Gold bars & granules © Heinz-Peter Bader/Reuters
Americans prefer gold, real estate

As the market wades through what many people hope is a sixth bull year, some have grown nervous about how long the run can go.


The billionaire investor has remained steadfast in his optimistic outlook.

By TheStreet Staff Jul 22, 2011 12:13PM

Image: Looking Up (© Stockbyte/SuperStock)By Don Dion, TheStreet


Maintaining a bullish outlook on the markets over the past few years has been difficult. With talk of double dips and stall-outs cropping up at every sign of weakness, even the most optimistic individuals can begin to question their views and the strength of the worldwide economic recovery.


Despite these bouts of often deafening uncertainty and resounding negative sentiment, it is impossible to deny the market strength we have seen since the U.S. financial crisis and global market meltdown. Now all three major U.S. indexes are within range of pre-crisis levels. The Nasdaq ($COMPX), in fact, has recovered all of the ground lost during the period and is currently sitting at 2007 levels.


One individual who has managed to hold strong during periods of both optimism and doubt has been the Oracle of Omaha, Warren Buffett. On numerous occasions, the billionaire investor has taken doubters to task, presenting a consistently optimistic outlook on the recovery, especially that of the United States.

Tags: etf

Steve Jobs and company are sitting on more than $76 billion in cash. A streaming video catalog would bolster their gadget offerings -- and pose a challenge to Netflix. With video.

By InvestorPlace Jul 22, 2011 11:15AM

By Jeff Reeves, Editor,

Apple Inc. (AAPL) has made a habit of posting stunning profits, then hoarding its cash, quarter after quarter. Apple earnings this week stuck to the playbook, with profit more than tripling to $7.31 billion and helping push the tech giant's war chest up to a stunning $76.2 billion in cash and equivalents.

But what good are those profits if Apple doesn't put them to use? Many investors have been wondering for a while just what Steve Jobs and company plan to do with all that cash, and this week, a rumor emerged that might provide an answer.

Apple might buy online TV programming powerhouse Hulu.


As prices of the yellow metal continue to test new highs, investors should consider other hard assets to diversify their holdings.

By InvestorPlace Jul 22, 2011 9:28AM

By Jeff Reeves, editor

Gold prices just won't quit. The precious metal rolled back a bit in May but has come roaring back, with prices up about 8% in three weeks to top $1,600 an ounce. And in the long term, gold has seen even more dramatic gains -- up about 50% in the past year and a half, compared with a price of about $1,080 in late January 2010.


The company is a cash machine. I bet it bottoms and starts going right back up.

By Jim Cramer Jul 22, 2011 9:08AM

jim cramerthe streetIf the pattern holds up, you should buy PepsiCo (PEP) right here. What's the pattern? One of forgiveness, where people rethink their negativity, come back in and buy.


For example, people were upset with United Technology's (UTX) quarter, squabbling over the loss of aircraft engine orders, bemoaning the results of Pratt & Whitney. By Thursday, the stock was flying as people realized there wasn't really anything all that wrong and it could be a one-time bummer.


Or take the stock of Goldman Sachs (GS), a company that disappointed investors and was decidedly downbeat about the future. Now the stock is up big and doesn't seem like it's going to quit -- good call by Doug Kass the other day to buy the ugliness.


Too much selling can reverse course with one positive earnings report.

By Jamie Dlugosch Jul 21, 2011 6:59PM

Occasionally the market gets it wrong. When a company reports results that are contrarian to conventional wisdom of investors, big profits can follow.


The entire financial sector has been weak for most of 2011. Banks, Wall Street firms and regional brokerage firms have been pummeled by aggressive selling. On the surface the action was very much a broad brush and may make bank stocks stupid cheap.


As such traders digging a bit deeper could exploit valuation discrepancies compared to reality. The key to success of any earnings trade is to identify a company that is likely to surprise those betting against a certain outcome.


If actual results surprise, shorts will cover and previous sellers are likely to return as buyers sending share prices higher. The key is to accurately predict results based on prior performance with a good idea of what will drive a particular company’s shares higher.


Case in point is Piper Jaffray Companies (PJC)


A miss on both ends of the income statement shears shares by 34%.

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day Jul 21, 2011 4:17PM

By Rick Aristotle Munarriz


Travel deals publisher and Groupon coattails hopper Travelzoo (TZOO) was fed to the lions today after a shocking quarterly miss.


