Market Overview

Barron's Recap: Home Prices on the Rebound, the BATS Global Markets IPO


This weekend in Barron's online: signs point to a rebound in U.S. home prices, a look at Total, Novartis and Qualcomm, as well as the IPO of the third-largest stock exchange in the United States.

Cover Story

Home Prices Ready to Rebound” by Jonathan R. Laing. U.S. home prices have fallen 34% over the past six years, destroying some $7.4 trillion in homeowners' equity. An estimated 14 million mortgage holders in the U.S. owe more on their homes than their properties are currently worth. Some five million have lost their homes to foreclosure or lender-ordered short sales since 2006. Yet signs are accumulating that this nightmare may be coming to an end. Jobs numbers have risen significantly for three months in a row and consumer confidence is getting stronger. A number of forecasters predict that home prices will bottom -- and begin to turn -- by the spring of 2013, perhaps sooner.

Feature Stories

“A Total Opportunity for Growth” by Christopher C. Williams suggests that, with oil prices above $100 a barrel, it may be a good time to consider opportunities in the energy sector. The article looks at Total (NYSE: TOT), the largest energy company in France and one of the so-called oil supermajors. The Paris-based oil and gas giant has a healthy dividend yield and has outperformed competitors such as ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM) and Chevron (NYSE: CVX) year to date. Total says it will be spending big bucks to ramp up production in the coming years. The bottom line is that shares could climb to the mid-$60s as production grows, and the dividend could increase.

In “The Missed Swiss,” Andrew Bary points out that investors have little respect for pharmaceutical maker Novartis (NYSE: NVS) these days. But there are plenty of reasons why maybe they should. Basel-based Novartis has one of the healthier business mixes among the major drug companies, as well as one of the stronger profit outlooks. And it offers a juicy dividend. Though its U.S.- listed shares were up just 1% in the past year, the Swiss pharmaceutical giant could be poised to best its peers by the end of this year.

“Qualcomm Inside” by Mark Veverka suggests that Qualcomm (NASDAQ: QCOM) may be the new Intel (NASDAQ: INTC). Smartphones and tablets increasingly are taking over the arena once dominated by the personal computer. And as Intel was the foremost supplier of silicon chips for PCs since the 1980s, Qualcomm has taken the lead in the world of mobile computing and communications. Barron's interviewed Qualcomm's chief executive, Paul Jacobs, to find out how the company will power much of the growth of the global market for smartphones, which by 2015 is expected to double to one billion per year.

In “Bullish on BATS,” Jacqueline Doherty takes a look at BATS Global Markets, the third-largest stock exchange in the U.S., which plans to price its initial public offering on Thursday. The upstart exchange is based in Lenexa, Kan., and was founded in 2005. It plans to sell 6.3 million shares in this week's IPO. That could value the company at $813 million, which would make it an attractive bet on a fast-growing electronic trading platform that is gaining share and expanding into new markets.

Also featured:

  • “Watchman, What of the Night?” An excerpt from the new book by Steven M. Sears, Barron's options editor.
  • “Making Hay with Munis” by J. R. Brandstrader. A profile of money manager Lyle J. Fitterer .
  • “Why Joseph McNay Likes New Energy, Content and Smartphones” by Sandra Ward. An interview with the founder of Essex Investment Management.
  • “Did Robert Moses Ruin New York City?” by Joan Marans Dim. A look at the legacy of the master builder.
  • “Petroleum Politics” by Thomas G. Donlan. Why the high cost of gasoline is not high enough.

Market Week

  • “Banks Help Lift Dow to Near Record” by Vito J. Racanelli.
  • “It's Time to Put Tesco in Your Basket” by Jonathan Buck.
  • “Some Chinese Surrender U.S. Listings” by Elliot Wilson.
  • “A Nervous Uptick in Treasury Yields” by Randall W. Forsyth.
  • “Bull Move or Bear Trap in Banks?” by Steven M. Sears.
  • “Palladium Price Has Many Catalysts” by Simon Constable.

Columns in this weekend's Barron's discuss:

  • Last week's high profile resignation from Goldman Sachs
  • Obamacare's day in court
  • The new iPad and Nokia's new tablet
  • Dividend hikes and share buybacks at the big banks
  • And more ...

See also: Jim Cramer on Former Firm: “I Can't Defend Goldman Anymore” and Is Nokia Building a Better iPad?

Posted-In: Apple Barron’s BATS Global Markets Chevron ExxonMobil Goldman SachsBarron's Media Best of Benzinga


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