All the Top Market-Moving Stories of the Week You Must Know Now

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

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Monday

It was a red day for the Market on Monday. It was gold’s lowest close since February 2011, while silver reached levels not seen since October 2010.

DJIA: -1.79% to 14,599.20 S&P 500: -2.30% to 1,552.36 NASDAQ: -2.38% to 3,216.49
Gold: -$154.30 to $1,347.10 per ounce Oil: -3.87% to $87.76 per barrel U.S. 10-Year: -0.038 points to 1.685%

Over the past two days, gold has declined 13 percent while silver is down almost 16 percent. Negativity has been surrounding precious metals in recent days, with Goldman Sachs slashing its three-month target on gold to $1,530 per ounce, down from $1,615 per ounce. The bank’s price forecast for the end of 2013 dropped from $1,600 to $1,450. In the longer-term, analysts cut their price target to only $1,270 per ounce in 2017. Reports of Cyprus selling its gold to help fund a bailout also hit headlines last week.

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Another sign that a spring economic slowdown has begun was given to stock market investors and analysts Monday morning. The Federal Reserve’s Empire State Manufacturing Survey — a monthly study based on the responses of roughly 175 manufacturing executives in New York State — showed that business activity is slowing… (Read more.)

The U.S. Treasury Department released Treasury International Capital data for February on Monday. The TIC tracks the flows of financial instruments such as Treasury securities, agency securities, corporate bonds, and corporate equities into and out of the U.S. Taking into account both foreign and U.S. securities transactions, net foreign purchases of long-term securities were -$17.8 billion. This is down from net purchases of $25.7 billion in January, and widely unexpected… (Read more.)

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

Citigroup (NYSE:C) ended the day up 0.22 percent after reporting first-quarter earnings that beat expectations. Earnings of $1.23 per share came in ahead of expectations for $1.17 per share. Revenue of $20.5 billion was just ahead of expectations for $20.15 billion. Net credit loss of $3.0 billion declined 25 percent on the year. Deposits climbed 3 percent to $934 billion.

Dish Network (NASDAQ:DISH) closed down 2.29 percent, curbing 2.7 percent gains on Friday. Dish announced on Monday a $25.5 billion merger proposal ($7.00 per share) with Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S), which closed the day up 13.5 percent at $7.06. The proposal is meant to derail SoftBank’s proposal to buy 70 percent of Sprint for $20.1 billion. “The DISH proposal clearly presents Sprint shareholders with a superior alternative to the pending SoftBank proposal,” said Charlie Ergen, chairman of DISH Network, in a statement… (Read more.)

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Thermo Fisher Scientific (NYSE:TMO) closed the day down 1.27 percent after announcing that it will acquire Life Technologies Corp. (NASDAQ:LIFE), which climbed 7.5 percent on the news. Thermo Fisher will acquire Life Technologies for $76.00 in cash per fully diluted common share, or approximately $13.6 billion, plus the assumption of net debt at close ($2.2 billion as of year end 2012).

Ford (NYSE:F) and General Motors (NYSE:GM) announced on Monday that they will be collaborating on nine- and 10-speed transmissions. No details were provided about how much money the companies would save by working together to develop the technology, but at a glance — with development budgets in the hundreds of millions of dollars — savings are expected to be in the millions of dollars.

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Tuesday

U.S. stocks advanced on Tuesday, erasing some of the sharp losses they suffered on Monday. At the close:

DJIA: +1.08% to 13,756.80 S&P 500: +1.42% to 1,574.44 NASDAQ: +1.50% to 3,264.63
Gold: +$10.20 to $1,371.30 per ounce Oil: +0.06% to $88.76 per barrel U.S. 10-Year: +0.041 points to 1.722%

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) decreased 0.2 percent month over month in March, according to data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on Tuesday. This compares against a 0.7 percent increase in February. Analysts were expecting no movement in the index for March. Over the past 12 months, the all-items index is up 1.5 percent… (Read more.)

