Sep 12, 2009
The snapshot below shows us exactly when Market Club got long with gold:
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MarketWatch's top stories of the week
This week, children headed back to school, football players lumbered back onto the field and traders made their way back to their desks after what seemed like a fleeting summer. There always seems to be a little sadness as we return to the grind after Labor Day, especially given the somber Sept. 11 anniversary, but this year feels different somehow. It's like the overall mood has soured, and only the gold traders are feeling especially chipper.For example, after weeks of often-heated town-hall meetings, President Barack Obama took to the podium and spoke to Congress and the country, outlining his plans for health-care reform. But even his formal address was interrupted by a brief outburst from Republican congressman Joe Wilson.
What was the fallout? Well, an apology was offered and accepted, but that surely will not mark the end of the rancor surrounding this debate. Am I the only one who thinks, on an issue as vital as health care, we'd likely benefit from less screaming and more listening? We could use a dose of simple civility .
Not even a better consumer-confidence reading than expected could cheer people up on Friday, snapping the recent winning streak for U.S. stocks. For the day, the Dow Jones Industrial Average ($INDU) fell 22 points to 9,605, while the S&P 500 Index ($SPX) lost a bit over a point to stand at 1,043 and the Nasdaq Composite Index (COMP) declined 3 points to 2,081.
Over the past week, however, the Dow gained 1.7%, the S&P 500 advanced 2.6% and the Nasdaq added 3.1%.
Stay tuned to MarketWatch over the weekend to get the latest breaking news and more, including features on what the new array of so-called smart phones means for users and investors; whether it's time to get back into Japanese stocks; why the clock is ticking for prospective home-buyers; and how the ad market will fare as the NFL season kicks off. Visit the MarketWatch front page .
Want more insight into what's going on in the world's markets? Check out our audio and video survey of next week's outlook, from Tokyo to London to New York and beyond:
- U.S. Week Ahead: Words and numbers
- Europe's Week Ahead: Clothes and cars
- Asia's Week Ahead: Rate decisions
- Money Markets and More
Obama takes a stand
This week, the president threw his backing behind a government-run insurance option as one part of a broader plan he outlined in a high-stakes speech on health-care reform before a joint session of Congress. The president also said he won't sign an overhaul that adds "one dime" to the U.S. deficit. Read more about Obama's plan for health-care reform .
The comeback of Apple's CEO
Steve Jobs made a dramatic return to the public spotlight, appearing at a product event to unveil changes in Apple Inc.'s (AAPL) line of iPods and its iTunes music store. It marked the first time Jobs had participated in an Apple product event since a similar iPod-related gathering a year ago. He'd disappeared from the public eye during a six-month medical leave of absence that included his liver transplant earlier this year. Read about Jobs' return to the stage .
Parting with part of Opel
General Motors said it will sell a majority stake in its European Opel and Vauxhall operations to the consortium of Canada's Magna International and Russia's Sberbank, ending weeks of speculation and handing an important victory to Germany's chancellor ahead of national elections. Under the terms of the deal, Magna International Inc. (MGA) and Sberbank will buy a 55% stake in so-called New Opel, while GM will hold a 35% stake and employees will be provided a 10% stake. Read about the deal .
Adding Cadbury to the mix
Kraft Foods Inc. (KFT) Chief Executive Irene Rosenfeld is asking takeover target Cadbury PLC (CBY)(UK:CBRY) and her own shareholders to trust her timing on her company's $16 billion bid for the British chocolate maker, even before she's put the finishing touches on her three-year turnaround at Kraft. But the bold play has investors edgy. Read more about Kraft's strategy .
One more time, with feeling
Gold managed to reclaim the $1,000-an-ounce level this week to trade at levels not seen in more than a year, but it'll need quite a bit more than a friendly boost to gain a real foothold, retain its spot and climb to fresh record highs. After all, the precious metal already has come a long way in a short period of time. Read more about gold .
Economic bellwether FedEx Corp. (FDX) said its first-quarter profit will exceed company guidance, thanks to better-than-expected international volume, a lower fuel bill and improved cost management. The news rallied the company's shares and those of its rival, United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS). Read about FedEx's preannouncement .
Palm Inc.'s (PALM) new Pre has been on sale for three months, and it's still tricky to tell exactly how the once-hot phone is faring in stores. So it's worth asking now: How is the Pre doing? Certainly, it is not selling out, as a few analysts had predicted it might. It also clearly is not doing as well as Apple's iPhone. Read Therese Poletti's column on the Pre .
Deutsche Telekom AG (DT)(DE:DTE) said it plans to merge its T-Mobile U.K. division with France Telecom's (FR:FTE) Orange U.K. unit in a 50-50 joint venture that will create the country's top mobile-phone operator. News of the joint venture ends weeks of speculation as to what Deutsche Telekom might do with its struggling U.K. unit after unofficially putting it on the block in May. Read more about the deal .
The day the buck broke
As the threat of a Lehman Brothers bankruptcy grew last September, money-market-fund managers were wary, but not worried. But all that changed the afternoon of Sept. 16, a day after Lehman actually went down. Reserve Primary Fund -- the oldest and fifth-largest fund in the business -- said it had about $785 million in Lehman debt that was now worthless and as a result it would price its shares at 97 cents. The impact of the first major retail money-market fund to fall below $1 a share -- to actually lose money for its investors -- was immense. Read more about the fallout .
Who's hiring, and where?
All told, some 15 million people are unemployed right now, and 5 million of them have been out of work for six months or longer, according to the latest payrolls data. That's a lot of competition for any job opening, but the good news is that hiring continues in some pockets of the economy. Job openings exist in fields ranging from the government to renewable energy to health care. Also in some parts of the country, work is easier to find than in others. Read more about where the jobs are .
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