This morning's report would seem to be spectacular if you didn't know what the expectations were. Revenue climbed 34% to $37.6 million, the company's headiest growth in four years. Despite investing to expand into 27 new local deal markets and testing its first ever television spot, net margins improved with earnings soaring 51% to $4.9 billion -- or $0.30 a share.


However, the shares opened 30% lower today because Wall Street was banking on a profit of $0.38 a share on $39.9 million in revenue.


Missing on one end of the income statement is painful, but missing on both ends is an unforgivable mistake.


Stay away from shares of Bank of America for now, but if the stock price drops further a buying opportunity may arise.

By Jim J. Jubak Jul 21, 2011 1:42PM
Jim JubakIt’s official: Citigroup (C) is no longer the most troubled big U.S. bank.

That honor now goes, hands down, to Bank of America (BAC).

Tuesday morning, the bank posted the largest quarterly loss in its history, thanks to a nasty combination of problems. Revenue continued to slide, and losses from defective mortgages continued to climb.

Revenue, including mortgage costs, plummeted to $13.5 billion -- a 50.2% drop from the second quarter of 2010. Even excluding those mortgage costs, revenue still fell by 10% from the second quarter of 2010, and declined 2.2% from the first quarter of 2011.

Earnings for the second quarter, including these mortgage-related charges, came to a loss of 90 cents a share.

Express Scripts' acquisition reflects strong investing opportunities in the sector.

By TheStreet Staff Jul 21, 2011 1:25PM

Image: Pills (© Sean Justice/Corbis)By Jake Lynch, TheStreet


Express Scripts' (ESRX) plan to acquire rival Medco Health (MHS) is drawing attention to health care as investors look for growth opportunities in 2011's hot sector.


Health care is the best-performing industry group of the 10 majors in the S&P 500 ($INX) this year, with its 46 components delivering a median gain of 13%. Top performers include Biogen Idec (BIIB), Intuitive Surgical (ISRG) and Humana (HUM).


Thursday's deal may make Express Scripts the largest pharmacy benefits manager in the U.S., controlling 30% of the market. CVS Caremark (CVS) would be the odd man out, in second place for market share.


The recent lack of participation by retail investors in US equities is a contrarian signal to buy, a strategist says.

By TheStreet Staff Jul 21, 2011 1:11PM

Image: Bull market (© Adam Gault/OJO Images/Getty Images)By Robert Holmes, TheStreet


Retail investors are turning more bearish on U.S. equities, according to the latest data on sentiment and mutual fund flows, but one market strategist says it is time to be greedy now that others are fearful.


Investor sentiment worsened last week, according to a survey by the American Association of Individual Investors. The AAII Investor Sentiment Survey, which measures the percentage of individual investors who are bullish, bearish and neutral on the stock market for the next six months, showed that bearish sentiment rose 1.4% in the week ended July 20. That compares with a 0.5% rise in bullish sentiment and 1.9% decline in neutral sentiment.


Mutual fund flow data also show retail investors are steering clear of U.S. equities. The Investment Company Institute estimates that equity funds saw total outflows of $3.4 billion in the week ended July 13. Foreign equity funds saw an estimated increase of $648 million, while domestic equity funds saw more than $4 billion drain out over the week.


The investment bank's efforts to revamp its fixed-income business might be paying off. With video on Morgan Stanley's second-quarter results.

By TheStreet Staff Jul 21, 2011 11:39AM

By Shanthi Bharatwaj, TheStreet


Morgan Stanley’s (MS)fixed-income trading revenue in the second quarter not only showed the much-anticipated sign of improvement but delivered a sound thrashing to rival Goldman Sachs (GS).


The investment bank's revenue from trading turned out to be much better than anticipated at $5.2 billion. Fixed-income trading revenue fell 10% year on year to $ 2.1 billion but was up 18% quarter on quarter. The higher revenues reflected hedging gains from exposure to monoline bond insurers and increased revenue in credit products that offset significantly lower results in commodities.


Equity trading revenue came in at $1.8 billion, up 9% quarter on quarter, despite lower trading volume, and up 31% year on year.


But a look at the charts shows one carrier's stock is bucking the trend and acting strong.

By Jul 21, 2011 11:30AM
By Tom Aspray,

Over the past few weeks, I have been closely watching the Dow Jones Transports, as this was the only major average that made new yearly highs in early July. Since the March 2009 lows, the Transports have outperformed the S&P by 60%.

