Apple’s New Big Buzz and All the Top Stories Moving Markets This Week

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

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Monday was a red day for the U.S. equity markets. A weaker-than-expected factory orders report joined forces with escalating political unrest in Spain and Italy to brew a thick cloud of economic malaise that pretty much erased Friday’s gains.

At the close: DJIA: -0.93%, S&P 500: -1.15%, NASDAQ: -1.51%.

On the commodities front, Oil (NYSE:USO) fell with the rest of the market, dropping 1.6 percent to $96.16 per barrel. Precious metals were mixed with Gold (NYSE:GLD) climbing 0.26 percent to $1,675.00 per ounce, and Silver (NYSE:SLV) falling 0.67 percent to $31.75 per ounce. The yield on the 10-year T-bill fell 0.060 points to 1.956 percent.

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

BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY) climbed 15.02 percent to close at $14.98 per share on its first day of trading under the new name. Formerly Research In Motion, the company changed its title with the release of BlackBerry 10. Monday’s surge is in no small part thanks to an upgrade from analysts at Bernstein, who give the stock an “Outperform” rating and a $22 price target… (Read more.)

Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU), the Chinese search giant, released fourth-quarter and full-year 2012 results after the bell that send shares down an additional 4.7 percent after closing the regular session down 1.3 percent. Fourth-quarter earnings of $1.31 per share grew 36.1 percent to $1.31 per share, edging out expectations for $1.28. Fourth-quarter revenue increased 51.6 percent to $1.017 billion, in line with expectations.

Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) closed the regular session down 5.45 percent as post-earnings fears about income and expenses exacerbate each other. The stock is still up 6 percent since the beginning of 2013, but has come down 11.5 percent over the past five trading days. Playing its part in the selling pressure is a 10-K filing… (Read more.)

The Baltimore Ravens walked away with the Lombardi Trophy after winning Super BowlXLVII, but Mr. Market is not joining in the celebration. On Monday, stock across the board appear to be suffering from a weekend hangover. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell more than 100 points, while the S&P 500 declined 1 percent and dropped back below 1,500. A pullback is certainly overdue considering the recent rally, but European political risk is aiding the process… (Read more.)

Oracle (NASDAQ:ORCL) announced that it would buy Acme Packet (NASDAQ:APKT), a provider of session border control technology, for $1.7 billion, or $29.25 per share. The price represents a 22 percent premium on the stock’s Friday closing price. “The addition of Acme Packet to Oracle’s leading communications portfolio will enable service providers and enterprises to deliver innovative solutions that will change the way we interact, conduct commerce, deliver healthcare, secure our homes, and much more,” commented Mark Hurd, president at Oracle.

“As we look left and right, we’re right with the other climbers, in terms of competitiveness and how we approach the market,” said Brian Moynihan, CEO of Bank of America (NYSE:BAC). Speaking in an interview with Bloomberg at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Moynihan clarified that while his bank is just as competitive as other major financial institutions, it carries a unique burden… (Read more.)

In the last seven years, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission has received 192 complaints against the supplement-maker Herbalife (NYSE:HLF), and the agency has decided now is the time for an investigation, according to a New York Post exclusive… (Read more.)

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The markets moved forward with a clear head after Monday’s painful hangover. A bunch of positive economic indicators and some strong earnings reports helped push the S&P 500 back above 1,500, but the Dow remained under 14,000 after having broken through on Friday.

At the close: DJIA: +0.71%, S&P 500: +1.04%, NASDAQ: +1.29%.

On the commodities front, Oil (NYSE:USO) climbed 0.51 percent to $96.66 per barrel. Precious metals were mixed, with Gold (NYSE:GLD) falling 0.20 percent to $1,673.10 per ounce and Silver (NYSE:SLV) climbing 0.26 percent to $31.80 per ounce. The yield on the 10-year T-bill climbed 0.045 points to 2.001 percent.

