Seven Bull Stocks In Utilities ¨C Q4 Update

We recommended the following stocks for Q3 �C Portfolio - AEP, AWK, DUK, ED, FE, SCG, SWX

Q4 �C Portfolio �C AEP, AWK, DUK, ED, FE, SCG, SWX

American Electric Power Company Inc.?? (NYSE:AEP)

American Electric Power Co. (AEP) is a holding company that primarily operates electric utility services through its regulated subsidiaries. The utility services include generation, transmission and distribution of electricity for sale to retail and wholesale customers in the U.S. AEP's non-regulated operations include the AEP River Operations subsidiary. In 2010, utility retail sales accounted for 79.6 percent of consolidated revenue; wholesale sales 13.8 percent; and other 6.6 percent. It provides electric utility services to about 5.3 million customers in 11 states over a total area of 197,500 square miles.

Yesterday, the stock gained $0.59, or 1.59 percent, to close at $37.71. This compares with a 52 week range of $33.09 to $40.08.

Based on a log-normal random walk, within the next one month there is a 95 percent chance the stock price could be between $34.35 and $42.01. Buying at current levels could amount to a profit-loss ratio of 1.28 to 1.

American Water Works Co. Inc.?? (NYSE:AWK)

American Water Works owns utilities that provide water and wastewater services to residential, commercial and industrial customers. The company provides drinking water, wastewater and other related services to approximately 15 million people in 30 states and two Canadian provinces.

Its diverse geographic and regulatory environment and largely residential and commercial customer base enable cash flow stability. The company's relatively low operating risk for its non-regulated operations, above-average service territory, and acquisition-based growth strategy make it an attractive stock.

Yesterday, the stock gained $0! .11, or 0.37 percent, to close at $29.93. This compares with a 52-week range of $23.93 to $31.49.

Based on a log-normal random walk, within the next month there is a 95 percent chance the stock price could be between $27.01 to $34.35. Buying at current levels could amount to a profit-loss ratio of 1.51 to 1.

Duke Energy Corp.?? (NYSE:DUK)

Duke provides electric and gas utility services, sells wholesale power, and has investments in various South American generation plants. Its operating subsidiaries include Duke Energy Carolinas LLC, Duke Energy Ohio Inc., Duke Energy Indiana Inc., Duke Energy Kentucky Inc., as well as the company's Latin American subsidiaries. Duke and Progress Energy Inc. announced an agreement to merge in January 2011.

Incorporating the operations and anticipated financial profile of Progress would not affect Duke's ratings and could strengthen the credit profile over time as the combination produces a utility holding company that is bigger, more diverse, and capable of improving its financial performance and balance sheet. I expect the pending merger with Duke Energy to close by year-end.

Yesterday, the stock gained $0.20, or 1.01 percent, to close at $19.99. This compares with a 52-week range of $16.87-$21.02. Yesterday, the company said it will sign a 5-year, $6 billion credit agreement with 30 financial institutions, replacing a credit facility set to expire next year. The deal is notable because it marks the highest level of participation ever by Chinese banks in a U.S. electric utility's credit facility, according to Duke energy.

Based on a log-normal random walk, within the next one month there is a 95 percent chance the stock price could be between $18.49 and $21.95. Buying at current levels could amount to a profit-loss ratio of 1.31 to 1.

Consolidated Edison Inc.?? (NYSE:ED)

Consolidated Edison is a holding company ! with ele ctric and gas utilities serving a territory that includes New York City (except part of Queens), most of Westchester County, Southeastern New York state, Northern New Jersey, and Northeastern Pennsylvania.

The regulated subsidiaries include Consolidated Edison Company of New York and Orange and Rockland Utilities; and the unregulated subsidiaries include Consolidated Edison Solutions, Consolidated Edison Energy and Consolidated Edison Development. I expect the two regulated utilities to provide substantially all of ED's earnings over the next few years. Consolidated Edison has an excellent business risk profile that largely reflects the company's low-operating-risk electric and gas transmission and distribution operations and a conservative growth strategy. The service territory is large with a diverse economy and has recently experienced modest customer growth.

Yesterday, the stock gained $0.07, or 0.12 percent, to close at $57.23. This compares with a 52-week range of $47.51 to $59.89.

Based on a log-normal random walk, within the next month there is a 95 percent chance the stock price could be between $53.31 and $62.91. Buying at current levels could amount to a profit-loss ratio of 1.45 to 1.

FirstEnergy Corp.?? (NYSE:FE)

FirstEnergy is a diversified energy company involved in the generation, transmission and distribution of electricity as well as energy management and related services. In 2010, electric utilities accounted for 93.9 percent of consolidated revenue, and the unregulated businesses 6.1 percent. On February 25, 2011, FirstEnergy completed a merger with Allegheny Energy Inc., a Pennsylvania-headquartered electric utility holding company serving 1.6 million customers in portions of Pennsylvania, Maryland and West Virginia.

Under terms of the transaction, Allegheny shareholders received 0.667 of a share of FirstEnergy for each Allegheny share. Upon completion of the t! ransacti on, FE shareholders had an approximate 73 percent interest in the combined company and Allegheny shareholders 27 percent. I believe the merger could result in potential synergies of about $180 million by the end of the first year and $350 million by the second, with about half occurring in the competitive generation business.

The company's low-cost, baseload power generation plants in Ohio and Pennsylvania, relatively low-risk transmission and distribution operations, generally constructive regulatory relationships, good cash flow generation and liquidity, and stable financial profile make it an attractive investment.

Yesterday, the stock gained $0.81, or 1.93 percent, to close at $42.75. This compares with a 52-week range of $35.02 to $46.51. Based on a log-normal random walk, within the next month there is a 95 percent chance the stock price could be between $38.04 and $48.38. Buying at current levels could amount to a profit-loss ratio of 1.2 to 1.


Scana Corp.'s primary regulated operating businesses are South Carolina Electric & Gas, Public Service of North Carolina, SCANA Energy and an intrastate pipeline operation in South Carolina. The company expects its consolidated regulated base of more than 1.4 million electric and gas customers will grow 2.4 percent annually.

I favor this stock as more than 90 percent of its consolidated cash flows are from regulated electric and gas utility operations. Moreover, the company benefits from supportive regulatory environments in South Carolina and North Carolina, and operating diversity with operations in two states. In addition, above-average population growth in SCG's service areas, strong cash flow generation and a healthy dividend help make the stock attractive.

Yesterday, the stock gained $0.48, or 1.17 percent, to close at $41.45. This compares with a 52-week range of $34.64 to $43.19. Based on a log-nor! mal rand om walk, within the next month there is a 95 percent chance the stock price could be between $37.61 and $46.09. Buying at current levels could amount to a profit-loss ratio of 1.21 to 1.

Southwest Gas Corp.?? (NYSE:SWX)

The company is composed of two business segments: natural gas operations and construction services. As of December 31, 2010, Southwest purchased and distributed or transported natural gas to more than 1.8 million residential, commercial, and industrial customers in geographically diverse portions of Arizona, Nevada, and California. Its low-risk monopoly gas distribution business, a supportive regulatory environment in California and Nevada, a large and stable residential and commercial customer base, and strong internal cash generation, and adequate liquidity position make it an attractive investment.

Yesterday, the stock gained $1.14, or 3.08 percent, to close at $38.19. This compares with a 52-week range of $32.12 to $40.59. Based on a log-normal random walk, within the next month there is a 95 percent chance the stock price could be between $33.68 and $44.56. Buying at current levels could amount to a profit-loss ratio of 1.41 to 1.


Business Displays And Exhibits With Impact

Today’s business environment is very competitive. Companies are looking for every possible advantage to stand out from the crowd.

Many companies are utilizing newer and very creative marketing techniques, in an attempt to engage the customer in new and meaningful ways. Improved website design, and better, more strategic Internet marketing approaches are becoming more common.

When a company is in the business of producing custom displays for businesses, it is even more critical to demonstrate design appeal, strong messaging and demonstrated creativity that is represented in stellar business displays.

WL Concepts on Long Island, New York is in the forefront of business exhibit and display innovation, with experience in virtually every aspect of display and design, including from retail to merchandising. Their extensive client list includes financial and educational institutions, architectural companies, and many more. They enjoy a lot of repeat business and clients depend on WL Concepts for compelling designs that sell.

The WL Concepts client list reads like a who’s who of business and industry, and the company takes their design responsibilities very seriously. Reputations like this are not easy to build; of course, maintaining a reputation for outstanding products is always important to companies like WL Concepts in today’s business environment.

The Importance Of Trade Shows To Business

Trade shows are more critical than ever to every type of business. As a result, a compelling, eye appealing exhibit or display is of paramount importance. WL Concepts points out that trade shows are excellent venues in which to launch new products, new offers and to display upgrades to existing product lines. Selecting the right target markets, and their respective trade shows, is always very effective today’s hypercompetitive business climate.

Yet there is another challenge: differentiating your trade show displays from the rest of the pack who are vyin! g for at tendees’ attention. One way to set your company apart is to put as much attention into the development of your trade show display as you do the rest of your efforts on behalf of a successful product launch.
Trade show displays can make or break your success in attracting the kind of audience you want for an all-important launch. Starting from scratch to build a custom display ensures that your display will be fresh and in sync with the rest of the marketing strategy supporting your launch.

Custom-built trade show displays allow you to be creative, dramatic, and highly relevant to support your launch in the most powerful way possible. There are really no limits to the design options you can use to make your statement and grab attention: graphics, materials, size, elevation, or AV components.


Building a custom display takes more time than usual. Allow enough time to ensure that quality standards can be used throughout the process and that you are also not stressed out wondering if you will make it in time for your first round of trade shows.

Reverse engineer from the start of your trade show schedule. You will want to allow four to six weeks for large custom-built trade show displays and six to 12 weeks for a mid-size island or smaller.

WL Concepts has many unique and innovative ideas and tips to share with businesses looking for a fresh creative display approach. Visit their website at, and take advantage of their convenient estimator form that is located at

Learn more about Business And Trade Show Exhibits With Impact. Stop by the WL Concepts site, where you can find out all about how business signage and exhibits will build your brand and expand your business.

