13 Stocks Gauge Which Sector Looks Best for 2016

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Tech investors have laughed their way to the bank in 2015, but if you’re one of those who primarily bet on financial stocks your mood could understandably be a little somber.

We examine how each sector performed in 2015, and which is best positioned for growth in the new year. Many of the stocks we highlight below have been reliable sources of income and they should continue to reward income investors in 2016 and beyond.

Let’s take a closer look.

The Technology Sector

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  AAPL data by YCharts

Shares of Apple Inc. (AAPL – Get Report) , a company known for its amazing ability to mix hardware, software, services, and third-party apps into smart devices, gained just 7.8% in 2015 (so far). That’s actually under-performing the S&P 500 IT index that is up 8.43% (based on last Friday’s closing).

Must Read: Why You Should Dump These 3 Large-Cap, High-Yield Energy Stocks Now

Analysts estimate the Tim Cook-led

The 15 Best Business Schools to Get Into Tech Companies

It doesn’t take an MBA to know that tech is the booming industry in today’s market. But it certainly helps to have an MBA when searching for a profitable job in that sector. And because of the allure of working for tech companies, which offer high salaries and a more egalitarian atmosphere, the competition for new hires can be steep.

Here are 15 business schools that place their graduates in ideal positions for taking a leading role at Google, Apple, Microsoft or any of the many startup companies that will become the tech giants of the future.

 

The University of Texas at Austin McCombs School of Business
Austin, Texas

The MBA program here offers six different ways to achieve a graduate degree in business including a full-time two-year daytime program and an evening program that takes two-and-a-half years. While most programs are based in the growing tech hub of Austin, there are also options for classes in Dallas, Houston and even Mexico City. The university also offers a Master of Science in Technology one-year degree that helps students “learn how to identify technologies with commercial viability and bring them to market.”

Stanford Graduate School of Business
Stanford, CA

“It is harder to

Why the Dow Jones Industrial Average Could Begin a 70% Decline in the Next Few Weeks

There is a rare bull market pattern that, once it ends, is one of the worst formations that can occur. It has two names. Some call it the megaphone pattern, as its shape resembles what many know as the voice amplifier that coaches and referees use to get large groups of people to pay attention.

Those who know its implication for the financial markets refer to it as the Jaws of Death pattern. In fact, both names have meaning for this ominous indicator of egregious crowd bullishness. Its megaphone analogy reminds us that when this pattern appears, investors need to pay attention that the party attitude of recent memory is on it’s “last call.” The Jaws of Death descriptor is clear. When the pattern ends, the jaws snap shut like those of an alligator chomping down on hapless prey that got too close to the water.

Click here to see the following chart in a new window

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Above is the monthly bar chart of the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) , from the

Customized Shipping Labels to Ensure Accurate Delivery

bluerosepackaging4The last thing a business would want is to have a parcel return because of wrong address. This is quite frustrating and can spoil the reputation of your brand. To ensure that there is no issue with the parcel you send out, you can take the help of packaging companies that provide shipping labels. These labels are useful to ensure that the accurate address is mentioned on the package and the item reaches the appropriate recipient. This avoids almost all chances of causing any confusion which was quite possible otherwise.

The courier service that I own undertakes a lot of parcel work wherein we send out packaged goods to customers every now and then. Earlier I have faced issues when parcels have come back due to mentioning of wrong address. A few times, these boxes had address mentioned which were not clear. Due to this, they used to not reach the recipient and come back us. This created a bad image with my customers as they were angry that their parcels came back. This is when I got in touch with a professional packaging company that undertakes the activity

European business is willing, but not equipped, for low carbon transition

Research from Climate-KIC reveals that most European business leaders have prepared strategies to respond to climate change, but with a lack of focus on innovation, those strategies are likely to be ineffective for a 2°C trajectory.

The study from Climate-KIC, the EU’s principal knowledge and innovation community focused on climate change is entitled, Sparking an Innovation Step Change. It analyses the readiness of C-level European business leaders to deploy radical innovation to turn climate change from a threat into an opportunity.

