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The Week in Review: Bears on the Prowl

By anyone's reckoning, it was a rough week. Crude oil continued its relentless climb; banks and brokerages gave hints of more discouraging news; government data pointed to a weak economy; even strong companies like Nike, Oracle, and Research In Motion issued cautious guidance; and Federal Reserve policymakers, widely perceived as powerless to help, left interest rates unchanged.

But all week, even through the worst of the market's sell-offs, CNBC guests offered insights for investors. (For more on the week in review, see the accompanying CNBC video.)

Monday:

Citigroup was reportedly ready to slash investment banking jobs. Republic Services said it was buying Allied Waste, and Bunge announced the acquisition of Corn Products. The market closed flat.

Doug MacKay of Broadleaf Partners took a tentative step into consumer discretionary stocks, staying away from homebuilders, but talking up Harley Davidson and Nordstrom.

Permanent Portfolio's Michael Cuggino focused on computer security, commodities, and agriculture in choosing Symantec, Freeport McMoRan, and Mosaic.

Tuesday:

House prices fell to 2004 levels, declining in all 20 cities surveyed for the Case-Shiller index. Consumer confidence dropped in June to the fifth-lowest level ever.

Charlie Smith of Fort Pitt Capital was enthusiastic about wireless providers AT&T and Verizon, as well as global infrastructure plays ITT and Ingersoll Rand.

Neil Hennessy of Hennessy Funds recommended W. R. Grace, offshore drilling equipment company Oil States, and Airgas.

Tuna Amobi of Standard and Poor's offered a couple of carefully-selected media companies, the highly-diversified Disney and the recently-independent Time Warner Cable.

Sanford Bernstein's Alexia Howard picked food companies that have been able to pass along their rising commodity costs: Sara Lee, Kraft Foods, and Dean Foods.

Wednesday:

Federal Reserve policy-makers voted to keep interest rates where they were, but expressed concern about inflation. New-home sales declined in May, after a modest gain in April. Durable-goods sales were unchanged in May. Crude-oil inventories posted an unexpected gain.

Michael Lippert of the Baron iOpportunity Fund chose two stocks with major international exposure: Equinix and NII Holdings, an overseas affiliate of wireless giant Sprint Nextel.

Becker Capital Management's Patrick Becker found FedEx a bargain, and liked Starbucks and Lawson Software.

Al Meyers of the AHA Diversified Equity Fund went with ConAgra and Medtronic as good stock holdings in an uncertain environment.

Thursday:

Crude oil sailed past $140 a barrel. Goldman Sachs said U.S. brokerages no longer look attractive. The Dow Jones Industrials plunged 358 points, with General Motors falling to its lowest level in more than three decades.

Susan Byrne of Westwood Holdings Group picked United Technologies, Nike, and XTO Energy.

The UMB Scout International Fund's James Moffett went offshore for Brazilian brewer Ambev and diversified electronics maker Canon.

Vivienne Hsu of the Schwab Core Equity Fund suggested some more large-cap stocks with significant international exposure: Hasbro, Occidental Petroleum, and IBM.

Morgan Keegan senior analyst Brad Stephens picked some retailers with popular brands: Warnaco, Fossil, and Aeropostale.

Friday:

Personal spending and income went up much more than expected in May. Lehman Brothers predicted another big quarterly write-down for Merrill Lynch.

Walter Gerasimowicz of Meditron Asset Management urged investors to put their money into the global infrastructure build-out through Jacobs Engineering, Hansco, and Atwood Oceanics.

Financial Enhancement Group's Joe Clark said the consumer isn't going away, and that bodes well for MasterCard and Visa.

The Jensen Portfolio's Eric Schoenstein, seeing discounts where others saw losses, chose Abbott Laboratories, Praxair, and Procter and Gamble.

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