You can still find small-cap superstars
Small-cap superstars still abound

There are some picks in this sector that have excellent valuations and strong earnings growth.

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As 2012 nears, investors' patience is wearing thin with these poor performers.

By Jonathan Berr Dec 27, 2011 5:28PM
Image: CEO (© Photodisc/Getty Images)If you're compiling a list of CEOs who deserve to be fired, the challenge is not in finding deserving candidates. It's in cutting down the list to the most deserving.

My list of endangered CEOs is based on several objective criteria. First, I tried to separate companies hurt by macroeconomic factors beyond their control from those whose fortunes were hurt by specific management decisions. Then I culled the list further to include companies with stock prices down by at least 30% for the year. 

A cute year-end rally has pushed stocks back over a critical level separating bull and bear markets. Can it last?

By Anthony Mirhaydari Dec 27, 2011 5:13PM

While many people are still enjoying extended holiday breaks or are busy cashing in those ubiquitous gift cards, Wall Street has been gently pushing stocks higher. And higher. And higher. Enough to push the S&P 500 back over its 200-day moving average, the line of demarcation between bull and bear phases, for the first time since October.

 

Catalysts for the move have been a relative calming of the eurozone debt crisis (though it's changing for the worse again with Italian borrowing costs surging back over 7%) and some better-than-expected economic data here at home. Plus, stocks just tend to do well during the final few weeks of the year. Chalk it up to holiday cheer.

 

The question is: Can the positive momentum last and keep stocks out of bear market territory?

 

How will this affect the oil company's bottom line?

By Benzinga Dec 27, 2011 5:07PM

Image: Brazil (© Donald Edwards/age fotostock)By Gordon WilcoxBenzinga Staff Writer


As one of the largest oil companies in the world, Chevron (CVX) is used to operating in some less-than-hospitable locations. Angola, Nigeria and Russia are just a few of the places where Chevron does business that aren't exactly top-notch vacation destinations.


Western oil majors expect trouble of some kind or another in many countries, but Brazil should not be one of them. Until now.

 

After 5 straight profitable quarters, analysts see earnings for this homebuilder leaping next year.

By TheStockAdvisors Dec 27, 2011 4:58PM
Image: Home under construction (© Corbis)This post is one in a series in which more than 50 newsletter advisors share their Top Stock Picks for 2012

By Michael Cintolo, Cabot Market Letter

Throughout market history, three-quarters of all big winners have been growth stocks -- those with big sales and earnings, huge profit margins and a unique and potentially revolutionary new product and service.  
Tags: LEN

Dick’s is the biggest name in the sporting goods space.

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day Dec 27, 2011 3:25PM

Image: Girls playing tennis (© Digital Vision)By Jason Moser

 

This article is part of ourRising Star Portfoliosseries.

 

"If you watch a game, it's fun. If you play it, it's recreation. If you work at it, it's golf."
--Bob Hope

 

The legendary comedian hit the nail on the head. As a golfer for almost my entire life, I've put in a lot of hours working to get better. In fact, sports in general have played an integral part in my life, all the way down to my fantasy football team. Now it's my portfolio's turn, and Dick's Sporting Goods (DKS) is finally earning a spot in the starting lineup.

 

They're in the sweet spot of important seasonal patterns that could present good buying opportunities despite low-volume trading around the holidays.

By MoneyShow.com Dec 27, 2011 2:04PM

Image: Small Stack of gold ingots (© Anthony Bradshaw/Photographer)By Tom Aspray, MoneyShow.com


Just four trading days remain in 2011, and while volume is expected to be low, that does not mean we should ignore the markets this week.


As discussed earlier this month, the typical seasonal pattern is for stocks to bottom in November and then stay strong into May. If you look at the daily data, the Spyder Trust (SPY) typically has a short-term bottom on Dec. 19, which is precisely when it made its recent low.

 

Investors are happy with the acquisition, which eliminates a key rival and helps Akamai gain control of important technology.

By Trefis Dec 27, 2011 1:06PM
Akamai (AKAM) said Thursday that it has reached an agreement to buy out Cotendo for a net cash payment of approximately $268 million.

The move eliminates a key rival for Akamai in value-added services and also helps the company gain access to Cotendo's mobile acceleration technology. Founded in 2008 and backed by strategic partners such as Citrix, Juniper (JNPR), Google (GOOG) and AT&T (T), Cotendo has an impressive list of customers, including big names such as AT&T, Facebook and Zynga (ZNGA), that use its dynamic site acceleration (DSA) and application acceleration services. 

With positive industry trends, strong earnings growth and historically low valuation levels, the pharmacy chain has great appreciation potential.

By TheStockAdvisors Dec 27, 2011 12:45PM
Image: Pills (© Sean Justice/Corbis)This post is one in a series in which more than 50 newsletter advisors share their Top Stock Picks for 2012

By Jim Stack, InvesTech Market Analyst

CVS Caremark (CVS) was created in 2007 by the merger of two pharmacy heavyweights: CVS, the nation's second largest drugstore chain, and Caremark, a leading pharmacy benefits manager.   
Tags: CVS

A focus on hot areas like renewable energy and bioplastics will enable the company to maintain its market share.

