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Dow companies with cash stockpiles offer safety amid political uncertainty and Fed manipulation.

By TheStreet Staff Nov 2, 2010 10:19AM

thestreetBy Jake Lynch, TheStreet

 

A Republican influx into the House and Senate would probably be cheered by investors hoping for political gridlock or a change in economic policy.

 

Stricter regulations in response to the subprime-mortgage crisis and the ensuing recession have painted Democratic leaders as anti-business. Further, ObamaCare and the threat of looming tax increases have aided a Republican resurgence. The GOP needs 39 seats to reclaim the House and oust Nancy Pelosi as speaker. Some analysts predict a 60-seat swing in Republicans' favor.

 

Jobs and the federal deficit are voters' top concerns, polls show. And fear of harsher regulations has made businesses hesitant to hire. Moody's (MCO) data indicate that S&P 500 ($INX) companies are sitting on $1 trillion in cash.

 

Restructuring Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac may become nearly impossible if Republicans split or even win the legislative branch.

By TheStreet Staff Nov 2, 2010 10:17AM

By Lauren Tara LaCapra, TheStreet

 

One of the most important tasks before the 112th Congress will be rewriting the rules of the American dream.

 

Since Fannie Mae (FNMA) and Freddie Mac (FMCC) were seized by the federal government in September 2008, lawmakers, with a few exceptions, have remained surprisingly mum about what will become of them. The Obama administration has promised to deliver a plan for the future of housing finance a few times but ultimately put it off until next year.

 

Restructuring Fannie and Freddie in any meaningful way would be difficult enough with one party dominating Capitol Hill. Now, with polls predicting that Republicans will at least split the legislative branch -- if not take it over -- it may be completely impossible to restructure the government-sponsored entities.

 

Apple's iPad won't be the only tablet under the tree this year. HP's Slate, Amazon's Kindle and Samsung's Galaxy Tab are poised to pose a challenge.

By TheStreet Staff Nov 2, 2010 9:47AM

By Scott Moritz, TheStreet

 

Tablets are going to be on a few gift lists this season, and it's Apple's (AAPL) iPad that will be getting most of the ribbon-and-bow treatment.

 

There are, however a few challengers that may also end up under the tree, helping to keep Apple from collecting all the proceeds from the tablet giving season.

 

One would think that the market was teeming with tablets, given all the hype lately. But so far, the list of available tablets is short, though not unimpressive: Hewlett-Packard's (HPQ) Slate, Amazon's (AMZN) Kindle, Samsung's Galaxy Tab and the Apple iPad.

 

The automaker's public offering could be the feel-good, make-money story of the year.

By Jim Cramer Nov 2, 2010 8:31AM

jim cramerBy Jim Cramer, TheStreet

 

We're lost in the miasma of the election, the Fed and the coming labor report, and no one can blame us. But right around the corner is an IPO that could ignite as much interest in the market as we have seen in years: that of General Motors.

 

The GM public offering is kind of like the U.S. Olympic team in 1980, the Miracle on Ice: a feel-good story, except that you get to make money from it. That's right, I believe the deal is going to be a smashing success. The key questions are who is going to get it and how can you get in.

 

It is not just pricing that matters, although I believe the government is going to throw it to the good guys, meaning the buyers. There's also actually a strong investment case out of China.

 

The season will be huge for the tech giant, a fund manager says.

By TheStreet Staff Nov 1, 2010 1:37PM

By Gregg Greenberg, TheStreet

 

Just because everybody around is using a cell phone does not mean the mobile Internet wave is over. And the same goes for the bullish move in technology stocks, says Channing Smith, fund manager for the Capitol Advisors Growth Fund (CIAOX).

 

The $22 million fund, which garners three stars from Morningstar (MORN), is up 8.5% over the past year, putting it in Morningstar's 44th percentile versus its peers. Over the past five years, the fund has returned more than 3% annually, better than 70% of its rivals.

 

Welcome to TheStreet.com's Fund Manager Five Spot, where America's top mutual fund managers give their best stock picks and views on the market in a five-question format.

 

Smart phones running on Google's operating system continue to gain momentum in the US market.

