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Apr 23, 2011

MarketWatch | Weekly Roundup: Top 10 stories, April 18-22

Weekly Roundup
APRIL 22, 2011

MarketWatch Top 10 stories, April 18-22

By MarketWatch

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) — Investors faced a shortened week, and trading days that were relatively low-volume thanks to Passover and Good Friday. But on the days they were open, markets provided investors with plenty to trade on.

Many prominent companies reported quarterly results during the week, including Apple and some of the big banks. Financial companies were still showing scars from the recession while many tech companies were sorting out the impact of the massive earthquake that struck Japan last month.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) closed the shortened week on Thursday with a gain of 52.45 points or 0.4% at 12,505.99. For the week the Blue Chip index added 1.3%. The Nasdaq Composite (COMP) ended Thursday up 17.65 points or 0.6% at 2,820.16 making for a weekly gain of 2%. The benchmark Standard & Poor's 500 (SPX) gained 7.02 points or 0.5% on Thursday to close at 1,337.38. For the week the index was up 1.3%.

Also, please be sure to watch our Week Ahead videos from the U.S., Europe and Asia.

U.S. Week Ahead: Fed's new way to get the message out

 Europe Week Ahead: BP, Ericsson earnings

 Asia Week Ahead: Clues from Japan

Christopher Noble , assistant managing editor

Taking a more negative view

In a move Monday that roiled markets, Standard & Poor's cut its ratings outlook on the U.S. to negative from stable, lighting a fire under Washington's deficit-reduction debate. The rating agency effectively gave Washington a two-year deadline to enact meaningful change, just days after House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan and President Barack Obama outlined their plans for slashing debt. S&P nonetheless kept its highest rating, AAA, on the U.S. Read more about S&P's outlook.

Apple's blowout quarter

Handily topping Wall Street forecasts, Apple Inc. (AAPL)  reported a sharp 95% surge in second-quarter profit, boosted by strong sales of the iPhone and Mac computer line. Sales of Apple's latest product — the iPad 2 — remain constrained by production limits, but the iPhone was the main driver of earnings growth in the quarter. Read about Apple's results.

Wall Street gets it wrong on Intel

Intel Corp.'s (INTC)  surprising earnings beat raises a question: Why was Wall Street so wrong on the chip maker's first quarter? Analysts agreed that a key reason for the surprise was conflicting views on trends in the personal-computer market. Read more about Intel's upside surprise .

Tech, bank stocks may collide

Solid earnings by big tech companies this week ignited technology shares, dispelling concerns about the Japanese earthquake's impact on future earnings. But can the tech rally lift the financial-services sector out of the doldrums, or will persistent weakness in banks and on Wall Street hobble a U.S. economy that appears ready to run? David Callaway's betting on the banks playing bogeyman. Read Callaway's column .

Taking it to court

BP PLC (UK:BP.)  (BP) has filed lawsuits against Transocean Ltd. (RIG), Halliburton Co. (HAL) and Cameron International Corp. (CAM), three of the main contractors it worked with on the Gulf of Mexico rig that blew up last April, setting off the worst oil spill in U.S. history. Read more about BP's legal battle .

Ugly restructuring options

Restructuring, buybacks or bridge loans. When it comes to Greece, Europe faces a number of choices, none of them pretty, economists say. A controversial 110-billion euro ($160.7 billion) bailout program was put in place a year ago next month. But expectations that the move to help the debt-strapped nation would allow Greece to return to credit markets next year, as originally planned, now appear dashed. Read about Greece's restructuring choices.

Cloudy forecast for Japan

Japanese earnings season kicks off in earnest next week, with strategists hoping for signs of improvement even as they brace themselves for possible bad news due to last month's disasters. Instead of cutting their forecasts, many companies will likely hold off on releasing any guidance at all for the business year that began this month, as they continue to gauge the impact of the March 11 earthquake, tsunami and subsequent power shortfalls and production shutdowns. Read about what's ahead for Japanese companies.

