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Mar 26, 2010

MarketWatch: Weekly Roundup: MarketWatch's top stories, March 22-26

Weekly Roundup
MARCH 26, 2010

MarketWatch's top stories, March 22 - 26

By MarketWatch

U.S. stocks relinquished most of their gains Friday as investors took money off the table following a steady rally that had carried the market to an 18-month high this week. Global political turmoil also prompted some selling, after a South Korean naval ship sank near a disputed maritime border with North Korea.

But the news from Europe was more encouraging for investors, as Greece's neighbors unveiled a plan to bail out the debt-laden nation in conjunction with the International Monetary Fund if necessary. U.S. equity markets gained about 1% for the week.

Please be sure to have a look at our market videos for what's coming up in the United States, Asia and Europe.

-- Greg Morcroft, assistant managing editor

 U.S. Week Ahead: Autos, Countdown to iPad

 Asia's Week Ahead: Tankan and Chinese purchasing

 Europe's Week Ahead: Aer Lingus, Burberry and U.K. PMI

Health-care reform law signed into life

President Barack Obama signed a sweeping overhaul of the U.S. health-care system into law on Tuesday, promising that Americans will see some immediate benefits and invoking the names of leaders who fought for health reform. No more worrying about lifetime limits on health coverage, about whether your insurer will dump you when you get sick, or about whether your adult child will be booted off your plan when he turns 18. These are some of the changes that will kick in this year as part of the landmark health-overhaul legislation the U.S. Congress passed on Sunday. See MarketWatch story on historic legislation.

Banks, Uncle Sam take another shot at mortgage rescue

With projections of millions of foreclosures over the next five years, the Obama administration announced Friday it would make major adjustments to its $75 billion mortgage-modification program, aimed at assisting a greater number of unemployed and other troubled homeowners in modifying or refinancing their mortgages. Bank of America Corp. (BAC), the largest U.S. mortgage lender also unveiled a program to cut principal on up to 45,000 underwater home loans by as much as 30%. See MarketWatch story on new mortgage efforts.

Bond vigilantes are saddling up

Treasury prices posted gains on Friday, but remained headed for a weekly loss as yields on 10-year notes touched the highest levels since June amid heightened concerns about the government's ability to finance its deficits and as investors turn to seeking out higher yields in other asset classes. "What's changed is that investor outlooks on the fiscal side have turned decidedly more downbeat since Greece's debt woes were first splashed onto the front pages of the main papers," RBS Securities' Bill O'Donnell and Aaron Kohli said. See MarketWatch bond report.

Industry tallies up accounting charges for health care changes

Caterpillar Inc. (CAT), Deere & Co (DE) and AT&T Inc. (T) all said this week that they will see costs increase this year when a government subsidy for retiree drug benefits loses its tax-exempt status under the new health-care law. But investors were unconcerned about the new tax provisions and focused instead on evidence the economy was improving. See MarketWatch story on AT&T and others.

Portugal downgrade a yawner for U.S. stocks

European stock markets and the euro got a painful reminder on Wednesday that all is still not well among the region's more troubled economies after Fitch Ratings downgraded Portugal's long-term credit rating to AA- from AA. As U.S. stocks crawled to new highs for the year early this week, calls that the market was long overdue for a correction continued to mount. Setting aside the reality of the debt problem in Portugal, market behavior this week suggests that for stocks, in any case, this too shall pass. See MarketWatch story on Portugal effect on U.S. stocks.

Home sales fall again as renewed credit fails to spark interest

Resales of U.S. homes and condominiums fell 0.6% in February to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.02 million, the lowest level in eight months, raising doubts about the durability of the housing recovery, the National Association of Realtors reported Tuesday. Sales of existing homes have thus fallen three consecutive months, after having risen steadily through the fall in response to a federal subsidy for first-time home buyers. The tax credit has been restored and expanded to repeat buyers, but there has been no rebound in sales yet. See MarketWatch story on weak home sales data.

