Is it safe to buy Toyota stock? and CBS sells out Super Bowl ads

Toyota may finally have a fix for the sticking gas pedal problem that led to a massive recall of many of its popular vehicles.

But it remains to be seen what the long-term damage to the business will be, and it’s been a rough week and a half for Toyota investors: Shares of Toyota’s U.S.-listed stock (TM) have fallen nearly 15% since the the problems were first revealed on Jan. 21.

At the very least, there was likely a drop in sales in January because several key models were pulled from the market last week. And rivals such as Ford (F, Fortune 500), GM, Chrysler and Hyundai are trying to take advantage of Toyota’s woes with trade-in incentives to Toyota owners.

Still, investors seemed happy with Monday’s announcement of the pedal fix, bidding shares up 3.5% in early trading.

But is now really the right time to buy Toyota shares? Bob Bacarella, manager of the Monetta Fund, is not sure. [Read the full article]

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CBS (CBS, Fortune 500), the broadcaster for this year’s NFL championship, said it has sold out all the spots for the big game, said spokeswoman Shannon Jacobs on Monday.

It took the company several weeks to nail down the last few spots. CBS reported on Jan. 7 that it was 95% sold out.

A 30-second spot sold for up to $3 million apiece, according to CBS. Super Bowl advertisers get charged a premium because so many people watch the game. Last year was a record high for viewer volume, according to The Nielsen Company, with 98.7 million tuning in.

Anheuser-Busch (BUD) is the top advertiser this year, having purchased five minutes worth of ad time.

Other advertisers include PepsiCo’s (PEP, Fortune 500) Frito-Lay division,, Coca-Cola (KO, Fortune 500), Chrysler, Volkswagen, Kia, the U.S. Census Bureau and Focus on the Family. [Read the full article]

Oil prices rose Monday after better-than-expected economic reports raised optimism about improved energy demand. A pipeline attack in Nigeria also sparked supply concerns.

What prices are doing: Light, sweet crude for March delivery rose $1.54, or 2%, to settle at $74.43 a barrel following a 4-day retreat.

What’s moving prices: The Institute for Supply Management said economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in January for the sixth consecutive month. Increased manufacturing is a sign of increased demand for oil.

The ISM manufacturing index rose last month to 58.4 from 54.9 in December. The increase was better than the 55.5 reading economists were expecting, according to consensus estimates from

A report on personal income showed an increase of 0.4% for December, versus a forecasted 0.3% increase. Personal spending edged up 0.2% in December, falling short of the 0.3% increase forecast. [Read the full article]

At a press conference Monday to announce the fix for more than 5 million recalled vehicles, Jim Lentz, president and chief operating officer of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., promised the company would return to its commitment to quality.

Still, many believe that despite the gas pedal fix, Toyota (TM) may lose market share in the U.S. this year for the first time in 16 years. Simply put, Toyota can no longer claim to be the highest quality automaker.

"If you look at the quality gap today compared to ten years ago, it isn’t there any more. It’s more of a perception gap," said Jesse Toprak, vice president of industry trends for car pricing site

Art Spinella, head of CNW Market Research, said Toyota’s gold-plated reputation had already been punctured by less serious recalls even before this problem. He said it will take a lot of time for Toyota to get back the reputation and loyalty it had until recently.

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"The fall was quicker than the rebound will be. [Read the full article]

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