The assembly line producing the Ford Fiesta car in Cuautitlan Izcalli, Mexico. © Susana Gonzalez/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Mexico will soon be next car capital

Some 80% of the vehicles built south of the border are exported to other countries, mostly to the US.


The latest attack on banks sounds reasonable but makes no sense.

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day Sep 12, 2011 3:59PM
By Dan Caplinger


The housing crisis has defied both expectations and easy solutions, making a mockery of optimistic forecasts for years now. Yet the latest news on the housing front shows how little attention the federal government and big banks are paying to the real problem behind the crisis: depressed home prices that have paralyzed homeowners and lenders alike.


An unnecessary distraction
Last week, the Federal Housing Finance Agency sued 17 banks, alleging that they sold almost $200 billion in high-risk mortgage loans to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac without full disclosure. With $57.4 billion in bonds at issue, Bank of America (BAC) faces the biggest potential liability, while JPMorgan Chase (JPM) has $33 billion in loans under review.


There's no denying that banks deserve some of the blame for bad loans. Controversies like the robo-signing scandal and other improper documentation for mortgages highlight just how messed up bank procedures were during the housing boom.


Even stocks with good fundamentals are getting hurt as investors turn against the European banking sector.

By Jim J. Jubak Sep 12, 2011 3:53PM
Jim JubakNot unexpectedly, European bank stocks were taking another hit Monday.

Not unexpectedly given fears of a Greek default, a pending downgrade of French banks, and worries that the European Central Bank is hamstrung in its ability to respond to German opposition.

You’ve probably cut way back on your exposure to European banks -- but maybe you still own a few. I’ve given the thumbs up to several European bank stocks with high dividends in the last few months.

How are they -- Banco Santander (STD), Banco Bilbao Vizcaya (BBVA) and Svenska Handelsbanken (SVNLF) -- doing? (Banco Santander is a member of my Dividend Income portfolio.)

Companies are choosing to make products for the highest and lowest income levels -- not the gray area in between.

By Kim Peterson Sep 12, 2011 3:31PM
We live in an economy where luxury shops and dollar stores are doing spectacularly well. It's an odd distribution that some analysts describe as an hourglass -- bulging at the highest and lowest income levels.

The middle class? History. The housing market bust and the high unemployment rate have taken a huge toll on what was once a steady middle class (families with annual incomes of between $50,000 and $140,000).

Now, companies are changing their focus to cater to the rich and the poor -- but not that crumbling area in between. 

Over the past 5 years, these funds have returned 3% annually as the S&P 500 has dipped into the red.

By TheStreet Staff Sep 12, 2011 1:59PM

Image: Global (©Maciej Frolow/Brand X/Getty Images)By Stan Luxenberg, TheStreetTheStreet


Struggling to protect their assets, investors have been turning to world allocation funds. The funds have the flexibility to dodge trouble spots and invest in promising stocks and bonds around the world.


During the past year, investors have poured $24 billion into world allocation funds, according to Morningstar. That was a striking showing at a time when many stock funds suffered big outflows. Steady performance has been attracting the inflows. During the past five years, world allocation funds returned 3% annually, while the S&P 500 ($INX) dipped into the red.


Some of the most popular world allocation funds make sudden tactical moves, emphasizing emerging markets one year and U.S. bonds the next. But many funds in the category shift only slowly. The aim is to deliver steady results and not necessarily call every market move.


Ted Weschler favors consumer-discretionary, financial and telecom companies that generate lots of cash.

By TheStreet Staff Sep 12, 2011 1:08PM

By Robert Holmes, TheStreetTheStreet


Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B) has a new fund manager to help oversee its $50 billion investment portfolio. Some of his favorite stock picks are DirecTV (DTV) and W.R. Grace (GRA).


Berkshire Hathaway said Monday that Ted Weschler will join the company early in 2012 after he winds down his Peninsula Capital Advisors hedge fund. Weschler and Todd Combs, who was added to Berkshire last year, will each manage a portion of the equity portfolios of Berkshire's insurance subsidiaries.


"With Todd and Ted on board, Berkshire is well-positioned for successor investment management at the time Mr. Buffett is no longer CEO," Berkshire said in a statement Monday.


