Energy boom makes oil a safe haven
Oil becomes a surprising safe haven

The idea of US crude being a shelter from turmoil abroad may not be as far fetched as it seems.

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With so many global opportunities to take advantage of $100-a-barrel crude, drilling stocks like Schlumberger are too cheap to ignore.

By Jim Cramer Jan 18, 2012 3:09PM

Will the drillers catch up with crude? Or will crude go down to where the drillers are?

 

Every day I ponder how oil can be up so big and the drillers be so heavy, especially given the fact that there's no real sense that oil is going to come down soon. Despite the fact that oil usage diminished last quarter, I don't see pricing coming down because of the Iranian Strait of Hormuz threat, because of the potential for more unrest in Nigeria and the Mideast, but most importantly because of a return to faster growth in China and the United States, which will offset the European recession that clearly is on the horizon.

 

Given its brand name, marketing muscle and distribution network, the soft drink and snack maker has maintained healthy margins even with low pricing.

By Trefis Jan 18, 2012 2:52PM
Image: Potato chips (© Image Source/Getty Images)Although PepsiCo (PEP) is increasing its marketing spending to boost flagging soft drink sales, the stock's true value is likely to come from its snack business via the Frito-Lay segment. PepsiCo's recent acquisitions in strategically key locations give it a strong platform and ensure long-term growth.

What many investors will find surprising is that Frito-Lay's contribution to the overall stock price is almost half of the value, while the soft drink segments make up a far smaller percentage, according to our analysis.  
Tags: DPSKOPEP

New bottom formations on the charts for two embattled emerging ETFs signal better days may be coming.

By MoneyShow.com Jan 18, 2012 2:04PM

By Tom Aspray, MoneyShow.com


On Tuesday, economic data out of China encouraged traders and helped boost the stock market. Even though the data reflected a contracting economy, it was not as weak as most expected. Foreign direct investment declined in November for the first time since 2009 and further lowering of bank reserves is likely in the coming months.


Brazil's rate cut in August caught the markets by surprise and likely avoided pushing the Brazilian economy into a technical recession. That nation's economy seems to be turning the corner, as November's data on economic growth beat forecasts. The market is now expecting another rate cut later Wednesday.

 

The cost advantage of the solar panel maker has eroded because of lower prices across the polysilicon-based PV module supply chain.

By Trefis Jan 18, 2012 1:47PM
Image: Solar energy (© Mick Roessler/Corbis)First Solar (FSLR), the world's largest player in the thin cell photovoltaic (PV) segment, has been subject to intense price competition from Chinese manufacturers over the past few quarters. 

First Solar's thin cell Cd-Te technology gave the company a cost advantage over its competition, but that has eroded considerably of late mainly because of lower prices across the polysilicon-based PV module supply chain.  

Markets may be swayed by fear and hope, but when it comes to events like this, they just aren't sentimental.

By The Fiscal Times Jan 18, 2012 12:54PM
CruiseBy Suzanne McGee, The Fiscal Times

Like the rest of the world, investors and traders may have gasped in horror at the images of one of Carnival Cruise Lines' (CCL) largest ships lying on its side along the Italian coast after its captain allegedly sailed too close to the rocks. And like the rest of the world, investors and traders may have recoiled at the news of the victims who couldn't get off the boat in a timely manner.

But that's not why investors and traders spent Tuesday busily dumping Carnival stock, which lost nearly 14%.  

This speculative biotech is a leading player in the race to commercialize genome sequencing.

By TheStockAdvisors Jan 18, 2012 12:37PM
Image: Scientists monitoring computers in control room © Martin Barraud/OJO Images/Getty ImagesBy Mark Skousen, Forecasts & Strategies

We want to start the year off with a great speculative opportunity -- Illumina (ILMN).

This San Diego biotech firm and medical instrument maker specializes in DNA sequencing and the genetic research that is so valuable in detecting and curing diseases. 
Tags: ILMN

OfficeMax, Office Depot, RadioShack are upgraded at Barclays. LinkedIn is initiated with 'outperform.'

By MSN Money Partner Jan 18, 2012 11:54AM
Information provided by Theflyonthewall.com

Wednesday's noteworthy upgrades include:
  • OfficeMax (OMX) upgraded to Equal Weight from Underweight at Barclays
  • Office Depot (ODP) upgraded to Equal Weight from Underweight at Barclays
  • RadioShack (RSH) upgraded to Equal Weight from Underweight at Barclays
  • MGM Resorts (MGM) upgraded to Neutral from Underperform at Credit Suisse
 

Investment banking business continues to struggle, but expenses trimmed.

By Jonathan Berr Jan 18, 2012 11:27AM

Adam Gault/OJO Images/Getty ImagesShares of Goldman Sachs (GS) rose in early trading after the venerable Wall Street firm posted large quarterly earnings and revenue drops that nonetheless beat expectations. Many see reasons for optimism, especially since the company was able to trim operating expenses by 14% to $22.64 billion in 2011.
 

