Stocks have rallied 177%, and while calling a top is the easiest thing to do, it might not be the most accurate, Cramer says.
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American Express and Coca-Cola fared well, but Wells Fargo turned in a tepid report.
By Don Dion, TheStreet
Given the mix of winners and losers we have seen during the opening weeks of earnings season, it has likely been difficult for many stock pickers to navigate the markets without a setback. Even Warren Buffett has seen a blend of strength and weakness from the companies in his legendary portfolio.
This week has been important for fans of the Oracle of Omaha. Over the past few days, some of the largest names in the Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) portfolio have reported quarterly earnings and provided insight into the closing months of the year.
Warren Buffett's stake is just one more reason for long-term investors to like these shares.
By Paul Tracy, Street Authority Market Advisor
With more than 988 million of its products in use, $3.5 billion in cash, and a $2 billion buyback, I consider MasterCard (MA) a 'buy it and hold it forever' stock.
And I'm not the only one who feels this way. Just a few months ago, Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway bought 189,000 shares, adding to its 216,000 share stake.
MasterCard racks up $545 billion in transactions each year. But besides its size, what is it about MasterCard that has grabbed Mr. Buffett's attention?
Nucor just reported a great quarter, boasts a high yield and has catalysts galore.
Occasionally a stock comes along that's easy. Nucor (NUE) is that kind of stock.
The company reported a terrific quarter, showing great growth at a time when every other steel company has had its head handed to it. The balance sheet is its best in years. Its exports, while small, are starting to spurt. Raw costs are coming down as the bidding-up of scrap subsides.
General Electric meets forecasts, while McDonald's beats estimates as global sales rise.
By Andrea Tse, TheStreet
General Electric (GE) earnings rose 57% to $3.22 billion in the third quarter, up from $2.06 billion a year earlier. Operating earnings in the quarter were 31 cents a share, meeting the estimates of analysts.
McDonalds (MCD) posted earnings of $1.45 a share in the third quarter on revenue of $7.2 billion, and global same-store sales were up 5%. The top and bottom line were an improvement from the year-ago quarter, when the fast-food giant earned $1.29 a share on revenue of $6.3 billion. Analysts had expected $1.43 per share on revenue of just over $7 billion.
The risk in the stock still outweighs the reward at current share prices.
Once again, rumors are circulating that Microsoft could be a buyer. Haven't we heard this a few times by now?
Yogi Berra is famous for his skill with the Yankees, as well as some of his "Yogisms" in which he says nonsensical things that have somehow made their way into pop culture. Now you can apply "Yogism" -- it's deja vu all over again -- to the world of finance.
Last night, a tweet from Wall Street Journal reporter Anupreeta Das said that Microsoft (MSFT) would help pay for a potential Yahoo (YHOO) takeover (Microsoft owns and publishes Top Stocks, an MSN Money site). In addition, private equity partner Silver Lake Partners and the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board would help pay for the rest.
Forget coal mining stocks; buy this global mining equipment maker instead.
Coal still remains a major part of global energy generation, and it likely will remain so for many years to come.
But rather than buy a coal miner, we prefer Joy Global (JOYG); we believe this is the perfect company to take advantage of increased capital expenditure on mining equipment.
More than half of the energy generated in the U.S., and more than 40% of energy generated worldwide, comes from coal.
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From metals to SE Asia, these ETFs have found big success
Investors have been taking for a wild ride in 2011. Depending on the day, the major indices are either sitting on a slight gain for the year or a slight loss. Traders are patting themselves on the back every time the market makes an about-face, claiming that the volatility is further proof that buy-and-hold is dead.
But don’t believe it. While it certainly is true that buy-and-hold investing never will make you a mint overnight, there are a host of long-term investments that have thrived — even in a choppy market and a hostile environment to many stocks on Wall Street.
Need proof? Here are five funds that have all delivered gains of over 120% in the last three years. Most importantly, the flavor of these funds also says a lot about the current areas of opportunity in this market.
Despite signs of improvement, the homebuilder industry remains volatile. Long-term investors should focus on funds tracking real-estate investment trusts.
By Don Dion, TheStreet
An optimistic batch of data released over the past few days has left some investors wondering if, after years of floundering, housing is at last showing some signs of a comeback.
