Why stocks are in for a rough ride this week
Stocks in for a rough ride this week

Longtime market bull Jeremy Siegel says investors could realize the market is behind the curve on interest rates.


Bernstein upgraded Yum! Brands to 'outperform,' while Citigroup initiated Sirius XM with a 'buy.'

By MSN Money Partner Dec 9, 2011 11:51AM
Information provided by Theflyonthewall.com

Friday's noteworthy upgrades include:
  • PEPCO Holdings (POM) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse
  • Ensco (ESV) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Citigroup
  • Alcatel-Lucent (ALU) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Bernstein
  • Yum! Brands (YUM) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Bernstein

One analyst says there are no significant technical hurdles in the way of the tablet's release.

By Kim Peterson Dec 9, 2011 11:48AM
Apple (AAPL) is preparing to launch its new iPad in February, according to a Citi analyst. And it's going to look great.

In a note to clients, Richard Gardner says several sources have told him of the February launch, reports Business Insider. The new iPad's screen is likely to be twice the resolution of the current iPad's. 

By dividing the company, CEO Rosenfeld is hoping to allow each section to focus more closely on strategic priorities and allocates its resources appropriately.

By Trefis Dec 9, 2011 11:29AM
Robert George Young/PhotographerKraft Foods (KFT), which said in early August it would divide into two separate companies, announced this week the new CEOs and chairs for both divisions.

Irene Rosenfeld, CEO of Kraft since 2006 and chairwoman since 2007, will head the new Global Snacks business. Tony Vernon, currently president of Kraft Foods, North America, will be CEO of the new North American Grocery Business. He will be joined by John Cahill from private equity firm Ripplewood Holdings as non-executive chairman.

A quick look at the Trefis breakdown for the company can help us determine the potential impact of this proposed split. 
Tags: KFT

The 5-cent payout adds to Ford's attractiveness for investors.

By InvestorPlace Dec 9, 2011 11:15AM
Tetra Images/Getty ImagesBy Jeff Reeves

Ford Motor (F) made headlines on Thursday by reinstating its dividend. The Detroit automaker had eliminated quarterly dividend payments about five years ago. But Ford will now pay 5 cents per share to stockholders of record as of Jan. 31, 2012, with the first payment to be made Mar. 1.

The move raises two questions. First, is the dividend all that great? Second, is does the quarterly payout make Ford stock a buy?


Exciting new products and rapid growth suggest a target of $655 within 3 years.

By TheStockAdvisors Dec 9, 2011 10:40AM
Image Source/PhotolibraryBy J. Royden Ward, Cabot Benjamin Graham Value Letter

Apple (AAPL) has a unique ability to identify what customers want, produce easy-to-use products, and launch unique marketing campaigns to create demand.

The company’s revolutionary iPod digital music player, iTune online music store, and iPhone helped sales to increase 33% per year during the past five years, while earnings per share surged 70% per year during the same period. 
Tags: AAPL

Moody's has concluded that the bonds of some high-profile leveraged buyouts are too junky for most investors.

By The Fiscal Times Dec 9, 2011 10:06AM
bondBy Suzanne McGee, The Fiscal Times

To some fund managers, they are known as the "Big Five:" The junk bonds that Clear Channel Communications, Harrah's Entertainment, Energy Future Holdings (the utility formerly known as TXU), Realogy, and Hawker Beechcraft originally issued in the midst of the leveraged buyout frenzy between 2006 and 2008.

All are trading at eye-popping yields that rise into the mid-teens. But to many investment managers, they are distinctive not because of the high yields, but because even as the default risk has ebbed for junk bonds as a whole, and the overall rate of defaults has fallen, the securities of the Big Five are still seen as perilous. 

Poorer countries like Italy and Spain need to know there's a backstop as they adopt austerity measures. And bond investors need reassurance.

By Jim Cramer Dec 9, 2011 9:59AM

Image: Euro bank notes, close up, soft focus (© Robert Kohlhuber/Photodisc/Getty Images)

the street

Still reeling that the European Central Bank didn't do more. Reeling that they didn't understand that the sovereigns need help in return for the austerity they have to administer to their budgets.


Yes, these poorer countries like Italy and Spain have spent too much, have profligate welfare states and have let others pay for their errant ways, but if they are going to continue their belt-tightening austerity ways, they need to know there is a backstop. They need to know there is a rescue or else it isn't worth it and they will just risk going under.


Missed expectations at the discount retailer? No problem.

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day Dec 8, 2011 5:25PM
Image: Man shopping (© Noel Hendrickson/Getty Images/Getty Images)By Alyce Lomax


Costco (COST) is impervious to negativity. Although the discount retailer missed analysts' expectations, investors are taking the news in stride. Anybody who was waiting for a temporary plunge in the stock price in order to take a position will have to wait a little longer.


