Starbucks stock retreated in heavy volume after a report suggested the coffee chain's growth may be losing some steam.» Read More
Jon Hilsenrath, money and investing news editor at The Wall Street Journal, offered CNBC his "4 for 4": the four stocks he says investors must watch on this shortened business week.
General Motors: "This could be the week that Toyota passes GM" in U.S. sales, Hilsenrath said. GM stock on Monday hit its lowest point since 1954.
Bank of America: "This week, the Countrywide deal happens. ...It's up to [Bank of America CEO] Ken Lewis" to make the acquisition pay off for BoA.
Coca-Cola: The beverage maker "gets a new CEO" on Tuesday, with Muhtar Kent replacing E. Neville Isdell. Hilsenrath says that the Coke board has enormous faith in Kent -- and notes that 80 percent of Coke's sales are outside the U.S.
Constellation Brands: Hilsenrath says the alcoholic-beverage maker, which reports its earnings this week, is actually "interesting beyond earnings" -- "particularly in light of Anheuser-Busch" and other consolidation stories in the industry.
Hilsenrath's "4 for 4" are not intended as investment recommendations. No disclosure information was available for Hilsenrath.
As food prices surge investors should look to the Commonwealth of Independent States for opportunities, says strategist Kingsmill Bond.
Charles Bobrinskoy, Vice Chairman & Director of Research at Ariel Capital Management, sees "very good consumer names" that are "dramatically oversold."
He offered CNBC his take in two consumer stocks:
Carnival: He notes that the cruise line's "earnings have held up" -- despite soaring fuel costs and inflation in general. He pointed out that "older folks" are dependable customers, who scrimp and save specifically for sea vacations.
Tiffany: Despite the hit taken by many luxury retailers, Bobrinskoy points out that "only one-sixteenth of a stock's value is this year's earnings" -- and he sees bright things in store for the iconic jeweler next year.
"You put a diamond ring in that blue box and it's magic," he declared.
Disclosure information was not immediately available for Bobrinskoy or his company.
Joe Clark sounds like the businessman in "The Graduate," giving the young college grad one word of advice.
The word is "plastic."
"We now are caught in the muck of an economy that has some very, very strong areas, as well as some areas that are having some definite challenges," the founder and chief investment officer of the Financial Enhancement Group told CNBC. "What people have to do is separate the fact that there are some very good, sizable economies and areas to invest money in."
Clark likes the agriculture arena, even with its recent huge gains, but he's got an even better bet.
"If you liked MasterCard and Visa yesterday, you've got to like them today," he said. "The consumer is not going away; the gas prices do harm some people, but they're not stopping people from spending."
Where some stock-market investors see losses, Eric Schoenstein sees discounts. His four-star Jensen Portfolio is up an average of 4.7 percent per year over the last three years, and he's singled out some stocks he finds exceptionally promising and very reasonably priced.
His first choice isAbbott Laboratories.
"We like it because it contains many of the characteristics we look for in sort of sustainable, long-term quality growth companies," he told CNBC. "One of the nice things about Abbott is that it's diversified beyond pharma into places like nutritionals, diagnostics, and medical devices."
Schoenstein finds Abbott doing well in all of its markets.
He also likes Praxair.
"Praxair is a terrific new company for us, in industrial-gas production, capitalizing on the infrastructure build-out around the globe," he said. "We think it's a terrific opportunity for the long term.
Also on his list is Procter & Gamble.
In a market where some see the glass almost completely empty, Walter Gerasimowicz sees opportunity.
The founder and chief investment strategist of Meditron Asset Management believes now is the time for the investor to get off the sidelines.
In retail stocks, as in consumer buying, the big question is: where to shop? With the third quarter just around the corner, Morgan Keegan senior analyst Brad Stephens offered CNBC some ideas.
His first pick is Warnaco.
"It's 70 percent the Calvin Klein brand," he told CNBC. "According to a recent Fortune study, that's the world's number-two most-desired brand behind Gucci. You get 55 percent of your sales outside the country."
Stephens also likes Fossil.
"In addition to the Fossil brand, they also have the global licenses for Burberry, Armani, Diesel, and DKNY," he pointed out. "This is a (company) that gets 52 percent of its sales from wholesale outside the U.S., another 6 or 7 percent from retail stores outside the U.S."
The one American-based retailer on his list is Aeropostale.
"We're really not too bullish on the U.S. economy right now," he admitted. "When you look at Aero, you've got pricing 30 to 40 percent below the other teen retailers in the mall, such as American Eagle or Hollister [a unit of Abercrombie & Fitch
Large caps with international exposure are the best way to get through the rough patch, according to Schwab portfolio manager Vivienne Hsu. Knowing the right large caps with the correct international exposure is the key.
Her four-star Schwab Core Equity Fund is up an average of 9.9 percent per year over the last five years.
Her list begins with Hasbro .
""The consumer discretionary sector can be a bear to navigate through," she admitted to CNBC. "We like Hasbro more on a top-down perspective; there is a likelihood that...consumers may be trading expensive entertainment for low-cost entertainment, such as board games, hand-held devices."
She also likes Occidental Petroleum.
"Everybody knows oil is getting a little toppy," she said. "We like Occidental, on the other hand, because of very, very strong fundamentals."
She praised the company's ability to generate free cash flow and its record on increasing its dividend and cutting its debt.
Also on her list is IBM.
A 50-50 blend of growth and value, focused internationally. That's James Moffett's five-star formula. He's the lead portfolio manager of the five-star UMB Scout International Fund.
Typically, Moffett goes after smaller large-cap and larger mid-cap companies. He's especially enthusiastic about Latin America in general, and Brazil and Chile in particular.
High on his list is AmBev, Brazil's leading brewer.
"If you're selling beer on the equator, and you've got over a 50 percent market share, you ought to be making good money on it," he told CNBC.
He's not limited to Latin America; in the technology area, he likes Canon.
"We think of them as making cameras, but they make a lot of other things," he explained. "They make copiers, they make equipment for making semiconductors; we view them as a broad-based January technology play."
Susan Byrne has a message for investors who are waiting for the market to get back to normal.
"People need to understand...this is the new normal," the chairman and chief investment officer of Westwood Holdings Group told CNBC. "We're likely to be a much slower grower than outside the United States."
Outside the United States is where she finds investment opportunities.
Byrne has managed the five-star Westwood Equity Fund for more than 21 years.
Topping her list is United Technologies.
"UTX is terrific geography, all over the world," she said. "They make Otis elevators, they make Pratt & Whitney engines for planes, they make H/VAC systems...when you look at new buildings going up in Dubai or Shanghai, you know that they're Otis elevators."
Freeport McMoRan is a big commodity play.
"This is an American-based copper company," she explained. "If you wanted to re-create this company, you'd have to take $250 a share to make this company the way it is today."
She's impressed by the results just released by Nike.
"Nike did exactly what we wanted it to do," she said. "Two-thirds of their business is outside the United States, so even though the United States was slow, we saw very strong 20 to 30 percent growth outside the United States,"
She disagrees with those who think it's too late to get into oil-related companies, and she likes XTO Energy.