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S&P Sees First Weekly Loss of the Year, Merger Activity Heats Up (AIG, HPQ, WMT)

By: , dated February 21st, 2013

Weekly Wrap Up

Most major US markets closed the week lower, with the DOW bucking the trend by once again closing over 14,000. The Euro hit a 6-week low vs the USD on ECB loan repayment news. On Thursday, jobless claims rose for the first time in three weeks. The Federal Reserve released the minutes from their most recent meeting on Wednesday, showing that mutiple members were worried about QE plans, which worried investors in the middle of the week. Merger activity heated up as Office Depot (ODP: Charts, News) and OfficeMax (OMX: Charts, News) joined forces to take on Staples (SPLS: Charts, News). Herbalife (HLF: Charts, News), AIG (AIG: Charts, News) and Hewlett-Packard (HPQ: Charts, News) all reported positive earnings news while Wal-Mart (WMT: Charts, News) slid on Tuesday after frantic executive emails and meeting minutes were released. More Market News

Economic News

Median Home Price Posts Biggest Gain Since 2005, Realtors Say
One measure of national home prices rose last month with a vigor not seen since the bubble days as the number of foreclosed homes and other distressed properties on the market shrank. (Source: LA Times) Click here to read the full article
Fed’s Comments Rattle Markets
Global stocks are stumbling as concerns over the future of the Federal Reserve’s stimulus programme weighed on investors’ confidence on the outlook for the world’s largest economy. (Source: Financial Times) Click here to read the full article
U.S. Consumers Hit by Payroll Tax Hike, Rising Gas Prices
U.S. consumers have seen better days.The expiration of the payroll tax holiday earlier this year has taken a 2% chunk out of weekly earnings – a big hit for the lower and middle income Americans. AAA says the price of a gallon of regular gasoline has jumped 47 cents in one month, adding more downward pressure on consumers. And if Congress and the White House cannot find a way to stave off the $1 trillion in across-the-board spending cuts (also referred to as the “sequester”) that hits military and domestic programs before March 1, hundreds of thousands of workers – especially military contractors -could lose their jobs. (Source: Yahoo Finance) Click here to read the full article

Business News

Office Depot Merges With Office Max
Yesterday, office supply retailers Office Depot (Is ODP buy, sell, or hold?) and Office Max (OMX: Charts, News) announced an all-stock merger, worth approximately $1.2 billion, that would merge the second and third largest office supply chains together into a single entity. (Source: InvestorGuide) Click here to read the full article
Wal-Mart Slides After Frantic Executive E-Mails and Meeting Minutes Released
Shares of superstore Wal-Mart (WMT: Charts, News) slid last week, after leaked internal e-mails revealed the worst sales start to a month in seven years, attributed to the January payroll tax that reduced discretionary spending. Wal-Mart’s vice president of finance and logistics Jerry Murray was blunt, stating in an e-mail obtained by Bloomberg, “In case you haven’t seen a sales report these days, February MTD sales are a total disaster.” (Source: InvestorGuide) Click here to read the full article
Herbalife Up on Higher Earnings, Guidance
Shares of Herbalife Ltd (HLF: Charts, News) closed up +1.00 or +2.58 percent to $39.74 per share on Tuesday before the company announced fourth quarter earnings results which beat Wall Street analyst expectations. (Source: InvestorGuide) Click here to read the full article

Technology Focus

Google’s Shares to Surpass $1,000?
Just two days after Google’s (GOOG: Charts, News) shares surpassed $800 for the first time ever, analysts are becoming bullish on the prospect of them soon reaching the $1,000 milestone. (Source: Fox Business) Click here to read the full article
Hewlett-Packard Reports Earnings, Forecast That Top Analyst Estimates, Shares Rise
Hewlett-Packard (HPQ: Charts, News), the world’s largest personal-computer maker, reported first-quarter results and a full-year forecast that topped analyst estimates, sending the shares up more than 7 percent in late trading. (Source: Forbes) Click here to read the full article
Einhorn wins ruling against Apple in cash pile fight
A judge handed outspoken hedge fund manager David Einhorn a victory in his court battle with Apple Inc on Friday, blocking the iPhone maker from moving forward with a shareholder vote on a controversial proposal to limit the company’s ability to issue preferred stock. (Source: Reuters) Click here to read the full article

Your Money

U.S. Funds Score Big by Betting Against Yen
Some of the biggest U.S. hedge-fund investors have made billions betting against the yen, exploiting Japan’s determination to weaken its currency and boost its economy. (Source: Wall Street Journal) Click here to read the full article
Tax Tip: Figuring Out Your Stock’s Cost Basis
It’s never easy for investors to make money in the stock market. And when they do, the last thing most people think about is how to report those gains to the IRS. (Source: USA Today) Click here to read the full article

 

This article was brought to you by the InvestorGuide Staff Writers and Editors.

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