Apple is a market darling again
Apple is a market darling again

The company, which reports its quarterly earnings Tuesday, has once again become an investor favorite.


If you're looking for a contrarian bet, these shares might become too cheap to resist.

By TheStreet Staff Aug 19, 2011 11:18AM

Image: Home under construction (© Corbis)By Chris Stuart, TheStreetTheStreet


No one is buying homes, never mind homebuilder stocks. Companies such as Pulte (PHM), DR Horton (DHI) and Lennar (LEN) may even be the most contrarian investment today.


The outlook for the housing market, as reported by the mass media, is not good. In case you've missed them, here are a few of the headlines from over the past several weeks:


 "No recovery in sight for US housing market"


"July real-estate market fell short of expectations"


"Housing data show sector is still weak"


The stock plummets more than 20% as the company also announces a major strategic overhaul.

By TheStreet Staff Aug 19, 2011 10:14AM
the street

By James Rogers, TheStreet


Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), desperate to boost its margins, unveiled a major corporate and strategic overhaul Thursday, which will involve ditching its WebOS devices and potentially spinning off its PC business.


HP turned on a firehouse of announcements, reporting its preliminary third-quarter results and confirming the purchase of U.K. tech company Autonomy, which makes data analytic software.


Investors responded negatively to the slew of announcements and HP's weaker outlook, sending shares tanking 21.2% to $23.25 Friday morning.


After intense speculation about a possible HP breakup, the company confirmed that it wants to get rid of its PC business.


Until stocks fall to the point where the anarchy in Washington is fully discounted, we just have to presume prices are too high.

By Jim Cramer Aug 19, 2011 9:11AM

jim cramerthe streetI was soul searching all day about whether the people in Washington, D.C., just have no idea what makes business tick or actually just don't care for business.

I say this because the disastrous NetApp (NTAP) call wasn't about low taxes -- what some people in Washington believe is the panacea -- it was about rancor and ugliness and the loss of confidence in our country.


I keep thinking back to a moment when I was on "Meet the Press" just a couple of weeks ago and said this brinkmanship could actually hurt orders, hurt business. I was hearing it anecdotally from execs.


It's no longer anecdotal. Now it is empirical.


Wasteful multibillion-dollar buyouts, no innovation, a lack of leadership and a bloated corporate structure plague this struggling tech giant.

By InvestorPlace Aug 19, 2011 8:00AM

By Jeff Reeves, Editor,

investorplacejeff reeves msnThe market had quite an ugly day on Thursday. But for a brief moment, Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) swam upstream on news that it is working out a massive $10 billion buyout of software company Autonomy. Of course, the gains were fleeting and Hewlett-Packard stock finished the day down, along with nearly every other stock on Wall Street. Some investors were fooled for about an hour, and then the profits evaporated. In premarket trading Friday, it was down 13%.

Thursday's news is a fitting example of how HP is trying to manage its business these days. The 10-figure buyouts. The claims that it is rethinking its role in the tech sector. The blatant flaunting of its massive cash stockpile at a time when companies claim to be suffering from the economic downturn.

Hewlett-Packard is everything that's wrong with corporate America right now, exhibiting stupidity, a lack of innovation, bloated operations and no leadership.


Recent data are gloomy enough to remind the financial markets of the dark days of 2008. But there is a plus side.

By Jim J. Jubak Aug 18, 2011 4:28PM
Jim JubakJust in case you thought it might be safe to jump back in.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ($INDU) and the Standard & Poor's 500 ($INX) have had a tough week.

The carnage has been even greater in Europe, which is only appropriate, since recent fears have focused on Europe's banks.

A forecast from Morgan Stanley (MS) on Thursday cut the company's projection for global growth to 3.9% in 2011, from a previous forecast of 4.2%. The forecast cited "recent policy errors, especially Europe's slow and insufficient response to the sovereign debt crisis."

US investors are wading back into equities and ETFs, even as the markets continue to sell off.

By TheStreet Staff Aug 18, 2011 3:12PM


By Robert Holmes, TheStreet


The S&P 500 ($INX) appears to be firmly in the jaws of bears, but data actually show that U.S. investors are slowly turning bullish on equities again.