Top Resource Stocks for 2012 on Sale

One of the top-rated  blue-chip commodity stocks has fallen to valuations it rarely reaches, meaning a strong rebound is likely, writes Kevin McElroy of Resource Prospector.

Freeport McMoRan (FCX) currently has more superlatives than a high-school yearbook:

  • It’s the biggest copper miner in the world.
  • It owns the mining rights to three of the world’s largest copper mines—one in Utah, one in Indonesia, and one in South America.
  • According to the 2011 Forbes 2000 list, Freeport is the also the highest ranked gold-mining company. Forbes ranks companies based on sales, profits, assets, and market value—so Freeport beat out market favorites like Gold Corp (GG), Barrick Gold (ABX) and Newmont Gold (NEM).
  • Even better, Freeport currently sells for less than seven times earnings, and they pay a 2.5% annual yield.

Even for a big boring mining company, seven times earnings is cheap. The entire sector is cheap now too—with the average P/E ratio just above ten.

Of course, underscoring my enthusiasm for Freeport is my thesis for higher commodity prices—yes, even copper.

And I’m quite aware that copper is the only commodity with a PhD in economics. I’ve heard all the platitudes about copper being a harbinger of the broad economy, and that copper needs growth and economic expansion in order to maintain higher prices.

But we’ve seen this scenario before. Demand for copper can fall, even as its dollar-denominated price rises.

That’s because supply and demand aren’t the only functions that influence asset prices anymore. We’re through the looking glass, and a currency crisis will eventually make everyone pay more for every asset—eve! n if it& rsquo;s a growth asset like copper.

Not only is Freeport cheap, it also meets all of my other objections. It has very little debt. A huge profit margin. It’s trading near 52-week lows.

And every time it’s been this cheap in terms of P/E ratio, the company soared in price over the next year. In different terms: Freeport has rarely been this cheap on an earnings basis.

Now, I’m not saying you should go out and load up the truck today on Freeport. I’m saying you should look for weakness in this stock, and buy in tranches over the next few months. I think we’ll see significant gains over the course of 2012.

  • Playing the Natural Gas Revival
  • This Stock’s P/E Proves its Potential
  • Disney Dividend Increase Reflects Real Potential Stock Report! 7/22/09, MCK, FBPI, TLEO, CMCSA, DTG, ARE Stock Report!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Board of Directors of McKesson Corporation (NYSE:MCK) at its meeting today declared a regular dividend of twelve cents per share on the Common Stock, payable on October 1, 2009, to stockholders of record on September 1, 2009.

First Bancorp of Indiana, Inc. (OTCBB: FBPI), the holding company for First Federal Savings Bank, reported earnings of $1.46 million for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2009, versus $803,500 last fiscal year. The increased earnings in fiscal 2009 were attributed largely to an improved net interest margin and fee income enhancements that more than offset increased provisions for loan losses and greater noninterest expenses. Earnings for the year ended June 30, 2009, represented $0.85 per average outstanding share (diluted) compared to $0.45 the preceding fiscal year. The Company recognized net income of $138,500 for the fourth fiscal quarter ended June 30, 2009, compared to $12,200 of net income for the same quarter in fiscal 2008. The fourth quarter results included a $163,000 accrual for a special assessment imposed by the FDIC on all insured financial institutions. The special assessment was in addition to a regular quarterly assessment that was more than double the rate for the same quarter last year. Also, a $500,000 provision for loan losses was recognized during the most recent quarter increasing the annual total to $1.5 million. First Bancorp paid a dividend of 15.5 cents during the most recent quarter, unchanged from each of the first three quarters of the fiscal year.

Taleo Corporation (NASDAQ: TLEO), the leading provider of on-demand talent management solutions, announced today that its second quarter 2009 financial results will be release! d after the market closes on Thursday, July 30th, 2009. A conference call with Michael Gregoire, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, and Katy Murray, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, will be held at 2:00pm PDT (5:00pm EDT) to discuss the results. A live and replay Webcast of the call will be available at the Investor Relations section of Taleo’s website at

Comcast Interactive Media (CIM), a division of Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) dedicated to developing and operating online and cross-platform entertainment and media businesses, and KidZui (, the Internet for kids, today announced a partnership to deliver a comprehensive Internet portal for kids and families to millions of households across the country.

Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group, Inc. (NYSE: DTG) today announced that it is hiring 19 key information technology (IT) management positions. The positions are part of an effort to strengthen Dollar Thrifty’s internal management team responsible for Applications Development.

Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc. (NYSE: ARE), Landlord of Choice to the Life Science Industry(R), announced today that an affiliate has entered into a long-term lease with Eli Lilly and Company as the anchor tenant at the Alexandria Center for Science and Technology at East River Science Park (”the Alexandria Center”). Lilly has leased approximately 91,000 rentable square feet, as well as an additional approximately 9,000 rentable square feet of core services space, at the Alexandria Center, which will become the new research headquarters for ImClone Systems, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Eli Lilly and Company, to be New York City’s life science collaboration and translational research epicenter. Occupancy is expected in approximately June 2010.

Healthcare Stocks Recap: FDA Rejects Teva, Pfizer Gets Approval

Sanofi’s (NYSE:SNY) Lantus, is the world��s leading insulin drug. With annual sales of $4.7B, it almost triples the risk of developing cancer among diabetics, a Swedish study shows. Sanofi dismissed the research as being flawed and too small, and pointed out that over 38M patients who’ve taken the drug for at least a year show no danger.

Express scripts (NASDAQ:ESRX) and Medco Health (NYSE:MHS) are said to incite fear of retaliation among many major firms according to Sen. Herb Kohl, if they speak out at a DC hearing to criticize the proposed merger. Other Senators joined Kohl in railing against the union. They argue the union would create a PBM giant controlling 60% of the mail order prescription business and 50% of the specialty drug market. Still up for the ESRX-MHS deal: Reaching an agreement with the FTC and keeping a slue of state attorneys general off their back.

Teva Pharmaceuticals’ (NASDAQ:TEVA) bid is rejected by the FDA to gain clearance for its morning-after pill to be sold over-the-counter. The pill will continue to be kept behind pharmacy counters and only sold without prescription to females aged 17 and older.

Stryker (NYSE:SYK) a medical device maker shares rose a little after announcing?an 18% increase in its dividend, to $0.2125/share (1.8% annual yield), and a $500M increase to its stock buyback authorization. Stryker adds it’s repurchased $625M worth of shares in 2011 thus far.

AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN) says it��s cutting?its U.S. sales force by about 24%. About 1,150 leadership and sales positions will be eliminated as part of the company’s recent efforts to cut costs. The reduction adds to its ongoing restructuring program unveiled last year, when it said it would cut thousands more jobs over coming years. Expectations for sliding profit and revenue-growth challenges, have led to the restructuring.

Pfizer’s (! NYSE:PFE ) drug axitinib has been unanimously recommended for approval by an FDA advisory board for use in patients with advanced kidney cancer. Pfizer research showed the new drug was at least as effective as Nexavar, a drug which is already on the market and made by Bayer and Onyx.

Investing Insights: Are Shareholders Benefiting From the Health Conscious Consumer?

Smithfield Foods Hurt By Higher Costs

Shares of pork-producer Smithfield Foods (SFD) are down 2.8% in midday trading after fiscal second-quarter earnings fell 16% on higher input costs.

Smithfield has seen rising demand for its products from foreign markets, but feed costs, particularly the cost of corn, have cut into the company’s bottom line.

The producer of John Morrell, Armour and Farmland branded products reported a profit of $120.7 million, or 74 cents a share, down from $143.7 million, or 86 cents, a year earlier. Excluding special items, earnings fell to 76 cents from 80 cents. Sales rose 10% to $3.31 billion.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had forecast earnings of 70 cents on revenue of $3.21 billion.

Gross margin dipped to 12.7% from 14.4% as input costs jumped 13%.

Still, analysts say Smithfield may be able to overcome feed cost pressure in the long run.

“Long term, we expect Smithfield to be a beneficiary of growing global demand for protein products,” wrote Tom Graves, an analyst with Standard & Poor’s. “With an an improved outlook for fiscal ’13 corn costs, we are raising our target price to $25 from $24.”

AutoNation: Insider and Institutional Investor Stock Sales in Third Quarter

Insiders are generally long-term investors due to restriction in making short-term profits. In contrast, wealth management institutions always have short-term investment. Wall St. Watchdog reveals information regarding the insiders and institutions which recently decreased stock shares of AutoNation Inc. (NYSE:AN).

SEC data indicate these insiders have sold AutoNation Inc.��s stock since 06/30/2011:

  • Lampert Edward S: act as 10% Owner. On 10/28/2011, sold 1,222,456 shares, worth $49,203,900.
  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundatio: act as (See Footnote 5). On 11/10/2011, sold 914,898 shares, worth $30,987,600.
  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundatio: act as (See Footnote 3). On 11/08/2011, sold 833,020 shares, worth $29,788,800.
  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundatio: act as (See Footnote 2). On 11/04/2011, sold 617,833 shares, worth $22,594,200.
  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundatio: act as (See Footnote 3). On 11/03/2011, sold 594,396 shares, worth $22,176,900.

SEC data indicate that these institutions significantly reduced their stock shares of AutoNation Inc. in Q3 2011:

  • VALINOR MANAGEMENT, LLC: On 06/30/2011, held 125,000 shares, worth $4,097,500. On 09/30/2011, held 0 shares.
  • PUBLIC EMPLOYEES RETIREMENT ASSOCIATION OF COLORADO: On 06/30/2011, held 54,529 shares, worth $1,787,461. On 09/30/2011, held 0 shares.
  • HANSEATIC MANAGEMENT SERVICES INC: On 06/30/2011, held 38,170 shares, worth $1,251,213. On 09/30/2011, held 0 shares.
  • JEFFERIES GROUP INC /DE/: On 06/30/2011, held 37,039 shares, worth $1,214,138. On 09/30/2011, held 0 shares.
  • TEXAS PERMANENT SCHOOL FUND: On 06/30/2011, held 31,511 shares, worth $1,032,931. On 09/30/2011, held 0 shares.

