Stock Market Today
Last price15,761.04Prev Close15,843.53
Day Low0.00Day High15,838.20
52 Wk Low12,938.1152 Wk High16,097.33
Coming off the worst week of the year, U.S. equities were mixed in the stock market today (Monday) at we kick off a big week for earnings.
In mid-afternoon trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 14.19, or 0.10%, at 14,533.32. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index gained 2.50, or 0.22%, to 1,558.93.
The Nasdaq was up 20.17, or 0.63%, to 3,226.23.
Gold, which lost 7%, or $105.70 a troy ounce last week, was down 20 cents, to $1,426.30.
Three Stocks to Buy to Beat Warren Buffett's Gains
While many look to Warren Buffett's holdings to find the best stocks to buy, it turns out his holdings' rivals could be the better picks.
Buffett is known not only for value investing, but also buying shares only of companies that operate in prosaic, easy-to-understand businesses. That's why the holdings of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE: BRK.A, BRK.B) are spectacular.
But in this look at how to find more stocks to buy that deliver - and even beat - the gains of Buffett's most popular holdings, some of the best bets could be companies that share a market with Berkshire's big winners.
Take a look.
How to Find Defensive Stocks to Buy for Portfolio Protection
In recent weeks many pundits and gurus have advised investors on which defensive stocks to buy for portfolio protection - but before following their lead, you should do some research as well.
The definition of defensive stocks seems to be a little unclear, but generally the same names keep appearing: large drug stocks, consumer-related issues and utility companies. While those suggestions sound like smart moves, many of these advisors seem to be using a rearview mirror to select which stocks and sectors fir the definition of "defensive."
In fact, during the past year the dividend-paying large cap stocks have had a huge rally as yield-seeking investors have pushed them to new highs. They are exactly the type of stocks that a defensive investor would want to avoid in the current market.
Fortunately for investors there is a method for identifying and selecting truly defensive stocks that has worked for more than 40 years.
Stock Market Today Reacts to China and Gold
Disappointing news that China's economic growth slowed in the first quarter sent the stock market today (Monday) reeling.
Just before noon, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.61% to 14,773.75. The Standard and Poor's 500 Index slumped 0.75% to 1,576.87. The Nasdaq fell 0.80% to 3,268.45. Oil slipped 3.44% to $88 a barrel.
And the biggest loser of the day, gold plunged as much as 6.3%, hitting a low of $1,384.60.
Dragging stocks down was a report that China's economy grew at 7.7% in Q1, weaker than the 8% growth economists were expecting, and down from Q4's 7.9%. This rattled global markets, as fears spread that there would be continued lower demand for Chinese goods and services.
"The international situation continues to concern people, both in regard to Europe and China," John Carey, a fund manager for Pioneer Investment Management Inc., told Bloomberg News. "People are watching for some signs of improvement in both areas. Otherwise we're just in the early stages of earnings season, so people will have one eye on what's going on outside the U.S. and another close eye on what's happening with regard to earnings."
More than 75 members of the S&P 500 are scheduled to report earnings this week. Here are some to watch, along with the biggest headline makers in the stock market today.
Stocks to Buy: We Found Two of the Next Big Growth Stories
When investors discuss growth stocks to buy they are usually talking about the most popular issues of the day. These tend to be the companies that dominate the headlines and have the newest, most exciting products and services.
While stocks like Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG), Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) and other market darlings have rewarded investors, when they become too popular there is a risk that the valuations become unsustainable and the shares find a new lower level.
Often it can take many years for a broken growth stock to get back on track and allow investors to recover lost gains.
There is another way to approach growth stocks that's more successful than targeting the most talked about companies. The stocks aren't always as well-known - but the returns can be even higher.
It's fairly simple to put together a list of stocks that have been able to grow sales, earnings and dividends at a double-digit rate for at least the last ten years.
As a further qualifier you should limit your list to those that have been able to successfully grow the book, or net asset value, of the company at a high rate. This is an indication that management has been able to generate free-cash flow and reinvest in the business successfully. All too often companies that initially boast strong revenue and profit growth fall victim to high capital expenditures or startup costs that squeeze profits and make the growth unsustainable.
The following companies may not be the most exciting, but they have products and services that are in high demand and have been so for an extended period of time.
