All the Top Market-Moving Stories of the Week You Must Know

Here’s your Cheat Sheet to this week’s top stories:

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The U.S. equity markets edged slightly lower on Monday. A national holiday that closed down most major Asian markets helped make for a pretty light trading day, as investors used the relative lull to consider the direction of the market. On the table is the idea that equities are overbought, and that the markets risk short periods of sharp declines.

At the close: DJIA: -0.16%, S&P 500: -0.06%, NASDAQ: -0.06%.

On the commodities front, Oil (NYSE:USO) climbed 1.35 percent to $97.01 per barrel, while the national average for gasoline jumped to $3.59 per gallon. Precious metals were down, with Gold (NYSE:GLD) falling 1.03 percent to $1,649.70 per ounce, and Silver (NYSE:SLV) falling 1.39 percent to $31.01 per ounce. The yield on the 10-year T-Bill increased 0.014 points to 1.965 percent.

Here’s your Cheat Sheet to the top stock stories:

Nasdaq OMX Group (NASDAQ:NDAQ) closed the day up over 3 percent, and climbed an additional 1 percent in after-hours trading, following reports that Carlyle Group (NYSE:CG) had engaged the exchange in possible takeover talks. However, fundamental differences over valuation emerged in the early stages of the due diligence process and the talks reportedly disintegrated… (Read more.)

Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) is participating in the giant game of musical chairs that many financial institutions have had to play with top executives in the wake of the financial crisis. Most recently, the bank announced that it will redistribute executives in its mergers and acquisitions division, shuffling some top brass around without losing any heads… (Read more.)

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (NASDAQ:GMCR) closed the regular trading session down 4.5 percent, rounding out 9.3 percent losses over the past five trading days. Despite posting strong earnings last week, the stock has been beat up because of weaker-than-expected guidance for sales in the coming quarter… (Read more.)

There’s no hiding the fact that when it comes to video entertainment, content is king. The battle for equitable access to content has already generated its fair share of lawsuits, and rising costs have already pushed millions of Americans away from traditional cable packages, which can cost as much as $100 per month, to digital video streaming services that cost less than $10. As a result, the video streaming services market is rapidly growing, and competition between the likes of Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) and Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) is heating up… (Read more.)

Since 1990, Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE:RDSA)(NYSE:RDSB) has been the custodian of the terms that govern the North Sea Brent crude market, and the oil and gas company used its status to rewrite the rules for the benchmark that prices billions of dollars of oil worldwide, sparking a debate over whether the benchmark was in need of a reform. In an amendment of its SUKO 90 contract terms and conditions, Shell announced Friday that it will begin requiring buyers to pay a premium for North Sea oil grades sold in the Brent Blend forward market… (Read more.)

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The markets were mixed on Tuesday. Earnings continued to come in strong on average, but there wasn’t enough love to go around and the Nasdaq missed out.

At the close: DJIA: +0.34%, S&P 500: +0.16%, NASDAQ: -0.17%.

On the commodities front, Oil (NYSE:USO) climbed 0.39 percent to $97.41 per barrel, rising in part due to an announcement by the U.S. Energy Information Administration indicating that a rapid increase in North American supply may not be enough to keep gasoline prices in check, as demand expectations were revised upward. Gas prices are expected to peak at $3.73 in May.

Precious metals were up, with Gold (NYSE:GLD) climbing 0.15 percent to $1,651.60 per ounce after hitting a five-week low on Monday. Silver (NYSE:SLV) gained 0.65 percent, rising to $31.11 per ounce. The yield on the 10-year T-Bill climbed 0.014 points to 1.978 percent.

Here’s your Cheat Sheet to the top stock stories:

Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) closed the day down 3.15 percent after getting hit with downgrades from analysts at Sanford Bernstein and BTIG. The downgrades followed a series of ratings revisions that came immediately following the company’s fourth-quarter and full-year earnings reports, which revealed that costs were escalating much faster than revenues… (Read more.)

Dell (NASDAQ:DELL) could be in for a long struggle to go private. CEO Michael Dell secured a $13.65 per share buyout deal, but the PC-maker’s largest shareholderSoutheastern Asset Management at an 8.44 percent stake — said it was looking for something closer to $24 per share… (Read more.)

Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) landed itself a minor victory over Disney (NYSE:DIS), Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) as the e-commerce giant placed first in the reputation-ranking Harris Poll. The other companies occupied ranks two through four, respectively… (Read more.)

Harris Interactive, a New York custom market research firm, recently conducted its 14th annual Reputation Quotient Study. The report asked more than 14,000 people to select companies that were most visible to them on a daily basis. The respondents were then asked to rank the top 60 most-visible companies by 20 attributes folded into 6 dimensions. Technology remained the highest-rated industry in corporate America, but the number of companies with great reputations continued to decline… (Read more.)

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The S&P 500 advanced just past 15,520 points on Wednesday to close at its highest level since October 2007, simultaneously spurring optimism among bullish investors and concern from those who think the market is overbought. Many investors looked closely at fundamental economic indicators in the wake of the President’s State of the Union address, trying to gauge how his fiscal initiatives will play out over the coming year. The U.S. Department of Commerce reported retail sales and manufacturing and trade inventories.

