Energy boom makes oil a safe haven
Oil becomes a surprising safe haven

The idea of US crude being a shelter from turmoil abroad may not be as far fetched as it seems.

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The company is counting on frappes, smoothies and lattes to bring in $1 billion this year.

By Kim Peterson Jul 12, 2010 2:56PM

fast food © Bananastock/JupiterimagesPop quiz: What's expected to add $125,000 to the sales of each McDonald's restaurant in America this year?

The answer is beverages. And that's why McDonald's (MCD) has pounced on frappes, smoothies and other drinks as the economy struggles to improve.

McDonald's beverage line is also estimated to contribute $1 billion to the company's bottom line this year, Advertising Age reports. The company officially begins advertising the beverages this week.

 

Fans just aren't buying concert tickets this season, causing tours to be cut short or canceled.

By Kim Peterson Jul 12, 2010 2:16PM

John Mayer.  (© Kiichiro Sato/AP)It's not the best summer for touring rock stars.

The 2010 summer concert season is one of the worst in a decade. People aren't buying tickets, stadiums are going unfilled, and shows are being canceled.

Artists who would normally draw fans, including Christina Aguilera, the Eagles, John Mayer and Rihanna, have canceled shows or entire tours, Billboard reports. And that spells trouble for companies like concert promoter Live Nation (LYV), which merged with Ticketmaster in January.

There are several reasons for the drought:

 

Many of the S&P 500's worst laggards are closely watched companies like Alcoa and Monster Worldwide.

By TheStreet Staff Jul 12, 2010 10:11AM

the street logoArrow © Cory Docken/JupiterimagesBy Jake Lynch, TheStreet

 

The S&P 500 Index ($INX), despite last week's stock-market rally, has fallen 4% this year after posting a monumental rebound in 2009. Individual members of the benchmark index have suffered more pronounced downturns. And many of the laggards are closely watched companies.

 

Here are five of the worst-performing S&P 500 stocks so far this year. They are ordered by return, from bad to worse.

 

5. Monster Worldwide (MWW), a global online job site, has tumbled 32% this year. Monster's first-quarter loss more than doubled to $24 million, or 20 cents a share, as revenue declined 15%.

 

The administration has finally acknowledged that some of its policies have hurt companies.

By Jim Cramer Jul 12, 2010 8:46AM

jim cramerBy Jim Cramer, TheStreet

 

What happens if the administration means it -- if there is a truce in the war against business?

 

I hesitate to say what could happen; it would be so bullish, because the administration's endless push for an agenda that scares businesses from hiring has caused much of the unemployment stagnation in this country.

 

First, I don't know if there is a truce. We have some positives in the papers -- something that the administration would never allow, as it has tight control over the media (the tightest I have ever seen) -- including "Revisiting the Regulations Affecting Business," an article in Monday's Wall Street Journal. We had Larry Kudlow's incredibly important interview with Tim Geithner, which made it sound as though part of the war, the collateral damage of the equity owners, might be coming to an end.

 

When you can't tell the difference between light at the end of the tunnel and a train coming your way, then it's time to pay attention.

By Jim Van Meerten Jul 10, 2010 11:55AM
JVMI'm not sure if that is light at the end of the tunnel or a train coming from the other way. When things look the darkest we all look for optimistic signs, but let's try not to go overboard. Weed through all the talking heads on TV and the headlines on the financial news and evaluate where the market really stands.

Let's look at my three yardsticks for evaluating the market. I use three because no single yardstick tells the whole picture. Barchart is the source of all my data.

Value Line Index -- contains 1700 stocks so I think it's more representative of the market than the narrower S&P 500 or the very narrow Dow 30 -- Index closed up for the week but still no long term trend
  • Index gained 5.43% last week
  • Index gained 2.05% last month
  • Index was up for 3 of the last 5 weeks
  • Still rated as a Barchart 40% technical sell
  • Friday closed at 2253.61 and approaching its 20 day moving ave age of 2324.87
 

Are investors falling prey to post-traumatic armageddon hypochondria?