By TheStreet Staff Nov 1, 2010 1:05PM

By James Rogers, TheStreet

 

Google's (GOOG) Android operating system continues to gain momentum in the U.S. smart-phone market despite stiff competition from Apple's (AAPL) iPhone.

 

Sales of Android-based smart phones accounted for almost 44% of U.S. sales during the third quarter, according to research firm Canalys, up from 34% in the prior quarter. With new Android phones, such as Motorola's (MOT) Droid Pro and the Verizon (VZ) Fascinate swarming onto the market, Google's mobile OS is going from strength to strength.

 

Apple also enjoyed a strong quarter. The tech giant overtook Research In Motion (RIMM) as the top individual vendor. The iPhone maker accounted for 26.2% of the U.S. market, up from 21.7% in the prior quarter. RIM's share dropped from 32.1% in the second quarter to 24.2% in the third quarter despite the recent launch of the BlackBerry Torch.

 

It's time to end the media's fascination with the Oracle of Omaha, who, despite claims to the contrary, does love publicity.

By TheStreet Staff Nov 1, 2010 11:50AM

By Gary Weiss, TheStreet

 

Some people may call this Indian summer, but I call it Warren Buffett season.

 

It is the only season that lasts 12 months a year. You can't swing a cat around a financial news organization nowadays without snaring somebody writing about Warren Buffett's portfolio. Usually it's along the lines of "What is Warren buying?" But lately there is a hush, and a sad pang can be heard reverberating across the prairie. Warren Buffett is considering a successor!

 

So with reverence more appropriate for the papal succession than a glorified hedge fund, there is one article after another about the Apparent Chosen Successor, a Florida hedgie named Todd Combs.

 

Not all technology funds are the same. Some hold small caps, while others buy abroad.

By TheStreet Staff Nov 1, 2010 10:09AM

By Gregg Greenberg, TheStreet

 

The PowerShares QQQ Trust (QQQQ), the biggest technology exchange-traded fund, has risen 20% since the end of August, almost twice as much as the broader S&P 500 Index ($INX), powered by an increase in the shares of Apple (AAPL) and Google (GOOG).

 

But investors in tech ETFs could have gotten bigger gains elsewhere. PowerShares QQQ Trust's underlying index is the Nasdaq-100 of the largest domestic and international non-financial securities listed on the namesake exchange. Rival ETFs, for instance, load up on Internet stocks and Chinese shares. Some tech ETFs trailed the PowerShares QQQ Trust, which has more than $20 billion in assets.

 

TheStreet explored technology ETF alternatives with the help of experts Tom Lydon, editor of ETF Trends, and Christian Magoon, CEO of Magoon Capital.

 

Earnings and Tuesday's midterm elections will affect a number of exchange-traded funds.

By TheStreet Staff Nov 1, 2010 9:49AM

By Don Dion, TheStreet

 

Here are five exchange-traded funds investors should watch this week.

 

1. PowerShares Dynamic Media Portfolio (PBS)

 

It's sweeps week for the media ETF as a number of firms hailing from the fund's index gear up to announce their quarterly earnings performance. Companies include Sirius XM (SIRI), Time Warner (TWX), News Corp (NWSA), and DIRECTV (DTV).

 

Technological developments such as the Apple (AAPL) iPad have helped various facets of the media universe expand their reach around the world as consumers increasingly seek out ways to receive constant exposure to both the printed word and visual media.

 

Time for a walk on the long side with gold and semiconductor funds.

By InvestorPlace Nov 1, 2010 9:34AM

By Jamie Dlugosch, InvestorPlace.com


Exchange-traded funds are the place to be.


This week is shaping up to be a very big week for investors. The election will set the tone, but probably more important will be news from the Federal Reserve.

 

The second round of quantitative easing is set to begin. Perhaps stocks have rallied in advance of the news, setting the table for a sell-the-news event. Then again, the infusion of new capital in the debt markets could push investors to take more risks in stocks.

 

Given positive earnings momentum and an easy-money central bank policy, the bias for stocks is upward, even if in the short run stocks may be a bit pricey. Add in a swing to the right politically, and the state is set for more gains.

