Hiring is Still Slow and Wal-Mart Faces Bribery Allegations: Market Recap

U.S. stocks advanced today, as the S&P 500 broke its two-day losing streak. Investors are awaiting a report on employment growth that will be released tomorrow.

S&P 500 Index Chart - Yahoo! Finance

Oil: +0.97% to $94.41 per barrel  Gold: +1.02% to $1,412.80 per ounce  U.S. 10-Year: -0.012 to 2.077%

5 Signs the American Consumer is on Life Support: The Great Recession technically ended in the summer of 2009, as gross domestic product rebounded from the bottom and started to expand. However, to any American not looking at the textbook definition, the recession is still alive and well… (Read more.)

NEW! Discover a new stock idea each week for less than the cost of 1 trade. CLICK HERE for your Weekly Stock Cheat Sheets NOW!

Layoffs May be Slowing, But When Will Hiring Accelerate?: The picture of the health of the job market that is slowly emerging from recently released economic data is one that has made marginal improvements since April. While employment gains were disappointingly low at 135,000, ADP’s National Employment Report showed Wednesday that nonfarm payrolls added slightly more jobs last month than in the previous month… (Read more.)

Optimism at the Zero Bound: Draghi Stays Positive: The Governing Council of the European Central Bank concluded a regular policy meeting on Thursday. The ECB Governing Council, presided over by Mario Draghi, is responsible for determining monetary policy. The bank is explicitly tasked with maintaining the purchasing power of the euro and promoting financial stability and integration across the euro zone… (Read more.)

Here’s your cheat sheet to today’s top stock stories: 

Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) bottom line likely won’t be negatively impacted by the U.S. International Trade Commission’s decision to ban certain older models of its iPhone and iPad products. Although the ITC decision was a publicity coup for Samsung, it should have a minimal impact on Apple’s finances according to several high-profile analysts… (Read more.)

Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) is growing, but it may run into some serious competition in Europe. Professional sports may be a big element of that competition and a key factor in Netflix’s struggle to gain traction overseas… (Read more.)

NEW! Discover a new stock idea each week for less than the cost of 1 trade. CLICK HERE for your Weekly Stock Cheat Sheets NOW!

Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) is facing bribery allegations that first materialized after The New York Times published two reports last year that detailed the the financial incentives given to Mexican officials by the company’s affiliate, Wal-Mart de Mexico. One of the largest was a $52,000 bribe paid to change a zoning map so that the retailer could open a store located near ancient pyramids in Teotihuacan… (Read more.)

AT&T (NYSE:T) has sold $564 million of its shares in Mexican phone company America Movil in a move to keep its investment in the company at 9 percent amid share repurchases. Mexico City-based America Movil, also known as AMX, is owned by billionaire Carlos Slim. AT&T remains the company’s biggest shareholder outside the Slim family… (Read more.)

Pepsi (NYSE:PEP) has denied the rumors that it’s planning to buy SodaStream International (NASDAQ:SODA), which makes machines that turn tap water into soda. The Calcalist, an Israeli financial newspaper, first made the false report and a PepsiCo spokesman addressed the rumors on Thursday, saying, the report is “totally and completely untrue…” (Read more.)

NEW! Discover a new stock idea each week for less than the cost of 1 trade. CLICK HERE for your Weekly Stock Cheat Sheets NOW!

Proctor & Gamble (NYSE:PG)  announced on Wednesday that it will be reorganizing its global business units into four industry-based sectors. The transition is part of what amounts to a turnaround plan spearheaded by CEO A.G. Lafley, who returned to lead the company after a few years of underwhelming performance… (Read more.)

Will Natural Gas Take Over the U.S. Economy?: During President Barack Obama’s tenure in the White House, soaring production of natural gas from horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracking has pushed supplies to record highs in each of the past four years. Less than ten years ago, domestic supplies of natural gas were so limited that facilities were constructed in U.S. ports to import natural gas. But fracking changed the supply situation… (Read more.)

Don’t Miss: IRS Drama: Free Food Is the Latest Embarrassment.