Mutual fund data from research firm TrimTabs suggests that retail investors are bottom-fishing, dipping a toe into the pool of U.S. stocks. The data come as the major stock indices are plunging anew, with the S&P 500 down 4.5% Thursday and the Dow Jones Industrial Average ($INDU) also down close to 4% shortly before 3 p.m. ET.


TrimTabs says that preliminary figures show that U.S. equity mutual funds saw inflows of $6 billion on Aug. 15 and Aug. 16 after redeeming $41.8 billion in the previous 12 sessions.


The city has ended its rating contract withs S&P after the agency downgraded its investment portfolio.

By Kim Peterson Aug 18, 2011 2:49PM
Don't like what Standard & Poor's has to say about you? Fire 'em.

That's what the city of Los Angeles did after S&P downgraded its $7 billion investment portfolio to AA from the perfect AAA rating. The city will no longer hire S&P to rate its investments, The Los Angeles Times reported.

"We have really lost faith in S&P's judgment," the city's interim treasurer said.

After cutting its rating on the U.S. debt this month, S&P went on a downgrade binge that included dozens of cities, counties and other municipalities. And some of those governments are joining Los Angeles in their dismissal of the agency. 

US presidents have very little control over global oil prices. Could the candidate change that?

By Kim Peterson Aug 18, 2011 2:21PM
Candidates make a lot of promises on the campaign trail, but super-cheap gas isn't normally one of them. It's pretty much impossible for one lawmaker to accomplish that.

But Michele Bachmann is going to try.

"The day that the president became president, gasoline was $1.79 a gallon. Look at what it is today," she said in South Carolina. "Under President Bachmann, you will see gasoline come down below $2 a gallon again. That will happen." 

Anchors Jim Cramer and Simon Hobbs tussle about whether we could be in a 'Lehman moment.'

By Kim Peterson Aug 18, 2011 1:39PM
Worries about European banks triggered a blistering argument Thursday morning between CNBC anchors Jim Cramer and Simon Hobbs.

Tensions between the two have been growing lately, and everything exploded after Cramer suggested the possibility that this could be a Lehman moment. Check out the following video. 

Extreme bullish sentiment and technical indicators signal a pullback in gold and its popular ETF could lie ahead, and a covered-call strategy may be the best way to profit.

By Aug 18, 2011 12:23PM
By Tom Aspray,

The more-than-20% gain in the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) since the July 1 close has been relentless, and domestic and global news has provided daily reinforcement that gold is the only “safe” investment.

As gold has powered to several new highs over the past two weeks, the only thing missing has been analysts who are voicing even a short-term bearish outlook for the yellow metal. In fact, it has almost become un-American to question whether gold will ever stop going higher.

It is important to separate the short-term from the long-term trend analysis. The monthly on-balance volume (OBV) analysis of both GLD and the Comex gold futures is still pointing higher, as it has been for the past seven years. The same is also true for the weekly analysis, so one might ask, “What’s the problem?”

The Starc band analysis can be used to identify high- and low-risk areas to buy or sell based on daily, weekly, or even monthly time frames. When a market reaches a historically high-risk buying area using both the weekly and the monthly analysis, the odds of some consolidation or a more significant pullback are very high. 

From a money-management point of view, this can allow even long-term investors to protect profits by hedging their positions.

After a brief respite, stocks are plunging again. We're retesting the lows, but the bottom hasn't fallen out.

By Anthony Mirhaydari Aug 18, 2011 12:19PM

Stocks were plunging Thursday in reaction to some very poor economic data. The Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook Survey dropped to its worst levels since early 2009 as results badly missed Wall Street estimates. The General Business Conditions component dropped to negative 30.7 vs. the positive 1 analysts were expecting. Ugliness was seen in new orders, shipments and employment.

If there was any silver lining, it was that the Philly Fed and Wednesday's Empire State Index don't yet suggest the all-important economy-wide ISM Manufacturing Index has dropped into recessionary territory. Moreover, the Philly Fed survey was conducted between Aug. 8 and 16, so it was no doubt affected by the recent financial market volatility.