Google China search leads to Hong Kong

Google Inc. (GOOG) has stopped censoring results on its Chinese search engine after weeks of negotiations with local authorities over the matter, effectively shutting it down in a dramatic move that could imperil the company's presence in the world's largest Internet market. Google is now redirecting traffic away from to Hong Kong-based, which offers Chinese-language service with uncensored results. See MarketWatch story on Google halting China search.

Treasury to sell Citi stake

The U.S. government is setting up a program to sell its 27% stake in Citigroup Inc. (C) and the plan could be announced next month, according to a report Thursday, citing unidentified people with direct knowledge of the matter. The U.S. Treasury plans to sell its Citi shares using a preset trading plan that will lock the government into a schedule for selling its shares. See MarketWatch story on Sale of Citi stake.

Some see all bark and no bite for consumer finance protections

Far-reaching legislation aimed at overhauling the nation's financial-services regulatory system is moving forward in Congress, but advocates say some of the proposed consumer protections are too weak. With consumers and homeowners continuing to struggle through the after-effects of the worst financial crisis in decades, few experts argue that the current system provides adequate safeguards. See MarketWatch story on consumer financial protections.

Yuan a bet?

China may allow its currency to move more freely if the economy continues to improve, but the move won't do much to remedy structural economic problems in the United States, a top adviser to the People's Bank of China said Friday. "China may resume a "managed float" of its exchange rate, particularly if the uncertainty of the overall post-crisis economic situation diminishes," said Fan Gang in an opinion piece published in the state run China Daily Friday. See MarketWatch story on latest prospect of Chinese currency reform.

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RTTNews : Evening Market Wrap, March 26th, 2010

Evening Market Wrap Fri Mar 26 17:01 2010 


Mar 26, 2010 Stocks See Mixed Close As International Concerns Prevail - U.S. Commentary Stocks sputtered to a mixed close on Friday after seeing their intraday gains evaporate for a second straight session. The major averages closed on opposite sides of the unchanged mark but still saw notable gains on the week. Full Article

Economic News

Mar 26, 2010 Fourth Quarter Economic Activity Grew Less Than Previously Estimated With inventories falling by more than previously estimated and consumer spending rising by less than previously estimated, the Commerce Department released a report Friday morning showing that economic activity in the fourth quarter grew at a slower than previously reported pace. Full Article

Corporate News

Mar 26, 2010 SSL International Sees FY10 Sales To Increase 22%U.K.-based health-care products company SSL International Plc (SSL.L), Friday, in a pre-close trading update for the year ending March 31, 2010, said it expects about 22% increase in reported sales for the fiscal. The maker of Durex condoms noted that its core branded business continues to show good like-for-like growth and said it is confident of achieving its 50% earnings per share growth target over the three years to March 2012. Full Article
Mar 26, 2010 HomeServe Sees Full-year Profit Before Tax At High End Of ForecastHome emergency-related insurance company HomeServe plc (HSV.L) Friday said it witnessed ''high levels of renewals and new policy sales'' across all its membership businesses in the financial year ending March 31. In an Interim Management Statement, the company said it sees group profit before tax and amortisation for its membership businesses in the year to be towards the top end of market expectations. Full Article
Mar 26, 2010 Cooper Industries, Danaher Announce 50:50 JV To Combine Tools BusinessesElectrical products maker Cooper Industries plc (CBE) and diversified technology company Danaher Corp. (DHR) said Friday that they have agreed to form a joint venture combining Cooper's tools business with certain tools businesses from Danaher Corp.'s Tools and Components segment. Cooper and Danaher each will own a 50% share of the new company. Full Article
Mar 26, 2010 Brinker Issues Sunny Outlook; Boosts Dividend And Share BuybackRestaurant chain operator Brinker International, Inc. (EAT) on Friday forecast an increase in earnings for the third quarter from the year-ago period on lower charges. Excluding items, the company projects earnings for the quarter to be lower than the prior year, but above analysts' consensus estimate, citing costs related to the rollout of the new menu at Chili's and unfavorable weather. Full Article


