How long can the S&P 500 keep 2,000?
How long can the S&P keep 2,000?

The Federal Reserve and Congressional politics threaten to rain on the market party.

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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

The giant e-tailer takes the long view with new shipping centers, aggressive pricing and growing customer base.

By TheStockAdvisors Dec 26, 2011 11:30AM
 Image: Moving boxes (© Michael Hitoshi/Getty Images/Getty Images)This post is one in a series in which 50 newsletter advisors share their Top Picks for 2012. 

By Stephen Quickel,US Investment Report

Amazon.com (AMZN) is a controversial call that we think will bear rich fruit long-term, and should begin to perform nicely during 2012.

The giant Internet retailer, with revenues in the $50 billion range -- 10 times its sales in 2003 and twice its 2009 total -- has taken a great tumble.  
Tags: AMZN

Branded drugs are set to lose over $100 billion in revenue in the next few years, and Merck, like other large pharma companies, will need to develop new drugs to offset these losses.

By Trefis Dec 23, 2011 4:23PM
Image: Pills (© Sean Justice/Corbis)Merck (MRK) is heading for big changes in the next several years, particularly as more than 10 of its blockbuster drugs lose patent exclusivity by the end of 2013.

Merck is the No. 2 pharmaceutical company in the world, offering prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies, animal health and consumer care products. It delivered nearly $46 billion in revenue in 2010 with a profit of $861 million, or 28 cents a share. On a non-GAAP basis, earnings were $3.42 a share.

Merck competes with other pharmaceutical companies, including Pfizer (PFE), Abbott Labs (ABT), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), Glaxo SmithKline (GSK) and Roche. 
Tags: JNJMRKPFE

Regulators are investigating whether a recent infant death was related to the company's Enfamil product.

By Jim J. Jubak Dec 23, 2011 3:20PM
There’s nothing more heartbreaking and shocking than the death of a child.

Shares of Mead Johnson Nutrition (MJN) dropped like a stone Thursday, and were down another 6% Friday, on news that an infant given the company’s Enfamil baby formula had died from a bacterial infection. Wal-Mart (WMT) and Supervalu (SVU) subsequently pulled cans of the product from their shelves.
 
Tags: MJNSVUWMT

From fast food to salons and energy to tech, here are some ideas with great long-growth potential.

By TheStockAdvisors Dec 23, 2011 3:15PM
Image: Woman shopping at beauty store (© Jack Hollingsworth/Brand X/Getty Images)By Mike Cintolo, Cabot Market Letter

There is still potential for short-term market drops back toward the August lows, and until that probability is greatly reduced, it would be prudent to continue to hold a large cash reserve.

In the meantime, we continue to track numerous stocks with great growth potential; here, we present the current top prospects. If you do choose to invest in some of these, take care to buy on dips. And if you incur losses, keep them small, so you’ll still be in the game when the next big bull market gets rolling. 

The new 4G device has impressive features, but competitors aren't standing still.

By InvestorPlace Dec 23, 2011 2:53PM
Image: Businesswoman on cellphone (© Corbis)By Anthony John Agnello, Consumer and Technology Writer


Mobile technology heading into 2012 is all about the marriage of two features: the lowest price tag and the highest specifications. Look no further than Apple's (AAPL) strategy with the recently released iPhone 4S. With a two-year contract at Verizon (VZ), AT&T (T) or Sprint (S), you can get a fine iPhone that sports a voice-operated personal assistant and an 8-megapixel camera that can shoot HD video in 1080p -- all for just $200. Some fancy specifications and a nice price.


Sony (SNE), true to tradition, is pushing at least the high-end aspect with its latest mobile devices.

 

Gogo aims to raise $100 million in an offering to help it expand operations.

By Kim Peterson Dec 23, 2011 2:43PM
Image: Passengers on an airplane (© Image Source/Getty Images)If you accessed Wi-Fi on a flight in North America recently, chances are you used technology from Gogo.

The company is the main provider of on-board Wi-Fi in the U.S., and needs more money to expand its business. Gogo has filed paperwork to raise $100 million in an initial public offering, and will trade under the ticker symbol GOGO.

Gogo handles in-flight Internet for nine of the 10 North American airlines that offer the service, including Delta Air (DAL), Alaska Airlines (ALK), US Airways (LCC) and American Airlines, owned by AMR (AMR). It's on a trial basis with United Airlines (UAL). 

The business uniform supplier blows past analyst estimates and raises 2012 guidance.

By Zacks.com Dec 23, 2011 2:10PM

Image: Couple ordering meal in restaurant © NULL/CorbisBy Todd Bunton
    ‎  

Cintas (CTAS) delivered excellent second-quarter 2012 results Tuesday. Earnings per share came in at 57 cents, crushing the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 9 cents. It was a whopping 50% increase over the same quarter in 2011. 


Revenue rose 9% to a record $1.02 billion, ahead of the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1 billion. Organic revenue increased a solid 7% as the company maintained momentum in its rental uniforms and ancillary products segment, as well as in its first aid, safety and fire protection services segment. Operating income improved 30% year-over-year, while operating margin improved from 10.9% to 13%.

 
Tags: CTAS

The video-streaming and DVD company is cutting the annual stock-option allowance for Reed Hastings.

By Kim Peterson Dec 23, 2011 1:13PM
Image: Woman with computer (© Don Mason/Blend Images/Corbis)Netflix (NFLX) wasn't exactly happy with CEO Reed Hastings' performance this year -- and for good reason. As a result, Hastings isn't getting as many presents under the tree.

The company has cut Hastings' annual stock-option allowance by half to $1.5 million, Bloomberg reports. A year ago, he was given $3 million in stock options.

Hastings didn't get a raise, either. His salary of $500,000 will stay the same. 
Tags: NFLX

Despite many challenges, Jamie Dimon's bank will be one of the winners on the new Wall Street.

By The Fiscal Times Dec 23, 2011 12:55PM
JPMorganBy Suzanne McGee, The Fiscal Times

Analyst Todd Hagerman of Sterne Agee hit the nail on the head when he identified headwinds that JPMorgan Chase (JPM) is going to face in the coming months. They range from the sluggish global economy to the new regulatory environment and other "structural changes that are affecting most of the bank’s core businesses."

And maybe Hagerman is right to suggest caution when it comes to loading up on the bank's stock -- on Wednesday he cut his rating on JPMorgan shares to "neutral" from "buy." Certainly, JPMorgan's much-lauded CEO Jamie Dimon appears to have a tin ear regarding the world beyond Wall Street, having dismissed the financial crisis as just another cyclical downturn and, more recently, shrugged off populist outrage at the behavior of behemoth banks. 

Did management pass on possible acquisition talks?

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day Dec 23, 2011 12:47PM
Image: Arrow Down Red (© Kyu Oh/Photodisc/Getty)ByEvan Niu

 

There's really no way to sugarcoat it: Research In Motion (RIMM) is rapidly spiraling the drain toward irrelevance.

 

There are plenty of ways it could have avoided its current quandary, starting by taking the advice of shareholders and employees instead of allowing co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie to blindly charge ahead with their misaligned strategy. Reports are now surfacing that there could have been another outcome; it didn't have to be this way.

 

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[BRIEFING.COM] Equity indices are little changed at midday with the S&P 500 hovering within a point of its flat line. Small caps underperform with the Russell 2000 trading lower by 0.2%.

The first two sessions of the week produced the lightest volume totals of the year so it was not surprising to see the key indices respect narrow ranges through the first half of action today. After opening on a slightly higher note, the S&P 500 has remained within two points of its flat line. ... More


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