If markets rebound -- as I expect heading into next week's speech by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke in Jackson Hole, Wyo., where new market-supporting initiatives will likely be unveiled -- business confidence should be restored quickly. Remember that while a new recession is still a distinct possibility, we don't have the normal preconditions. Profitability is still growing, interest rates are near zero, jobs are being created, inflation is low, and the Fed is being extremely accommodative.


In roller-coaster market conditions, yields offer investors a seat belt.

By TheStreet Staff Aug 18, 2011 10:43AM


Image: Arrow Down (© Image Source/SuperStock)Frank Byrt, TheStreet


The roller-coaster stock market has investors running for shelter in the form of top-rated companies that pay high dividends, or mutual funds that invest in them.


All U.S. equity mutual fund categories have seen large outflows this year, except for so-called equity-income funds, which took in $11 billion through Aug. 10, Standard & Poor's said. Investors are piling into the safest stocks as the U.S. economy is slowing. Thursday, Morgan Stanley (MS) lowered its forecast for global economic growth.


The firm's MarketScope Advisor unit recently highlighted its three top-rated five-star equity-income funds that are benefiting from those flows and suggests that "investors should follow suit" in their investment choices.


This spectacular blowup will create bargains in tech stocks, but wait until the dust has settled.

By Jim Cramer Aug 18, 2011 9:00AM

jim cramerthe streetNetApp (NTAP) is a real blowup, and it puts the blowup right at the feet of Washington, D.C. The problem is that even without Washington, it was probably the wrong time to own it, because tech is so, so problematic right now.


You have a triple whammy against the sector now. Europe, where so much tech is sold, is going off the grid because of the debt crisis.


The U.S. is a mess -- although not going into a recession -- and government spending, which has been a big part of tech sales, is being cut, in some cases dramatically.


Finally, we have studied tech for many years, and it has rarely paid to own tech stocks before the last week of September. We are in the technology dog days, when owning the stuff is totally precarious, as those who have NetApp stock know all too well.


Investors are already reacting, and their reactions will have big effects.

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day Aug 17, 2011 5:12PM

By Dan Caplinger


Few weeks on Wall Street can match the craziness that last week gave investors. Four days of huge volatility, followed by what seemed like a quiet Friday by comparison with a 125-point jump for the Dow, has everyone on edge.


What's next?
In the aftermath, everyone's looking for answers about what's to come. Poring through all the things that investors did during last week's roller-coaster ride yields many different insights:

  • On the commodities front, hedge funds poured into gold and precious metals, but interest in other commodities like base metals and foodstuffs largely evaporated. In particular, copper saw speculative demand drop by more than 60% for the week, potentially boding ill for big copper producers Freeport-McMoRan (FCX) and Southern Copper (SCCO).

Statoil is on a roll, announcing its third high-impact discovery this year.

By Jim J. Jubak Aug 17, 2011 4:45PM
Jim JubakFor Statoil (STO), one plus one equaled way more than two Tuesday.

The company has announced that its Aldous and Avaldsnes oil finds are probably part of a single combined oil structure that contains 500 million to 1.2 billion barrels of recoverable oil.

On Aug. 8, Statoil reported that a well drilling at the Aldous Major South prospect had established a common oil and water contact between the Aldous and Avaldsnes oil structures.

This is the Statoil’s third high-impact discovery this year. (A high-impact discovery is one that holds more than 250 million barrels of oil equivalent.)

Shares of Statoil weren’t up much in Oslo on the discovery, but they climbed 3.8% Wednesday.
Tags: oil


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[BRIEFING.COM] Just like the geopolitical environment, things could have been better today for the stock market and they could have been worse.  They were worse in the early going as the major indices backpedaled quickly at the start of trading.  The ostensible catalysts for the opening retreat were geopolitical concerns over Israel's ground assault in Gaza and the troublesome diplomatic dealings in the wake of Malaysian Air flight MH17 being shot down over eastern Ukraine last ... More


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