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Be wary of dire market forecasts

The most likely scenario is that the markets will begin to rise from here -- and that bounce is just beginning to take hold.


Prosecutors start making their case against a billionaire hedge fund founder accused of profiting from secret information.

By Kim Peterson Mar 9, 2011 1:51PM
Credit: (©Louis Lanzano/AP)
Caption: Raj Rajaratnam, billionaire founder of the Galleon GroupThe biggest insider-trading trial in history began opening statements today in New York, and Wall Street is paying close attention.

The case against Raj Rajaratnam promises huge fireworks. Whistleblowers will reveal themselves, secretly taped conversations will be played, and even Goldman Sachs (GS) head Lloyd Blankfein is expected on the witness stand.

A mountain of evidence will help prosecutors lay out a case against the 53-year-old Rajaratnam, a Sri Lankan-born American who founded the Galleon Group hedge fund. He became one of the richest people in America, with a net worth in 2009 of $1.3 billion.

How'd he get so rich? He claims it was simply pride and hard work -- and I'm sure that's partly true. But he also had a huge network of business buddies, prosecutors say, who would regularly call him with little tidbits of information that Rajaratnam would use to buy and sell stocks. 

The launch of the new model Friday could spur a huge inventory pileup.

By TheStreet Staff Mar 9, 2011 12:38PM

By Scott Moritz, TheStreet


As Apple (AAPL) gears up for the sales launch of its iPad 2 Friday, some analysts hear the strains of a bubble about to burst.


Based on industry production estimates, 81 million tablets are scheduled to be manufactured this year, JPMorgan analyst Mark Moskowitz wrote in a research note Wednesday. That number is nearly twice the 47.9 million tablet sales estimate Moskowitz has for 2011.


Assuming tablet makers recognize they may have overestimated the opportunity and prudently reduce production plans by 20%, that would still create a surplus of 17.2 million devices -- or a 35.9% oversupply -- of tablets this year, according to Moskowitz.


This small-cap fund aims to profit from an improvement in citizens' quality of life.

By TheStreet Staff Mar 9, 2011 12:25PM

Image: Businessman in China (© Brooklyn Production/Corbis)By Don Dion, TheStreet


Officially crowned as the second-largest global economy, China has begun to take steps to ensure that its seat at the top will not be usurped.


As the nation aims to further strengthen and stabilize its economic muscle, investors have a chance to follow the efforts using exchange-traded funds.


Starting late last week, Chinese lawmakers convened in Beijing to discuss the nation's future. Unveiling the 12th five-year plan, China's leaders indicated that a dramatic shift is in the works that will play a major role in shaping China's role as an economic superpower.


If you jump into the stock now, you'll be at the mercy of the naysayer news flow.

By Jim Cramer Mar 9, 2011 10:16AM

jim cramermore of jim cramer's stock picks and investing resources from thestreetWhen should I buy Netflix (NFLX) back? This is probably the question I get asked the most, the question on the minds of e-mailers, Twitterers and callers to "Mad Money's" Lightning Round.


The answer is elusive: You have to let the stock tell you what to do. You have to let the stock tell you when it is prepared to be owned. Judging by what happened Tuesday, we aren't there yet.


That's because NFLX got killed, just killed, off of a one-page note by Goldman Sachs (GS) saying that Facebook might be streaming some movies on Facebook pages. Golly gee! There you go! Six hundred million Facebook users vs. 20 million Netflix subscribers. Let's just call it game over!


That's how Netflix stock acted.

Now, at any given minute, any company in the Web universe can say it is going to compete against Netflix. Think about it. If you can stream movies on a Wii or a Playstation, then why shouldn't Nintendo or Sony (SNE) announce tomorrow that it is the Netflix killer?


LAN gets another green light in a proposed deal that would create the largest airline in Latin America.

By Jim J. Jubak Mar 8, 2011 6:08PM
Jim JubakThe proposed acquisition of Brazil’s TAM (TAM) by Chile’s LAN Airlines (LFL) jumped another hurdle on March 3, when the Brazilian finance ministry said the deal satisfied the country’s foreign-ownership rules.

In my opinion, those rules were the only real obstacle to the deal -- a restrictive application of Brazil’s limits on foreign investment in Brazilian airlines could have killed the combination.

The companies have come up with a complex structure that will let TAM’s controlling shareholders retain 80% of TAM’s voting stock, while giving LAN shareholders about 70% of the combined airline, to be called LATAM Airlines.

The deal -- which still has to pass judgment with Brazil’s civil-aviation and antitrust regulators, not to mention Chile’s -- would create the largest airline in Latin America, and the third largest in the world. (From early indications, LAN might have to reduce its market dominance on routes between Santiago and Asuncion, Sao Paulo, and Rio de Janeiro in order to get antitrust approval.)

EnerNOC can help investors get more from energy.