By John Reese Jul 9, 2010 7:09PM

While the economic data that has rolled in over the past couple weeks hasn't been as good as it was a few months back, it's by no means been terrible -- despite what many investors and pundits seem to think.


The manufacturing sector, for example, continues to improve, expanding for the 11th straight month in June (and at a faster rate than it did in any month of 2009), according to the Institute for Supply Management.


Corporate America, meanwhile, is lean and flexible, with nonfinancial firms boasting record cash levels on their balance sheets. And the big banks are in far better shape than they were two years ago.

 

Wall Street is going into this earnings season with its heart in its mouth.

By Jim J. Jubak Jul 9, 2010 3:02PM

Jim JubakToday is the calm before the earnings storm.


Earnings season starts on Monday, when Alcoa (AA) reports its second-quarter results.


And then we're off to the races, with Intel (INTC) reporting on Tuesday, Google (GOOG) on Thursday, and three big banks -- JPMorgan Chase (JPM)Bank of America (BAC), and Citigroup (C) -- reporting before the market opens on either Thursday or Friday.


This is one of those quarters when Wall Street will not look so much at what numbers companies deliver

 

Homeowners with million-dollar loans are falling delinquent at a surprising rate.

By Kim Peterson Jul 9, 2010 2:17PM

Homes of the Rich  © CorbisHere's something the banks didn't expect: Wealthy people are really bad at paying their mortgages.

In fact, of homeowners with loans of more than $1 million, one in seven is seriously delinquent, according to The New York Times. For everyone else (those with loans under $1 million), only one in 12 is delinquent.

"Whether it is their residence, a second home or a house bought as an investment, the rich have stopped paying the mortgage at a rate that greatly exceeds the rest of the population," writes David Streitfeld.

 

Stocks jumped more than 3% on Wednesday. That's a rare event that suggests more gains are ahead.

By Anthony Mirhaydari Jul 9, 2010 12:14PM

MirhaydariStocks have had a good week after posting a big 3.1% rebound on Wednesday. The action was impressive. And it's uncommon.

 

Big 3%+ up days on the S&P 500 don't happen very often. In fact, aside from the recent volatility, the last time stocks posted one-day gains of this magnitude was during the climb out of the March 2009 bear market low. Of course, this is exactly the type of thing that screams out for a historical analysis.

 

For your benefit, I went back and looked at the S&P 500 going back to 1938, when situations were similar to now. The takeaway: History suggests stocks are headed higher over the next 6 to 12 months. Now, it's important to remember that historical relationships can always change. And this is just one data point among many. But it is definitely good news.

 

The company designs equipment that lets you see in the dark -- maybe a good thing in this market.

By Jim Van Meerten Jul 9, 2010 11:28AM
In my Wall Street Survivor portfolio I bring to your attention stocks you might want to consider for your portfolio. Flir Systems (FLIR) came into my radar when I was screening for stocks that have hit the most frequent new highs in the past month's trading sessions.

Flir makes thermal-imaging and broadcast camera systems for commercial and government use. The thermal-imaging systems detect infrared radiation, or heat, enabling the operator to measure small temperature differences and see objects in daylight or total darkness and through smoke, haze and most types of fog. These technologies sort of let you see in the dark and could be used by soldiers, hunters, or even law enforcement to find marijuana grow houses.

Some analysts say that since the U.S. forces in the Middle East are one of the largest customers, the stock's glory days are over.  

The pizza-delivery pioneer goes back to the drawing board and emerges a winner.

By TheStreet Staff Jul 9, 2010 10:32AM

the street logoBy Jake Lynch, TheStreet

 

A last-place finish in national taste tests last year persuaded Domino's Pizza (DPZ) to remake its recipe. Customers like the new Domino's, and investors should too.

