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It's no Alibaba, but the Citizens Financial Group offering is important to the market.


Completed bottom formations and improved growth prospects make these emerging-market ETFs buy worthy, but only on sizable pullbacks to stronger support.

By Feb 23, 2012 5:21PM

Image: Globe with money (© PhotoAlto/SuperStock)By Tom Aspray,

Since December 2011, many stocks have completed reverse head-and-shoulders (H&S) bottom formations and have rallied to their first targets. It is interesting that many of the emerging-market ETFs show similar formations, and two of them, the iShares FTSE China 25 Index Fund (FXI) and the iShares MSCI Hong Kong Index Fund (EWH), were discussed in early December (see "3 Asian ETFs to watch").

Many of the emerging-market ETFs have had little in the way of a pullback over the past six weeks, but even though my previously recommended buy levels were not reached, this is no time to chase these funds.


While some airlines are trying to help you find a compatible seatmate, others will let you pay for no neighbor at all.

By Kim Peterson Feb 23, 2012 5:09PM
Image: Airline (© Blend Images/SuperStock)Now here's a fee that airline fliers might actually like. On some flights, you can pay to ensure the seat next to you is empty.

No U.S. airline is offering this option, but three international airlines seem to be finding success with the idea. Air New Zealand, AirAsia X in Malaysia and Spain's Vueling all sell the empty seat next door for fees ranging from $6 to $60, The New York Times reports.

But there's one caveat: If the flight is full and the airline needs that seat for someone else, you'll get your money back. 

Central bank shenanigans and rising inflationary fears are fueling a big rise in precious metals. It's set to continue.

By Anthony Mirhaydari Feb 23, 2012 4:40PM

Stocks have largely stalled out over the last few days as traders think twice before pushing the Dow through the 13,000 barrier. The real news, aside from the worrisome rise in crude oil, is the breakout underway in the precious metals. Both gold and silver have jumped out of two-month trading ranges in a big way.


The same dynamic that's driving energy prices is fueling the rise in gold and silver: Big time inflation concerns. With those about to get worse, the rise in the glitter stuff is set to continue.


Here's why.


There's little hope for the 1,000 video-rental locations that remain, but the Blockbuster name will live on in other ways.

By Kim Peterson Feb 23, 2012 4:06PM
Image: Man changing TV channels with remote control (© Flying Colours/Digital Vision/Getty Images)Say farewell to Blockbuster, the video chain that was once one of the biggest brand names in America.

The chain's new owner, Dish Network (DISH), has said it will close 500 under-performing Blockbuster locations with expiring leases, and it may close more beyond that. There were only about 1,500 Blockbuster stores left, so the announcement is one of the final nails in the coffin for the former video powerhouse.

Not that many people are complaining. Former Blockbuster customers still grumble about the chain's strict return policies. 
Tags: DISH

With diverse holdings in the media sector, this fund trades below net assets and has a double-digit yield.

By TheStockAdvisors Feb 23, 2012 3:53PM
Image: Hollywood (© Comstock/SuperStock)By Amy Calistri, The Daily Paycheck

I have many reasons to like Gabelli Multimedia Trust (GGT), which specializes in media and entertainment. For one thing, the fund is still relatively cheap -- it currently trades at a 12% discount to its net asset value (NAV).

This means you are getting the equivalent of a dollar's worth of assets for just 88 cents. Better yet, you are getting the assets of one of the better positioned sectors in the economy. 

International expansion may provide some relief as the retailer grapples with a margin crunch in its domestic markets.

By Trefis Feb 23, 2012 2:39PM
Image: Jewelry store (© Baerbel Schmidt/Getty Images/Getty Images)American Eagle Outfitters (AEO) announced plans to expand into Israel by opening 11 stores there starting February.
With the new stores, the company now operates in Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Israel, thus making the Middle East one of the key strategic regions for American Eagle's international operations. 

The company is the world's largest producer of titanium dioxide, but is seeing a huge increase in raw materials costs.

By Jim J. Jubak Feb 23, 2012 2:07PM
I said in my Feb. 21 post that for the first half of the year, earnings growth would come under pressure as companies find that, while the cost of raw materials rises, demand isn't strong enough to pass those increases to customers. Keep an eye out for companies facing that problem, I advised, and when you find one in your portfolio, sell it.

Which is why I'm selling DuPont (DD) out of my 12-18 month Jubak’s Picks portfolio Thursday.  (I still like the longer-term picture for DuPont, so I'm keeping it in my Jubak Picks 50 portfolio -- especially since the rules of that portfolio only allow selling once a year in January.)

Shares of the smaller retailer offer more bang for your buck.

