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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 lender is well-positioned to be the best repository of homes when people realize that mortgage rates are done dropping and the scramble for housing begins.

By Jim Cramer Dec 6, 2010 9:57AM

jim cramerIf Wells Fargo (WFC) takes out $29, you know what? It will be ready to roll. And I think you want to be there. Here's why.

 

The reportorial coverage on homes, as I have told you again and again, is very weak. Those of us who follow this industry closely and are involved in real estate are relatively amazed that the reporting is bad.

 

It hadn't mattered much. The stocks connected with housing had done nothing at all. Until now.

 

As the eurozone crisis fades, the credit-driven bull market in stocks is set to continue.

By Anthony Mirhaydari Dec 5, 2010 7:14PM

One factor that had me so worried last month was the sell-off that hit the global bond market, which pushed down the price of everything except U.S. Treasury bonds. Since the bull market in stocks is built on the foundations of a credit bull market (see my column on the subject here), this was very bad news.  

 

That's all changed now, and investors are returning in droves. The European Central Bank has restarted its monetary spigots, calming the eurozone bond market dramatically. Portuguese bond yields fell from 7.1% to just 5.8% last week as a country that seemed destined to follow Ireland into the eurozone bailout club got a new lease on life.

 

As a result, the risk trade-up theme that I outlined in my column has resumed. But not all investments will benefit equally.

 

Deposits that don't pay interest? Banks love 'em. And JPM has a growing stash.

By Jim J. Jubak Dec 3, 2010 2:40PM

Jim JubakWith banks, it's the spread that counts. And it looks like the turmoil in the financial markets is expanding the spread between what banks have to pay for funds and what they can charge for their loans.


That should add to bank profits in the fourth quarter. If you're looking to take advantage of that trend, look for banks with big deposit-gathering machines. My choice would be JPMorgan Chase (JPM). The stock is already a member of my Jubak's Picks portfolio


Here's how spreads work: Banks pay for funds either through interest to investors who buy their short-term commercial paper (and other debt) or in the interest paid to depositors. They then lend that money to borrowers in the form of home mortgages, small-business loans, real-estate development loans, corporate loans, whatever.

 

The company is willing to pay big bucks to get more in-season shows in its library.

By Kim Peterson Dec 3, 2010 2:07PM
Credit: (© Paul Sakuma/AP)
Caption: Netflix DVDLast night's episode of "The Office" is already on Hulu's website. But Netflix (NFLX) doesn't have it. In fact, all Netflix can give you is the previous season.

That's a glaring deficiency for Netflix, and the company is trying to change that. Problem is that getting current-season episodes costs a lot of dough.

The New York Post reports that Netflix is approaching television studios with wads of cash, willing to pay between $70,000 and $100,000 per episode. Netflix would not officially comment on the report. 

History's best investors use both types of shares.

By John Reese Dec 3, 2010 1:54PM

Find hot stocks © Digital Vision / Getty ImagesAre you a value investor or a growth investor? In my dozen-plus years of studying history's most successful investment strategies, one of the biggest lessons I've learned is that you can -- and should -- be both.

 

While often portrayed as polar opposites, value and growth are really more like cousins. As Warren Buffett put it in his 2000 letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders, "market commentators and investment managers who glibly refer to 'growth' and 'value' styles as contrasting approaches to investment are displaying their ignorance, not their sophistication. Growth is simply a component -- usually a plus, sometimes a minus -- in the value equation."

 

If you can play the contrarian and wade into an unpopular sector, opportunity awaits.

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day Dec 3, 2010 11:58AM

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.

By TheStreet Staff Dec 3, 2010 11:55AM

TheStreet.com on MSN MoneyHere'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.

By Jim J. Jubak Dec 3, 2010 11:26AM

Jim JubakFor a day, Goldman Sachs and strong U.S. retail sales and housing numbers trumped disappointment over a tepid response to the euro debt crisis from the European Central Bank.


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 TheStreet Staff Dec 3, 2010 11:10AM

Credit: (© Paul White/AP)
Caption: Warren BuffettBy 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.

By Jim Cramer Dec 3, 2010 10:05AM

more of jim cramer's stock picksWhat is really happening in the semiconductors? What went on these past few days first with Altera (ALTR) and then with Finisar (FNSR)?

 

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?

By Anthony Mirhaydari Dec 2, 2010 5:17PM

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?

By Kim Peterson Dec 2, 2010 3:27PM
Toilet paper wrapped in chain and lock (© Renold Zergat/Getty Images)How do you make your own toilet paper? According to this site, it's pretty complicated, involving sawdust, cotton fibers and a large screen.

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.

By Kim Peterson Dec 2, 2010 2:07PM
Credit: © Mark Lennihan/AP
Caption: Box of Krispy Kreme doughnutsEven in a struggling economy, Americans still have money for doughnuts.

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.

By InvestorPlace Dec 2, 2010 2:03PM

Credit: (© Paul Sakuma/AP)
Caption: Netflix DVDNetflix (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.

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day Dec 2, 2010 1:02PM

© Stockbyte/SuperStockQuick ... 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.

 

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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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