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The taller, thinner Diet Pepsi is aimed at women.

By Kim Peterson Feb 9, 2011 1:46PM
redit: (© PepsiCo)
Caption: New Diet Pepsi canPepsico (PEP) is debuting a can of Diet Pepsi that it says is a "celebration of beautiful, confident women." The so-called skinny can is taller and thinner -- just what we expect in a beautiful, confident woman, I guess.

The can debuts at Fashion Week, which starts Thursday in New York, and will be available nationwide starting next month.

"Our slim, attractive new can is the perfect complement to today's most stylish looks," said the chief marketing officer of PepsiCo. I don't know about you, but aluminum can falls even below small Chihuahua on my list of important fashion accessories -- and that's pretty low.

The short, fat Diet Pepsi can will still be around. But if you stand any chance at being fabulous, you will not buy it. And for the following week, Pepsi will refuse to acknowledge that it owns Frito-Lay.  

As innovation evolves, so must businesses. Here's one showing promise.

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day Feb 9, 2011 1:05PM

Fool analyst Sean Sun understands that everything in the universe is forever in flux and that as the universe changes, so must the individual. And so must businesses, if they are to last. The printing industry is a great example.

 

Rex Moore, Motley Fool Top Stocks editor

 

While it's become fairly standard business practice to outsource a company's payroll management to ADP or website hosting to Rackspace, a lot of companies still haven't recognized the efficiency of outsourcing their printing needs. On the surface, it seems simply arcane: Why keep such a specialized operation in-house? That's anachronism No. 1: The universe has changed, but outdated printing practices have stubbornly remained.

 

Here are some ETFs that are well-positioned for a pickup in consumer spending this year.

By TheStreet Staff Feb 9, 2011 12:22PM

By Don Dion, TheStreet

 

Investors were greeted with promising news regarding consumer borrowing Tuesday. After two years of paring back in response to the global economic upheaval, increasing confidence appears to be spurring borrowing again.

 

According to BusinessWeek, consumer borrowing jumped 3% in December, highlighted by a 3.5% uptick in credit card usage, the first increase in 27 months.

 

For retail consumers, the economic healing process has been a slow, arduous process as unemployment and market turmoil has weighed heavily on sentiment and confidence.

 

Video game software stocks had a rough 2010, but a few blockbuster releases this year could lift publishers.

By InvestorPlace Feb 9, 2011 11:31AM

2010 was a year of extremes for the video game industry with software either breaking sales records or performing so badly that some analysts considered gaming retail dead.


Just look at Electronic Arts (ERTS) and Take-Two Interactive (TTWO), video publishers that both put out NBA-licensed basketball games last year. Take-Two's NBA 2K11 was one of ten best-selling games of the year. But EA's NBA Elite 2011 meanwhile was plagued by delays and bad reviews until the company killed the game altogether and took it off the shelves.


So what does the future hold in 2011 for video game retail? Well, it will likely be a mixed bag again -- with a few blockbusters and plenty of duds. If you're an investor looking for the best video game stocks or a fan looking for the hottest titles, keep an eye out for these three frontrunners that could easily sell 5 million copies apiece in 2011:

 

Investors will begin the day more concerned with the big picture than with the terrific news from Dow giants 3M and Disney -- but only until stocks slip to more attractive levels.

By Jim Cramer Feb 9, 2011 10:00AM

jim cramer3M(MMM) is out with terrific news: buyback, dividend boost. Disney(DIS)shoots the moon. Two big Dow stocks. Two pieces of great news.

 

But the market looks soggy.

 

That's how it has been this whole run, hasn't it? The fundamentals of individual companies don't seem to matter in the morning. People yawn about amazing theme park attendance, even if no one expected it. People were downbeat about 3M's quarter and outlook, and then the company boosted its dividend and announced a big buyback, basically saying, "Look, we are much more rosy about the future than you are."

 

But that's all micro. People trade macro in the morning: Bernanke's time to be grilled negatively? China overheating? Oil not rallying? Mubarak not caving? Federal budget talks failing? That's what people trade off of. It's never good, and futures drag stocks lower.

 

Fluor is holding its own against intense competition from Asia even as it shifts to lower-margin mining work.

By Jim J. Jubak Feb 8, 2011 4:09PM
Jim JubakDoing some catch-up on this stock. I added Fluor (FLR) to the Jubak Picks 50 long-term portfolio on Jan. 18, but this is the first time I’ve had an opportunity to explain why in detail or to actually add it to the portfolio. I’m working on explaining the other sells and buys announced on Jan. 18 from that group over the next week or so.

It’s only one deal, but it’s an important one: Last month Fluor announced that it had won a $3.5 billion contract to build a liquefied natural gas project in Australia.

