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Jan 7, 2011

MarketWatch. Weekly Roundup: MarketWatch Top 10 stories Dec. 3 - 7

Weekly Roundup
JANUARY 07, 2011

MarketWatch Top 10 stories Dec. 3 - 7

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) — A disappointing jobs report and a key foreclosure ruling gave investors a reason to trim the market's recent strong advance on Friday.

For the week, though, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) gained 0.8% and the S&P 500 Index (SPX) rose 1.1%, marking the sixth consecutive week of gains for both benchmarks. The Nasdaq Composite Index (COMP) fell 6.72 points, or 0.3%, to 2,703.17 on Friday, for a weekly gain of 1.9%.

In other markets, gold and crude futures both shed 3.7% this week.

In the Treasury market, 2-year yields are little changed from 0.60% for the week; 10-year yields are up from 3.30% last Friday and 30-year bond yields have increased from 4.42% a week ago.

Also please remember to watch our Week Ahead videos for Europe, Asia and the United States.

Asia Week Ahead: Rate decision and trade data

 Europe Week Ahead: Retailers in focus

U.S. Week Ahead: Auto show, Intel

Massachusetts court ruling slams banks

Bank stocks fell sharply Friday as the highest court in Massachusetts reportedly ruled that two foreclosures were invalid because banks didn't show they owned the mortgages. The decision is the latest setback for banks after some lenders halted foreclosures in 2010, following claims they didn't have proper documentation. The court upheld an earlier ruling against Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC) and U.S. Bancorp (USB), according to the reports. Read MarketWatch coverage of Mass. court ruling

U.S. slams trio of managers in Gulf well blowout

In a scathing report published late Wednesday, a U.S. presidential commission blamed the worst oil spill in the country's history on a "failure of management" by BP PLC (BP), Halliburton Co. (HAL) and Transocean Ltd. (RIG) In an advance chapter of its upcoming full report, the National Oil Spill Commission said the April 20 blowout of BP's Macondo well, which killed 11 rig workers and spewed nearly 5 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico over three months, could be traced to a "single overarching failure." Read MarketWatch story of oil-well blowout report

Tablets the focus of this year's CES

As tablets and smartphones dominated the headlines at the Consumer Electronics Show this week in Las Vegas, some analysts say the companies rapidly building devices to compete in a market dominated by Apple Inc. (AAPL) are still missing half the story. It is clear, for now, which company is the tablet market's dominant force, but what's less clear is where that force will lead the market. Read MarketWatch coverage of the Consumer Electronics Show

10 of the best 2011 stock picks

If December was any indication, Wall Street is on track for a great year in 2011. So if you had just one pick for 2011, one single stock to buy now and sell 365 days later, what would you pick? That's exactly the question I put to 10 of Wall Street's sharpest minds — well, nine and then my own — and I wasn't surprised to find a common theme. Namely, that the biggest potential lies in tech and financials. Want specifics? Then here they are: The 10 top stock picks for 2011 according to 10 different Wall Street experts. Read Outside the Box guest commentary from Jeff Reeves of

Qualcomm buys Atheros for $3.1 billion

Qualcomm Inc. (QCOM) on Wednesday said it has agreed to buy Atheros Communications Inc. (ATHR) in a $3.1 billion deal that analysts say could boost the company's position in the increasingly competitive mobility-chip market. San Diego, Calif.-based Qualcomm said it will pay $45 a share in cash for Atheros, a San Jose, Calif.-based maker of networking and communications chips. Read about this week's big chip sector acquisition on MarketWatch

Golds slips more than 3% this week, biggest drop in 6 months

Gold futures ended a roller-coaster Friday in the red, battling a rising dollar but supported by heightened buying interest after the week's price correction. Gold for February delivery retreated $2.80, or 0.2%, to $1,368.90 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.That put weekly losses at 3.7%, gold's worst weekly performance in six months. It lost 3.9% in early July. Read MarketWatch coverage of gold's slide this week

