These Top Stories are Pushing Markets Toward New All-Time Highs: Weekly Market Recap

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

Markets are at 5-year highs! Discover the best stocks to own. Click here for our fresh Feature Stock Pick now!

Monday

The markets were mixed to kick off the week. The S&P 500 closed just a fraction above 1,500, weighed down by housing data that showed that pending home sales declined in December. On the other end of the spectrum, durable goods orders rose 4.6 percent for December, following just a 0.7 percent gain in November.

At the close: DJIA: -0.10%, S&P 500: -0.18%, NASDAQ: +0.15%.

On the commodities front, Oil (NYSE:USO) climbed 0.69 percent to $96.54 per barrel. Precious metals dropped, with Gold (NYSE:GLD) falling 0.13 percent to $1,656.60 per ounce, and Silver (NYSE:SLV) falling 1.04 percent to $30.88 per ounce. The yield on the 10-year T-bill climbed 0.013 points to 1.962 percent.

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

Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) climbed 1.96 percent after its fourth-quarter earnings came in stronger than expected. Net income dropped 55 percent year over year to $697 million, or $1.91 per diluted share, while revenue decreased 6.7 percent to $16.08 billion… (Read more.)

Seagate Technology (NASDAQ:STX) reported fiscal second-quarter results that came in ahead of expectations but still had the stock off slightly in after-hours trading. The company reported net income of $1.38 per share, ahead of expectations for $1.28 per share, and a 7.1 percent decline year over year. Revenue climbed to $3.7 billion, beating expectations for $3.58 billion.

Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) climbed nearly 4 percent in after-hours trading after releasing fourth-quarter results that beat expectations. Net income dropped 4.25 percent to $283 million, or $0.32 per share, ahead of expectations for $0.28 per share. Revenue of $1.22 billion came in just ahead of estimates for $1.21 billion… (Read more.)

blackberry1Research in Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) tripped over an analyst comment on Monday morning and fell as much as 7.6 percent before bouncing back slightly. RBC Capital predicts that the company’s stock will will fall after the BlackBerry 10 event on Wednesday because many of the details of the new platform have been leaked already. RIM’s BlackBerry 10 launch has been framed as an all-or-nothing ordeal for months, and just two days before the event it’s clear that investor sentiment is all over the place…. (Read more.)

Often, when a ruling is reached, legal wrangling comes to an end. But for Chevron (NYSE:CVX), it has been just the opposite. Since Ecuadorian authorities issued a $18.2 billion judgement against the oil and gas producer in February of 2011 for illegally dumping waste products in the Amazon by Lago Agrio, only more problems have materialized… (Read more.)

Don’t Miss: Full Steam Ahead for Facebook Bulls.

Tuesday

The U.S. equity markets closed on a mixed note. Overall, relatively strong earnings have helped push markets toward five-year highs despite economic indicators that have come in all over place. Tuesday, we learned that home prices rose, consumer confidence fell, and retail sales for January are off to a soft start.

At the close: DJIA: +0.52%, S&P 500: +0.55%, NASDAQ: -0.02%.

On the commodities front, Oil (NYSE:USO) climbed 1.07 percent to a fourth-month high of $97.47 per barrel. Precious metals were also up, with Gold (NYSE:GLD) climbing 0.55 percent to $1,664.10 per ounce, and Silver (NYSE:SLV) climbing 1.98 percent to $31.39 per ounce. The yield on the 10-year T-Bill climbed 0.034 points to 1.996 percent.

Here’s your Cheat Sheet to Tuesday’s top stock stories:27amazon.600

After closing the regular session down 5.68 percent, Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) surged as much as 7.21 percent in after-hours trading following its fourth-quarter report. Sales increased 22 percent to $21.27 billion and operating income increased 46 percent to $405 million. Net income decreased 45 percent to $97 million, or $0.21 per diluted share. Full-year net sales increased 27 percent to $61.09 billion for a net loss of $39 million, or $0.09 per diluted share.

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Ford Motor (NYSE:F) dropped 4.64 percent on Tuesday following its fourth-quarter and full-year 2012 financial report. America’s second-largest automaker logged its highest quarterly pre-tax profit in over a decade — $1.7 billion, or $0.31 per share, a 55 percent year-over-year increase — but investors pulled back in light of an underwhelming forecast for 2013… (Read more.)

Money Plant

Most of the objections over Softbank’s (SFTBF.PK) proposed takeover of Sprint (NYSE:S), the United States’ third largest mobile carrier, have cited the deal’s potential to limit competition as a reason to be concerned. But the Department of Justice had other motives when it asked the U.S. Federal Communications Commission for more time to investigate the ramifications that the Japanese company’s acquisition will have on national security… (Read more.)

