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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If you can play the contrarian and wade into an unpopular sector, opportunity awaits.
Everybody hates big banks right now, and for good reason. But if you're able to take on some risk, Motley Fool banking expert Anand Chokkavelu says current valuations in the sector are revealing some big opportunities.
Rex Moore, Motley Fool Top Stocks editor
The headline of this article may surprise you.
Especially if you've read some of my previous articles throughout the banking meltdown and recovery. I've repeatedly warned against the big banks because their balance sheets are utterly inscrutable.
The Kardashian Kard goes kaput. Amazon springs a WikiLeak. Wal-Mart uses centenarian to thwart theft. EA wants a Tiger who wins.
Here's our roundup of the most bizarre news in business this week.
5. Karma comes for the Kardashian Kard
Few people were shocked when they heard about the demise of the Kardashian Kard this week. The University Bank of St. Paul, Minn., must have realized the folly of not capitalizing on previous reality-TV role models like Paris Hilton and Hulk Hogan and pounced on the opportunity to plaster the three Kardashian sisters on a fee-ridden prepaid card under the MasterCard (MA) network. The card was intended to appeal to viewers of the popular reality series "Keeping Up With the Kardashians."
The euro dropped Thursday on disappointment with the eurozone's central bank. But the markets march on.
Thursday morning, Goldman Sachs raised its rating on U.S. financial stocks to overweight and predicted a 20% rally in the Standard & Poor's 500 stock index by the end of 2011. Same-store retail sales grew by 5.3% in November, way above the 3.5% expected. Pending home sales soared by a record 10%.
For the day the big European indexes, the FTSE in the United Kingdom, the DAX in Germany, and the CAC in France finished up 2.2%, 1.3%, and 2.1% respectively.
These funds offer different strategies to track the Oracle's investments.
By Don Dion, TheStreet
Throughout Warren Buffett's long and illustrious career, fans, analysts and market commentators have attempted to gain insight into his mind in hopes of mastering his investing strategies.
Although there are no specific Buffett ETFs available, there are ways retail investors can use ETFs to add a dose of the Oracle's wisdom to their portfolios.
They can gain either direct exposure to him through a fund that boasts respectable exposure to his investing empire, Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A), or follow the Oracle's lead with products that use some of the same techniques he has used in the construction of his portfolio.
Semiconductor companies like Altera are shifting from cyclical to secular growth stories right before our eyes.
We can quibble about it. Altera, a high-quality proprietary semi, spoke at a conference, and it wasn't bad enough to freak out new sellers and was just good enough to force short sellers to cover. Finisar, a not-so-high-quality company, produced better-than-expected earnings and had a huge one-day move.
Here's my answer: When you review the comments about Altera, there was an undercurrent -- things are just better, not from inventory restocking but just better orders. When you review the guidance from Finisar about the optical world, you come back and say this isn't just a one-time blip, they have the products to make things go right for a while. Or longer.
After trading sideways for 2 months, stocks are on the move again as European leaders quell the eurozone crisis. Can the trend continue?
Stocks are blasting higher as concerns over the European debt market fade. Wednesday's massive 2.3% gain in the Dow was the best one-day performance since September.
The bulls regained the initiative as the European Central Bank softened its stance and now looks ready to support the eurozone through bond purchases and an extension of low-cost loans to the banking system. Spain was able to tap the credit markets today.
It looks like the trend can continue. The key to all this has been the change of heart by European policymakers. They started this mini-panic back in October. Now they are ending it.
Some clinks in the Midwest are processing toilet tissue to save taxpayer money. Should P&G be worried?
Some Iowa inmates may become very familiar with this process if one plan goes through. Two Iowa prisons are already testing a single-ply toilet paper made at a Missouri prison.
The paper checked out, and now the Iowa prisons are considering making their own toilet paper next year, The Associated Press reports. The state's Legislature would need to make the final call.
Costs are down, sales are up, and investors are impressed.
Shares of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts (KKD) are skyrocketing today, up 18% in midday trading, after the company announced a killer third quarter.
