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Key economic indicators have stalled. Could the market's future hang on next week's Fed news?

By Jim J. Jubak Oct 26, 2010 1:06PM

Jim JubakThe next two weeks are shaping up as a critical test for the U.S. stock market.


Several key technical indicators stalled in the past few days, as if waiting for something to happen. Monday started out with a bang, but the markets stalled again in the afternoon.


I think that "something" is probably the Federal Reserve's meeting Nov. 2 and 3. Wall Street wants to know more from Chairman Ben Bernanke on the size and timing of any new program of quantitative easing before moving higher. If the market is disappointed in what it hears Nov. 3 from the Federal Open Market Committee, I think we could get a correction that retraces part of this rally.

 

GLTR is the first exchange-traded fund with exposure to gold, silver, platinum and palladium.

By TheStreet Staff Oct 26, 2010 10:28AM

Gold © Comstock Images/JupiterimagesBy Don Dion, TheStreet

 

The metals industry continues to be a wildly attractive region of the market for ETF sponsors. Gold, silver and other precious metals, in particular, are drawing huge crowds as investors seek out ways to protect against rampant market volatility.

 

This has led fund companies to further increase the number of products available that track these metals.

 

Recently, ETF Securities, a relative newcomer in the U.S., launched ETFS Physical Precious Metals Basket Shares (GLTR), the first fund aimed at providing investors access to a physical combination of gold, silver, platinum, and palladium.

 

The handbag maker reports its strongest sales in more than 2 years, but will the company plateau?

By TheStreet Staff Oct 26, 2010 10:26AM

thestreetBy Jeanine Poggi, TheStreet

 

Credit: © Daniel Acker/Bloomberg/Getty Images
Caption: A Coach handbag sits on display in the Coach flagship storeCoach (COH) reported third-quarter earnings and revenue that handily topped expectations. But the numbers may leave investors wondering: Has the handbag maker reached its peak?

 

During the quarter, the company earned $188.9 million, or 63 cents a share, a 34% surge from $140.8 million, or 44 cents, a year ago. Analysts predicted a profit of 55 cents a share for Coach.

 

Coach's revenue jumped 20% to $911.7 million, also above estimates of $846.8 million. North American sales at stores opened at least a year grew 8.5%, the biggest gain since the fourth quarter of 2008. The same measure rose 3% in Japan and by double digits in China.

 

A possible takeover is only speculation, but the 2 tech giants do have a few things in common.

By InvestorPlace Oct 26, 2010 9:07AM

Credit: (© 2010 Apple Inc.)
Caption: Apple retail store, Upper West Side, New YorkBy Jeff Reeves, editor of InvestorPlace.com


Apple (AAPL) and Sony (SNE) have a lot in common. Both redefined music with portable players -- Apple with its recent iPod, and Sony with its Walkman, which debuted in 1979.


Both companies have redefined gaming, too -- Apple with its emerging App Store and convergence devices that are both useful and fun, and Sony with its groundbreaking PlayStation 2 system, which remains the best-selling video game console in history.


So what would happen if the creative minds at both companies joined forces to create a new generation of gadgets?

 

The important thing about the yellow metal is not where it's been but where it's going.

By Jim Cramer Oct 26, 2010 8:42AM

jim cramerBy Jim Cramer, TheStreet

 

"I missed it." Those three words follow any mention of gold I have made within the past year. And the tone has changed from regret to anger at my bringing it up.

 

Yet when I look at what people are willing to pay for TIPs, Treasuries with inflation protection, I think gold should not only be higher, it should be much higher.

 

Think about it: The only reason you would go for a negative yield on a Treasury is if you believed not only that inflation is right around the corner but that it will be a rager. If that's the case, the notion that you "missed" gold at $1,330 is pretty fanciful.

 

Shares trade at a soaring valuation. Does AMZN deserve its lofty status?

By Kim Peterson Oct 25, 2010 12:42PM
Arrow © Photodisc/SuperstockFortune puts Amazon's share price into perspective: Even if the stock had a major crash that suddenly cut its share price in half, it would still have a higher valuation than Google (GOOG), Apple (AAPL) or Research In Motion (RIMM).

Amazon (AMZN), trading Monday in the $170 range, is at a very lofty price-to-earnings ratio (currently 68.8), writes Andy Zaky. "Even more striking is that the company trades at 2.31 times its expected 5-year growth rate, which indicates that the stock has gotten way ahead of itself," he adds.

Does this valuation "far exceed any semblance of reality," as Zaky puts it? Let's check in with some analysts for help here. 

The fast-growing daily deal website will offer coupons on the auction site.

By TheStreet Staff Oct 25, 2010 12:18PM

more financial and business news from thestreetUpdated at 3:15 p.m. ET

 

By Olivia Oran, TheStreet

 

EBay (EBAY) announced a new partnership Monday with Groupon, the popular coupon website that offers localized daily shopping deals.

 

Under the partnership, eBay users will find Groupon's deals throughout the site, like discounts on skin care products and restaurants. Members of eBay's rewards program who purchase the Groupon deal of the day will receive 5% of the purchase price in eBay Bucks.

Groupon offers discounts with local businesses in more than 250 markets around the U.S. and Canada. Subscribers receive e-mail alerts about the deals, which are activated only when a minimum number of people agree to buy.

 

Shares go on Goldman's conviction list as analysts declare the stock undervalued.

By Kim Peterson Oct 25, 2010 11:58AM
Shares of Citigroup (C) are up slightly Monday to around $4.18 after getting added to the "conviction list" at Goldman Sachs (GS).

Analysts at Goldman don't think Citigroup is in as much mortgage-related "putback" risk as some other banks, according to TheStreet.com. Analysts give the stock a 35% potential upside, which could see the price headed to $5.50.

