Sinofsky Leaves Microsoft, Home Depot Posts Impressive Q3 Results: 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 Monday on Wall Street:

S&P 500: +0.01%Nasdaq: -0.02%Dow: 0.00%Oil: -0.50%Gold: -0.17%.

On the commodities front, Oil (NYSE:USO) dropped to $85.64 per barrel. Precious metals were down, with Gold (NYSE:GLD) falling to $1,728.20 per ounce, and Silver (NYSE:SLV) falling to $32.40 per ounce after the bell.

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

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and HTC have reached a global settlement that will dismiss all ongoing court litigation between the two and start a ten-year license agreement covering patents held by either company. As part of the deal, HTC will pay licensing fees to Apple, though the exact amount is not yet clear.

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With Chrstopher Kubasik out of the picture, Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT) will face the daunting economic landscape of the next few months with Marillyn Hewson at the helm. She will become the company’s top boss on January 1, one day after the fiscal cliff will trigger if left unattended.

Despite pledging to the contrary, even J.C. Penney (NYSE:JCP) will offer promotions for Black Friday shoppers. Amid increasing concerns over its financial viability, the retailer has forgone its non-coupon pricing strategy and decided to hold its only sale of the year beginning at 6 a.m. the day after Thanksgiving. Investors did not warm up to the idea, with shares closing down 12.94 percent.

Even without Mitt Romney in the White House, North America may find its way to energy independence in the foreseeable future. The International Energy Agency, which launched the 2012 World Energy Outlook on November 12, predicts that America is poised to take a leading position in global oil production by 2020.

America’s capacity for oil and gas production is “at the forefront of a sweeping transformation,” according to IEA executive director Maria van der Hoeven. The oil and gas supermajors have not failed to notice this trend, either. New technology has unlocked massive reserves trapped in shale, and Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM), British Petroluem (NYSE:BP), and Chevron (NYSE:CVX) have aggressively involved themselves in North American shale projects to access previously unreachable gas and oil.

Tuesday

The U.S. equity markets closed down Tuesday on Wall Street:

S&P 500: -0.40%, Nasdaq: -0.70%Dow: -0.46%.

On the commodities front, Oil (NYSE:USO) dropped 0.41 percent to $85.22 per barrel. Precious metals also dropped, with Gold (NYSE:GLD) falling 0.35 percent to $1,724.90 per ounce, and Silver (NYSE:SLV) falling 0.22 percent to $32.45 per ounce about seven minutes after the bell.

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

Steven Sinofsky, a 23-year veteran at Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) who was widely presumed to be a favorite for the chief executive’s position in the near future and was the man behind the company’s recently launched Windows 8 operating system, has left the software maker. The move was completely unexpected and many are wondering if it was part of a process by current chief executive Steve Ballmer to get a firmer hold on the company. Shares closed down 3.22 percent. (Read more.)

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On Tuesday, The Home Depot (NYSE:HD) announced impressive financial results for the third quarter. The world’s largest home improvement specialty retailer earned $947 million (63 cents per share), compared to $934 million (60 cents per share) a year earlier. Home Depot has now surprised to the upside in seven of the past eight quarters, with the one exception being this year’s first quarter that came in line with estimates. Between these earnings and recent economic indicators, the company seems to be building a bullish stance on the recovery of the housing market. Shares closed up 3.63 percent. (Read more.)

Shares of Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE:AMD) closed up 5.03 percent after Reuters reported that the chipmaker has hired a bank and is exploring options such as a potential sale.

With just seven weeks until the fiscal cliff, Congress assembled on Tuesday to begin what may become the most closely watched session this year. An estimated $560 billion in spending cuts and tax increases set to automatically trigger at the end of the year could cut GDP by four percentage points, and raise unemployment by one if a solution is not found beforehand. With the dust of the election settling, banks such as JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) and Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) are pointing at the fiscal cliff as the single largest roadblock to economic growth. (Read more.)

There’s good news and bad news about Greece. The good news is that the country managed to raise at least 4 billion euros ($5 billion) from an auction of one-month and three-month T-bills, and will be able to pay off 5 billion euros ($6.3 billion) worth of debt that comes due later this week. The bad news is that disagreement among Greece’s creditors is heating up and raising concerns that decision making will be delayed. Eurozone officials are apparently in open disagreement about the right strategy and timeline to bring down Greece’s overall debt. (Read more.)

Wednesday

The markets close down again Wednesday on Wall Street:

S&P 500: -1.39%Nasdaq: -1.29%Dow: -1.45%.

On the commodities front, Oil (NYSE:USO) rose 1.11 percent to $86.33 per barrel. Precious metals were up, with Gold (NYSE:GLD) climbing 0.07 percent to $1,726.00 per ounce, and Silver (NYSE:SLV) climbing 0.58 percent to $32.68.

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

The lockup on 800 million shares of Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) expired on Wednesday, but the stock outperformed expectations to close 12.61 percent up despite seeing a red flag on Tuesday. Spurring the stock’s movement, Facebook launched its Social Jobs Partnership, a service that allows users to search for jobs aggregated by companies such as Monster.com (NYSE:MWW). The move puts Facebook in more direct competition with LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD). (Read more.)

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Speaking at the company’s annual investor conference in New York on Wednesday, Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) chief executive officer Lloyd C. Blankfein discussed how the impending Basel III global regulations will affect the bank. The rules, which are scheduled to be introduced from 2013 until 2018, will increase the risk the bank must assign to its assets, a factor that will change the size of the company’s capital buffer. While the new regulations will not be in place for several more weeks, the bank has already determined how they will impact its risk-weighted assets. (Read more.)

Clothing retailer Abercrombie & Fitch (NYSE:ANF) closed up 34.45 percent after posting third-quarter results that shocked investors. Highlights include an earnings jump of 40 percent from the year-ago period.

Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO) closed up 4.81 percent after posting strong first-quarter earnings after the bell on Tuesday. Revenue rose 5.5 percent to $11.88 billion, while net income climbed 17.7 percent to $0.39 per share from the quarter a year ago, beating estimates on both fronts.

President Barack Obama held his first news conference since the election on Wednesday and his opening remarks mainly focused on the economy, reiterating what he said in a statement on the fiscal cliff last Friday. That is: the economy is recovering from deep recession, but progress is slow; a series of decisions must be made by the end of the year in order to avoid disaster; and the focus must remain on jobs. (Read more.)

Millions of workers spread across the European Union are holding a string of strikes and demonstrations on Wednesday to protest the widespread unemployment and government spending cuts in the continent. Trade unions blame the austerity policies for the drop in living standards across the region. The European Trade Union Confederation said that about 40 unions in 23 countries were scheduled to take part in a “day of action and solidarity.” (Read more.)

Thursday

The markets closed down again on Wall Street:

S&P 500: -0.16%Nasdaq: -0.35%Dow: -0.23%.

On the commodities front, Oil (NYSE:USO) dropped 0.92 percent to $85.53 per barrel. Precious metals were down, with Gold (NYSE:GLD) falling 0.88 percent to $1,714.90 per ounce, and Silver (NYSE:SLV) falling 0.88 percent to $32.59 about 15 minutes after the bell.

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

Over two years after the Deepwater Horizon Disaster, BP (NYSE:BP) has pleaded guilty to a felony count of misconduct or neglect for each of the 11 lives lost during the disaster. The company will pay $4 billion over five years to the U.S. Department of Justice, as well as $525 million over three years to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. (Read more.)

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Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT) closed up 1.81 percent after it posted third-quarter results that came in above Wall Street’s expectations. Revenue grew 3.2 percent compared to a year ago to $16.93 billion, while earnings jumped 14.8 percent to $0.96 per share. (Read more.)

Meanwhile, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE:WMT) closed down 3.66 percent after its third-quarter report. Revenue was up 3.4 percent for the quarter compared to last year at $113.93 billion, while earnings jumped 9 percent to $1.08 per share. However, it was the fifth consecutive quarter where margins shrank. (Read more.)

In the world of investing, Warren Buffett is king, so when his Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRKA) all but eliminates its position in Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) and General Electric (NYSE:GE), investors sit up and take notice. (Read more.)

Seasonally adjusted initial jobless claims for the week ending November 10 came in at 439,000, an increase of 78,000 from the previous week. (Read more.)

Inflation appears to be in check in the U.S. as new October data released by the U.S. Labor Department on Thursday showed that cost of living rose at its slowest pace in three months. The U.S. Consumer Price Index increased 0.1 percent last month, in line with analysts’ expectations. It followed a 0.6 percent gain each in September and August. (Read more.)

The Electoral College re-elected President Barack Obama for another four years last week. The event concluded months of political rhetoric and spin by both parties, totaling billions of dollars and setting new campaign spending records. Due to the incumbent winning, some well-known Republicans voiced their discontent shortly thereafter. However, no matter how much pain some voters may be feeling, stocks are handing out big losses to both sides of the aisle. (Read more.)

Friday

The markets closed up today on Wall Street:

S&P 500: +0.48%Nasdaq: +0.57%, Dow: +0.37%

On the commodities front, Oil (NYSE:USO) rose 1.48 percent to $87.14 per barrel. Precious metals were down, with Gold (NYSE:GLD) dropping 0.04 percent to $1,713.20 per ounce, and Silver (NYSE:SLV) dropping 1.27 percent to $32.26 per ounce about 5 minutes after the bell.

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

The U.S. Federal Reserve has issued new scenarios for the next round of banking stress tests. Among the 19 banks being tested are JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM), which is currently being investigated regarding its anti money-laundering practices, and Citigroup (NYSE:C), which failed the stress tests in March. (Read more.)

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Morgan Stanley’s Katy Huberty is not buying into Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) bear trend continuing much longer. According to the analyst, issues of product supplies as well as gross margins — two of the main causes of investor concern — will be sorted out soon and lead to a surge in sales in the first quarter of the next calendar year, if not in this three-month period. (Read more.)

After two years of talks, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission has finally proposed a working settlement for the $2.3 billion acquisition of Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group (NYSE:DTG) by Hertz Global Holdings (NYSE:HTZ). The deal had been delayed because of concerns that the acquisition would harm competition at 72 airports around the United States where the two companies were the only rental services available. (Read more.)

Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) employees were rewarded for passing the loyalty test this week. Shares are up over 23 percent over the last five trading days, pushing toward their highest level since July. Shares closed up 6.27 percent on Friday.

An explosion at an oil rig owned by Houston-based Black Elk Energy off the coast of Louisiana has left two workers dead and two more missing on Friday morning, the U.S. Coast Guard said. Four other injured workers were taken to hospital. Bloomberg was reporting that the fire had been extinguished and that employees were en route to the platform. It wasn’t clear if any oil spilled into the gulf. (Read more.)

Despite disagreements on how to get there, a Eurogroup meeting next week must result in a deal on how to manage Greece’s debt or else the creditors may not be able to release 31 billion euros in emergency loans needed to keep the Greek government from going into default. (Read more.)

Overly tight lending standards at some banks may be holding back the U.S. economy by preventing creditworthy borrowers from buying homes, said U.S. Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke on Thursday. Banks’ lax mortgage lending practices were blamed for the 2008 financial crisis, but now Bernanke contends that the “pendulum has swung too far the other way,” with banks preventing qualified borrowers from getting loans. (Read more.)

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