5 reasons the market is seeing red
5 reasons the market is seeing red

Geopolitical crises are taking a toll on stocks as we head into the seasonally weak month of August.

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Global X debuts a pair of broad, style-specific funds, each with a different approach to tracking growth in developing economies.

By TheStreet Staff Jan 27, 2011 12:27PM

Image: Globe (© image100/Corbis)By Don Dion, TheStreet

 

Emerging markets remain attractive regions of the globe for internationally minded investors. Now with the launch of two new products, investors can gain exposure to this slice of the geographic pie from a style perspective.

 

Global X has become a particularly exciting member of the ETF industry to watch. Although this fund sponsor initially generated a following within the ETF industry with its collection of international products that tap into previously unexplored corners of the globe, more recently it has expanded its overall focus, attracting crowds of commodity-hungry investors with the release of precious and base metal-related miner funds, including the Global X Silver Miners ETF (SIL) and the Global X Uranium ETF (URA).

 

With the launch of the Global X Russell Emerging Market Growth ETF (EMGX) and the Global X Russell Emerging Market Value ETF (EMVX), Global X has once again returned to its international roots. However, for Global X, these  funds highlight an interesting new focus.

 

The hard-drive maker remains compelling after an interesting earnings report.

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day Jan 27, 2011 11:49AM

And here I was, exactly two weeks ago, commenting on how the market expects very little from Western Digital. Turns out, it wants to change the economics of the entire industry on its own. Jim Mueller explains.

 

Rex Moore, Motley Fool Top Stocks editor

 

At the beginning of the month, I bought an initial 2% position in hard drive maker Western Digital (WDC) for my Messed-Up Expectations portfolio. At the time, I believed that the market was underappreciating the continued need for inexpensive mass storage for digital content. After Tuesday's earnings release, I believe that's even more the case.

 

Not only that, but I believe the market's short-sighted concern with management's comments about over-supply of hard disk drives in the pipeline and how Western Digital is going to deal with that is continuing to hold the price down, giving us an opportunity to buy more shares.

 

A drop of 19 basis points would have been bad -- but 190? It's a reminder that you would rather be producing commodities than consuming them right now.

By Jim Cramer Jan 27, 2011 10:54AM

Jim cramerAnyone who has listened to conference calls so far this quarter has to be struck by the total relentlessness of the analysts when it comes to gross margins -- to the point where some analysts are openly questioning the success of projects if the gross margins aren't good enough.

 

I am not kidding. Wednesday's Verizon (VZ) call had a question right at the top about whether some dramatic growth in FiOS could be hurting the company!

 

Which is why I blanched when I saw the gross-margin numbers from Procter & Gamble (PG) this morning, a decline of 190 basis points.

 

Hey, 19 basis points would be bad. But 190!?!

 

Now, that's a negative!

 

The company is so well run that it was still able to deliver the numbers. Procter & Gamble is much better than it used to be. This margin contraction is truly ugly, however, and it is a reminder that you would rather be producing commodities than consuming them.

 

Boeing shares slid today after a grim earnings report. The drop is one more chance to get into the stock.

By Jim J. Jubak Jan 26, 2011 5:05PM
Jim JubakWhat can I say? It could have been worse. And the company (as well as investors) dodged the big bullet.

Boeing (BA) reported fourth-quarter earnings of $1.56 a share, including 45 cents in special items. Those special items included a 50 cents-a-share gain from a tax settlement. Wall Street analysts had been looking for $1.12 a share without special items. 

Revenue dropped almost 8% from the fourth quarter of 2009 and, at $16.6 billion, fell short of the Wall Street consensus of $17 billion.

Looking out at 2011, things weren’t much better. The company told Wall Street to expect earnings of $3.80 to $4 a share for the year. That’s well below the consensus projection of $4.55 a share. The big ding in 2011 comes from increased pension expenses, projected to cost the company 58 cents a share more in 2011 than in 2010.
 

Some Chinese small-caps got on to U.S. exchanges through loopholes -- and investors need to be extra careful with them.

By Kim Peterson Jan 26, 2011 4:50PM
Image: China (© Brand X/SuperStock)It's hard to manage the tricky territory that is investing in China. We hear all the time about how hot China's current and future prospects are, and yet we read about investors getting burned on Chinese stocks.

James Surowiecki of The New Yorker makes a strong case against jumping into the hundreds of small-cap Chinese stocks that trade on U.S. exchanges. "While some of these firms are indeed thriving enterprises, more than a few seem to be specialists in a less savory business: ripping off investors," he writes.

He lists two stocks that have burned investors. The once-hot Fuqi (FUQI), a jewelry maker that said last year it had overstated earnings for the first three quarters of 2009. The company still hasn't filed a new earnings statement, Surowiecki reports. Fuqi now trades at about $5.30, down from $32 in September 2009. 

