S&P 500 Week in Review: Shares of EMC, Sprint and Mosaic Lead Week Higher

The S&P 500 (NYSEARCA:SPY) finished Friday trading down by 0.49% and stands at 1,289. Here are three stocks that helped pull the index out of a hole last week:

EMC Corporation (NYSE:EMC) climbed after J.P. Morgan upgraded the stock from neutral to overweight. Bret Jensen has written that EMC is a good buy for 2012. Its price is attractive and its balance sheet is in good shape. What’s more, “the company is selling for just 9 times operating cash flow.”

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Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) announced that it was merging its business and consumer units in an effort to build efficiency. The stock has done well ever since. Fitch says that margins in both the telecom and cable sectors are strong enough to handle an economic downturn and stiff competition within both sectors.

Limited Brands (NYSE:LTD): Fitch deemed Limited Brands a “best-in-class” operator amongst other retailers on Monday, and the stock has done well ever since.

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The Mosaic Company (NYSE:MOS): The fertilizer business took a breather after bad USDA data. Revenue gains for both potash and phosphate sold in the second quarter were lower than the same period a year ago for both fertilizer types.

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Sears Holdings Corporation (NASDAQ:SHLD) took another hit after CIT Group said it will stop supplying loans for Sears’ suppliers – cutting an important source of ready cash flow from the embattled retailer. More companies are expected to drop their financing as well. The latest update from Sears is that it sits on $4.2B in liquidity at the end of the month of December, including a fee of $900M in cash.

Shares of First Solar Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR) dipped after Bank of America said alternative energy shares are going to go through some pain this year and “sustained outperformance” won’t come until 2013. Also, speculation circulated that the company may appoint a new CEO.

Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. (NASDAQ:BBBY): The chain of retail home furnishing stores had a return of 17% in 2011 and beat the S&P 500’s return of 3% over the same period. However, concerns about the retail sector held the stock back.

Whirlpool Corporation (NYSE:WHR): The stock has lost 42% over the last year. Whirlpool took a hit as a result of CIT’s decision to stop financing Sears transactions.

Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:EA) shares took a tumble after market-research firm NPD Group released December data that found video game retail sales declined 21% from the final month of 2010. It is reasonable to conclude that EA’s future depends on its transition of software from game consoles to mobile devices.

Gamestop Corporation (NYSE:GME): For the holiday period, total company sales of new hardware sales declined 19.6% and retail sales declined 28% as there were no new console products or low enough price points to stimulate consumer demand like in 2010. Software fell 14% year over year in retail sales. Although Gamestop enters 2012 debt-free, this situation is the reason for the fall in the company’s stock.

Akamai Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ:AKAM): Although the stock is up 20% in the past month, first quarter guidance is expected to be disappointing. DA Davidson said that the price target should be $36.

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To contact the reporter on this story: Derek Hoffman at staff.writers@wallstcheatsheet.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Damien Hoffman at editors@wallstcheatsheet.com