with battery, screen, thickness and bezel. In other words, in the big scheme of things, nothing too exciting. Do you know many people who have held off buying the iPad because it lacks a camera, dual-core CPU or 512 megs of RAM? No, me neither.

 

If this was all Apple had in mind for the iPad 2, it would be a snoozer event. One would think that Apple isn't knowingly going to leave it like that.

 

Exchange-traded funds tracking oil, alternative energy stocks and energy-producing countries like Canada and Russia will be in the spotlight as global unrest continues.

By TheStreet Staff Feb 28, 2011 11:03AM

Image: Oil drums (© Kevin Phillips/Digital Vision/age fotostock)By Don Dion, TheStreet

 

Here are five exchange-traded funds worth watching this week.

 

1. United States Oil Fund (USO)

 

Political tensions sweeping the Middle East and North Africa stoked fears last week, causing the market to perform in a shaky manner. As protestors took to the streets across this region, investors directed their attention to the oil industry

 

Looking to the coming week, unrest appears set to continue and the futures-based USO will be an interesting fund to keep an eye on as the markets debate how these demonstrations will impact production. Investors looking for a more conservative way to target the crude oil industry may find an equity-backed position such as the SPDR S&P Oil & Gas Equipment & Services ETF (XES) an attractive option.

 

The market finally took a step back. Up or down ETF traders best be defensive in this environment

By Jamie Dlugosch Feb 28, 2011 10:41AM

Image: Stock charts in crystal ball © Fredrik Skold/Getty ImagesSometimes the market needs an excuse to find efficiency. Last week we got that excuse in spades. Stocks lost ground thanks to unrest in Libya that resulted in oil prices crossing $100 per barrel.

 

Take away the noise and the selling was perfectly normal. Nonstop gains over the last few months have taken the market a bit ahead of corporate and economic performance.

 

Investors only need to look at last week’s reduction in GDP for evidence that economic conditions may not be as strong as the market is assuming at the moment. The best way to protect some really solid gains in the early part of the year is to get defensive with your portfolio.

 

Exchange-traded funds make it easy to play defense. My pick to click for this week is the PowerShares Dividend Achievers (PFM).

 
Tags: etf

The TV campaign doesn't mention a lawsuit over claims of inferior feed, and the company hasn't indicated it will change its recipe any time soon

By InvestorPlace Feb 28, 2011 10:16AM

Credit: © Reed Saxon/AP
Caption: Taco Bell restaurant in Los AngelesBy Jeff Reeves, Editor, InvestorPlace.com

 

When word broke in January of a Taco Bell beef lawsuit claiming the fast-food joint used more filler than meat in its menu, Taco Bell quickly took to the defensive. President Greg Creed posted a YouTube video, and corporate parent Yum Brands (YUM) took out full-page ads in the Wall Street Journal and USA Todayalmost immediately with the headline,"Thank you for suing us."


Now, the next big step in rebuilding the Taco Bell brand is a $3 million television ad campaign this week. The gist? "Here's the beef. Judge for yourself."


It’s an interesting strategy -- but one that could backfire big time. Rather than reformulate its products or directly address the lawsuit, Taco Bell is simply using events to garner media attention for its menu. And if consumers don’t like what they see (or taste), the company will only wind up making matters much worse.

 

Big events this week by Apple and Salesforce should ignite the sector.

By Jim Cramer Feb 28, 2011 10:07AM

jim cramerthestreetThis week we have something to talk about in tech, something big. Two things, actually, and they can propel tech stocks higher than it already climbed on Friday. They can ignite the sector because they are at the heart of what we like most in tech: the Apple(AAPL) iPad, and the cloud as brought to you by Salesforce.com (CRM).

 

First, the iPad 2 launches on Wednesday. This will be a great opportunity for Apple to showboat and for the Apple ancillary plays -- Arm Holdings(ARMH), Micron(MU), Skyworks(SWKS), OmniVision Technologies(OVTI) (look at that one!) -- to rock, too.

