Fri08222014

Business & Real Estate

A look ahead to the new year

Looking back on 2012, it proved a good year for several Town Crier “50” stocks, a good year for President Barack Obama and, in general, a good year for stock market investors.

Standard & Poor’s 500 is up 13 percent at 1,437.4, led by financials and consumer discretionary companies.

Once the politicians in Washington, D.C., stop playing chicken, we can expect some tax hikes and spending cuts, but the thought among numerous analysts is that the country will avoid the most visible potholes and look to the future.

Among the forecasts by 10 equity strategists at a recent Barron’s conclave, the outlook for 2013 suggests stocks will rise 10 percent. The bulls are more bullish and the bears less bearish.

Favored sectors for growth in the coming year are technology, consumer staples and energy. Sectors to avoid include financials, utilities and telecom.

Those credentials speak well for Town Crier stocks. Note the positive moves for two members of the Town Crier “50.”

• Oracle Corp.’s earnings exceeded expectations and turned in a strong third-quarter profit. Earnings rose 18 percent and sales increased 3 percent. Sales from new software licenses jumped 17 percent. Oracle anticipates a favorable pricing environment and an increased sales force. Many analysts deem Oracle a long-term buy.

• Cisco Systems Inc. is planning an annual growth target of 5 to 7 percent higher sales over the next three to five years. Best known for its routers and switches, Cisco expects services and software to drive growth in coming years.

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