The Week In Review


January 6, 2012

U.S. stocks opened mixed to mildly lower on Friday, with the better-than-expected December payrolls report getting a muted response from Wall Street. "Expectations were raised after the ADP number yesterday, and eyes are still on Europe" and the possible global impact of the region's debt troubles, said Brad Sorensen, an analyst at the Schwab Center for Financial Research. "Add all that up and it leads to a tepid reaction." The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 16 points to 12,398. The S&P 500 Index inched up a point to1,279. The Nasdaq Composite rose a point to 2,670. Shortly after the open the averages pushed lower as the European concerns are trumping the better than expected US employment data. The financials are once again trading sharply lower due to the European crisis. Goldman and Morgan Stanley are lower after having their estimates cut. The energy and materials are getting hit once again. Alcoa is down 3% after announcing capacity cuts. Rare earth producer, Molycorp is jumping 5% on an upgrade. Cliffs Natural Resources is also higher on an upgrade. The techs are mixed this morning. RF Micro Devices is down 20% after warning on their quarter. ARM Holding and Intel are lower on downgrades. Apple, Sandisk, and F5 Networks are higher on upgrades. The retail sector is bouncing back after getting hit yesterday. Krispy Kreme, Kohls, FedEx, and JC Penney are higher on upgrades. Best Buy is modestly higher after reaffirming earnings. Childrens Place is lower on a downgrade. Through the first hour the Dow dropped over 80 points while the Nasdaq declined 12 points. After the first hour the averages slowly improved, similar to yesterday, thanks to the techs and financials. The consumer discretionary sector is performing well after getting hit yesterday. Through the morning and into the afternoon the Dow remained in the red down around 40 points. The Nasdaq held on to modest gains. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down 55 points to 12,359, but added 1.2% for the week, which was shortened by Monday's New Year's Day holiday. The S&P 500 slid 3 points to 1,277, advancing 1.6% for the week. The Nasdaq Composite rose 4 points to 2,674, jumping 2.7% for the week.

January 5, 2012

U.S. stocks opened lower on Thursday as an improving U.S. labor market helped stem, but not override, worries about Europe's debt troubles. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped a quick 77 points to 12,341. The S&P 500 dropped 6 points to 1,270. The Nasdaq Composite fell nearly two points to 2,646. The European news is not getting any better hitting the financials, commodities, and other energy plays. Mosaic is bucking the trend following better than expected earnings last night. Monsanto is up 4% thanks to better than expected earnings. The tech sector is also bucking the trend with a number of upgrades. The list of techs trading higher on upgrades includes Nokia, LSI Logic, Ebay, VMware, Apple, Marvell, and Seagate. Seagate is up 6% after also raising guidance. Unfortunately, most companies are lowering guidance for the quarter not a good sign. Plenty of blow ups in the retail space on lowered guidance. The list includes Target down 3%, American Eagle down 14%, Kohls down 2%, Childrens' Place down 10%, Boston Beer down 6%, and the dog of the day Barnes and Noble down 28%. The good news is Barnes and Noble is selling plenty of Nooks, but the traditional brick and mortar book business just doesn't make money any more. Through the first hour the averages pushed lower with the Dow falling over 100 points before recovering. The Nasdaq fell 17 points before recovering. A number of techs and financials are higher, but that's about it today. A tough market. Through the morning the averages remained quiet until the lunch hour when the financials and techs started to perk up. Following the lunch hour the financials caught a bid dragging the major averages with it. Bank of America is leading the charge up 8% on double the average volume. In the tech space Microsoft, Intel, and Apple look good. In the last hour the averages couldn't hold on to their modest gains. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down 2 points at 12,415, improving from a drop of more than 100 points. Boeing led decliners, off 1.1%, while Bank of America gained 8.6%. The S&P 500 advanced 3 points to 1,281, led by a 1.4% rally in financial stocks. The Nasdaq Composite advanced 21 points to 2,669.

