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Be wary of dire market forecasts

The most likely scenario is that the markets will begin to rise from here -- and that bounce is just beginning to take hold.

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The company is finding that a television service with multiple hardware partners is not easy to develop.

By Kim Peterson Dec 21, 2010 2:38PM
Blank TV © Digital Vision Ltd./SuperStockIt's really difficult to roll out a television service. Ask Apple (AAPL), which has worked on Apple TV for years. Or TiVo (TIVO), which has rolled with about every punch out there.

Google (GOOG) is now seeing just how tough the TV landscape is. Its much-anticipated Google TV was supposed to get a glitzy launch next month at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Now Google is delaying the launch to improve the software, which people aren't crazy about, The New York Times reports. The company is telling TV makers to hold off on any introductions. 

These funds should capture the strength of the power industry in 2011.

By TheStreet Staff Dec 21, 2010 12:34PM

Energy © CorbisBy Don Dion, TheStreet

 

The global energy industry will likely be an interesting region of the market to watch in the new year. As emerging markets turn to various fuel sources to feed their insatiable thirsts for energy, developed corners of the globe seek resources such as oil, coal and natural gas to prolong their ongoing recovery pictures.

 

ETF investors can use a number of strategies when it comes to capturing the strength of the energy industry in 2011. Products such as iShares Dow Jones U.S. Oil Equipment & Services Index Fund (IEZ) or Market Vectors Coal ETF (KOL) provide ample exposure to a diverse collection of energy-related companies worldwide.

 

US customers will soon be able to pay for their coffee with their smart phones.

By TheStreet Staff Dec 21, 2010 12:19PM

MainStreetCredit: (© Michael Conroy/AP)
Caption: Customer in a Starbucks storeBy Brian O'Connell, MainStreet

 

Coffee giant Starbucks (SBUX) will roll out a new mobile payment system nationwide early next year after successful trial runs in New York, California and Seattle.

 

In a note to customers dated Nov. 1, product manager Chuck Davidson said the Starbucks mobile app is up and running in 300 locations in New York and at select stores in Seattle and Northern California.

 

Morningstar says NRG Energy and Sprint, among others, may get a big boost if business turns in their favor.

By TheStreet Staff Dec 21, 2010 12:16PM

Find hot stocks © Digital Vision / Getty ImagesBy Jake Lynch, TheStreet

 

Investors have overlooked the inherent value of the following five companies, which receive five-star ratings from Morningstar. Still, they have many challenges. Morningstar predicts the stocks could more than double as business fundamentals improve. Below they are ordered by potential return, from great to best.

 

5. GenOn Energy (GEN) is an independent power producer with exposure to volatile commodity markets. It was formed through the all-stock merger of Mirant and RRI. The combined entity boasts a stronger balance sheet and competitive position.

 

Traders who don't understand the necessity of bargains in retail have missed out on much of the sector's surge. But one discount retail stock is still 'a screaming buy.'

By Jim Cramer Dec 21, 2010 9:38AM

more stock picks and investing advice from jim cramer at thestreetAs we go into the final days before Christmas, let me tell you the most overrated word in the stock investing lexicon: discounting. This refers to the idea that the retailers are going to miss the numbers because of all the discounting going on.

 

One of the most amazing facts out there is that the retailers know they have to offer bargains. They know the consumer is smart. They know people compare prices on the Web. They know that when consumers go to stores, they have prices in mind, regardless of the possible service they will get -- and they care more about price than ever.

 

Nokia seizes control of the Symbian platform and looks to Apple's business model. But a key delay doesn't help.

By Jim J. Jubak Dec 20, 2010 5:34PM
Jim JubakNokia (NOK) wants to be the other cell phone maker besides Apple (AAPL) to make a profit and have control over its business.

Now if the company could just get its new phone, the E7, out the door.

