Image: Bank Vault (© Corbis/Corbis)
Up next: Biggest bank IPO ever

It's no Alibaba, but the Citizens Financial Group offering is important to the market.

VIDEO ON MSN MONEY

Investors shouldn't get so excited about benchmark numbers that make good headlines but mean little in a vacuum.

By InvestorPlace Feb 10, 2012 10:12AM

By Jeff Reeves


Apple (AAPL) is bigger than Exxon Mobil (XOM) -- and now Apple is about to hit $500 a share! The Dow is approaching 13,000! Unemployment is at a three-year low!


But guess what. Not a single one of those numbers means a darn thing. At least not without context.


At risk of revealing that the emperor has no clothes, let me clue you in to a dirty little secret about the financial media: We're short-sighted number junkies. So do yourself a favor and don't place too much weight on the aforementioned data points bandied about in a vacuum with no background.

 

MSN Money's Anthony Mirhaydari answers Facebook users' questions about energy prices.

By MSN Money Partner Feb 10, 2012 10:02AM

Image: Anthony MirhaydariWhere are oil prices headed, and what does it mean for you, the economy and stock prices? In this video, MSN Money columnist Anthony Mirhaydari explains why he sees oil prices falling in the coming months.

 

And as he answers questions from MSN Money's Facebook community, Mirhaydari also explains why alternative energy is the sector to avoid. 

It's a breakthrough that will speed up short sales of housing, reduce inventory and lift home prices.

By Jim Cramer Feb 9, 2012 6:39PM

the streetImage: Home with foreclosure sign in front yard © Ariel Skelley/Stockbyte/Getty ImagesMost efforts to solve the housing glut have led to naught, largely because the banks and state and federal governments have been have so antagonistic to each other.

 

That's why this $25 billion settlement between the federal and state governments and five big banks and mortgage services, over the outrageous foreclosure procedures these institutions used during this period, is so important to the progress that's so needed for this incredibly important issue, the one that precipitated the U.S. downturn and remains at the epicenter of the tepid pace of the recovery.

 

Strong revenue growth was driven by higher prices and rise in volumes.

By Trefis Feb 9, 2012 6:37PM
Image: Globe with money (© PhotoAlto/SuperStock)Coca-Cola Co (KO) saw revenue and volume rise on strong international operations in 2011.

Fourth-quarter sales increased by 5% to $11.04 billion, supported by higher prices and a 3% rise in volume, the company announced Tuesday. Profit fell 71% to $1.66 billion from $5.77 billion, mostly due to a one-time gain associated with the acquisition of bottling operations in 2010. However, excluding special items, profit rose 10% to 79 cents per share from 72 cents a year earlier.

Coca-Cola currently competes PepsiCo (PEP), Dr. Pepper Snapple Group (DPS) and other domestic players. 
Tags: DPSKOPEP

The oil company will double the number of exploratory wells it digs this year and increase organic capital expenditures.

By Trefis Feb 9, 2012 6:27PM
Image: Oil drums (© Kevin Phillips/Digital Vision/age fotostock)Oil major British Petroleum (BP) managed to build upon the strong oil pricing environment to increase revenue as well as profits in the fourth quarter.

More critically, the company managed to increase its oil and gas production volumes in the upstream segment after a few quarters of production declines. Going forward, BP plans to increase its exploration activity in 2012 with a particular focus on deepwater prospects.

Refining results in the fourth quarter were hit by lower downstream margins, with operations in the U.S. getting a particularly hard beating. 
Tags: bpCVXXOM

These regional banks scored best in a screen for performance and yield.

By TheStockAdvisors Feb 9, 2012 6:23PM
Image: Cash machine (© Compassionate Eye Foundation/Getty Images/Getty Images)By Amy Calistri, The Daily Paycheck

Over 400 banks and thrifts have failed since the beginning of 2008, following the housing bubble burst. And many once-stable dividends disappeared in the blink of an eye.

The banking sector has been slow to recover. For instance, the Financial Select Sector SPDR (XLF), which tracks an index of some of the largest U.S. financial institutions, is still roughly 60% below its price five years ago. 
Tags: AF

One nice quarter does not make a complete turnaround story. There are too many missing pieces in this puzzle.

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day Feb 9, 2012 5:35PM

By Anders Bylund

 

Everything is not as it seems for Avid Technology (AVID). I'm willing to bet my professional reputation that yesterday's shocking price jump can't last.

 

The stock rocketed nearly 20% yesterday after a stellar fourth-quarter report. Analysts expected modest non-GAAP earnings of $0.06 per share on $177 million in sales. That would have been a 9.4% year-over-year revenue decline and a very steep profit drop from $0.37 per share.

 
Tags: AAPL

The heavy machinery maker is strengthening its product portfolio in the 2 countries to meet high demand.

By Trefis Feb 9, 2012 3:13PM
Image: Construction (© Photodisc Green/Getty Images)Caterpillar (CAT) is looking to increase sales in Japan and North America by strengthening its product offerings in industries that are expected to drive growth.

In Japan, Caterpillar is ramping up production capacity to meet higher demand from the rebuilding efforts following last year's earthquake. In North America, the company is sharpening its focus on the waste management industry with its recent alliance with Exodus Machines.  
Tags: CAT

Despite economic uncertainty, the giant retailer forges ahead with plans to increase sales, profitabilty and cash flow.

By Zacks.com Feb 9, 2012 2:42PM

mage: Poster proclaiming Sale up to 50% off and shoppers silhouetted in foreground © Michele Constantini/PhotoAlto Agency RF/Getty ImagesBy Zacks Equity Research
    

The U.S. economy is still not out of the woods and the European debt crisis continues to take its toll on the financial markets. Despite all this, Macy's Inc. (M) has managed to keep up its momentum.


