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Stocks Mixed as Anxiety Over Europe Continues

By: , dated January 27th, 2012

Weekly Wrap Up

Despite the news that last quarter’s GDP was the highest it has been in a year and a half, stocks ended mixed as this slightly missed economists’ forecasts and there are several signs that 2012 isn’t going to start as strong. One of those signs is a softening in home prices and home sales that occurred in December and will likely end up extending into January. Stalled talks among the European Central Bank authorities over how to deal with their Greek bond holdings also was cause of investor anxiety this week. More Market News

Economic News

U.S. GDP grew at fastest pace in 1.5 years in fourth quarter 2011
The nation’s on-and-off economic recovery has picked up its pace, the Commerce Department reported Friday, with the U.S. economy growing at an annualized rate of 2.8 percent for the end of 2011.

That rate is the fastest recorded in a year and a half, and it follows three quarters of growth below 2 percent. Click here to read the full article

Treasurys add to rally after GDP disappoints
Treasurys rose on Friday, adding to the week’s rally, as traders mulled mixed data showing that the U.S. economy grew more moderately than expected in the fourth quarter but consumer sentiment logged a fifth-straight monthly gain.

The possibility of a deal between Greece and its creditors that would allow the country to avoid a disorderly default of its sovereign debt was also on the radar. Click here to read the full article

New Home Sales, Prices Fall in December
The Commerce Department said Thursday new-home sales fell last month to a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 307,000. The pace is less than half the 700,000 that economists say must be sold in a healthy economy.

About 302,000 homes were sold last year. That’s less than the 323,000 sold in 2010, making 2011 the worst year on records dating back to 1963. Click here to read the full article

Louisiana Jobless Rate Fell To 6.8% In December
Louisiana added 47,400 non-farm jobs in 2011 as the state posted a 2.5 percent growth rate during a year when the national economy continued a slow recovery from the Great Recession, the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Tuesday.

The state’s seasonally adjusted jobless rate fell to 6.8 percent in December from 6.9 percent in November and 7.7 percent in December 2010. Click here to read the full article

Business News

Penney overhauls pricing, stores in major makeover
J.C. Penney Co Inc (JCP: Charts, News) is changing everything from its pricing strategy and store layout to its exclusive merchandise lines as the department store chain seeks to jettison the wide margin-sapping discounts that failed to bring in customers.

The physical revamp and pricing plan were the first strategic salvos from Chief Executive Ron Johnson, who was hired away from Apple Inc (AAPL: Charts, News) in November, after building that company’s retail chain. Click here to read the full article

BofA Said to Warn Investment Bankers of 25% Average Pay Cut
Bank of America Corp., the second- biggest U.S. lender by assets, told its investment bankers to expect compensation packages that average 25 percent less than last year, said two people with knowledge of the discussions.
Executives gave the guidance this month ahead of formal 2011 pay discussions scheduled for this week, said the people, who declined to be identified because the talks are private. The compensation cut includes salary and bonus, the people said. Jessica Oppenheim, a spokeswoman for the Charlotte, North Carolina-based company, said she couldn’t comment. Click here to read the full article

Technology Focus

Netflix wins over Wall Street with subscriber growth
etflix Inc won back Wall Street’s affections on Thursday after adding more U.S. subscribers than expected in the fourth quarter, a rebound that prompted analyst upgrades and the company’s biggest one-day stock jump in two years.

The Los Gatos, California-based company’s shares soared 23.5 percent to $117.40 in afternoon trading. Shares had dropped to a year’s low of $62.37 on November 30. Click here to read the full article

Apple’s Massive Numbers And Some Context
Apple likely sold three times as many iPads as Amazon sold Kindle Fires. At twice the price. And at a profit, as Jon Fortt notes. When asked about the impact of the lower-cost tablets, Apple CEO Tim Cook specifically mentioned the Kindle Fire and noted that when looking over Apple’s numbers, they didn’t seem to see any impact (positive or negative) from the Kindle Fire being on the market. Click here to read the full article
This article was brought to you by the InvestorGuide Staff Writers and Editors.

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