The retailer walks away from building a supercenter near a Virginia battleground dear to preservationists' hearts.

By Kim Peterson Jan 26, 2011 2:50PM
A gravestone marker on the spot where the arm of General Stonewall Jackson is buried is near the Ellwood house in Locust Grove, Va. Civil War history will play out in a rural Virginia courtroom this week when Wal-Mart Stores Inc. defends a planned store near the hallowed site where Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant first met on a battlefield in 1864 (© Steve Helber/AP)A Wal-Mart Supercenter near a hallowed Civil War site. Yeah, that's going to go over well.

After fighting historians for two years on the issue, Wal-Mart (WMT) has suddenly dropped plans to build a store near the Virginia battlefield where Robert E. Lee first met Ulysses S. Grant in 1864, The Associated Press reports.

The store wasn't intended for the actual heart of the battlefield -- that's inside a protected national park -- but it was nearby. Wal-Mart said the area already had retail locations and was zoned for commercial use. The county board of supervisors approved Wal-Mart's permit for the 50-acre property in 2009. 

Analysts expect 11 million Verizon iPhones will be sold this year, which will be a boon to mobile application developers.

By TheStreet Staff Jan 26, 2011 2:47PM

thestreetSteve Jobs iPhoneBy Olivia Oran, TheStreet

 

With Verizon (VZ) expected to sell 11 million Apple (AAPL) iPhones this year, mobile application developers should see a windfall in the number of customers using their products.

 

New Verizon iPhone users -- and the subsequent launch of iPhones on other CDMA-based carriers -- could help expand Apple's App Store next year by $1 billion, according to research firm IDC. The App Store is estimated to reach sales of $6 billion, up from $2.8 billion last year.

 

"We think there will be a feeding frenzy with the Verizon iPhone of tons of people downloading apps like crazy," said Sam Altman, the founder and CEO of Loopt, a Mountain View, Calif., location-based social game. "It's going to be a land grab."


With more iPhones in the market, some app developers may choose to focus more aggressively on building games for the iOS platform, even if they continue writing apps for Google's (GOOG) Android software.

 

And unlike Android, for which developers must ensure their app works on a variety of different handsets, the iPhone runs on only one device, which makes building programs simpler.

 

Yes, the economy is improving, Nouriel Roubini says. But huge problems still lurk for the US and Europe.

By Kim Peterson Jan 26, 2011 2:06PM
Economist Nouriel Roubini. Credit: (© Chiang Ying-ying/AP)Wait a minute. Could Dr. Doom actually be feeling optimistic these days?

Noted economist Nouriel Roubini -- known for his gloomy predictions of financial upheaval -- actually admitted a global economic recovery is taking place. "Balance sheets are strong, confidence is rising," he said today at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Fantastic -- we're back on track! Well, not so fast. If you follow Roubini, you know there's a "but" lurking in there somewhere. And here it is: But the possibility of a double-dip recession is still very real, he added.

Check out this video report for more news from Davos  

This utility is off the grid when it comes to juicy payouts.

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day Jan 26, 2011 12:24PM

Is there such a thing as a low-risk, high dividend yield? If there is, National Grid could be it. My Foolish colleague Jim Royal makes the electrifying case.

 

Rex Moore, Motley Fool Top Stocks editor

 

Do you like a fat dividend? What about a growing dividend? And a company with a legalized monopoly that can keep those fat payouts climbing? Then I think you're going to love this outstanding stock, which I've been buying for my own portfolio in the past few months.

 

OK, I'm not buying it as of this minute, because of the Fool's disclosure rules, but as soon as the Fool's rules permit, I will be scooping up more. That stock is National Grid (NGG). There's a lot to like about this regulated utility, and it can make a great investment in times of uncertainty such as we have today.

 

With last night's bullish, business-friendly speech about innovation and global competitiveness, the president paved the way for market growth.

By Jim Cramer Jan 26, 2011 10:04AM

jim cramer of thestreet.com"And in conclusion, I think the Dow ($INDU) should blow right through 12,000 on its way to 14,000, the S&P 500 ($INX) is meaningfully undervalued, and I would take advantage of the decline in materials stocks to pick up some terrific values, values so great that I am sure people on both sides of the aisle would embrace them."

 

There. Is that how you want President Barack Obama to be? Is that what you think he should have said last night?

 

I watched the State of the Union speech with one eye on Twitter, seeking instant reaction from people about what they thought. The comments ranged from being humorous, or actually un-humorous, to wiseacre skepticism or even deeper cynicism.

 

That's not how I felt. Strictly using the prism that people have come to expect from me -- the stock prism -- I thought it was terrific, just terrific, compared with (1) what I expected and (2) what I would have expected a year or two ago.

 

The president has proposed a five-year freeze on non-defense discretionary spending. Here are the stocks that will be hit hard.