Another positive for Citi: The government could soon be rid of the 12% stake it has in the bank. Goldman thinks the Treasury will have sold its Citigroup shares by early next year. 

The lastest picks include funds in health care, precious metals and oil.

By TheStreet Staff Oct 25, 2010 9:40AM

By Don Dion, TheStreet

 

Here are some exchange-traded funds that might rise this week.

 

1. iShares Dow Jones U.S. Pharmaceuticals Index Fund (IHE)

 

Health care has been a choppy part of the market as companies mull ways to deal with the passage of Washington's sweeping reform bill. But one subsector that has performed well has been drug stocks.

 

Over the past 90 days, IHE has outperformed ETFs designed to track other parts of the health care industry, such as the iShares Dow Jones U.S. Healthcare Providers Index Fund (IHF) and the iShares Dow Jones U.S. Medical Equipment Index Fund (IHI).

 

After a break from the yellow metal, it's time to get back in.

By InvestorPlace Oct 25, 2010 9:32AM

By Jaime Dlugosch, InvestorPlace.com


Exchange-traded funds in my buy list last week were successful, and I’m looking for the upward trend to continue this week.

 

We did a nice job last week rotating out of the gold and mining ETFs. The precious-metals market took a breather last week after enjoying a nice run over the previous several weeks.

 

The same cannot be said for the rest of the market. I was expecting a pause in stocks and made recommendations for both long and short exchange-traded funds as the place to be.

 

Molycorp's market cap has skyrocketed as the rush into electric-car batteries has sparked demand for scarce metals. And it's not finished climbing.

By Jim Cramer Oct 25, 2010 8:36AM

thestreetBy Jim Cramer, TheStreet

 

The headlong rush into batteries for cars that plug into our coal-based electric system -- as opposed to vehicles powered by abundant and cleaner natural gas -- has taken a new twist with the recognition that we don't have enough of the rare earth metals that go into those batteries to produce them on the mass scale required.

 

You need a periodic table to really tell the score in this business, but, as Bloomberg said in an astute story this morning, more than 90% of the rare earth minerals we need are in China. And, as we know, China is not a fair trader.

 

Rare earth minerals are the worst combination: There aren't enough of them, and they're in China. No wonder lanthanum oxide, a key ingredient in batteries, has risen sevenfold in just a few months. That's a typical run.

 

As concerns linger about top-line revenue growth, these companies continue to see strong demand.

By John Reese Oct 22, 2010 7:58PM

While many companies continue to post strong third-quarter profits, much of the earnings season talk has centered on concerns about the "top line" -- that is, revenue growth. The consensus seems to be that while corporations have done a great job of cutting costs and squeezing every dollar out of every sale, demand for their products hasn't picked up as much as investors would like.

Generally that may be true, but it doesn't mean there aren't plenty of exceptions. Whether because of conditions within their specific industries, an ability to tap into areas of the world that do have strong demand, or a good old-fashioned ability to market and sell their products, a number of firms have been producing very good top-line growth in a challenging climate.

With that in mind, I thought I'd see which companies that have been riding impressive sales waves also get approval from my Guru Strategies, fundamentals-based approaches that are each based on the strategy of a different investing great. Here are some of the best of the bunch.  

The bank gets pressure from all sides in the foreclosure chaos, with no end in sight.

By Jim J. Jubak Oct 22, 2010 4:20PM

Jim JubakPacific Investment Management Company (PIMCO), BlackRock, MetLife, and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York are working to force Bank of America (BAC) to buy back mortgages from its Countrywide Financial unit that were packaged into $47 billion in mortgage-backed securities.


The news hasn't helped the financial sector today since it was announced by Bloomberg on Tuesday. From the close on Monday to the close Thursday, the Financial Select Sector SPDR (XLF) is down 4.5%.


Last month, the holders of the mortgage-backed securities asked Bank of New York Mellon (BK), the trustee on the debt, to investigate the mortgages for problems that included insufficient record keeping. Bank of New York Mellon refused that request.

 

Dollar's influence on stocks at record high

By InvestorPlace Oct 22, 2010 3:31PM

Exchange traded funds can offer protection for cautious investors worried about dollar-drop sensitive trades.


Last week, I wrote about the incredible connection that had formed between currency markets and risk assets including stocks, bonds, commodities, oil and precious metals. Just a quick glance at the charts shows just how closely the ups and downs of the dollar exchange rate is controlling trading.

In fact, according to Jason Goepfert of SentimenTrader, the relationship between the dollar and stocks has reached an all-time record.

 

More iPhones shipped than did BlackBerry devices in the third quarter, one research firm reports.

By Kim Peterson Oct 22, 2010 2:20PM
Credit: Apple CEO Steve Jobs holds up iPhone 4 as he talks about the Apple iPhone 4 at Apple headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., Friday, July 16, 2010 (© Paul Sakuma/AP)Research In Motion (RIMM) was filled with indignation when Apple (AAPL) chief executive Steve Jobs took a jab at the company Monday. "We have passed RIM," Jobs said, referring to smart-phone shipments, "and I don't see them catching up with us in the foreseeable future."

But Jobs was right. New data from research firm Strategy Analytics show that Apple has now surpassed RIM in the global smart-phone market. More iPhones shipped than did BlackBerries in the third quarter.

Here's how the quarter broke down in terms of global shipments (thanks to GigaOm for reprinting the numbers): 

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[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market is little changed at midday with participants not showing much willingness to step in ahead of the 14:00 ET release of the FOMC minutes from the July policy meeting. The S&P 500 (+0.1%) sits just above its flat line with five sectors showing gains, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (+0.2%) outperforms. Small-cap stocks have not been as fortunate with the Russell 2000 (-0.5%) spending the first half of action below its flat line.

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