Motorola splits in two and unveils iPad rival in busy week

Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. (MMI) lifted the wraps on its highly anticipated tablet Wednesday evening, but was unable to offer a full demonstration of the device, saying the software was not quite ready. But the great anticipation was for the new tablet, which will be the first to use the Android 3.0 operating system developed by Google Inc. (GOOG)  The news follows Motorola's split into two separately traded companies earlier this week. Read MarketWatch coverage of Motorola

Five top apps for caregivers

Taking care of an aging or ailing relative with heath-care issues can be stressful and confusing, but a growing number of free or cheap smartphone apps aim to help caregivers keep track of medication dosages, nutritional requirements and other daily health-care needs. Here's some advice from health and technology experts on selecting a health-care app and platform, plus five useful apps to provide optimum care. Read MarketWatch story on apps for caregivers

U.S. job growth stagnant in last decade

The number of jobs in the U.S. economy today is about the same as 10 years ago. That's already bad news, but combine it with an ever-growing population competing for those positions, and you see why the unemployment rate has been hovering around 10%. Though nonfarm payrolls hit about 138 million in 2007, this measure, which includes government and private-sector positions, has shown almost no change over the 10 years from 2001 through 2010. Payrolls started 2001 at about 132 million and, after a gain of about 6 million, thudded back down to about 131 million at the end of 2010. Read MarketWatch story of a decade of a stagnant job market

Facebook raises $500 million, plans disclosure by mid-2012

Facebook Inc. intends to start publicly disclosing internal financial information or stage an initial public offering of its shares by April 2012. The Wall Street Journal reported that according to a new private-placement memo being distributed to potential investors in Facebook, the company intends to cross a 500-shareholder limit this year, which could force it to begin publicly disclosing financial data as soon as early 2012. However, the document also makes clear that Facebook may already be publicly traded by that point, according to the report. Read MarketWatch coverage of Facebook's plans

MarketWatch : Personal Finance Daily: We need a new-job tsunami to overcome past decade

Personal Finance Daily
JANUARY 07, 2011

Friday's Personal Finance stories

By MarketWatch

Don't miss these top stories:
The unemployment rate fell to 9.4% in December, from 9.8% a month earlier, in the steepest one-month drop in more than a decade and the lowest unemployment rate in a year and a half.

Of course, a good chunk of that decrease is bad news: More people stopped looking for work, so they're no longer counted as unemployed. That makes the ratio of people working, to those who are not, look a lot better than it really is. (The number of people officially labeled "unemployed" dropped to 14.5 million, from 15 million.)

But at least there were some job gains: 103,000 in December and the October and November job figures were revised higher by a total 70,000.

Still, it's not enough to recover a lost decade in the job market. Read Ruth Mantell's story today for more on how the U.S. economy has about the same number of jobs now as it did back in 2001 — but a lot more people are now competing for those positions. See her story for some stark pictures detailing the first decade of the 2000s.

Plus, don't miss Eva Rosenberg's TaxWatch on some key tax to-dos to get done now, plus more on the tax changes of 2011.

Andrea Coombes , Personal Finance editor


The job market: a lost decade

The number of jobs in the U.S. economy today is about the same as 10 years ago. That's already bad news, but combine it with an ever-growing population competing for those positions, and you see why the unemployment rate has been hovering around 10%. But, as the following charts show, some job seekers are in a much more difficult place than others.
Read more: The job market: a lost decade.

Jobless rate down to 9.4% as 103,000 jobs added

The U.S. economy added a less-than-expected 103,000 jobs in the final month of 2010, but the nation's unemployment rate fell to 9.4% and touched the lowest level in a year and a half, the Labor Department reported Friday.
Read more: Jobless rate down to 9.4% as 103,000 jobs added.

Reactions to December payrolls report

Lawmakers, analysts and others react to news that the U.S. economy added 103,000 jobs in December, and the unemployment rate fell to 9.4%.
Read more: Reactions to December payrolls report.

In charts: Underemployment, ADP, ISM

MarketWatch's weekly graphical summary of top economic indicators shows improving labor market activity, even though the jobless rate remains very high by historical standards. U.S. and U.K. services activity also under microscope.
Read the latest stats on the job market and the economy.


