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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Can they still grow after the cleanup and amid continued economic uncertainty?

By TheStreet Staff Aug 20, 2010 2:32PM

TheStreetOil © Comstock/CorbisBy Eric Rosenbaum, TheStreet

 

What’s preventing a breakout in oil stocks: the overhang from the BP (BP) oil spill or economic uncertainty?

 

BP had its best rally since the oil spill when the Macondo well was capped on July 15. Then, when the markets hit a three-month peak on Aug. 5, BP reached its highest price since the oil spill crisis began. Shortly after, BP shares ran out of gas.

 

The pattern is exactly the same for Transocean (RIG) and Anadarko Petroleum (APC), whose shares spiked when BP capped the well and climbed higher on August 5. They have since pulled back as concerns about global economic growth caused crude oil prices to drop below $80.

 

Fidelity says a record number of workers are borrowing against their retirement savings in tough times.

By Kim Peterson Aug 20, 2010 1:28PM
Rescue your retirement © Source, Brian Hagiwara/Brand X/CorbisA record number of U.S. workers are looking to money they've set aside for their golden years as they struggle to survive the economic downturn, according to a survey by Fidelity Investments.

It's not a move they're happy with, but options are running out in these difficult times.

Fidelity analyzed the 401k accounts it runs for about 11 million workers and found that 11% took out a loan from their accounts in the year ended June 30, according to CNBC. That's up from 9% in the previous year. 

The stock has been taking a beating this year, and the company is going buyout crazy.

By InvestorPlace Aug 20, 2010 10:58AM

By Jeff Reeves, InvestorPlace.com

Google Inc. (GOOG) joined the stock market six years ago yesterday, on Aug. 19, 2004. Google stock has seen relentless growth since then, with its first trades at about $100 a share eclipsed by a quick race skyward. GOOG shares are up an amazing 330% since that IPO.


Of course, few people have been sitting on Google for that whole run. And so far in 2010, investors don’t have all that much to be happy about. Shares are down 24% year to date as of this writing and about 47% off all-time highs near $740 in late 2007. Google opened the day after its sixth birthday trading below $470 and has failed to touch the $600 mark since early January.


So what’s the score with Google? Are the best days behind the company, or is the future still bright for this Internet and technology giant?

 

The California tech giant is legendary for its secrecy, but public records tell an exciting story.

By InvestorPlace Aug 20, 2010 9:46AM

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)
 By Anthony Agnello, InvestorPlace.com

 

The annual remodeling of the Apple (AAPL) iPhone has made it less of a tech tool and more a fashion accessory. As a result, the iPhone is the tech equivalent of Angelina Jolie -- people just can't get enough info.

 

Though the iPhone 4 is less than two months out of the box, it's time again to start the rumor mill about the next round of upgrades for 2011 and beyond. And this goes far beyond the buzz of a handset that is compatible with Verizon (VZ).

 

A look at some recent Apple patents reveals some radical changes in the works for the next generation of iPhones. Here are five of the most compelling patents and prospective upgrades:

 

When you consider the strength of earnings, the economic outlook becomes a lot less gloomy.

By Jim Cramer Aug 20, 2010 8:33AM

TheStreetWhat ever happened to "mixed"? As in "We have mixed data."

 

Employment claims weren't good. Industrial production was pretty good. Retail sales weren't bad. Housing isn't good. The U.S. economy is going slower. The international economy is getting faster, as we saw yesterday with the Bundesbank raising the German growth rate from 1% to 3%.

 

If you overlay earnings, it's not even mixed. It's positive.

 

Encouraged by the success of its Via instant coffee, Starbucks ups its grocery game.

By Kim Peterson Aug 19, 2010 3:02PM

Credit: (© Michael Conroy/AP)
Caption: Customer in a Starbucks storeStarbucks chicken nuggets? Starbucks toilet paper?


Just a matter of time. Or so it seems from the coffee giant's plans to get more branded products into grocery stores. Desperate for growth after the economy turned, executives at Starbucks (SBUX) have developed a strategy that focuses on supermarkets, The Wall Street Journal reports.


We've already seen Starbucks ice cream and bottled Frappuccino in grocery aisles. This year, Starbucks has been busy getting its Via instant coffee into supermarkets as well as Target (TGT) and Wal-Mart (WMT) locations.

 

The British government has received 45,000 ideas from residents on how to cut spending.

By Kim Peterson Aug 19, 2010 12:21PM

Credit: (© Seth Wenig/AP)
Caption: Britain's Queen Elizabeth IIWhere would you cut government spending? Got any ideas?

That's what the British government is asking its citizens as it faces extreme spending cuts. The government is in trouble and needs to chop to the tune of $44 billion a year.

The suggestions have been pouring in, according to The Associated Press. Get rid of the queen, said one. Make convicts run on treadmills to produce power for the national electricity grid, said another.

Other ideas are a little more sensible.

 

While a double-dip recession still isn't likely, the economy is slowing perilously.

By Anthony Mirhaydari Aug 19, 2010 12:04PM

MirhaydariIn my last blog post, I talked about Wall Street's expectations that a period of sub-trend growth lies ahead but that a double-dip recession isn't likely. On Wednesday, the crack analysts at ISI Group chimed in with plenty of evidence supporting this view. But they have a warning, too: While they don't believe a double-dip recession is in the cards, they caution that their 2% growth forecast for next year is moving dangerously close to the economy's 1.9% stall speed.