Risk is elevated on 4 Nasdaq leaders, but all are strong outperformers that could lead the market's next rally.

By Sep 12, 2011 1:01PM
By Tom Aspray,

Last week's ugly close sets the stage for the completion of the flag formations that I discussed last week. In very early trading on Monday, the E-mini S&P 500 futures were trading down over 17 points and had broken the support of the flag formation. A close below this support will set the stage for further selling this week.

The technology sector, as represented by the Nasdaq 100 and the PowerShares QQQ Trust (QQQ), is acting much better than the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Tech stocks have rebounded further from the August lows and may be able to hold those August lows while the other major averages break to new lows.


A fund manager who successfully bid for a pair of private dinners with the Oracle will now work at Berkshire Hathaway.

By Kim Peterson Sep 12, 2011 12:45PM
Want to get a job with Warren Buffett? Buy him dinner a couple of times -- and spend $5.25 million in the process.

That's what happened to Ted Weschler, 50, who was the managing partner at the Peninsula Capital Advisors hedge fund.

For two years in a row, Weschler has been the anonymous bidder who won a private dinner with Buffett. 

Here are some exchange-traded funds that offer opportunities, and a few that have been struggling.

By TheStreet Staff Sep 12, 2011 11:04AM

By Don Dion, TheStreetTheStreet


Here are five ETFs to watch this week.


1. iShares MSCI South Africa Index Fund (EZA)


This South Africa ETF has staged an impressive comeback after struggling in August, and it's once again trading around pre-sell-off levels. The fund's multi-week ascension bodes well for its momentum positioning. EZA has witnessed a climb across both our short- and long-term rankings.


Sweeping macro concerns facing the developed world could prove to be a hurdle for emerging nations like South Africa. Nevertheless, EZA may be exciting to watch in the days ahead.


The biggest wealth builders in the months ahead will be solid brands that deliver big revenues to shareholders.

By InvestorPlace Sep 12, 2011 10:56AM

By Louis Navellier,

August was agonizing, to say the least. The volatility-laden indexes have scared the heck out of investors, and now everyone is asking the same question: What am I supposed to buy now?

Well, one option is to follow Warren Buffett into banking stocks. Buffett -- via Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) -- just plunked down $5 billion for a stake in Bank of America (BAC), which immediately prompted investors to start looking at the industry.

I have respect for Buffett, but you shouldn't follow in his exact footsteps on this one. Buffett got a special preferred-stock deal on Bank of America that other investors can’t get, boasting a great 6% dividend. You're better off picking other stocks than B of A -- but keeping the Oracle of Omaha's focus on plump dividend yields. 

Prices slide as ugly headlines drag world markets lower, prompting investors to sell the metal to cover losses elsewhere.

By Jim Cramer Sep 12, 2011 10:31AM

Gold © Comstock Images/Jupiterimagesthe streetBy Alix Steel, TheStreet


Updated at 4:45 p.m. ET


Gold prices fell Monday as global markets sank on fears of a Greek default, prompting investors to sell gold to cover losses in stocks.


Gold (-GC) for December delivery dropped $46.20 to settle at $1,813.30 an ounce at the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. Gold traded as high as $1,865.20 before dipping as low as $1,811.10, while the spot gold price was shedding $48.30, according to Kitco's gold index.


Silver (-SI) prices shed $1.40 to close at $40.21 an ounce, while the U.S. dollar index was rallying 0.4% at $77.52.


Wild headlines have had investors buying gold as a safety hedge but also selling the metal to cover losses elsewhere as global markets tanked. And there were a plethora of bad headlines Monday.


Let's get this over with soon so we can see what things look like when the smoke clears.

By Jim Cramer Sep 12, 2011 9:05AM

jim cramerthe streetAt least it is no longer complicated. We know a European Lehman is upon us. Or, more like it, a European Lehman-Bear-Merrill-Washington Mutual-Wachovia-Citigroup.


That's the first proposition.


Second, we know that "they" have no plan to deal with it.


Third, we don't even know who "they" are anymore. Is it the Germans? The French? The IMF? The European Central Bank? Trichet?


Fourth, it is now too late for the banks to raise capital. As you recall, when the ratings agencies strike, it very quickly leads to Lehman. The banks can't get short-term funding, and they collapse.