A tumble for Philly Fed

An index of manufacturing sentiment in the Philadelphia area slumped in April to a five-month low, showing growth at a much slower pace, according to a survey released this week. The Philadelphia Fed's index of current activity tumbled to 18.5 in April after a March reading of 43.4, its highest level since January 1984. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected the gauge to fall to 35.5 in April. Read about the Philly Fed.

Pickup for building

U.S. builders started construction on homes at a faster rate in March and permits to begin new work also rose, but the home-building industry remains mired in its worst slump ever. Housing starts rose 7.2% in March to an annual rate of 549,000, the Commerce Department said. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had expected housing starts to climb to 520,000 in March on a seasonally adjusted basis. In a normal economy, however, more than 1 million new homes are usually built each year. Read more about housing data.

Time to pay off your mortgage?

In a world in which debt is a four-letter word, paying off the home mortgage could be a wise move for many people, providing they take the time to do the math or find a financial adviser who can help. It's not for everyone, however, and is a step that should not be taken without a lot thought about what your priorities and goals are and what stage of life you're in. Read more about whether it makes sense to pay off your mortgage.

CBS Breaking News Alert: Apparent twister shuts St. Louis' Lambert Int'l Airport for several days.

CBS News: Breaking News Alert April 23, 2011
Apparent twister shuts St. Louis' Lambert Int'l Airport for several days

Several minor injuries; Other apparent tornadoes leave lots of damage in area; Governor declares state of emergency

Read more:

NYT: Today's Headlines: Top News | Quotation of the Day | Science | Opinion | World | Politics | Technology | Sports | Arts | New York Region | Travel | Editorials | OP-ED | On this Day


Builders of New Homes Seeing No Sign of Recovery

Sales of new single-family homes in February were down more than 80 percent from the 2005 peak, signaling a shift in behavior from buyers seeking smaller places.

Security Forces Kill Dozens in Uprisings Around Syria

Security forces met thousands of demonstrators with fusillades of live ammunition after noon prayers, killing at least 81 people in the bloodiest day of the Syrian uprising.

China Curbs Fancy Tombs That Irk Poor

Some local governments would like those who succeed not to lord it over others, at least when it comes to paying final respects.
"We want revenge, and we want blood."
ABU MOHAMED, a protester in Azra, Syria, a southern town that witnessed the highest death toll Friday.


Video: The Family Practice

Changes in the health care landscape have left Dr. Ronald Sroka with a family practice he cannot sell.

Video: Spring City

A short film by Jeff Scher.

Libya Could Become Stalemate, Top U.S. Military Officer Says

Despite a mixed assessment, officials said no great change in tactics was planned in NATO-led air operations.

Mubarak Faces More Questioning on Gas Deal With Israel

The investigation surrounding a secretive deal to export natural gas to Israel at a low price has already resulted in the arrests of Egypt's former oil minister and five other top officials.

Medical Workers Reported Missing in Bahrain

An American human rights group said on Friday that the number of physicians missing in Bahrain has risen to more than 30.
Doctors INC.

Family Physician Can't Give Away Solo Practice

Dr. Ronald Sroka has been in practice for 32 years, and has a roster of 4,000 patients, but with costs going up and reimbursements going down he is looking for an out.

Staying Sharp in Wee Hours, Unlike Some Air Traffic Controllers

What does it take to make it through the grueling wee hours of an overnight shift? Dusk-to-dawn workers tell their stories.

Admirers Call It Art, but the Police Call It a Problem

The police say a popular exhibition at MOCA in Los Angeles that celebrates street art is to blame for a rash of graffiti in the neighborhood.

Senate Resignation May Not Halt Release of Evidence

An ethics panel investigating Senator John Ensign focused on a $96,000 payment to the family of a woman with whom he had an affair.

Resignation Has Nevada Sorting Out the Fallout

With the announcement of John Ensign's resignation, Representative Dean Heller is widely expected to be appointed to the Senate and catapulted onto a national stage overnight.

Ex-Blackwater Guards Face Renewed Charges

The manslaughter charges against four military contractors, stemming from a 2007 shooting in Baghdad, will be returned to a lower court for review.

Labor Board Case Against Boeing Points to Fights to Come

The federal labor board has sought to reinterpret and more vigorously enforce the rules governing employers and employees.