Most European business leaders, (63%) acknowledge the regulatory and physical risks posed by climate change. 63% also believe responding to climate change would drive growth as demand for environmentally sound products and services increases. To address the identified risk and opportunity, most businesses (59%) said they have a strategy to respond to climate change.

However, despite the positive ambitions of European business, only 3 in 10 (29%) see a large amount of scope to respond to climate change using innovative technologies and ways of working. Even less (14%) believe there is a large amount of scope to evolve their business model to reduce resource consumption and carbon emissions.

An even more concerning insight was that irrespective of climate change, over

Hillary Clinton Attacks GOP Lawmakers in Wall Street Op Ed for New York Times

It wasn’t just Wall Street in Hillary Clinton’s cross-hairs Monday — the Democratic presidential contender also took aim at Republican lawmakers.

Clinton penned an op-ed in The New York Times Monday outlining her plans to rein in the financial sector. While the piece largely reiterates the reform strategy the former secretary of state outlined in October, it also targets for assault the GOP and its financial reform policies. Last time

She warns of GOP politicians in Congress and on the campaign trail who are “dead-set on rolling back critical financial protections” and pinpoints legislators who are “working to attach damaging deregulation riders” to the spending bill being hammered out this week.

“As president, I would not only veto any legislation that would weaken financial reform, but I would also fight for tough new rules, stronger enforcement and more accountability that go well beyond Dodd-Frank,” she writes.

Must Read: You Might Want to Name Your Next Baby Girl ‘Clinton’

She calls attention to the threat of defunding the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which is responsible for consumer protections in the financial sector, as part of the spending bill currently being debated. She also promises to appoint “tough, independent regulators” to the Securities and Exchange Commission and Commodity Futures

Bank of America Will Rise With Interest Rates

Shares of Bank of America (BAC – Get Report) have dropped about 2% in 2015 in what has been a fairly uninspiring year for big bank stocks. Jeanie Wyatt, CEO of South Texas Money Management, said Bank of America’s low valuation makes it a strong buy for the coming year.

“We like it because it’s the cheapest, and we think as interest rates rise — and they are going to rise moderately — that will benefit the big banks,” said Wyatt.

Bank of America trades at a price-to-earnings multiple of 11 times next year’s earnings and a price-to-book ratio of less than 1.

Wyatt is also positive on Disney (DIS – Get Report) , which has seen its stock rise 21% this year despite a 30% dive in August as a result of subscription losses at its sports network ESPN. Wyatt said Wall Street’s analyst community is underestimating the profit that Disney will derive from the coming Star Wars movie.

“We think it will be a very impactful movie and environment for Disney,” said Wyatt.

Shares of Vantiv  (VNTV – Get Report)  have surged 53% thus far this year and

Here’s a Crazy Reason Why Your Future Car Might Not Need a Steering Wheel

Once self-driving cars become a reality we’ll all have to get used to vehicles without steering wheels. But there’s a different and surprising reason why some cars might soon go hands-free: Researchers in China have created the first car that’s operated by mind control.

Reuters explains the car uses electroencephalogram sensors to read signals from the driver’s brain, filter out the relevant ones and translate them into instructions for the car to move forward or in reverse or come to a stop, for example.

The Nankai University researchers said the original idea was to create a car for disabled people who were unable to steer one physically. Though they have a commercial car company partnering with them, they’re clearly still a long way from mind-controlled cars being sold to the public. But as a proof of concept, it’s only slightly less cool than a certain fictional Delorean’s airborne upgrades, that were, we recall, supposed to be available by 2015.

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Last week,

All Eyes on Costco’s Latest Quarterly Results

In “What to Watch on Wall Street” for Tuesday Dec. 8, TheStreet will highlight several companies that are set to release their latest financial results.

We’ll begin Tuesday morning with AutoZone (AZO) and Toll Brothers (TOL – Get Report) reporting their earnings before the market opens. In the afternoon we’ll hear from Costco Wholesale (COST – Get Report) Dave & Buster’s (PLAY) , and Krispy Kreme Doughnuts (KKD – Get Report) .