Stock Market Today: Will a Bad Earnings Season Spoil This Year's Gains?
Coming off the worst week of the year, market participants have a cautious stance in the stock market today as earnings season kicks off - and will likely disappoint.
The Dow fell 13.29 points, or 0.09%, to 14,565.25 last week. The S&P shed 15.91, or 1.01%, to end the week at 1,553.28.
Monday, guarded investors kept a wary eye on developments in Eurozone, nuclear tensions in the Korean Peninsula, and Alcoa Inc.'s (NYSE: AA) earnings after the bell-the unofficial kick-off to Q1 earnings reports.
Red flags are waving that companies will report a slowdown in corporate profits. A number of companies have delivered lower guidance, with pre-earnings announcements sloped to the negative side. Companies in the S&P are expected to increase Q1 earnings a measly 1.5% over last year, according to Thomson Reuters.
Weak earnings could push any nervous investors to take gains and bail on markets for a while.
"Right now, projections for earnings in 2013 and the market are based on optimistic assumption," Howard Silverblatt, senior index analyst with S&P Dow Jones Indices told Barron's. "We can meet estimates if things move in the right direction. But the economy does not go straight up or down. There are bumps up or down. There are bumps in the road. And investors rarely get everything they need or want."
Here are some upcoming earnings reports to watch, as well as two of the biggest deals moving stocks this week.
Buy, Sell or Hold: What's So "Special" About Kellogg?
Everybody knows Kellogg Company (NYSE: K) by its superb line of breakfast cereals.
In fact, since Kellogg completed the $2.7 billion Pringle acquisition on June 1, 2012 the company's share price has increased over 30% with nary a pause.
Now I realize that eating just one Pringles potato chip is impossible, but does that justify the market's appetite for Kellogg's shares?
Here's my breakdown on the stock...
How to Beat Wall Street at Its Own Game
I'm a voracious reader. And I'm also a relentless networker.
In this business, I have to be. I need to see and hear as much as possible in order to form the opinions, forge the recommendations and assemble the market intelligence that enables us to help you pull down big profits.
Creating Private Briefing made it even easier for me to do all that for you.
Now I have direct, daily access to six of the most impressive investment gurus you're ever going to find - folks like Keith Fitz-Gerald, a globe-trotting expert and best-selling author with decades of experience in international markets ... or Peter Krauth, the natural resources expert who's so serious about his work that he lives in Canada to be close to the companies he covers ... or Martin Hutchinson, who has actually been hired by countries to fix their economies.
Let me tell you a quick story that shows why this matters. And after that we'll take a look at some investing strategies we think you need to consider - especially right now, with the market in record territory.
These are strategies that will allow you to keep pursuing profits on your existing holdings, to add new positions at prices that will help you extract the maximum-possible returns, and to protect all of your holdings against a possible correction.
So let's start with my story.
Stocks to Buy Now: The Best Takeover Targets as Energy M&A Heats Up
A wave of mergers and acquisitions is almost inevitable in the energy sector, making attractive takeover candidates among stocks to buy now.
Strategic buyers looking to maximize near-term growth opportunities, as well as private equity firms looking to capitalize on the industry's long-term potential, are making lists of possible takeover targets.
Individual investors should do the same.
Stocks to Buy Now: How to Make Money from Banks
In the past, you used to be able to safely invest at the bank. But now, it might be wiser to invest in the bank, as the following institutions are looking more like attractive stocks to buy now.
Thanks to the U.S. Federal Reserve, interest rates will continue to be low for an extended period of time, meaning savers would be lucky to get 1%.
Meanwhile, bank stocks have gone from unloved and out of favor to being an industry on the verge of recovery - and able to pay dividends to shareholders.
Income investors have a new opportunity with certain bank stocks. Banks that eliminated or reduced dividend payouts to preserve capital during the crisis are now loosening the purse strings a bit.
For example, many regional banks are starting to reinstate and raise dividends. As residential and commercial real estate markets continue to stabilize, banks should start to grow once again and higher earnings will lead to very high rates of dividend growth.
These bank stocks should be part of every income investor's portfolio right now as the long-term prospects for capital gains in addition to income are excellent.
Here are a few that rank among the regional bank stocks to buy as they raise payouts.