A Mexican wave for Big Oil?
Mexico opens way for Big Oil

New legislation is allowing foreign companies to finally invest in the country's vast oil reserves.

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Jefferies is downgraded to 'sell,' and Micron is initiated with an 'outperform.'

By MSN Money Partner Mar 21, 2012 10:58AM
Information provided by Theflyonthewall.com

Wednesday's noteworthy upgrades include:
  • Accenture (ACN) upgraded to Hold from Sell at Societe Generale
  • Agrium (AGU) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Macquarie
  • LinkedIn (LNKD) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Goldman
  • NiSource (NI) upgraded to Buy from Hold at KeyBanc
  • OpenTable (OPEN) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Benchmark Co
 

Consider building long-term positions in these stocks and ETFs to play an improving housing market.

By TheStockAdvisors Mar 21, 2012 10:23AM
By Glenn Rogers, Internet Wealth Builder

For the first time since the 2008 housing collapse we see signs of hope and an investment opportunity in the sector.

Consumer sentiment is improving. And affordability against median income is at one of its lowest points in history. All this has begun to move the markets. Here's a look at a variety of favorite stocks and ETFs to play this trend. 

A shift to shale exploration will help Halliburton increase its revenue per rig metric in Asia.

By Trefis Mar 21, 2012 9:39AM
The Chinese government has laid out an aggressive plan to develop the country's massive shale gas reserves. It calls for Chinese companies to work in tandem with foreign players.

The plan, by the National Energy Administration (NEA), says the annual shale gas output in the country will jump from close to about 6.5 billion cubic meters (BCM) by 2015 and grow to 10 times that amount by 2020. In contrast, the U.S. produced close to 138 BCM of natural gas from shale formations in 2010. Large scale adoption of shale exploration technology could help Halliburton (HAL) and competitors like Schlumberger (SLB) boost revenues from the Asia market. 
Tags: HALSLB

Don't let bears keep you from investing in a still-strong economy.

By InvestorPlace Mar 21, 2012 9:20AM

By Jim Woods


China hard-landing alarms are starting to get loud. During a conference in Singapore last week, Adrian Mowat, JPMorgan Chase's (JPM) chief Asian and emerging-market strategist, came right out and made the hard-landing call. In fact, Mowat said the issue now is even beyond debate.

 

"If you look at the Chinese data, you should stop debating about a hard landing," Mowat said. "Car sales are down, cement production is down, steel production is down, construction stocks are down. It's not a debate anymore, it's a fact."

 

Unlike Disney's flop 'John Carter,' 'The Hunger Games' is expected to be a huge success for the studio producing it.

By Jim Cramer Mar 21, 2012 8:20AM

You know what's really shocking about the $200 million miss that was "John Carter"? It's that Disney (DIS) has spent this much time and energy explaining to us that movies could no longer hurt the company's bottom line. The idea had been that, given the episodic nature of the movie business, the company was just going to do fewer and more reliable movies that represent lower-risk efforts, in keeping with what has already worked.

 

Was there anything about "John Carter" that fit that bill? Was this supposed to be the beginning of the next "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise? Does anyone there recall that "Pirates" started as a ride in the Disney theme parks?

 

The database giant easily beats earnings expectations, while the grocery store mainstay prepares to post its results.

By TheStreet Staff Mar 21, 2012 7:51AM

By Chao Deng

 

Updated at 8:40 a.m. ET

 

Oracle (ORCL), the database giant, handily topped Wall Street's first-quarter earnings expectations. Oracle reported a non-GAAP profit of $3.13 billion, or 62 cents a share, for the three months ended Feb. 29 on revenue of $9.06 billion. Analysts were expecting earnings of 56 cents a share in the quarter on revenue of $9.02 billion.

 

General Mills (GIS), the maker of Cheerios, is expected by analysts Tuesday to post fiscal-third-quarter earnings of 56 cents a share on revenue of $4.09 billion.

 

The company takes a page from 'The Jetsons' and picks up a fleet of robots to help fill orders.

By Benzinga Mar 20, 2012 5:32PM

Image: Amazon.com logo © EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty ImagesBy Brett Callwood, Benzinga Staff Writer


Amazon (AMZN) said this week it is buying Kiva Systems, which makes robots that can fetch the products it sends out to customers.


Kiva's robots promise to make Amazon's already efficient fulfillment centers even speedier. They can grab products off of Amazon's warehouse shelves and bring them to human employees for packing and shipping. Rather than replace what Amazon already has, the Kiva technology will be added to the existing infrastructure.

 

The company is trying to rev up sales with new approaches.

By Kim Peterson Mar 20, 2012 5:00PM
Image: McDonald’s restaurant © AFP/Getty ImagesMcDonald's (MCD) is killing it in the U.S. -- but needs a little work in Asia.

Look at the company's February sales. The U.S. saw sales growth of 11% -- far more than what analysts expected. Sales in Europe rose 4%, still respectable but a little lower than what analysts were looking for.

But Asia and other parts of the world were a huge disappointment. Analysts projected an 8.1% rise, but McDonald's only came in at 2.4% growth. 
Tags: MCDYUM

The company has extended its debt maturities, and has more time to work some magic on the Las Vegas Strip.