About the company: AutoNation, Inc. retails, finances, and services new and used vehicles. T! he Compa ny also provides other related services and products, such as the sale of parts and accessories, extended service contracts, aftermarket automotive products, and collision repair services. AutoNation operates throughout the United States.

Competitors to Watch:?Group one Automotive, Inc. (NYSE:GPI), Penske Automotive Group, Inc. (NYSE:PAG), Sonic Automotive, Inc. (NYSE:SAH), Asbury Automotive Group, Inc. (NYSE:ABG), Copart, Inc. (NASDAQ:CPRT), CarMax, Inc (NYSE:KMX), Lentuo Intl. Inc (ADR) (NYSE:LAS), Lithia Motors, Inc. (NYSE:LAD), AutoChina Intl. Ltd. (NASDAQ:AUTC), General Motors (NYSE:GM), Toyota (NYSE:T), Ford (NYSE:F), CarMax (NYSE:KMX), AutoZone (NYSE:AZO) and America��s Car-Mart, Inc. (NASDAQ:CRMT).

Citigroup (C) Gets Back On Track

Shares in Citigroup (C) fell to close to $1 during the Latin American loan crisis in the 1970s. During the market difficulties beginning in 1987, the stock fell from $4.50 to $1.40 in 1990. The shares also lost more than half of their value during the market turmoil in late 1998.

But, each time Citi recovered. It may be hard to believe, but the bank’s shares hit an all-time high less than a year ago. They have now fallen about 50% to about $30, and, based on the strong possibility of more big write-offs, they could drop by half again to $15.

Citi began to get out in front of its problems yesterday. Instead of the future making the big bank, perhaps it is now ready to make its own future, at least within the confines of the markets and its own balance sheet.

The bank took on obligations for $47 billion worth of its affiliated SIVs. That will damage the bank’s capital base. Moody’s, already concerned about the company’s future, cuts its bond rating to Aa3, down a notch. "The bank will probably “take sizable writedowns” for securities backed by home mortgages and collateralized debt obligations, Moody’s Senior Vice President Sean Jones told Bloomberg.

Depending on which analyst Wall St. listens to, Citi could have another $10 billion in write-downs in the fourth quarter. David Hendler of CreditSights says it could take the bank two to five years to repair the damage to its balance sheet.

Investors may argue that if Citi shares get cheap enough another large bank like JP Morgan (JPM) may take them over. But, JPM is doing well now. It would be foolish to take on a repair job as tremendous as the one at Citigroup.

Citi may sell of some of its crowned jewels. It retail brokerage and wealth management businesses could be worth as much as $25 billion. Its investment bank could be worth even more.

The bank could also go to a group of sovereign government funds and raise money, as it has already done once. And, the Fed is ! already making moves to help money center banks. The help may increase in the form of low interest loans for financial institutions which need them. At Treasury, Paulson was willing to help build a "Super Fund" for SIVs. He activism on the part of banks is probably not over.

But, the board and new management are not wasting any time. They have started to begin to reshape the bank less than a week after finding a new CEO. Certainly the board has a big hand it this. The company got into trouble on their watch and they need to see it get out while most of them are still sitting board members.

Wall St. can’t make light of Citi’s troubles, but under Chuck Prince the company appeared unwilling to do anything to make itself better off.

Getting "better off" is already beginning at the big bank.

Douglas A. McIntyre

Russell Rebalancing To Prompt Big Liquidity Rise

Today will be the liquidity event of the year!

So sayeth Credit Suisse in a pre-market note to clients.

As we’ve mentioned here throughout the week and in previous notes, today is the annual Russell reconstitution. All changes take place on the close. Total gross trading is estimated to be about $28 billion,the firm told clients in US Trading Daily advisory.
Financials are net to buy in Russell 1000 and 2000. Over 900 names are estimated to have more than 1 day’s volume to trade.
– Steven Sears, Options Guru

More Data Against A Double-Dip Recession

If you have watched the ticker tape, July’s trading action is signaling much less of a chance of a true double-dip recession than what was being telegraphed during the gloom days throughout June.? Earnings season is so far off to a good start.? Stocks are rising with bond yields.? M&A is slowly coming back.? Bond spreads have ceased widening out.? In short, the double-dip recession is becoming a scenario that both the bond market and stock market are starting to throw out the window.

There are four solid fresh data points that argue against the notion of a real double-dip recession.? First, we gave 15 safety nets that are out there showing it is time to rethink the double-dip recession.? Secondly, Mike Tarsala over at Thomson Reuters has a quick and very detailed audio video showing that there have only really been 3 real double-dip recession scenarios in the last 160 years, with effectively none of the big catalysts in place today for a true double-dip recession.

Many of you will not want to hear this, but Jim Cramer has only helped to give a boost to the view on stocks.? Cramer said this week that the notion of a double-dip had gone too far, and he said stocks have seen their lows for the year.? This morning, the chief economist of The Conference Board showed that there are no signs of a “double dip” recession, although slower growth is expected for the rest of this year.

In the last eight trading days, the DJIA has risen almost 800 points from lows to highs today.? We have also seen the 30-Year Long Bond yield go from under 3.85% up to 4.10% in the same period, at a time when corporate and sovereign debt markets are seeing more bond issuances.

Late 2010 and into 2011 might not be the greatest period compared to some economic recoveries of the past.? To many it will still feel like recessionary trends are still there.? For the economy as a whole, the notion of a real double-dip recession is looking less and less likely.


The Worst Mistake People Make When Starting A Business

Whether you have an online business or offline business you must have a certain factor and element within you, in order to succeed in both productive and financially. Today, 95% and more of businesses popping out online and offline fail because of two vital important factors in a businessman or businesswoman. Those elements and factors a businessman or businesswoman should have are: Passion and a Plan.

You see, without passion you dont have enthusiasm and desire for achieving a task or a complete project. You may have the education and knowledge to partially have the business successfully financially, but not have it successfully for a lifetime the entrepreneurial style. In short and precise words, it is that simple. In a great example:

Let us say you are a Jet-Ski beach enthusiast and that you love going out camping with friends every time you have a Saturday and Sunday off. Do you think that desire and enthusiasm are the main factors of why you love having fun while going out with your friends for such event, or do you think both desire and enthusiasm are the elements that go primarily within the factor of passion?

The answer is: We as humans have a passion for keep doing things we love and keep doing as a habit. That brings our most of foremost important elements- the elements of enthusiasm and desire. So, in order to success in business you must have at first a passion, then after the most important elements for succeeding in business and in life itself such as desire and enthusiasm will come alive immediately within you. Such important factor and element are of most important for succeeding in business and in life for a lifetime. Nobody can take that away from you. You are the owner and master of your own passion for your business- you either have it or do not have it. If you have it, you are most likely to succeed faster and in better financial ways in both the short term and long term. If you do not have passion, you are most likely to fail both short term and long! term bo th in productive ways and financially.

You must assure yourself that every business, task and project you decide to start and develop, you apply the factor passion as the primary source for keeping you with the desire and enthusiasm to thrive your online and offline business. The second most important factor to always apply before starting a business would be- a plan. Another great read will be: The Greatest Factor People Fail To Do Before Starting A Business.

Harley Davidson Shares Aren't Going to Win Off the Line

Harley-Davidson (NYSE: HOG) said second-quarter earnings fell -91% from a year ago. The manufacture of iconic motorcycles said it earned $19.8 million, or 8 cents a share, versus last year's profit of $222.8 million, or 95 cents a share.

The results fell short of expectations. Analysts expected the Milwaukee-based company to earn $63.3 million, or $0.25 a share.

Harley said sales of new motorcycles fell by -30% from the same quarter in 2008. It lowered the number of bikes it expects to ship this year, from 273,000 to 228,000.


Shares of the company -- despite the lower results -- gained +6% in early-morning trading as investors applauded Harley's aggressive cost-cutting. The company said it would trim its workforce by 1,000.

Harley shares dipped just below $8 in March to set a 52-week low of $7.99. They've since recovered from that nadir, and the shares overall have outperformed the S&P 500 so far this year, advancing +9.4%. That was the ride to take.

Are there miles left in Harley shares? It depends on an investor's time frame. Historically, Harley trades at 12.6 times earnings. Its now at 7.8. That's a wider valuation decline than the overall market, which is off -7.9 from its five-year average. Assuming the nation recovers and consumers choose to make the 100% discretionary decision to buy a Harley, then shares in the leading motorcycle company likely, given enough time, have the horsepower to return to the $30-$40 range.

Whatever Happened to Gold?

As events in Europe have roiled the U.S. markets over the last month, one usually precious element of the market talk has been missing: gold.

“Whatever happened to gold?” asked an audience member at the Lipper Investment Series 2012 Outlook on Tuesday in New York. The panel talk included speakers from Merrill Lynch, Vanguard, Fidelity, T. Rowe Price and Columbia Management Investment Advisers.

Not one of them was bullish on bullion.

“We don’t see it as a long-term asset class,” responded Lisa Shalett, chief investment officer of Merrill Lynch Global Wealth Management. “It’s a hedge in your portfolio. Don’t get too excited about it. The minute you do, it will go the other way.”

Shalett advised investors to put no more than 5% to 7% of their assets into gold.

Colin Moore, CIO with Columbia, added that investors usually execute gold trades poorly, confusing it with the asset class of commodities. Prior to joining Columbia Management Group, Moore was CIO of global and international value equities and associate director of research at Putnam Investments.

Like Shalett, Moore said gold should simply be viewed as a small hedge, adding that the U.S. dollar is still seen by many as a safe haven.

