Bob Ciura

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  • Does This Oil Major Offer Investors Enough?

    By Bob Ciura - August 19, 2013 | Tickers: CVX, COP, MRO

    The markets are near historic highs, and interest rates are still near historic lows. As a result, many financial pundits fear that the market has gotten ahead of itself and is ripe for a pullback.

    If that’s the case, then investors could use a dose of slow-and-steady profits with the added safety of a strong dividend. If you’re an investor on the lookout for a stock that admittedly more »

  • These Consumer Giants Will Reward You For Decades

    By Bob Ciura - August 19, 2013 | Tickers: KMB, PG, CLX

    Investors who consider themselves stock market historians have likely heard of the research done on the best-performing stocks to have owned over the past 60 or 70 years.

    Among these stocks that have richly rewarded their investors for so many years are many consumer goods companies. You might be shocked to find out that some of the market’s best-performing stocks have come from such slow-growing industries.

    However, the slow-and-steady more »

  • Are Emerging Markets Cheap?

    By Bob Ciura - August 19, 2013 | Tickers: FXI, THD, INDY, TUR

    Due to a confluence of factors, including fears of a Chinese slowdown, global central banks putting the brakes on economic stimulus, as well as renewed geopolitical concerns, stock indices in the emerging markets have declined notably in recent weeks.

    Many global bourses now trade for compelling valuations, especially when compared to the domestic S&P 500 Index. Of course, a heightened level of risk is usually associated with markets outside more »

  • Why You Should Avoid The Waste Management Industry, For Now

    By Bob Ciura - August 16, 2013 | Tickers: RSG, VE, WM

    The waste management industry in the United States is a very concentrated one, with high barriers to entry and what Warren Buffett would call a wide economic moat. In short, it’s extremely hard for new entrants to swoop in and steal business from the established players.

    The two biggest publicly-traded waste management companies that take the bulk of the market are Waste Management (NYSE: WM) and Republic Services (NYSE: RSGmore »)

  • Are These Tech Stocks Dropping the Ball?

    By Bob Ciura - August 16, 2013 | Tickers: CSCO, IBM, ORCL

    Technology giant Cisco Systems (NASDAQ: CSCO) is seen as a bellwether not just for technology, but for the broader economy as well, due to its diverse customer base.

    Cisco's earnings are often used as a guide for the overall health of government and businesses.  Greater spending on Cisco's products and services is a good sign for economic activity going forward. The company had been in clear rally-mode to more »

  • Are Home Builders Ripe For Investment?

    By Bob Ciura - August 16, 2013 | Tickers: LEN, PHM, TOL

    As the economy in the United States continues its gradual recovery from the worst recession since the Great Depression, investors are on the lookout for promising opportunities.

    One market in particular that has showed strength is the housing market. As Americans slowly shored up their balance sheets, and as mortgage rates sunk to historically low levels, housing activity picked up. This has led to a noticeable improvement in housing-related economic more »

  • Will Higher Interest Rates Doom Utilities?

    By Bob Ciura - August 16, 2013 | Tickers: ED, DUK, SO

    Utilities are highly valued by their investors for their reliable, if unspectacular, growth. Utilities are routinely called ‘widow-and-orphan’ stocks, meaning they’re commonly held for their hefty dividend yields and low volatility.

    However, the past few months have seen more volatility in utility stocks than many investors would like. Much of it stems from fear of the Fed taper, in which the winding down of the central bank’s monthly more »

  • Which Department Stores Are Worth Your Money?

    By Bob Ciura - August 16, 2013 | Tickers: JCP, KSS, M

    This is a challenging time for the American consumer. The economy in the United States is slowly digging itself out of the massive hole caused by the Great Recession, the worst recession in decades. The labor and housing markets continue to heal, providing a boost for cash-strapped consumers, but at frustratingly slow rates, meaning Americans are still holding on to their purse strings.

    Nowhere can this be felt more closely more »

  • Should You Follow These 2 Legendary Investors Into Apple?

    By Bob Ciura - August 16, 2013 | Tickers: AAPL, INTC, MSFT

    Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) and its long-suffering shareholders finally got a positive catalyst to come their way when news broke that legendary money managers Carl Icahn and Leon Cooperman had taken long positions in the stock.

    It’s no small accomplishment to count two of the world’s most famous investors in your corner, and not surprisingly, Apple has rallied on the news.

    Is now the time for investors to buy more »

  • Will the Fed Taper Doom These REITs?

    By Bob Ciura - August 16, 2013 | Tickers: DLR, HCP, O

    Talks of the Fed taper, in which our central bank winds down its long-held practice of monthly bond purchases designed to stimulate the economy, have caused the markets to whipsaw over the past couple of months.

    The stocks receiving the brunt of the carnage have widely come from the market’s higher-yielding sectors. One such sector getting hit hard is real estate investment trusts, or REITs.

    However, the industry fundamentals more »

  • Is This 10%-Yielding Partnership Flashing Warning Signals?