The big one to watch for is Costco. Wall Street analysts are expecting the warehouse retailer to deliver $1.17 a share on revenue of over $27.5 billion. Earnings are projected to be higher compared to a year ago, while sales are estimated to decline. During the same period a year ago, the company earned $1.12 a share on revenue of $26.87 billion.

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Costco recently reported its same-store sales

FTC Challenges Staples-Office Depot Merger

With the FTC dealing a major blow to the proposed merger of Staples (SPLS – Get Report) and Office Depot (ODP – Get Report) , the biggest loser will likely end up being its biggest player, Staples.

On Monday, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed a complaint charging that the proposed deal would violate antitrust laws by significantly reducing competition nationwide in the market for “consumable” office supplies sold to large business customers. Further, the complaint alleges that by eliminating the competition between Staples and Office Depot, the transaction would lead to higher prices and reduced quality.

“The commission has reason to believe that the proposed merger between Staples and Office Depot is likely to eliminate beneficial competition that large companies rely on to reduce the costs of office supplies,” said FTC chairwoman Edith Ramirez.

In a statement, Staples said it intends to contest the FTC’s attempt to block the deal. An administrative trial to decide on whether the deal can go through is scheduled to begin on May 10, 2016.

To help temper the concerns of regulators and win approval, the companies had said they would sell off Office Depot assets with revenues of up to $1.25

If Tesla Can’t Beat the Competition in Netherlands, What About Elsewhere?

If you want a preview of how Tesla might fare as more competition enters the electric car market, look no further than the Netherlands — but brace yourself for what you are about to see, especially if you’re a hopeful Tesla (TSLA – Get Report) investor.

The Netherlands is the second-largest market for electric cars in Europe, after Norway, which has generous subsidies to encourage mass adoption.

Netherlands reports monthly car sales promptly at the conclusion of each month. These are the results for plug-in electric vehicles in November:

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  1. Mitsubishi Outlander 889
  2. Volvo XC90 T8 714
  3. Volkswagen Passat GTE 692
  4. Mercedes C350e 650
  5. Volkswagen Golf GTE 560
  6. Audi A3 eTron 451
  7. Volvo V60 438
  8. BMW X5 40e 244

Did you notice something about that list? Tesla isn’t on it. Tesla, the pioneering luxury electric vehicle company, was not one of the eight best-selling plug-in cars in Netherlands in November.

Must Read: AT&T Is Super Excited About the Internet of Things

Year-to-date, however, Tesla is No. 6, with 1,613 cars sold through November. What does that mean? That Tesla has been losing plug-in market share month-over-month in 2015.

But what about Tesla’s absolute sales numbers?

$13.9 Billion Mega-Deal Persuades Keurig Green Mountain to Go Private

Keurig Green Mountain (GMCR – Get Report) , the maker of beverage dispensers for the mass market, has agreed to be acquired by a JAB Holding-led investor group for about $13.9 billion, the two companies announced Monday morning.

The Luxembourg-based private equity firm will take the Waterbury, Vt.-based company private for $92 per share in cash, a 77.9% premium over the target’s closing stock price of $51.70 on Dec. 4.

As of Nov. 13, Keurig had total outstanding shares of about 148.9 million, according to a 10-K filed on Nov. 19. At $92 per share, that would equate to nearly $13.7 billion. It also had cash and cash equivalents of nearly $60 million and restricted cash and cash equivalents of about $30 million as of Sept. 26, as well as outstanding debt of about $330 million and capital lease obligations and financing obligations of around $120 million, giving the company an enterprise value of close to $14.1 billion.

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The offer,

This German-Based Biotech Juggernaut Will Be Unstoppable in Europe’s Coming Revival

The European Union certainly has its share of headline-grabbing problems: the worst migrant crisis since World War II; terrorist attacks; indebted countries such as Greece; and sluggish growth. But as Warren Buffett once said with characteristic understatement, Europe “is going to be around.”

