Consumer Spending Drops, BP Receives U.S. Ban: Weekly Market Recap

Here’s your Cheat Sheet to the top market moving headlines of the week:

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Monday

The markets were mixed on Monday on Wall Street:

S&P 500: -0.20%Nasdaq: +0.33%Dow: -0.33%.

On the commodities front, Oil (NYSE:USO) dropped 0.56 percent to $87.79 per barrel. Precious metals were mixed, with Gold (NYSE:GLD) falling 0.13 percent to $1,749.10 per ounce, and Silver (NYSE:SLV) climbing 0.01 percent to $34.21 per ounce about 20 minutes after the bell.

Here’s your Cheat Sheet to today’s top stock storiesWarren Buffett finds value.

Investing legend Warren Buffett raised some eyebrows on Monday when he proposed an even higher minimum tax rate for America’s most wealthy citizens. The man behind the massively successful Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRKA)(NYSE:BRKB) suggests that those earning over $10 million per year pay a minimum of 35 percent tax on income earned after that point. (Read more.)

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GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE:GSK) has announced it will increase its stake in India’s GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare from 43.2 percent to 75 percent and raise the company’s stake in its Nigerian consumer products unit from 46.4 percent to 80 percent. The transactions will cost the drug manufacturer more than $1 billion. Shares closed down 1.02 percent. (Read more.)

Shares of Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) closed up 8.3 percent after upgrades from analysts at BTIG and Bernstein Research. Analysts see revenue increasing because of a more effective and stable advertising platform. (Read more.)

With the fiscal cliff’s tax increases and spending cuts approaching, President Obama’s White House has compiled economic data that shows how large an impact the tax hikes will have on middle-class consumers. According to the report released on Monday by the National Economic Council and Council of Economic Advisers, consumers will spend $200 billion less in 2013 if Congress allows middle-class taxes to rise. (Read more.)

Euro zone finance ministers are starting their third attempt on Monday to resolve differences between creditor countries like Germany and the International Monetary Fund over the release of emergency aid for Greece. While ministers expressed confidence ahead of the meeting about being able to reach a joint position, the conversation in Brussels may be fairly contentious. (Read more.)

Tuesday

The markets closed down Tuesday on Wall Street:

S&P 500: -0.52%Nasdaq: -0.30%, Dow: -0.69%.

On the commodities front, Oil (NYSE:USO) dropped 0.65 percent to $87.17 per barrel. Precious metals were also down, with Gold (NYSE:GLD) dropping 0.5 percent to $1,740.90 per ounce, and Silver (NYSE:SLV) falling 0.41 percent to $34.09 per ounce about seven minutes before the bell.

Here’s your Cheat Sheet to Tuesday’s top stock stories:Injured Piggy Bank WIth Crutches

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development released an economic outlook report on November 27 that predicts a “hesitant and uneven recovery over the coming two years.” Global GDP growth for 2012 is expected at 2.9 percent, moving up to 3.4 percent in 2013 led by emerging economies while European GDP can expect two years of contraction. (Read more.)

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Shares of ConAgra Foods (NYSE:CAG) closed up 4.72 percent following news that it will acquire Ralcorp (NYSE:RAH), the largest private label food manufacturer in the U.S., for approximately $6.8 billion. Shareholders will receive $90 per share, a 28.2 percent premium on Monday’s closing price. Ralcorp’s stock price closed up 26.44 percent to close at $88.80 per share.

Shares of Corning (NYSE:GLW) fought against the headwinds and closed up 6.87 percent after raising expectations for fourth-quarter glass sales. Shares of Yelp (NYSE:YELP) closed up 6.58 percent after scoring an analyst upgrade.

Monster Beverage Corporation (NASDAQ:MNST) also rallied, closing up 13.28 percent after a notice from the Food and Drug Administration eased concerns about the relationship of energy drinks to health problems…

In a world that is increasingly shifting towards mobile devices, the PC industry has been desperately seeking a catalyst for better sales. Companies like Dell (NASDAQ:DELL) and Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) are counting on Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) new Windows 8 to excite consumers, but how well is the new operating system selling? (Read more.)

Best Buy’s (NYSE:BBY) shareholders have already been fleeced by executives with no vision. Now, Mad Men on Madison Avenue are also ripping off the big box retailer. (Read more.)

Warren Buffett raised some eyebrows on Monday when he called for a minimum tax rate on America’s super wealthy. Just as critics began reacting, the Wizard of Omaha caused another sensation when he plugged JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) CEO Jamie Dimon as a candidate for the Secretary of the U.S. Treasury. (Read more.)

Euro zone finance ministers and the International Monetary Fund finally reached an agreement to reduce Greece’s debt and clear the way for the release of the next batch of aid loans, cheering the stricken country as well as the financial markets. (Read more.)

Wednesday

The markets turned around an early slump to close up today on Wall Street. Investor sentiment was buoyed by positive remarks from Speaker of the House John Boehner and President Barack Obama that policymakers were making progress with fiscal cliff discussions.

S&P 500: +0.79%, Nasdaq: +0.81%, Dow: +0.83%.

On the commodities front, Oil (NYSE:USO) dropped 0.57 percent to $86.68 per barrel. The USO is now less than a percent shy of being down for the month. Precious metals were also down as Gold (NYSE:GLD) dropped 1.31 percent to $1,722.00 per ounce, and Silver (NYSE:SLV) dropped 0.85 percent to $33.79 per ounce about five minutes after the bell.

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

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (NASDAQ:GMCR), which sells specialty coffee products including K-cup packs, reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings. The results sent shares screaming higher and short-sellers running for the hills. (Read more.)