Tax tips for 2011

Get going now on these tax to-dos to ensure your tax filing goes as smoothly as possible, says Eva Rosenberg.
Read more: Tax tips for 2011.

Tax changes for 2011

It's customary for Tax Report to start the year with a roundup of what's new for taxpayers. Given last December's theatrics in Congress, some items on our list may be familiar unless you were out mapping the tributaries of the Amazon.
Read more: Tax changes for 2011.

You can still trim your 2010 tax bill

Some taxpayers can still cut their 2010 tax bill and others will see the tax break in their paychecks this year, says MarketWatch's Andrea Coombes.
Watch video: You can still trim your 2010 tax bill.

Commentary: Tax games should stop

Sound bites and back-room deals are no way to run our tax policy, argues Jack Nutter. Instead, Congress should try the old-fashioned methods of holding hearings, having debates, voting in public and coming to an agreement.
Read more: Tax games should stop.


Underwater on the house — and close to retirement

A reader is considering walking away from his principal residence, where he's underwater on the mortgage, even as he rents out two other homes. Lew Sichelman offers some advice.
Read more: Underwater on the house — and close to retirement.

Bank stocks hit by foreclosure ruling

Bank stocks fell sharply Friday as the highest court in Massachusetts reportedly ruled that two foreclosures were invalid because banks didn't show they owned the mortgages.
Read more: Bank stocks hit by foreclosure ruling.


Trendy new fund is ‘Stupid Investment of the Week'

The investment world is filled with good ideas that, when turned into a mutual fund, deliver bad performance.
Read more: Trendy new fund is ‘Stupid Investment of the Week'.

Commentary: Prepare for pullback in stocks

Wall Street's tepid response to an astonishingly strong reading of the labor market, for whatever reason, may be a warning that it is time to start preparing for a pullback.
Read more: Prepare for pullback in stocks.

Debt ceiling and the stock market

Many investors these days are scared about what would happen to the stock market if political gridlock in Washington leads to a wholesale shutdown of the government later this year. It's therefore worth revisiting how the markets reacted the last time a similar process led to a government shutdown.
Read more: Debt ceiling and the stock market.

Goldman sees S&P 500 at 1,500 by year-end

Goldman Sachs analysts have rung in the new year with a prediction that the Standard & Poor's 500 stock index will reach the 1,500 mark during 2011.
Read more: Goldman sees S&P 500 at 1,500 by year-end.

Citi picks winners in 2011 auto recovery

Citigroup analyst says Goodyear and GM are two places investors can park their money as U.S. car sales continue to climb.
Read more: Citi picks winners in 2011 auto recovery.


Commentary: Economy continues to tease us

The U.S. economy continues to tease us, only to leave us disappointed by the agonizingly slow recovery in the job market.
Read more: Economy continues to tease us.

Three things Republicans should know

The election is over. The pomp and ceremony at the beginning of the new congressional session is finished. Now begins the harder task of governing.
Read more: Three things Republicans should know.

Commentary: Ten surefire predictions for 2011

It's the time of year to make resolutions we won't keep and predictions that probably won't come true. But there's always hope, isn't there?
Read more: Ten surefire predictions for 2011.

Bernanke sees signs of self-sustaining growth

Fed chief Ben Bernanke sounds slightly more optimistic about the economy but stresses that the nation's labor market will take time to heal and that deflation is still a threat.
Read more: Bernanke sees signs of self-sustaining growth.

Stress test redux: Return of bank dividends

Nineteen big banks that underwent government stress tests in 2009 must submit new capital plans to the Federal Reserve by Friday if they want to be eligible to hike their dividends or repurchase stock.
Read more: Stress test redux: Return of bank dividends.

Obama taps Sperling as economic adviser

President Barack Obama named Gene Sperling to head his National Economic Council on Friday, reaching out to a veteran of budget battles with Republicans as the White House girds for spending fights with the new Congress.
Read more: Obama taps Sperling as economic adviser.


Tablets hot at CES, but can they challenge iPad?