 

I can't stress how important Apple is to this market. Apple is the most high-profile stock in the world, but it is an event stock, and without events there is not much to say. This week is a big one.

 

I screened 6,000 stocks to find the top 3 that had what I'm looking for.

By Jim Van Meerten Feb 26, 2011 1:26PM
My definition of growth stocks may be different from yours. 

I look for four things: increasing sales, increasing earnings, increasing prices and a volume that allows me to get in and out quite easily.  This morning I used Barchart to screen 6,000 stocks and came up with these three gems:

DirecTV (DTV): a satellite television provider in the United States and Latin America that mainly competes with cable and Dish Network (DISH).

DirecTV's share price has been on a solid run over the last three months and Monday was at about $46.
 

Thinking of fleeing stocks because of the Middle East turmoil? Think about some defensive plays instead

By John Reese Feb 25, 2011 7:25PM

Getting jittery?

 

If you're like most investors, you probably are, thanks to all of the turmoil in the Middle East. Tunisia and Egypt were one thing, but now with Libya -- and its 1.5 million daily barrels of oil exports -- in chaos, investors are feeling the heat.

 

I for one am not overly concerned. Yes, the situation in the Middle East bears watching. But keep in mind that the U.S. imports only about 80,000 barrels of oil a day from Libya, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration; by comparison, we get almost 2 million barrels a day from Canada.

More importantly, I believe in sticking to a disciplined investing system. History has shown time and time again that ditching stocks when times get tough will often leave you selling low and buying high. Sticking to a long-term strategy is key to generating solid long-term returns.

 

This underappreciated insurer is guided by solid principles.

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day Feb 25, 2011 4:32PM

Sometimes short-term fluctuations can provide nice opportunities for long-term investors. Fool analyst Jason Moser thinks he's found one in White Mountains, which is trading at the low end of its historical book-value range.

 

Rex Moore, Motley Fool Top Stocks Editor

 

When most people think insurance, it's usually the bill for automobile coverage or renewing the homeowner's policy. But there's a nicer side to the insurance gig: the investing side. The catch is that you need to find the ones that will stand the test of time, through good markets and bad. And White Mountains Insurance Group (WTM) is one of them.

 

Shunned over the past 6 months, US Treasury bonds are rallying again on Mideast fears and worries that higher energy prices could derail the recovery.

By Anthony Mirhaydari Feb 25, 2011 3:45PM

If you wondered how fleeting popularity can be on Wall Street, just look at how fast U.S. Treasury bonds have gone from hot to not and back over the past year. Bonds were the go-to investment last summer as the eurozone sovereign debt crisis raged. Between early April and late August, the iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond (TLT) gained nearly 27%.

 

Things got so out of hand that, by September, many observers, including me, busily warned of a nascent bond bubble. Investors had become too pessimistic and weren't adequately discounting for the risk of higher inflation and improved economic growth. You know what happened next. Bonds got hammered in the months that followed as the Fed pledged to pump $600 billion into the financial system. The TLT lost nearly 18% as a result.

 

Now things are reversing as the rise of popular revolutions throughout North Africa and the Middle East send shock waves through the energy market. There is concern that higher fuel prices will slow economic growth -- a potentially deflationary scenario that favors fixed-income investments. The question is: Can the T-bond rally continue?

 

A small California city approves a medical-marijuana nursery -- and will likely see its fortunes improve dramatically.

By Kim Peterson Feb 25, 2011 3:38PM
Image: Marijuana (© Halfdark/fStop/Getty Images)Lawmakers in several states are struggling with how to craft policies to allow for the growing or selling of medical marijuana.

But while everyone else dithers over details, one tiny town jumped in and green-lit a large-scale indoor nursery for medical marijuana. And, as the video below shows, the city of Isleton, Calif., could end up raking in some badly needed revenue.

Isleton's financial state was so bad that some people wondered whether it had any future, reports NBC Bay Area News. Vacant storefronts are common, and revenue shortfalls were worrisome.