In arguing that Warren Buffett should not repurchase shares of Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRKB), a Tuesday article on the financial blog The Brooklyn Investor makes an important differentiation between how “Mr. Market” and Mr. Buffett regard investments, particularly those in banking stocks. Mr. Market does not see a future for the banking industry: their stocks are too volatile, they need higher capital requirements, heavier regulations have piled on pressure, and top-line growth does not seem to be forthcoming… (Read more.)

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Wednesday

The U.S. equity markets closed down on Wednesday. Stocks fell modestly lower thanks to the unexpected contraction in U.S. economic output, which reinforced the Federal Reserve’s decision to continue with its bond-buying program. Even with the generally positive run of corporate earnings, the 0.1 percent drop in GDP raised questions about whether the economy can absorb higher taxes and potential cuts in government spending.

At the close: DJIA: -0.33%, S&P 500: -0.41%, NASDAQ: -0.36%.

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On the commodities front, Oil (NYSEARCA:USO) climbed 0.48 percent to $98.04 per barrel. Precious metals were also up, with Gold (NYSEARCA:GLD) climbing 0.86 percent to $1,677.00 per ounce, and Silver (NYSEARCA:SLV) climbing 0.84 percent to $32.02 per ounce. The yield on the 10-year T-Bill fell 0.002 points to 1.998 percent.

Markets are at 5-year highs! Discover the best stocks to own. Click here for our fresh Feature Stock Pick now!

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

Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) released its fourth-quarter earnings after the bell on Wednesday. The company reported earnings per share of $0.17, beating analysts expectations by 2 cents, and revenue of $1.59 billion, which was an increase of 40 percent from the year-ago quarter. Advertising sales accounted for 84 percent of that figure, a 41 percent increase year-over-year, while mobile accounted for 23 percent, up from the previous quarter’s 14 percent.

research-in-motion-RIMM-blackberry-10-osIn hopes of reviving falling BlackBerry sales and increasing its market share, Research in Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) made its first product launch in 18 months on Wednesday with a redesigned operating system and two new phones, the Z10 and the Q10. Chief Executive Officer Thorsten Heins took the stage at the company’s event in New York City to announce the company’s complete transformation and new name. Research in Motion, the name the company has gone by for 25 years, has been dropped. Instead, the company will call itself BlackBerry, after its eponymous phone. With the name change, the company will be able to begin its journey to a potentially more profitable future “as one consistent brand that is recognized around the world,” he said… (Read more.)

In December, Toyota (NYSE:TM) got slammed with a record $17.5 million civil penalty for failing to report a safety defect to the federal government in a timely manner. Also in December, Toyota proposed to settle hundreds of lawsuits related to unintentional acceleration defects for $1 billion, an unprecedented sum for automobile defects. Adding another notch to its recall belt, Toyota recently announced that it would be recalling 1 million Corollas and Lexus sedans made between December 2001 and May 2004. The recall affects 752,000 vehicles in the United States… (Read more.)

Boeing (NYSE:BA) received some positive investor attention after its fourth-quarter and full-year earnings report. The company’s stock, which is off over 4 percent since the start of the year, climbed as much as 1.2 percent in morning trading. Boeing grew its annual revenue 19 percent to a record $81.7 billion, with a backlog of $390 billion. Core EPS (non-GAAP) climbed 2 percent to $5.88 for the year. Core operating margins shrank 0.5 points to 8.8 percent, and operating cash flow climbed 64 percent to $7.5 billion, including $1.6 billion of pension contributions… (Read more.)

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Thursday

Wednesday’s report that fourth-quarter GDP unexpectedly contracted compounded pessimism surrounding some weak earnings released on Thursday, pulling the markets down for the day.

At the close: DJIA: -0.36%, S&P 500: -0.26%, NASDAQ: -0.01%.

On the commodities front, Oil (NYSE:USO) fell 0.51 percent to $97.44 per barrel. Precious metals were also down, with Gold (NYSE:GLD) falling 1.01 percent to $1,664.60 per ounce, and Silver (NYSE:SLV) falling 2.23 percent to $31.46 per ounce. The yield on the 10-year T-bill fell 0.007 points to 1.986 percent.

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

The Blackstone Group (NYSE:BX) didn’t do too bad last year, with the last quarter and the whole year showing increased performance from the year earlier. Some might chalk it up to the private equity industry’s revival, others might go with wise investment, but either way, Blackstone has shown great performance in the last quarter. Blackstone’s earnings for the fourth quarter were up at about $670 million — a 43 percent increase from the same period a year earlier. Annual earnings reached about $2 billion — a 30 percent increase from 2011… (Read more.)

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Dow Chemical (NYSE:DOW) found itself facing a less-interested market in the most recent quarter, and posted reduced performance Thursday, reporting October-December quarterly earnings before the bell. Dow Chemical’s earnings on revenue reached $0.33 per share in the quarter; revenue was $13.2 billion. These values fell slightly below analysts’ expectations in a Reuters consensus estimate, which had Dow Chemical earning $0.34 a share on revenue of $13.7 billion, excluding items… (Read more.)