Many new tablets are debuting at the Consumer Electronics Show this week in Vegas, but are they all in a can't-win game of catch-up with the iPad?
Read more: Tablets hot at CES, but can they challenge iPad?

Bewkes's message at CES: TV everywhere

Say this for Time Warner Chief Executive Jeff Bewkes: He stays on message.
Read more: Bewkes's message at CES: TV everywhere.

Market ends lower on banks, lackluster jobs data | Financial & Forex Info News | Reuters - Daily Investor Update

Financial & Forex Info News (F & F I N )

From::Reuters - Daily Investor Update

Market ends lower on banks, lackluster jobs data
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Stocks fell on Friday after a court ruling in a key foreclosure case prompted investors to pull out of bank stocks, adding to weakness after a lackluster jobs report. | Full Article

Jobs growth disappoints but jobless rate falls
January 07, 2011 04:35 PM ET
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Employers hired fewer workers than expected in December and a surprisingly large number of people gave up searching for work, tempering the positive news of a big drop in the unemployment rate. | Full Article
Bernanke grows more confident in recovery
January 07, 2011 04:31 PM ET
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. economy may finally be hitting its stride even if growth remains too weak to put a real dent in the nation's jobless rate, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said on Friday. | Full Article
Special Report: How Ford became Detroit's last man standing
January 07, 2011 04:25 PM ET
DETROIT (Reuters) - Bill Ford Jr. just can't let the good times roll. | Full Article
Banks lose key foreclosure case in top Mass. court
January 07, 2011 02:50 PM ET
NEW YORK (Reuters) - In a decision that may affect foreclosures nationwide, Massachusetts' highest court voided the seizure of two homes by Wells Fargo & Co and U.S. Bancorp after the banks failed to show they held the mortgages at the time they foreclosed. | Full Article

Financial & Forex Info news | KITCO - New York Market Close Report

New York Market Close Jan 07/11 05:20 PM EST

NYT: Afternoon Business News: Investors Doubt That Europe Is in Control.

Your Money

Making Financial Literacy Part of the College Canon

College students often enter the real world with little knowledge of financial basics. Champlain College is trying to correct that.

Despite Web Airfare Battle, Travelers Have Options

While several large airlines are battling with online travel sites, fliers who are willing to dig can still find deals.
Off the Charts

Small, but Performing Better Than the Big Shots

Stocks in the Russell 2000 index rose 25.3 percent, nearly twice as much as the stocks with enough capitalization to be listed in the Russell 1000.
News Analysis

Investors Doubt That Europe Is in Control

Bond prices are rising as the European Union again struggles to persuade investors that it can handle the growing debt crisis.
Wheels Blog

Video: Detroit's New Direction

After years of trailing overseas rivals, Detroit automakers are using stimulus money to develop electric cars that they hope will jump-start Michigan's troubled economy.

RTT News : Evening Market Wrap Stocks Slide After Tepid December Jobs Report - U.S. Commentary

Evening Market Wrap Fri Jan 7 ,  2011


Jan 7, 2011 Stocks Slide After Tepid December Jobs Report - U.S. Commentary Stocks saw modest losses to close out the week on Friday after the December jobs report showed no marked improvement in the still weak labor market. Profit taking accounted for some of the day's losses, but stocks still finished well off of their worst levels. Full Article

Economic News

Jan 7, 2011 U.S. Unemployment Rate Drops To 19-Month Low In December While the closely watched monthly U.S. employment report released by the Labor Department on Friday showed somewhat weaker than expected job growth in the month of December, the report also showed a much bigger than expected drop in the unemployment rate. The Labor Department said non-farm payroll employment increased by 103,000 jobs in December following an upwardly revised increase of 71,000 jobs in November. Economists had expected employment to increase by about 160,000 jobs. Full Article