The success of Apple’s iPhone is built on the extraordinary power that controlling both the software and the hardware gives Apple. The company can make sure everything works together because it decides what gets on the platform and what doesn’t. No lame pre-installed apps from cell phone service providers. No word-processing software that works differently in different programs on the same phone. No graphics that only kind of work.
 

Don't even think about shorting it, Reed Hastings writes in response to a fund manager's doubts.

By Kim Peterson Dec 20, 2010 3:57PM
Credit: (© Paul Sakuma/AP)
Caption: Netflix DVDFund manager Whitney Tilson wrote a long and compelling article Thursday about why he is short Netflix (NFLX). It was so good, in fact, that the "time to short Netflix" meme started making the rounds.

Today, Netflix chief executive Reed Hastings is fighting back. He posted a long response on Seeking Alpha telling Tilson: "Cover your short position. Now." But in a surprising bit of candor, Hastings acknowledged that one could in fact make money shorting Netflix.

Curiously, Netflix's share price did fine last week after Tilson's piece came out, climbing Thursday and briefly topping $184 Friday. But today, after Reed's defense, Netflix shares are down slightly to $178.17. 

Not just cheap but also dominant, these companies could ride a stronger-than-expected economy to huge gains next year.

By TheStreet Staff Dec 20, 2010 11:49AM

high tech © CorbisBy Jake Lynch, TheStreet

 

Technology stocks in the S&P 500 ($INX) have generated an average gain of 16% in 2010, the third-worst-performing industry group. But as the recovery ramps up next year, business and consumer spending will accelerate, and tech stocks may lead, analysts say. Value-focused Morningstar covers hundreds of technology stocks but awards its highest five-star rating to only four.

 

Here is a closer look at those four technology value stocks. They are expected to rise at least 53% and as much as 99%. Below, the stocks are ordered by potential return, from great to colossal.

 

4. Dow component Cisco Systems (CSCO) makes networking equipment. It holds the dominant position in ethernet switches, with roughly 70% market share, a stable figure. It is also the leader in routers, with Juniper (JNPR) grabbing second place.

 

US employees could get the same chance that UK staffers have to share in the company's success.

By InvestorPlace Dec 20, 2010 10:50AM

Credit: (© Michael Conroy/AP)
Caption: Customer in a Starbucks storeBy Jeff Reeves, editor of InvestorPlace.com


After a rough few years during the financial crisis and subsequent recession, Starbucks (SBUX) has been piping hot in 2010. Thanks to an innovative new line of Via instant coffee, a push into retail grocery sales and a number of successful promotions (including Starbucks' free holiday drink offer), the coffee giant is definitely on the upswing.


And it appears Starbucks is willing to share that success with workers in the new year via company stock. Not a bad Christmas present, considering SBUX is up 43% in 2010 -- about three times the broader stock market. 

 

Funds tracking commercial real estate and retail are likely to be active.

By TheStreet Staff Dec 20, 2010 10:41AM

Tools for your stock portfolio © CorbisBy Don Dion, TheStreet

 

Here are five ETFs to watch this week.

 

1. SPDR S&P Retail ETF (XRT)

Retail has been an exciting region of the market to watch this holiday season. As we head into the final stretch, malls will likely be packed with shoppers seeking last-minute gifts.

 

The anticipation of the holidays will make XRT an interesting fund to watch. The fund could also see some earnings-related action. Throughout the middle of the week, index constituents including Carmax (KMX), Finish Line (FINL) and Walgreens (WAG) are scheduled to release their most recent quarterly earnings reports.

 

With the dollar deflated, major US brands are cheaper than ever -- and forward-thinking foreign companies realize it.

By Jim Cramer Dec 20, 2010 9:58AM

more investing tips and stock picks from jim cramer at thestreetNews flash: These minuscule moves in the euro-dollar trade are no longer what matter, as much as underperforming hedge funds like to call media thought-provokers and make it seem that way.

 

What matters is that some Brazilian meat producer no one has ever heard of wants to buy Sara Lee (SLE), despite how poorly it is run -- if it is run at all.