At the close: DJIA: -0.26%, S&P 500: +0.06%, NASDAQ: +0.33%.

On the commodities front, Oil (NYSE:USO) fell 0.38 percent to $97.14 per barrel after the EIA Weekly Petroleum Status Report showed a 0.6 million-barrel increase in crude inventories to 372.2 million barrels, well above the upper limit of the average range for this time of the year. The national average price for regular gasoline for the week ended February 8 increased for the eighth consecutive period to $3.611 per gallon, a 2.5 percent year-over-year gain.

Precious metals were down, with Gold (NYSE:GLD) futures for April delivery, the most active contract, falling $4.50 to settle at $1,645.10 per ounce, while Silver (NYSE:SLV) futures for March dropped 15 cents to close at $30.87. Both precious metals remain stuck in consolidation mode, despite an outlook from the United Kingdom saying inflation will remain above the 2 percent target rate for the next two years. (Read more.)

The yield on the 10-year T-Bill increased 0.050 points to 2.028 percent, flirting with levels not seen since April 2012.

Here’s your Cheat Sheet to the top stock stories…

Groupon (NASDAQ:GRPN) closed the day up 5.39 percent following an upgrade from Neutral to Buy from Sterne Agee. The daily-deals company is now up more than 100 percent since November, as investors pile behind the bullish argument that Groupon will be able to successfully redefine itself as a robust e-commerce platform. Fun fact: the stock is up 57 percent since Tiger Global Management, the hedge fund run by Chase Coleman, announced a 9.9 percent stake… (Read more.)

Chevron (NYSE:CVX) got slapped with a $1 million fine from federal safety investigators over an August fire at a refinery in Richmond, California. Investigators found that the cause of the incident was negligence, as the pipe that broke was heavily corroded and improperly treated. The facility is not scheduled to restart production until the end of March… (Read more.)

Cliffs Natural Resources (NYSE:CLF) received no love from investors on Wednesday following its fourth-quarter and full-year 2012 results. Shares closed the regular session down 19.99 percent as the mining and natural-resources company announced an 11-percent decline in revenues and slashed its dividend by 76 percent… (Read more.)

Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO) reported fiscal second-quarter earnings that came in ahead of expectations, but the company’s shares still fell in after-hours trading. Revenue growth of 5 percent to $12.10 billion and earnings of $0.51 per share edged narrowly ahead of expectations, and guidance for the third quarter is largely in line with expectations for between 4 and 6 percent revenue growth and earnings between $0.48 and $0.50 per share.

Whole Foods Market (NASDAQ:WFM) tanked over 6 percent in after-hours trading following its fiscal first-quarter results. The decline is largely due to softening comparable-store sales growth, which fell from 14.1 percent to 13.7 percent between the fourth quarter and the third quarter, and to 12.5 percent in the current quarter to date.

Worldwide sales of mobile phones declined in 2012, the first drop since 2009. To be clear, this measure of mobile phones includes both smartphones and traditional cellphones. Taken separately, smartphone sales to end users continued to climb, according to data released by research firm Gartner. The data also show which major smartphone manufacturers sold the most phones last year… (Read more.)

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After a rough morning, the U.S. equity markets curbed most of their losses and ended the day on a relatively flat note. Gloomy economic data from Europe and Japan was counter-balanced by strong business activity in the U.S., highlighted by earnings and a major buyout.

At the close: DJIA: -0.07%, S&P 500: +0.07%, NASDAQ: +0.06%.

On the commodities front, WTI crude oil (NYSEARCA:USO) climbed 0.30 percent to $97.30 per barrel, while Brent climbed 0.12 percent to $118.02 per barrel. Yesterday, the EIA reported that crude inventories were well above the upper limit of their average range for this time of the year. The national average price for regular gasoline for the week ended February 8 increased for the eighth consecutive period to $3.611 per gallon.

Gold (NYSEARCA:GLD) futures for April delivery, the most active contract, fell $9.60 to settle at $1,635.50 per ounce, while silver (NYSEARCA:SLV) futures for March dropped 52 cents to close at $30.35. Both precious metals experienced weakness as the U.S. dollar climbed higher. The latest report on gross domestic product in the euro zone provided support to the greenback. In the fourth quarter of 2012, GDP in the euro zone declined 0.6 percent from the third quarter, missing all estimates.

The yield on the 10-year T-Bill fell 0.031 points to 1.998 percent.

Here’s your Cheat Sheet to the top stock stories:

Pepsico (NYSE:PEP) felt some shareholder love on Valentine’s Day following the release of its fourth-quarter and full-year 2012 earnings report. Shares climbed 2 percent in morning trading after the soft-drink company beat expectations and provided solid 2013 guidance. Fourth-quarter reported earnings grew 19 percent to $1.06 per share, or $1.09, excluding one-time items, above expectations for $1.05. Organic revenue grew 5 percent, but net revenue for the period fell 1 percent to $19.95 billion, negatively impacted by a strong dollar… (Read more.)

