market outlook

Stocks Post Gains, but Dow Fails to Hold 12,000

The Dow crossed the technically meaningless but psychologically soothing 12,000 level for the first time since June 2008 but closed just shy of that plateau. Markets don't move in a straight line, and plenty of indicators hint at a pullback -- or even a full-blown 10% correction.

Wall Street Will Be Listening Closely to Obama

Traders will be reading between the president's lines to see what the administration's new approach means for business and the market. And given stocks's steady rise for the past eight weeks, profit-taking and choppy action should be no surprise.

Another Week of Robust Corporate Earnings?

Apple, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, IBM, GE, Goldman Sachs and Google are just a sampling of names releasing results this week. And if last week's numbers are any guide, the market should have plenty of reasons to rally -- especially because expectations aren't all that great.

Keep Risk at Bay While Moving Back to Stocks

For investors, fear of losing money in the stock market is finally giving way to the reality that they may actually be losing money in low-yielding investments. So the move back to stocks if underway. But the key is do so safely. Here's some timely advice.

Attention Investors: Enjoy the Ride, Go With the Flow

Here's a short answer for those who wonder what could transport the market still higher: the economy. The unexpected and sudden advance that started last September foresaw favorable economic news. The continuing rebound will now propel the market to even headier levels.

Looking for Another Year on Wall Street Like Last Year

After putting up solid double-digit gains this year, the case for the stock market in 2011 is more of the same. And when the Fed finally raises short-term rates, on pro says, the smart traders will be those who jump on the opportunity to do some serious bargain-hunting.

DailyFinance's Top 11 Value Stocks for 2011

Wall Street expects the S&P 500 to tacking on an 11% gain over the next 12 months -- with lots of ups and downs along the way. That has us inclined to play defense in our 2011 picks, with an eye toward bargain stocks paying generous, sustainable dividends. Here are our top 11 for 2011:

Time to Switch From Bonds
to Stocks?

Some investment strategists say it's unwise to "fight the Fed." And right now, Chairman Bernanke wants investors to move into riskier assets, particularly stocks. But these strategists also point to pitfalls if investors aren't careful about how they shift assets.

An 11% Rise for the S&P 500 in 2011?

That's the average prediction for 11 analysts polled by Bloomberg News. Goldman Sachs's David Kostin, Bloomberg's most accurate U.S. strategist this year, is even more bullish. He says sales growth will spur a 17% rally in the S&P 500 through the end of 2011.

Does the Stock Market Need to 'Take a Breather'?

Stock traders face plenty of economic news this week, and considering how much progress the market has recently made, it could be time for a bit of a pullback. But at least one trader thinks that's just what's needed to create a base for further gains ahead.

Stocks Are Becoming the Only Game in Town

Equities have finally put up decent-enough returns on the year to make the paltry yields on bonds almost impossible to tolerate. With rates so low now, more and more investors are moving from fixed income and back into the stock market.

Investors May Need Better Reasons to Buy Stocks

Given all that transpired globally over the Thanksgiving weekend, the idea of holding risky assets like stocks should give investors heartburn. A good Black Friday weekend and strong holiday selling season will draw traders' gazes, but that's no sure shot.

A Short but Busy Week Could Mean More Volatility

Investors may be most thankful that this week will be short. The market is closed for Thanksgiving and will log just a half-day on Black Friday, but from today through Wednesday, traders will contend with a heavy slate of economic data and earnings news.

The Market's Next Likely Catalyst: Holiday Sales

Beyond the next series of economic indicators, what really matters now is a strong holiday selling season. If it materializes, that could pole-vault the market to new highs, making 12,000 on the Dow by year-end well within reach.

Despite a Likely Pullback, the Rally Could Persist

Calls for a dip are understandably rising amid signs that the market is overbought. But evidence of performance-chasing, where fund managers who are lagging their peers take on more risk in hopes of outsize returns, are also mounting.

Stocks May Be Ready to
Catch Their Breath

Stocks don't move in a straight line, and a relatively light week of earnings reports and economic data should give the market a much-needed break after the major indexes have run up to two-year highs. But long-term, the direction still looks upward [VIDEO].

Speed Bumps Ahead for
Wall Street?

The remarkable six-week rally will be put to the test in the next few days by the much-anticipated midterm election and the Fed policy statement. And if that weren't enough to make things interesting on Tuesday and Wednesday, October's employment report is slated for Friday.

With All Eyes on Election, Stocks Barely Budge

Stocks closed essentially unchanged Friday as mixed economic news and earnings data failed to distract traders from next week's mid-term elections and Federal Reserve policy statement.

Retail Investors Are Finally Warming Up to Stocks

Solid quarterly earnings and anticipation of more stimulus from the Fed have helped lift the Dow by 400 points over the past two weeks. However, another boost is coming from individuals who've begun moving money from bonds to equities.

Signs That the Market Is Ready to Roll Over

The U.S. stock market has been on a tear since Sept. 1, but technical caution flags are now appearing in the charts. A close look at action in the VIX, S&P 500, Nasdaq 100 and financials reveal that the tide may be about to start going out.

The Fed Is Likely to Make for a More Volatile Market

Volatility started picking up in the last few sessions, and now that a downbeat Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has made another round of stimulus all but certain, traders are taking notice that things aren't nearly as good as they could be.

Why Stocks May Be Set for Fourth-Quarter Gains

Corporate balance sheets are at record levels, bulging with nearly $2 trillion in cash. That bodes well for more market-boosting deal activity and share buybacks. Plus, at some point fixed-income investors will tire of tiny returns on bonds and come back to equities.

The Rally's Biggest Test Comes This Week

Whether this rally can last or is merely the latest upswing in a months-long pattern of sideways trading depends on the economic news, particularly about unemployment. Consumer confidence, personal consumption and GDP are three other big items on this week's calendar.

This Week's Reports Could Keep the Rally in Check

Tuesday alone brings new reports on housing starts and permits and the latest policy statement from Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke. Investors will also be contending with new- and existing-home sales, durable goods, leading indicators and weekly jobless claims this week.

Can a Quadruple Witching Day Enchant Stocks?

Trading volume last week was anemic, but things could get moving again this week. In addition to some big-name earnings reports, this Friday is a "Quadruple Witching Day," and the market has a history of putting up weekly gains when they end with Witching days on Friday.

Bonds Are King, but Stocks May Be the Better Move

The amount of money sitting in bond funds is simply staggering: $450 billion has flowed into those funds since April 2009. But investors, some fearful, others just apathetic, may be missing out on the promise of much better returns offered by equities.

How to Play Defense in a Volatile Market

Equity investors have ample reason to be frustrated these days. The S&P 500 has hovered around 1,080 since mid-May, but it hasn't been a quiet ride. Oliver Pursche, president of Gary Goldberg Financial Services, talks about how you can smooth out the bumps of short-term volatility.

The Bulls Lead the Charge
Into September

A better-than-expected reading on the job market propelled stocks to their fourth straight day of gains, putting a bullish stamp on the first few days of September trading after the worst month of August for U.S. equities in nearly a decade.

Hedge Your Risk With Mixed-Asset Mutual Funds

With stocks underperforming so far in 2010, and Treasury bond yields low, too, Standard & Poor's Equity Research suggests investing in mixed-asset mutual funds, which hold a combination of stocks and bonds to capture the strengths of both asset classes with less volatility.