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Here’s your Cheat Sheet to Tuesday’s top stock stories:Gavel

Five years after the financial crisis started to pick up steam, U.S. officials are finally bringing legal action against one of the three major credit rating firms. However, the motivation for the lawsuit is questionable, to say the least. The U.S. Department of Justice filed a civil lawsuit against Standard & Poor’s, alleging the McGraw-Hill (NYSE:MHP) unit improperly used its rating system to assign grades to mortgage bonds that did not predict the full magnitude of the housing downturn and nearly caused a meltdown of the global financial system… (Read more.)

Disney (NYSE:DIS) climbed as much as 3.7 percent in after-hours trading after closing the regular session up 0.72 percent. The iconic entertainment company reported fiscal first-quarter results that clearly pleased investors, with net income falling just 5.74 percent to $1.38 billion, or $0.79 per share, ahead of analysts’ expectations. Revenue climbed 5.2 percent to $11.34 billion… (Read more.)

Man Measuring MoneyZynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA) climbed as much as 5 percent in after-hours trading after closing the regular session up 7.03 percent. The social-game publisher reported fourth-quarter and full-year 2012 results that beat expectations, but still underline the company’s ongoing difficulties. Zynga reported a net loss of $48.6 million, or $0.06 per share, which compares to a net loss of $435.01 million in the year-earlier quarter. The company’s full-year net loss was $209 million, nearly half of what it was in 2011… (Read more.)

SIRIUS XM Radio (NASDAQ:SIRI) was off fractionally in after-hours trading after closing the regular session up 1.11 percent. The satellite-radio provider reported fourth-quarter and full-year results that showed 13 percent revenue growth to a record $3.4 billion and 2.0 million net subscriber additions to 23.9 million. Net income of $156.2 million, or $0.02 per share, met analysts’ expectations… (Read more.)

NYSE Euronext (NYSE:NYX) was flat in after-hours trading after closing the regular session up 1.00 percent. The exchange operator reported fourth-quarter and full-year 2012 results that came in slightly ahead of analyst expectations. Net income decreased 74.77 percent to $28 million, or $0.43 per share, while revenue decrease 46.68 percent to $562 million… (READ MORE” target=_blank>READ MORE.)

Kellogg (NYSE:K) was flat in after-hours trading after closing the regular session up 0.69 percent. The cereal company reported fourth-quarter and full-year 2012 results that showed 18.08 percent revenue growth to $3.56 billion, while earnings per share increased 3 cents to $0.67… (Read more.)

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Turning their collars to chilly economic headwinds, some of which suggest a brewing currency war between the dollar, the yen, and the euro, the U.S. equity markets managed to push away heavy early-morning losses to close essentially flat for the day.

At the close: DJIA: +0.05%, S&P 500: +0.05%, NASDAQ: -0.10%.

On the commodities front, Oil (NYSE:USO) climbed 0.21 percent to $96.84 per barrel. The weekly EIA Petroleum Status Report showed that inventories grew by 2.6 million to 371.7 million barrels, well above their average for this time of the year. Precious metals were once again mixed: the price of Gold (NYSE:GLD) rose 0.27 percent to $1,678.10 per ounce, while Silver (NYSE:SLV) fell 0.08 percent to $31.86 per ounce. The yield on the 10-year T-bill fell 0.037 points to 1.962 percent following the announcement of a $24 billion auction of the security next week.

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

The U.S. Postal Service announced that it will discontinue Saturday mail delivery starting in August. The announcement hardly comes as a surprise given the $15.9 billion net loss reported by the institution in 2012. The USPS, which receives no financial assistance from the government but is still regulated by Congress, is hoping to cut costs by as much as $2 billion per year. The move follows other cost-cutting measures, such as a 28-percent workforce reduction and the consolidation of more than 200 locations… (Read more.)

A new report from the Pew Research Center suggests that the novelty of social media may be wearing off, which could spell bad tidings for the industry that has rapidly grown around the phenomenon. The study shows that not only are more people “taking breaks” from sites such as Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) — suggesting that the use feels like a bad habit to some — but that many users are shopping around different platforms to find the right fit, suggesting a possible decentralization of the user base… (Read more.)

