Menu Close

Author: Diane Alter

M&A Deals Alive and Well – and Dishing Out Huge Profits – Money Morning

Deal making is back on Wall Street – in a big way.

Mergers had been nearly non-existent for nearly six years in the wake of the financial crisis as global economic uncertainty, heightened scrutiny of corporate boards, high unemployment and the housing market bust had put a damper on M&A deals.

But 2013 has begun with a flurry of deal making, with $160 billion worth of merger activity thus far, the most at this point in the year since 2005, according to Dealogic.

And the stellar start to the markets this year – the S&P gained 6.6% in January and the Dow is quickly approaching its all-time high – suggests deal making will heat up in the months ahead.

The latest M&A deals come at a time of historically low financing costs, renewed corporate confidence, and companies flush with stockpiles of cash. In this climate, companies are seeking growth through deals and see them as a way to expand while appeasing anxious shareholders.

“The dam is burst. The forces were too powerful to hold back forever,” James B. Lee,
vice chairman of JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM), told The Wall Street Journal.

To continue reading, please click here…

Stocks to Buy: 5 Picks Buffett and Insiders Love Right Now – Money Morning

Investors often look to Warren Buffett’s purchases when trying to pick the best stocks to buy.

And with good reason: Buffett’s conglomerate, Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK.A, BRK.B),
has an impressive track record and got off to a stellar start this year. Berkshire Hathaway gained 8.7% in January, beating the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index’s 6% rise and the Dow Jones Industrial Average’s 7% increase.

It’s also a good sign when Buffett’s picks include companies with heavy insider buying, given insiders buy because they expect shares to rise.

That’s why MarketWatch and Insider Monkey just took a look at Buffett’s 38 holdings and compared his purchases to stocks that have had sustainable insider buying in the past 90 days.

And who knows better than insiders? These folks are privy to the most current information on their companies’ prospects, and research shows stock prices rise more after insiders’ net purchases than after net sales.

MarketWatch and Insider Monkey came up with the following five stocks to buy now, based on Buffett’s holdings and insider buying.

To continue reading, please click here…

Stock Market Today: Wall Street Reacts to State of the Union Speech – Money Morning

The stock market today (Wednesday) shrugged off U.S. President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech in which he urged Congress to take steps to strengthen the economy.

In early afternoon trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was off 38 points, the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was up 1 and the Nasdaq rose 7.

The tepid reaction to the president’s speech is not unusual. Historically, most presidential addresses move markets by less than 1% the day after a speech, with the average move just 0.15%, according LPL Financial’s Jeff Kleintop.

Whatever the Dow does Wednesday, expect the benchmark to soon hit an all-time high. The index is just 1% off the record 14,165, set in 2007. Since 2009, stocks have soared some 127%, with pullbacks within each month. So it looks like it may be March before we reach a record high, but it’s coming.

A lackluster retail sales report from the Commerce Department didn’t provide any stimulus to the stock market today. U.S. retail sales rose a paltry 0.1% in January as an increase in payroll taxes left consumers with less disposable income.

“The payroll tax increase is having some impact on spending here. It looks like maybe momentum is not necessarily carrying forward into the first quarter,” Jefferies economist Thomas Simons told Bloomberg News.

To continue reading, please click here…

Will John Kerry Kill the Keystone XL Pipeline? Money Morning

When new U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met Friday with Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird in Washington, the talk turned to the fate of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline.

Kerry said the controversial $7 billion Keystone XL pipeline project would undergo a “fair and transparent review,” adding he expects to make a decision “near-term” on whether to move forward with it. The State Department has final say over the pipeline because it traverses international borders.

According to a department spokeswoman, a decision is likely at the end of March. But Reuters reported an unidentified U.S. official said the decision could be pushed back until June.

Canada is committed to the pipeline, and Baird lobbied hard for it during the meeting with Kerry. After the meeting, Baird called the Keystone XL pipeline a “huge priority.”

To continue reading, please click here…

Follow by Email