 

The chain was founded in Ypsilanti, Mich., in 1960 by brothers Tom and James Monaghan. Tom quickly bought his brother's half of the business and began a two-decade expansion of franchise and company-owned stores outside Michigan and into Canada. Private-equity firm Bain Capital bought 93% of the company in 1998 and got out in 2004 when Domino's went public.

 

The NYSE offering forced executives to cater to a new ownership's demands, chief among them a focus on quality. The menu was expanded to include appetizers and desserts, but patrons' lingering dissatisfaction with pizza quality nagged. Then came that taste test.

 

 

Tim Geithner's statement about capital gains and dividend tax rates signals a meaningful shift in the administration's attitude toward the stock market.

By TheStreet Staff Jul 9, 2010 10:05AM

jim cramerBy Jim Cramer, TheStreet

 

If Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner's got the juice, and if his statement on CNBC that capital gains and dividend taxes might stay where they are holds water, then we have lost the principal reason to sell stocks, particularly high-yielding dividend stocks.

 

Moreover, any signal, especially one expressed on Larry Kudlow's CNBC show, that these two rates will remain low is a sign that the Obama administration recognizes that the stock market is far more important than it thought when it comes to the November election.


Larry and I fought hard for the dividend tax cut, and people in Washington know that. This signal is very important and cannot be dismissed. Until this interview, I regarded this administration as an opponent of capital and an endless champion for labor, particularly municipal, state and federal workers.

 

Orders for big rigs are up, and momentum should continue into next year.

By Jim J. Jubak Jul 8, 2010 4:47PM

Jim JubakThe growth thesis for heavy-duty-truck sales continued to play out in May. Net orders climbed by 84% from May of 2009.


That thesis says truck sales should boom in late 2010 and into 2011 as truck owners, who have put off buying during the recession, resume purchases driven by growth in shipping volumes, new government rules that require reduced pollution, and improved engine technology that increases performance and lowers operating costs.


More than 50% of orders for Class 8 trucks placed in May are scheduled for delivery in the third quarter, just in time to beat the surge in volumes that comes with the peak fall shipping season, according to ACT Research.

 

A drop in the greenback is helping to push stocks and commodities higher as traders become more confident about the economy.

By Anthony Mirhaydari Jul 8, 2010 4:09PM

For months, the winning trade was to short stocks, the euro and commodities while buying gold, bonds and the dollar. Commentators labeled this the "risk off" trade, since gold and bonds were seen as haven assets. But when crowd mentality is at work and sentiments, not fundamentals, are driving the bids, there really isn't such a thing as a safe trade. It's all speculation.

 

I wrote about the likelihood that the greenback would win back some converts in a column back in November. At the time, the airwaves were filled with proclamations that the dollar would lose its status as the world's de facto reserve currency. I warned that "during the next calamity, we will be reminded of just how secure the dollar is: There will be no place to hide except real cash, and the world's investors will frantically buy dollars to unwind their risky positions."

 

But over the past few weeks, and despite the fact that stocks kept falling, many of these positions started to be unwound. Here's what you need to know.

 

One advantage of homeownership is your mortgage interest deduction. But maybe not for long.

By Jim Van Meerten Jul 8, 2010 3:13PM

JVMThe "Robama Hood" administration continues in its quest to rob from the "rich" and give to the "poor." For some reason, they have made it their quest to punish families making over $250,000 and redistribute their "ill-gotten" gains to those making less than $40,000.

One of Obama's targets is the mortgage interest deduction (MID). The Tax Policy Center notes that people making less than $40,000 get an MID of only $91, while the filthy rich making more than $250,000 get an MID of $5,459. The administration estimates that the MID will "cost" the Treasury $131 billion in 2012.

 

Obama's budgets have suggested limiting that deduction for higher-income earners, and other proposals are drifting around D.C. as well. You can read more here.

 

Can you believe that they think the American homeowner is robbing the Treasury? Since when is the executive branch's mission to maximize taxes?

 

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