Corporate News

Jan 7, 2011 Best Buy December Revenue DropsConsumer electronics retailer Best Buy Co., Inc. (BBY) Friday reported lower revenue results for the fiscal month of December, hurt by a decline in comparable store sales. The company's domestic business saw a fall in revenue and comps for the month, reflecting the weakness in entertainment software and consumer electronics. Meanwhile, favorable currency exchange rates and the growth in China and Europe helped the International segment's revenues. The company also affirmed its earnings outlook for fiscal 2011. Full Article
Jan 7, 2011 KB Home Q4 Profit Plunges, Cautious On OutlookKB Home (KBH) reported Friday a profit for the fourth quarter that plunged from last year, despite higher home margins and lower expenses. The sharp drop reflected lower quarterly revenues and the year-ago quarter's significant income tax gain. On a pre-tax basis, the company swung to profit - the first time in nearly four years. Both earnings per share and revenues topped analysts' expectations. The homebuilder witnessed a 37% fall in the number of homes delivered, partly offset by a 14% growth in average selling price. Full Article
Jan 7, 2011 M&A - A Weekly RecapThe first week of the New Year was marked with moderate deal activity. One of the biggest deals of the week was announced by mobile phone chipmaker Qualcomm, which revealed the purchase of Atheros Communications to expand in the growing Wi-fi market. With a view to strengthening its business in Eastern Europe, dialysis products maker Fresenius Medical Care agreed to buy the dialysis service business of medical services company Euromedic International. Full Article

Political News

Jan 7, 2011 Poll Shows Americans Mixed About Repealing Healthcare LawAmericans are split regarding Republicans' plans to repeal the healthcare reform law, according to the results of a Gallup poll released on Friday, with a slim plurality favoring repeal. Full Article
Jan 7, 2011 Obama Names Sperling To Head Economic CouncilPresident Barack Obama Friday named Gene Sperling as the director of the National Economic Council. Sperling, who previously held the post under former President Bill Clinton, will replace the departing Larry Summers. Obama hailed Sperling's experience and efforts on behalf of the administration already as a senior advisor in the Treasury Department. Full Article

A sea of tablets at CES, but no iPad-killer | Financial And Forex Info News |

Financial & Forex Info News

Reuters Technology Report

A sea of tablets at CES, but no iPad-killer
LAS VEGAS (Reuters) - It was easier to find a tablet this week in Las Vegas than a taxi. | Full Article

Growing pains, hiccups greet tech's old guard
January 07, 2011 04:15 PM ET
LAS VEGAS (Reuters) - Nvidia Chief Executive Jen-Hsun Huang learned firsthand how pervasive -- and demanding -- mobile devices can be. | Full Article
Lenovo sets expectations for tablet market
January 07, 2011 04:10 PM ET
LAS VEGAS (Reuters) - Lenovo Group Ltd, which is making a concerted push into tablets, said it expects the devices to see good growth but still eventually only make up a fraction of the broader personal computer market. | Full Article
Amazon cloud can help hack WiFi networks: expert
January 07, 2011 12:13 PM ET
BOSTON (Reuters) - A security researcher says he has figured out a quick and inexpensive way to break a commonly used form of password protection for wireless networks using powerful computers that anybody can lease from Inc over the Web. | Full Article
ARM says Microsoft needs it for mobile
January 07, 2011 08:11 AM ET
LAS VEGAS (Reuters) - Microsoft's plan to make Windows compatible with ARM Holdings chip designs will help the software giant establish a major presence in smartphones and tablets, ARM's president said. | Full Article
Market ends lower on banks, lackluster jobs data
January 07, 2011 04:29 PM ET
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Stocks fell on Friday after a court ruling in a key foreclosure case prompted investors to pull out of bank stocks, adding to weakness after a lackluster jobs report. | Full Article
Jobs growth disappoints but jobless rate falls
January 07, 2011 04:35 PM ET
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Employers hired fewer workers than expected in December and a surprisingly large number of people gave up searching for work, tempering the positive news of a big drop in the unemployment rate. | Full Article
Bernanke grows more confident in recovery
January 07, 2011 04:31 PM ET
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. economy may finally be hitting its stride even if growth remains too weak to put a real dent in the nation's jobless rate, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said on Friday. | Full Article
Special Report: How Ford became Detroit's last man standing
January 07, 2011 04:25 PM ET
DETROIT (Reuters) - Bill Ford Jr. just can't let the good times roll. | Full Article
Banks lose key foreclosure case in top Mass. court
January 07, 2011 02:50 PM ET
NEW YORK (Reuters) - In a decision that may affect foreclosures nationwide, Massachusetts' highest court voided the seizure of two homes by Wells Fargo & Co and U.S. Bancorp after the banks failed to show they held the mortgages at the time they foreclosed. | Full Article

