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Energy Among the Best Investments from Ira Sohn Conference – Money Morning

There was definite energy spin this week at the 18th Ira Sohn Investment Conference at New York’s Lincoln Center. In fact, at this an annual gathering of some of the world’s influential money managers and investors, energy was applauded as one of the best investments to make now.

Some 3,000 guests paid as much as $100,000 (proceeds benefit pediatric cancer resesarch) to hear what 17 of Wall Street’s lucrative members had to say about the stock market. Each had some 15 minutes to share their picks, pans and opinion.

Clearly, energy was a favorite, as Barron’s outlined in its Ira Sohn coverage this week.

Here’s a roundup of what these money managers consider to be the best investments in the industry.

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Stock Market Today: April Set to Continue 2013 Winning Streak – Money Morning

U.S. equities followed Europe’s lead and headed higher when the stock market today (Monday) opened.

Wall Street’s mood was lifted after Enrico Letta was sworn in as Italy’s prime minister, ending weeks of political gridlock in the ailing European nation. The news also propelled Italian stocks up more than 1%.

Shortly before noon, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 68.55 points, or 0.47%, at 14,781.10. The Standard and Poor’s 500 Index was higher by 8.59, or 0.54%, at 1,590.83. The Nasdaq climbed 26.72, or 0.81% at 3,305.98.

Another lift to the stock market today came from a report on March consumer spending. The read was 2%, much better than and 0.1% rise economists had expected and up from a 0.7% gain in February and a 0.4% advance in January.

With just two more trading sessions left in the month, U.S. stocks are set to end April with gains. That would mark the fourth consecutive positive month for equities.

But it’s about that time when the familiar spring swoon weighs on stocks in the near term.

According to data from Bespoke Investment Group, over the past 30 years, an investor who bought the S&P 500 Index every Oct. 31 and sold the following April 30 would have reaped a 898% gain. In contrast, buying every April 30 and selling every late October would have returned just 56%.

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2013 Earnings Season: Forget Alcoa; Track These Real Bellwethers – Money Morning

At the start of every earnings season, investors typically turn to Alcoa Inc. (NYSE: AA) – the first company in the Dow Jones to report earnings each quarter – as a market bellwether.

But Alcoa is no longer a reliable market indicator.

“With this upcoming earnings season, we wouldn’t put nearly the same confidence [in Alcoa] that we would just five or six years ago,” Ryan Detrick, a Cincinnati-based analyst at Shaeffer’s Investment Research, told Bloomberg News. “The company’s results now predict the direction of the market about as well as a coin flip.”

In fact, Money Morning Global Investing Strategist Martin Hutchinson said Alcoa, the largest producer of aluminum in the U.S., should never have been used as an economic indicator.

“I don’t think Alcoa was ever a very good bellwether; it just reports first,” Hutchinson said. “The aluminum cycle tells you something about manufacturing conditions, but manufacturing is a small part of the economy these days.”

So if not Alcoa, then what stocks should investors pay attention to this earnings season?

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