With the holiday season over, consumers are giving their wallets a rest as they await another round of austerity measures. This was evident from Macy's lower-than-expected January comparable-store sales results. However, it also marked the 26th successive month of year-over-year sales growth.

 

Nearly 2 years after the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the Macondo well still casts a long shadow over the company's valuation and prospects for a higher stock price.

By The Fiscal Times Feb 9, 2012 2:01PM
Image: Oil drilling platform (© Scott Gibson/Corbis)By Suzanne McGee, The Fiscal Times

What mattered when BP (BP) reported its earnings this week wasn't what happened in the just-ended fourth quarter (pretty good news -- it beat analysts' earnings forecasts by a penny a share; revenue jumped 15%).

And it wasn't what happened Wednesday (it boosted its quarterly dividend 14% to 8 cents a share), much less what is happening to its underlying business (CEO Bob Dudley predicted operating cash flow could surge 50% if oil prices remain around $100 a barrel).  

Earnings show Akamai will ultimately emerge as a cloud-focused software company.

By Minyanville Feb 9, 2012 1:36PM
Image: Clouds in a blue sky (© Purestock/Getty Images)By Fil Zucchi

Shares of Akamai (AKAM) surged in after-hours trading Wednesday following a fourth-quarter earnings report that topped estimates. They continued to climb Thursday, more than 10% by midday.

Before the results were issued, I suggested that Akamai was trading at levels that would make either bulls or bears very unhappy once the results were out (see Akamai Earnings Preview: Investors to Ask 'What Have You Done for Me Lately?'). 
Tags: AKAM

Strong headwinds, including lawsuits and regulatory issues, could slow client activity and dim the stock's appeal.

By Gene Marcial Feb 9, 2012 12:45PM

Image: Stock market (© Comstock)Whenever the stock market launches a strong advance, as it is doing these days, the major investment banks normally lead the upward parade.


Sure enough, shares of Goldman Sachs (GS) have shown fresh vigor as the market, buoyed by a strengthening economic recovery, has resurged. Goldman's stock has climbed to $115 a share, up from $104 in mid-January 2012. That's way up from its 52-week low of $69 on Feb. 16, 2011.

 
Tags: GS

The online coupon site's share price tumbles after a disappointing earnings report showing a $42.7 million loss.

By InvestorPlace Feb 9, 2012 12:08PM

By Tom Taulli


Facebook’s IPO filing last week juiced a score of social stocks last week, including those of Groupon (GRPN), which saw its shares soar 22% in a single day.


But that Facebook bump has disappeared in a hurry. GRPN plunged more than 11% in early trading Thursday as the online coupon giant flubbed its first-ever earnings report as a publicly traded company.

 

Amgen is downgraded to 'perform,' and 3M is downgraded to 'hold.'

By MSN Money Partner Feb 9, 2012 12:05PM
Information provided by Theflyonthewall.com

Thursday's noteworthy upgrades include:
  • Ingersoll-Rand (IR) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Wells Fargo
  • Walgreen (WAG) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Macquarie
  • Celanese (CE) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Jefferies
  • CIT Group (CIT) upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley
  • Akamai (AKAM) upgraded to Buy from Outperform at CLSA
 

The beverage maker continues to lag Coca-Cola.

By Jonathan Berr Feb 9, 2012 11:19AM

If there were a mercy rule in the cola wars, PepsiCo (PEP) would have triggered it long ago. Now the company is starting to fight back, though investors have to wonder whether the effort is too little too late.

PepsiCo on Thursday announced plans to cut about 8,700 jobs, which about 3% of its work force. At the same time, it will ratchet up marketing spending by as much as $600 million with a particular emphasis on North America.

 
Tags: KOPEP

DATA PROVIDERS

Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.

Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.

STOCK SCOUTER

StockScouter rates stocks from 1 to 10, with 10 being the best, using a system of advanced mathematics to determine a stock's expected risk and return. Ratings are displayed on a bell curve, meaning there will be fewer ratings of 1 and 10 and far more of 4 through 7.

123
123 rated 1
262
262 rated 2
480
480 rated 3
651
651 rated 4
649
649 rated 5
629
629 rated 6
616
616 rated 7
496
496 rated 8
346
346 rated 9
111
111 rated 10
12345678910

Top Picks

SYMBOLNAMERATING
EXCEXELON CORPORATION9
TAT&T Inc9
VZVERIZON COMMUNICATIONS8
CTLCENTURYLINK Inc8
AAPLAPPLE Inc10
More

Trending NOW

What’s this?

RECENT QUOTES

WATCHLIST

Symbol
Last
Change
Shares
Quotes delayed at least 15 min

ABOUT

Top Stocks provides analysis about the most noteworthy stocks in the market each day, combining some of the best content from around the MSN Money site and the rest of the Web.

Contributors include professional investors and journalists affiliated with MSN Money.

Follow us on Twitter @topstocksmsn.

MARKET UPDATE

NAMELASTCHANGE% CHANGE
There’s a problem getting this information right now. Please try again later.
NAMELASTCHANGE% CHANGE
There’s a problem getting this information right now. Please try again later.
Market index data delayed by 15 minutes

[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market finished an upbeat week on a mixed note. The S&P 500 shed less than a point, ending the week higher by 1.3%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (+0.1%) cemented a 1.7% advance for the week. High-beta names underperformed, which weighed on the Nasdaq Composite (-0.3%) and the Russell 2000 (-1.3%).

Equity indices displayed strength in the early going with the S&P 500 tagging the 2,019 level during the opening 30 minutes of the action. However, ... More


Currencies

NAMELASTCHANGE% CHANGE
There’s a problem getting this information right now. Please try again later.