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The credit card company doesn't get the respect it deserves.

By InvestorPlace Dec 30, 2011 9:46AM
By Kyle Woodley

The first time my girlfriend flashed her Discover card in front of me, I laughed and blurted out, "Who uses Discover?" The waitress didn't do me any favors when she said my significant other's plastic wasn't any good there.

Little did I know, I'd eventually eat my words. Discover Financial Services (DFS) is managing to get its namesake card accepted at more merchants -- and investors should give this stock some attention.


With production set to rebound and Fed-fueled inflation on the horizon, the gold miner's stock is just too cheap to pass up.

By TheStockAdvisors Dec 30, 2011 9:43AM
Image: Gold (© Comstock Images/Jupiterimages)This post is one in a series in which over 50 newsletter advisors share their Top Picks for 2012.  

By Jack Adamo, Insiders Plus

You probably think I'm crazy, but my top recommendation for the coming year is the stock of a company I don't like and expect to fall 12% to 20%, perhaps more. 
Tags: AEMgold

Here are the 79 locations the company plans to shutter, with more likely to be announced.

By Kim Peterson Dec 30, 2011 12:23AM
Sears Holdings (SHLD) has released a list of 79 Sears and Kmart stores it plans to close, and it looks like both chains will be hit hard.

This is only a partial list. The company said it will shutter as many as 120 stores, and it presumably will announce more locations in the next year. 
Tags: SHLD

Stores that cater to the wealthy fared the best.

By Jonathan Berr Dec 29, 2011 6:07PM
Image: A family in bed with gifts (© Image Source/Getty Images)'Twas the season when wealthy people unscrewed the vice clamps that had been on their wallets and decided to stimulate the economy. That's great news for retailers that cater to these customers.

Tiffany (TIF), Coach (COH) and Macy's (M) were among the winners this holiday season, according to Jason Asaeda, retail analyst at S&P Capital IQ. He rates Tiffany and Coach as "strong buys" and doesn't cover Macy's, but points out that wealthy consumers are attracted to the exclusive merchandise being sold by department stores.


With a rising dividend, aggressive buybacks and a growing global market, this cigarette maker shows that where there's smoke there's fire.

By TheStockAdvisors Dec 29, 2011 5:52PM
Image: Man smoking (© Steve Mason/Photodisc Blue/Getty Images)This post is one in a series in which over 50 newsletter advisors share their Top Picks for 2012.

By Paul Tracy, High-Yield International

First things first: I understand not everyone likes investing in cigarette manufacturers. That's fine. However, Philip Morris International (PM) is one of the most solid stocks on the planet, and I think it can serve investors well.
Tags: MOPM

Number of homes under contract for sale is at highest level in a year and a half.

By Benzinga Dec 29, 2011 4:20PM

Image: Couple with For Sale sign in front of house (© Jupiterimages/Brand X/Getty Images)By Jay Wong and Abhi Rao, Benzinga staff writers

The National Association of Realtors reported Thursday that U.S. pending home sales rose 7.3% in November. This is the highest level of homes in contract in a year and a half. A Bloomberg survey forecast that November growth would only be 1.5%.

Consumers were buoyed by home prices and interest rates that have continued to remain low. The housing industry has shown signs of life as construction in new homes have increased and more have been purchased.

As the inventory of unsold new homes decreases, manufacturers of homes could see increased demand. The positive report affected several companies in Thursday's market, including PulteGroup (PHM) and KB Home (KBH).


The new slate of picks is almost ready, but what does it mean for the coming year?

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day Dec 29, 2011 4:01PM
By Dan Caplinger


Everyone likes a simple investing strategy. If you like dividends, there's just about nothing simpler than the following the Dogs of the Dow. But will buying these stocks help you beat the Dow Jones Industrials in 2012, or will the strategy come back to bite you with bad returns?


I'll give you my answer to that question later in this article. But first, let's make sure everyone's up to speed with what the Dogs of the Dow strategy actually is.


Hollywood is fretting over a drop in audience numbers and ticket revenue. Will 2012 be any better?

By Kim Peterson Dec 29, 2011 3:47PM
Image: Hollywood (© Comstock/SuperStock)This year was a bust for Hollywood.

Movie crowds fell to a 16-year low in 2011. The number of tickets sold is expected to drop 4.4% this year to about 1.28 billion, the Associated Press reports. The price of tickets is higher this year, so the domestic revenue decline was only about 3.5% to $10.2 billion.

Worrisome numbers for studios such as Warner Bros., a subsidiary of Time Warner (TWX), and for theater owners, such as Regal Entertainment Group (RGC). 