Krispy Kreme beat Wall Street expectations handily -- not that those expectations were all that high to begin with.
Independent studio FilmDistrict inks a deal for movies, feeding a growing demand for fresh digital content.
Netflix (NFLX) just made waves with the announcement of a new pricing structure that stresses streaming video over home DVD delivery. NFLX will offer digital-only rentals for $7.99 a month. The move was applauded by investors and movie lovers alike, who see digital content as the future of entertainment.
Well, if there was any doubt that Netflix is committed to the digital model, the company has just put its money where its mouth is, ponying up the cash for an exclusive first-run distribution deal with a independent film studio led by the producer of titles including "The Departed" and "The Aviator."
This miner is well run, has lots of growth potential, and trades at an attractive price.
Quick ... if you had to choose one fairy tale to help you find the right miner, which would it be? Why, Goldilocks, of course! If you don't like that analogy, blame Andrew Sullivan, who wrote this compelling buy report.
Rex Moore, Motley Fool Top Stocks editor
It's not too late to diversify your portfolio with gold mining equities, and I'm excited to recommend and open a position in Northgate Minerals (NXG), an accomplished mining company headquartered in Vancouver, Canada.
Carmakers' strong November gains paint a positive growth picture.
By Ted Reed, TheStreet
In November, auto industry sales rose 17% over the same month a year earlier. "This year's fourth quarter will be the fourth quarter in a row that the sales rate has increased substantially," Ford (F) analyst George Pipas said on the company's monthly sales conference call. "It's a good sign as we approach 2011."
General Motors (GM) economist Sue Su said the time has finally come when companies, many of them sitting on cash, are ready to hire. "Businesses have been reluctant to hire workers," Su said. "Only recently, that deadlock seems to be broken. . . . Now we are seeing businesses a little bit more ready to hire."
With growth, credibility and compromise all gelling at last, this run is not done. I want to be in, not out.
You need three things to keep the rally going: confidence, as in confidence in the world's central bankers; growth, and I mean growth in all countries including the United States; and compromise, as in the certainty of a deal on unemployment benefits and taxes. By the way, the certainty of the compromise is, in a way, more important than the terms of the compromise.
Growth is the most important one because growth eliminates the notion of the Pyrrhic victory. If there is growth, then the central banks are not only not throwing good money after bad, they are abetting private-sector hiring that will lead to higher tax receipts at a time of government austerity.
Confidence? Last night I went to hear the great Stanley Fischer speak at a YIVO charity dinner where he was honored. Fischer, the incredible governor of Israel's central bank, is widely hailed as the man from the IMF who saved Asia in the 1990s.
Has investor sentiment changed regarding the dollar, precious metals and fear?
Important shift in the market yesterday. Maybe.
And it looks like the market is following through today.
Yesterday, as on most days recently, the dollar was up and the euro down on fears that the euro debt crisis is escalating. In recent days that's been a recipe for a decline in gold and silver, too, as the negative of the strength of the dollar outweighed the allure of these commodities as safe havens in the crisis.
Netflix users love to watch streaming videos, and all their usage comes at a price. Who will pay it?
Comcast (CMCSA) really has a problem with Netflix (NFLX). It's so irritated by the video company, in fact, that it's hitting Netflix where it hurts: in the wallet.
Before we get to the messy battle between these two companies, let's establish that Netflix is a huge bandwidth hog. Or, I should say, Netflix subscribers are, tying up Internet lines every night watching streaming videos online.
Netflix users suck up about 20% of downstream traffic between 8 and 10 p.m., reports say. And Netflix is just getting started; it only recently unveiled a streaming-only service for $8 a month.
At some point, quantitative easing will be followed by quantitative uneasing.
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- June gold slipped deeper into negative territory today as the dollar index erased earlier losses. The yellow metal pulled back from its session high of $1303.20 per ounce set in morning action and fell as low as $1292.80 per ounce. Unable to gain momentum, it settled 0.7% lower at $1294.20 per ounce.
- May silver chopped around slightly below the unchanged line after retreating from a session high of $19.69 per ounce set moments after floor trade opened. It ... More
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