January 4, 2012

U.S. stocks open modestly lower following a strong start to the year on Tuesday that left the Dow Jones Industrial Average at a five-month high. The Dow fell 24 points on the open to 12,372. The S&P 500 declined 4 points to 1,272. The Nasdaq Composite dropped 13 points to 2,634. Most sectors are trading modestly lower this morning. The financials are leading the weakness this morning. It only took one day for the financials to regain their losing ways. Visa and MasterCard are lower on downgrades. A number of cloud computing techs are getting hit following lower guidance from Acme Packet last night. The stock is down 19% this morning. is down 3.5% in sympathy. Red Hat was upgraded, but the stock is unchanged. The chip space is modestly higher. LSI Logic is up a percent on an upgrade. Intel is higher on a neutral rating. Yahoo finally named a new CEO, but investors are unimpressed. Progressive Software is down 7% after beating estimates last night by only a penny. That follows disappointing earnings from Oracle last month. The healthcare and consumer staples, two strong sectors last year, are trading lower this morning. The energy space is lower except for steel stocks. AK Steel and Steel Dynamic are higher by 2% on upgrades. Mosaic is lower on a downgrade ahead of earnings tonight. The best performing S&P 500 stock from 2011, Cabot Oil and Gas is higher by 2% after announcing a 2 for 1 split and hiking their dividend. Utilities are bouncing back after getting hit yesterday. Through the first hour the averages remained quiet and lower. The retail space is mixed this morning. Chipotle Mexican Grill and Lululemon are higher on upgrades. Autozone was named a Top Pick at a major brokerage firm, but the stock is lower. Ford and GM are higher on encouraging sales numbers. Through the morning and into the afternoon the averages improved with most sectors moving into the green. Ironically, the utilities sold off with the consumer staples and healthcare stocks. The techs were one of the first sectors to improve. Microsoft is perking up trading up 2.4%. Even the financials have turned around which is a nice surprise. In the last hour the Dow held on to gains as the other averages fizzled. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 21 points to 12,418, with 20 of 30 components ending higher. The S&P 500 gained 24 cents to 1,277. Consumer discretionary shares led sector gainers. The Nasdaq Composite lagged, falling 40 cents to 2,648.

January 3, 2012

U.S. stocks opened the first session of 2012 in rally mode, with Wall Street optimistic after positive manufacturing data from China, and strong gains across the pond. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 156 points, or 1.3%, to 12,403. The S&P 500 rose 20 points, or 1.6%, to 1,278. The Nasdaq Composite climbed 59 points, or 2.1%, to 2,660. The first day of the year is typically a good one and today is no different. Money is rotating into the beaten up sectors from 2011 like the financials. Ameriprise is up 3.5% on an upgrade. The big banks are performing well. Bank of America is up 4% as the worst performing Dow component last year. Morgan Stanley is up 6%. The REITs are also performing well. Kimco Reality is up 3% on an upgrade. The tech sector looks good. Google is breaking out to new highs up 2.2%. Plenty of analyst comments today after a dearth of news in December. The list of techs receiving upgrades this morning include Nvidia, Akamai, Micron, Cisco, Altera, LSI Logic, Fusion-io, Apple, and Rambus. Even Research in Motion is trading higher on rumors of management shake up. The energy and commodity sectors are performing well. Molycorp is jumping 3% after securing an agreement for some of their rare earth production. Potash is jumping 5% on an upgrade. Through the first hour the Dow rose over 200 points while the Nasdaq rose 40 points. The only sector in the red, the Utilities, was also the best performing sector of 2011. So its obvious money managers are rotating into the beaten up sectors to start the year. The big question is, how long will it last? Outside the Utility sector, very few stocks are in the red. The only two Dow components in the red, McDonalds and Verizon, were also two of the best performing stocks from last year. Altria is down 2.5% on a negative Barrons cover piece. A couple drug stocks, Bristol Myers and Amgen are also in the red. Through the morning the averages drifted off the highs as volume dropped off, but still a good day to start the New Year. During the lunch hour the averages dipped only to rebound in the afternoon. In the last hour the averages drifted off the highs once again. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 179 points, or 1.5%, at 12,397, led by Alcoa, Bank of America, and J.P. Morgan Chase. The S&P 500 rose 19 points, or 1.6%, to 1,277. Natural-resource stocks and financials lead gains. The Nasdaq Composite rose 43 points, or 1.7%, to 2,648. U.S. stocks ended 2011 with a 5.5% gain for the Dow, near-flat performance for the S&P 500, and a 1.8% decline for the Nasdaq