By Anthony Mirhaydari Jan 25, 2011 8:23PM

In tonight's State of the Union address, President Obama is set to endorse a five-year freeze in spending in response to calls for fiscal consolidation by the newly empowered Republicans in the House of Representatives. This is likely to be the first step in a bargaining process with the Republicans over the raising of the national debt ceiling -- without which the country could default on its debt since it would be prohibited from additional borrowing to pay existing obligations.

 

The cuts amount to savings of around $26 billion over five years. For their part, the Republicans are pushing for cuts of $100 billion this year alone. Moreover, the president is pushing for a five-year plan by Defense Secretary Robert Gates that would cut $78 billion in military spending.

 

Clearly, the fiscal largesse of the last few years -- the bailouts, the stimulus packages, the support of the housing market -- is coming to an end. Here's a look at the stocks most vulnerable to spending cuts in Washington.

 

The company now claims a 45% share of the Chinese auto seating market.

By Kim Peterson Jan 25, 2011 5:37PM
Jim JubakLet me use Johnson Controls (JCI), which reported quarterly earnings Jan. 20, as another concrete example of how to think your way through what to do about individual stocks when the U.S. market seems to be looking for a 5% pullback and overseas markets have the potential for a 20% correction.

Johnson Controls illustrates to me the importance of looking at where a company’s growth, revenue, and earnings are coming from in terms of geography and industry.

The fiscal first quarter of 2011, the one the company just reported, is typically a seasonally weak quarter -- which is what makes the results so positive. The company reported record net sales for the quarter of $9.5 billion, up 13% from the fiscal first quarter of 2010. Earnings of 55 cents a share beat the Wall Street consensus by a penny. 

The Black Eyed Peas singer has signed on as the company's director of creative innovation. What exactly does that mean?

By Kim Peterson Jan 25, 2011 4:46PM
Musician will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas (©Getty Images for DCP)Say what? Intel's (INTC) newest executive is a member of the Black Eyed Peas?

The company says that Will.i.am has signed a multiyear contract to serve as its new director of creative innovation. What that means is, well, kind of unclear. Maybe Intel just wanted to have an employee sing in the Super Bowl's halftime show.

Will.i.am, whose real name is William James Adams Jr., will contribute music, which is pretty much a given. He will also help develop laptops, tablets and other devices, Intel said, adding that his job will include "hands-on creative and technology collaboration."

We may have the beginnings of a trend here of high-profile musicians taking largely symbolic jobs at major companies. Lady Gaga signed on as the creative director for Polaroid, and last month unveiled new instant cameras, a tiny photo printer and a pair of chunky sunglasses with a camera inside.
 

The CBOE Volatility Index jumps as traders scramble to protect against a market selloff.

By Anthony Mirhaydari Jan 25, 2011 4:25PM

It's been a quiet couple of months for stocks as the major averages grind higher. In fact, the S&P 500 hasn't closed below its 50-day moving average since September 1. That's 99 trading days and represents the longest consecutive rally since early 2007.


But as I mentioned in my last blog post, there was evidence of trouble brewing. The smallest, riskiest, and most sensitive stocks in the market recently started to badly lag their larger brethren. Big disparities in the performance of small cap stocks vs. the mega cap stocks are frequently seen at turning points.

 

Things are playing out according to plan as stocks move lower today. As a result, investors are scrambling to protect their positions against continued declines by snapping up equity put options. That's pushing up the CBOE Volatility Index ($VIX), commonly known as Wall Street's "fear gauge" to levels not seen since November. The VIX has now moved over its 50-day moving average, a level that tends to coincide with significant market pullbacks.

 

For a limited time, new users will get unlimited data for $30 a month.

By Kim Peterson Jan 25, 2011 3:44PM
Steve Jobs (©Paul Sakuma/AP)Take that, AT&T (T).

Verizon (VZ) just made itself a very attractive alternative for iPhone users who want to ditch AT&T. Verizon is going to start selling the iPhone on Feb. 10 and said today that it will offer a $30 monthly unlimited-data plan.

Nothing lights up an iPhone user's eyes like the words "unlimited data." AT&T ended its unlimited data plans for phones last year, choosing instead to offer two monthly plans capped at 200 megabytes (for $15) and 2 gigabytes (for $25). That left many iPhone users -- heavy data hogs -- worried about staying under their monthly allocations.

AT&T didn't have much to worry about at the time, since it was the exclusive iPhone carrier for Apple (AAPL) in the U.S. But that's all changed now, and the unlimited-data plan just became a huge weapon in Verizon's arsenal. 

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[BRIEFING.COM] S&P futures vs fair value: -9.10. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: -19.50. U.S. equity futures trade sharply lower amid cautions action overseas. The S&P 500 futures trade nine points below fair value with some volatility expected around 8:30 ET when the Nonfarm Payrolls report crosses the wires. The Briefing.com consensus expects the report to reveal the addition of 220,000 payrolls in July.

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