Yes, there is some good financial news
Even though many of the economic headlines are scary, this is precisely the time for smart investors to put money to work.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Some of you think that I and other financial reporters have been full of too much doom and gloom. If we just, like Anna in "The King and I," just whistled a happy tune, there would be no recession.
I don't believe that for one minute. Nor should you. But it is fair to say I've been focusing a lot on disappointing economic numbers. It's hard not to.
However, I am not necessarily a half-glass-empty guy - just a realist.
As such, the consumer price index numbers released Friday morning are a welcome respite from the bad economic news. Prices in February were unchanged at both the headline and core level, which excludes food and energy costs.
Of course, the big spike in oil this month might mean that it's a different story for the March CPI numbers. Ashraf Laidi, chief currency strategist for brokerage CMC Markets US, wrote in a report Friday morning that he thinks weak economic growth will ultimately help contain inflationary pressures - but also that the low inflation number was an "aberration."
Still, for today at least, the inflation hawks have a little less reason to be worried.
Where the values are: So with that in mind, let's head into the weekend on an upbeat note. I wrote on Tuesday that "there is money to be made even in the most jittery of markets." I talked to a couple of investing experts this week to follow up on that point.
Even though there are a lot of scary economic headlines, it's actually a great time for level-headed investors taking a long-term approach to find some good stocks.
"This is when you put blinders on and stick with individual stocks," said Jeffrey Saut, chief investment strategist for Raymond James. "For the well-prepared investor, volatility leads to opportunity.
Saut said he's recommended several stocks that have not been hit that hard during this year's market swoon and that he expects to continue doing well. He likes Delta Petroleum (DPTR), an oil company that recently received an investment from billionaire Kirk Kerkorian, and Covanta (CVA), a company that converts solid waste into renewable energy.
But Saut said he likes more than just hot energy stocks. He said he's bought shares of General Electric (GE, Fortune 500) several times this year. He also is finding some healthcare stocks attractive, including Wyeth (WYE, Fortune 500) and the preferred convertible shares of drug maker Schering-Plough (SGP, Fortune 500), which pay a yield of nearly 8%.
John Canally, Jr., vice president and investment strategist with LPL Financial, an investment advisory firm,. said that he also thinks healthcare stocks will be solid performers as the year progresses. He also likes industrials and technology stocks, which he believes should post solid earnings growth in the year ahead.
Canally said the key for investors is to not get so caught up in the headlines about the mess that the banking sector is in. For example, investors got spooked again with the news Friday morning that Bear Stearns (BSC, Fortune 500) is getting short-term financing from the Fed and JPMorgan Chase (JPM, Fortune 500).
"We know that financials are a wreck but other sectors are holding up ok. Outside of financials we should see high single-digit earnings growth in the first quarter," he said.
Canally added that investors should not forget that typically stocks perform extremely well in the fourth quarter of an election year, regardless of whether a Republican or Democrat wins. Though there is usually a lot of volatility in the first three quarters of the year.
As such, he conceded that the next few months could still be very rocky for the markets but that he is still predicting that the S&P 500 will finish the year with a 10% gain.
So there you have it. A bit of bullishness from me to show that I'm not only about economic fire and brimstone. But before that, forgive me this little rant.
Did you all see the uproar earlier this week about a children's hospital in Columbus, Ohio that was criticized for considering putting the Abercrombie & Fitch name on its emergency room? The controversial retailer, which used to feature scantily-clad teens in its catalog, has pledged $10 million to the construction of the emergency room.
Apparently, some were not thrilled that Abercrombie, because of its reputation, might have its name on a wing of a kids' hospital. But to me, the bigger outrage is that it's another example of promotion run amok.
Don't get me wrong. I understand the need for marketing and advertising. Heck, it puts food on my table. Advertising on free Web sites such as the one you're reading as well as on television, radio and newspapers makes sense.
I've even begrudgingly come to accept the fact that college football teams compete in bowl games named for Chick-fil-A and Papajohns.com and that many professional sports franchises play in stadiums bearing the names of struggling banks and airlines.
But shouldn't places like hospitals and schools be free of excessive advertising? Earlier this year, McDonald's was promoting Happy Meals on report cards in a school district in Orlando; it stopped doing so after parents complained.
People shouldn't get rushed to the Weight Watchers cardiology wing for an emergency angioplasty sponsored by Liquid-Plumr (works on the toughest clogs!) College students hopefully won't have to take classes like DuPont's Better Living Through Organic Chemistry 101.
When is enough enough? Don't answer that. It was a rhetorical question...brought to you by HeadOn. Apply directly to the forehead!
Have a great weekend, everyone.