DunkinDunkin’ Brands (NASDAQ:DNKN) reported forth-quarter and full-year earnings that received a positive reaction from investors. Highlights for the fourth quarter include 3.2 percent comparable-store sales growth and a 4.3 point bump in adjusted operating margins to 47.6 percent. Revenues were the weakest part of the report, falling 4 percent to $161.7 million, below expectations… (Read more.)

Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) has received a great deal of criticism over its lacking presence in mobile. When the social media giant debuted on the Nasdaq in May, lackluster ad revenue from mobile devices drew red flags. Now, mobile is a growing accomplishment on Facebook’s timeline, but expenses are on the rise… (Read more.)

MasterCard (NYSE:MA) reported fourth-quarter and full-year 2012 results before the markets opened on Thursday. Fourth-quarter net revenue increased 10 percent to $1.9 billion, while net income increased from $0.15 per share in 4Q 2011 to $4.88 in 4Q 2012. For the year, revenue climbed 10 percent to $7.4 billion, while earnings increased 18 percent to $22.04 per diluted share — by all measures a strong year. The company’s 2012 results helped catalyze a 33.4 percent climb on the stock chart, and on January 30 shares were up 45.1 percent year over year. The rally has been phenomenal, and not just for MasterCard… (Read more.)

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Friday

Everybody put on your party hats: the U.S. equity markets closed up over 1 percent across the board on Friday. Positive economic news and generally strong earnings helped dissipate some of the malaise that had brewed over the past few days, and the Dow closed over 14,000 for the first time since 2007!

At the close: DJIA: +1.08%, S&P 500: +1.01%, NASDAQ: +1.18%.

On the commodities front, Oil (NYSE:USO) climbed 0.11 percent to $97.60 per barrel. Precious metals were up, with Gold (NYSE:GLD) increasing 0.37 percent to $1,668.20 per ounce, and Silver (NYSE:SLV) increasing 1.54 percent to $31.84 per ounce. The yield on the 10-year T-bill increased 0.033 points to 2.019 percent.

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Here’s your Cheat Sheet to Friday’s top stock stories:Oil and Gas New Feature 300x270

Oil and gas super majors Chevron (NYSE:CVX) and Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) reported fourth-quarter and full-year 2012 results on Friday before the markets opened. Both companies beat bottom-line expectations but missed on the top-line, as production generally fell but downstream operations kicked into gear to provide an earnings boost… (Read more.)

Merck (NYSE:MRK) was pretty much the only Dow component to rain on everyone’s parade, closing 3.2 percent lower following its fourth-quarter and full-year 2012 financial results. Fourth-quarter revenue fell 4.5 percent to $11.7 billion, beating estimates by $270 million. Fourth-quarter earnings fell 6.1 percent to $0.46 per share, beating estimates by a penny. Full-year sales dropped 2 percent to $47.3 billion, while earnings climbed 6.9 percent to $2.16 per share. However, full-year 2013 EPS guidance in a range between $3.60 and $3.70 is a little bearish for some investors.

Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) temporarily hit a new all-time high on Friday. Shares briefly touched $775.17 before retreating slightly. They jumped up more than 2.5 percent on the news that the technology company is close to reaching a settlement with European Union regulators after a three-year long investigation… (Read more.)

Apple storeApple (NASDAQ:AAPL) continues to be the leader in app revenue, earning 350 percent more than Google Play just in December, but the Android app marketplace is gaining ground fast by growing at a much faster pace. According to data from research group App Annie, Google boosted revenue from mobile applications more than six times in 2012 on the back of growing sales of smartphones running Android. Apple’s App Store less than doubled, but its growth in absolute dollars was still higher than Google’s… (Read more.)

Apparently, Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) did not get invited to the market rally party on Friday. Shares were off as much as 3 percent while the markets soared around it and Google hit a fresh all-time high. Analysts and investors are apparently punishing the stock for its fourth-quarter and full-year 2012 results, which were released on Wednesday after the markets closed… (Read more.)

Auto sales in the United States are off to a good start in 2013, with the Big Three all reporting strong January results. Full-year car sales in the country are expected to be about 15.5 million, a 6.9 percent gain on 2012, as the economy recovers. However, U.S. automakers have signaled that 2013 may be a period of restructuring and investment, and have played down bullish expectations… (Read more.)

It was the best January for the Dow since 1994, and the best for the S&P 500 since 1997. Both indices posted their best month since October 2011. According to TrimTabs Investment Research, nearly $80 billion flowed into stock mutual funds and exchange traded funds in January, the best monthly haul in at least a decade… (Read more.)