 

Allow me to explain. The economy is like a shark. It needs to move at a certain pace to stay alive. The supply chain needs to be humming along, or else a whipsaw of reduced consumer demand reverberates through retailers, wholesalers and distributors and eventually results in big factory shutdowns.

Similar behavior is seen in the labor market as a negative feedback loop of reduced demand and labor cuts, and lost confidence pulls down economic activity.

 

The fast-food company is taking another step in its push to move into the premium category.

By InvestorPlace Aug 19, 2010 11:06AM
By Jeff Reeves, InvestorPlace.com

When most consumers think of Burger King (BKC), they think of cheap eats for their lunch break. But a look at some recent menu experimentation shows BK is looking to change that with a push into the premium arena via higher-priced, higher-quality food.


Take an upscale Burger King brunch menu in test markets, including cibatta breakfast sandwiches and mimosas. Or its summer ribs promotion, which was so successful that Burger King sold out of ribs early.


Or consider Burger King's latest push for upscale eats -- Whopper Bars in select areas, offering some rather spectacular reinventions of its Whopper.

 

A week ago, we thought Macy's, with its strong performance, was an outlier. Turns out it was the consensus.

By Jim Cramer Aug 19, 2010 8:47AM

jim cramerBy Jim Cramer, TheStreet

 

Total retail forgiveness. Have we forgotten how much we hated Bed Bath's (BBBY) quarter? Are we overlooking the fact that we thought Ross (ROST) had decelerated? Anyone remember that we were unhappy with Kohl's (KSS), that it was a miss? Did we overlook that Gap (GPS) can't turn or that Sears (SHLD) ain't no Home Depot (HD)?

 

BJ's (BJ) missed, didn't it? Shouldn't it be down three instead of one? Target (TGT)? What was so hot about it? The stock opened down yesterday, for heaven's sake. I thought: Hmm, good call I made to get out of that. But the decline sure didn't last long!

 

This market has suddenly, after earnings from Home Depot and Wal-Mart (WMT), developed a lighter touch. Suddenly we are talking about refinancing and how the consumer is getting more liquid.

 

The depressed economy has reduced operating costs so much that Indian outsourcing isn't as attractive.

By Kim Peterson Aug 18, 2010 3:35PM

global economy © Comstock / SuperStockThe global economy is changing quickly, causing this unexpected turn: Call-center jobs are coming back to America from India.

Customer-support employees are becoming just as cheap to hire here as in India, the head of a large outsourcing company in India tells the Financial Times.

Blame the high unemployment level in the U.S., which has driven down wages. People are willing to accept less money and are more open to working in low-skilled jobs in customer support.

 

Wall Street is undergoing an attitude adjustment. And that's good news for stocks.

By Anthony Mirhaydari Aug 18, 2010 2:46PM

MirhaydariIt was a classic turnaround Tuesday as stocks moved decisively higher. The smallest and riskiest stocks led the way, with the Russell 2000 gaining 1.8%. Small caps are up another 0.8% in mid-day trading Wednesday.

 

Investors were encouraged overnight by rumors the Bank of Japan was intervening to stem the rise in the yen, successful bond issuances by Spain and Ireland, and a better-than-expect report on U.S. industrial production. Also a $39 billion offer by Aussie materials goliath BHP Billiton (BHP) for fertilizer maker Potash of Saskatchewan (POT) reignited hopes for a flashy mergers boom as all the money being funneled into the bond market eventually finds its way into stocks.

 

A good overview of the situation was sent around trading desks by Barclays Capital strategists.

 

Sales will suffer as long as high unemployment persists, experts say.

By Kim Peterson Aug 18, 2010 2:05PM
Home Financing low loan rates © Corbis While mortgage rates have been at record lows, they aren't doing much to boost home sales. Instead, refinance activity is exploding.

Refinancing jumped 17% in the week ended Aug. 13, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association's index. It hit the highest level since May 2009.

But home purchases fell 3.4%. Home sales are going to suffer as long as the unemployment rate hovers at 10%, experts say.

So what does this say about the economy?  

American Airlines offers to move fliers to the front of coach, but only if they pay.

By Kim Peterson Aug 18, 2010 1:24PM

Airline meal © Blend Images/SuperStockAmerican Airlines (AMR) is introducing a new fee for customers who fly coach.

If you want to get into the first few rows, it'll cost an extra $19 to $39 for a one-way flight. But here's a twist: You can buy these "Express Seats" only at airport self-service check-in machines.

The idea is to upsell customers at the airport and persuade them to pay just a little more for a better seat. Gone are the days when you could just move into one of the open seats in front once you board.

 
Tags: AMR

Shares drop after an analyst at Morgan Keegan docks the company on a potential increase in content costs.

By TheStreet Staff Aug 18, 2010 12:57PM

business news and stock tips from the streetCredit: (© Paul Sakuma/AP)
Caption: Netflix DVDBy Jeanine Poggi, TheStreet

 

Netflix (NFLX) is stumbling after an analyst cut its rating to "underperform."

 

Morgan Keegan analyst Justin Patterson is particularly concerned about content costs related to Netflix's new deal with EPIX, a joint venture with Viacom (VIA), Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios and Lions Gate Entertainment (LFG) that could add up to 20,000 new titles to Netflix's streaming content.

 

Patterson estimates that the EPIX deal could cost Netflix about $1.10 a subscriber per month, "providing other content owners with a baseline for negotiations and limiting Netflix's flexibility to obtain more digital content without eroding margins."

 

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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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