The Wall Street Journal : The Morning Brief : Economy Adds Fewer Jobs than Expected

The Wall Street Journal Online - The Morning Brief
January 7, 2011 

Economy Adds Fewer Jobs Than Expected
WASHINGTON—The U.S. economy added fewer jobs than expected in December, but the unemployment rate fell to its lowest level in 19 months as more people who still remain in the work force found employment.
Nonfarm payrolls rose by 103,000 last month as private-sector employers added 113,000 jobs, the Labor Department said Friday. The November number was revised up significantly to show an increase of 71,000 jobs from a previous estimate of 39,000.
The unemployment rate, which is obtained from a separate household survey, fell to 9.4% last month, the lowest level since May 2009 and the biggest fall in more than a decade. Still, about 14.5 million people who would like to work can't get a job.

Facebook Sets Stage for IPO Next Year
A Facebook document for potential investors gave the clearest signal yet that the firm is preparing to take itself public.

Pentagon Faces the Knife
In an early salvo in Washington's battle over the deficit, the White House ordered the Pentagon to rein in its budget, a move that will force a sizable cut in overall troop numbers.

New York Gears Up for Next Snow
With his approval rating at new lows after last week's blizzard, Mayor Bloomberg sought to reassure New Yorkers that his administration is ready to deal with snow.

GOP Governors Target Medicaid Rolls
Republican governors are pressing the Obama administration to make it easier for states to cut Medicaid enrollment, setting up a fight over one of states' costliest programs.

FSA May Seek Power to Block Takeovers
The U.K.'s Financial Services Authority may ask the government for the power to block hostile takeovers in the banking sector.

Firms Sell Bonds at Brisk Clip
Corporations have sold more than $35 billion of investment-grade bonds so far this week, taking advantage of investors' appetite for higher returns as Treasury yields remain low.

Bond Buyers' Eyes Are on Illinois
As Illinois lawmakers huddle behind closed doors this week trying to find ways to plug the state's $13 billion deficit, municipal-bond investors are sizing up how to wager amid the state's woes.

Euro Crisis Roars Back to the Forefront
The euro zone's debt stresses are back in force at the end of the first trading week of 2011, touched off by political paralysis in Belgium, signs of slowing economic recovery and a proposed EU rule that private investors take a hit in cases of bank failures.

Trichet: 'Irresponsible' EU States Must Tow Line
European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet put more pressure on euro zone governments, saying the ECB won't make up for any "irresponsible" action on their side.

AgBank, Minsheng Plan Fund Raising
Agricultural Bank of China and China Minsheng Banking are planning to raise as much as US$11 billion as China's lenders gear up to meet stricter capital rules amid mounting concerns about bad loans.

Wall Street Banks Win China Approvals
J.P. Morgan Chase. and Morgan Stanley have won approval from China to underwrite deals in China's fast-growing securities market with local partners.

4,700 German Farms Shut in Scandal
German authorities have stopped more than 4,700 farms from selling their meat and eggs amid a scandal over animal feed contaminated with cancer-causing chemicals.

Sara Lee Likely to Split Units
Sara Lee is moving ahead with plans to split up its meats and coffee businesses into two separate companies after it rejected Brazilian beef processor JBS's takeover offer last month.

Borders Talks With Advisers
Borders Group has been in discussions with restructuring advisers about ways to rework its debt-heavy balance sheet, said people familiar with the matter.

Post-Holiday Retail Blues
Retailers appear to have overestimated the spending momentum of consumers and are delivering December sales numbers that show the poor economy still has the upper hand.

