Stocks are hot again, but as in 2000, not all of them are reaping the benefits.
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Will Verizon match the big subsidies that AT&T pays Apple to carry the iPhone? We'll see.
Verizon Communications (VZ) and Apple (AAPL) will hold a press conference Tuesday to announce, everybody on Earth and the inner planets believes, that Verizon will start selling the iPhone in February.
If not, either Apple will see its huge margins on the iPhone -- estimated by some Wall Street analysts at 60% -- reduced, or Verizon will wind up selling the iPhone at a price that makes it much less competitive with phones based on Google's (GOOG) Android operating system.
At the very least, Energy Transfer Partners is a rewarding dividend play. Future growth, however, is unclear.
The total return (that's dividend plus price appreciation) has been even more satisfying at 23.2% for 2010 after an absolutely stellar 42.7% in 2009.
But now I think the partnership is near a crossroads.
Apple, Google and SuperMedia could benefit from the growth of Facebook and other social-networking websites.
By Robert Pedone, Stockpickr
Goldman sees a big opportunity to capture a piece of the booming social-media market. And when Goldman sees an opportunity, it doesn't mess around -- it goes after the best.
Facebook is the leading social-networking site, with over 500 million active users, and it overtook Google as the most-visited site in 2010. The cash infusion from Goldman will allow Facebook to step up its acquisitions and attract the top talent its needs to expand into new markets.
Here are six stocks that could benefit from demand for social networking:
The electric car won't be a huge seller, but it's exactly the kind of vehicle GM wants to be known for.
That's a big honor for an electric car that most Americans can't even find at a dealership. And a car that won't have much of an impact on General Motors' (GM) bottom line. In fact, it's a drain on profits.
But the Volt is hugely important to GM -- central to the comeback the automaker has been engineering since it went bankrupt in 2009. It won't be a huge seller, but the Volt says everything about the kind of company GM wants to be.
One is a leader in centralized storage, while the other is a top play in mobile processors.
If, unlike Warren Buffett, you're excited about tech stocks, you need to follow my Foolish friend Eric Bleeker. Not only has he been covering the industry for years, but he was also voted "Most likely to utter a geeky phrase" by his colleagues.
Rex Moore, Motley Fool Top Stocks editor
Today I'm going to put some cash in my Bits Portfolio to work in two of the more no-brainer themes for the year in a "Trends for 2011 Basket."
In fact, they're both leaders in their respective fields. I believe each company is poised for continuing gains in 2011 that should surpass already lofty expectations.
Here are the two companies I'm buying:
The highly anticipated launch of Apple's flagship smart phone on Verizon's network could mean doom for other carriers.
By Anthony John Agnello, InvestorPlace.com
It's official. Well, nearly official. After more than a year of rumors, Apple Inc. (AAPL) and Verizon Wireless (VZ) are all but certain to announce an iPhone exclusive to Verizon's service tomorrow. And according to leaks, the Verizon iPhone's rumored launch will be in February.
The new iPhone will be very similar in design to the AT&T (T) model, the iPhone 4, which has proved massively popular since its June 2010 release. The only major difference is that the smart phone has been tweaked to meet the standard of Verizon's 3G network.
But although AT&T and Verizon iPhones are nearly identical, there are three distinct reasons VZ will win the iPhone carrier wars after the phone's inevitable release:
High overhead and struggling local governments fuel a wave of mergers, paring down an industry with too many players.
Duke Energy's(DUK) merger with Progress Energy (PGN) doesn't usher in a new wave of utility deals as much as it verifies that the takeover wave, which has included FirstEnergy (FE), Nicor (GAS) and Northeast Utilities (NU) deals, continues unabated.
We have long been a nation with too many utilities and too many banks, a legacy of legislation in the 1930s that railed against consolidation in both industries.
But just as we saw the crisis in banking leading to the collapse of such cares -- giving us Bank of America(BAC), Wells Fargo (WFC) and JPMorgan (JPM), which will create gigantic earnings power because of that consolidation -- we are seeing the merging of utilities to deal with flailing state governments and the high cost of people who can't be justified in an era of high-tech power generation.
Rising food prices have propelled funds that hold agriculture-related stocks.
By Don Dion, TheStreet
Here are five ETFs to watch this week.
