Top 10 stories from MarketWatch Jan. 31- Feb. 4
The Dow ended the week up 2.3%, the S&P 500 gained 2.7% and the Nasdaq Composite advanced 3.1%.
Stocks closed higher Friday, giving an extra lift to weekly gains, as investors focused on strong corporate results and the upshot of a largely disappointing monthly jobs report.
The Dow has now closed higher for the past five straight trading days, and is trading near its highest levels since mid-2008.
Also please be sure to watch MarketWatch's Week Ahead videos for Asia, Europe and the U.S.
U.S. Week Ahead:Stocks at two year highs, investors eye catalysts
Europe Week Ahead: Swiss banks in focus
Asia Week Ahead: Results from Toyota, Nissan
Greg Morcroft, assistant managing editor
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Thursday he saw hints of healthier consumer spending and job growth in the most recent economic data, but noted that these straws in the wind had not yet altered his view that the pace of recovery would be gradual. "Recent data do provide some grounds for optimism on the employment front," Bernanke told the National Press Club. See full MarketWatch story on Bernanke comments
Shares of Motorola Mobility Inc. (MMI) got a boost this week as AT&T outlined an aggressive plan to promote the company's upcoming Atrix phone for its 4G network. The device, expected to launch in early March, may figure heavily into AT&T's (T) effort to compete with arch-rival Verizon Wireless, which will begin selling the iPhone 4 this month. The iPhone, which has been exclusive to AT&T for the past four years, went on presale at Verizon on Wednesday. Read latest MarketWatch coverage of Motorola's new 4G phone
The U.S. unemployment rate fell unexpectedly to 9.0% in January, a 21-month low, while nonfarm payrolls rose by a surprisingly meager 36,000 jobs, the government reported this week. Economists called the report confounding because one survey pointed to strength while the other signalled weakness. Read MarketWatch story on unemployment rate
This week the market hit a double milestone: The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed above 12,000, and the Standard & Poor's 500 index finished the day over 1,300. The move came after a powerful five-month-long advance and, for the Dow at least, the best January since 1997. But S&P 1,300 may have been more significant: Technicians regarded that as a key resistance level. If the S&P can stay above it for a few trading days — and it has slid back below that landmark in Thursday's trading — it could head even higher. Read MarketWatch commentary on where stocks are headed
Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) said this week that its fourth-quarter profit rose 53% to top $9 billion, marking the oil major's richest results since the third quarter of 2008 as it benefited from higher crude-oil prices and a jump in production. It's the loftiest quarterly profit for the oil major since the third quarter of 2008, when it earned $14.83 billion, during a time of $100-a-barrel oil prices. Read all ExxonMobil coverage at MarketWatch
Intel (INTC) disclosed this week that there was a design error in a component of its new chip that will cost the company roughly $300 million in lost revenue.The flaw involved a support chip used in the newly released second generation of Intel's Core processor, the company said. Intel management said the total cost of fixing the impact of the chip-design flaw will be about $700 million, in terms of repairing and replacing materials and systems in the market. Read MarketWatch coverage of Intel's costly mistake
Egypt, more than any other country, has seen rulers, regimes and entire dynasties come and go over the centuries, so the approaching loss of its latest Pharaoh is hardly novel. What's different about this transition is that it is shaking the world. Read MarketWatch commentary on the Egyptian crisis
Verizon Wireless (VZ) said Friday that it has stopped taking preorders for the iPhone 4 — just 17 hours after the device went on sale at the carrier. In a statement, Verizon said it halted orders at 8:10 p.m. Eastern Thursday. The company said it sold more units of the popular Apple Inc. (AAPL) device in the first two hours of availability than any other device launch in its history, but did not provide specific numbers. The phone will be available for purchase Feb. 10 for customers who did not preorder the device. Read MarketWatch coverage of Verizon
The trustee for the liquidation of Bernard Madoff's disgraced investment firm on Thursday said a complaint against J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. initially filed under seal on Dec. 2, 2010 would be unsealed and made available to the public. The suit seeks to recover nearly $1 billion in fees and profits and an additional $5.4 billion in damages for J.P. Morgan's role as the primary banker "aiding and abetting Madoff's fraud." Read MarketWatch coverage of J.P. Morgan suit
Most people understand the historic nature of the events unfolding in the Mideast. What might be less evident is what it all means for your portfolio, especially if some of your investments are allocated to that part of the world. Larry Seruma, chief investment officer of Nile Capital Management, which manages the Nile Pan Africa fund, said the events in Egypt, in the main, are unlikely to affect adversely the portfolios of most Americans. Read MarketWatch story on Egypt and your portfolio