Weaker Yen Boosts Tokyo Shares
Asian markets delivered another mixed performance, with Japanese shares ending higher as a weakened yen spurred auto stocks, while Hong Kong stocks snapped a seven-session winning streak.

Spy Probe Centers on Electric Cars
A case of corporate espionage in electric vehicles at Renault, which has led to the suspension of three managers, was serious enough to "threaten strategic assets," the car maker said.

FDA Defends Avastin Decision
The government's top cancer-drug regulator defended the FDA's recent decision to undo its approval of the drug Avastin for breast cancer, saying the manufacturer, Genentech, was repeatedly warned that some key data were inadequate.

NFL, ESPN Push Toward Monday Night Pact
The NFL and ESPN are pushing toward an extension of their "Monday Night Football" broadcasting deal that includes a substantial fee increase.

Jobless Claims Rise
The number of U.S. workers filing new claims for jobless benefits rose last week, but reversed only part of the prior week's sharp drop.

Chesapeake Energy to Cut Outlays, Reduce Debt
Chesapeake Energy said it plans to curtail spending and sell assets to cut long-term debt by 25% over the next two years, and reduced its projection of oil and natural-gas output gains over the same period.

Galleon Co-Founder Starts Firm
Galleon Group co-founder Gary Rosenbach is launching Rockledge Capital with James Burritt, a managing director at Thomas H. Lee Capital, to invest in hedge funds and manage family investments.

EU Proposal for Bank Failure
The European Union is proposing an areawide framework for confronting bank and investment firm failures that includes getting bondholders to share the burden.

Ireland May Expand Aid Program to Purchase Banks' Noncore Assets
Ireland's banks may be instructed to sell billions of euros in healthy noncore assets to a government agency as the central bank tries to shrink the size of the country's banking system.

Monsanto Swings to Profit
Monsanto reported a profit as its seeds and genomics business turned in strong sales growth, and it recovered from a sharp drop in sales of its Roundup and other herbicides.

A Sliding Euro Flirts With the $1.30 Mark
The euro tumbled to its weakest level in more than a month against the dollar on Thursday, briefly slipping below $1.30.

Judge Orders Trustee To Take GSC's Helm
A bankruptcy judge ordered an independent trustee to take over GSC Group after some of its lenders cast doubts on the trustworthiness of the investment firm's management.

Sony Ericsson Launches Smartphone
Sony Ericsson launched its latest attempt to grab a major share of the market for smartphones based on the Android platform, revealing a new flagship device called the Xperia arc.

Mall Owner General Growth Hires New Executives
General Growth Properties incoming chief executive, Sandeep Mathrani, has begun naming the first new members of the executive team he will use to help run the mall owner.

FrontPoint Launches Biggest Fund
FrontPoint, the hedge-fund firm hit late last year by the U.S. government's insider-trading investigation, completed its biggest fund launch ever, with total commitments of more than $1 billion.

Rolls-Royce, Airbus Win Orders
Airbus and Roll-Royce announced new orders for A380 aircraft and Trent 900 engines, in a sign of confidence following a high-profile engine explosion two months ago.

EU Aims to Seal Deal With Beijing
Chinese leaders are stepping up their courtship of cash-strapped European countries such as Spain, pledging to buy their bonds and expand business ties. Yet China watchers caution that despite the warm diplomacy, Beijing won't save the euro zone.

Obama Moves to Make Peace With Business
In a series of conciliatory moves, Obama appointed Bill Daley, a Chicago political operative turned financier, as his chief of staff, and brooked a simmering trade dispute with Mexico.

Another CPAC Dust-Up Over Gays
The first big conservative forum of the 2012 election—next month’s Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC--is causing yet another kafuffle on the right because of the participation of a small group, called GOProud, that represents conservative gays.

Microbes Mopped Up After BP Spill
Bacteria made quick work of the tons of methane that billowed into the Gulf of Mexico along with oil from the Deepwater Horizon blowout, clearing the natural gas from the waterway within months of its release.

