Why stocks are in for a rough ride this week
Stocks in for a rough ride this week

Longtime market bull Jeremy Siegel says investors could realize the market is behind the curve on interest rates.


The economic downturn is taking a toll on these mainstays.

By InvestorPlace Oct 4, 2011 9:20AM
By Jeff Reeves, InvestorPlace.com

It has been ugly on Wall Street lately. Investors are spooked, consumers have prepared for the worst and businesses remain defensive. The Greek debt debacle is stealing recent headlines, but don’t fool yourself — persistent problems of high joblessness, a battered housing market and huge losses at financial firms continue to take a toll on the entire global economy.

While the big picture still is unfolding, there are a few stories for particular players that are rapidly approaching an unfortunate end. Victims of both the general downturn and of specific troubles related to their businesses, these iconic American brands are about to disappear.


Unlike in years past, there are multiple product rumors and stories swirling around the cult tech stock. Here are the top 5 to watch.

By InvestorPlace Oct 3, 2011 8:41PM
By Jeff Reeves, InvestorPlace.com

The world is on the edge of its seat again as we approach yet another landmark Apple (AAPL) launch. It's a little later than the previous summer splashes reserved for the latest iPhone -- the iPhone 5 -- but has just as much fanfare.

And for several reasons, the unveiling could be the most important event in the history of the iPhone since the first big reveal in 2007. One easily could argue that Apple has a lot more riding on this launch.

Here's what's at stake:


Are we headed into recession? A few nuggets of positive news could signal stronger-than-expected growth.

By Jim J. Jubak Oct 3, 2011 5:10PM
The Economic Cycle Research Institute, which has a good record in predicting the ups and downs of the business cycle, told its clients Friday that the U.S. economy is headed into recession. (For more on that call and a little horn tooting by the ECRI, see this.)

Even if the institute is right, though, that doesn’t mean the road to recession won’t be paved with some bumps and potholes. (Don’t confuse the Economic Cycle Research Institute, which is in the business of predicting the business cycle for clients, with the National Bureau of Economic Research, which calls the cycles after they’ve happened.)

Monday, just days after the institute’s recession call, the Institute for Supply Management reported that its manufacturing index had climbed to 51.6 in September from 50.6 in August. (Remember, anything above 50 shows that the manufacturing sector is expanding.) 

AMR Corp. leads a wide sector slump on concerns about the economy and corporate travel budgets.

By Kim Peterson Oct 3, 2011 4:18PM
Investors are always ready to push the panic button on American Airlines, which is thought to be the weakest airline financially.

The panic button got a workout Monday. Shares of American's parent company, AMR Corp. (AMR), plunged 33% to close below $2. Investors are worried that the airline sector will suffer even more as the economy sputters and companies cut travel budgets.

Analysts at Citi cut ratings Monday for two other airline stocks: United Continental (UAL) and US Airways (LCC). Those stocks plummeted as well, by 12% and 16%, respectively. But it was AMR that took the most damage. 
Tags: amrtravel

Bank of America customers experience 2 straight business days of website problems.

By Kim Peterson Oct 3, 2011 3:03PM

Updated: 5 p.m. ET


As if Bank of America (BAC) needed any more problems.

What first looked like a technological hiccup has turned into ongoing website issues for the bank. Some customers can't access their accounts, the bank is on the defensive and the stock price hit a new 52-week low Monday, closing down 9.6% to $5.53. The stock price has fallen below $6 for the first time since the financial crisis.

For two business days now, the bank's website has given users a short warning: "Some of our pages are temporarily unavailable. Thanks for your patience."

Tags: internet

Fund investors seeking exposure to gold should consider holding a mix of bullion -- via an ETF -- and mutual funds that invest in gold miners.

By TheStreet Staff Oct 3, 2011 2:56PM

By Stan Luxenberg, TheStreetTheStreet


Gold has been whipsawing investors lately, and shareholders of precious metals funds have special reasons to feel disappointed.


So far this year, gold prices have climbed 14% to $1,662, while precious metals funds have dropped 15.7%, according to Morningstar.