By Jonathan Berr Feb 23, 2012 2:02PM
Image: Woman shopping in interior design shop, side view © Alistair Berg/Digital Vision/Getty ImagesTarget (TGT) shares are trading up Thursday after the second-largest retailer reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter results. The good news should keep coming if the economic rebound doesn't falter.

Net income at the Minneapolis company fell 5.2% to $981 million, or $1.45 a share, while revenue rose 3.3% to $20.9 billion in the quarter. Excluding one-time items, profit was $1.49, topping the average $1.39 estimate of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News.  

The company wants to reach customers who don't like diet or regular soft drinks.

By Kim Peterson Feb 23, 2012 1:25PM
Image credit: PepsiCoHate the taste of diet soda but don't want all the calories of regular? PepsiCo (PEP) has a beverage for you.

The company is trying once more to fill the void between diet and regular with Pepsi Next, a soda with half the calories of regular Pepsi. With 60 calories in a can, it's expected to be available nationwide by the end of next month.

But does Pepsi Next have any chance of success? The odds are stacked against it.  

Zipcar's established markets grew by 23% in 2011, which indicates more scope for penetration.

By Trefis Feb 23, 2012 1:17PM
Image: Driving home (© gehringj/Vetta/Getty Images)Even though Zipcar (ZIP) posted a loss for the full year in 2011, the company's proven ability to serve its established markets indicates that it could achieve impressive profitability as its newer markets mature.

During 2011, Zipcar increased its overall membership by 25%, leading to 30% higher revenues over the previous year. The high growth is attributable to not only newer markets but also established markets, indicating greater scope for penetration. 
Tags: ZIP

The often-ignored continent is just waiting to break out.

By InvestorPlace Feb 23, 2012 12:40PM
Image: Africa (© OJO Images/SuperStock)By Aaron Levitt 


When it comes to emerging markets and energy production, powerhouses like Brazil and Russia tend to dominate portfolio holdings. Both nations have been blessed with a vast array of hydrocarbons and natural resources -- Russia is the world's leader in natural gas and Brazil's deep-water salt fields could be home to some of the richest concentrations of oil in recent history.


Equally rich -- but less known -- is the emerging oil story in Africa. The continent often is completely ignored by investors, but the tale brewing there could be exactly the catalyst needed to propel the region into superstar status.


Beleaguered retailer catches a break.

By Jonathan Berr Feb 23, 2012 12:19PM

Image Source/Corbis/CorbisSears Holidings (SHLD) is planning to sell anything it can as the struggling retail chain tries to convince investors that it is not going to wither away into oblivion. The message got through to Wall Street loud and clear.

Shares of the 119-year-old retailer soared in early morning trading, gaining more than 20% and hitting $63.09. The stock had plunged 56% last year, but made up lost ground this year as investors speculated that controlling shareholder Edward Lampert would take Sears Holdings private. Sears Holdings, though, isn't out of the woods yet.


Vivus is upgraded to 'hold,' and Principal Financial is upgraded to 'buy.'

By MSN Money Partner Feb 23, 2012 11:52AM
Information provided by

Thursday's noteworthy upgrades include:
  • Kellogg (K) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank
  • HCA Holdings (HCA) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank
  • Level 3 (LVLT) upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley
  • Vivus (VVUS) upgraded to Hold from Sell at Brean Murray
  • DirecTV (DTV) upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at Atlantic Equities

This global wireless tech firm will continue to benefit as smartphone users move to 3G and LTE networks.

By TheStockAdvisors Feb 23, 2012 11:50AM
By James Moorman, S&P Capital IQ Equity Analyst, The Outlook

S&P Capital IQ recently reiterated our Buy opinion on shares of Qualcomm (QCOM), which designs and licenses technology used in mobile handsets.

The company reported a very strong December quarter and stands to gain as more customers move to third generation ‘3G’ mobile networks, especially in emerging markets. We also believe QCOM stands to benefit from growth in China, in the chipset business as well as on the licensing end, as service providers migrate subscribers to 3G. 
Tags: QCOM

Herbalife CEO Michael Johnson has transformed the company into a must-watch stock.

By Jim Cramer Feb 23, 2012 11:33AM

Sometimes the 52-week-high list is a good place to mine for strong ideas, if you can find some that don't do poorly if oil goes still higher.


I think we all have to accept that we must look at stocks through the oil prism now because numbers are too high across the board for every company that has reported so far this year and has energy as a key component in their input costs.


But Wednesday night I interviewed an extraordinary CEO, Michael Johnson, who runs Herbalife (HLF), a new-high denizen, and the story does not run on oil -- it runs on people, and it is getting stronger by the day.



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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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