The price of spot gold has followed a downward path over the last month, dropping to $1,708 per ounce on Tuesday from $1,782 on Nov. 7. On Tuesday, gold bulls faded after the U.S. dollar index held steady on Monday’s news that Standard & Poor’s threatened to downgrade the credit ratings of European Union countries, Kitco News reported Tuesday on

Although gold has declined in popularity over the last month, the precious metal is still a big seller in the world of exchange traded funds. The SPDR Gold Shares (GLD) ETF has complicated questions about gold since the ETF’s launch in 2004, according to Standard & Poor’s senior financial writer Vaughan Scully in a recent column at AdvisorOne.

Prior to the fund’s launch, Scully said, there really was no convenient way to invest in gold, so few investors owned it. “Those who wanted to speculate traded futures, and the true believers stashed coins in their attic,” Scully wrote. But now, he said, more than $2 billion in gold shares trade every day, making GLD the second largest U.S. ETF by assets.

Read Precious Metal from the December 2011 issue of Investment Advisor at

Momentum Ideas: 10 Highly Profitable Smart Money Picks on a Rally

Are you looking for stocks that have demonstrated an ability to surpass both industry peers and overall market performance? You're in luck, because for this list, we capitalized on the concept of "momentum investing" to find rallying companies that have also proved themselves more profitable than their competitors -- all while receiving favorable attention from institutional investors.

Momentum investing
Technical analysis -- which mostly focuses on past price and volume data -- is very different from the traditional methods of fundamental stock analysis, but it can offer an interesting perspective of where stocks are and where they may be going.

One of the most popular technical indicators is momentum -- the idea that recent trading trends for a stock may persist as more investors follow suit. For instance, a stock that is trading above its 20-day, 50-day, and 200-day moving averages (MA) is clearly surrounded by positive investor sentiment, and that idea may resound with investors for some time to come.

Additional screening
To increase the quality of our list, we ran an additional screen for those that have beaten out their competitors, based on gross, operating, and pre-tax profit margins over the last 12 months. Here's a quick breakdown of what that means:

  • TTM Gross margin: This metric tells us the percentage of a company's revenue that's left after paying the costs for production of inventory.
  • TTM Operating margin: This tells us the percentage remaining after all operating expenses are paid. Operating expenses include: supplies, repairs, research and development, and depreciation.
  • TTM Pre-tax margin: A company's earnings before taxes. This incorporates all of the expenses associated with business excluding taxes.

The list
We screened these highly profitable stocks on a rally for those with the highest net buying from institutional investors over the current quarter. Instituti! ons incl ude mutual funds, hedge funds, pensions, bank trust departments, and they often have access to more sophisticated research than the average investor.

If institutional investors start investing in a company, other investors can assume that some of the most talented analysts and money managers expect the company's share prices to increase over time.

The "smart money" thinks these profitable stocks have the momentum to push even higher -- do you?

List sorted by institutional buying. (Click here to access free, interactive tools to analyze these ideas.)

1. First Republic Bank (NYSE: FRC  ) : Provides private banking, private business banking, investment management, brokerage, trust services, and real estate lending services in California, Nevada, and New York. Market cap of $3.74B. Net institutional shares purchased over the current quarter at 20.2M, which is 37.57% of the company's 53.77M share float. TTM gross margin at 86.99% vs. industry gross margin at 71.27%. TTM operating margin at 60.41% vs. industry operating margin at 39.33%. TTM pre-tax margin at 42.67% vs. industry pre-tax margin at 22.51%. The stock is currently trading 2.73% above its 20-day MA, 8.8% above its 50-day MA, and 1.54% above its 200-day MA.

2. IPC The Hospitalist Company (Nasdaq: IPCM  ) : Provides hospitalist services in the United States. Market cap of $779.91M. Net institutional shares purchased over the current quarter at 1.6M, which is 10.03% of the company's 15.95M share float. TTM gross margin at 27.29% vs. industry gross margin at 21%. TTM operating margin at 10.46% vs. industry operating margin at 8.47%. TTM pre-tax margin at 10.28% vs. industry pre-tax margin at 6.80%. The stock is currently trading 7.64% above its 20-day MA, 14.94% above its 50-day MA, and 7.7% above its 200-day MA.

3. Hexcel (NYSE: HXL  ) : Engages in th! e develo pment, manufacture, and marketing of composites for use in the commercial aerospace, space and defense, and industrial applications. Market cap of $2.41B. Net institutional shares purchased over the current quarter at 8.5M, which is 8.72% of the company's 97.51M share float. TTM gross margin at 28.16% vs. industry gross margin at 25.81%. TTM operating margin at 12.45% vs. industry operating margin at 12.05%. TTM pre-tax margin at 11.60% vs. industry pre-tax margin at 7.26%. The stock is currently trading 2.03% above its 20-day MA, 3.32% above its 50-day MA, and 14.58% above its 200-day MA.

4. Saul Centers (NYSE: BFS  ) : Operates as a real estate investment trust in the United States. Market cap of $669.98M. Net institutional shares purchased over the current quarter at 577.2K, which is 7.22% of the company's 7.99M share float. TTM gross margin at 43.60% vs. industry gross margin at 38.85%. TTM operating margin at 43.60% vs. industry operating margin at 38.06%. TTM pre-tax margin at 18.11% vs. industry pre-tax margin at 15.70%. The stock is currently trading 2.65% above its 20-day MA, 0.72% above its 50-day MA, and 0.72% above its 200-day MA.

5. Select Comfort (Nasdaq: SCSS  ) : Develops, manufactures, markets, and supports adjustable-firmness beds and other sleep-related accessory products in the U. Market cap of $1.16B. Net institutional shares purchased over the current quarter at 3.5M, which is 6.94% of the company's 50.46M share float. TTM gross margin at 65.20% vs. industry gross margin at 37.95%. TTM operating margin at 11.66% vs. industry operating margin at 10.07%. TTM pre-tax margin at 11.65% vs. industry pre-tax margin at 9.33%. The stock is currently trading 4.32% above its 20-day MA, 12.42% above its 50-day MA, and 30.88% above its 200-day MA.

6. BE Aerospace (Nasdaq: BEAV  ) : Engages in the design, manufact! ure, sal e, and service of commercial aircraft and business jet cabin interior products worldwide. Market cap of $4.01B. Net institutional shares purchased over the current quarter at 6.3M, which is 6.57% of the company's 95.89M share float. TTM gross margin at 39.76% vs. industry gross margin at 25.79%. TTM operating margin at 17.17% vs. industry operating margin at 12.04%. TTM pre-tax margin at 11.83% vs. industry pre-tax margin at 7.08%. The stock is currently trading 2.57% above its 20-day MA, 7.79% above its 50-day MA, and 7.45% above its 200-day MA.

7. Astronics (Nasdaq: ATRO  ) : Designs and manufactures products for the aerospace and defense industries worldwide. Market cap of $446.52M. Net institutional shares purchased over the current quarter at 598.9K, which is 6.09% of the company's 9.84M share float. TTM gross margin at 27.60% vs. industry gross margin at 25.81%. TTM operating margin at 13.58% vs. industry operating margin at 12.05%. TTM pre-tax margin at 12.65% vs. industry pre-tax margin at 7.26%. The stock is currently trading 9.86% above its 20-day MA, 15.25% above its 50-day MA, and 31.09% above its 200-day MA.

8. Dril-Quip (NYSE: DRQ  ) : Designs, manufactures, fabricates, inspects, assembles, tests, and markets engineered offshore drilling and production equipment for use in deepwater, harsh environment, and severe service applications worldwide. Market cap of $2.95B. Net institutional shares purchased over the current quarter at 1.9M, which is 5.50% of the company's 34.54M share float. TTM gross margin at 44.36% vs. industry gross margin at 34.56%. TTM operating margin at 22.52% vs. industry operating margin at 17.99%. TTM pre-tax margin at 21.03% vs. industry pre-tax margin at 16.08%. The stock is currently trading 10.73% above its 20-day MA, 17.2% above its 50-day MA, and 9.18% above its 200-day MA.

9. Federal Realty Investment Trust (NYSE: FRT  ) : Operates as a real estate investment trust, which engages in the ownership, management, development, and redevelopment of retail and mixed-use properties. Market cap of $5.65B. Net institutional shares purchased over the current quarter at 2.8M, which is 4.45% of the company's 62.89M share float. TTM gross margin at 41.94% vs. industry gross margin at 38.85%. TTM operating margin at 41.94% vs. industry operating margin at 38.06%. TTM pre-tax margin at 24.26% vs. industry pre-tax margin at 15.70%. The stock is currently trading 2.48% above its 20-day MA, 4.09% above its 50-day MA, and 5.68% above its 200-day MA.

10. DuPont Fabros Technology (NYSE: DFT  ) : Engages in the ownership, acquisition, development, operation, management, and lease of large-scale data center facilities in the United States. Market cap of $1.50B. Net institutional shares purchased over the current quarter at 2.2M, which is 3.60% of the company's 61.06M share float. TTM gross margin at 69.74% vs. industry gross margin at 38.73%. TTM operating margin at 38.25% vs. industry operating margin at 37.94%. TTM pre-tax margin at 27.54% vs. industry pre-tax margin at 15.58%. The stock is currently trading 7.12% above its 20-day MA, 12.25% above its 50-day MA, and 3.76% above its 200-day MA.

Interactive Chart: Press Play to compare changes in analyst ratings over the last two years for the stocks mentioned above. Analyst ratings sourced from Zacks Investment Research.

Kapitall's Rebecca Lipman does not own any of the shares mentioned above. Institutional and profitability data sourced from Fidelity, all other data sou! rced fro m Finviz.

Payroll tax cut: What about Social Security?

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- In all the talk about whether to extend the Social Security payroll tax cut, a lot of the focus is on the economy: Will the recovery suffer if Congress lets it lapse?

Much less prominent in the discussion is the potential effect of the payroll tax cut on the Social Security trust funds.

Technically, it should have no effect.

While the tax cut would reduce revenue flowing into Social Security, the Treasury Department would credit the trust funds -- dollar-for-dollar -- with the money that would go into workers' pockets. It would then simultaneously deduct that amount from the government's general revenue fund.

In other words, the Social Security trust funds would be made whole.

