How long can the S&P 500 keep 2,000?
How long can the S&P keep 2,000?

The Federal Reserve and Congressional politics threaten to rain on the market party.

VIDEO ON MSN MONEY

Once again, rumors are circulating that Microsoft could be a buyer. Haven't we heard this a few times by now?

By Benzinga Oct 20, 2011 2:07PM

By Jonathan Chen, Benzinga Staff Writer


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.

By TheStockAdvisors Oct 20, 2011 12:54PM
By Ian Wyatt, Top Stock Insights

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. 

From metals to SE Asia, these ETFs have found big success

By InvestorPlace Oct 20, 2011 11:38AM
By Jeff Reeves, Editor, InvestorPlace.com

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 TheStreet Staff Oct 20, 2011 11:36AM

By Don Dion, TheStreetTheStreet


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 TheStreet Staff Oct 20, 2011 11:21AM

the streetBy 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 MoneyShow.com Oct 20, 2011 11:20AM

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.

By MoneyShow.com Oct 20, 2011 9:58AM

Below, MoneyShow.com's Kate Stalter interviews Christine Benz of Morningstar on the best funds to buy now.


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.

By TheStockAdvisors Oct 20, 2011 9:50AM
By Geoffrey Seiler, BullMarket.com

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. 
Tags: AAPL

Shares are priced too high to rally off these quarterly reports.

By TheStreet Staff Oct 20, 2011 9:18AM

the streetThe rumbles are in. I am getting them from all over the place: It is a bad earnings season.

 

"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 TheStreet Staff Oct 20, 2011 8:14AM

TheStreetBy 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.

 

Are we headed for another depression?

By Benzinga Oct 19, 2011 5:22PM

By Jonathan Chen, Benzinga Staff Writer


Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold (FCX) beat analyst estimates Wednesday in its third-quarter earnings report, but copper was trading down more than 2%.


What does that say about the health of copper, and in turn, the global economy?


The Phoenix, Ariz.-based company reported earnings of $1.10 per share on $5.2 billion in revenue. Wall Street had expected earnings of $1.02 to $1.05 per share on $4.8 billion in revenue, so Freeport handily beat estimates.

 

"When is the last time everyone predicted a recession in advance?" The short answer is: never.

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day Oct 19, 2011 2:48PM

By Morgan Housel

 

The headline was too much to resist: "Analyst says stocks may fall another 50%."

 

I go to great lengths to avoid these prognostications, but I couldn't help myself. I clicked. It was a video of a well-dressed stock picker, ready to predict the future with unflappable conviction.

 

We haven't seen anything yet, he warned. The coming months will shower the economy with destruction on par with the Great Depression. Stocks will fall another 50%.

 

Who was this man? I hadn't a clue. It didn't matter. He seemed to know the future. What if he were right?

 

Sales are down for 3 years in a row, while alcoholic spirits are seeing renewed interest.

By Kim Peterson Oct 19, 2011 2:41PM
The beer industry is in a slump. Sales will likely drop this year for third year in a row.

And now the industry is in a bit of a panic. One reason? The old ways of doing business just don't cut it anymore. Jokey Super Bowl commercials don't resonate like they used to. Weak, watery beer is falling out of favor.

Consumer attention has especially turned to alcoholic spirits lately. Spirit volume sales rose 3.2% for the year ended in mid-September, Ad Age reports. Beer sales fell 1.5%. How can beer compete when Captain Morgan, Johnnie Walker and Skinnygirl cocktails have all the momentum? 

Launching the iPhone 4S in October cut into quarterly sales but also allowed the company to raise guidance for the current quarter.

By Jim J. Jubak Oct 19, 2011 1:31PM
Serves Apple (AAPL) right for selling 4 million iPhone 4S handsets last weekend.

After the market closed Tuesday, Apple announced that anticipation for the new phone cut into sales for the fiscal quarter ended in September and held the company to a 54% gain in earnings.

That kept earnings per share to just $7.05, well below the $7.38 Wall Street had expected (but up from the $4.64 a share reported in the fiscal fourth quarter of 2010). Revenue climbed 39% to $28.3 billion. Wall Street projections had called for revenue of $29.7 billion.
 
Tags: AAPL

Management reportedly cancels a meeting wtih an activist investor in a stunning move that smacks of arrogance.

By Benzinga Oct 19, 2011 1:12PM

By Jonathan Chen, Benzinga


Research In Motion (RIMM) has been called the headless horseman before.


Now it appears that management has gone to a new level of cluelessness, reportedly canceling a meeting between an activist investor and two board members.


Company lawyers nixed the meeting that Jaguar Financial had scheduled with two of RIM's independent directors, according to reports. Jaguar was supposedly going to talk about corporate governance. It appears to be a safe bet that RIM's co-chief executives, Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie, had something to do with the cancellation.

 

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[BRIEFING.COM] Equity indices ended the Tuesday session on an upbeat note with small-cap stocks pacing the advance. The Russell 2000 jumped 0.9%, while the S&P 500 posted a slim gain of 0.1% with seven sectors ending higher.

In some ways, today's session resembled yesterday's affair as the key indices climbed out of the gate, reached their highs during the first half of action, and spent the remainder of the session in a slow retreat from their best levels of the day. Trading volume ... More


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