The chain still has quality management and strong retention rates.
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CEO says it will take 2 years for the insurer to repay $80 billion in government loans. It might take shareholders a lot longer to see their money returned.
By Lauren Tara LaCapra, TheStreet
Anyone who has been a holder of American International Group (AIG) shares since before its gigantic bailout must consider not just how long it will take to repay taxpayer loans but how long it will take for AIG shares to multiply by 20.
AIG's brash leader, Bob Benmosche, told the Financial Times he expects it will take at least two years for the insurer to repay $80 billion in remaining loans from the federal government. Once that happens, the government would presumably begin to wind down its 80% stake in AIG.
But the horizon for long-term shareholders will need to be much longer. Although the firm's fortunes have improved since Dec. 31, 2008, AIG shares are down 10% this year. Since June 30, 2008, before the rescue package that would eventually reach $180 billion was unveiled, AIG's stock has declined 95%.
The best-performing funds over the past 10 years have capitalized on emerging markets in Eastern Europe and Russia.
A Stockholm-based equity fund has produced a 1,524% return over the past decade, EFinancialNews.com reports. How? By betting heavily on emerging-market stocks.
The East Capital Ryssland fund specializes in Eastern Europe and Russia, according to EFinancialNews. If you had handed $10,000 to this fund in 2000, you'd have about $152,400 by now.
Here are the other funds in the top five, according to data from Morningstar:
The depressed dollar won't mount a solid recovery for 6 to 12 more months, the notorious economist says.
Hey, you. Yeah, you with the little smile on your face, humming some song about a red-nosed reindeer. You're far too jolly this week. How about a dose of Dr. Doom?
It's been too long since the dark clouds of Nouriel Roubini rained over this blog. Luckily, the well-known economist (dubbed "Dr. Doom" for his dire predictions of the economy) spread some holiday "cheer" at an event recently.
Roubini said the U.S. dollar will continue to stink for another six to 12 months, according to Reuters. And that means the carry trade will continue for a bit longer.
Stocks have lost value each year since the end of 1999. Even the lowly savings account performed better.
The past 10 years have been the worst decade ever for stocks, reports The Wall Street Journal. We suffered through two bear markets, and stocks on the New York Stock Exchange lost 0.5% a year, on average, since the end of 1999.
And if that doesn't hurt enough, try rubbing some inflation on that wound. If you adjust for inflation, the S&P 500 index has lost 3.3% a year since the 1999, the Journal reports.
No other decade has been this bad.
The fact is, the best way to stimulate the economy would be to NOT give gifts at all. I guess it really is the thought that counts.
As we watch retailers slash prices and shoppers make a mad dash for their last-minute gifts, there is sure to be an endless stream of commentary on Wall Street about holiday sales. Economists are convinced that Grandma's spending on ugly sweaters this December will accurately measure how strong the American economy is right now and forecast growth in the New Year.
Well, not to be a Grinch, but I have news for you. Contrary to all the buzz in the media, Christmas shopping doesn't matter. In fact, I'll show you why being a Scrooge at Christmas is actually good for the economy.
I know this is hard to believe. Many people want to believe Santa has a very special accountant elf who delivers economic prosperity to investors every time an American swipes his or her charge card at the mall. But making holiday sales a major economic indicator doesn't make sense for a number of reasons. Here are the facts.
At the end of each week, I take a close look at the market and objectly evaluate the numbers.
Value Line Index rose 1.06% for the week and is up 4.56% month to date, a small but respectable gain.
- The index closed above its 20-, 50- and 100- day moving averages
- BarChart short-term rating -- 80%
- BarChart mid-term rating -- 100%
- BarChart long-term rating -- 67%
- Overall rating -- 88%, 11 buys and 2 holds
- Index closed at 2,207.56, almost back to its year to date high of 2239.69
Quiet days on the market allow traders to take advantage of news and rumors.
There's nothing like a market where volume is drying up, as it usually does at the end of the year, to help traders move stocks on news and rumors.
Especially when the world is so busy supplying lots of potentially market-moving headlines.
It's a potent combination -- enough to send stocks on roller-coaster rides and investors curling into fetal balls. No wonder the top question I'm getting right now is, "What's the matter with ….?" (You fill in the blank.)
Much of the time, the answer is, “not much.”
There's still more upside to the rally -- if you know where to look
It's a stock-picker's market -- that seems to be the general theme emerging among the market gurus I study.
In the past week, several of these gurus have talked about opportunities in equities, with a number saying that, while plenty of gains are still there for the taking, they won't come as broadly and swiftly as they have in 2009.
Take Mark Mobius, Templeton Asset Management's executive chairman. Mobius -- whose Templeton Emerging Markets Fund is up about 116% this year, far outpacing the MSCI Emerging Markets Index -- says investors shouldn't expect the kind of percentage returns they've gotten this year during the rally. But, he says, that doesn't mean they won't be able to make hay in emerging markets in 2010.