"We estimate that the projected level of the [program's Old Age and Disability] trust funds would be unaffected," Social Security Chief Actuary Stephen Goss wrote in a letter this week to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and White House budget director Jacob Lew.

Billionaires with 1% tax rates

Senate Democrats want to extend the payroll tax cut into 2012 and expand it so that workers would only pay 3.1% of their first $110,100 in wages into Social Security, down from 4.2% today and well below the 6.2% normal rate. Senate Republicans have simply proposed extending the 4.2% rate.

Either way, the same revenue-transfer principle would apply.

Goss also noted that workers' future Social Security benefits would be unaffected because workers would be credited as if they paid the full 6.2% despite getting the payroll tax holiday.

But critics of the payroll tax holiday are worried about the precedent it sets.

"Social Security was not established to be a source of 'temporary' stimulus funds. The idea that its payroll tax rate should be moved up and down with economic events is highly dangerous to the program's financial future," Chuck Blahous, a public trustee for Social Security and Medicare, said in a statement.

Blahous! and oth ers argue that the more Social Security is seen as a program that must rely on general tax revenue, the less it will be viewed as a self-financed program that pays out earned benefits.

"Social Security will gradually be turned into something more akin to welfare, for which the funding is provided not solely by ... workers but also by a subsidy funded by those subject to income tax," Blahous said. 

Tourist Information And A Brief Guide Of Central London Children

If planning a visit to London, one can find a great deal of information both online and off when looking for Tourist Information And A Brief Guide Of Central London. To find such information, one can either visit a local travel office or research such information online. To look online, simply type central London tourist information into any search engine and explore the displayed results.

As most individuals know, the most popular tourist sight in London by far is most likely that of clock and bell tower; What some people do not realize however, is that the name Big Ben refers to the bell not the clock. Regardless, it can make for an excellent adventure while visiting the city.

While many people focus on the top paid tourist sights, there are also many free sights as well. For example, the famous British Museum holds works from prehistoric times to the present day. These artifacts come from all around the world. While entry is fee, as is the case with most other museums, special exhibitions may have a nominal charge.

One can find out more information on the admission and hours of each museum by checking the website of the museums one is most interested in visiting while in the city. To do so, one can type museums of London into any web browser’s search engine and read through the listings to find the museums in which one is most interested.

In addition, while museums are quite fun and informative, one may want to make a point of seeing at least the London Eye. For, from the top one can see a great many landmarks and can then decide which one, one may be most interested in visiting first hand. Otherwise, the London Eye also offers great views of the London skyline. As the visit generally takes only thirty minutes, one can save a great deal of time and money in relation to other attractions by doing so.

While at the top overlooking London, one may want to use the opportunity to decide which landmarks one may want to visit while in London. For, in doing so, one can sa! ve a gre at deal of time by gazing at those which one simply can see from afar, while planning to visit the others first hand. In doing so, one can see as many landmarks as possible during the time one has to spend in the city.

London is a great city for history buffs as well as tourists. If one is such a history enthusiast, Madame Tussauds is not to be missed. This is because one can come face to face with Shakespeare, Brittney and other famous figures of the past. In addition, if one enjoys interactive exhibits one can strike a penalty with Rooney or experience an audience with the Queen, which can often be a once in a lifetime experience.

In addition to the many attractions and other tourist sights, one may also want to take time to visit the many palaces in and around London. Also, the Yeoman Warders surrounds one of the most fortified buildings of the world. A building which has served many purposes over time. This building and its nine hundred year old history includes use as a palace, prison, execution chamber, fortress, arsenal, mint, jewel house and menagerie. So, regardless of one’s interest, this building often holds something of interest for anyone visiting London.

So, as one can see, there is something of interest for most anyone visiting London. In order to discover the sights one may most enjoy in the city, there are many brochures and websites which can allow one to plan such visits in advance. To find this information, one can either visit a local travel agent or look online. Both of which can provide a great deal of information to those both living in and visiting London. So whether obtains tourist information and a brief guide to central London either online or off, one can save a great many hours with which to explore the city by doing so.

Find the right window cleaning service in central London by searching online. There are many fabulous cleaners out there to help you with that job. Head online now and find one.

Does OPEC See A Recession?

The people at OPEC are funny. They see no reason to cut oil prices. Their analysis is that global economic growth is slowing which will cut demand for crude. So, why drop prices?

According to Reuters "OPEC, in its December Monthly Oil Market Report, estimated world economies will grow by 4.8 percent next year, down from 5.2 percent in 2007, and said there were "considerable downside risks" to the outlook."

It is the kind of tortured logic that the cartel can use when it has the oil consuming nations over a barrel. But, it is only partially true.

There may be a slowing of oil consumption in the US and Europe, but it is almost certain that China will continue to use up crude at an alarming rate as it does what it can to keep growth at a 10% level. The government there will continue to underwrite oil costs so that gas and diesel will stay cheap. In other words, businesses and consumers in China will not feel the pinch of higher oil costs. Normal supply and demand metrics will not apply there.

And, there is amble evidence that big oil producers like Saudi Arabia and Mexico are using more of the oil they produce because of growth in their own countries. Rising car and truck ownership married with big build-outs in infrastructure are already eating into the portion of production that they export as opposed to what they use at home.

There may be a recession, but it will not cut demand for crude. Rather, the demand for crude will be part of the cause.

Douglas A. McIntyre

(PIR, CLNO, UHS) Stocks to Watch by

Pier 1 Imports, Inc (NYSE:PIR) is hosting a store event for shareholders and members of the buy- and sell-side analyst community later this morning at its newly remodeled Pier 1 Imports store located at 71 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, New York, during which members of the management team will provide a general update on the Company’s business. In anticipation of this event, the Company announced that based on current sales and merchandise margin trends, earnings per share are anticipated to be at least $0.18 per share for the third quarter ending November 26, 2011.

Pier 1 Imports, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, operates as an importer and specialty retailer of imported decorative home furnishings and gifts in the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

Cleantech Transit Inc. (CLNO)

Cleantech Transit Inc. was founded to capitalize on technology advances and manufacturing opportunities in the growing clean energy public transportation sector. The Company has expanded its focus to invest directly in specific green projects that could maximize shareholder value. Recognizing the many economic and operational advances of converting wood waste into renewable sources of energy, Cleantech Transit Inc. has selected to invest in Phoenix Energy (

Biomass used as a fuel reduces the need for fossil fuels for the production of heat, steam, and electricity for residential, industrial and agricultural use. Biomass is always available and can be produced as a renewable resource. Biomass fuel from agriculture wastes maybe a secondary product that adds value to agricultural crops.

Cleantech Transit, Inc. (CLNO) is pleased to announce it has met its funding requirement to secure the Company’s ability to earn in 25% of the 500KW Merced Project.

The Company is in the final stages of closing its initial interest in the Merced Project and is currently working on completing the necess! ary docu mentation and expects closing the transaction soon. As previously announced Cleantech has the option to earn up to 40% of the Merced Project and the Company plans to continue to work towards increasing its interest in the Merced Project as they move ahead.

Biomass does not add carbon dioxide to the atmosphere as it absorbs the same amount of carbon in growing as it releases when consumed as a fuel. Its advantage is that it can be used to generate electricity with the same equipment or power plants that are now burning fossil fuels. Biomass is an important source of energy and the most important fuel worldwide after coal, oil and natural gas.

For more information about Cleantech Transit Inc., visit

Universal Health Services Inc. (NYSE:UHS) announced that Steve Filton , Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer will present at the Lazard Capital Markets Health Care Conference in New York City on Tuesday, November 15, 2011 at 3:30 P.M. EST .

Universal Health Services, Inc., through its subsidiaries, owns and operates acute care hospitals, behavioral health centers, surgical hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, and radiation oncology centers.

Invacare Shares Got Crushed: What You Need to Know

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of Invacare (NYSE: IVC  ) fell more than 25% on heavy volume after revealing that the Food and Drug Administration is proposing sanctions that would temporarily shutter some operations. The company says it will pursue talks with the agency in an effort to resolve the matter.

So what: According to a company press release, the FDA has issued a consent decree relating to previously observed violations at Invacare's corporate headquarters and a wheelchair-manufacturing facility in Ohio. Regulators are seeking an injunction until the violations are addressed.

Now what: The news comes at an awful time for Invacare, which had been building a national network for renting equipment for long-term care. Now those plans may have to be put on hold. Do you agree? Would you buy shares of Invacare or any of its peers at current prices? Please weigh in using the comments box below.

The Biggest Corporate Layoffs of All Time

Eleven American companies have laid off a total of nearly 600,000 people in the past two decades. Each also fired a large number of employees at one time to earn it a place among the largest corporate layoffs in modern American history.

According to?information 24/7 Wall St. has reviewed, large layoffs are almost exclusively the result of two conditions. They happen in industries near the end of their most successful periods, or because of difficult economic conditions.

24/7 Wall St. took data from Challenger Gray & Christmas, which cover layoffs over the past several years. We examined the data by individual company. Some companies fired so many people in one instance that it was enough for them to make the list. In other cases, a company had two or three layoffs that made it qualify. We excluded companies that completely folded.

Two recessions accounted for many of the layoffs. The first was in the 2001 to 2002 period. The other was the deeper downturn of 2007 to 2009. Most of the layoffs not caused by recessions happened because companies in shrinking industries downsized their operations. The automotive sector is one such example. Ford, General Motors and Chrysler are all on this list. So are several banks, which were part of the consolidation as the financial industry shrunk after the 2007 credit crisis.

One case that stands out among those on the list is that of the U.S. Postal System. The USPS has cut 90,000 people in three layoffs over the past two decades. It has said it needs to cut another 28,000 people soon because the service loses billions of dollars each year. Unlike most of the other corporations on this list, technology and competition have destroyed the postal system's future. It is easy to make the case that USPS layoffs will continue for several years.

This is the 24/7 Wall St. list of the "Largest U.S. Company Layoffs Ever." It is a good snapshot of what happened in the American economy over the past 20 years as two recessions and a transformation! of seve ral industries changed the employment landscape significantly.