By Trefis Dec 27, 2011 12:16PM
Image: Filing (© Think Stock/SuperStock)3M (MMM) is consistently billed as one of the world's most innovative companies, despite being over 100 years old.

The industrial giant, founded to mine a mineral deposit in 1902, now offers more than 55,000 products to a wide variety of markets and has a presence in some 200 countries. The company's major products include adhesives, laminates, fire protection products, medical and surgical supplies, dental products, office supplies, optical film and car care products.

Some of the company's most recognizable brands include Scotch Tape, Post-It products, ACE bandages and Thinsulate insulation products.  
Tags: DDJNJMMM

As a slide in sales continues, Sears Holdings announces the pending closures of more than 100 stores. And a year from now, the outlook might be just as grim.

By InvestorPlace Dec 27, 2011 10:36AM

By Jeff Reeves

 

While many retailers remain on pins and needles about how their holiday receipts will stack up, there's no mystery at Sears Holdings (SHLD). The company that operates Sears and Kmart department stores has been losing customers and bleeding red ink forever, and the past few months were no exception.

 

So Sears wasted no time in announcing a huge cutback on its store count. Between 100 and 120 Sears and Kmart stores will be closed. The company says $140 million to $170 million will be made as inventory is shuffled out at fire-sale prices.

 

Investors stand to benefit from higher oil prices and dividend growth policy.

By TheStockAdvisors Dec 27, 2011 9:31AM
Image: Gas station (© Julia Christe/fStop/Getty Images)This post is one in a series in which 50 newsletter advisers share their top stock picks for 2012. 

By Kelley Wright, IQ Trends

Every year the markets present investors with both challenges and opportunities.

We believe investors will have to wade through myriad challenges in the first-half of 2012 -- both geo-political and geo-financial, not to mention the ones that come from left field.  
Tags: CVXoil

With over 15 million acres spanning major U.S. gas plays, no company is better positioned for a surge in natural gas demand.

By TheStockAdvisors Dec 26, 2011 6:57PM
Image: Oil drums (© Kevin Phillips/Digital Vision/age fotostock)This post is one in a series in which 50 newsletter advisors share their Top Stock Picks for 2012. 

By Nathan Slaughter, Scarcity & Real Wealth

What if I said you could buy 1,000 acres of productive land, and then later unload 250 of them, pocketing enough cash from the sale to cover the entire initial investment? Yes, that means you would keep the remaining 750 acres for free.  
Tags: CHK

The big machinery maker digs in for the long haul despite sluggish U.S. economic growth.

By TheStockAdvisors Dec 26, 2011 4:01PM
Image: Construction (© Photodisc Green/Getty Images)This post is one in a series in which 50 newsletter advisors share their Top Picks for 2012. 

By J. Royden Ward, Cabot Benjamin Graham Value Letter

Caterpillar (CAT) is the world's largest manufacturer of earth-moving equipment. In addition, the company makes diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines and diesel-electric locomotives.  
Tags: CAT

The troubled financial institution is slowly crawling out of the hole it dug for itself.

By Jonathan Berr Dec 26, 2011 2:29PM
Image: Bank Vault (© Radius Images/Jupiterimages)Everything that could go wrong for Bank of America (BAC) in 2011 did go wrong. Signs are emerging, however, that this dog may see better days in 2012.

According to Reuters, the Charlotte, N.C. company is considering unloading additional assets to comply with new capital rules. That's not surprising, given that the company has been selling everything -- $50 billion since 2010 -- that wasn't nailed down, including its stake in the largest Pizza Hut franchisee and the China Construction Bank.

Regulators "are trying to have us have more capital, more liquidity, so in a time of crisis, we can be there to support the economy and not have to shrink and retrench," CEO Brian Moynihan recently told the Boston Globe."We’re all for that." 
Tags: BAC

The carrier clearly had the most to lose if the AT&T and T-Mobile merger had gone through.

By Trefis Dec 26, 2011 12:31PM
Image: Damaged cell phone (© Nick Koudis/Getty Images)AT&T (T) finally scuttled its T-Mobile merger plans, much to the delight of Sprint (S), which has vehemently opposed the deal right from the start.

Sprint welcomed AT&T's move as "the right decision" for customers, as the deal would have created "an undeniable duopoly that would have resulted in higher prices, less innovation and fewer choices for the American consumer." Sprint also lauded the Federal Communications Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice for a job well done.

Had the merger been approved, AT&T would have leapfrogged ahead of Verizon (VZ) as the largest wireless carrier in the U.S., leaving Sprint in an even more distant third place. 
Tags: AAPLSTVZ

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[BRIEFING.COM] Equity indices closed out the month of August on a modestly higher note. The Russell 2000 (+0.6%) and Nasdaq Composite (+0.5%) finished ahead of the S&P 500 (+0.3%), which extended its August gain to 3.8%. Blue chips lagged with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (+0.1%) spending the bulk of the session in the red.

The final week of August represented one of the quietest stretches for the stock market so far this year. The first four sessions of the week produced the ... More


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