Fiscal first-quarter net income inched 2.6% higher to $320 million, or 73 cents per share, including charges related to settling an income tax audit related to its Mexican joint venture and a contribution to a coalition supporting the reform of alcoholic beverage laws in Washington state; combined, these charges dinged earnings by about 7 cents per share.


The markets slumped even after the European Central Bank moved forcefully.

By Jim J. Jubak Dec 8, 2011 5:24PM
Image: Europe (© Photodisc/SuperStock)Mario Draghi and the European Central Bank Thursday delivered everything investors could have reasonably hoped for -- and still financial markets tumbled. The German DAX Index finished the day down 2% and the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index ($INX) closed down 2.1%.

I think that market action amounts to a great big vote of no confidence in the European political leaders that have just begun a summit meeting that wraps up Friday.

At Thursday's meeting in Frankfurt, the European Central Bank cut its benchmark interest rate by 0.25 percentage points to 1%, extended the term of its credit facility for banks to three years from the current one-year term, and loosened its standards on the kinds of collateral it will accept from banks.

The payout isn't much, but it's the first from the automaker since 2006.

By Benzinga Dec 8, 2011 5:08PM

Image: Money (© Creatas/PictureQuest)By Jay Wong, Benzinga Staff Writer

Ford (F) said Thursday it has reinstated a quarterly dividend on its stock, and plans to pay out 5 cents per share on a quarterly basis.

The dividend will be the first from the company since 2006, when it faced significant financial difficulties and was forced to take large private loans to keep itself afloat. The decision paid off, as the company's perception seems to be better than competitors General Motors (GM) and Chrysler -- two companies that needed taxpayer loans to prevent outright collapse.


The acquisition is a vote of confidence in Isis Pharmaceuticals' drug development technology.

By TheStockAdvisors Dec 8, 2011 4:48PM
Image: Surgery (© Corbis)By John McCamant, The Medical Technology Stock Letter

Isis Pharmacauticals' (ISIS) baby is going to a new home. Pfizer (PFE) is acquiring Excaliard Pharmaceuticals, an Isis spinoff out of Carlsbad, Calif.

Excaliard was founded in 2006 with technology from Isis. This is an excellent example of an Isis satellite partnership program in which it licenses out drug development candidates it doesn't have the internal resources to develop.  

Most of the magazine's picks will sound familiar to investors -- and there's a reason for that.

By Kim Peterson Dec 8, 2011 4:25PM
Image: Dice on stock listings (© Kate Kunz/CorbisFortune magazine has released its top 10 stock picks for 2012, and most of the names aren't new.

From Apple (AAPL) to Caterpillar (CAT), the picks rely on stable income stocks that Fortune says are undervalued. "Times are uncertain," the magazine says. "Stocks are moving in lockstep. Reliability and income matter more than ever."

When stocks move in lockstep, it's very difficult to pick ones that can rise above the rest of the action. Did Fortune make the right choices? Let's go through the picks: 

Winter is the strong period for agricultural chemical stocks, and 2 industry leaders are showing favorable entry points.

By MoneyShow.com Dec 8, 2011 3:09PM

Image: Combines in field (© Mark Karrass/Corbis/Corbis)By Tom Aspray, MoneyShow.com

As discussed in "The Four Key Seasonal Trends for 2012," research has indicated that many markets show repeating seasonal tendencies. While these tendencies do not necessarily determine price behavior, buying technically strong markets during strong seasonal periods can give traders and investors an additional edge.

As the charts show, this is the peak season for fertilizer and agricultural chemical stocks, and the weekly bottoming action in two of the key fertilizer stocks makes the risk favorable on new long positions.


Changes in the business model appear to be paying off for the online retailing and auctioneering giant.

By InvestorPlace Dec 8, 2011 2:48PM

By Anthony John Agnello, Consumer and Technology Writer

(© Tom Grill/Corbis)Don't call it a comeback -- eBay (EBAY) has been here for a long time. But the online auctioneer and e-tailer is on the uptick again, and this time, it could stick.

Raymond James analyst Aaron Kessler's upgrade of eBay to "strong buy" gave the stock a 4% bump Monday and it was hanging onto those gains Tuesday. Kessler gave the company a 12-month price target of $39 -- a hefty 25% above current valuations. EBay is currently hovering below its resistance point price of $31.18 (trading midday Thursday at $30.97), having fluctuated between $29 and $33 for months now.


The insurer announced the acquisition of a leading health data analytics provider.

By Zacks.com Dec 8, 2011 1:35PM

Humana(© Creatas/SuperStock)(HUM) announced the acquisition Wednesday of health care analytics company Anvita Health. The financial terms of the deal remain undisclosed.

Anvita, established in San Diego in 2000, analyzes vast amounts of health care data to provide information to help companies improve the quality of their services and reduce costs.

The acquisition is expected to strengthen Humana’s clinical management.



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