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Housing starts improved in March, as the market for new homes continued its growth momentum from 2012. However, the strength was seen in multi-family starts, and new building permits declined to miss estimates. Builders broke ground on houses at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.04 million units last month, representing a 7.0 percent increase above the revised February estimate of 968,000 units, according to the Commerce Department. Last month’s rate was 46.7 percent above the March 2012 rate of 706,000 units… (Read more.)

Industrial production rose 0.4 percent month over month in March, according to data released by the Federal Reserve on Tuesday. This figure compares against the 1.1 percent increase reported in February, and it was slightly above consensus estimates for a 0.2 percent increase… (Read more.)

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

Dell (NASDAQ:DELL) announced on Tuesday that, based on the recommendation of the Board’s Special Committee, it has approved an agreement with activist investor Carl Icahn. The agreement states that Icahn and his affiliates can not purchase more than 10 percent of Dell’s stock, or enter into agreements with other shareholders that would allow Icahn to control more than 15 percent of shares… (Read more.)

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General Motors (NYSE:GM) closed the day up 1.94 percent after reporting that first-quarter 2013 sales increased 3.6 percent to 2.36 million units. This is more than double the industry’s average sales growth rate for the quarter of 1.5 percent.

Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) stock fell as much as 3.7 percent in after-hours trading. The web portal announced better-than-expected earnings per share of 38 cents, while revenue — excluding traffic acquisition costs — remained flat, compared to the year-ago quarter, at $1.07 billion. Analysts had predicted that the company would report revenue of $1.1 billion and earnings of 24 cents per share… (Read more.)

Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) closed the day up 2.5 percent, but fell about 0.5 percent in after-hours trading. The company reported first-quarter revenue of $12.6 billion, operating income of $2.5 billion, net income of $2.0 billion, and earnings of $0.40 per share. PC client group revenue fell 6 percent on the year to $8 billion.

Target Corp. (NYSE:TGT) stock declined fractionally on Tuesday after updating its first-quarter sales and first-quarter and full-year 2013 earnings guidance. According to a statement: “The company now expects its first quarter 2013 comparable-store sales growth will be approximately flat, due to softer-than-expected sales trends particularly in seasonal and weather-sensitive categories across the store. As a result, Target expects its first quarter adjusted EPS will be slightly below the low end of the prior guidance of $1.10 to $1.20.”

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The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO) stock closed the day up 5.69 percent after reporting first-quarter 2013 financial results. Highlights include 4 percent volume growth (3 percent in the Americas and 5 percent Internationally), a 1 percent decline in net revenues (or an increase of 2 percent, excluding the impact of currency and structural changes), and a 13 percent decline in reported earnings per share to $0.39… (Read more.)

The Goldman Sachs Group (NYSE:GS) stock closed the day down 1.61 percent after reporting first-quarter financial results. The firm reported net revenues of $10.09 billion, which beat out estimates for $9.64 billion, and diluted earnings per common share of $4.29, a 9.4 percent increase over last year and ahead of estimates for $3.88 per share.

Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) climbed 2.12 percent after reporting first-quarter financial results. On the year, sales increased 8.5 percent to $17.5 billion, while earnings climbed 5.1 percent to $1.44 per share. Domestic sales increased 11.2 percent while international sales climbed 6.3 percent.

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Wednesday

It was a red day on Wall Street. Reports from the twelve Federal Reserve Districts suggest overall economic activity expanded at a moderate pace during the reporting period from late February to early April, stated the commentary on current economic conditions compiled by the Federal Reserve, known as the Beige Book. The report indicated that economic growth was buoyed by residential construction and auto manufacturing… (Read more.)

DJIA: -0.94% to 14,618.60 S&P 500: -1.43% to 1,552.01 NASDAQ: -1.84% to 3,204.67
Gold: -$10.00 to $1,377.40 per ounce Oil: -2.30% to $86.68 per barrel U.S. 10-Year: -0.027 points to 1.696%

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories declined by 1.2 million barrels during the week ended April 12, according to the Energy Information Association. At 387.6 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are well above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year. Refineries operated at 86.3 percent capacity, with gasoline production kicking up to 8.9 million barrels per day as the U.S. enters driving season… (Read more.)

