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Some contrarian plays have paid off, and one has bounced back.

By InvestorPlace Jul 16, 2012 9:32AM

By Tom Taulli

 

Well, at least one area in the financial world has seen growth for the past few years: negative news.

 

Unemployment continues to be bleak. Europe is on the verge of implosion. China is slowing down. So is it any wonder that average Joes have been staying away from the markets?

 

Still, if you check out the mutual fund industry, you can find a few signs of hope. Even amid the markets' volatility, a number of portfolio managers have generated impressive returns. Here's a look at seven funds that have been surprisingly strong performers this year.

 

A report from Wells Fargo reveals a booming mortgage business -- and a U.S. economy in fine shape.

By Jim Cramer Jul 16, 2012 9:22AM

Beginning this week we won't have time -- at least most of us won't -- to do enough work on individual quarterly reports as they happen. The next three weeks will be sheer hell, and I am always amazed when generalists have claimed they've seen more than just the cheat sheet of the reports -- the CliffsNotes, so to speak.

 

But last week was different. If you took the time out to read the report of Wells Fargo (WFC) -- and, believe me, there was time to do it -- you would have been pretty much stunned at how much business it's doing and at how strong the mortgage business is in the U.S.

 

The bank reports better-than-expected earnings, and the pharmaceutical agrees to be acquired by TPG.

By MSN Money Partner Jul 16, 2012 9:03AM

By Michael Baron, TheStreet.com


Citigroup (C):

Citigroup reported second-quarter earnings of $2.95 billion, or 95 cents a share, on revenue of $18.64 billion. The average estimate of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters is for a profit of 89 cents a share on revenue of $18.76 billion. Excluding one-time items, the bank earned $3.08 billion, or $1 per share, in the latest quarter.


"Our core businesses performed well in a difficult environment and are generating solid returns," said Vikram Pandit, Citigroup's CEO, in a press release. "We had strong growth in both loans and deposits, showed resilience in our markets-facing businesses, and saw record revenues in Transaction Services. We reduced Citi Holdings to approximately 10% of our balance sheet while our capital strength and liquidity continue to be among the best in the industry. We remain focused on execution, managing our expenses and our risk, and serving clients as only we can."

 

The cost of derivatives trading gone wrong is at $5.8 billion and counting.

By The Fiscal Times Jul 13, 2012 4:39PM
By Suzanne McGeeThe Fiscal Times

In one of the most anticipated earnings releases and conference calls of the second-quarter earnings season, JPMorgan Chase (JPM) CEO Jamie Dimon offered some fresh insight into the whale-size losses incurred in the bank’s London investment office. Fittingly, the bank set aside a full two hours for the call, to allow Mike Cavanagh, the head of treasury and securities services, to fill everyone in on the investigation that he has been conducting into what went awry.

Anyone looking for reasons to remain faithful to the House of Dimon probably came away with plenty of ammunition in the shape of repeated assurances from Dimon that the trading loss was an aberration, that controls have been strengthened, that the bank’s balance sheet remains a "fortress" and its operations are solid. On the flip side, anyone already concerned about what the risk management failures say about the bank probably didn’t walk away feel significantly more upbeat. 

The Berkshire Hathaway CEO has benefited from a recent rise in the retail giant's stock.

By GuruFocus.com Jul 13, 2012 2:26PM

 Walmart copyright Bloomberg/Getty ImagesFor about ten years, from 2002 to the end of 2011, Wal-mart (WMT) shares went virtually nowhere, remaining in the upper $50 range. In fact, a year ago FPA Capital Adviser's Steven Romick called the company an "infinite duration bond with a rising coupon."


Recently, however, investors have jumped on the Wal-Mart bandwagon. The stock has increased 21% year-to-date, approaching fair value and making Warren Buffett a richer man.

 

The collaboration will help the operator of the world's largest futures market expand its services.

By Trefis Jul 13, 2012 1:59PM
TrefisIn preparation for the regulatory mandate requiring over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives trades to be cleared through central counterparties (CCPs), CME Group (CME) has announced the establishment of a clearing link in collaboration with Bloomberg.

Nondeliverable forward (NDF) trades that are electronically executed on Bloomberg's foreign exchange platform, FXGO, will be cleared through CME's clearing brokers.  
Tags: cmeMSNYX

Don't count on it. Things could get uglier for the world's largest direct seller of beauty products.

By Gene Marcial Jul 13, 2012 1:42PM
You might think that Avon Products (AVP), after falling more than 50% since October 2011, would be an enticing opportunity for bargain-hunters and aggressive contrarians.

Wrong!

Instead, the world's largest direct seller of beauty products could become the next Research In Motion (RIMM). 
Tags: AVPRIMM

After a piddling pullback, stocks surge as the uptrend out of the June low reasserts itself.