The performance is unusual because most often the funds rise along with bullion prices. Fund portfolio managers offer several theories about what has caused the poor returns.


Utilities funds were among the only gainers as the stock market rout gathered steam. Here are 5 utility stocks that led the sector.

By TheStreet Staff Oct 3, 2011 12:25PM

By Frank Byrt, TheStreetTheStreet


U.S. stock mutual funds that invest in a diverse array of companies turned in a shameful performance last quarter, as none -- that's right, none -- made money.


Among funds that buy mainly U.S. stocks and use no leverage or short positions, only three sector-specific funds eked out gains from the beginning of July to the end of September, according to research firm Morningstar: Icon Telecommunications & Utilities (ICTUX), up 1.9%; Franklin Utilities (FKUTX), up 1.7%; and Invesco Utilities Investor (FSTUX), up 0.3%.


The stock market rout gathered steam last month on concerns that the U.S. economy is slipping into another recession and Europe's debt burden will sink more banks and lead to a further decline in global corporate profits. In September, materials stocks fell the most, by 13%, followed by energy at 10% and financial services at 8.3%, according to Capital IQ. Utilities shares were the sole sector to rise, by 1%.


Investors should look for defensive trades in this shaky market. Funds tracking China and silver could be due for more wild swings.

By TheStreet Staff Oct 3, 2011 12:13PM

By Don Dion, TheStreetTheStreet


Here are five exchange-traded funds to watch this week.


1. Market Vectors Agribusiness ETF (MOO)


In the second week of October, Alcoa (AA) will provide what many market watchers consider the bellwether earnings report of the season. However, in the days leading up to this event, there will a handful of companies representing the industrials and agricultural sector that will report ahead of the aluminum giant.


For instance, Monsanto (MON), an agricultural powerhouse, will report its quarterly earnings along with its outlook on Wednesday. ETF investors looking to target this firm should turn to the equity-backed MOO.


Designed to provide investors with exposure to the largest and most recognizable companies in the global agriculture industry, MOO sets aside ample exposure to companies like Mosaic (MOS), Deere (DE) and Potash of Saskatchewan (POT). Monsanto is the fund's largest position, accounting for 8% of its portfolio.


High volatility and downside risk mean caution is warranted in advance of potential buying opportunities.

By MoneyShow.com Oct 3, 2011 11:24AM

By Tom Aspray, MoneyShow.com

September was a rough month in the markets, and the wave of selling last Friday did not help. The S&P 500 was down 7.2% in September and 14.3% for the quarter. For the year, the Dow Transports are down almost 18%, which looks pretty good when compared to the KBW Bank Index, which has lost 32.3%.

Commodity traders were also hit, as a surprising crop report pushed corn and wheat limit down in Friday’s session. Even gold was not immune, as the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) lost 11% in September, though it is still up close to 14% for the year.


Electronics resellers are seeing a surge of activity in anticipation of Tuesday's launch.

By TheStreet Staff Oct 3, 2011 11:16AM

the streetBy Olivia Oran, TheStreet


Weeks before Apple's (AAPL) iPhone 5 was rumored to be announced, Josh Kwolinski was already prepared.


The student and part-time AT&T (T) employee from Sacramento, Calif., had traded in his iPhone 4 to an online reseller called Gazelle, which offered him $300. He plans to use the funds to purchase Apple's fifth generation smartphone after its launch on Oct. 4.


"I'm an Apple nerd," Zwolinski said. "I deal with phones all day every day and constantly see problems with other phones, but not the iPhone."


Companies like Caterpillar and Honeywell have yet to see a slowdown in demand, yet their stocks are like hot potatoes that no one wants to hold on to.

By Jim Cramer Oct 3, 2011 8:57AM

the streetHere's a piece I don't want to write. Industrials seem determined to replay 2008. It doesn't matter that things are much better for them. It doesn't matter that there is ample credit around the world, something that crushed them the last time around.


It doesn't even matter that none, not one, of the industrial stocks I am close to -- Honeywell (HON), United Technologies (UTX), Cummins (CMI) or Caterpillar (CAT) -- have seen a slowdown. They all get whacked.