Camouflaging Price Creep

Retailers are trying to figure out the pressure points in rising prices. Will people pay more for jeans, but not T-shirts?

Amazon's Trouble Raises Cloud Computing Doubts

Companies are expected to reassess backup and recovery after the interruption at Amazon Web Services.

It's Love at First Kill

Gamers log into World of Warcraft in search of adventure and treasure, but sometimes they find love on the way, too.

Samsung Countersues Apple on iPhone and iPad Patents

The lawsuit comes after a week after Apple accused Samsung of violating patents and trademarks of its iPhone and iPad.

A Clash Over the Airwaves

The government wants TV broadcasters to give up some of their airwaves to allow for expanded use by cellphones and other mobile applications.
Celtics 113, Knicks 96

Knicks in Over Their Heads

The Celtics started the game with a 9-0 run and never relented, crushing the Knicks and building a nearly insurmountable 3-0 series lead.

For Stoudemire, a Two-Front Battle: Back Pain and the Celtics' Big Men

Amar'e Stoudemire has battled back pain in the past two games, not to mention Kevin Garnett, Glenn Davis and the rest of the Celtics front court.
Mets 4, Diamondbacks 1

A Turn to the Right and a Second Look Is What the Mets Need

Ike Davis's two-run shot in the seventh sent the Mets past the Diamondbacks on a night that started a little shaky for starter Mike Pelfrey.
Museum Review

The Memory of Holocaust, Fortified

The Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center in Skokie is characterized by the participation of survivors, both a strength and, paradoxically, a potential weakness.
Critic's Notebook

Tale of the Iraq War, Still Resonating

"Black Watch," a group portrait of Scottish soldiers in Iraq that was first seen here in 2007, returns to St. Ann's Warehouse in Brooklyn.

New Time Warp for 'Doctor Who'

To fight Internet piracy, BBC America won't delay the season premiere of a popular series.

Cuomo's Home? The Address Says One Thing, the Map Another

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's mail comes from a Mount Kisco post office but he sends his taxes to New Castle, a wealthier neighbor.

With Computerized System, Preventing the Police From Fixing Traffic Tickets

Traffic tickets are now electronically scanned at each stage of their journey through the New York Police Department - once, twice, three times, and then once more.
Borough Park Journal

Bowlers in Brooklyn Enjoy a Haven While It's Still Around

Longtime bowlers at Maple Lanes, in Borough Park, Brooklyn, lost one bowling alley to development and now face the threat of losing another.

Louisiana's Zydeco Trail

Deep in the countryside Creole cowboys gather on horseback. When the riding is over, the music starts and the dancing begins.
Practical Traveler

Choosing the Best Credit Card

Credit card companies are pitching new travel enticements, from waiving foreign transaction fees that can add up to 3 percent to your purchases abroad to picking up fees for checked baggage.

36 Hours in Panama City, Panama

Central America's capital of international finance, called by locals the "Dubai of the Americas," is in the midst of a prolonged boomtown fever.

Dangerous Games

Republicans are tying their ideological goal of spending cuts to the debt limit.

Shielding the Privacies of Life

The courts need to impose constitutional limits on the searches of laptops by border agents.

Democrats and Gun Control

Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz has shown real leadership on gun control. President Obama should join her.

Senator Ensign May Go, but the Questions Remain

The Senate Ethics Committee owes the public a full report on its ethics investigation of Senator John Ensign.
Op-Ed Contributors

Lies and Videotape

In authoritarian states, a revolution could break the stranglehold that state-run news media hold over unfree societies.
Op-Ed Columnist

Wanna Buy a Turnpike?

Just look at the changes taking place thanks to all the angry new governors.
Op-Ed Columnist

Sewers, Swaps and Bachus

Why did Spencer Bachus, chairman of the Financial Services Committee, introduce legislation to delay the regulation of derivatives?
Op-Ed Columnist

Of Donald, Dunces and Dogma

The destructive game Donald Trump is playing, and its welcome on the right, only exposes the flaws in American ideology and further corrodes the Republican brand.
On April 23, 1969, Sirhan Sirhan was sentenced to death for assassinating New York Sen. Robert F. Kennedy. The sentence was later reduced to life imprisonment.