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After reviewing BP’s (NYSE:BP) Deepwater Horizon disaster, the Environmental Protection Agency announced on Wednesday that it had temporarily suspended the oil producer from new contracts with the federal government. (Read more.)

Hurry Up and Fix the Debt Already: Top CEOs once again headed to Washington on Wednesday to try and talk some sense into Washington. Given the mid-day turnaround in the markets following the meeting and the positive remarks coming from leaders of both parties, they have have succeeded. Over 80 CEOs have come out supporting the Campaign to Fix the Debt. (Read More.)

A Nail in the Coffin for the Housing Recovery? On Wednesday, the Commerce Department reported that purchases on new homes, measured by contracts signed, declined 0.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted 368,000-unit annual pace last month. Economists polled by Reuters had predicted a 390,000-unit rate. (Read more.)

The Vote Falls to Germany: The deal struck by the so-called Troika to release emergency aid to Greece still requires authorization by Germany’s parliament. With the election looming, chancellor Angela Merkel may have to rely on votes from the Opposing Social Democrats and Greens in order to pass the aid package. (Read more.)

Is There a New Greek Debt Reduction Strategy? The markets will be digesting a report from Reuters on Wednesday that speculates on how euro zone central banks will help Greece reach its new debt target of 110 percent of GDP in 2022. A document obtained from a meeting between euro-zone finance ministers earlier this week suggests that the central banks may roll over their holdings of Greek debt, choosing to replace maturing bonds with new bonds that would mature when Greece’s economy is more stable. (Read more.)

Thursday

Bolstered by an upward revision in third-quarter GDP growth, now estimated at 2.7 percent, the U.S. equity markets closed up again on Wall Street:

Dow: +0.28%, S&P 500: +0.43%, Nasdaq: +0.68%.

On the commodities front, Oil (NYSE:USO) climbed 1.55 percent to $87.83 per barrel. Precious metals were also up, with Gold (NYSE:GLD) climbing 0.55 percent to $1,728.20 per ounce, and Silver (NYSE:SLV) climbing 1.69 percent to $34.24 per ounce about 5 minutes after the bell.

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

A Swing and a Miss: Shares of jewelry manufacturer and retailer Tiffany & Co. (NYSE:TIF) closed down 6.17 percent after third-quarter results miss the mark. Revenue grew 4 percent year over year but net income dropped 30 percent. Shares of Kohl’s Corp. (NYSE:KSS) were also off and closed down 11.98 percent after posting a 4.9-percent drop in November sales. (Read more.)

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Pandora Media (NYSE:P) closed up 7.46 percent as the congressional hearing over the future of its royalty structure continues.

The Nook Fails Barnes & Noble (NYSE:BKS): Shares closed down 11.15 percent after weak second quarter results… (Read more.)

Mixed Jobless Claims: Initial jobless claims dropped 5.5 percent for the week ended November 24 compared to the previous week, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. However, the four-week moving average grew 1.9 percent. The current unemployment rate in the U.S. is 7.9 percent.

Bad News for the Housing Recovery? While the housing market has been a relatively strong point this year, data released Thursday morning by the U.S. Commerce Department indicated that this trend may be over, or at least on pause. Overall, new single-family home sales fell 0.3 percent in the month of October… (Read more.)

The Fed and the Fiscal Cliff: After the Federal Reserve announced on Wednesday that the U.S. economy grew at a “measured pace” in recent weeks, Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher pressed the government to give businesses more incentives to use the central bank’s liquidity to create jobs… (Read more.)

Friday

The markets were mixed Friday on Wall Street:

Dow: +0.03%, S&P 500: +0.02%, Nasdaq: -0.06%.

On the commodities front, Oil (NYSE:USO) was up again, climbing 0.9 percent to $88.86 per barrel. Precious metals were down, with Gold (NYSE:GLD) falling 0.74 percent to $1,716.70 per ounce and Silver (NYSE:SLV) falling 2.63 percent to $33.53 per ounce at the bell.

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

Will the Taxman Cause Problems for eBay? Lawmakers in both Germany and Great Britain are closely inspecting eBay’s (NASDAQ:EBAY) accounting, as the company’s decision to locate its European Union sales base in Luxembourg may have cost the two countries a combined $1 billion in sales tax… (Read more.)

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Facebook and Zynga Change Their Relationship Status: Shares of Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA) took another plunge and closed down 6.3 percent as the social gaming company renegotiated its long-term status with Facebook (NASDAQ:FB). In an effort to ease the conditions of a deal signed in 2010 and become less dependent on Facebook, Zynga disclosed in a SEC Filing late Thursday that it will essentially be treated like other app developers… (Read more.)

This Union Could Save the Euro Zone: Giving a harsh assessment of the euro zone’s past, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi told financial leaders at a conference in Paris that the “crisis has shown that we were living in a fairy world.” That fairy world was one in which unsustainable debts, weak banks, and poor policy coordination created a disaster. But Draghi has a new solution to leave that world behind… (Read more.)

German Lawmakers Give Greece Some Good News: Despite acknowledging that the bailout will result in lost federal revenue and bring additional costs to taxpayers, German lawmakers in the lower house of Parliament voted overwhelmingly to approve the latest round of financial support for Greece… (Read more.)

Does the Fiscal Cliff Need a Road Trip? On Friday, market participants watched as President Barack Obama packed up his proposal to take it on the road in hopes of spurring some progress in the discussions. Obama took his message to Hatfield, Pennsylvania, where he spoke at a toy manufacturing facility run by Michael Araten, a CEO who donated to Obama’s campaign. (Read more.)

Consumer Spending Drops: The Bureau of Economic Analysis released personal income and outlays figures for the month of October. The report indicates that consumer spending fell for the first time in five months in part due to hurricane Sandy… (Read more.)