Here’s Why Groupon, Ford and 8 Stocks Trended Strongly to Start 2012

2012 got off to a relatively positive start on Wall Street. A few select companies had particularly important news. Here’s what drove theses shares to trend during the week.

Shares of the online coupon company Groupon (NASDAQ:GRPN) continued spilling after Susquehanna Financial released a survey of a few hundred merchants regarding their experience with Groupon and their plans to work with Groupon on a daily deal in the next 6 months. The results were worse-than-anticipated, a catalyst for the stocks heading south in trading action. According to Reuters, 52% of the merchants polled said they are currently not planning to feature deals in the next six months.

Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F): Analysts reported the Big 3 Detroit automakers had a very strong 2011 for auto sales. According to, the month of December recognized over 1.2 million cars and trucks sold in the U.S., an increase of over 8% from the prior year.

Ford also reported “Economies in Europe are tracking at different speeds.” Projected industry sales in those 19 markets range from 14.0-15.0 million units this year. In 2012, Ford anticipates the global economy growing approximately 3%, in a third consecutive year of global economic recovery. Domestically, Ford projects growth of 2-3% economically in 2012. Total company sales for 2011 were up 11%, to 2,148,806 automobiles. Sales for Ford in the U.S. grew 17%, for a total of 2,062,915 units. That earned the company its first 3-point market share over 3 consecutive years in 41 years.

Rumors swirled on Wall Street that the Canadian handset maker Research in Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) is plotting a management change where director Barbara Stymiest assumes the Chairman title from current co-Chairmen Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie. In case you are curious about Barbara’s past, here resume reads as follows: She has an HBA from the Richard Ivey School of Business, University of Western Ontario and FCA from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario. Ms. Stymiest joined Royal Bank of Canada in 2004 and serves as a member of the Group Executive which is responsible for the overall strategic direction of the company. Prior to that, she held positions as Chief Executive Officer at TSX Group Inc., Executive Vice-President & Chief Financial Officer at BMO Nesbitt Burns and Partner of Ernst & Young LLP, according to Reuters.

Scott Thompson’s propensity to refocus employees leads Piper Jaffray to see his hiring as a somewhat positive move for Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO). But, Piper adds, Thompson’s installation bodes poorly for a private equity minority investment in Yahoo! However, Yahoo! is confident that potential sale of the firm’s Asian assets will not be affected. Yahoo!’s stock is down more than 1% today.

Jazz Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:JAZZ) projects fiscal year 2012 total sales at  $460-$485 million and Xyrem product sales $330-$340 million. Muzho raised the price target from $52 to $62.

Bank of America Corporation (NYSE:BAC) lowered expectations and Asian cost cutting (an important growth option for the investment bank industry). Richard Cordray was appointed director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in a recess appointment by President Obama, according to CNBC.

Further, Lehman asked a judge to stop Zell’s Archstone deal. Lehman Brothers Holdings (LEHMQ), owns 47 percent Archstone, a real estate company. In a Manhattan U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Lehman was trying to purchase the reming stake in the company and avoid a bidding war with Sam Zell’s Equity Residential (NYSE:EQR), according to Reuters. For a 26.5 percent share of the company Zell will pay $1.325 billion. Barclays (NYSE:BCS) and Bank of America have a 53 percent stake in Archstone, and both are trying to sell half of their share.

Purchasing managers indexes in China and India grew stronger in December, a positive sign for Asian economies next to the European crisis, according to Bloomberg. Alcoa’s (NYSE:AA) stock reacted positively to the news.

Molycorp, Inc. (NYSE:MCP) said 78 percent of the Phase 1 rare earth produced in the company’s new Mountain Pass, California manufacturing facility, which becomes active in 2012, has been dedicated to the manufacturing of the Company’s XSORBXA water treatment products or is already held by customer contracts. The company announced it has signed agreements with customers covering 58 percent of its Phase I production, and has assigned another 20 percent to the production of XSORBXÂ, for a total of 78 percent of the 19,050 metric tons of rare earth oxide equivalent that it expects to produce each year under Phase 1 at its flagship rare earth facility in Mountain Pass, California. The company also noted that an additional six percent of Phase 1 production is in final stage discussions with customers.

Mosaic Co (NYSE:MOS) earnings pleased shareholders.  On the company’s Q2 earnings call, the CEO said: “Corn prices are well ahead of historical levels and farmers are getting powerful signals to produce more. Farm economics remain strong and underpin record global phosphate and potash demand forecasts. There is more confidence among farmers than crop input distributors, as evidenced by large pre-paid purchases before year end. These purchases by farmers will eventually end up in our order book.”

CNet says the appearance of a new patent is feeding suspicions that Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) forthcoming Xbox will include a DVR application, according to CNet.

Boston Scientific Corporation’s (NYSE:BSX) announced the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (NYSE:CMS), has confirmed substantial clinical improvement using the Alair Bronchial Thermoplasty System to manage severe asthma.

RF Micro Devices (NASDAQ:RFMD) pre-announced lower third quarter revenues of $225 million, down from both consensus estimates and previous guidance of $250 million. The company blamed lower sales of second generation components for entry-level handsets to China based customers and weak sales from its multi-market products group. RF said, demand for second generation was well below customer expectations at the end of the quarter. On the up side, third and fourth generation smart phone component sales popped about 16 percent for the quarter.