So the city has come to an agreement with a growers group to build the 4,000-square-foot nursery. In return, every month the city will get either 3% of the growers' profits or $25,000 -- whichever is greater, reports NBC's Garvin Thomas. That's at least $300,000 a year in new revenue, but estimates say it could end up being twice that much. 

After sitting out the Verizon iPhone 4, TriQuint has won a role supplying power amps for Apple's souped-up iPhone 5.

By TheStreet Staff Feb 25, 2011 2:53PM

thestreetBy Scott Moritz, TheStreet

 

The upcoming Apple (AAPL) iPhone 5, due this summer, will pack some big wireless radio power.

 

While lacking Verizon's (VZ) 4G LTE capability, the Apple iPhone 5 will be a souped-up world phone equipped with "seven power amplifiers" to beef up wireless reception on the full array of WCDMA and EVDO radio frequencies in the U.S. and Europe, says Rodman Renshaw analyst Ashok Kumar.

 

This is particularly good news for power amp supplier TriQuint (TQNT), which was left out of the Verizon iPhone 4 this year.

 

These shares offer strong payouts, making them good names to own before the market takes another dive.

By TheStreet Staff Feb 25, 2011 2:27PM

StockpickrImage: Stocks circled in newspaper (© Digital Vision/Getty Images)By James Dlugosch, Stockpickr

 

The economy is recovering, and stocks have crossed key psychological barriers. Things are quite good, or at least that is the appearance. The S&P 500 ($INX) has doubled since bottoming in March 2009. Over the past six months, the gains have been growing.

 

It is only natural for investors to be concerned. Nothing goes up forever. Stocks will at some point take a pause. I think that moment has arrived and stocks will move sideways from here.

 

For such a market, investors should consider investing in dividend stocks. Rather than worrying about stocks going up or down, dividend stock investors can sit back and watch their corporations stack up piles of cash. Here are five dividend stocks to consider for your portfolio.

 

The pharmaceuticals company has a rough fourth quarter and faces continued uncertainty with 2 manufacturing plants.

By Jim J. Jubak Feb 25, 2011 2:26PM
Jim JubakWhen a "buy" no longer enjoys the strengths that made it a buy, you should sell it.

I think that’s now the case with Teva Pharmaceutical Industries (TEVA). I’m selling it out of my Jubak's Picks portfolio today.

The company’s recent earnings stumble -- fourth-quarter 2010 earnings came in 6.3% below fourth-quarter 2009 earnings -- and the continued uncertainty about when Teva’s Copaxone will see generic competition are certainty significant worries about the stock.

But what really bothers me -- what goes to the heart of why I bought Teva in the first place -- are the manufacturing problems the company has had with its Irvine, Calif., and Jerusalem plants. Teva voluntarily shut down the Irvine plant after receiving a warning letter from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The company is planning on reopening the plant in March.
 

Apple delays the LTE 4G iPhone until 2012. Banks use tax dollars to finance a luxury hotel. Sears finally hires a CEO -- with no retail experience.

By TheStreet Staff Feb 25, 2011 1:14PM

By TheStreet Staff, TheStreet

 

Here is this week's roundup of Wall Street business blunders.

 

5. Verizon's bad apple

 

There's no phone as cool as the next big phone. Just ask anyone who's been holding out for the 4G Verizon (VZ) iPhone. But don't ask this week, after Apple (AAPL) delayed the LTE 4G iPhone until 2012.

 

Apple's iPhone 5, due out this summer, will not be an LTE 4G iPhone, Telecom Pragmatics analyst Sam Greenholtz told TheStreet Thursday.

 

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[BRIEFING.COM] Equity indices closed out the month of August on a modestly higher note. The Russell 2000 (+0.6%) and Nasdaq Composite (+0.5%) finished ahead of the S&P 500 (+0.3%), which extended its August gain to 3.8%. Blue chips lagged with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (+0.1%) spending the bulk of the session in the red.

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