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Monday, March 12, 2012

10 stocks to watch today

1. Food

Stocks:Syngenta (SYT 0.00%, news) and Monsanto (MON 0.00%, news)

The United Nations calls the global food crisis a "silent tsunami." Two billion people, mostly poor, depend on fish and other wild foods for protein. Their supplies have "collapsed or are in steep decline," forcing use of costly animal proteins. The rise in food prices is making it worse for billions living below poverty levels.

In "The End of Plenty," National Geographic warns "synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and irrigation, supercharged by genetically engineered seeds" are failing. A joint World Bank/UN study concluded that the immense production increases brought about by science and technology the past 30 years have failed to improve food access for many of the world's poor. Modern techniques have led to farming that's "destructive of the soil, the environment and us," Doug Gurian-Sherman, a senior scientist with the food and environment program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, tells Time magazine.






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2. Farmland

Funds:Ceres Partners, Chess Capital Partners

Crop soils are "being carried away by water and wind erosion at rates between 10 to 40 times the rates of soil formation," Diamond warns in "Collapse." With forests, the soil-erosion rate is "between 500 and 10,000 times" the replacement rate, he estimates -- a trend accelerated by today's 100,000-acre megafires.

Ceres and Chess are hedge funds that own many small farms.

Additional stocks mentioned in this article: Kimberly-Clark (KMB 0.00%, news), International Paper (IP 0.00%, news) and DuPont (DD 0.00%, news).


3. Forests

Stocks:Kimberly-Clark (KMB 0.00%, news) and International Paper (IP 0.00%, news).

We are destroying natural habitats and rain forests at an accelerating rate. Half the world's original forests have been converted to urban developments. A quarter of what remains will be converted in the next 50 years.

4. Chemicals

Stocks:DuPont (DD 0.00%, news), Molycorp (MCP 0.00%, news) and Dow Chemical (DOW 0.00%, news).

Our solutions often create new problems. Consider the deadly impact of insecticides, pesticides, herbicides, detergents, plastics. The list is endless. For example, industries "manufacture or release into the air, soil, oceans, lakes, and rivers many toxic chemicals" that break down slowly or not at all, Diamond writes.






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5. Energy

Stocks:Exxon Mobil (XOM 0.00%, news), Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.B 0.00%, news), BP (BP 0.00%, news), ConocoPhillips (COP 0.00%, news) and Alpha Natural Resources (ANR 0.00%, news).

Oil, natural gas, coal. Pimco's Bill Gross described a "significant break" in the world's "growth pattern." The world is now past the "peak oil" tipping point. Consumer shopping will decline as economic growth slows in the future and corporate profits will be static.

6. Alternative energy

Stocks:Southern (SO 0.00%, news) and Westinghouse Solar (WEST 0.00%, news).

In "Seven myths about alternative energy," the Foreign Policy asks if biofuels, solar and nuclear are the "magic ticket" before answering that they're not. And they never will be, although some diversified energy companies are well into nuclear energy.

7. Water

Investment: government monopolies

Diamond warns: "Most of the world's fresh water in rivers and lakes is already being used for irrigation, domestic and industrial water," transportation, dams, fisheries and recreation. Water problems destroyed many earlier civilizations: "Today over a million people lack access to reliable safe drinking water."

By 2015 two-thirds of the world will live in water-stressed countries. Water will trade like oil futures. More and more wars will be fought over water and other basic resources concluded a 2003 Pentagon report predicting that "warfare will define human life by 2020.








Do economics point to chaos?
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8. Solar energy

Investment: very risky

Diamond warns that we're already using "half of the Earth's photosynthetic capacity," and will max out by midcentury. In "Plundering the Amazon," Bloomberg Markets magazine warns that Alcoa (AA 0.00%, news), Cargill and other resources giants "have bypassed laws designed to prevent destruction of the world's largest rain forest ... robbing the earth of its best shield against global warming


Company

Sector

YTD change

Forward P/E

Scouter score



ConocoPhillips (COP 0.00%, news)

Integrated oil and gas

5.9%

8.9

10



Exxon Mobil (XOM 0.00%, news)

Integrated oil and gas

-0.5%

9.4

9



Baker Hughes (BHI 0.00%, news)

Oilfield services

0.3%

8.4

8



BP (BP 0.00%, news)

Integrated oil and gas

9.2%

6.6

8



Chevron (CVX 0.00%, news)

Integrated oil and gas

3.0%

8.3

8



Southwestern Energy (SWN 0.00%, news)

Oil and gas exploration

3.4%

18.7

8



DirecTV (DTV 0.00%, news)

Broadcast satellite services

10.3%

8.9

10



Microsoft (MSFT 0.00%, news)

Software

23.2%

10.6

10



Two Harbors Investment (TWO 0.00%, news)

Real estate investment trust

11.5%

6.0

10



Lowe's (LOW 0.00%, news)

Home improvement stores

17.3%

13.4

10
TICKERS IN THIS ARTICLE.




NAME

LAST

CHNG

% CHNG






BHI

48.79

0.00

0.00









HAL

34.88

0.00

0.00









SLB

75.84

0.00

0.00









COP

77.16

0.00

0.00









XOM

84.30

0.00

0.00

Population growth bubble

Stocks:Wal-Mart Stores (WMT 0.00%, news), McDonald's (MCD 0.00%, news), Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD 0.00%, news) and L.L.Bean
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