DJIA: 16,408.54  -16.31 (-0.10%) | NASDAQ: 4,095.516  +9.291 (0.23%) | S&P 500: 1,864.85  +2.54 (0.14%) Markets closed

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    The U.S. stock indexes finished off the holiday-shortened trading week with three of the four indexes on the upside. The Nasdaq finished at 4095.52, up 9.29 points on Thursday and up 95.79 points for the week. The S&P and DJIA continue to be Trend Bullish while the Nasdaq and Russell 2000 indexes are Trend Bearish from a three-month or more time frame.

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    The jury is still debating whether China's latest "state-owned enterprise reform" project is a sincere privatization effort or a ruse aimed at suckering foreign investors. These include Chinese state-run companies listed on mainland, Hong Kong and U.S. stock exchanges, as well as their U.S., European and Japanese partners, contractors and customers.

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    Last week, had you searched Google News for "Stocks Crash," you would have received over 16,000 results. It was hardly a market crash. The largest exchange-traded fund for utilities, the Utilities Select Sector SPDR, is now up about 12% this year. There are still plenty of stocks rising despite some of the worrisome headlines and negative sentiment that emerged over the last few weeks.

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    Occidental Petroleum (OXY) has been one of the better-performing international oil and gas exploration and production companies over the past 12 months. In April 2013 it traded as low as $79.16, and on Nov. 22 of last year Occidental hit its 52-week high of $99.42. Since then it has traded in a range between $97.84 on the high side and as low as $85.90 on Feb. 5 of this year.

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    It sounds strange but Talisman Energy (TLM) is eying growth by shrinking its asset base. Talisman is one of the leading independent oil and gas producers from Canada. All of that, however, can change in the near future. In 2012, Talisman sold its 49% interest in its North Sea business to China Petroleum and Chemical  for $1.5 billion.

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    At the beginning of April, the stock market-- as measured by the Standard& Poor's 500 Index-- broke out to the upside, to new all-time highs. However, that move was short-lived, as the S&P 500 index quickly failed and fell back into the previous trading range between 1,840 and 1,880. Then, last week, the bears got their act together well enough to push SPX down through 1,840-- a downside breakout. That also proved to be false, as SPX rallied back inside that previous range once again.

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    The Federal Reserve announced another $10 billion reduction in asset purchases -- also known as quantitative easing, or QE -- last month, bringing total purchases down to $55 billion per month. As for the market's reaction, investors still seem quite sanguine that the winddown will be orderly.

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    I can vividly recall the excitement when going for a ride in my sister's cherry red, 1991 Chevy Camaro Iroc Z. Wow, the squared sexiness of the design, and the signature T-tops, was enough to make any 16-year old boy's heart skip a beat.

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    Mt. Gox, the Japanese bitcoin exchange, is now expected to liquidate after a court in Tokyo dismissed a plan by the exchange to resurrect its business, according to the Wall Street Journal. Meanwhile, the exchange's CEO, Mark Karpeles, a Frenchman, is likely to be investigated for his part in the collapse of the exchange, the Journal said.

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    No matter how many variations exist among foreign exchange traders on level of wealth, risk appetite or experience, each and every one of them have the same objective: What to trade next. A very popular chart pattern searched for is the head & shoulders. The pattern's formation begins during the price's upward trend, when it reaches a new high and followed by a new low.

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    Update: Updated with Thursday market close information.  SandRidge Energy  rose on high volume Thursday, its fourth consecutive day of gains, after Jim Cramer spoke bullishly about the stock on CNBC's Mad Money on Wednesday evening.

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    Pepsico (PEP) is trading at $85, up nearly 3% for the year to date Thursday, after beating on the top and bottom lines. Coca-Cola, on the other hand, continues to get by based on bare minimum expectations. Both are embroiled in the cola wars but Pepsico (PEP) has diversified beyond soda, owning brands Tropicana, Lipton, Aquafina and Gatorade.

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    On CNBC's "Cramer's Stop Trading" segment, TheStreet's Jim Cramer, co-manager of the Action Alerts PLUS portfolio, looked at oil stocks after an index that measures oil and gas activity in Texas reached a record level, bolstered by rising production and wellhead prices. Cramer said the region is producing 2.57 million barrels of oil per day, its highest output since 1980.

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    Yes, capturing Google's (GOOG) volatility is possible. Google (GOOG) is a momentum stock whose parabolic bubble popped after setting a split-adjusted all-time intraday high at $615.04 on Feb. 26. This wide trading range pre-earnings is reason enough for investors to attempt to capture a portion of this volatile range, both before and after Google (GOOG) reported their quarterly results.

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    The economy is booming. The market heard all three messages yesterday -- all courtesy of the Federal Reserve. The boom message came from boffo numbers on industrial production, a 0.7% gain in March that handily beat estimates and suggested that manufacturing is surging.

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     "I like the quarter," TheStreet's Jim Cramer, co-manager of the Action Alerts PLUS portfolio, said on CNBC's "Cramer's Mad Dash" segment, regarding Pepsico's (PEP) recent earnings report. The company beat on top- and bottom-line estimates, increased margins and posted organic growth of 4% or better in each business segment.

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    Walmart is America's largest private employer. A report released Wednesday by Americans for Tax Fairness found that each Walmart Supercenter employee costs the taxpayer $3,015 to $5,815. Billions of dollars are generated annually by Walmart through sales to people on government assistance.