Airlines enjoyed a boost on Wednesday following the EIA Petroleum Status Report. The prospect of decreasing oil prices looms given high inventory levels, but with jet fuel accounting for as much as 40 percent of costs, the top airlines are going to have to find new tricks to cut costs. So far this year, one airline has dramatically outperformed its peers on the stock chart, and its movement is in no small part due to its bold jet fuel cost-cutting strategies… (Read more.)

Dell (NASDAQ:DELL) CEO Michael Dell and Silver Lake Partners are finally in agreement on the purchase of the PC-maker by the private-equity firm, but opposition from shareholders remains a threat. Dell and Silver Lake have agreed to take the company private at $13.62 per share, but shareholders have threatened to file a lawsuit if the buyout price didn’t tip $14 per share… (Read more.)

The Royal Bank of Scotland (NYSE:RBS) earned itself a shiner on Wednesday after the bank announced it will join 11 other financial institutions in settling with regulators over the LIBOR rate-rigging scandal. The bank will pay a total of $615 million to U.K. and U.S. authorities for its role in the ordeal. The settlement meant that UBS did not have to admit criminal liability, saving it from losing its banking license… (Read more.)

JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM) and those who work in its investment banking division are feeling the bite of a rough 2012. Global deals for the unit fell 12 percent for the year, while net income dropped 15 percent. The sting of failure was made all the worse by the fact that the division is just one of several that performed poorly for the year, and many traders and managers in the unit have quit or been fired… (Read more.)

BlackBerry’s (NASDAQ:BBRY) new Z10 smartphone won’t go on sale in the U.S. until mid-March, making sales in the U.K. and Canada a highly watched metric. The stock has been on a tear since the start of 2013, despite a big decline immediately after its first real product launch in 18 months, and is now up 33.7 percent for the year. In order to justify this sort of movement, strong overseas sales will need to be echoed in the American market… (Read more.)

Time Warner (NYSE:TWC), Marathon Oil (NYSE:MRO), Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (NASDAQ:GMCR), Ralph Lauren (NYSE:RL), and News Corp (NASDAQ:NWS)(NASDAQ:NWSA) all posted earnings Wednesday. Find a summary of their results here.

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The markets closed down on Thursday. News out of Europe wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great either as tensions continued to brew over the status of major global currencies. The euro fell 0.89 percent against the dollar and 0.87 percent against the yen.

At the close: DJIA: -0.30%S&P 500: -0.18%NASDAQ: -0.11%.

On the commodities front, Oil (NYSE:USO) fell 0.71 percent to $95.93 per barrel. Precious metals also fell, with Gold (NYSE:GLD) dropping 0.42 percent to $1,671.80 per ounce, and Silver (NYSE:SLV) dropping 1.29 percent to $31.47 per ounce. The yield on the 10-year T-Bill fell 0.004 points to 1.958 percent.

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

A pyramid scheme is defined by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation as a type of marketing and investment fraud in which the “real profit is earned, not by the sale of the product, but by the sale of new distributorships.” That’s exactly what hedge fund manager Bill Ackman accused Herbalife (NYSE:HLF) of being when he took a $1 billion short position in the company. Since then, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission has reportedly opened an investigation into the company… (Read more.)

The battle between the U.S. Department of Justice and Standard & Poor’s does not appear to be coming to an end anytime soon, as the ratings agency has hired one of the nation’s top white-collar defense attorneys. According to Reuters, Standard & Poor’s has turned to John Keher to defend itself against a multi-billion dollar lawsuit filed by the U.S. government earlier this week. Keher is a Yale Law School graduate and was recognized as one of the 100 most influential lawyers in the United States by National Law Journal in 2006. He has represented everyone from Lance Armstrong to Enron’s Andrew Fastow… (Read more.)