The washington Post Today's Headlines: Today's Highlights | Politics | Style | Sports | World | Technology | Business |

Syrian security forces kill dozens of protesters
It was the biggest single-day death toll in a six-week-old uprising, and it offered no sign that Damascus government might give way to swelling demands for democratic change.
(By Tara Bahrampour)

GOP faces tough questions on Medicare
Seeking the offensive, Democrats this week launched a media campaign accusing GOP House members of endangering retirees.
(By Peter Wallsten)

‘Veterans court’ faces backlog
U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims is a symbol of the accumulating toll of prolonged war, both on soldiers and the bureaucracies created to serve them.
(By Jerry Markon)

Many questions, few answers in slaying
Friends and relatives of a 24-year-old University of Maryland graduate student can’t imagine why he was killed after leaving a D.C. nightclub. Neither can police.
(By Matt Zapotosky)

Mason coach Larranaga’s departure a blow
After 14 years, GMU basketball coach Jim Larranaga leaves behind a school transformed for the University of Miami for more than twice the pay.
(By David Nakamura and Dan Steinberg)

Persistent claims about Obama's birthplace force GOP candidates to make a touchy stand
WASHINGTON — It’s the conspiracy theory that won’t go away. And it’s forcing Republican officials and presidential contenders to pick sides: Do they think Barack Obama was born outside the United States and disqualified to be president?
( Associated Press Associated Press , AP)

‘Veterans court’ faces backlog
U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims is a symbol of the accumulating toll of prolonged war, both on soldiers and the bureaucracies created to serve them.
( by Jerry Markon , The Washington Post)

Judge set to rule on dispute between Leggett, union
A Montgomery County union says Isiah Leggett broke the law, but the county executive counters that the county charter trumps that law.
( by Michael Laris , The Washington Post)

States’ GOP majorities lead to gains across range of issues
As state legislatures adjourn in the coming weeks, new Republican majorities backed by GOP governors are leaving their mark in a wave of legislation that reaches beyond the economic issues that dominated the midterm elections last fall.
( by Lois Romano , The Washington Post)

GOP faces tough questions on Medicare
Seeking the offensive, Democrats this week launched a media campaign accusing GOP House members of endangering retirees.
( by Peter Wallsten , The Washington Post)

Nothing blue about this Bayou
Food critic Tom Sietsema’s review of Bayou finds zesty food and a party mood.
( by Tom Sietsema , The Washington Post)

Whatever Happened To ...
... the rabbi who sought a new path?
(, The Washington Post)

All the many parts
The 97-year-old Nichols Hardware has been run by generations of the Nichols family--and provided a useful sanctuary for many other generations of Loudon County. But after the tragic death of one of its co-owners, it’s not clear what, if anything, can fix the store’s future.
(, The Washington Post)

Date Lab: She got swag.
Can a Duke grad get along with a UNC fan? And deal with dating a younger man?
(, The Washington Post)

Cornell Belcher: Why I became a pollster
Pollster Cornell Belcher talks about life growing up in the South, where the image of a Confederate flag loomed large.
(, The Washington Post)

Red Sox capitalize with 2 runs on Peter Bourjos' error, go on to beat Angels 4-3
ANAHEIM, Calif. — Dan Haren had allowed only one unearned run over his previous 22 starts. On Friday night, the Boston Red Sox scored two on a mixup in the Angels’ outfield, and it was a great comfort to Jon Lester — who didn’t need any extra help.
( Associated Press Associated Press , AP)

Brandon Phillips calls 4-2 setback to Cardinals the Reds' worst of year
ST. LOUIS — Brandon Phillips blamed the loss that knocked the Cincinnati Reds out of first place for the first time this season on dumb play.
( Associated Press Associated Press , AP)

Favored American Story wins at Hollywood Park
INGLEWOOD, Calif. — Favored American Story defeated Crisis of Spirit by 2½ lengths to win the $71,500 optional claimer on Friday at Hollywood Park.
( Associated Press Associated Press , AP)