The coatings company hopes the investment will boost sales in fast-growing markets in Asia.

By Zacks.com Dec 29, 2011 2:35PM

Image: China (© Brand X/SuperStock)By: Zacks Equity Research


Valspar Corp. (VAL) has opened a new science center in Shunde, China, and says the facility will employ more than 200 scientists to support growth in the Asia Pacific region and research and development efforts worldwide.

The Minneapolis coating company launched the Valspar Applied Science and Technology Center with a grand opening that drew more than 400 guests. This facility aims to improve relationships in the Asia Pacific region by bringing the company closer to its customers.


The fashion for dividend stocks is drawing some sniping from the sidelines.

By MoneyShow.com Dec 29, 2011 2:06PM

Image: Shoebox of money (© Jonathan Kitchen/Getty Images/Getty Images)By Igor Greenwald, MoneyShow.com

There are no atheists in foxholes, they say. And also, they should add, no doctrinal disputes like those between the last adherents of the same small, dying religion.

Stocks have certainly been through a lot this year. And now the few brave souls who haven’t sought safety in cash or capital appreciation in bonds are arguing over exactly what sort of stock won’t stab them in the back.


Investors have been talking about dividends all year, and the blue-chip winners reflect that appetite for income.

By The Fiscal Times Dec 29, 2011 1:51PM

McDonaldBy Suzanne McGee, The Fiscal Times


It looks increasingly as if 2011 will go down as the year of two stock indexes.


As of Wednesday's market close, the S&P 500 had wiped out the last of its remaining gains and again had fallen into the red for 2011. Still, despite a similar retreat in Dow Jones Industrial Average, it remains 5% higher for the year.


Investors can gain a keen perspective on long-term trends by stepping back to the yearly time frame.

By MoneyShow.com Dec 29, 2011 1:48PM

By Tom Aspray, MoneyShow.com

As we end 2011, most investors and analysts are looking ahead into 2012 in an effort to position their portfolios for the coming year. Though I mostly concentrate on the monthly, weekly, and daily charts, I have also found it helpful to examine quarterly and yearly time frames.

From the yearly charts, we can find some valuable information that can be used not only to gain perspective for the year ahead, but also to identify some key support and resistance levels for 2012.


Tried-and-true fundamental and technical gauges point to continuing strength.

By MoneyShow.com Dec 29, 2011 1:44PM

By Kate Stalter, MoneyShow.com

As 2011 winds down, there are some growth stocks well positioned for gains in the new year. Higher beta names as well as smaller stocks have fallen out of favor recently, and the Nasdaq Composite and Russell 2000 are trailing the benchmark S&P 500.

It's not unusual for growth stocks to underperform the broader market during a downturn -- they also outperform in a market rally. But individual stocks that outpace the indexes in times of weakness are often poised for further gains.


The company, which makes customized computer systems, recently offered shareholders a one-time dividend.

By Zacks.com Dec 29, 2011 1:43PM

By: Brian Bolan - Zacks Equity Research

In the most recent quarter, PC Connection (PCCC) beat earnings for the seventh straight time. Analysts responded by moving estimates higher for the stock, which is a Zacks No. 1 rank (strong buy).

PC Connection operates under several companies that offer custom-configured computer systems to individuals as well as government agencies and businesses.


As more confident U.S. consumers hit the showrooms, dividend-paying automaker is once again a bargain.

By TheStockAdvisors Dec 29, 2011 1:34PM
Image: Traffic (© Pixtal/SuperStock)This post is one in a series in which over 50 newsletter advisors share their Top Picks for 2012.  

By Nicholas Vardy, Bull Market Alert

Our top pick is all-American stalwart and success story Ford Motor (F) -- a bet on the American consumer and the burgeoning U.S. economic recovery.
Tags: F


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Top Stocks provides analysis about the most noteworthy stocks in the market each day, combining some of the best content from around the MSN Money site and the rest of the Web.

Contributors include professional investors and journalists affiliated with MSN Money.

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Market index data delayed by 15 minutes

[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market ended the midweek session on a mixed note. Blue chip listings bolstered the Dow Jones Industrial Average (+0.4%) and S&P 500 (+0.3%), while the Russell 2000 (-0.4%) and Nasdaq Composite (-0.02%) underperformed.

Equity indices began the day in the red, but wasted no time regaining their flat lines. Small-cap stocks were not as fortunate as the Russell 2000 spent the day in the red.

Upon returning into positive territory, the key indices were ... More


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