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The year has started off well, but some sectors and strategies have the potential to pay off even better in coming weeks.

By MoneyShow.com Jan 7, 2012 1:40AM

By Tom Aspray, MoneyShow.com


The first week of the New Year has certainly been a good one for the stock market, as the S&P 500 finished the week up 1.3% and the Dow Industrials gained 1.1%. This was in contrast to the 3.4% gain in the Nasdaq-100.


There was little in the way of bad news from the eurozone (for a change), though yields on many of the euro bonds are still at dangerously high levels. Upcoming bond auctions in euro land will be watched closely.

 

Major oil producers saw output reduced because of the natural decline in production fields, asset sales and political issues.

By Trefis Jan 6, 2012 6:14PM
Image: Oil derricks (© Comstock/Corbis)Overall, 2011 was a strong year for the oil industry, with almost all companies showing revenue and profit growth as a result of high crude prices.

Brent prices remained above the $100 per barrel mark for most of the year, driven by an improved economic outlook in the first half of the year and supply concerns in the second half. The year also saw the announcement that ConocoPhillips (COP) would divest its downstream business and focus on upstream exploration and production and unconventional resources such as shale. 
Tags: bpCOPCVX

Gold miner has production volume, growth projects and seasonal factors in its favor.

By TheStockAdvisors Jan 6, 2012 6:10PM
Image: Gold (© Comstock Images/Jupiterimages)This post is one in a series in which over 50 newsletter advisors share their Top Picks for 2012.

By Curtis Hesler, The Professional Timing Service

There was a study done in the 1970’s that revealed that gold stocks tended to bottom in the fourth quarter and rally strongly into the end of the first quarter of the next year. Thus, looking for seasonal bargains in the gold sector makes sense, especially now. 
Tags: goldIAG

After enjoying months of cheaper fuel, Americans will soon experience more pain at the pump because of oil speculation and market manipulation.

By Anthony Mirhaydari Jan 6, 2012 5:19PM

Image: Gas station © Purestock/Purestock/Getty ImagesThere have been a lot of "funny" things happening in the market over the past two months. I chalk it up to a combination of end-of-year seasonality and a desire by the powers that be to keep the market together long enough to exit ahead of the fall. Something similar happened in 2008 before the most acute phase of the bear market got started.

 

Wall Street has apparently been using large-cap energy stocks Exxon Mobil (XOM) and Chevron (CVX) to hold the Dow Jones industrial Average aloft, ostensibly to keep retail investors placated so the heavy hitters can create the little upward flurries they need to exit their position. (This has to do with the fact the Dow is a price-weighted index that can be pushed around by the most expensive stocks.)

 

Pause a moment before you start building an investment strategy based on fourth-quarter reports.

By Jim J. Jubak Jan 6, 2012 4:27PM
Image: Arrows (© Image Source Black/Getty)Fourth-quarter earnings season kicks off Monday with Alcoa (AA) reporting after the close.

This earnings season promises to be wild and very hard to interpret.

Let me start with the narrow Alcoa story and then expand to look at the earnings season as a whole.
 
Tags: AAaig

The storage market is rapidly changing in the age of big data and cloud computing.

By Trefis Jan 6, 2012 3:57PM
EMC (EMC) is the global leader in the disk storage system market as well as the storage software market. However, the stock has fallen from highs of around $30 during the middle of 2011 to trade Friday at $22.

Even NetApp (NTAP), EMC's only major pureplay storage competitor, saw its stock tumble in the second half of 2011 largely due to concerns of lower government and enterprise spending as the macroeconomic condition deteriorated in the U.S. and Europe. 
Tags: EMCHPQibm

The biggest letdown is still under the hood.

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day Jan 6, 2012 3:12PM

Image: Los Angeles, Calif., traffic on Interstate 405 © VisionsofAmerica/Joe Sohm/Digital Vision/Getty ImagesBy Alex Planes

 

Electric cars started 2011 with a lot of hype and ended the year with a big face-plant. Combined sales for the plug-in electric movement's marquee names, General Motors' (GM) Chevy Volt and the Nissan Leaf, clocked in at fewer than 20,000 units. IDC Energy Insights predicted that half a million plug-ins would sell in 2011, which now seems downright silly.

 

Don't worry, IDC. You're far from the first to get burned by your love of the electric car.

 

Sabrient Systems has a strong track record, which is why its annual 'Baker's Dozen' list is getting attention.

By Kim Peterson Jan 6, 2012 2:18PM
Image: Arrow Up (© Nicholas Monu/iStock Exclusive/Getty Images)Sure, it's fine to pick stocks using philosophical models and what-would-Buffett-do theories, but you know how Wall Street does it? With computers and algorithms. Data mining. Statistical arbitrage.

Stuff you and I could never fathom.