    By Bob Ciura - August 16, 2013 | Tickers: HI, SCI, STON

    Income investors take their quarterly dividends seriously, and for good reason. Investment income can help pay for many of life’s necessities, and with interest rates still near record lows, high-yielding Limited Partnerships are highly favored by retail investors.

    Unfortunately, a dropping share price usually brings a wave of panic over a partnership’s distribution. That’s exactly what happened when StoneMor Partners (NYSE: STON) fell 10% on August 12 more »

  • What is Wal-Mart Signaling About The Health of The Consumer?

    By Bob Ciura - August 15, 2013 | Tickers: COST, DG, WMT

    It’s no shock that the nation’s largest retailer, Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT), stands as a bellwether for the health of the domestic consumer.

    Wal-Mart is a retailing juggernaut that rakes in more than $460 billion in annual sales. When Wal-Mart reports, the market takes notice, and judging by the market reaction upon receiving Wal-Mart’s second quarter earnings, the alarm bells are ringing.

    From Wal-Mart’s report, investors are more »

  • Consider These American Companies for International Diversification

    By Bob Ciura - August 15, 2013 | Tickers: XOM, NKE, DOW

    Many financial planners espouse the merits of internationally diversifying your stock holdings. Across the globe, it’s important to not have all your eggs in one geographic basket.

    There are hundreds of international stocks to choose from, but with unfamiliar far-away companies, questionable accounting methods, and hard-to-find financial reports, many investors may be frustrated at the difficulties of suitable international diversification.

    If you count yourself among them, it’s actually more »

  • Has This Fast Food Stock Fallen on Hard Times?

    By Bob Ciura - August 15, 2013 | Tickers: MCD, YUM

    Consumer habits change frequently, especially when it comes to food. Fast food is currently suffering a public relations backlash, as many consumers opt for healthier alternatives. Add in questions surrounding a company’s food quality, and you’d think Yum! Brands (NYSE: YUM) should be avoided at all costs.

    That’s exactly what Yum!, the operator of the KFC, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut brands has had to deal with more »

  • Why Analysts Are Wrong About These Stocks

    By Bob Ciura - August 14, 2013 | Tickers: GRMN, PH, KR

    Sell-side analysts can be notoriously fickle, seemingly raising or lowering price targets based simply on whether or not a stock is currently going up or down.

    At the same time, though, sell-side research is still highly valued by institutional investors, including hedge funds and pension funds.

    Recently, analysts at Goldman Sachs released a list of stocks they believe to be over-valued and ripe for a correction. Are they right to more »

  • When Investing in Retail Stocks, Stick With the Winners

    By Bob Ciura - August 13, 2013 | Tickers: AEO, JCP, KORS

    Despite the many headwinds facing the U.S. consumer, shoppers keep on spending. You’d think that the combination of the payroll tax hike and the frustratingly slow recovery in the labor market would deliver enough body blows to send the American consumer down for the count.

    At the same time, consumer spending remains resilient. The gradual improvement in the housing market is a likely reason why, and improving consumer more »

  • Is The Market Ripe For a Crash?

    By Bob Ciura - August 13, 2013 | Tickers: KO, JNJ, PG

    The S&P 500 Index is up 19% to start the year--an impressive return that has not been without its share of doubters. The chorus of market pessimists only gets louder as the market climbs the wall of worry, and with less-than-stellar underlying earnings growth, some observers are really starting to get nervous.

    Taking all this into account, there’s just one question left for investors to answer: is the more »

  • Does Apple Need to Reinvent the iPhone?

    By Bob Ciura - August 12, 2013 | Tickers: AAPL, CHL, GOOG

    It’s been a very well publicized and difficult year for Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL). The company is suffering from lack of innovative magic in the post-Steve Jobs era, and investors are losing confidence in the company’s strategic direction.

    As if that weren’t enough, we now have tangible evidence to confirm Apple’s struggles. Market research firm IDC recently published a report stating Apple’s grip on the smartphone more »

  • Are Discount Retailers Good Stocks to Buy?

    By Bob Ciura - August 9, 2013 | Tickers: COST, TGT, WMT

    The American consumer is slowly coming back from the worst recession in decades, but the road to financial health isn’t without a number of potholes. Consumer sentiment continues to improve despite the payroll tax hike and slow-growing economy, meaning Americans are staying resilient in the face of financial distress.

    Amid the many headwinds facing the U.S. consumer, discount retailers stand to capitalize because of their lower-end focus. When more »

  • This Bank Just Can't Stay Out of Trouble

    By Bob Ciura - August 9, 2013 | Tickers: BAC, JPM, WFC

    It’s been almost five years since Lehman Brothers, then the nation’s fourth biggest investment bank, filed for bankruptcy. Most investors know all too well what happened next: a financial crisis unlike any other since the Great Depression that brought the global financial system to its knees.

    Since then, the U.S. economy and financial system have steadily healed. Many of the nation’s financial institutions are lending again more »

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