Why is one deal so important? First, because it demonstrates that Fluor can sign big energy infrastructure deals in the face of intense competition from Asian engineering and construction companies -- in the Asian companies’ back yard. Second, the deal will add to a near-record order backlog at the end of the third quarter. (Fluor reports its fourth-quarter numbers on Feb. 23.) 

Third, most Wall Street estimates for Fluor’s earnings in 2011 are based on a shift in the mix of the company’s projects from energy to lower-margin mining work.
 

Concern over the next quarter gives us another buy opportunity.

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day Feb 8, 2011 1:52PM

What do you do if you've researched and bought a stock but the market is not agreeing with your assessment? Jim Mueller usually studies the next earnings report and buys more if his thesis is still intact. Such is the case with Power-One.

 

Rex Moore, Motley Fool Top Stocks editor

 

What do you call it when the market rewards your 143% year-over-year growth in annual revenue and very handily turning a loss last year into a profit this year, along with guidance of 80% revenue growth for the upcoming year, with a 21% shellacking of your stock price? I don't know about you, but I call it a chance to pick up some more shares.

 

The Messed-Up Expectations portfolio already owns shares of Power-One (PWER) and, come tomorrow, will just about double its position. Let me tell you why.

 

The discount-deal site goes from darling to dud after a series of ads that some viewers thought were in bad taste.

By Kim Peterson Feb 8, 2011 1:24PM
Credit: (© Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Caption: A sign at the Groupon headquarters in ChicagoNo such thing as bad publicity? Groupon hopes so.

The company has suffered days of negative feedback after running three Super Bowl spots that appeared to make light of issues like human rights oppression in Tibet. "The people of Tibet are in trouble," actor Timothy Hutton said with apparent concern. "But they still whip up an amazing fish curry!" You can watch the spot here.

The ads triggered so much criticism that Groupon's founder, Andrew Mason, went online not to apologize for them but to explain them. He said the Super Bowl commercials that are truly offensive are ones built around "the crass objectification of women." Groupon's ads didn't do that.

Mason said the ads were mostly self-mocking, a takeoff on the shameless self-promotion that advertising is usually based on. "We would never have run these ads if we thought they trivialized the causes," Mason wrote. "Even if we didn't take them as seriously as we do, what type of company would go out of their way to be so antagonistic?" 

Chrysler's 2-minute spot appears to have won the night, but there is still some debate over which commercials fared worst.

By TheStreet Staff Feb 8, 2011 1:07PM

By Seth Fiegerman, MainStreet

 

The Green Bay Packers may have won the Super Bowl, but the competition for the best commercial from the big game is still being hashed out in homes and offices across the country, perhaps most noticeably on the web.

 

By the end of Sunday night, the winning company appeared to be Chrysler. Its powerful two-minute commercial garnered the most buzz during the Super Bowl, according to the Brand Bowl, an annual contest powered by advertising consultants Mullen and Radian6 that ranks Super Bowl ads by the amount of positive or negative feedback they receive on Twitter.

 

Chrysler's commercial attempted to revive the brand and the reputation of Detroit in general, following the painful collapse of the auto industry that left many people in Michigan without jobs. The cinematic commercial featured a cameo from Eminem, the popular rapper raised in Detroit, and debuted a poignant new slogan, "Imported from Detroit," that will be the center of Chrysler's new ad campaign.

 

The Tucson shootings rekindled fears of tighter firearms laws and triggered a surge in sales. What does this mean for gun makers and sellers?

By TheStreet Staff Feb 8, 2011 12:42PM

By Jamie Dlugosch, Stockpickr

 

The shootings last month in Tucson reminded us once again that we live in dangerous world. As horrific as such events may be, there is no changing the fact that guns are a part of our history and will be part of our future.

 

Sure enough, in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy gun sales soared. In Arizona alone, the FBI reported 263 background check requests on Jan. 10, compared with 164 on the corresponding Monday a year prior. In Tucson a firearms dealer reported that high-capacity magazine sales jumped 500%.

 

The reason for the jump has little to do with protection or a race to bear arms in a violent society. Instead, the concern of those buying has more to do with the possibility that an event like Tucson will trigger some sort of gun control or worse. It is assumed that liberals will use the event to call for a repeal of the Second Amendment to the Constitution.

 

Coffee, oatmeal and European business drive the chain's results higher than expected.

By Kim Peterson Feb 8, 2011 11:05AM
Credit: (© Darren McCollester/Newsmakers/Getty Images)
Caption: McDonald's signOatmeal is treating McDonald's (MCD) well.

The burger chain reported a 5.3% increase in same-store sales in January from a year ago, more than the 4.5% analysts were expecting. Europe was the star of the month, with sales up 7% and contributing 40% of revenue.