4 Hot Stocks on Our Radar: Apple Shares Struggle, Disney Pops 6%, and E*Trade Cancels Sell Order

Despite a large rally on Friday, shares of Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) continue to lag behind.? Shares closed .16% lower, and continue to edge down in late trading.? On the positive, it only took the iPhone 4S three hours to sell out in Hong Kong.? Shares are down 3.9% over the past month.? Competitors include: Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT).

After reporting strong earnings, Disney (NYSE:DIS) shares closed 5.95% higher.? After the closing bell, shares continue to edge .14% higher.? Net income for the entertainment company rose to $1.09 billion (58 cents per share), compared to $835 million (43 cents per share) in the same quarter a year earlier. This marks a rise of 30.2% from the year earlier quarter.? Competitors include: CBS (NYSE:CBS), Viacom (NYSE:VIA), and Time Warner (NYSE:TWX).

Investing Insights: The Walt Disney Company Earnings Cheat Sheet: Rising Revenue Helps Margins Expand, Profit Rises.

Shares of E*Trade (NASDAQ:ETFC) closed 4.11% lower after the brokerage cancelled its own sell order.? After exploring a number of strategic alternatives, E*Trade announced that it will remain independent.? On Thursday, E*Trade��s board of directors made the decision to withdraw from selling the company. It had been working with Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) as their financial adviser, and the bank had recommended they cease the selling process.? Shares are down .22% after the closing bell.

CME Group Inc. (NASDAQ:CME) climbed 1.33% higher on Friday after announcing it pledged $300 million to help speed up the release of customer cash and collateral that is trapped in the bankruptcy of MF Global.? “We recognize that the U.S. Bankruptcy Code requires the trustee to account for all customer assets and claims to ensure a fair, pro-rata distribution of those assets, and w! e sincer ely appreciate how complex this task is for the Trustee,” said Craig Donohue, chief executive of CME, in a statement.

Car sales could be strongest since 'Clunkers'

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- American car buyers were out in force in November, with U.S. automakers leading the way to the best month for auto sales since 2009's "Cash for Clunkers" program.

Industry sales rose 13.9%, according to sales tracker Autodata. That resulted in an annual sales pace of 13.6 million vehicles when making a seasonal adjustment -- the best sales pace since August 2009, the month the government's Clunkers program paid buyers who were trading in older, gas-guzzling cars and trucks.

Excluding the Clunkers spike, it was the best month since before the financial market meltdown in September 2008.

Industry experts said buyers appear ready to finally look past the various uncertainties in the general economy and start buying cars once again.

"In the past, consumers were simply waiting and postponing big ticket purchases until the dust settles. Now they are realizing that the dust isn't going to settle any time soon and they have to make the most prudent buying decision," said Jesse Toprak, analyst with TrueCar.

Toprak and other analysts believe the November sales momentum should be able to continue into December and throughout most of 2012. There are numerous forecasts of sales in the 13.5 million rate next year. Even with a good December, this year's sales are likely to be about a million below that target.

Pickup trucks had a particularly good month, with a 21.7% gain for the segment. But buyers didn't totally ignore fuel economy, despite falling gas prices. Small-car sales rose 14.5%, and some fuel economy leaders had particularly strong months.

The electric-powered Chevrolet Volt had its best sales yet despite reports of a safety investigation involving post-crash test fires. Still GM finally admitted Thursday that with total sales of 6,241 so far, the Volt will not reach its first year sales target of 10,000.

November sales gains were led by domestic automakers, which are in position to all gain market share in the sam! e year f or the first time in decades.

The big winner this month was Chrysler Group, where sales soared 45%.

"Chrysler is getting back to where they should have been all along," said Todd Lassa, Detroit editor of Motor Trend. "That's a good thing but they really only had one direction to go."

General Motors (GM, Fortune 500) reported sales up 6.9% from a year earlier, while Ford Motor (F, Fortune 500) sales jumped 13.3%.

GM's retail sales to consumers were much stronger than its overall gain, up 15% from a year ago. Fleet sales, which are typically less profitable, fell 14%, driven by a drop twice that large in sales to rental car companies.

Ford said its retail sales jumped 20%, while Chrysler said its retail sales were 51% above a year ago.

Toyota Motor (TM), whose sales have been hurt by supply problems since the earthquake and tsunami in March, posted a 6.7% gain in sales, its best gain since February. 

Power Integrations Slips; Deutsche Bank Downgrades To Hold

Power Integrations (POWI) shares are trading lower after Deutsche Bank analyst Ross Seymore this morning cut his rating on the chip maker’s shares to Hold from Buy on a valuation basis.

“While we remain positive on POWI’s near-term fundamentals, and long-term growth prospects, we believe these positive attributes are fairly reflected in the company’s current valuation,” he writes. Seymore keeps his price target at $40; the stock closed last week at $41.36.

Meanwhile, the market is largely ignoring a more bullish note on the company from Needham analyst Vernon Essi, who repeated his Buy rating on the stock this morning, while lifting his price target to $46, from $30. “We continue to believe that POWI is taking share in energy efficiency design implementations and the overall market is on a significant uptrend,” he writes. “And while the shares have performed well over the past couple of months along with the rest of the sector, we believe that P/E expansion is warranted.”

POWI is down $1.02, or 2.5%, to $40.34.

Bush Tax Cuts: How to Profit From the Compromise Tax Deal In 2011

With a compromise agreement that extends the Bush tax cuts for two more years, the Obama administration has given investors what they wanted - but not what they needed.

The compromise tax deal was signed into law by U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday, and continues to draw fire from critics on both sides of the political aisle. The $858 billion tax package isn't paid for. In fact, it actually costs more than the controversial Obama stimulus plan that has been criticized for having little measurable impact - even as it caused the budget deficit and the U.S. debt burden to explode.

And yet, investors have been cheered by the deal.

Near term, that's an acceptable perception. But in the long run, some very real problems loom. Investors who ignore those problems will take a real beating - and it will be self-inflicted. But investors who prepare for the inevitable will actually improve their positions: They'll not only protect themselves, they will profit.

Details of the Deal

By extending the Bush tax cuts, President Obama and the U.S. Congress have effectively given U.S. taxpayers ice cream, when what they really needed was spinach.

True enough, in the near-term, there probably are some bright spots. Further out, however, some real problems loom. That means some very tough decisions will have to be made starting next year - and for years to come.

The tax deal signed into law Friday extends the entire Bush-tax-cuts package for two more years, introduces a one-year 2% payroll tax cut and prolongs the 99-week extended unemployment benefits for another year.

Due to these measures, the U.S. budget deficit is increased over the next two years by about $900 billion over its expected figure, adding to America's debt problem and possibly "crowding out" small businesses from the bond markets even more than they already are.

! In the near term, however, the tax cut is stimulative, much more so than the similarly sized "stimulus" package of 2009. Despite their similar sizes, the tax-cut and Obama-stimulus packages are very different animals.

The tax-cut package actually puts money directly into taxpayers' pockets (except for the ethanol subsidies Congress is adding to the package - an unfortunate move that's a topic of discussion for another time).

On the other hand, the Obama stimulus diverts capital resources away from taxpayers to the most inefficient bits of government (at the federal, state and local levels). Since taxpayers know what they want, that money is spent efficiently, adding to the efficiency of the economy as a whole.

To the extent the tax cuts get saved or invested, they help U.S. capital formation, which is much too low for long-term growth. So the market is right in regarding this "stimulus" as bullish in the short term.

Indeed, economic growth in 2011 should be 0.5% to 1.0% higher than it would have been without it. So if you must expand the federal deficit to provide short-term stimulus to the economy, tax cuts are a much more effective way of doing so than government spending, because they don't sap the economy's economic efficiency.

We all know how inefficient the federal government can be, when it comes to spending. But there's now mounting evidence of a budgetary disaster blossoming at the state level, too. (Readers interested in hearing more about this should check out CBS News' excellent story, "State Budgets: The Day of Reckoning," which appeared in Sunday's edition of that network's "60 Minutes" TV news magazine.)

And Now, the Bad News ...

We've demonstrated how tax cuts can be better than a stimulus. But there's a "bad news" element to the tax cuts, too. And just how "bad" this bad news ends up being hinges on what Congress chooses to do in the New Year.

If Congres! s ignore s the need to do something about the deficit, long-term interest rates will rise, damaging the housing market and crimping capital investment. What's more, the outlook for 2012 and later, when the boost from stimulus has gone, would then be for a return of 1970s style "stagflation" - with gold and other commodities prices rising to record levels.

In other words: the possibility of $5,000-an-ounce gold - which we've told you about many times here in the pages of Money Morning - is becoming very real.

If, on the other hand, Congress gets serious about making cuts in public spending in 2011 - and by "serious" I mean annual reductions of at least $150 billion (about 1% of gross domestic product, or GDP) - then the initial economic boost will be followed by a gradual restoration of the economy to full health, as purchasing power is restored to the private sector.

That's the way to navigate this portion of the financial-crisis rebound.

If U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke were to increase savings by raising interest rates, the U.S, economy could over a few years return to full health.

Unfortunately, that's probably too much to ask. Without Bernanke increasing rates, inflation and inadequate savings are likely to remain problems, but the system would nevertheless be stable with no chance of a Greece-style blowout. In my estimation, the probability of either of these outcomes is more than 20%.

Most of the elements in the tax-cut-plan - like the continuation of the Bush tax cuts and the 99 weeks of unemployment insurance - represent "business as usual" as far as Washington and the U.S. economy are concerned.

The 2% payroll tax cut is new, but I must confess that I'm stumped when it comes to thinking of a way to invest in it. So we'll have to invest instead in the likely macroeconomic effects of the entire package. You'll find the strategy in the "actions-to-take"! section that follows.

Before we talk about those recommendations, however, permit one final comment. When I look back over the route that we've traveled as we made our escape from the depths of the financial crisis - and then look at the journey to come, I can offer one piece of advice with a lot of confidence.

Enjoy the tax reductions in 2011. For they will be the last ones we'll see for a long time to come.

