Money Matters - Simplified


My 8 Largely Pitiful Predictions for 2010

 I flew my waxy wings too close to the sun this year. I was feeling cocky after nailing 8 1/2 out of 9 predictions in 2009, so I decided to go out on longer limbs this year. Instead of general market trends or stock direction calls, I singled out specific buyouts and actual events. The aggressive prognostications burned me, largely. Two of mythree initial predictions panned out, but I whiffed badly on the additional five calls. In the spirit of full accountability, let's go over my three-for-eight performance this year.

Corcept May Have Hit Pay Dirt

After failing to show a statistically significant effect for treating the psychotic features of psychotic depression in three individual clinical trials, Corcept Therapeutics (Nasdaq: CORT) finally found something that its drug candidate, Corlux, is good at: treating Cushing's syndrome.

Profit From a Stalling Rally

Anybody can make money when stocks are going up, and if you know how to sell stocks short, you can profit when stocks drop, too. But what the heck are you supposed to do in a flat market?

No More Free Money for Boeing

 Warning: Today's column is going to wax a bit wonkish. If you're not exactly a detail-oriented Fool, you might want to skip right past the next few paragraphs, proceed to the takeaway about Boeing (NYSE: BA), and move on to the rest of your day's reading material.

Shares of Regional Banks Popped: What You Need to Know

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

A Fool Looks Back

A week that started with reports (later confirmed) of layoffs at Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO) ended with the announcement that the struggling dot-com giant was cutting ties with a few of its offerings.

Best Buy Shares Plunged: What You Need to Know

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

Home prices gains in Canada slow down

Ottawa -- Home prices in Canada rose 0.1 percent in October, half the rate of increases in the previous month, Statistics Canada said Thursday.

Prices in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, rose the most, 0.8 percent. In Greater Sudbury and Thunder Bay, Ontario, prices rose 0.5 percent, the government's statistical office said.

Prices fell furthest in Calgary, Alberta, dropping 0.6 percent. In nine of 21 cities surveyed, prices were unchanged in the month.

In the past 12 months, Regina, Saskatchewan, has the greatest price growth with the home price index rising 0.6 percent.

Five cities in the past 12 months registered price declines:

Crude oil drops under $89

New York -- Crude oil prices slid Tuesday after peaking above $90 per barrel for the second time in a week.

Prices reached $90.76 in overnight trading but lost ground as the dollar index rose 0.5 percent. U.S. equity markets started strong but closed flat as enthusiasm over a tax plan compromise announced by the White House faded by the close of trading.

The price of January light, sweet crude oil on the New York Mercantile Exchange dropped $2.46 from the peak to $88.30. Heating oil prices lost 0.57 cents to $2.47 per gallon. Reformulated gasoline prices dropped 2.93 cents to $2.3124 per gallon.

Henry Hub natural gas prices shed 1.03 cents to $4.485 per million British thermal units.

Weak dollar gives grain futures a boost

Cchicago -- Grain futures closed sharply higher on the Chicago Board of Trade Friday with the dollar index down, making prices that much more attractive to foreign buyers.

Corn was up 16 to up 18 1/4, soybeans were up 19 to up 20 1/2, wheat was up 11 3/4 to up 31 1/2 and oats were up 5 1/4 to up 6.

Corn prices climbed with support from the dollar and from dry weather in Argentina. Wheat futures found support in reports a large percentage of Australia's crop could be downgraded to livestock feed status. Talk of China remaining active as a buyer helped soybean prices, which set the pace on increases Friday.

The prices:

Corn: Dec 5.59, up 18 1/4; Mar 5.73 1/2, up 18; May 5.80 1/2, up 17; Jly 5.84 1/2, up 16.