By Anthony Mirhaydari Jul 13, 2012 1:09PM

Well, it's about time. After banging on the table for weeks that this was a buying dip and that the recent six-day pullback was merely temporary, given all the evidence of strength (impressive breadth, stable commodity prices, and lack of panic in the options market), the bulls have reengaged.

 

The major averages gapped higher Friday morning on an inline Chinese GDP report, decent JPMorgan (JPM) earnings and the lingering aftereffects of a surge of central bank actions earlier in the week. By all indications, prices are headed even higher. Here's how I'm playing the rise.

 

Stocks are higher as investors' worst fears for JPMorgan and China fail to materialize.

By MSN Money Partner Jul 13, 2012 1:05PM
Information provided by Theflyonthewall.com 

Better-than-expected earnings reports from JPMorgan (JPM), as well as Wells Fargo (WFC), kick-started the second-quarter earnings season, one in which investors were more cautious than they have been in recent years.

JPMorgan took a $4.4 billion second-quarter charge on its London CIO operations and restated its first-quarter results lower based on the losses associated with the "London Whale." The bank's CFO Doug Braunstein pegged the trading loss through Thursday at $5.8 billion, which may have been less than some expected, and the bank said its CIO synthetic credit group has been closed down and all of its London CIO managers have been let go.  
Tags: JPMKGCWFC

Wall Street has no clue about the extent of the banking giant's trading losses.

By Jonathan Berr Jul 13, 2012 12:33PM
Image: Wall Street sign (© Corbis/SuperStock)Shares of JPMorgan Chase (JPM) surged Friday after the largest U.S. bank by assets reported better-than-expected earnings, even as its trading losses mounted.  

People may regret buying into the rally, because no one seems to have a clue about what's really happening at the venerable Wall Street company. 
Tags: JPM

Scripps Networks is upgraded to 'buy' at Goldman, and Panera Bread is initiated with a 'buy' at KeyBanc.

By MSN Money Partner Jul 13, 2012 11:40AM
Information provided by Theflyonthewall.com

Friday's noteworthy upgrades include:  
  • CMS Energy (CMS) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Wells Fargo
  • Cabot Oil & Gas (COG) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at RW Baird
  • Digital Realty (DLR) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Jefferies
 

The cosmetics company hopes to convert more travelers into purchasers.

By Trefis Jul 13, 2012 11:34AM
TrefisImage: Lipstick (© Stockbyte/PictureQuest)Estee Lauder (EL) is gradually expanding its retail presence at domestic airports in key emerging markets, like China and Brazil.

It has succeeded in capitalizing on the growing travel retail market over the past few quarters and currently sells its prestige beauty products through more than 1,000 airport outlets. This channel has performed particularly well within Europe, Asia-Pacific, the Middle East and Africa, generating double-digit net sales growth in fiscal 2011. 
Tags: EL

These picks meet the long-term value strategy of the legendary fund manager John Neff.

By TheStockAdvisors Jul 13, 2012 10:59AM

By John Reese, Validea

 

Over John Neff's 31-year tenure (1964-1995), the Windsor Fund averaged a 13.7% annual return -- a track record among the greatest ever for a mutual fund manager.

 

By focusing on beaten down, unloved stocks, he was able to find value in places that most investors overlooked. Here's a look at our 10 stock portfolio that is based on Neff's strategy.

 

The airplane manufacturer walks away with a $14.7B order from UAL.

By Benzinga Jul 13, 2012 10:49AM

By Brett Callwood

 

Aerospace company Boeing (BA) is being hailed the overall winner at the Farnborough Airshow in the UK comes to an end.

 

According to Reuters, neither Boeing nor Airbus received the amount of orders they would have wanted, but both companies are claiming their own victories.

 

Supervalu reminds us that a high yield can be a red flag for a flailing stock.

By Jim Cramer Jul 13, 2012 10:27AM

Nothing makes me happier in investing than getting a terrific dividend from a company. And with good reason. Time and again we have seen outsized dividends hold off sellers and stop declines. We have seen the power of reinvesting dividends to compound gains. And we know dividends have provided about half the return investors have gotten in the past decade, a dismal decade for investing. If you pick stocks with good dividends, you are on the right track to successful investing.

 

Ah, but here's the catch. It's the phrase "good dividends," because we have found that not all dividends are created equal.

 

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[BRIEFING.COM] The headlines generally favored Tuesday being another good day for the stock market.  Instead, it was just a mixed day with modest point changes on either side of the unchanged mark for the major indices.

For the most part, the stock market was a sideshow.  The main trading events were seen in the commodity and Treasury markets, both of which saw some decent-sized losses within their respective complex.

Dollar strength was at the heart of the weakness in ... More


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