General Motors (NYSE:GM) closed the day down 3.2 percent after reporting weaker-than-expected quarterly profit of $0.48 per share, 3 cents shy of expectations. For the three-month period, net income rose to $892 million, or 54 cents per share, from $472 million, or 28 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter. The quarter’s results were affected not so much by weakness in its business, but by charges associated with a challenging economic environment… (Read more.)

H. J. Heinz Company (NYSE:HNZ) shot up nearly 20 percent after the company behind the namesake ketchup brand confirmed it would be acquired by 3G Capital and Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRKA)(NYSE:BRKB) in a transaction valued at $28 billion, the largest ever in the food industry. Heinz shareholders will receive $72.50 in cash per common stock held, a 19 percent premium over the stock’s all-time high, as the company will be taken private… (Read more.)

US Airways (NYSE:LCC) and American Airlines (AAMRQ.PK) officially announced the definitive merger between the two companies, which had been in the works for more than a year. The all-stock transaction will create a combined entity with an implied value of $11 billion, and will operate under the American Airlines brand. Under the terms of the merger agreement, US Airways stockholders will receive one share of common stock of the combined airline for each share of US Airways common stock they held… (Read more.)

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The U.S. equity markets closed Friday on a mixed note as investors juggled a battery of economic data that did not paint an overall positive picture.

At the close: DJIA: +0.06%, S&P 500: -0.10%, NASDAQ: -0.21%.

On the commodities front, WTI crude oil (NYSEARCA:USO) fell 1.41 percent to $95.94 per barrel, catalyzed by industrial production data reported earlier in the day. The Federal Reserve reported that its total industrial production index contracted by 0.1 percent in January, below expectations for 0.2 percent growth. Brent crude dropped 0.13 percent to $117.85 per barrel.

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Gold (NYSEARCA:GLD) futures for April delivery, the most active contract, fell $26 to settle at $1,609.50 per ounce, while silver (NYSEARCA:SLV) futures for March dropped 50 cents to close at $29.85. It was gold’s lowest close in about six months. Both precious metals received heavy selling pressure as headlines hyped the disclosure that Soros Fund Management sold 720,400 shares of the SPDR Gold Trust during the fourth quarter. However, other funds are still keeping a large interest in gold… (Read more.)

Heavily influencing trading behavior on Friday was news that Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) is experiencing its weakest February sales start in seven years, a sign that economic headwinds and the expiration of the payroll tax holiday are taking a heavy toll on consumer spending behavior. The news, which circulated around 2:00 p.m., pulled Wal-Mart down 2.15 percent for the day, and helped catalyze a broader market sell-off.

Here’s your Cheat Sheet to the top stock stories:

For almost a decade, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) has used a uniform system for input/output on all of its iPods and iPhones: the beloved 30 pin connector. Then, with an announcement of the pending iPhone 5, that all changed as fast as, well, Lightning. In September 2012, Apple announced plans to abandon the 30-pin system in favor of a smaller, more powerful, and sleeker-looking system. Named Lightning, the new plug poses some different issues for aftermarket hardware makers… (Read more.)

Burger King (NYSE:BKW) reported fourth-quarter and full-year 2012 results on Friday that had shares trading up as much as 4.1 percent. In need of some good news after sliding nearly 7 percent in the first two weeks of February, and with industry projections generally bleak for 2013, the burger maker served up results that showed substantially reduced costs and a strong game plan for the coming year… (Read more.)

Dish Network Corp. (NASDAQ:DISH) has announced that it will take a charge of $46 million as a direct result of a write-down they are performing on Blockbuster locations in England. According to Hollywood Reporter, the move comes after failing to find a buyer for the embattled video rental franchise.

The news that former Research in Motion co-chief executive officer Jim Balsillie cut his last ties to the company now known as BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY) hit the company’s stock like a strong uppercut to the jaw. On Thursday, it was revealed that as of December 31, Balsillie owned zero shares in the company, down from the 5.1 percent stake he had a year ago. Then on Friday, news circulated that Samsung (SSNLF.PK) had plans to reveal a new enterprise platform at the Mobile World Congress trade show later this month that will be highly competitive with the BlackBerry 10 operating system… (Read more.)

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Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) may be creating thousands of jobs, but many of the Internet retailer’s employees are less than happy with their positions. In Germany, a grim portrait of life at Amazon’s packing and distribution centers was revealed in a documentary that was broadcast on Wednesday by the television channel ARD… (Read more.)

Activist investor Carl Icahn delivered a Valentine to Bill Ackman that was worthy of a bloody massacre. The two billionaires recently gained attention for their epic feud on live television, but the investing world now realizes how serious Icahn is about sticking it to the Pershing Square founder. A filing made with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission showed Icahn has bought more than 14 million shares of Herbalife (NYSE:HLF), the nutritional supplement marketer that Ackman believes is a pyramid scheme… (Read more.)

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