The World’s Most Profitable Agriculture Company

I hate falling into the trap of simply responding to the
hottest news headlines – because very few people get rich by reacting to
headlines and pulling the trigger on investments based on “hot” trends in the

At this point, computers can wipe the floor with most any
day-trader, so if you think you can buy yesterday’s news and still eke out a
profit, you’re probably wrong.

In the past couple
weeks agriculture has been the hot topic on everyone’s mind. First, fires in
Russia caused wheat prices to double in less than a month as Vladimir Putin
banned Russian wheat exports. In sympathy, many other crop commodities rose
in price as well. Then yesterday, BHP Billiton (NYSE: BHP)
the world’s largest mining company, put in a failed bid to buy Potash
Corp (NYSE: POT)
the world’s largest fertilizer company.

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You’ve no doubt heard about the wildfires ravaging
Russia‘s countryside. These fires have
seriously impacted
Russia‘s wheat
harvest, and have sent wheat prices soaring around the world.

This morning, mining company BHP Billiton (NYSE:BHP) offered $39 billion, or $130 a
share for the world’s largest fertilizer company, Potash Corp of

Saskatchewan (NYSE:POT).

The significance of this deal is clear. Lower crop yields
increases the demand for fertilizer.
Russia‘s wildfires have brought this point
to an immediate catalyst for fertilizer prices. But the underlying issues of
agriculture have made fertilizer stocks a growing sector for the last few

The Only 3 Commodity ETFs You Need for Profits

If you’ve invested in ETFs over the past few years – you’ve
probably lost money.

I know it’s not news to you, but the simple fact is that most ETFs were never
designed to succeed for individual investors – they were designed to do only
one thing: line the pockets of the Wall Street big shots with the brilliant
idea to sell “easy” investments to Main Street investors.

It’s simple to see why: they make between 0.5% and 1.0% regardless of what
the ETF does
. Just another Wall Street con job.

Good investments are rarely easy, and although ETFs seem like a no-brainer,
that’s because most of them were specifically designed to appear that

Top Performing Mutual Funds in the Sector You’d Least Expect

Yesterday was a “sigh.” Today is an “ugh.” The labor market in the U.S. just
can’t get any momentum going.

Today’s non-farm payroll number for July came in lighter than expected. And
the number of job losses came in higher. Put those together and you get a bad
overall employment number. Ugh.

Through the miracle of statistics, the unemployment rate held steady. But it
doesn’t really matter. Every investor knows that number is a sham, and stocks
would be off today even if the “official” unemployment number fell to 5%.

I’ve said repeatedly that employment will be the last sector of the U.S.
economy to show gains. But it still feels like we are being overwhelmed by
the negativity of the employment numbers.

Will Europe

Before European regulators released the results of the
banking “stress tests”, which were designed to test whether Euro-zone banks
were healthy enough to withstand economic shocks, Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS)
estimated that European banks probably needed to raise somewhere in the
neighborhood of 38 billion euros to shore up their balance sheets and offset
non-performing loans.

Barclay’s went for a much more expensive neighborhood, at 85
billion euros.

So it might have seemed like good news when European bank
regulators announced that only 7 of the 98 banks that received stress tests
came up with failing grades. What’s more, it would only take 3.5 billion euros
to change those “Fs” to “Ds” or “Cs”.

The Truth Behind Tech Revenues

Up, down, up down. To say that the stock market has been
volatile over the last week is like saying King Kong was big monkey. It’s
true, but it doesn’t really give the complete picture.

Investors and traders really don’t seem to know what’s
coming next. I’ve tuned into
CNBC a few times during the trading day recently, and you can see the
frustration on the commentators’ faces. It’s as if they know that, no matter
what they say, they will be wrong.

This market is experiencing indecision in its purest

Is a Double Dip of Recession Coming?

What a difference a day makes. Yesterday morning, the
situation looked dire for stocks. Headline revenue misses from

(NYSE:IBM) and Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) took
the Dow Industrials Average down well over 100 points at the open.

But that initial decline marked the lows for the day, and
stock prices rallied the entire day and finished with some impressive gains.

I discussed the apparent disconnect between earnings and
valuations yesterday. Sure, some big companies have missed revenue estimates
while still meeting or beating earnings estimates. But at the same time,
valuations already reflected a good amount of pessimism about 2Q

Irrational Market?

The latest round of earnings reports are taking stock prices
lower. 2Q earnings started off good with a glowing report from Intel
INTC), but have taken
a turn for the worst.

The issue is revenues. IBM
Texas Instruments (NYSE:
and Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) all came in a little light on revenues. Companies
are meeting or exceeding earnings estimates, overall S&P 500 earnings
have been 17% above expectations, according to Bloomberg.

But revenues have beaten expectations by only 3.5% so far,
and some big names like
IBM have come in below revenue estimates.

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It’s hard to be disappointed with JP Morgan’s
JPM) $1.09 a share earnings for the second
quarter. After all, analysts were looking for just $0.74 a share. But still,
JP Morgan’s 47% earnings beat isn’t being called a “blowout.”

If this has you scratching your head a little, don’t worry,
I suspect you’re not alone.

One of the big reasons that JP Morgan beat earnings
expectations so handily is that it had to set aside less loss reserves for bad
loans. That’s a good indication that the company is working its way out of the
problems created by the housing bubble

What Intel’s Earnings Mean for You

Intel’s blowout earnings report last night is certainly
making it look as though earnings estimates were revised too low for
corporations. And so the overwhelmingly pessimism that drove stocks lower
since early May seems to be shifting to optimism that maybe things aren’t
that bad after all.

Intel’s second quarter EPS were $0.51 on revenue of $10.8
billion. Those numbers crushed the analyst expectations. Analysts wanted
$0.43 with $10.3 billion in sales. Guidance was also way above expectations.
Intel’s management expects third quarter revenue of $11.6 billion from $11

CEO Paul Otellini made sure to let analyst know during the
conference call that this quarter was the best quarter in the company’s 42 year
corporate history.