Mar 26, 2010 Oil Pares Early Gains To Settle At $80 Oil prices ended lower Friday despite a down-move in the greenback versus the euro, as a downward revision to the pace of GDP growth slightly curbed optimism about the US economy. A slowdown in demand, as indicated by rising inventory levels, also weighed on the prices. Full Article

Political News

Mar 26, 2010 House Sends Package Of Health Care Reform Fixes To Obama The House passed a package of fixes to the health care reform bill Thursday evening, sending it to President Barack Obama to sign into law. The final vote was 220-207, with 32 Democrats and all House Republicans voting against the package. The Senate passed the same package 56-43 earlier in the day, with the bill also receiving no Republican support in the Senate. Full Article
Mar 26, 2010 Palin To Campaign For McCain In Arizona Senate Primary Former Alaska Governor and Republican Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin will campaign for former running mate Senator John McCain (R-AZ), reuniting the two in a campaign for the first time since the 2008 presidential election. The two will appear together during a rally in Tucson, Arizona on Friday and again during an event Saturday in Mesa. Palin is also scheduled to headline a fundraiser for McCain. Full Article
Mar 26, 2010 Senate Democrats Fault GOP For Failing To Extend Unemployment BenefitsDemocratic Senators have once again fired rhetorical volleys at their Republicans counterparts for holding up an extension of unemployment benefits. The Senate adjourned for a two week recess Friday without passing an additional one-month extension of unemployment, as Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., blocked a request to bring the bill up for a vote. Full Article
Mar 26, 2010 Obama, Russian President To Sign New START TreatyPresident Barack Obama spoke by phone to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev Friday, and the two leaders agreed to meet in Prague on April 8 to sign a landmark nuclear arms reduction treaty. The new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) will contain limits on U.S. and Russian nuclear forces significantly below the levels established by the START treaty signed in 1991 and the Moscow Treaty signed in 2002. Full Article
Mar 26, 2010 Pfizer India Posts Q1 Net Profit At Rs.42 Cr.Pfizer Ltd., a pharmaceutical company in India, reported net profit and revenues for the first-quarter. The Mumbai-based company posted first-quarter net profit of Rs.42.45 crore or Rs.14.23 per share, whereas it reported Rs.39.01 crore or Rs.13.07 per share in the first-quarter of 2009. Full Article
Mar 26, 2010 Survey Shows Hoeven With Big Lead In North Dakota Senate RaceRasmussen Reports released a new survey Friday showing Republican North Dakota Governor John Hoeven with a significant lead over Democratic opponent Tracy Potter in North Dakota's U.S. Senate race. According to the survey, Hoeven leads Potter 68% to 25%. Another 2% prefer another candidate, while 5% remain undecided. Full Article
Mar 26, 2010 Landrieu Praises Extension Of Small Business Recovery ProvisionsSenate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee Chairwoman Mary Landrieu, D-La., released a statement Friday in support of the Senate's decision to extend two small business recovery provisions. The extended provisions provide for increased government guarantees and eliminate fees on small business loans. The provisions were extended through April 30. Full Article
Mar 26, 2010 Palin To Campaign For McCain In Arizona Senate PrimaryFormer Alaska Governor and Republican Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin will campaign for former running mate Senator John McCain (R-AZ), reuniting the two in a campaign for the first time since the 2008 presidential election. The two will appear together during a rally in Tucson, Arizona on Friday and again during an event Saturday in Mesa. Full Article

FGC BOLSA FGC -FINANCIAL MARKETS :Selected Information From SEC Released Today March 26th, 2010

 The information below is delivered free of charrge via e-mail by The Securities and Exchange Commission. and was selected for our audience to be published weekly:
  Fernando Guzmán Cavero 

1.- The NASDAQ Stock Market from the Securities and Exchange Commission. This information has recently been updated, and is now available.

2.-Alerts about NASDAQ OMX PHLX, Inc. (Phlx) from the Securities and Exchange Commission. This information has recently been updated, and is now available.