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The International Monetary Fund lowered its forecast for 2013 economic growth in the United Kingdom on Tuesday and said Prime Minister David Cameron’s government should consider easing austerity measures because of the country’s weakening economic recovery… (Read more.)

According to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s latest report for the week ending April 12, loan application volume gained 4.8 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. This comes after a 4.5 percent increase. These figures include both refinancing and home purchase demand, and covers over 75 percent of all domestic retail residential mortgage applications… (Read more.)

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

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) closed the day down 5.5 percent, touching below $400 per share in intraday trading. The wave of negative sentiment around the tech giant intensified as Cirrus Logic (NASDAQ:CRUS), which is widely believed to make analog and audio chips for the iPhone and iPad, announced a weaker-than-expected forecast. For the first fiscal quarter, the company expects revenue of $150 million to $170 million. Wall Street was expecting revenue above $190 million… (Read more.)

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Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) closed the day down 4.7 percent. The firm reported first-quarter 2013 financial results that fell short of analyst expectations. Net income of $0.20 per diluted share missed estimates for $0.22 per share. Some highlights include a 5 percent increase in deposit balances and a 17 percent increase in commercial loan balances. The firm commented: “Relative to the same period a year ago, the results for the first quarter of 2013 were driven by increased brokerage income, higher investment banking fees, and improved credit quality across all major portfolios, partially offset by lower mortgage banking income and lower net gains on the sales of debt securities.”

Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) closed the day down 0.38 percent. The turn-around tech giant posted first-quarter 2013 results after the bell on Tuesday that showed an unattractive (11 percent) decline in display-advertising revenue to $455 million. GAAP revenue declined 7 percent to $1.1 billion, adjusted EBITA of $386 million was flat with the year-ago period, while net earnings increased 26 percent on the year to $420 million.

Mattel (NASDAQ:MAT) closed the day up 1.86 percent after hitting a fresh 52-week high of $45.37 per share. The toy maker reported that first-quarter worldwide sales were up 7 percent and net sales increased 7 percent to $995.6 million. Earnings increased from $0.02 to $0.11 per share.

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Thursday

Stocks declined on Wall Street on Thursday. Although it has been a rough week for precious metals, gold closed the day nearly $60 above the low made on Monday. Meanwhile, the Dow and S&P 500 both declined and are on pace for their worst week of the year.

DJIA: -0.56% to 14,537.10 S&P 500: -0.67% to 1,541.61 NASDAQ: -1.20% to 3,166.36
Gold: +$9.80 to $1,392.20 per ounce Oil: +1.72% to $88.17 per barrel U.S. 10-Year: -0.009 points to 1.686%

The idea that the labor market recovery is losing steam is gaining more adherents. After the Labor Departments Employment situation report showed that employers added just 88,000 workers to their payrolls last month, following the solid 268,000 added in February, last week’s unemployment data showed that the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose 4,000 to a seasonally adjusted 352,000.

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The Philadelphia Federal Reserve released the results of its Business Outlook Survey today. The general conditions diffusion index for manufacturing conditions within the district was 1.3 in April, slightly higher than the 2.0 reading registered in March. All told, 22 percent of firms reported increasing activity, while 21 percent of firms reported decreasing activity.

Unfortunately, labor market conditions turn a turn for the worst, with the employment index posting its first negative reading (-6.8) in three months. Seventeen percent of firms reported a decrease in employment, while just 10 percent reported an increase. The workweek index remained negative (-12.9) for the fourth consecutive month.

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

Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) closed the day down 2.13 percent but made back most of the losses early in post-market trading. The company reported that adjusted earnings increased 14.88 percent to $11.58 per share year over year while revenue increased 3.43 percent to $11.01 billion… (Read more.)