The week ending July 7, the Transports made a new high at 5627.85, but closed the week near the opening level at 5548. On the weekly candlestick chart (see below), this price action forms a “doji,” which is a sign of indecision. A higher close this week (i.e. above 5342) is needed to avoid further loss of upside momentum.

In looking at the industry groups in the Transports, the airline stocks are clearly the weak link, while the railroads are acting the strongest. This should not be too surprising, as typically, when crude oil prices are high, shipping via rail becomes more cost effective, while airline profits tend to suffer.

AMR Corp. (AMR), the parent company of American Airlines, has been in the news this week because of its plans to upgrade its fleet of planes by purchasing more fuel-efficient and quieter planes. It has been a rough few years for AMR, as the company has racked up some serious losses and is no longer the largest US air carrier.

Though the majority of domestic and global airline stocks also look negative, from a technical standpoint, there is one that is bucking the trend.

These funds rely on a buy-and-hold strategy in the often volatile agricultural sector.

By TheStreet Staff Jul 21, 2011 11:24AM

the streetImage: Corn field (© Bob Rashid/Brand X/Corbis)By Don Dion, TheStreet


The agricultural industry started off this year on a strong note and continues to generate headlines regularly.


However, increasingly, this corner has become a choppy region of the market. With the divergence in crop prices, the full-steam-ahead mentality that defined much of the opening half of the year has begun to fall by the wayside.


Bullish agriculture investors will want to maintain a conservative stance on this industry in order to avoid being taken to the slaughterhouse. Clear evidence of the shaky action in the food industry can be found in "soft" commodities, such as coffee, sugar and cotton.


Ma Bell's mobile business grew by 331,000 customers, while wired connections fell by more than a million.

By TheStreet Staff Jul 21, 2011 10:41AM

By Scott Moritz, TheStreet


AT&T (T) reported growth in wireless, thanks to the Apple (AAPL) iPhone and to tablet sales, but slow video gains and continued declines in wired connections dragged down results.


The Dallas phone giant reported a profit Thursday of 60 cents a share, down a penny from year-ago earnings and in line with analysts' estimates.


In terms of sales for the second quarter, Ma Bell booked $31.5 billion in sales, up 2% from the $30.8 billion level a year ago, and slightly above the $31.3 billion analysts were looking for.


Technology trends will force these companies to change or crumble.

By InvestorPlace Jul 21, 2011 10:22AM
Image: PDA with stylus (© Tetra Images/Corbis)By Anthony John Agnello, consumer and technology writer

In the past it was hard to keep up. Now it's downright impossible. Companies like Hewlett-Packard-owned (HPQ), Palm, Yahoo (YHOO) and Blockbuster were all huge just 10 years ago. They still looked like the future. Now they're slowly crumbling, trying to keep up with the likes of Apple (AAPL) and its iPhone, Google (GOOG) and its ever-tightening grip on the Web, and the ubiquity of Netflix's (NFLX) streaming video.

The road to obsolescence is shorter than ever. Investors, analysts and reporters are turning on hot companies shortly after or even before their lusted-after IPOs are delivered. Look at the backlash against daily-deals business Groupon or floundering streaming-music service Pandora (P).

Who will be obsolete by the middle of this decade? Consider these three stocks:


Analysis: The deadlock in Washington has gotten so bad that the nation's central bank is getting ready for what might happen after Uncle Sam bounces his checks.

By InvestorPlace Jul 21, 2011 9:52AM

By Jeff Reeves, Editor,

Reports emerged last night that the Federal Reserve is actively preparing for a government debt default. With negotiations over the debt ceiling still going nowhere, it's clear that Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and his fellow central bankers don't want to be caught without a plan.

There are just 12 days to go until the Aug. 2 deadline set by the Treasury, when the government will run out of money and stop paying some bills. And, barring a last-minute compromise, the U.S. will face at least a credit downgrade and at worst the label of outright default on its debts.

Yes, it has gotten this bad. And the Fed is preparing for the worst.



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[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market finished the Wednesday session on a modestly lower note, but it is worth mentioning today's retreat took place after six consecutive gains. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (-0.1%) and S&P 500 (-0.2%) settled not far below their flat lines, while the Nasdaq Composite (-0.8%) lagged throughout the session.

Equity indices started the day in the red, with the Nasdaq showing early weakness as large cap tech names and biotechnology weighed. The technology ... More


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