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Weekly Winners and Losers: GE, MS, C

By: , dated April 20th, 2012

Weekly Wrap Up

Markets were largely flat for the week, as several big earnings calls beat expectations but economic data remained mixed. Jobless claims fell by far less than economists had forecasted last week. On the other hand, consumer retail spending jumped significantly in March from February. The buzz around Facebook’s IPO continues to pick up, especially after the high profile billion-dollar purchase of mobile picture service Instagram. More Market News

Economic News

More Americans Than Forecast Filed Weekly Jobless Claims
Jobless claims fell by 2,000 to 386,000 in the week ended April 14 from a revised 388,000 the prior period, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. The median forecast of 47 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News called for a drop to 370,000. Purchases of homes fell 2.6 percent to a 4.48 million annual rate in March, the National Association of Realtors reported in Washington. Click here to read the full article
U.S. retail sales rise sharply again in March
Consumers increased spending in virtually every category, whether at online stores or traditional bricks-and-mortar retailers. Automobiles, electronics and appliances, building materials, and clothing stores saw the biggest gains. Click here to read the full article

Business News

Investors cheer Morgan Stanley first-quarter results
Revenue rose to $8.9 billion from $7.8 billion a year ago, trouncing the $7.6 billion predicted by analysts polled by FactSet. Earnings per share were 71 cents compared with forecasts of 44 cents. The results excluded the negative impact of a big accounting charge related to a change in the value of the bank’s debt. Click here to read the full article
Starbucks to phase out bug extract as food dye
Starbucks President Cliff Burrows wrote, in a Thursday blog, that Starbucks is “transitioning” away from the use of an insect called the cochineal. Click here to read the full article
Citi profit tops expectations, bond trading helps
While the results were better than the company’s report three months ago, profit fell 2 percent from a year earlier, reflecting the bank’s difficulties as it works to boost its earnings in a sluggish global economy.

Chief Executive Vikram Pandit said the bank might not seek regulatory approval to return capital to shareholders this year after all. Citigroup received multiple bailouts during the credit crunch and was one of the few banks to have its capital return plans rejected by the Federal Reserve earlier this year. Click here to read the full article

Technology Focus

BlackBerry Use in U.S. Is in ‘Free Fall,’ but Overseas Markets Offer Hope
BlackBerry maker Research In Motion is in a fight for its corporate life, with even once-reliable markets no longer a given for the company’s smartphones and back-end infrastructure services. However, emerging markets such as India and Indonesia may offer the lifeline RIM needs, according to several new reports. Click here to read the full article
EBay Rises After Sales Beat Estimates, Fueled by PayPal
EBay Inc. (EBAY) shares rose the most in eight months after sales and profit at the world’s largest Internet marketplace topped analysts’ estimates, spurred by growth in its PayPal online-payments business.
The stock climbed 11 percent to $39.78 at 9:42 a.m. in New York, for the biggest gain since Aug. 9. Shares of the San Jose, California-based company advanced 18 percent this year before today. Click here to read the full article

Your Money

Obama tightens oil and gas drilling regulations
The Obama administration tightened regulations on the oil and gas industry Wednesday, requiring drillers to capture emissions of certain air pollutants from new wells.
But in a nod to industry concerns that the rules were being enacted too quickly, the Environmental Protection Agency said companies can burn the pollutants at the well head until the start of 2015, when enough equipment is expected to be available to capture the pollution. Click here to read the full article
This article was brought to you by the InvestorGuide Staff Writers and Editors.

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