Turn your back on Europe and you’re leaving serious money on the table. Several clear signs now point to a European revival in the making — and we’ve pinpointed an undervalued German-based “blue-chip” biotech that’s one of your best profit-making opportunities right now on the continent. It’s among a group of undervalued growth stocks set to soar in the coming year.

Last Friday in a speech to some of Wall Street’s biggest players, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi underscored his determination to do whatever it takes to stimulate the eurozone’s moribund economy, including an extension of the ECB’s current program of buying about 60 billion euros worth of bonds each month until at least March 2017.

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Why You Should Dump These 3 Large-Cap

Often investors lose sight of the big picture, entranced by the lure of double-digit dividends. But every meteoric income-graph has an underlying story that warrants a wary eye.

We flag three such stocks that are enormous yield-generators but have lost their sheen with a dismal market performance over the last year. They belong to an entire group of horrible stocks that are poised for collapse in 2016.

ETP data by YCharts

1. Energy Transfer Partners (ETP – Get Report)

Energy Transfer Partners is a natural gas company. Its activities include intrastate transportation and storage, midstream services as well as retail marketing.

Must Read: Weak Euro Will Push European Stocks Ahead in 2016 Says HSBC Strategist

As with most oil and gas utilities, 2015 has been a difficult year for the company, with a year-to-date fall of near 40%. There are several major issues plaguing the oil major (its five-year market yield is at a woeful -24%). Even trailing returns have been lower than both the oil and gas midstream index and the S&P total returns index by big margins.

The current dividend yield of 10.92% is a non-event in the prevailing scenario.

Jim Cramer’s charitable trust just bought shares of ETP. Find

Perfectly Legal but Commonly Ignored Tax Deductions and Credits

Rap artist Dr. Dre once said, “The only two things that scare me are God and the IRS.” Yes, preparing and paying your income tax can be a scary proposition, and December is the month when many investors start to fret about their taxes. You should follow the letter of the law, but you shouldn’t overpay the IRS, either.

Fact is, taxes make it harder for you to reach your financial goals, by steadily eroding your income and investment earnings. As part of your long-term strategy to build up your net worth, you should do everything you can to legally minimize the taxes you pay.

That means you shouldn’t let the deductions and credits you deserve slip through the cracks. It’s hard to believe that while many folks love to complain about taxes, those same people may be failing to take advantage of the many legal tax breaks available to them. Come tax time, don’t needlessly cheat yourself.

Maintaining tax-smart records is always a good idea. Keeping track of your deductible expenses will save you from a world of pain if the IRS decides to audit you. Nowhere is incomplete record keeping more deadly than in an audit because without documentation, any of

Nordstrom Boosts Omnichannel Efforts With Investment in Shoe Start-Up

Continuing its commitment to investing in new shopping models, Nordstrom (JWN – Get Report)  is backing a startup called Shoes of Prey, which lets shoppers create their own customized shoes.

Nordstrom has already partnered with Shoes of Prey since earlier this year on physical design studios within six Nordstrom locations, plus a dedicated section on Nordstrom.com for Shoes of Prey.

But now Nordstrom is putting its money behind the partnership as a part of a $15.5 million series of funding for Shoes of Prey. BlueSky Venture Capital, Greycroft, and Khosla Ventures also participated in the round, which brings Shoes of Prey’s total funding to $24.6 million.

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Shoes of Prey was founded in 2009 and has since sold more than five million customized shoes. Its customers have the ability to choose the style, heel height, material, color, size, and width of every pair of shoes they purchase.

The startup will use its new funding to ramp up its omnichannel efforts and to expand into new categories like women’s handbags.

Shoes of Prey aligns with Nordstrom’s emphasis on blending the worlds of

Why Keurig Green Mountain Had no Choice but to Sell Itself for $13.9 Billion

For Keurig Green Mountain (GMCR – Get Report) , slowing sales of its home brewing machines and increased price competition for its popular coffee pods have likely spurred it to go private before it loses shareholders any more money.