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day Mar 8, 2011 3:06PM

Fool analyst Alyce Lomax is managing a portfolio designed to reap both financial and social dividends. Given that purpose, companies that help conserve precious resources and keep the lights on more efficiently are perfect buy ideas.


Rex Moore, Motley Fool Top Stocks Editor


This month, I'm buying EnerNOC (ENOC) for my Rising Star portfolio. This stock that may be a new Foolish favorite: Both our Motley Fool Rule Breakers and Motley Fool Hidden Gems services have singled it out, and last week, fellow Fool Dan Dzombak recently purchased shares for his own Rising Star portfolio.


For my portfolio's purpose, EnerNOC's biggest strength is its power to make our world a little greener by incentivizing energy savings. Still, despite this halo, purchasing EnerNOC includes very real risks.


The musician hopes to raise $600,000 for his charity with the auction this week in New York.

By Kim Peterson Mar 8, 2011 2:53PM
Credit: © Charles Sykes/AP
Caption: Eric Clapton’s guitars are previewed before being put up for auction by Bonhams to benefit Clapton’s Crossroads Centre, in New York, Friday, March 4, 2011Buying a piece of musical history just got more affordable.

Eric Clapton is selling 75 guitars and 55 amplifiers this week in hopes of raising $600,000 for a drug and alcohol treatment center he founded in the Caribbean, Bloomberg reported. Some of those guitars are pictured.

Clapton has auctioned guitars before to raise money for the center. He raised $5.1 million in 1999 and $7.4 million in 2004. But this week's auction is low key, featuring guitars that may go for under $10,000.

"This sale is much more for the fans," one of the event's organizers told Bloomberg. The auction starts Wednesday, and its catalog is online here.  

Analysis: Limits on conventional energy development and excessive optimism about alternative energy technologies are making the US more dependent on imported oil.

By TheStreet Staff Mar 8, 2011 2:27PM

Image: Gas pump (© Comstock)By Peter Morici, guest contributor to TheStreet


Turmoil in the Middle East and elsewhere has pushed oil prices up more than $20 a barrel and average gasoline prices from less than $3 a gallon to about $3.60.


All the additional cash spent on imported oil that does not return to buy exports translates into lost demand for U.S. goods and services, lost growth and fewer jobs. Higher gas prices simply mean fewer cell phones, restaurant meals and other goods purchased that create jobs.


Most economists built some increase into 2011 GDP forecasts, but the recent surge, if it sticks through spring, will reduce U.S. growth from 3.5 to 4% to 3 to 3.5%, perhaps less. Overall, that translates into at least 600,000 fewer jobs, or nearly 50,000 a month. Moreover, lost taxes exacerbate federal and state budget problems.


As investors rebuild confidence in the emerging world, Chile, Peru and Colombia look attractive.

By TheStreet Staff Mar 8, 2011 2:20PM

Image: Brazil (© Donald Edwards/age fotostock)By Don Dion, TheStreet


Latin American and other emerging markets have run into headwinds in recent weeks. As rising commodity prices and inflation fears weigh heavily on volatile regions, many investors have redirected their attention toward more stable, developed nations, such as the U.S. and Canada.


Although its popularity has waned, the region south of the United States remains attractive. Aside from its proximity to the healing U.S. economy, Central American and South American countries continue to offer a welcome source of relative political and economic stability.


In 2010, I turned to nations such as Mexico in response to Europe's looming debt crisis and doubts regarding China's long-term growth. Today, the international picture has witnessed little change; the European Union remains embattled with its debt problem, while political unrest across the Middle East and Northern Africa is making headlines and raising concerns about the future stability there and the price of oil.


The coffee giant is celebrating its birthday with a new logo and new menu items. Later this week, it will give out free petites samples to customers.

By Kim Peterson Mar 8, 2011 2:01PM
File photo of Starbucks barista (© Anthony Bolante/Reuters)It's hard to believe Starbucks (SBUX) has been caffeinating people for 40 years. The company opened its first store on March 30, 1971, and its three founders -- an English teacher, a history teacher and a writer -- each put in $1,350 to get the place going. Not a bad investment.

Four decades later, I'm willing to bet Starbucks' coffee isn't as good now. But that doesn't matter much, as the company is doing just fine with more than 15,000 stores in 50 countries. Its stock price has soared 45% in the past year to $34.28.

To celebrate its 40th birthday, Starbucks is rolling out a few changes. First, a new look in its stores and on its cups focused on its siren logo. The company removed its name from the logo, choosing instead to feature only the image of a siren, or sea nymph. Four stores in Beijing, Paris, London and New York City will unveil the new logo in their signage this week. 

Investors panic as one Hollywood studio unveils a plan to rent and sell movies via social networking.