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) has announced its management is in talks to return cash to shareholders, a demand that Greenlight Capital fund, led by David Einhorn, made earlier on Thursday. Support for additional shareholder returns has been building for a while, right alongside Apple’s gigantic pile of cash. Analysts have also given support to the idea, suggesting that a bigger dividend could help return value to the stock, which is currently trading much closer to its 52-week low than its 52-week high. Shares were up 3 percent on Thursday following the news… (Read more.)

Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) closed the regular session up 2.4 percent after cementing a partnership with Google (NASDAQ:GOOG). The two companies signed a non-exclusive agreement to display advertisements through Google’s AdWords platform on unspecified Yahoo web properties. Given Yahoo’s intense focus on mobile, this could be as much a strategic investment for Google as it is an additional revenue stream… (Read more.)

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The U.S. equity markets soldiered through some rough patches this week to end the five-day period in positive territory across the board. Optimistic international trade data released at the end of the week proved a helping hand in Friday’s gains.

At the close: DJIA: +0.35%, S&P 500: +0.57%, NASDAQ: +0.91%.

On the commodities front, Oil (NYSE:USO) edged slightly lower to $95.77 per barrel. Precious metals were mixed, with Gold (NYSE:GLD) falling 0.14 percent to $1,668.90 per ounce, and Silver (NYSE:SLV) climbing 0.17 percent to $31.46 per ounce. The yield on the 10-year T-Bill fell 0.007 points to 1.951 percent.

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

AOL (NYSE:AOL) closed the regular session 7.35 percent higher following strong fourth-quarter and full-year results. Revenue for the year-end quarter grew 4 percent, while earnings per share increased 78 percent. However, as good as the results were, the report also revealed the difficulties that AOL will face as it makes the transition to an ad-revenue based company… (Read more.)

Dell (NASDAQ:DELL) continues to pursue the path to privatization, but some shareholders disagree on the current proposed price. The company’s largest independent shareholder, Southeastern Asset Management, is reportedly “disturbed” by the proposed $13.64 per-share offer, and is looking for something closer to $20. Some would call that ridiculous, but at $13.64 per share the fund is looking at a loss of as much as $825 million, given that it paid more than the buyout offer when it entered its position in Dell… (Read more.)

Moody’s (NYSE:MCO) attracted attention for two reasons Friday. The first was because of a strong fourth-quarter report that showed profit was up 66 percent, complimented by a bullish outlook for 2013. The second was because the financial-services company may join Standard & Poor’s in the regulatory firing line as the U.S. Department of Justice and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman put on their Rambo bandanas and head after those who they think were responsible for the credit crisis… (Read more.)

Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) stock has risen just under 4 percent since the company came up with a “we’re thinking about it” response to calls for an increase in its dividend and stock repurchase funds on Thursday. The prospect of Apple returning some of its $137 billion in cash to shareholders has undoubtedly made the stock — which has been in trouble over the last few months because of growth concerns around the company — an attractive proposition once again… (Read more.)

LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD) closed the regular session up a tremendous 21.27 percent on Friday, hitting a new 52-week high of $151.89. The company reported fourth-quarter results that pretty much smashed everybody’s expectations and scared the bears away for the foreseeable future… (Read more.)

Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) will be the recipient of what amounts to a punch in the face from the Volcker rule of the Dodd-Frank Act. The bank’s lucrative private equity business will be forced to scale down under the new regulation, reducing the bank’s capacity to invest its own funds by as much as 37 percent… (Read more.)

Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ:ATVI) ended the regular session with gains of 11.2 percent following its strong fourth-quarter and full-year results. The game publisher broke sales records with its Diablo III title and claimed the bestselling game across all platforms in Europe and the United States with Black Ops II… (Read more.)

The advance estimate that showed gross domestic product contracting 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter could be revised into growth territory if strong international trade data has anything to do with it (and it does). The U.S. trade deficit shrank far more than expected in December, narrowing to just negative $38.5 billion. This compares to a consensus estimate of  negative $46 billion and November’s reading of negative $48.6 billion. Leading the charge were increases in industrial and civilian aircraft exports. U.S. services exports widened their surplus to $17.7 billion for the month… (Read more.)

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