CHICAGO, Feb. 14, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Zacks.com announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include Vanguard Industrials ETF (AMEX: VIS), S&P Energy (AMEX: XLE), S&P Global Infrastructure (AMEX: IGF), Vanguard's ETF REIT (AMEX: VNQ) and Powershares High Yield (AMEX: PEY).
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Here are highlights from Wednesday's Analyst Blog:
The State of the Union for Investors
On Tuesday night, President Obama had these words to say in his State of the Union Address. Below I make the case for relevancy within the markets:
How do we attract more jobs to our shores? How do we equip our people with the skills to get those jobs? And how do we make sure that hard work leads to a decent living?"
- Obama outlined steps to help all children get high-quality preschool.
- Offer incentives to companies that hire Americans who've got what it takes to fill that job opening, but have been out of work so long that no one will give them a chance anymore.
- Increase in the minimum wage, from $7.25 an hour now, to $9 an hour, was the most tangible of a raft of initiatives.
II. Sector Priorities
A. Manufacturing - seeVanguard Industrials ETF (AMEX: VIS)
Obama's address indicates he wants federal government prioritized into sectors where investments make high returns:
Last year, we created our first manufacturing innovation institute in Youngstown, Ohio. A once-shuttered warehouse is now a state-of-the art lab where new workers are mastering the 3D printing that has the potential to revolutionize the way we make almost everything. There's no reason this can't happen in other towns.
So tonight, I'm announcing the launch of three more of these manufacturing hubs, where businesses will partner with the Department of Defense and Energy to turn regions left behind by globalization into global centers of high-tech jobs. And I ask this Congress to help create a network of 15 of these hubs and guarantee that the next revolution in manufacturing is made right here in America. We can get that done.
B. Oil & Gas/Energy - see S&P Energy (AMEX: XLE)
So tonight, I propose we use some of our oil and gas revenues to fund an Energy Security Trust that will drive new research and technology to shift our cars and trucks off oil for good. In fact, much of our new-found energy is drawn from lands and waters that we, the public, own together.
Obama likewise called for a doubling of energy production by 2030 and urged Congress to take up climate-change legislation that failed during his first term.
He said that if Congress didn't act on climate change, he would prepare a series of executive actions to "prepare our cities and nation for the worsening effects" of a hotter climate.
C. Infrastructure - see S&P Global Infrastructure (AMEX: IGF)
So tonight, I propose a "Fix-It-First" program to put people to work as soon as possible on our most urgent repairs, like the nearly 70,000 structurally deficient bridges across the country. And to make sure taxpayers don't shoulder the whole burden, I'm also proposing a Partnership to Rebuild America that attracts private capital to upgrade what our businesses need most: modern ports to move our goods, modern pipelines to withstand a storm, modern schools worthy of our children.
D. Housing - see Vanguard's ETF REIT (AMEX: VNQ)
Let's put people back to work rebuilding vacant homes in run-down neighborhoods. And this year, my administration will begin to partner with 20 of the hardest-hit towns in America to get these communities back on their feet. We'll work with local leaders to target resources at public safety, and education, and housing.
But even with mortgage rates near a 50-year low, too many families with solid credit who want to buy a home are being rejected. Too many families who never missed a payment and want to refinance are being told "no." That's holding our entire economy back. We need to fix it. Right now, there's a bill in this Congress that would give every responsible homeowner in America the chance to save $3,000 a year by refinancing at today's rates. Democrats and Republicans have supported it before, so what are we waiting for? Take a vote, and send me that bill.
III. Fiscal Progress - see Powershares High Yield (AMEX: PEY)
The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget said Monday that policy makers need to find at least $2.4 trillion more in savings.
On March 1, about $85 billion in automatic spending cuts for the military and various domestic agencies are set to take effect. Both the White House and Republicans have said they want to avert the cuts, but they still disagree on how to do it. Obama shot down a Republican idea to protect the military alone from the draconian cuts.
Economists and the Congressional Budget office have warned that if the cuts, known as "the sequester," are not avoided, it would cut U.S. growth in half in 2013. The Congressional Budget Office has projected an $845 billion deficit this year, which would be a 40% drop from the deficit in 2009.
Obama offered fiscal conservatives an olive branch, however, saying he was prepared to achieve the same amount of healthcare savings as proposed by the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles commission. That plan called for $341 billion in savings from federal entitlement programs.
Already, we have brought home 33,000 of our brave servicemen and women. This spring, our forces will move into a support role, while Afghan security forces take the lead. Tonight, I can announce that over the next year, another 34,000 American troops will come home from Afghanistan. This drawdown will continue and by the end of next year, our war in Afghanistan will be over.
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