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Barron's Recap (6/9/12): The 2012 Midyear Roundtable Report Card

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This weekend in Barron's online: a midyear updated on the markets, the likely effects of the Supreme Court's ruling on Obamacare, and the prospects for alternative ETFs and Time Warner.

Cover Story

"Caution: Sharp Turns Ahead" by Lauren R. Rublin. It is time for Barron's midyear update, which is derived from phone conversations with all ten members of the Barron's Roundtable. The investment legends on the panel include the chairman of T. Rowe Price (NASDAQ: TROW), the founders of PIMCO and Delphi Management, the editors of the High-Tech Strategist and the Gloom, Doom & Boom Report, and the presidents of Zulaf Asset Management and the Goldman Sachs' (NYSE: GS) Global Markets Institute. They are concerned about the state of the world -- Europe and China in particular -- and see some wild and possibly crazy months ahead. The panelists expect a third round of quantitative easing from the Federal Reserve, but suspect that it will not accomplish much. Despite the anticipated pain for the global economy, for cautious stock pickers there will be gains. See the article for details.

See also: Time to Power Up with Poland?

Feature Stories

In "What's the Alternative?" Beverly Goodman discusses "alternative" exchange-traded funds, a sometimes misunderstood group of funds that are nonetheless growing in popularity. Barron's sat down with three corporate chiefs and an industry analyst to discuss this burgeoning field. The panelists likened alternative ETFs to the latest in "ground-breaking financial technology," as well as the "spread of freedom around the world." See the article to discover whether they worth a bet by investors, and check out What's the alternative?

See also: ETF Laggards That May Have More Pain Ahead

Jim McTague's "How to Play the Obamacare Ruling" is your guide to the likely winners and the losers in the stock market when the Supreme Court hands down its ruling on President Obama's sweeping health care reform program. Americans spend nearly $2.7 trillion a year on medical treatment, and health care accounts for 18% of gross domestic product, as well as 12% of the Standard & Poor's 500. So chances are good that your investment portfolio will be affected by the high court's decision on the constitutionality of "Obamacare."

With popular programs like Game of Thrones and the NBA playoffs, as well as a 3% yield, Time Warner (NYSE: TWX) looks like a good bet, says Leslie P. Norton in "Why Time Warner Merits a Better Rating." The stock of this media conglomerate has outperformed the S&P 500 so far this year. Time Warner derives a smaller proportion of its revenue from advertising than rivals such as CBS (NYSE: CBS) and Discovery Communications (NASDAQ: DISCA). And it has been buying back shares at an annual rate of $2.5 billion, or about 8% of its market value. Barron's bottom line: Shares could rise as much as 25% in the next year.

"Uncle Sam Gets Tough on Tax-Domicile Changes" by Andrew Bary suggests that it is bad news for the United States that so many companies are reincorporating in foreign lands. Rowan (NYSE: RDC), Aon (NYSE: AON), Eaton (NYSE: ETN), Pentair (NYSE: PNR), and the international coffee business of Sara Lee (NYSE: SLE) have left the country or announced plans to do so. Fifteen Standard & Poor's 500 members are incorporated outside the States. But now the Internal Revenue Service is fighting back. Last week the IRS issued new guidelines intended to make it more difficult for companies to reincorporate overseas to avoid taxes.

Other featured stories:

  • Sarah Max's "An Ear for Markets" is a profile of Dreyfus International Bond Fund manager David Leduc.
  • In "An African Investment Boom," Barry D. Wood points out that Africa is thriving, with foreign direct investment -- much of it from China.
  • And "An Invisible Problem" is an editorial commentary by Thomas G. Donlan.

Columns

Columns in this weekend's Barron's discuss:

  • Last week's loss in the Shanghai stock market
  • The Fed Model as a predictor of market action
  • Earnings warnings from tech companies
  • The prospects for the Ericsson
  • The launch of Google's (NASDAQ: GOOG) Knowledge Graph
  • The use of derivatives in bond funds
  • UnitedHealth Group's (NYSE: UNH) dividend
  • And more ...

See also: Apple and Google Trading for Nearly the Same Price and UnitedHealth Group Board Increases Shareholder Dividend

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