Investing in Tech – Microsoft (MSFT)

Microsoft may not be recession-proof but it turned in a strong performance in a year most companies would like to forget.

Profits jumped 25.7% to $17.7 billion on revenues of $60.4 billion as the software giant offset declining sales of its Windows operating system with increased revenues from its server and tools software products.

Current Stocks to watch

Abbott Laboratories (ABT:) Abbott Laboratories is expected to report first-quarter earnings of 70 cents a share, according to analysts surveyed by FactSet Research.

Progressive Corp. (PGR:) is forecast to post earnings of 41 cents a share in the first quarter, according to analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters.
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How to invest during times of recession

You may ask yourself, how can one invest in a time like this? Is it worth the risk with the market at a downturn without no forseable resolution in the horizon? One of the answers that a conservative investor will tell you is that to invest in low risk stocks. Enclosed in this category are utility stocks.
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Banks and TARP

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — With the stress tests behind them, banking regulators now face the potentially thornier issue of deciding which banks, if any, should be allowed to repay government funds.

Since regulators unveiled a long-awaited blueprint for returning money from the Treasury Department’s Troubled Asset Relief Program last week, lenders have been scrambling to raise cash so they can pay back TARP funds.

Four companies that were among those included in the stress test — BB&T (BBT, Fortune 500), U.S. Bancorp (USB, Fortune 500), Capital One (COF, Fortune 500) and Bank of New York Mellon (BK, Fortune 500) — all announced plans Monday to raise capital which would go towards buying the preferred stock and warrants associated with the government’s stake.

Before they can return taxpayer funds, banks first have to prove that they can issue debt without having to rely on the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.’s debt guarantee program.

Even if they are able to do that, many experts contend that regulators may be tempting fate by allowing banks to carry out their TARP repayment plans.

3 Quick Tips for a better portfolio

1. Better mix of investments. Try to raise that bond stake for safety, and boost foreign-equity exposure for growth.

2. Simplify. Reduce holdings to 10 funds and roll over old 401(k)s from prior jobs into a Roth IRA to make portfolio easier to manage.

3. Invest in index funds. Sell actively managed funds in their taxable account, harvest tax losses, and move to low-cost exchange-traded funds.

Low-Quality stocks with high gains

For the past three months, small stocks were the big story. Small-cap funds gained 21.5% on average in the quarter, led by small value’s 22.2% rise. Standouts included Aegis Value Fund /quotes/comstock/10r!avalx (AVALX 6.82, -0.23, -3.26%) , up 48.5%, and Wasatch Micro Cap Value Fund /quotes/comstock/10r!wamvx (WAMVX 1.72, -0.05, -2.82%) , up 40%.

Large- and midcap offerings followed with their own strong showings.

Large-cap funds collectively added 16.2%, with large-blend and large-value each up 16.4% and large-growth up 15.6%. Among the top performers were the hardest-hit funds of 2008, such as Vanguard Capital Value Fund /quotes/comstock/10r!vcvlx (VCVLX 6.62, -0.18, -2.65%) , up 39.1%, Yacktman Focused Fund /quotes/comstock/10r!yaffx (YAFFX 12.59, -0.36, -2.78%) , up 36.9%, Legg Mason Value Trust /quotes/comstock/10r!lmvtx (LMVTX 28.64, -1.05, -3.54%) , gaining 29.4%, and Longleaf Partners Fund /quotes/comstock/10r!llpfx (LLPFX 18.90, -0.52, -2.68%) , rising 26.6%.
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Basics in investing

There are many misconceptions in investing; whether in stocks or bonds or in building an investment portfolio in general. Carl Richards at Behavior Gap has an interesting article in getrichslowly.org

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Succeed in Investing: A short How-To

1. Allocating Assets
If your portfolio is geared toward stocks it is more likely to have a long-term return of investment. It will also mean you’ll have a dynamic flactuation of your assets. Instead consider a short-term high gain investment.
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Still thinking of investing in oil?

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — Oil ended just shy of $50 a barrel Thursday as investors weighed a glut in supply amid dour sentiment about the economy. Crude oil for June delivery added 77 cents to finish the day at $49.62 a barrel.
Continue reading Still thinking of investing in oil?

High Performing Stocks

Amazon.com (AMZN  83.00, -0.03, -0.04%) ended relationships with online affiliates in Rhode Island to avoid a new sales tax law in that state, The Wall Street Journal reported on its Web site. Recently, Rhode Island passed a law requiring companies to collect a sales tax on products sold through online-marketing affiliates. On Friday, Amazon reportedly ended affiliate programs in North Carolina as that state was seeking to adopt a similar tax

Apollo Group Inc. (APOL 69.35, +3.36, +5.09%) said that its fiscal third-quarter profit rose to $201.1 million, or $1.26 a share, from $139.1 million, or 85 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Revenue increased to $1.05 billion from $835.2 million last year. Analysts surveyed by FactSet Research estimated a quarterly profit of $1.12 a share on revenue of $1.04 billion.

Dell Inc. (DELL 13.87, +0.01, +0.07%) is reportedly developing a pocket-sized electronic device for accessing the Internet. The Wall Street Journal said that Dell is creating the device to run on Google Inc.’s Android software, which is currently used by T-Mobile in mobile phones and is expected to become widely deployed in other devices. The Dell device is said to be slightly larger that Apple Inc.’s /quotes/comstock/15*!aapl/quotes/nls/aapl (AAPL 141.90, -0.07, -0.05%) iPod touch and could go on sale in the second half of the year.

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