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Hot Stocks: General Electric is Being Powered by China Growth, but Held Back by its Financial Arm
General Electric Company (NYSE: GE) has more than a century of history behind it and it's seen worse times than we're going through right now. It's a global juggernaut, and its foothold in emerging markets – particularly China – makes the company worth looking at.
But at the end of the day, its financial unit is holding GE back, and that isn't likely to change any time soon.
Let me explain.
Hot Stocks: Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE WMT) Proves that the Best Defense is an Active Offense
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE WMT) has the reputation of being a defensive stock, but lately the company has gone on the offensive. For that reason, it's a good candidate to break out of its recent slump and head higher.
Wal-Mart has been among the stocks to lose ground in the recent market correction. But with more than $400 billion in annual sales, the world's largest retailer is still one of the soundest plays an investor can make – particularly in times of uncertainty.
In the year and a half stretching from January 2008 to June 2009, Wal-Mart stock managed a 3.45% gain despite being interrupted by one of the worst stock market plunges in history.
Hot Stocks: Can Apple Be a Gentle Giant?
Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) yesterday (Thursday) supplanted Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) as the largest technology company in the United States. Apple now trails only Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) in size, but that size will only make the company a bigger target if it fails to use its newfound market position prudently.
Just last month, Microsoft's market capitalization exceeded Apples by some $25 billion. But Apple has finally overtaken one its great archrivals. But being the new standard bearer for the technology sector brings with it more than bragging rights. It also will make Apple a bigger target for its competitors and government scrutiny.
As far as competition is concerned, there's no question that Apple has outdone Microsoft.
Hot Stocks: A Quick Turnaround and Global Expansion Plans Giving Starbucks Stock a Jolt
A massive Asian expansion and a heated debate over gun rights are just a few of the things going on at Starbucks Corp. (Nasdaq: SBUX) these days. But despite the tension that's percolating in the world's largest purveyor of designer coffees, Starbucks is in the midst of an impressive turnaround.
Years of rapidly adding new stores forced the company into a stark retrenchment when the economy soured. One thousand of the trendy coffee shops were closed and many more employees let go. Starbucks stock plunged more than 80% from its 2007 peak of about $40 a share to under $8 a share in November 2008.
But the company's restructuring – which shaved roughly $600 million in costs – and an improved economy have provided a refreshing jolt. Starbucks in January reported its first quarter of same-store sales growth since the end of 2008. And its share price has bounced back to a respectable $24.84 a share as of yesterday's (Wednesday) close.
The days of reckless overexpansion and troubling closures are have come to an end, insists Starbucks Chief Executive Officer Howard Schultz.
Hot Stocks: GM's Robert Lutz to Retire
General Motors Co.'s "Maximum Bob" has apparently reached his vanishing point.
General Motors Vice Chairman Robert A. "Bob" Lutz will retire from the embattled carmaker effective May 1, the executive confirmed yesterday (Wednesday). Lutz had been serving as a senior adviser to Edward E. "Ed" Whitacre Jr., GM's chairman and chief executive officer.
The move comes just one day after GM announced another shake-up in the North American unit that's supposed to be heading the company's overhaul.
Hot Stocks: With its Timely Switch at CEO, Novartis Seems to be Making All the Right Moves
The list of former CEOs is a long one, and has grown substantially as a result of the global financial crisis. Investors find it easy to remember such names as John Thain, G. Kennedy Thompson, Charles O. "Chuck" Prince III, James E. "Jimmy" Cayne and E. Stanley "Stan" O'Neal.
Needless to say, the memories aren't always pleasant.
During the past several years, the departure of a company's chief executive was almost always a sign of a company in the midst of a shakeup – and an admission that there was a long list of deeply ingrained problems to solve.
Few of the departures were truly voluntary, and the financial-crisis-induced ousters usually stoked the turmoil: They almost always came at a surprising time, and there was almost never a successor in place who could step in and quell the uncertainty by immediately taking over.
Hot Stocks: Apple's iPad Picks Up Where Amazon's Kindle Left Off
When it unveiled the Kindle e-reader in late 2007, Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) created a whole new market for digital books, newspapers and magazines.
Now industry innovator Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) is taking that market to an entirely new level.
After months of spirited speculation, Apple on Wednesday introduced a full-color e-reader that doubles as a netbook.