Actions to Take: Given that the extension of the Bush-tax-cuts package is likely to increase the deficit, we can expect an increase in long-term interest rates.

To play that, the best vehicle is the ProShares Ultrashort Barclays/Lehman 20-year Treasury Bond Index Exchange-Traded Fund (NYSE: TBT). This invests in a U.S. Treasury bond futures short position. In theory, for every 1% the prices of long-dated Treasuries decline, the ETF's share price would increase 2%.

Like all leveraged short funds, it has a problem with rebalancing - its hedge ratio goes askew as the underlying futures bounce up and down. Thus, over the past two years, while interest rates have remained approximately constant, it has lost about 15% of its value. However, for short-term holdings - to take advantage of possibly rapid increases in interest rates - it is perfectly adequate. A 7.5% annual "tracking error" is by no means excessive for these funds.

The other way to play this is to expect inflation, and buy commodities. You can do this directly on the Big Board (the New York Stock Exchange) by purchasing shares of the ETFs linked to commodities.

The main gold ETF [the SPDR Gold Trust (NYSE: GLD)] and its counterpart for silver [the iShares Silver Trust (NYSE: SLV)] are well known. And as those two precious metals have zoomed in price - silver prices have doubled in the last 18 months - they have treated their investors quite! well.
But don't end your search there. There are ETFs for palladium [the ETFS Physical Palladium Fund (NYSE: PALL)] and for platinum [the ETFS Physical Platinum Shares (NYSE: PPLT) ETF]. Platinum, by the way, is a metal whose potential I happen to like a lot.

A new copper ETF [the ETFS Physical Copper Fund (LON: PHCU)] has debuted in London, though it doesn't trade in New York.

The best way to play copper is probably one of the copper mine ETFs - for example, the First Trust ISE Global Copper Index ETF (NASDAQ: CU).

This fund would provide investors with a play on inflation, on rapid economic growth in emerging markets, and on the serious physical supply situation in copper, where several large mines are drying up and new major capacity is not due until 2015.

That's a winner all the way around.

Here's What This 250% Gainer Is Buying

At The Motley Fool, we understand that it often pays to zig when Wall Street zags, but that doesn't mean that we don't pay attention to what leading fund managers are buying and selling. And funds that aren't always in lockstep with the broader market can be a particularly valuable source of insight.

Every quarter, fund managers overseeing more than $100 million must disclose their quarter-end holdings publicly by filing Securities and Exchange Commission Form 13-F. The form lists all U.S.-traded securities the manager held at the end of the quarter. Although the form doesn't disclose the manager's short positions or the manager's intraquarter trades, it can shine a bright light on his or her "long" stock bets.

Q3 2011 update
Paulson & Co. was founded in 1994 by John Paulson. This hedge fund sponsor has specialized in merger arbitrage, among other things, profiting when one company buys or merges with another (or merely announces plans to do so). It has grown into one of the largest hedge fund companies in the world.

Is Paulson really worth paying attention to, though? Well... yeah. According to the folks at, Paulson gained about 250% in the first decade of this century, compared with just 16% for the S&P 500.

The total market value of Paulson & Co.'s disclosed equity holdings as of Sept. 30, 2011 -- the latest quarter for which data is available -- was $20.7 billion. The company's 10 largest positions and associated changes in portfolio weight as of Sept. 30, 2011 were:

SPDR Gold Trust (NYSE: GLD  ) ?-- reduced 35%.
AngloGold Ashanti (NYSE: AU  ) ?-- reduced 8%.
Anadarko Petroleum (NYSE: APC  ) ?-- reduced 15%.
Capital One Financial (NYSE: COF  ) ?-- increased 5%.
Transocean (! NYSE: RIG  ) ?-- reduced 13%.
Citigroup (NYSE: C  ) ?-- reduced 25%.
Hartford Financial Services (NYSE: HIG  ) ?-- reduced 4%.
Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC  ) ?-- reduced 29%.
SunTrust Banks (NYSE: STI  ) ?-- reduced 5%.
XL Group (NYSE: XL  ) ?-- reduced 16%.

During the quarter, Paulson also increased its position in Mylan, among others. Among the stocks that it reduced its exposure to were Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ  ) and Family Dollar, while it sold out its entire position in companies such as NetApp and JPMorgan Chase.

The drop in gold may be due to a growing belief among some that gold's rapid ascent in recent years has been a bubble -- though, of course, others project continued growth. The reduction in Hewlett-Packard may puzzle some, as the stock seems very undervalued on many measures. But its board of directors has repelled many, too, with a variety of boneheaded moves.

Selected Q3 2011 commentary
Paulson & Co. has the majority of its assets in financials and basic materials stocks. Paulson loaded up on the financial sector after the credit crisis and has been gradually shrinking its share. Note that despite Paulson's sell-off of gold-related assets, its top two holdings are both tied to gold.

Here's where the firm has been winning and losing and making new bets:

Recent winner
Natural gas storage and transportation company Southern Union may not seem like a winner for Paulson, staying essentially flat over the quarter, but remember that it was a tough quarter overall, w! ith the S&P 500 sinking by about 14%. Over the past year, the stock is up about 80%, mostly due to news that it's being bought out by Energy Transfer Equity. Southern Union has a four-star (out of five stars) rating at Motley Fool CAPS.

Recent loser
There were many losers in the quarter, such as Transocean, down about 25%. Keeping the stock suppressed to some degree is uncertainty over the price it will pay for its involvement in the huge Gulf oil spill. Its new association with another oil spill hasn't helped its cause, either. Still, the company has a five-star rating in Motley Fool CAPS.

New bets
One interesting new holding is InterDigital (Nasdaq: IDCC  ) , which is drawing investors thanks to its solid revenue growth, much of which comes from licensing fees. It's been growing faster than rival Qualcomm (Nasdaq: QCOM  ) , in fact, and some see it as a possible takeover target. InterDigital has a four-star rating at Motley Fool CAPS.

We should never blindly copy any investor's moves, no matter how talented the investor. But it can be useful to keep an eye on what smart folks are doing. 13-F forms can be great places to find intriguing candidates for our portfolios.

Looking for promising investments? Here are "5 Stocks With Explosive Potential" and "4 Stocks as Cheap as They've Ever Been." Stock Report! 7/17/09, ALNY, NTMI, AOS, BAC, BCRX, PRGX Stock Report!

Friday July 17, 2009

Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: ALNY), a leading RNAi therapeutics company, announced today that Novartis has elected to extend the company’s RNAi therapeutics collaboration for a fifth and final planned year, through October 2010. The landmark alliance was initiated in October 2005 and is focused on the discovery, development, and commercialization of RNAi therapeutics toward a defined number of Novartis-selected disease gene targets.

NT Media Corp. ( (OTCBB: NTMI), a developer and operator of media and social networking websites, has added a real-time Twitter Tracker Feed to its targeted social network dedicated to the discussion and networking among single fathers at The network is equipped with text, photos, videos, blogs, forums and extensive social networking enabling single fathers to share resources, ideas, thoughts, and aspects of their social lives.

A. O. Smith Corporation (NYSE:AOS) today announced second quarter net earnings of $21.3 million or $0.84 per share on sales of $498.7 million. Included in earnings was a positive tax adjustment of $1.9 million relating to its Chinese water products business.

Bank of America Corporation (NYSE: BAC) today reported second-quarter 2009 net income of $3.2 billion. After deducting preferred dividends of $805 million, including $713 million paid to the U.S. government, diluted earnings per share were $0.33.

BioCryst Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: BCRX) today announced positive results from two Phase 3 studies of intravenous (i.v.) peramivir in patients with seasonal inf! luenza. The studies were sponsored by BioCryst’s partner Shionogi & Co., Ltd. of Osaka, Japan and conducted during the 2008-2009 influenza season. Shionogi and Green Cross Corporation, the license holder of peramivir in Korea, co-conducted the portion of the studies in Korea.

PRG-Schultz International, Inc. (Nasdaq: PRGX) today announced that its UK subsidiary has acquired the business and assets of First Audit Partners LLP (”FAP”), a privately-held European provider of recovery audit services based in Cambridge, England. The business and assets of FAP are expected to be fully integrated into PRG-Schultz’s European operations and will expand the growing list of major European retailers to whom PRG-Schultz provides services.

GE’s Immelt–A Strategic Retreat

Three weeks ago, GE (NYSE: GE) CEO Jeff Immelt made a uncharacteristic attack on China’s business policies."I am not sure that in the end they want any of us to win, or any of us to be successful." Those “any of us” is the large multinationals of the West.

Immelt softened his comments, and even came close to repudiating them. It has almost certain that he now agrees with his own PR people who said that he did not really mean what he said about China. They tried to change public perceptions about the remarks within hours after they were made.It is a shame that Immelt has tried to cover his tracks and now says that his comments were taken out of context. He has quickly moved on to GE’s launch of a $200 million clean energy fund to help the growth of green initiatives. It is part of GE’s odd “ecomagination” that goes with its “healthomagination”. They are screens for GE’s plans to make money on the greening of the world, and in the growth in? healthcare spending. Immelt hid behind his green program to shift the focus away from his China rant.

Immelt knows full well that his? China comments were right. China forces US companies to conform to Chinese standards for internet freedom, the distribution of media content, the sale of IT products to the government or offering new technology for the country’s aging wireless infrastructure.

No multinational CEO, in the privacy of their offices and out of earshot of the press,? would? say that China is a level playing field. China keeps American companies at bay with both arcane regulations and a yuan that still helps its exports advantages unnaturally.

There is a growing concern about China’s unfair way of treating America’s big companies. But, there are no set of sanctions to bring China to some level of fair trade. The rhetoric does not bother the Chinese nor should it. America is too busy being fair to be smart. Immelt, like most oth! er CEOs and politicians, is too cautious for his own good.

Douglas A. McIntyre

Jamie Dimon… Hopeful On Dividends & Buybacks In 2010 (JPM)

Jamie Dimon of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) is well-known for being outspoken.? At a Goldman Sachs financial conference today, Mr. Dimon spoke out with his usual wording which some believe makes for boisterous soundbites in the media.? If you read our outlook for DJIA component dividend hikes recently, you already knew what to expect on the dividend (and buyback) front.

