Market Closes Week Above 18,000
The Dow settled above 18,000 points after recovering from a slow start on Monday. Markets closed at 18.019.35 Friday afternoon, a gain of 195.27 points on the week. NASDAQ was up 149.44 over 5 days, closing Friday at 4,893.84. The S&P 500 gained over 30 points, and settled in on Friday afternoon at 2,096.99. In world markets this week, The Heng Song, China's de facto marketplace in Hong Kong, had a flat week with losses of -0.02%. Japan's Nikkei was up 1.50% to 17.913.36 on the week.
Weeklong Gains For Retail. Sears (SHLD) jumped 8.25% this week, up 2.32 points on Friday alone, to close at 35.70 per share.
Tech Up Over 5 Days. Apple (AAPL) has extended a positive trend with another great week. The device maker was up over 6 points, closing the week at 127.08. Microsoft (MSFT) has been up and down recently, but this week was a good one. They added 1.46 points over 5 days, and ended trading at 43.87 per share. Google (GOOG) added over 10 points this week, closing at 549.01, amid some talk of a coming stock split. Growth has been steady, and some are speculating that a split is overdue. Amazon (AMZN) was up nearly 7 points on the week, closing at 381.83 after a recent 60-point spike.
Oil Bounces Around $50 Per Barrel. This week in commodity trading saw crude oil futures land at $52.78 per barrel, at times falling below or jumping above the mark. The energy sector as a whole is losing ground every day, and has been leading the market's losses for a solid week. Big business in the sector is turning to layoffs in order to keep profits up. Workers are being let go from drilling operations in North Dakota, Texas, and the Gulf of Mexico. Big players like General Electric (GE) and Transocean (RIG) are slashing costs to stay on top. General Electric and Transocean both gained just over a half-point on the week, to close at 25.15 and 19.05 respectively.
The US Dollar Strengthens, Flattening Everything In Its Path. The price of gold is down nearly 6% on the year, making some investors wonder if its seen a ceiling. Right now gold trades for $1,227.10 per troy ounce, but it's down from yearly highs of over $1,350. The US Dollar also affects overseas earnings. This week it was Avon Inc (AVN) that was hit by the strengthening dollar, missing a Q4 earnings report because exchange rates with Asia are hurting earnings for exporters.
Meanwhile, the yield on 10-year Treasury Notes has climbed above 2% in a growing trend. In a world economy that's centered around a strong US Dollar, and with national interest rates set to rise, T-Bills tend to be a safe bet for investments over 5 or 10 years.
American Express Has A Miserable Week. The credit card company took a dive this week, shedding over 7 points in 5 days. American Express (AXP) shares were down to 78.08 on Friday, after news hit that the Costco chain (COST) was dumping the card. Visa (V) and MasterCard (MA) have both grown this week, with Visa closing at 269.63 and MasterCard at 87.14.
Currency and Commodities. The price of a gallon of unleaded gas rose steadily this week, ending the week at $2.80. That's almost sure to forecast rising prices at the pump, although the price of gas will likely fall again unless crude settles higher than $60 per barrel. The US Dollar, as mentioned above, continued to strengthen this week. It's grown a flat 1% against the British Pound, and crept up another 0.66% on the Euro. Japan's booming stock market held the Yen slightly ahead of the US Dollar, for a loss of -0.14%.