IBM (NYSE:IBM) closed the day down 1.2 percent and fell as much as 4.6 percent more in post-market trading. The company reported that adjusted earnings increased 7.91 percent to $3.00 per share year over year, while revenue decreased 5.13 percent to $23.41 billion… (Read more.)

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Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) closed the day down fractionally but climbed as much as 2.3 percent in post-market trading. The company reported that adjusted earnings increased 20 percent to $0.72 per share year over year. Revenue rose 17.71 percent to $20.49 billion… (Read more.)

Verizon (NYSE:VZ) closed the day up 2.77 percent and was up fractionally in post-market trading. The company reported earnings of $0.68 per share, $0.02 above estimates. Revenue of $29.4 billion missed expectations by $0.16 billion. Wireless revenue was up 6.8 percent. Four million iPhone activations exceeded estimates, and188K FiOS Internet and 169K FiOS Video net additions as FiOS revenue rose 15.1 percent to $2.6 billion.

UnitedHealth (NYSE:UNH) closed the day down 3.77 percent after reporting first-quarter results. Earnings fell 11.45 percent on the quarter to $1.16 per share, beating estimates by 2 cents. Revenue increased 11 percent to $30.3 billion. The company lowered its 2013 revenue expectation by $2.5 billion to $122 billion, but maintained its earnings expectation of $5.52 per share.

Philip Morris (NYSE:PM) closed the day down 2.5 percent after reporting first-quarter results. Reported diluted earnings per share increased 2.4 percent to $1.28 (adjusted up 3.2 percent to $1.29). Cigarette shipment volume declined 6.5 percent, but reported net revenues (excluding excise tax) still increased 1.8% to $7.6 billion.

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Friday

The markets closed up today on Wall Street, with the S&P 500 pulling back from a six-week low. Positive tech earnings helped push the NASDAQ up more than 1 percent.

DJIA: +0.07% to 14,547.50 S&P 500: +0.88% to 1,555.18 NASDAQ: +1.25% to 3,206.06
Gold: +$3.10 to $1,395.60 per ounce Oil: +0.18% to $87.89 per barrel U.S. 10-Year: +0.017 points to 1.702%
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Here’s your Cheat Sheet to Friday’s top stock stories:

1) Is The Labor Market Recovery Eluding Your State?  The official U-3 unemployment rate edged down to 7.6 percent in March, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. While any decrease in the headline rate is good news, the Employment Situation report showed that private payrolls increased by just 88,000, far below the increase of 193,000 that economists were expecting.

Over the past 12 months, employment growth has averaged 169,000 per month. This is a fairly modest rate, and in turn supports a moderately positive thesis about the labor market recovery. On Friday, the BLS released its Regional State Employment and Unemployment report, which mostly supported the idea of a healing labor market. The unemployment rate decreased in 39 states and the District of Columbia year over year, and increased in just eight (three states had no change).

However, the report also showed that 11 states and the District of Columbia still had unemployment rates that were significantly higher than the national average… (Read more.)

2) Gold Plunges 7% for the Week: On Friday, gold futures for June delivery, the most active contract, increased $3.10 to close at $1,395.60 per ounce, while silver futures for May fell 29 cents to finish at $22.96.

It was gold’s second consecutive day of gains, but it comes after a disastrous performance earlier in the week. Over the course of only two days, gold plunged $200 to reach its lowest level since February 2011. In the process, it logged its worst one-day percentage drop since 1980, and the largest fall in dollar terms on record. On a technical basis, gold reached its most oversold reading since, at the latest, 1975.

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3) German Produce Prices Remain Soft: Producer prices fell 0.2 percent on the month in March in Germany, according to data released on Friday. This is more than the 0.1 percent decline expected by economists. Year over year, prices increased 0.4 percent, compared to a 1.2 percent year-over-year increase in February.

Prices were pretty soft in all major product groups, but were led by a 0.6 percent decline in energy prices. Excluding energy, March PPI would have increased 0.7 percent on the year. The PPI data confirms forecasts that German inflation will remain low this year.

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