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Shah Shares His Latest Views on Microsoft, Apple and Facebook

During the last nine months, retired hedge-fund manager Shah Gilani – who runs the Capital Wave Forecast and Short Side Fortunes advisory services here at Money Map Press – has gone against the Wall Street “crowd” in recommending Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) and Facebook Inc. (NYSE: FB) to Private Briefing subscribers.

As usual, it paid dividends to heed Shah’s advice…

  • U.S. Stocks

  • Three Ways to Brace for a Double-Dip Recession Economists are torn... Is the U.S. economy on the upswing? Or are we facing the dreaded "double dip recession"? Either way, there are a few things every smart investor needs to do now to protect their nest eggs. Find out what you should do in this free report. Read More...
  • Investors' Hopes Riding on Surge in M&A Activity Global mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity is at its highest level since late 2009, providing a glimmer of hope to investors struggling to decipher stock and bond markets roiled by a weakening U.S. economy.

    Global takeovers announced so far this year have totaled $1.29 trillion, up 23% from the same time last year, according to Bloomberg News.

    Last week a flurry of bleak economic news headlined by larger than expected unemployment claims spurred a 280-point drop in the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

    But, investors took some solace from a flurry of M&A activity and an initial public offering (IPO) from General Motors Co., because acquisitions are seen as a sign companies are confident the economy will grow and business will improve.
    Read More...
  • What to Expect on Wall Street as Nervous Investors Navigate a Slowing Economic Recovery Wall Street was hit hard last week with gloomy data that has kept buying interest stalled and investors spooked over a slow economic recovery.

    Stocks slipped over the past week after investors learned from government reports that jobs are getting scarcer than straw hats in a wind tunnel, and it isn't always sunny in Philadelphia.

    The big-cap indexes lost around 1%, while safe haven assets like gold and the U.S. dollar were buoyant. The best investment around for the week was the U.S. long bond, up 2%.

    To read what’s in store after last week’s gloomy data, click here.

    Read More...
  • Three Ways to Brace for a Double-Dip Recession: Recession-Proof Stocks Today (Friday) we conclude our series on bracing for a double-dip recession.

    In Part I of this investment series, "Three Ways to Brace for a Double-Dip Recession: Going for the Gold," we discussed ways investors could safeguard against the imminent decline of the U.S. dollar by buying gold.

    In Part II, "Three Ways to Brace for a Double-Dip Recession: Going Global," we explored potential investments in foreign countries that have more stable economies and better growth prospects.

    And today, we're going to conclude by looking at "recession-proof" stocks right here in the United States.

    Read More...
  • GM's IPO Filing Reveals Challenges That Could Discourage Investors  When General Motors Co. filed registration papers for an initial public stock offering (IPO) on Wednesday, it also revealed the formidable challenges it faces - some of which may give pause to investors considering taking a stake in the venerable automaker.

    The 734-page document GM filed with the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) paints a picture of a company that is alternately confident about its progress since it nearly failed last year and cautious about the future.

    The IPO raises the stakes for taxpayers who own 61% of GM and will be at least partially repaid based on its success.
    ... Read More...
  • How to Pick Stocks in the 'New Normal' Economy In today's potentially ultra-slow-growth "New Normal" economy, old stock market multiples do not apply.

    In fact, investors who rely on long-held rules about Price/Earnings (P/E) ratios when they buy and sell stocks are risking a pretty big "haircut:" They may be overvaluing some of their stocks - and the stock market in general - by 17% to 20%.

    Let's take a closer look...

    To understand how to value stocks in the "New Normal" economy, please read on...

    Read More...
  • History Gives a Reason to Be Hopeful about U.S. Stocks Volatility has hamstrung U.S. stocks recently, but history suggests there's a reason for hope on the horizon.

    The past week and a half has been a welcome reprieve from the extreme volatility we've seen over the past few months. There have been no fewer than 19 days this year in which up or down volume has accounted for more than 90% of total volume.

    The rapid up-and-down, all-or-nothing nature of the stock market has confounded even the most talented, highly paid and well informed traders. The hedge fund industry as a whole has been caught flat-footed - posting losses in each of the last two months.

    Read More...
  • Defensive Investing: Beware of Municipal Bonds Of the speculative excesses that misguided monetary policy and a prolonged recession has caused, the one that poses the most danger to investor wealth is the financial bubble in state and local municipal bonds.

    Municipal bonds - usually referred to as "munis" - are very popular portfolio plays because of tax advantages that, in effect, enhance their rates of return. There's also an allure because of their local nature: Investors can invest in specific bond issues that provided the money for projects such as schools, highways, bridges, hospitals or housing that actually affects the community in which the investor lives. That makes them a very tangible investment.

    But there's a problem.

    State-and-local-government finances have taken a bigger beating during this economic downturn than during any other recession since World War II. Even worse, that beating came after the easy money available during this stretch encouraged those same governments to venture well beyond any reasonable limits in terms of their borrowing. They're now stuck with a bigger-than-warranted debt load - which can't be covered by the property tax stream that's been reduced by record-level housing defaults.

    The bottom line: At the present time, "munis" may not be the benign - or even alluring - investment that they've been in the past. In fact, thanks to continued fallout from the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, some munis may be more akin to bombs than bonds - ticking away and just waiting to blow up your portfolio.