By Kim Peterson Mar 8, 2011 1:08PM
Credit: (© James H. Collins/AP)
Caption: A Netflix movie begins to download on a home computer screenNetflix (NFLX) investors were awfully nervous Tuesday, taking the stock down nearly 5% to $197.21 as Facebook began offering streaming rental movies.

Starting today, Facebook users can watch "The Dark Knight" on this page after paying 30 Facebook credits (10 credits cost $1). You get 48 hours to watch the movie after renting it. The new offering is part of a Warner Bros. plan to make films available for rental or purchase directly from Facebook.

It's a fascinating move for Facebook, a company that hasn't focused that much, at least not publicly, on becoming an entertainment hub. And the "Dark Knight" page seems more experimental than anything else at this point. While watching the movie, Facebook users can post comments, chat with friends and update their status, The Hollywood Reporter notes

Diversify to protect against volatility.

By TheStreet Staff Mar 8, 2011 12:14PM

Image: Gold Bars (© Photodisc/SuperStock)By Don Dion, TheStreet


Precious metals have fallen into focus as commodity prices head higher and political unrest sweeps North Africa and the Middle East.


Silver and gold have taken center stage as demand for defensive assets drives both resources to breathtakingly high levels. Though staggering at the start of this week, they have shown no signs of slowing.


Thanks to exchange-traded funds, precious metals have become as easily accessible to retail investors as stocks and bonds. Investors can gain access to a physical stockpile of these shiny metals through funds such as the iShares Gold Trust (IAU) and the iShares Silver Trust (SLV).


In response to the upward action from gold and silver, both IAU and SLV have become attractive investments. Though they are enticing, it is important to avoid blindly diving into either of these funds.


It's tempting to make some purchases, but no market can be trusted without a tangible resolution in Libya.

By Jim Cramer Mar 8, 2011 9:32AM

jim cramerthestreetNo rally can be trusted right now. To distrust a rally doesn't mean you bet against it; it means you don't buy it. It doesn't mean you can't sell something into it; it does mean you better have ironclad proof, beyond a decline in oil futures, that there is some sort of tangible resolution in Libya.


It means you have to know that the "Days of Rage" in Saudi Arabia will be tame or that the president is going to really stand by the Saudi/Bahrain monarchies.


It also means you have to know something that turns Ciena (CIEN) into a one-off and does not extend Urban Outfitters' (URBN) woes to more retailers.


In fact, I would think, given the importance of the Bank of America (BAC)analyst meeting Tuesday, and how badly financials act, you need to have insight into how that confab will go.


It means, I think, that there is too much on the line to say, "Oil down, futures up, party on."


The mining industry is still in a spending mood, and this equipment-maker is seeing increased demand.

By Jim J. Jubak Mar 8, 2011 12:59AM
Jim JubakAs bad quarters go, this one was really good.

Apparently, investors temporarily forgot that Joy Global’s (JOYG) fiscal first quarter is always the worst of the year for the mining-equipment-maker.

So, on March 2, the company announced a mere 19% increase in sales from the first quarter of fiscal 2010. As well as a jump in net income, to 96 cents a share from 73 cents a share in the year-earlier period (that’s 32% growth if you’re following along at home).

And the shares dropped 2.9%, to $94.32 from $97.17. The next day, investors reconsidered -- and the shares closed at $97.33.

The key number to watch in Joy Global’s quarterly results is always bookings. Is the company adding new orders faster than it did in the same quarter a year ago and in the immediately preceding quarter? This quarter, the answer was yes to both questions.

The chills and thrills of small-cap investing.

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day Mar 7, 2011 3:15PM

By Rex Moore, Motley Fool Top Stocks Editor


Last Tuesday: ZAGG (ZAGG) is a high-flying $200 million story stock, hopeful of gobbling up market share for the screen protectors and cases it provides for all manner of electronic devices.


Wednesday: Apple (AAPL) introduces the iPad 2 and, along with it, a nifty, gee-wiz "Smart Cover" that not only doubles as a stand but also self-cleans the screen. Immediately after, ZAGG loses a quarter of its value and its story is over as the market realizes it has no hope of competing against the giants of the industry -- giants who can accidentally step on this tiny company without even knowing it.


Thursday: Investors awake and are struck with the realization that, hey, even with the Smart Cover, iPad users may still want a screen protector, right? And did we forget this has absolutely no effect on smartphones and iPods and all the other devices ZAGG covers? Suddenly, ZAGG is up 20% and has its story back.



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[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market ended the holiday-shortened week on a mixed note as the Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 0.1%, while the S&P 500 added 0.1% with seven sectors posting gains.

Equity indices faced an uphill climb from the opening bell after disappointing quarterly results from Google (GOOG 536.10, -20.44) and IBM (IBM 190.04, -6.36) weighed on the early sentiment. Google reported earnings $0.15 below the Capital IQ consensus estimate on revenue of $15.42 ... More


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