Net income in the three-month period ended Dec. 31, 2011 plunged 58% to $1.01 billion, or $1.84 a share, surpassing the $1.23 a share average estimate of 26 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

 
Tags: GS

Though short-sellers have targeted the company, Silvercorp is one of the best ways to play the expected silver spring rally.

By TheStockAdvisors Jan 18, 2012 10:56AM
Photodisc/SuperStockBy Brien Lundin, Gold Newsletter

Silvercorp Metals (SVM) has mounted a vigorous defense against a massive "short and distort" scheme directed at the company.

These efforts appear to be paying dividends and the company has continued to conduct business as usual. 
Tags: SVM

Investing for yield isn't timid. It's downright smart.

By InvestorPlace Jan 18, 2012 10:34AM

 Image Source/CorbisBy Jeff Reeves


Think dividends are for lazy, below-average investors who are content with simply tracking the market? Think again. Dividend investing could be the only way to preserve your wealth right now.


But more important, dividend stocks don't just preserve wealth, they can constantly build your retirement funds through a steady stream of income. Don't underestimate the power of a regular payday, especially if the yield is 5%, 6% or more. Who in his right mind would pass up 6% annual returns in this choppy market?

 

This fund plays on continuing weakness in a downtrending sector.

By MoneyShow.com Jan 18, 2012 10:14AM

Medioimages/Getty ImagesBy Doug Fabian, ETF Trader


The beginning of the year is a great time to take stock of what you're doing with your money. It's also a good time to reiterate the goals and objectives of your various assets and portfolio holdings.


In this business, our goal is to swing for the fences and chase home-run trades. I'm talking about double-digit percentage gainers at a minimum, with the aim of achieving 20% to 40% gains on the positions that we take.

 

Bottom line: It's a clear signal that the Internet pioneer is up for sale.

By InvestorPlace Jan 18, 2012 9:49AM

Jerry Yang's abrupt departure Tuesday from Yahoo (YHOO) is a clear signal that the company he co-founded is on the block. A flashing neon "For Sale" sign would be less subtle, and that's the problem.


Pressure is so intense from shareholders -- including activists such as Daniel Loeb -- that Yahoo has little choice but to quickly sell anything that isn't nailed down.

 

The country's hotel industry has slumped over the past year, but the downturn is actually an advantage.

By Jim J. Jubak Jan 17, 2012 4:22PM
Image: Great Wall of China (© Photodisc/SuperStock)Home Inns and Hotels Management (HMIN) is "now the indisputable leader in economy hotels" in China, according to Deutsche Bank. I’d have to say I agree, which is why I added the stock to my Jubak Picks 50 long-term portfolio on Friday (See my post for all the changes to the portfolio.)

With the acquisition of Shanghai’s Motel 168 chain, Home Inns and Hotels strengthened its multi-brand strategy in the economy segment and expanded its geographic coverage. At the end of the third quarter, the company operated 1,004 hotels (500 leased and operated and 504 franchised and managed) in 174 cities in China. Another 202 hotels were contracted or under construction at the end of the period. 
 
Tags: HMIN

Three familiar names in retail are fast approaching their day of reckoning.

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day Jan 17, 2012 4:22PM

By Jeremy Bowman

 

While our banks may be too big to fail, it seems that our superstores are now too big to survive. The news for several familiar big box chains has gone from bad to worse lately as a slow economic recovery, increased competition from online channels, and a failure to adapt to new market conditions have a number of retail chains teetering on the brink of collapse.

 

The writing's on the wall
After posting an EPS loss of $1.31 in 2011, Barnes & Noble (BKS) recently announced this year's loss would be twice as large as previously expected, between $1.10 and $1.40. The bookseller's Nook e-reader, on which the company's last hopes seem to be riding, sits in a purgatory. Company execs had toyed with the idea of spinning it off entirely before announcing a partnership with TheNew York Times (NYT), in which the Times will subsidize the Nook for readers in exchange for a full year's digital subscription to the newspaper.

 

The coupon site needs to get its merchant mix right, focusing more on service-based businesses that benefit from daily deals.

By Trefis Jan 17, 2012 3:32PM
Image: Couple ordering meal in restaurant © NULL/Corbis Groupon's (GRPN) journey going public has been bumpy, to say the least. After a slew of public relations mishaps, questionable accounting practices and some highly publicized merchant fallouts, the company's stock finally ended 2011 at a price slightly less than its $20 offering price.

While Groupon can become a sustainable business, we believe that its present fundamentals do not support the stock's current market price.  
Tags: GOOGGRPN

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[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market capped the trading week with losses across the major averages. The S&P 500 fell 0.5% to surrender its weekly gain, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (-0.7%) and Russell 2000 (-0.9%) underperformed. The two indices posted respective losses of 0.8% and 0.6% for the week.

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