Food prices have surged in recent months, returning to record levels last seen in 2008. This rally has helped power agriculture-related equities such as those underlying MOO to strong gains.
Improving economic conditions in the developed world and rampant economic growth across emerging economies look likely to prolong this current food rally. MOO is a fund to keep on the radar.
Founder and longtime leader Hugh Hefner offers a premium on the stock to take it off the market.
By Jeff Reeves, Editor of InvestorPlace.com
Playboy Enterprises (PLA) has agreed to a $207 million buyout by a group led by founder Hugh Hefner. That means Playboy will no longer be a publicly traded stock and will no longer have to air as much of its dirty laundry for the rest of the world to see.
If Hefner's move had failed the bunny brand, it could have fallen into the hands of a Playboy rival, the company that owns and operates Penthouse magazine.
Here are the details:
Large stocks left other sectors in the dust last week. Look for the reverse next week.
The market is off and running in 2011. Traders came back to a market that had enjoyed its best December in two decades uncertain whether to sell stocks short or push the market higher.
Aside from the largest names in the market stocks struggled during the first week of trading. Momentum names gave back gains and the inflation trade took a breather on the strength of the dollar gaining during the first week of the New Year.
The S&P 500 managed to gain 1%, but other indexes were negative.
Look for a reversal in week two. Momentum names and inflation plays will be where the action is next week.
My recommendation would be to jump all over the IShares Russell 2000 (IWM) ETF this week.
Reasons why we like Best Buy
- Competition from other electronic retail providers has been reduced to the point where Best Buy has become the remaining "go-to" store in its sector by default
- Today's announcement of their electronic charging station partnership with Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) may prove far more lucrative long term than present valuation suggests
- An improving economy will benefit Best Buy
Here are some ETFs that investors can get into to get exposure to alternative energy.
By Don Dion, TheStreet
Warren Buffett's recent investment in the wind energy industry has taken center stage and stolen headlines. Using ETFs, investors can follow Buffett's lead and gain exposure to companies which work to harness and profit from the power of wind.
Energy is not a new venture for Buffett. On the contrary, through a number of his investments and subsidiaries, Warren Buffett has expanded his investment reach into various corners of the energy industry. Boasting exposure to companies including Exxon Mobil (XOM), ConocoPhillips (COP) and Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad, the famous investor has for years held direct and indirect exposure to various traditional fuel sources, including oil and coal.
The alternative energy industry is not excluded from Buffett's portfolio, either. Well known components of the Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) portfolio, including General Electric (GE) and BYD have been major players in the growth of clean tech and energy industries such as wind, solar, and battery power in recent years
Big revenue and profit generators go hand in hand, but does that mean stocks of companies with big brands are moneymakers for investors?
By James Dlugosch, Stockpickr
These companies have some of the most recognizable brands in the market, allowing them to generate big profits. The two go hand in hand, but does that mean stocks of companies with big brands are moneymakers for investors?
Making money for a company and making money for an investor are two different things. If the stock of a company with a well-known brand has already been fully priced, buying that investment today may not be such a smart thing.
Then again, if the stock of a big-brand company lags the market and is not priced at fair value, investors may want to consider that stock for their portfolio. Let’s take a look at some of these names to see if their stocks are as big as their brands
Companies stopped buying trucks as the recession lingered, but expect orders to rebound with the economy.
Shares haven't moved lower like this since August.
Share prices were dropping hard Friday, and the evidence suggests this is just the beginning. The catalysts were a disappointing December jobs report, ongoing woes in the eurozone and a decision by the Massachusetts Supreme Court against Wells Fargo (WFC) and US Bancorp (USB) concerning treatment of mortgage securitization by the banks.
This has revived concerns that banks will face increased losses from mortgage "put backs" from investors. It also called into question the banks' ability to foreclose on mortgages that have been securitized.
As a result, small-cap stocks are struggling, the dollar is moving higher and commodity prices are sliding. What's worse, there is evidence that this is just that start of a protracted decline as we enter a period of seasonal weakness. If true, it would mean the bull market faces a few weeks of losses before the long-term uptrend can resume.
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For years, Todd Mills pushed Frito-Lay to make taco shells from Doritos. He died from a brain tumor on Thanksgiving.
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