15 Reasons Markets Celebrated This Week

Dow 12,220 S&P500 1,313 Nasdaq 2,743 Gold 1,426 Oil 105

Markets bounced back as Japan (NYSE:EWJ) is stabilizing and investors decided $105 Oil (NYSE:USO) is worth overlooking for now. The Dow (NYSE:DIA) dipped below 12,000 early Wednesday before bulls smashed short sellers — pushing the Dow up for the rest of the week and back above the 50-day moving average. The S&P 500 (NYSE:SPY) broke back above 1,300 at the open on Thursday and also rallied into the weekend.

Now, for the 15 reasons markets moved this week:

Monday

1) AT&T (NYSE:T) and T-Mobile got engaged. The telecom giant is looking to expand it’s customer base, offer Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) white hot iPhone to more customers, and play defense in a consolidating sector. M&A of this stature reflects a lot more executive confidence than in years past — and markets love it. In other mergers and acquisitions new, financial services company Charles Schwab (NYSE:SCHW) gobbled up OptionsXpress (NASDAQ:OXPS). The move comes fairly late after TD Ameritrade’s (NASDAQ:AMTD) acquisition of another popular options platform Think or Swim. Don’t Miss: DONE DEAL! Mergers and Acquisitions of the Week.

2) Oil (NYSE:USO) and Gold (NYSE:GLD) stepped back in the driver’s seat even while markets rallied. Oil closed the day up 1% to $102.20 while Gold bugs gained another $10 with the safe haven metal closing at $1,426.20. This is a sign investors are still looking for a hedge against geo-political risk and natural disasters. Commodities (NYSE:DBC) and General Electric (NYSE:GE) also had a nice day, taking back some gains lost on fears of a global slowdown after Japan’s disaster.

3) Financials has some meaningful announcements. Today supermarket banks (NYSE:XLF) Citigroup (NYSE:C) and Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) dragged the sector down. Citigroup said it will perform a 1 for 10 reverse stock split, while Bank of America is leaving investors in the dark about a near term dividend increase. Also, today the US Supreme Court told the Federal Reserve it must disclose details of emergency loans it made to banks in 2008. Read a complete breakdown of the Fed allowing a reinstatement of bank dividends in this post “Banks to Shareholders: Here’s Your Dividends Back“.

Tuesday

1) Defensive stocks were in play. As we mentioned above, Energy (NYSE:XLE) was the story of the day. However, investors also sought out shares of other safe-havens like Healthcare (NYSE:XLV) and Utilities (NYSE:XLU). Outperformers include St. Jude Medical (NYSE:STJ), Entergy Corporation (NYSE:ETR), and Royal Dutch Shell Don’t Miss: 3 Defensive ETFs to Hedge a Market Pullback.

2) Walgreen Co. (NYSE:WAG) disappointed on earnings. The drugstore pissed off Wall Street and sold off to the tune of 6.58%. Rite Aid (NYSE:RAD) got slammed 3.74% on the news, and CVS Caremark (NYSE:CVS) escaped with a more narrow 0.95% loss. Now check out our Retailer Roundup: Your Cheat Sheet to the Winning and Losing Stocks.

3) Research in Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) and stole the tech spotlight. Research in Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) announced the Blackberry Playbook will go on sale April 19th for $499. PlayBook will be available through Best Buy (NYSE:BBY), AT&T (NYSE:T), Verizon (NYSE:VZ), Radioshack (NYSE:RSH), Sears Canada and Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT). However, shares of Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) shrugged off the new as iPad2 is now on backorder for 4-5 weeks.

Wednesday

1) Basic Materials and Precious Metals were hot. Freeport-McMoRan (NYSE:FCX) CEO Richard Adkerson said the company is in a position to make acquisitions, and speculators ran to the sector. The bombing in Jerusalem stoked the fire as precious metals such as Gold (NYSE:GLD) and Silver (NYSE:SLV) set new highs. Don’t Miss: Wall Street is Loving These Basic Materials Stocks.

2) Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) caught a nice upgrade. Deutsche Bank (NYSE:DB) reiterated their “Buy” rating on the ubiquitous coffee chain, sending shares up 5% on the session. New single-serving partner Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (NASDAQ:GMCR) made new highs before traders took profits end of day. Now check out 10 More Top Stocks in John Paulson’s Portfolio.

3) Google, Bank of America, and Disney made headlines. In other news, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) had their Google Books settlement ripped up on grounds it was ”not fair, adequate and reasonable” to authors. The Federal Reserve said Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) cannot yet raise their dividend until they show more financial strength — looks like the bank will fall behind these companies which raised dividends. And, Steve Jobs was re-elected to Disney’s (NYSE:DIS) Board.

Thursday

1) Tech Titans Carried the Markets. Red Hat’s (NYSE:RHT) earnings set the tone and an upgrade for Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) pushed the Nasdaq (NASDAQ:QQQQ) to the head of the pack. After-hours Oracle (NASDAQ:ORCL) beat by $0.04 and the stock is up after-hours. For more details, check out These 5 Tech Stocks are Today’s Titans.

2) Markets cheered decent initial jobless claims, ignored poor durable goods number, and bought stocks. Initial jobless claims are holding below the widely-watched 400,000 mark. However, durable goods came in on the weak side, making some analysts take notice … for a few minutes before getting back to buying hot stocks such as drugstore.com (NASDAQ:DSCM) and NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ:NVDA).

3) Commodities took a breather. Although Oil (NYSE:USO) started out scorching to $106.50, traders all hit the “take profits” button at the same time and the market cooled the remainder of the day. Gold (NYSE:GLD) and Silver (NYSE:SLV) also started strong and must’ve had a high-carb lunch because they drifted lower from 1PM until close. If you haven’t already read my new exclusive interview with Jim Rogers, check it out.

Friday

1) GDP was better than expected. With all the talk about rising oil (NYSE:USO) prices and Japan (NYSE:EWJ), markets cheered some positive economic data. Q4 2010 Gross Domestic Product was revised up to 3.1 from 2.8. However, that’s still 6% below the long-term 3.3 real GDP rate associated with average economic growth. Either way, GDP is still a very subjective economic datapoint. Here’s 4 Reasons Legendary Investor Jim Rogers Ignores GDP Numbers.

2) Tech picked some winners and losers. Oracle (NASDAQ:ORCL) announced solid earnings sending the stock up 1.5%. Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) also caught a bid after Research in Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) announced crappy earnings. And Chinese search giant Baidu.com (NASDAQ:BIDU) broke out to new all-time highs. On the other side of the coin, Research in Motion dropped 11% now that Blackberry looks to be falling far behind the other smartphone and tablet makers. Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) got lumped in with Research in motion. Lastly, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) struggled. This all begs the question: Should Blackberry Pivot and Go Android?

3) Markets ignored consumer sentiment and hawkish Fed comments. After a few weeks of higher gas prices, the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index finally exhibited fears over rising energy (NYSE:XLE) prices. Also, Philadelphia Federal Reserve President Charles Plosser made remarks about how the Fed should plan to raise rates to 2.5% over a year while reducing their balance sheet $1.45 trillion.