 

Why is this so important? Because Sara Lee is also Kimberly-Clark (KMB), which is also Clorox (CLX), which is also Heinz (HNZ), which is also Kellogg (K) -- big brands that need better homes than they have. And they can be bought because the dollar is weak and the people who don't think small want these brands as a way to move beyond their home markets.

 

Keep a neutral to slightly negative bias as we march toward 2011.

By Jamie Dlugosch Dec 19, 2010 6:17PM

Right idea, horrible execution as the market began its annual winding down of the year with slower volume and disinterested trade.

 

The market closed up fractionally. Within that construct my ETF picks ended up dropping ¾ of a percent. What happened?

 

Sometimes no matter how right your predictions Mr. Market can manage to punish even if you are trying to be conservative as I was last week. The loss can be solely attributed to big losses in China last week.

 

That won’t happen again. We’ll jettison that pick in favor of the SPDR Regional Bank ETF (KRE) as I keep a market neutral portfolio heading toward the end of the year.

 
Tags: oil

Broad measures of U.S. industrial production keep improving, but some stocks in the sector stand out above others

By John Reese Dec 17, 2010 6:37PM

As the U.S.'s recovery from the "Great Recession" has progressed, one big driver of the turnaround has been the industrial and manufacturing arena. Industrial production rose in November by 0.4%, according to a new Federal Reserve report, marking the 15th time in 17 months that production has increased. And since bottoming in July 2009, the manufacturing sector has expanded for 16 straight months, according to the Institute for Supply Management.

 

As a result, industrial and manufacturing stocks -- which were hammered during the recession and bear market -- have outpaced the broader market since the March 2009 low. But, just as there's still slack in U.S. production, so too are there still bargains in the industrial and manufacturing areas. And, with government stimulus continuing to flow into the economy, consumers regaining some of their confidence, and companies having cut a lot of fat during the downturn, some of these stocks are in good position to continue rebounding.

 

Keep in mind, however, that as we get deeper into the recovery, the rising tide that may have lifted a lot of industrial/manufacturing-type stocks should lessen, and investors will likely become more discriminating about which of these stocks they buy. That means you better pay attention to fundamentals on a stock-by-stock basis. With that in mind, I recently used my Guru Strategies, each of which is based on the approach of a different investing great, to uncover some of the industrials and manufacturers that have the best fundamentals. Here's a sampling of what I found. 

 

 

Potash of Saskatchewan thinks a 5% increase in grain production is needed in 2011 to keep up with consumption.

By Jim J. Jubak Dec 17, 2010 6:08PM
Jim Jubak
Potash of Saskatchewan (POT), a stock in my Jubak Picks 50 portfolio, offered a modestly optimistic view on potash fertilizer demand for 2011 -- and a very bullish view for global agriculture -- in a presentation Wednesday at the Bank of America/Merrill Lynch Global Industries conference.

Potash first.

The company affirmed its guidance for 2011 of sales of 9.3 million metric tons. Working backward from Potash's share of the global market, that puts total global demand roughly at the low end of Merrill's projected 55 to 60 million metric tons in 2011.
 

Profit from Moody's recent downgrade of Ireland.

By Wall Street Media on MSN Money Dec 17, 2010 5:43PM

Written by Douglas Estadt


Moody’s (MCO) downgraded Ireland Friday, which resulted in a mad rush to buy U.S. Treasuries. This reaction is startling due to the fact that the term PIIGS (describing doomed European countries) has been tossed around for some time.  


PIIGS is an acronym describing the struggling economies of Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain.

 
Tags: etf

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[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market ended the holiday-shortened week on a mixed note as the Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 0.1%, while the S&P 500 added 0.1% with seven sectors posting gains.

Equity indices faced an uphill climb from the opening bell after disappointing quarterly results from Google (GOOG 536.10, -20.44) and IBM (IBM 190.04, -6.36) weighed on the early sentiment. Google reported earnings $0.15 below the Capital IQ consensus estimate on revenue of $15.42 ... More


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