Another shutout loss to Seattle, this time 4-0, leads to more concerns about Oakland's bats
SEATTLE — All the right things are being said about Oakland’s sudden offensive slump.
( Associated Press Associated Press , AP)

Napoli, Kinsler, Murphy among 5 to homer as Rangers beat Royals 11-6
ARLINGTON, Texas — Jeff Francis had been off to a strong start for the Kansas City Royals.
( Associated Press Associated Press , AP)

Hopes fade for 21 people buried in Philippine landslide that killed 3
MANILA, Philippines — Philippine officials are losing hope of finding survivors among 21 people still buried in a landslide that killed at least three people after crashing onto a remote gold mining village in a southern province.
( Associated Press Associated Press , AP)

Powerful quake strikes off Solomon Islands in South Pacific; no reports of injuries or damage
WELLINGTON, New Zealand — A powerful earthquake struck in waters off the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific on Saturday, but there were no immediate reports of injuries or damage, and no tsunami was expected.
( Associated Press Associated Press , AP)

Mystery removal of Beijing's Confucius statue sparks guesses but may just have moved indoors
BEIJING — The mysterious removal of a statue of Confucius opposite Beijing’s Tiananmen Square has left many Chinese looking for an explanation. One report says the monument was simply moved inside a nearby museum.
( Associated Press Associated Press , AP)

NATO: Coalition helicopter crashes in eastern Afghanistan; 2 crew members recovered alive
KABUL, Afghanistan — A coalition helicopter crashed in eastern Afghanistan Saturday, but both crew members have been recovered alive, NATO said.
( Associated Press Associated Press , AP)

Activists: 2 die in clashes as police remove monks from Tibetan monastery in western China
BEIJING — Two people have died in a clash with Chinese police raiding a Tibetan Buddhist monastery where tensions have run high over the recent suicide of a monk, an activist group said Saturday.
( Associated Press Associated Press , AP)


Real Wheels Live
Live online discussion with Real Wheels columnist Warren Brown about car-buying and the auto industry.
(, vForum)

Ask Boswell
Sports Columnist Tom Boswell will take your questions about baseball, the Redskins, the Wizards and more.
(, vForum)

Liberty Media chief on the future of TV
Liberty chief executive Greg Maffei talked to The Post about transformation in his industry and discussed the much-anticipated Starz contract re-negotiation with Netflix.
( by Cecilia Kang , The Washington Post)

Gulf spill puts spotlight on difficulties responding to major accident off Alaska coast
WASHINGTON — A year after the largest offshore oil spill in U.S. history, some experts are pondering the next doomsday scenario — a massive oil well blowout in the icy waters off Alaska’s northern coast.
( Associated Press Associated Press , AP)

China moves to restore Shanghai port operations and defuse trucker protests by altering fees
BEIJING — Authorities in China’s commercial hub of Shanghai say they are easing fees that sparked trucker protests and disrupted the flow of goods through the country’s busiest port.
( Associated Press Associated Press , AP)

Chase settles lawsuit over military mortgages
The suit accused the bank of overcharging service members, prompting a federal investigation.
( by Ylan Q. Mui , The Washington Post)

The Tablet Wars have begun
As competitors enter tablet market, Apple and Samsung battle in court
( by Ian Shapira , The Washington Post)

Biden’s economic adviser leaving administration
Jared Bernstein is the latest official to leave as the White House crafts its strategy for a battle over nation’s ballooning debt and for the 2012 race.
( by Zachary A. Goldfarb , The Washington Post)

Ther Economist: Selected New Articles - April 22nd 2011

Democracy in America wonders why only Republican budget plans are considered "courageous"
Babbage looks at a tussle over retired space shuttles
Free exchange discusses a new book on experimental economics
Johnson has a peeve about linguistic peeves
Prospero gets a glimpse at the creative process of a rare illustrator
Audio: Michael O'Hanlon of the Brookings Institution says it's time to arm the rebels in Libya
Daily chart: Chinese in Africa
Banyan tells the story of a conman who bested the North Korean government