Despite lingering concerns about a global economic slowdown, homebuilders appear to be getting work. Wednesday's Commerce Department report on housing starts managed to come in at an annualized rate of 658,000 housing starts. Though not a stellar number on its own, it marked a 15% increase, above and beyond what analysts had been expecting.
Further adding to the positive mood, the National Association of Homebuilders on Tuesday reported that confidence across the industry has been on the rise. According to a report on the agency's Web site, the National Association of Homebuilder/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index jumped four points to 18 in October. This marked the largest single monthly gain seen since April 2010.
The offerings aren't as sexy as iPhones and iPads, but the company innovates and consistently makes money for its investors.
By Frank Byrt, TheStreet
Which company was founded by an entrepreneur who was ahead of his time and changed the world, keeps innovating to stay ahead of its rivals and charges more than competitors for basically the same products?
No, it's not Apple (AAPL), whose late co-founder, Steve Jobs, ignited a revolution in must-have digital gadgets such as the iPod and iPhone.
It's McDonald's (MCD), which started out as a small hamburger chain and, through franchising and the addition of offerings like salads and coffee, has become the world's biggest restaurant company, whose profits dwarf the likes of Burger King (BKC).
New signs of weakness in gold futures and popular ETFs like GLD and GDX suggest that a new decline could unfold, ultimately setting the stage for a stronger rebound later on.
By Tom Aspray, MoneyShow.com
The sharp decline in gold futures and the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) from the September 2 highs has dampened some of the high bullish sentiment, but it still seems too high. From a technical standpoint, the rally from the September 23 lows has been pretty anemic, which increases the odds of another sharp decline.
Typically, after such a sharp drop, I would expect to see a rebound that recouped 38.2% to 50% of the previous decline. After GLD dropped from a high of $185.84 to a low of $154.16, just a 38.2% retracement would have taken the fund back to $166.31, while the 50% retracement resistance level stands at $169.90. GLD, however, has only been able to rally as high as $164.19.
This is a sign of weakness, and from a time standpoint, I would not be surprised to see the correction in gold last another month, possibly even two.
Dividend-stock funds have been some of the best performers lately, and are good choices for both the short and long haul.
Kate Stalter: Today I am speaking with Christine Benz. She is the director of Personal Finance at Morningstar.
Christine, you write regularly giving advice to individual investors. I’ve looked at some of your recent articles, and I wanted to start out today by asking you: What’s the appropriate way for longer-term investors to approach mutual funds at this juncture, given all the uncertainty in the market?
Short-sighted sellers are creating a buying opportunity in Apple shares.
For the first time since 2004, Apple (AAPL) -- a buy-rated stock on our Recommended List -- missed analyst estimates.
Nevertheless, by most accounts, most companies wish they could post the kind of growth Apple generated this past quarter.
Shares are priced too high to rally off these quarterly reports.
"They aren't coming in as I thought they would," someone said to me last night at dinner.
"These earnings are really nothing to write home about," someone emailed me as I was on the way home.
Guy in the hall: "Jim, you are too bullish about earnings."
Wait a second. The earnings are fine! It's the stocks that are bad. That's right, all the stocks with good earnings have had a monster move already, and I have to tell you that I don't even care what they say -- the stocks won't work.
Nokia and Ericsson report better-than-expected quarterly results. EBay's guidance disappoints investors.
By Andrea Tse, TheStreet
Telecommunications company AT&T (T) reported third-quarter earnings that met the estimates of analysts as it added 2.1 million wireless subscribers to pass 100 million.
AT&T earned $3.6 billion, or 61 cents a share. Revenue fell 0.3% to $31.48 billion.
Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected AT&T to earn 61 cents a share on revenue of $31.62 billion. AT&T shares were down 2.3% to $28.40.
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The solid report comes a month after the retailer closed all of its Canadian operations.
Top Stocks provides analysis about the most noteworthy stocks in the market each day, combining some of the best content from around the MSN Money site and the rest of the Web.
Contributors include professional investors and journalists affiliated with MSN Money.
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[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market finished an upbeat week on a mixed note. The S&P 500 added just over a point, holding its weekly gain at 1.0% while the Nasdaq lost 0.4%.
The major averages began the day on an upbeat note, but relinquished their opening gains during the first 90 minutes of action. The early sentiment was boosted by a better-than-expected nonfarm payrolls report for February (175K versus Briefing.com consensus 163K), but a closer look into the report suggested that ... More
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