GE – Barron’s cover story – Barron’s says the stock has been disliked by investors and sharply underperformed peers such as UTX and SI over the past 10 years, but it’s ready to play catch up. Concerns around the nuclear industry are overblown given it’s just 1% of their revenue and gas / wind make up 40% of their energy revenues, which would benefit if nuclear power faced more scrutiny. Outside of energy, GE Capital and most of the company’s segments are improving at a solid rate.
· WBS – pos. comments; the stock could continue climbing into the mid/high-$20s as its business recovers. The bank could look to restore its dividend. WBS could become a takeover target.
· Needham Growth’s John Barr and Chris Retzler – interview – pos. on ENTR as a play on MoCA buildouts. Bullish on ENTG, MDRX, EFII.
· NDAQ/NYX – the deal is discussed in Barron’s – says the deal is a must for NDAQ which risks being relegated to just a trading technology firm. Barron’s thinks the anti-trust headwinds are surmountable.
· Flash Crash part II? Market experts detected suspicious trading trends in the month of Mar, many of which were similar to those that led to the flash crash in May ’10.
· AAPL – while there are a bunch of headwinds for the stock, it is plausible for it to trade up to $450 and surpass XOM as the market’s biggest company by market cap.
· HPQ – the new mgmt team at the company has made some very questionable decisions lately; meanwhile, Todd Bradley, who runs the PC business and was passed up for the top job, almost left for a senior role at INTC and could be a candidate to take over as CEO at Acer.
· NOK – Barron’s calls the NOK E7 an “expensive dud”.
· Goldman strategists recommend selling calls on a basket of stocks that could be harmed by a reduction in gov’t spending – NOC, LLL, RTN, LMT, BSX, XRX, VMC, DELL, SYK, ZMH, HUM.
· SIVB – positive comments in Barron’s – while the stock could have some near-term downside and is expensive, the long-term outlook is bright given strong loan growth prospects and healthy end markets.
· BRK’b – Barron’s remains pos. on the stock but says the Sokol departure is a neg.; other candidates that could replace Buffett include Ajit Jain, Matthew Rose, and Tad Montross, although all have shortcomings. Geico head Tony Nicely is probably too old. Greg Abel, the CEO of MidAmerican, could be a candidate. Director Bill Gates could even step in on a temporary basis if Buffett were to suddenly depart.
· German nuclear power – Barron’s talks about how RWE and E.On could b hit near term after Germany imposed a 90-day moratorium on operating seven of the country’s nukes that were commissioned pre-1981, which each company operates two of the seven plants. The unexpected shortage is likely to force them to scramble to make up the deficit. However, Barron’s does say at the end of the article that the risk might be worth the reward.
· POSCO – Barron’s says Buffett’s trip to Korea could be to work on a deal with his single largest investment in Asia, POSCO. Buffett now has a 4.6% stake in the company and says it is an incredible steel company. The company will also benefit from Japan’s rebuild as well as investments in India, Vietnam, and Indonesia. Its purchases of iron ore mines will also help with backward integration.
· Corn –
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