So when one of the more respected quantitative investment shops releases its stock picks, people pay attention. And when that investment shop becomes known for beating the market year after year with those picks -- well, a lot of people pay attention. 

Technical methods identified the strongest and weakest sectors last year, and now they predict the best buying opportunities ahead.

By MoneyShow.com Jan 6, 2012 1:58PM

Image: Stock index © Image Source/Getty ImagesBy Tom Aspray, MoneyShow.com


The sector performance in 2011 further illustrates the year’s volatility. Many sectors had a few strong quarters, but the yearly performance numbers do not reflect the wide price swings.


Since the S&P 500 and its tracking exchange-traded fund (ETF) Spyder Trust (SPY) were essentially flat for the year, all the other Select Sector SPDR ETFs, except for Financials (XLF), Materials (XLB), and Industrials (XLI), performed better.

 

Treatments for myelofibrosis and arthritis could make biotech a takeover target for Big Pharma.

By TheStockAdvisors Jan 6, 2012 1:56PM
Image: Pills (© Digital Vision Ltd./SuperStock/SuperStock)This post is one in a series in which over 50 newsletter advisors share their Top Picks for 2012.

By John McCamant, The Medical technology Stock Letter

Incyte (INCY) is our top stock selection for 2012.  The Delaware company is a leader in developing small molecule drugs for cancer and inflammation.   
Tags: INCY

Housing plays are rising, including the venerable paint supplier and a faucet maker backed by a top hedge fund manager.

By MoneyShow.com Jan 6, 2012 1:28PM

Image: Woman Using a Spirit Level on a Sink in a Domestic Bathroom (© Alex Wilson/Digital Vision/Getty Images)By Igor Greenwald, MoneyShow.com


Stocks go up, stocks go down, and most of the time it means nothing at all. Much of the trading these days is done by computers scalping pennies over microseconds, and if the past year proved anything at all, it's that most of the apparent patterns generated by the hyperactive machines can't be trusted.


One day a stock is a breakout candidate, and then suddenly it's trashed. Just as the charts look like a lost cause, the market rockets higher.

 

Here's why shareholders are still unlikely to get any of the company's ever-mounting cash hoard.

By InvestorPlace Jan 6, 2012 12:48PM
By Kevin Kelleher, Technology and Markets Contributor

Apple investors should be some of the happiest shareholders on Wall Street. And for the most part, they are. But when it comes to the question of dividends, the gratitude vanishes.


Year after year, Apple (AAPL) investors ask about a dividend. Year after year, Apple declines to offer one, rewarding shareholders instead with handsome returns in its stock value. Apple returned investors more than 25% in 2011, a year when the rest of the market basically flat-lined.

 

Good earnings, Calvin Klein expansion and short interest could spur a rally.

By TheStockAdvisors Jan 6, 2012 12:38PM
Image: Young woman clothes shopping (© Image Source/Getty Images)This post is one in a series in which over 50 newsletter advisors share their Top Picks for 2012.

By Todd Salamone, Schaeffer's Investment Research

In early December, G-III Apparel Group (GIII) reported quarterly earnings of $2.16 per share as year-over-year revenues rose 13.3%.  
Tags: GIII

The company plans to more than double its number of outlets over next 20 years. Baskin Robbins expands in Asia.

By The Fiscal Times Jan 6, 2012 12:36PM

DonutsBy Suzanne McGee, The Fiscal Times

 

Coffee addicts and policemen in quest of a donut fix in the Northeast are familiar with Dunkin' Donuts because that's where most of the chain's 7,000 U.S. outlets are.

Now, six months after its IPO, parent company Dunkin’ Brands Group (DNKN) has announced plans for a vast, long-term expansion. The company will more than double its number of locations over the next two decades, taking it into regions of the country where it isn’t currently a force. That will mean going head to head with Starbucks (SBUX), of course, but that doesn’t seem to deter Dunkin’ Brands’ management team. After all, fans of its coffee and donuts in Seattle -- Starbuck's backyard -- took to Twitter on Thursday to plead with Dunkin’ Donuts to open up shop in the Emerald City. (The last outlet was shuttered a decade ago.) As one Tweeter put it, "Seattle is waiting for their Dunkin' Donuts. WHERE ARE THEY?" 

Traveleres and JC Penney are upgraded to 'outperform,' while Kohl's and Nordstrom are cut to 'hold.'

By MSN Money Partner Jan 6, 2012 12:18PM
Information provided by Theflyonthewall.com

Friday's noteworthy upgrades include:
  • Travelers (TRV) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Wells Fargo
  • TD Ameritrade (AMTD) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank
  • Cerner (CERN) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank
  • SanDisk (SNDK) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Sterne Agee
  • J.C. Penney (JCP) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Macquarie
  • SunTrust (STI) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Macquarie and to Outperform from Perform at Oppenheimer
 

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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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