Starbucks stock retreated in heavy volume after a report suggested the coffee chain's growth may be losing some steam.» Read More
All markets are still in a down trend, if you look at a long-term perspective.
But Julius de Kempenaer from Talergroup says that the S&P 500 banks chart implies that the worst is over for the financial sector.
Financial Stocks in the News:
Kevin Cronin thinks technology is the way to play the current feeble market environment.
"Our view is that the market has some upside potential to it, but we're not all that optimistic," Putnam's head of investments told CNBC. "We think that economic growth continues to deteriorate, both here in the U.S. and globally."
So how to maximize the upside potential, in the face of slowing growth?
"The tech sector and the utility sector have been two of the more defensive sectors over the course of the last year," he said. "We do find some attractive names in there, like Microsoft, EMC, Adobe."
He has another pick -- but he's not sure it fits completely into technology:
"We debate whether Apple is a consumer company or a tech company, but we like Apple as well," he said.
Companies with good dividend payments are attractive during periods of market volatility, Wouter Weijand, chief investment officer of high income equity at Fortis Investments said Friday.
And Procter & Gamble, Acer and Bank of Cyprus all look attractive for solid returns Weijand said.
Despite the shares not performing too well this year, US consumer staples P&G is a good buy, as the company has 52 years of steady dividend increases and a very shareholder-friendly environment, according to Weijand.
"We think the company is very well positioned, very 'steady Eddie' and too cheap, an international attractive company," he said on "Worldwide Exchange."
Bob Pisani offers another installment of ETF 101: the Trader Talk blogger's periodic guide to exchange-traded funds.
This installment: Share Splitting
ETFs in Pisani's Radar:
- Van Eck Market Vectors Gulf States Index(Read the story: New ETF = Play on Mid-East Growth )
- Market Vectors Solar Energy
- iShares Lehman Aggregate
(Read the story: Pimco ETF May Be Here Soon )
Government stimulus checks dressed up the results of American retailers quite nicely this year -- but the money has been spent and reality has returned to the stores.
David Strasser of Banc of America Securities says there's value for the investor who shops where consumers are already shopping.
"You knew it was going to happen," he told CNBC. "After the stimulus check, it was going to bounce back; if they can stay in the low single-digit comp-store sales, and they can still get some gross margin opportunities, which they have, they could surprise people on the earnings side."
So who's he talking about?
"I like WalMart here," he said. "I also am a Best Buy fan here -- people think it's crazy to like Best Buy, very discretionary product -- but in past cycles, when you have a strong product cycle, it can outlast a tougher economy."
In a market full of turbulence, what ideas does a five-star fund manager have for investors?
Daniel Brewer's Rainier Small/Mid Cap Fund is up an average of 15.73 percent per year for the last five years.
He's wary of looking to those small- and mid-cap stocks for instant results right now.
"I'm not sure that they're ready to launch on another significant bull rally," Brewer told CNBC. "Definitely, it's a group that had been heavily shorted after multiple years of outperformance. The group had been a laggard, so it makes sense that the group has steadied."
Brewer chooses with special care in the financial space.
One of his selections there is Annaly Capital Management.
"Recently, we have added in some small, community-oriented banks such as Prosperity (Bancshares) and Glacier (Bancorp)," he said. "These are smaller banks where they're less credit-exposed, still have a very good deposit base, and we think, potentially, the worst is over in terms of the carnage within the financial industry."
In the energy space, where McDermott International and Noble are on his list, Brewer sees success as highly conditional as well.
"As long as the commodity prices stay roughly where they are at this point, they key drivers of energy shares remain intact."
Activity in the options market points toward developments at Hershey, according to Interactive Brokers equity options analyst Rebecca Darst.
She told CNBC of a late-session burst of activity on Wednesday.
"Option volume in Hershey quickly swelled to 17 times the normal level, with calls out-trading puts by about 18 to 1," Darst said. "As is natural in that environment, we saw a 45 percent spike in implied volatility; this marked the highest level of activity in Hershey calls since May 27, when there was rampant conjecture that the company might pursue some sort of joint venture with Nestle."
She said the activity hinted at the kind of cyclical rumors that surrounded Anheuser-Busch leading up to its merger deal with InBev .
Another stock whose implied volatility spiked on Wednesday was Rigel Pharmaceuticals.
The digital age has transformed the way people watch television, and James Altucher has translated that transformation into a couple of fresh ideas for investors.
"People watch an average of four or five hours of TV a day, but they don't just watch according to...a schedule," the founder of stockpickr.com told CNBC. "They basically DVR everything; they TiVo their favorite shows...and they not only have television sets, they have home theaters."
So where are the investor plays?
"You need sophisticated remote controls to manage this," he said. "(Universal Electronics) makes those remote controls."
Not only that, he contends, it's well-managed.
"This is a company that $83 million in cash," he said. "They trade for just nine times EBITDA; insiders have bought back about $700,000 worth of stock over the past few months."
He also likes Harmonic.
"They're on the other side," he explained. "They're on the cable company side; they help cable companies pave the way for broadband, video-on-demand, and so on."