    To understand why "muni" bonds may be dangerous, please read on... Read More...
  • What Can 1962 Tell Us About Today's Stock Market? We dove into market history a lot recently with studies of the 3%+ up day a couple weeks ago as well as a look at the growth rate of the index of Leading Economic Indicators. The takeaway: History suggests there are grounds for being optimistic about the stock market.

    Now here's a new reason for optimism: The current situation bears a striking resemblance to the 1962 summer stock market rebound.

    Here's the scoop: In early 1962, a head-and-shoulders pattern emerged that looked very similar to the one that appeared to have taken shape in April-June this year. When the neckline of the pattern was violated in April 1962, stocks fell like a ton of bricks into a June low that was ultimately 27% lower than the January 1962 high.

    Read More...
  • Defensive Investing: Keeping Your Options Open with Covered Calls Once you get beyond buying puts or calls for purely speculative purposes, no other options strategy is more popular than employing the use of covered calls - and with good reason: Few investment techniques offer more potential benefits with such a low level of risk.

    Considered the most conservative of all option plays, this strategy - which basically involves selling (or "writing") one call option for each 100 shares of a stock you own - can be employed for one or more of five distinct purposes:

    1. To generate a stream of additional income - over and above dividend payments - from individual stocks in your equity portfolio.
    2. To generate a stream of income from stocks you own that pay no dividends.
    3. To reduce the effective cost basis of longer-term stock holdings by bringing in option premiums, thus recovering some of the original purchase price.
    4. To provide a limited hedge against potential losses in portfolio value as a result of overall market pullbacks or cyclical downturns in the prices of specific stocks.
    5. As an income-producing substitute for a "limit-sell order" - intended to liquidate a stock position when a specific profit target is achieved.
    Read More...
  • With "Risk Off" Trades Waning, U.S. Stocks Could Be Ready to Reverse Course There are new signs that institutional traders are preparing for a change in direction of the U.S. dollar and European euro that may have big implications for U.S. stocks.

    For months, the winning trade was to short stocks, the euro, and commodities, while buying gold, bonds and the dollar. Commentators labeled this the "risk off" trade since gold and bonds were seen as safe-haven assets. But when crowd mentality is at work, and sentiment - not fundamentals - is driving the bids, there really isn't such a thing as a "safe" trade. It's all speculation.

    Take yesterday (Tuesday), for example: After surging 131 points, or 1.4%, out of the gate, the Dow Jones Industrial Average relinquished most of its advance to close just 16 points higher at 9,702.98. Meanwhile the Standard & Poor's 500 Index, which had climbed 1.5% to 1,038 in early trading, ended the day just 0.18% higher.

    Read More...
  • History Shows Stock Market Plunge May Just Be Par for the Course Although the stock market plunge last week was certainly unsettling, history and a slew of positive leading indicators show that this may just be part of a normal pattern with better news ahead.

    Stocks were hammered on Tuesday as a negative revision to an economic report out of China and fears over European bank funding set off a global firestorm of selling. A very weak consumer confidence report didn't help matters.

    The major U.S. stock indices fell through critical support levels, with the S&P 500 returning to levels first reached last August. That's almost an entire year of stock market appreciation out the window.

    In the end, the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 2.7%, the S&P 500 lost 3.1%, the NASDAQ lost 3.9%, and the Russell 2000 lost 4%. Large-cap stocks outside the United States fell 3.5%, while emerging market stocks fell 4%. Some of the European exchanges fell the most, including iShares MCSI Spain Index ETF (NYSE: EWP), down 5%, and iShares MCSI Switzerland Index Fund ETF (NYSE: EWL), down 6%.

    Click here to see how the stock market plunge fits a historical pattern... Read More...
  • High-Yield Hangover: Cash Pouring Into Junk-Bond Funds May Signal Stormy Seas For Stocks Investors are plowing money into junk-bond funds, which leveraged borrowers at private equity funds are using to pay dividends to themselves and to buy out more public companies.

    The huge-and-growing overhang of debt-laden portfolio companies that private-equity shops want to take public - when combined with additional leveraged deals in the pipeline - will keep a lid on U.S. stock prices and could even spark a sell-off for stocks in both the United States and Europe.

    Let me explain...

    To understand how this push into junk bonds is magnifying stock-market risk, please read on... Read More...
  • The Sovereign Debt Crisis: Bad For Europe, Good For U.S. Stocks For several months now, we've been talking about the post-financial-crisis "new world order" that's emerged from the speculative excesses, recessionary realities and regulatory breakdowns of recent years. This new world order has created a world of lucrative new profit opportunities - that are governed by a new set of profit rules.

    In terms of that whole new rules/new profit opportunities paradigm, here's one that may surprise you: The ongoing European crisis could end up as a net positive for U.S. stocks.

    Let me explain...

    To see how Europe's travails can aid U.S. stocks, please read on... Read More...
  • Don't Give Up on U.S. Stocks Just Yet There's no denying that bearish investors have made their case in recent weeks. They are legitimately afraid that the economies of the United States and Europe will fade so much in the next few months that they will sink back into recessions punctuated by credit blowups and a resumption of a bear market for U.S. stocks.

    Still, the simple fact that there are a few economic boogey-men lurking behind each suspect piece of data doesn't mean that investors should run screaming away from stocks.

    In fact, if you take the time to listen to the opposite point of view before you make up your mind about the direction the economy is headed, you might be pleasantly surprised.

    Read More...