3-SEC Announces $185 Million Distribution to Investors Injured by Prudential Securities Market Timing Fraud
Fri, 26 Mar 2010 11:31:44 -0500
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced a distribution of nearly $185 million to more than 800 mutual funds that were affected by illegal market timing by broker-dealer Prudential Equity Group (then known as Prudential Securities, Inc.), which was the subject of a previous SEC enforcement action.

4.- The National Securities Clearing Corporation from the Securities and Exchange Commission. This information has recently been updated, and is now available.

5.-A new edition of News Digest from the Securities and Exchange Commission. This information has recently been updated, and is now available.

Reuters: Daily Investor Update (DAI): Wall Street flat on Korea nerves, Oracle hurts Nasdaq

If you are having trouble viewing this email or would like to view it in your web browser, CLICK HERE

Good evening Fernando, FRI 26 Mar 2010 
Wall Street flat on Korea nerves, Oracle hurts Nasdaq
AT&T sees $1 billion healthcare related charge
Euro zone's Greek deal wins muted approval
Consumer sentiment steady in March
Fed officials leery of unconventional policies
AIG's near-collapse yields gold for Wall Street
Fitch: reforms mostly a plus for U.S. bank ratings
Bankers named as suspected conspirators in muni case
RadioShack up on report of company mulling sale
Economic growth revised slightly lower in Q4

Wall Street flat on Korea nerves, Oracle hurts Nasdaq
March 26, 2010 04:22 PM ET
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Dow and S&P ended flat on Friday, giving back earlier gains after the sinking of a South Korean naval ship, while tech shares' weakness kept the Nasdaq in slightly negative territory.

Full Article
AT&T sees $1 billion healthcare related charge
March 26, 2010 03:56 PM ET
NEW YORK (Reuters) - AT&T Inc said on Friday it would record a $1 billion non-cash charge for the current quarter related to the new healthcare reform law signed by President Barack Obama this week.

Full Article
Euro zone's Greek deal wins muted approval
March 26, 2010 02:46 PM ET
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Euro zone leaders won muted approval from financial markets on Friday for a "band aid" agreement to create a safety net for debt-ridden Greece, but a row over the IMF's role flared up just as it had seemed settled.

Full Article
Consumer sentiment steady in March
March 26, 2010 11:22 AM ET
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Consumer sentiment ended unchanged in March from February, a survey released on Friday showed, while the reading slightly beat expectations.

Full Article
Fed officials leery of unconventional policies
March 26, 2010 03:42 PM ET
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Federal Reserve's unprecedented dose of stimulus to the economy during the recent financial crisis complicates the task of pulling back when the time is right, top central bank officials said on Friday.

Full Article
AIG's near-collapse yields gold for Wall Street
March 26, 2010 10:52 AM ET
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The crumbling empire of American International Group Inc is helping to pave Wall Street with gold.

Full Article
Fitch: reforms mostly a plus for U.S. bank ratings
March 26, 2010 12:36 PM ET
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Proposed reforms for the financial system should reduce the extent of risk-taking by the biggest U.S. banks and may bolster their ratings, Fitch Ratings said on Friday.

Full Article
Bankers named as suspected conspirators in muni case
March 26, 2010 01:10 PM ET
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Nearly 30 bankers from more than a dozen financial companies have been named by the federal government as suspected co-conspirators in a broad investigation into pricing of certain municipal derivatives, according to court documents.

Full Article
RadioShack up on report of company mulling sale
March 26, 2010 01:23 PM ET
NEW YORK (Reuters) - RadioShack Corp is exploring alternatives including a share buyback or a possible sale of the company that could net more than $3 billion, the New York Post said, citing sources close to the situation.

Full Article
Economic growth revised slightly lower in Q4
March 26, 2010 01:15 PM ET
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. economy grew at a slightly less brisk pace in the fourth quarter than previously estimated and the momentum is expected to slow this year as the boost from inventories fades.

Full Article