By Jim J. Jubak Mar 20, 2012 4:08PM
Image: Four aces (© Image Source/Corbis)Growth or value. Growth or value.

If you're looking for the fastest current growth in the gambling sector, especially among the companies positioned to reap the rewards of growth in Macau, Singapore, and other Asian gambling hot spots, I suggested in my March 8 post going with Las Vegas Sands (LVS), or even better, the company's Macau unit Sands China. For more on the sector as a whole and how I'd handicap the players, see my March 8 post.

But if you're looking for value -- and a chance to make good profits with lower risk -- I'd go
with MGM Resorts International (MGM) on any pullback from Tuesday afternoon's $14.22 to $13.30 or less. (While I'm waiting, I'll put this on my watch list.)
 
Tags: LVSMGM

Here's why Evolution Fresh could go far beyond a "juice bar."

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day Mar 20, 2012 2:18PM

By Alyce Lomax

 

Starbucks (SBUX) is opening its first Evolution Fresh juice bar in Seattle. Shareholders are likely pleased with this progress, but there's a lot more to the growth story than meets the eye. From first reports of the juice bar, Starbucks really is evolving in a bold way that has nothing to do with coffee.

 

A healthy revolution
The Evolution Fresh brand (previously only available in a few stores like Whole Foods Market (WFM)) takes juicing to a whole new level of healthiness. Upon acquisition of the concept, it became clear that Starbucks was taking on one of the few "true juiceries" left out there. Its high-pressure processing means its juices are never heated, so they boast a more artisanal air, retaining more vitamins and nutrients than other juices.

 

Luxury stocks are solid buys these days, and few names can match this one in prestige. You can play the stock even if you can't play the pricey pianos.

By MSN Money Partner Mar 20, 2012 1:52PM

By Brett Arends for SmartMoney

 

Steinway & Sons has a brand name to die for. It's been more than 150 years since German immigrant Henry Steinway first began making pianos in a loft in New York. Today the company's famous name is almost synonymous around the world with the finest SmartMoneyconcert grands.

 

Are they the best in the world? It's a matter of personal preference. But Anthony Fogg, artistic administration of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, notes that the majority of major concert halls around the world use Steinways. That says a lot. The BSO has two nine-foot Steinway concert grands, he says -- one made in Germany, one in the United States.

 

In a review of the gold sector, Standard & Poor's looks at 2 ETFs, 3 stocks and 5 reasons to invest in the precious metal.

By TheStockAdvisors Mar 20, 2012 1:14PM
Image: Small Stack of gold ingots (© Anthony Bradshaw/Photographer)By Leo Larkin, S&P Capital IQ Equity Analyst, The Outlook

S&P Capital IQ has a positive outlook for gold and gold-related investments for 2012.

Even though the price of gold has risen steadily over the past decade --  reaching its highest average level ever in 2011 -- we believe gold will continue to climb in 2012 for five reasons. We also look at a trio of gold stocks and two exchange-traded funds. 

The athletic clothing maker, which will report earnings on Thursday, has topped estimates over the last four quarters.

By Zacks.com Mar 20, 2012 12:56PM

Image: Woman on rowing machine (© Jupiterimages/Brand X/Getty Images)By Zacks Equity Research
  
Lululemon Athletica Inc. (LULU), a leading athletic apparel and accessories retailer in Canada, the U.S. and Australia, is scheduled to report its fourth-quarter 2011 financial results before the opening bell on March 22.


The current Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings for the quarter is 49 cents a share. For the fourth quarter, revenue is expected to be $360 million, according to the Zacks Consensus Estimate.

 
Tags: LULUUA

Who cares about the company's paltry dividend? Investors should focus on the massive success of its signature tablet computer.

By Jim Cramer Mar 20, 2012 12:49PM

TheStreetCandidly, I was disappointed in Apple (AAPL) on Monday. And not because it's paying out a relatively paltry dividend, given its cash hoard.


After all, if this stock were to come down, then you know the dividend would seem rather bountiful. No one should ever sniff at $2.65 a quarter when not that long ago the stock was in the $200s. There's plenty of room to raise the dividend over time as Intel (INTC) and Microsoft (MSFT) have done. I am also sure that the dividend will get other funds that can own only dividend stocks to purchase Apple, but that's not a real driver to own the stock.

 

The actor says his character in 'Pretty Woman' glorified the Wall Street type.

By Kim Peterson Mar 20, 2012 12:48PM
JULIA ROBERTS AND RICHARD GERE (© Globe Photos/ZUMAPRESS.com)

Don't ask Richard Gere about "Pretty Woman."

The 62-year-old actor hates the 1990 romantic comedy and told Woman's Day magazine that "it's my least favorite thing."

In its own small way, the movie may have helped contribute to the global financial crisis, he added. That's because the character he played, corporate raider Edward Lewis, helped romanticize and idealize Wall Street. 

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[BRIEFING.COM] The major averages punctuated a solid week with a subdued Friday session. The S&P 500 shed 0.2% to narrow its weekly gain to 1.7%, while the Nasdaq Composite (+0.1%) displayed relative strength. The tech-heavy index finished the week in line with the benchmark average.

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