 

The semiconductor sector is proving naysayers wrong, taking off on product cycles and worldwide economic strength.

By Jim Cramer Nov 1, 2010 8:47AM

jim cramerBy Jim Cramer, TheStreet

 

Going into this quarter, one thing was pretty certain for the tech analysts: Semiconductor companies would disappoint. They would either fall prey to "the end of the restocking" angle or the "last good quarter" angle. They would disappoint, and numbers would have to go down.

 

Now, with the bulk of earnings behind us, we can see that, without a doubt, this most hated group has truly broken out. And in a way I haven't seen in many, many years. Not just quarters but years.

 

The move is taking everyone by surprise. In fact, it is doing more than that. It is upending a theme, one that has been with us for many years now: that the group is a cyclical nightmare, with a cycle that's never as strong as you can get from a Caterpillar (CAT) or a Freeport-McMoran (FCX) and therefore undeserving of any multiple. It's just a hated group.

 

Economic growth is weak, to be sure, but consumer spending is enough to keep the Fed cautious about quantitative easing.

By Jim J. Jubak Oct 29, 2010 7:35PM

Jim JubakThe first estimate for third-quarter U.S. gross domestic product growth came in right on projections at 2%. That was up from the 1.7% growth rate in the second quarter, but below the 3% or so growth rate needed to cut significantly into unemployment.


Housing was the big drag on the economy. (Big surprise, right?) 


Residential investment -- home buying to most of us -- fell 29% in the quarter. That more than offset a 9.7% gain in nonresidential investment. Nonresidential structures -- commercial real estate -- grew by 3.9% in the quarter, up from a drop of 0.5% in the second quarter. That's good news for the still beleaguered commercial real estate market (and the banks with big loan portfolios in the sector). 

 

Yet another news publication says it has confirmation of a Verizon iPhone out early next year.

By Kim Peterson Oct 29, 2010 2:23PM
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)Fortune has jumped onto the Verizon iPhone bandwagon, saying it has confirmed that the highly anticipated device will be released early next year.

Fortune doesn't say exactly how it got confirmation -- though, ahem, it did interview chief executive Ivan Seidenberg in the same article. "People familiar with its development say it is a fait accompli," writes Sarah Ellison.

Since its launch, Apple's (AAPL) iPhone has been the exclusive domain of carrier AT&T (T) in the U.S. And users have howled, bashing AT&T's network as slow and buggy, dropping calls and fouling data speeds. 

VXX shareholders will receive 1 share for every 4 held

By InvestorPlace Oct 29, 2010 1:57PM

By ETFguide.com


Exchange traded funds and exchange traded notes seem to be in the news everyday, and today is no different.


Barclays Bank is planning a 1-for-4 reverse share split of its iPath S&P 500 VIX Short Term Futures ETN (VXX). The reverse split is scheduled for Nov. 9, 2010.


The reverse split means shareholders as of the Nov. 8 record date will receive one share of every four existing shares in the exchange-traded notes.

 

The studio accuses the billionaire investor of playing a 'doubles game' on support for a potential merger with MGM.

By MSNMoney partner Oct 29, 2010 1:24PM

Film © Comstock/SuperStockThis post comes from partner site TheWrap.


Lionsgate is suing Carl Icahn, accusing the billionaire investor of playing a "double game" in which he alternately claimed to support and oppose a potential merger between the studio and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.


The latest legal wrangling could influence a vote today by MGM debt holders over whether to accept a prepackaged bankruptcy plan that would see Spyglass take over the studio's management.


In a suit filed Thursday in New York federal court, Lionsgate claims Icahn was "secretly plotting" to use the merger as a way to amass a larger slice of MGM's debt and a bigger stake in the studio -- at a discount.

 

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[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market finished an upbeat week on a mixed note. The S&P 500 shed less than a point, ending the week higher by 1.3%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (+0.1%) cemented a 1.7% advance for the week. High-beta names underperformed, which weighed on the Nasdaq Composite (-0.3%) and the Russell 2000 (-1.3%).

Equity indices displayed strength in the early going with the S&P 500 tagging the 2,019 level during the opening 30 minutes of the action. However, ... More


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