In the U.S., sales of coffee and the new oatmeal menu item helped sales grow 3.1% -- not bad considering the horrendous weather in January that kept people from visiting stores. And the whole picture was decidedly brighter than a year ago, when McDonald's said its same-store sales rose only 2.6%, and that U.S. sales were down 0.7%.

January also saw sales rise 5.2% in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.  

Critics who claim the Fed chairman's policies have pushed food, cotton and oil prices higher know nothing about inflation. Bernanke deserves our praise, not our scorn.

By Jim Cramer Feb 8, 2011 10:10AM

jim cramerthestreetI'm starting to hear way too much chatter about Ben Bernanke causing inflation. First, let's talk about what Bernanke has done unbelievably well: provide the liquidity to allow businesses to raise debt cheaply so they can get back on their feet. He has single-handedly kept thousands of companies alive. I think many, many businesses, particularly banks, would have failed. With cheap money, he just didn't let it happen.

 

Second, he has served as the grownup in Washington. Congress has done very, very little to help this country -- something every person who has ever run a business, small or large, knows. Bernanke has done amazing things to offset government-mandated slowdowns like Obamacare and the financial reform bill.

 

Third, he did all of this without creating anything near the chaos people predicted would result from his easy-money policies.

 

Still, the chatter is that Bernanke and his QE2 printing press should shut down because it is causing rampant inflation.

 

China's online ad market is projected to see major growth by 2014, and the online shopping market is just getting started.

By Jim J. Jubak Feb 7, 2011 5:25PM
Jim JubakDoing some catch-up on this stock. I added Baidu (BIDU) to the Jubak Picks 50 long-term portfolio on Jan. 18, but this is the first time I've had an opportunity to explain why in detail or to actually add it to the portfolio. I’ll be working on explaining the other sells and buys announced on Jan. 18 over the next week or so.

It was a great quarter for Baidu, and I certainly like the way the operator of China’s most popular search engine has made hay from Google's (GOOG) problems in China. Looking forward, I think growth will continue at the current torrid pace but margins are likely to fall as Baidu expands into new markets and as competitors try to take market share in search.

For the fourth quarter, announced Jan. 31, Baidu reported that sales increased 94% (to 2.45 billion yuan or $372 million) from the fourth quarter of 2009. Net income more than doubled to 1.16 billion yuan ($176 million) from 428 million yuan in the fourth quarter of 2009.  
 

A freelance editor entered a Web contest to create a fun Super Bowl ad -- and now gets $1 million for his work.

By Kim Peterson Feb 7, 2011 3:57PM
Image: Watching television (© Corbis)All it took for J.R. Burningham was $500, a rented camera and a friend's pug named Oko Nono. With those ingredients, he made one of the highest-rated commercials to air in Sunday's Super Bowl.

Burningham, a freelance editor and Web designer, made the ad with some friends and entered it in the "crash the Super Bowl" contest held by Doritos and Pepsi Max. It shows a pug dog knocking a glass door on top of a man who had been taunting it with Doritos. You can watch the ad here.

"This commercial was a last-ditch attempt to make things happen," Burningham told USA Today. The film world is "just a very difficult industry," he added.

Burningham got a $1 million payment from Frito-Lay, owned by PepsiCo (PEP), for creating a spot that hit No. 1 in USA Today's Ad Meter ranking.  

One leaked ad says the new Xoom will cost $800 when it goes on sale on Feb. 24. Can the Xoom succeed at that price?

By Kim Peterson Feb 7, 2011 3:43PM
Credit: © Motorola Mobility
Caption: Motorola XoomMotorola (MOT) hoped to make a big splash Sunday with its flashy Super Bowl spot showing the Xoom tablet. But that commercial is all but forgotten now, after this leaked ad emerged showing the Xoom will go on sale Feb. 24 for $800.

That's quite a hefty price tag, if the ad is to be believed. It means the Xoom costs 60% more than the $500 starting point for the Apple (AAPL) iPad. The Xoom looks good and has potential, but will it end up getting killed on price?

The Xoom certainly has some advantages over the iPad, starting with front and rear-facing cameras for video chat, a camcorder and the ability to play Adobe's Flash format. The Xoom's 10.1-inch widescreen display is slightly larger than the iPad's. In fact, the iPad configuration that most resembles the Xoom is the 32-gigabyte version that costs $729, Time notes. So there really isn't that much price difference. 

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[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market finished the Wednesday session on an upbeat note with the Nasdaq (+1.3%) ending in the lead. The S&P 500 settled higher by 1.1% with all ten sectors posting gains.

The benchmark index spent the entire trading day in the green, rallying to new highs during the last hour of action. The tech-heavy Nasdaq, meanwhile, briefly dipped into the red during morning action, but was able to recover swiftly.

Stocks began the trading day with modest gains ... More


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