The President and I have very different definitions of the label 'fat cat.' What's yours?
Maybe I read too much between the lines when I see political sound bites, but I know that the words are well chosen and should have been vetted by several aides before being given to the President.
Recently he said that fat cat bankers didn't deserve their big bonuses. He also said that his new job bill would make it so that every person who "wanted" to work could find a job.
Am I wrong to ask why he didn't say that his job bill would provide a job for every "able bodied" person? What's with this "wanting" to work? Everyone between 21 and 62 needs to work.
Reports say the golfer offered a big interview in order to cover up photos showing an affair.
The behavior of every player in this episode is shameful, if reports in The Wall Street Journal and elsewhere are true.
Here's what happened, according to the Journal. A photographer with the National Enquirer took pictures of Woods meeting a woman in his car in a church parking lot in Florida.
What exactly took place in the car is unclear, as is the identity of the woman (though the Journal suggests she was
The bank's stock could fare best among shares of the 3 big institutions that recently repaid bailout funds.
By Lauren Tara LaCapra, TheStreet
Analyzing the impact of the Treasury's preferred stock investments in Wells Fargo, Bank of America (BAC) and Citigroup (C) is difficult. Besides getting rid of hefty dividend payments, the other benefits of paying back funds from the Troubled Asset Relief Program appear harder to value than the toxic assets themselves.
How does one put a price tag on uncertainty or the value of a well-paid executive versus a less-well-paid one? Is it possible to quantify the impact on operations of intangible populist pressure? And how can investors truly determine whether these stocks are expensive or cheap, when Wall Street estimates have been horribly amiss?
Accounting vagaries point to continued margin growth for companies
One of the main reasons stocks have performed so well this year has been the deep cost cutting by corporate executives. The inevitable question now is whether this performance can continue.
Despite one of the worst recessions in generations, profit margins have been protected at all costs mainly through payroll cuts. According to Citigroup estimates, businesses have cut more than five million additional positions this recession compared to the prior two downturns. As a result, 80% of S&P 500 companies reported earnings "beats" in the third quarter, 73% in the second quarter, and 65% in the first quarter.
The skeptics say that companies cannot save themselves into prosperity. And thus, earnings growth will slow as the calendar flips into 2010 even as economic activity is set to ramp up as the recovery rolls on. But these people are missing two important points.
Stores nationwide are selling out of the holiday decorations as demand rises higher than expected.
But stores across the country are reporting a shortage of the lights as people celebrate the holidays at home. Target has "limited availability," a spokeswoman tells the Daily Herald.
I called the Lowe's (LOW) and Home Depot (HD) stores in my town, and both have very few lights left in stock.
What's behind this run on lights? Is a sudden burst of holiday spirit hitting America? Are people trying to be more festive to brighten up gloomy times?
Warren Buffett and Exxon could turn around the struggling natural-gas market with their recent acquisitions.
By Don Dion, TheStreet
These investments have done well as the U.S. and other nations increase their energy demand. However, while the Oracle of Omaha has a broad number of energy plays in his hand, he had not made a large bet on natural gas.
That changed with Exxon's recent purchase of XTO Energy (XTO). This move has placed Buffett in the middle of the struggling natural gas market. Whether this move will earn Exxon and Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) profit will depend on the oil giant's ability make changes to fix natural gas.
A screening tool and the collective wisdom of an online community help identify companies that pay nice dividends.
This post comes from partner site The Motley Fool.
Investing in dividend stocks is a tried-and-true strategy for building long-term wealth. A study by Ned Davis Research found that from 1972 to 2006, dividend-paying stocks returned an average of 10% a year, while their stingier counterparts returned just 4% annually.
In other words, you can generate sizable investment returns, even during times of economic turmoil, if you can identify companies likely to maintain an even increase in their payouts to shareholders.
And many corporations, after paring costs to the bone to weather the recession, are awash in cash. Much of that money will be spent on meeting increased demand as the economy improves, but some will no doubt be allocated to stock buybacks and dividend payments.
We went looking for promising dividend payers and came up with a list of 10.
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With the universe of this category in its seasonal sweet spot, these picks have tailwinds propelling them into the new year.
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.
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[BRIEFING.COM] The major averages finished the session on a lower note as the S&P 500 lost 0.4% while the Nasdaq shed 0.1%. The Russell 2000, which paced the retreat on Tuesday and Wednesday, added 0.2%, trimming its December loss to 3.5%.
After spending the first half of the session in a steady retreat, the S&P 500 found technical support in the 1772 area. Upon reaching that level, the index reversed sharply, and marched back to its flat line. There was no particular catalyst ... More
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