Afghans, U.S. Seek to Boost Local Forces
Afghan and coalition officials are considering a plan to augment Afghanistan's security forces to around 30% more than the current goal, to around 400,000 soldiers and police.

Incendiary Device Sent to Md. Governor
Two small incendiary devices, including one addressed to Maryland's governor, went off in the mailrooms of two Maryland state government office buildings.



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The $60 Million Dream House
Sand imported from the Bahamas. An indoor Olympic-sized pool. Now all these developers need is a buyer. Betting the house on a multimillion-dollar spec home.

Cities May Not Fully Heal for Years
Some cities battered by the housing crisis may not fully recover for decades, and lenders in those places are likely to remain cautious for years, a study by the Mortgage Bankers Association concluded.

Televisions Make Play for Web Games
Many TV manufacturers touted videogames as an important entertainment category for Internet-connected televisions at the Consumer Electronics Show.

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Making a Tablet the Easy Way
Building a device could be hard work, but it doesn't have to be.

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Dell Shows New Tablet PC, Smartphone
Dell is unveiling several new tablet-style computers and a smartphone, part of a strategy to attract more consumers and move beyond its corporate customer base.

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Samsung Moves in Smartphone Race
Samsung got a late start in the smartphone race, but has quickly taken market share and become a more potent threat to smaller rivals like Motorola and HTC.

Uganda President Runs on Musical Platform
The president of Uganda, up for re-election, has a special platform for the youth vote: He's become East Africa's hottest rap star.

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First Clear Video of Chinese Mystery Plane
The clearest video footage yet of what appears to be a Chinese stealth fighter prototype has been posted online and shows what appears to be the J-20 fighter at the Chengdu Aircraft Design Institute in Chengdu.

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Where the Bordeaux Bargains Are
An index tracking the prices of top Bordeaux rose 57% in 2010; outpacing the 13% rise in the S&P 500. Does wine make a good investment these days, and if so, where are the bargains?

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Matt LeBlanc Tackles Playing Himself in 'Episodes'
Matt LeBlanc does not actually have a fragrance line called "Joey" (tagline: "How you smellin'?" scent: cinnamon) but he does on TV. In Showtime's new comedy "Episodes," the actor best known for playing dim-witted Joey on "Friends" takes on his most challenging role yet…himself.

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Fertility Enters Spotlight in Japan
Seiko Noda, a 50-year-old member of parliament and prominent reproduction-rights advocate, gave birth to a baby boy through in vitro fertilization, spurring a national debate over Japan's conservative stance on maternity issues.

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Why Restaurants Want Fewer Customers
Restaurants in Asia are getting smaller and some chefs are happy about that.

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Apple Unveils Mac App Store
Apple launched an app store for its Macintosh computer, seeking to extend the popularity of the store concept beyond its mobile devices.

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Earpieces Get More Celebrity Pitches
At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Ludacris and 50 Cent announce plans to lend their name to headphones, joining a growing crowd of celebrities.

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How to Beat the AFC's Playoff Teams
Our panel of players breakdown the AFC playoff teams: from the mystic of the New England Patriots' magical code to why the Baltimore Ravens never touch the ground.

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China Newspaper Refers to New Jet
A Chinese newspaper published the first state media report about pictures that appear to show a prototype of China's first stealth fighter jet.


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Are Station Wagons Cool Again?
A growing number of sporty station wagon models on the market suggest the once-reviled body style is making a comeback.

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House Reads Constitution, Gets Civics Lesson
Congress had its own civics lesson Thursday, as a bipartisan group of 135 lawmakers prepared to take turns reading passages of the Constitution on the House floor.

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Explaining the (Stingier) Energy Tax Credit
Energy efficiency improvements will get you less of a tax break going forward.

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The Hall of Fame's Giant Gray Area
As Alomar and Blyleven celebrate entry to Cooperstown, other greats from a tarnished era may wait a long time. Plus: The Saints limp to Seattle; Cavs hire homeless internet sensation; and more.

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Race Is On to Make Cars Greener
As the auto industry faces tougher fuel-economy standards, engineers are working on longer-term fixes for what ails today's models.