This endless decline is playing havoc with the performance of anyone who is trying to keep pace with the averages. Owning them has been anathema to making money.


In anticipation of the warehouse store's earnings, it's worth noting there's much more to its stock than low prices.

By InvestorPlace Oct 2, 2011 8:24PM
By Jeff Reeves, InvestorPlace.com

Costco (COST) is America's largest wholesaler by revenue and is watched closely by investors and consumers alike as a sign of how the economy is doing in general. If folks flock to Costco for deals in bulk, it's probably not good news for most family budgets. If Americans spend more on name-brand and upscale products instead of the no-frills items at Costco, it's a sign consumers have more money to burn.

It should come as no surprise that Costco has been doing pretty well recently amid high unemployment and consumer spending woes. COST is up about 15% so far in 2011.

But more interesting is the fact that Costco isn't just riding this broader economic trend to bigger profits -- it's also stealing customers from low-price rivals, including Wal-Mart (WMT).

Here are three reasons Costco is beating Wal-Mart:


A disturbing retail report and a jump in inflation in Europe led to renewed fears for investors Friday.

By Jim J. Jubak Sep 30, 2011 4:27PM
No matter how many things you’re watching in this market, you can still get hit from an unexpected direction.

Friday morning, the two measures I urged everyone to watch Thursday -- one from China and one from the United States -- turned in decent if not uplifting results. Nothing to cheer about, but nothing to generate new worries (beyond the current already elevated level, that is.)

But the economic data moving the market Friday comes from Germany and the Eurozone, where news of the worst month-to-month retail-sales drop since May 2009 and of a jump in inflation to a 3% annual rate has sent the euro down and the U.S. dollar up -- with everything bad that implies for commodities and emerging-market stocks.

One major movie studio has said it will stop footing the bill for 3-D glasses next year. So who picks up the cost?

By Kim Peterson Sep 30, 2011 4:01PM
What if moviegoers had to pay for their own 3-D glasses? That could be a reality next year, because the Hollywood studios that have been footing the bill are tired of it.

Sony Pictures Entertainment has said it will stop paying for 3-D glasses by next May, and other studios are likely considering the same thing, according to The Hollywood Reporter. It can cost a studio as much as $10 million to provide 3-D glasses for each blockbuster movie.

So who's going to pay for those glasses now? The burden shifts to theater owners, and they're not happy about it at all. Regal Entertainment (RGC), which saw its stock price drop more than 8% this week, warned studios this week that it may show fewer 3-D films as a result. 
Tags: Hollywood

Here's why gold and silver prices are falling, and why there's reason to believe they will rise again.

By TheStreet Staff Sep 30, 2011 3:31PM

By John Browne, TheStreetTheStreet


Fall officially began on Sept. 23, but it's not just leaves that are cascading downward. In the few market days of the new season, precious metals prices have seen significant drops, some 11% for gold and 31% for silver. In its lurch downward, gold plowed through support levels at $1,750, $1,700 and $1,645 an ounce. I'm sure many readers are concerned.


After all, by the time gold put in its recent peak on Aug. 22, it had logged a stunning 44% appreciation in calendar year 2011. And even after its recent tumble, the metal is still 22% higher than it was on Jan. 27, the 2011 low. Therefore, some may conclude that gold has further to fall, and that the descent could be steep.


Given this anxiety, it might be helpful to summarize some factors we see impacting prices. Emotions loom large in the financial world, and it is easy to lose one's focus during periods of uncertainty. From as rational a perspective as I can gain during these irrational times, here is my view on why precious metals have recently pulled back so violently:



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[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market finished the Thursday session on a higher note with the S&P 500 climbing 0.5%. The benchmark index registered an early high within the first 90 minutes and inched to a new session best during the final hour of the action.

Equities rallied out of the gate with the financial sector (+1.1%) providing noteworthy support for the second day in a row. The growth-oriented sector extended its September gain to 1.9% versus a more modest uptick of 0.4% for the ... More


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