On Monday, Keurig Green Mountain, the leader in the single-serve coffee business, announced that it will be acquired by an investor group led by JAB Holding Companies for an eye-popping $13.9 billion, or a 77% premium to last Friday’s closing price. With the deal, Keurig will join a diverse portfolio of consumer-oriented companies for JAB, which owns controlling stakes in Jacobs Douwe Egberts, a coffee and tea giant that owns Gevalia, among other brands); and Coty (COTY – Get Report) , a leader in the beauty and cosmetics industry. JAB also has a controlling stake in luxury goods purveyor Jimmy Choo.

In a statement announcing the deal, Keurig Green Mountain president and CEO Brian Kelley said “this transaction will deliver significant cash value for our shareholders and offers an exciting new chapter for our customers, partners and employees by combining Keurig Green Mountain with JAB’s global coffee platform.”

Kelley’s comments on the company’s quarterly earnings call a few weeks ago might explain his enthusiasm for the

Higher Rates Won’t Hammer Growth at Outdoor Decking Company Trex

Trex (TREX – Get Report) , one of the largest manufacturers of wood-alternative decking, sees no ceiling on growth even with an expected increase in interest rates.

“We think the interest rates still remain low, even if the Fed does take action, said Jim Cline, CEO of Trex. “We think it will have a minimal impact on the outdoor decking products.” Cline sees continued strong growth in 2016 based on increasing consumer confidence, which correlates with company revenue.

Trex has already projected fourth-quarter net sales of about $85 million, which would be a 15% increase over last year’s results and put the company on track to achieve record annual revenue for 2015.

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“We’re seeing very strong growth for the fourth quarter. Part of that is coming from market share gains,” explained Cline. Trex’s residential market share in 2014 was 41%, up 5% since 2012. Cline also said Trex is now growing at a faster rate internationally than domestically, even with the stronger U.S. dollar.

“Many nations — such as Canada, Europe and Australia — saw 25% to 30% exchange

Best Year Since the Recession or the Start of Another One?

With only a few weeks left in 2015, it’s time to consider how the New Year will affect the U.S. economy: Will it be the best year since the Great Recession, as some corporate executives predict, or will it mark the start of another downturn?

While there are enough moving parts — from likely higher interest rates to a slowing Chinese economy and the election of a new president — to support a range of predictions, many are optimistic.

“I anticipate continued economic growth at a moderate pace that will be sufficient to generate additional increases in employment,” Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen testified to Congress this month as the central banks weighs its first interest-rate increase since the financial crisis. “I currently see the risks to the outlook for economic activity and the labor market as very close to balanced.”

Growth in sales, investment in new technologies, an expanding workforce, and domestic and international market expansion are fueling confidence among finance executives. Most of 500 such managers surveyed by one of the country’s biggest banks expect 2016 to be the best year since the beginning of the Great Recession, scoring the economy at a 61 out of 100, with 100 being “extremely strong.”

About 90% are confident the

No Shortage of GE Appliance Buyers as Electrolux Deal Collapses

General Electric (GE – Get Report)  will have no shortage of bidders for its iconic appliances unit after pulling the plug on a soured $3.3 billion deal with Swedish manufacturer Electrolux, analysts say.

The $3.3 billion transaction marked Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Immelt’s second unsuccessful attempt to exit the business in the past 10 years, but the Fairfield, Conn.-based company said it will continue to pitch the unit to possible acquirers. Analysts says there may be as many as four other prospects, including private equity firms and overseas companies.

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“I’m sure they’ll find another buyer,” Steve Winoker, an analyst with Bernstein, said in a phone interview.  A wide range of smaller Asian manufacturers may make offers, largely because they do not have a significant U.S. presence and can more easily dodge the antitrust issues that prompted the U.S. Justice Department to block the deal in court, Winoker said.

Must Read: Why GE’s $10 Billion Alstom Purchase Is its Best Deal in a Century

 

The appliances deal is one facet of Immelt’s strategy to reshape GE from a sprawling conglomerate into a pure-play industrial.