Dimon’s presentation is one that the current slump in investment banking and in the world of trading may be more cyclical (temporary) rather than secular (permanent).? Many will disagree with this notion.? Some will agree.? He believes that the investment banking is a solid business and that demand will return. He even believes (or is communicating) that there will be twice as much capital to invest in the next decade.

The internal belief is that the bank, which is America’s strongest bank by capital and credit metrics of the money-center and super-regional?banks, could buy back up to $8 billion in stock in 2012 if the new more harsh stress tests are applied systemwide.? He also talked about making a return for shareholders, something that many are still hoping for when you consider the price drops that have been seen in 2011 and considering the deep discounts to book value.? Dimon is looking to lightly boost the dividend next year if allowed.

Where this gets interesting is that Dimon was again knocking the regulatory environment.? He also noted that he has increased some exposure to Europe since the end of the last quarter.

The market today is voting for Jamie Dimon and against the powers that be.? J.P. Morgan shares are trading up about 2.3% at $33.98 on the day. The bank’s presentation page is here.


Young Adults Know How to Fake It

When human interaction stands in the way of a solitary moment, 30% of young adults pretend to use their phones.

It sounds like a crazy concept. ��Why would someone want to avoid human interaction?�� But in addition to the shy, reclusive or loner types, there are times when we all wish we could avoid other (perhaps select) humans. Right? Or am I simply a part of the 30%...?

Actually, I'm not. I have not pretended to use my cell phone to avoid nearby humans (I simply leave the room), but according to this Pew Internet and American Life Project survey (via Mashable), many adults age 18-29 have done just that.

Interestingly, nearly 1/3 of users actually turn their phones off for a period of time just to get a break!

I do that too �C just before the movie starts. When the credits roll, I turn the phone back on and get back to my ��connected�� life.

Follow me @LouisBedigian

Unemployment claims drop to 9-month low

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- The number of Americans filing for first-time unemployment benefits fell to a nine-month low, signaling a bright spot in the tough employment environment.

There were 381,000 initial jobless claims filed in the week ended Dec. 3, the Labor Department said Thursday. That was down 23,000 from the prior week's 402,000 jobless claims and the lowest level since February 26.

A level below 400,000 often signals job growth strong enough to lower the unemployment rate, many economists say.

But the numbers could have been affected by seasonal adjustments for the Thanksgiving holiday, according to Ian Shepherdson, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics.

"You should probably expect a modest rebound next week," Shepherdson said in a research note. "Thanksgiving seasonals are tricky and the Labor Dept says they flattered the numbers."

But Shepherdson says the overall trend is pointing toward job growth. "We expect claims to head slowly downwards for the foreseeable future, and in due course payroll growth will accelerate," he said.

Meanwhile continuing claims -- which include Americans filing for their second week of claims or more -- fell 174,000 to 3,583,000 in the week ended Nov. 26 -- the lowest level since September 2008.

As the European debt crisis continues to weigh on world markets, investors are looking for strength in the U.S. economy, and the surprise drop in Americans filing for first-time unemployment benefits isn't the first optimistic report. Last week, the Labor Department reported that the unemployment rate dropped to 8.6% in November -- its lowest since March 2009 and a sharp improvement from 9.0% in October. 

Cramer's 'Mad Money' Recap: Negative Eurozone Vibes (Final)

"The good news appear to have run out," Jim Cramer warned his "Mad Money" TV show viewers Thursday after disappointing news out of Europe caused an abrupt about-face in U.S. markets.

Cramer said the European Central Bank dropped the ball today, and unless something surprising happens Friday, he's going to have no choice but to raise his threat assessment of the markets to DEFCON 2.

Cramer explained that there are a lot of things the ECB could have said today, such as backstopping all sovereign debt bonds, dropping interest rates to just 0.25%, or reassuring the markets that another Lehman-style collapse is not in the cards. But Cramer said that instead the ECB once again showed us their lack of a credible plan. "This war cannot be won on a single front," said Cramer.

Cramer said with so much capital needing to be raised in the first quarter of 2012, his threat assessment will indeed be raised tomorrow unless something substantial is announced. He once again encouraged investors to sell all bank stocks and stick with only high-yielding companies, as even the end-of-year hedge fund buying will be enough to counter major bank collapses in Europe.

There were some bright spots in the market however. Cramer noted that Costco (COST) disappointed as expected, making that stock worth buying if it gets hit again tomorrow. He said that Enterprise Product Partners (EPD), one if his favorite master limited partnerships, issued nine million shares today, which knocked that stock down to attractive levels. Cramer also said he still likes McDonald's (MCD), which posted great same-store sales numbers in of all places, Europe.

"We await more news from Europe," Cramer concluded, "and while the Europeans should be worried about recession and collapse, they still seem to be fighting inflation."

No Starbucks


In the Thursday "Sell Block" segment, Cramer responded to a question he received @JimCramer on Twitter regarding Teavana Holdings (TEA), a stock that many liken to the next Starbucks (SBUX). After a red-hot IPO in July that soared from $17 a share to $29, shares of Teavana have fallen 40% to below their IPO price.

So is Teavana the next Starbucks? Cramer said not even close. "We've always been a nation of coffee drinkers," Cramer told viewers, but even if we were tea-drinkers it wouldn't matter, as Teavana gets only 4% of its income from serving beverages.

The majority of its earnings come from selling loose leaf tea, 56% and teapots and other merchandise, 40%. Cramer said that makes Teavana more of a specialty retailer a la Williams-Sonoma (WSM) and not another Starbucks. Cramer said that unlike Starbucks, which adopted a home-away-from-home model, Teavana stores don't even have chairs to sit down in.

Cramer said that despite catering to tea fanatics, Teavana still has a lot of competition. The company has 196 stores, but plans to hit saturation at 500 locations, leaving lots of unknowns for investors. While Teavana saw an increase of 6% in same-store sales last quarter, foot traffic was actually down, a stark contrast to the 9% increase Starbucks saw during the same period.

While shares of Teavana may seem inexpensive, Cramer said that Starbucks, which trades at 19.5 times earning with a growth rate of 17%, is the far better investment with a sustainable business model and a leader, Howard Schultz, you can trust.

Gaming Stocks Duel

Continuing with his "Tweet Like Mad" series, Cramer compared the casino stocks of Las Vegas Sands (LVS) and Wynn Resorts (WYNN) to find out which is the better investment. Cramer said that while he has no doubt that Wynn Resorts is the better enterprise! , with u nparalleled management, at the present time Las Vegas Sands is the better stock.

When it comes to the gaming stocks, it's all about Asia, said Cramer, and in particular in China's Macao provence, the only place where gambling is legal. In the case of the Sands, nearly 75% of the company's earnings now come from Asia, with its Macao business being on fire.

In addition to the company's existing diversified portfolio of casinos, the Sands is also preparing to open a huge new project in stages over the next 15 months. Cramer said the stream of good news that will stem from these new openings will help propel the stock of Las Vegas Sands or at least stop it from falling as much as the European malaise continues.

Cramer said that the Sands and Wynn are trading at similar valuations, Wynn at 18 times earnings with a 58% growth rate and the Sands at 17 times earnings with a 53% growth rate. That said, the Sands is the better stock, as it has the most short-term catalysts ahead of it. The company also has strong prospects in Singapore, which represents 41% of company earnings, where it is one of only two companies licensed to operate in that country.

Offering Value and Growth

For his "Stocking Stuffers" segment, Cramer highlighted Tanger Factory Outlets (SKT) and sat down with Steve Tanger, the company's president and CEO. Shares of Tanger are up 38%, including dividends, since Cramer first got behind the company in March 2010 and shares currently offer a 2.9% dividend yield.

Tanger said that consumers want value and outlets are where the value is. He said that there are only 150 outlet centers in the U.S., which leaves a tremendous opportunity for for growth. Additionally, the company sees growth prospects in Canada, where it recently began operating.

When asked about the health of retailers, Tanger said that his centers are 98% occupied, most with waiting lis! ts, and rent spreads are up 25% for the year. "We're adding new tenants and there's a lot of activity," Tanger noted about one new center in New Jersey. Also promising for the company is its Atlantic City outlet center in New Jersey. Tanger said that center is one of the highest volume centers for the company as it offers "entertainment for the non-gambling spouse."

Finally, when asked about how sales are shaping for the holiday season, Tanger noted that Black Friday weekend traffic was up 9%, which is a good sign for the holiday season. He said that Tanger remains optimistic and stores are well stocked and merchandise is well priced for those who want, or need, a bargain.

Cramer continued his recommendation of Tanger.

Lightning Round

Cramer was bullish on Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), Nike (NKE), NovaGold Resources (NG), General Mills (GIS), Unilever (UL) and Intel (INTC).

Cramer was bearish onLululemon Athletica (LULU), Sara Lee (SLE), Titan International (TWI), Micron Technology (MU), Lender Processing Services (LPS) and Freeport-McMoRan (FCX).

Corzine's Testimony

In his "No Huddle Offense" segment, Cramer opined on Jon Corzine's astonishing testimony regarding the failure of MF Global. He said that Corzine's testimony revealed tremendous bad judgement regarding his trading strategy, but unfortunately, bad judgement can be prosecuted.

More interesting however was the fact that Corzine testified at all and didn't plead the fifth. Cramer said that signals that someone internally was responsible for moving funds to save the! company and Corzine did indeed have no knowledge of the details.

Cramer said the situation at MF Global was "real bad and really wrong," but it's not something that Corzine will likely go to jail for. To contact the writer of this article, click here: Scott Rutt.

Follow TheStreet on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.

To submit a news tip, send an email to:

To watch replays of Cramer's video segments, visit the Mad Money page on CNBC.

Want more Cramer? Check out Jim's rules and commandments for investing from his latest book by clicking here.

For more of Cramer's insights during the Lightning Round, clickhere.

>To order reprints of this article, click here: Reprints