More falling would not be surprising next week, but we're unlikely to see a repeat of August's panic selling.

By Sep 9, 2011 9:22PM

By Tom Aspray,

After a seesaw week, stocks were punished on again Friday. The action was even worse than what we saw before Labor Day weekend.

This time the financial media reported that stocks were lower because of Obama’s job plan, the surprise resignation of Germany’s top representative on the ECB’s executive board, and worries over a default by Greece.

From a technical standpoint, last week’s action just completed the rebound from the August lows. The sharp drop after the Labor Day weekend caused further deterioration in the technical outlook.

The mid-week rebound—in reaction to a sharp rally in the German Dax index—created another good selling opportunity. The German market was boosted when their constitutional court rejected lawsuits filed to block Germany’s participation in the Eurozone rescue funds. Thursday’s lower close set the stage for Friday’s drop.

If the key support levels are violated early this coming week, it is likely to trigger another wave of selling—but I doubt it will have the panic qualities of what occurred in August.


The country's official inflation rate may have peaked, but the markets may need more time to be convinced.

By Jim J. Jubak Sep 9, 2011 6:06PM
Jim JubakChina’s official inflation rate fell to 6.2% in August from 6.5% in July, according to data released Friday.

It’s too soon to say that July’s 6.5% marked the peak in inflation for this cycle, but nonetheless the drop to 6.2% is good news for those investors waiting for an end to the People’s Bank of China’s war on inflation. That war has led to five increases in China’s benchmark interest rate in the past year, and persistent fears that the bank’s monetary policies would crash economic growth.

China’s economic growth rate is projected to slow to just below 9% this year, and then drop to 8.3% in 2012.

China’s central bank last raised interest rates in July, and the bank increased reserve requirements most recently on Aug. 27. The one-year lending rate stands at 6.56%, and the interest rate paid on bank deposits at 3.5%. The
country’s largest banks are required to keep 21.5% reserves after the latest move.

Be cautious owning Best Buy in advance of its earnings report on Tuesday

By Jamie Dlugosch Sep 9, 2011 5:40PM

There is a tremendous amount of noise in the market that can influence stock price. Ultimately, the value of a stock is based on the present value of future profits.


When a company reports earnings results, market participants receive a key piece of information that can be used to determine the price of a stock. For a brief moment in time after a company releases its operating performance, the market will adjust pricing based on how the numbers match up against current expectations.


In many cases stocks of companies reporting results will move significantly higher or lower.


Understanding how investors use earnings against Wall Street estimates creates a profitable trading opportunity. Using a few key variables combined with understanding how the market will react to new information can guide you how to trade a stock in advance of the news being reported.


Use the Earnings Predictor to help you identify winning trades. On Tuesday Best Buy (BBY) reports earnings for the quarter ending August 31, 2011.


On the 10th anniversary of 9/11, here are five stocks that play a critical role in our national security.

By TheStreet Staff Sep 9, 2011 3:56PM

stockpickrBy Jamie Duglosch, Stockpickr


In a few days, we will commemorate 10 years since the tragic events of 9/11. Having been in New York then, I will certainly never forget. That day changed the world forever.


In the aftermath, an entire category of stocks dedicated to homeland security emerged from within the defense industry. Investors now can select specific stocks of companies that play a critical role in our national security. Osama bin Laden may be dead, but the threat still exists. As long as it does, there is money to be made from the efforts to keep us safe.


It's a good thing, too. With a national debt that is out of control and an economy teetering on the brink of a double-dip recession, stock-picking is exceedingly difficult. Where can investors go and know that growth and profits are likely to follow?


Consider homeland security stocks. In the greater story of military and defense stocks, investors need to brace for cuts. That is less the case with homeland security. Nobody wants to be accused of cutting spending there if and when another terror event occurs.



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Market index data delayed by 15 minutes

[BRIEFING.COM] The S&P 500 trades higher by 0.2%.

Just reported, existing home sales hit an annualized rate of 5.15 million units in July, while the consensus expected a reading of 5.00 million. The pace for July was up from the prior month's revised rate of 5.03 million units (from 5.04 million).

The Philadelphia Fed Survey for August jumped to 28.0 from 23.9. Economists polled by had expected that the Survey would slip to 15.5.

The ... More


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