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Feb 24, 2012

MarketWatch | Weekly Roundup; Top ten stories of the week.


Weekly Roundup
FEBRUARY 24, 2012

MarketWatch's top 10 stories of the week

Feb. 20–24: Stops in Athens, Cupertino and Madison Square Garden

By MarketWatch

The Dow industrials' luck failed in a run at 13,000, with the blue-chip index proving unable to secure its first close atop that mark since May 2008, despite several breaches. Still, the holiday-abbreviated week was not a total loss, as all three of the most closely watched stock indexes notched weekly gains.

The S&P 500, in fact, closed the week at its highest point since June 2008. Mark Hulbert in The Tell: Forget Dow 13,000; the real story is the Wilshire 5,000 .


To achieve that, the S&P (SPX) nosed 0.3% higher, a move-up matched by the Dow industrials (DJIA) and narrowly outstripped by the Nasdaq Composite's (COMP) 0.4% weekly rise.

Stay tuned to MarketWatch this weekend for coverage of breaking news and developing stories as well as a feature on Russia's stirring comeback from the depths of the global financial crisis — and some factors to consider before trying to make money in Moscow. Weekend Investor: Russia could be a gusher for daring investors .

Also on the weekend's docket is Warren Buffett's annual letter (nominally) to Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) (BRK.B) investors. The Tell: What to look for in Warren Buffett's annual letter to investors .


As you gear up for next week, or seek respite from Oscars hoopla (but do, by all means, check out our Academy Awards page ), take a moment to watch our weekly preview videos:

 U.S. week ahead: ISM data and Fed's Bernanke in focus .

 Europe's week ahead: Eyes on G-20 meeting and corporate earnings .

 Asia's week ahead: China data, Australian politics .

— Tim Rostan, managing editor

Greek CDS fear fades

Not long ago, the thought of triggering payouts on credit-default swaps on Greek government debt met with more than a little discomfort among European authorities. But by Friday, Greece was formally launching its offer for a long-awaited bond swap that's at the center of its second international rescue in less than two years, a "credit event," a term of art describing the conditions that trigger a CDS payout, is seen as increasingly likely. See full story: Greek CDS worries fade ahead of debt swap .

Apple and the frightful cash hoard

As the date of Apple's annual shareholder meeting, this Thursday, drew near, clamoring for a sharing out of the company's often-noted — or notorious — $100 billion cash heap grew ever louder. The company, in the end, passed on its chance to promise a special dividend to mollify investors. But, notes Mark Hulbert, danger remains that the company's (AAPL) post–Steve Jobs management may feel compelled, or even be compelled, to do something ill-considered to allocate some proportion of those funds. Read column: Apple's cash creates dangerous temptation .

Johnson's Penney has much to do, and to prove

On one business-news cable channel, J.C. Penney (JCP) was described, at characteristic volume and on consecutive days, of being all at sea in the early days of the Ron Johnson regime and, within 24 hours, as eating the lunch, market-share-wise, of rival midrange department-store chain Kohl's (KSS). Probably the truth, skirting a trip out either of those limbs, lies somewhere in between. Penney, under the leadership of Apple and Target alumnus Johnson, needs a rethink and a revamp, and then it needs to execute. It looks like it'll take some time. See full story: J.C. Penney has to show new strategy works .

NBA hasn't skipped a beat

ReutersNew York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin drives on Atlanta Hawks guard Jeff Teague this week.Sure, the emergence of Jeremy Lin has been a nice surprise for not only the New York Knicks and Madison Square Garden (MSG) but the NBA as a whole, but even the months-long labor impasse is looking more and more as if it couldn't have gone better, being resolved just in time for marquee matchups on the biggest regular-season-TV-viewership date and becoming all but something of a footnote, as any lingering acrimony has been minimal and as the league, by most objective standards, has gone on only to build on last year's strong momentum. Full story: NBA enjoying a post-lockout bounce .

Get your head around the headphone market

For decades, one needed only know a few names — Klipsch, Sennheiser, Shure among them — to know a substantial portion of all that was to be known about the stereo-headphone business. Then along came Apple's iPod and other devices, and rival units from other gadget manufacturers, and suddenly not only were there millions more prospective consumers with no allegiance to the old-school names and a preference for something a little flashier, and often either endorsed by or developed with such recording-industry notables as Dr. Dre, 50 Cent and the family of Bob Marley. The business has been thrown wide open. See Dan Gallagher's report: Headphone makers battle over form and function .

Salesforce, software and democracy's (CRM) quarterly financials highlighted optimism about the future of the software-as-a-service market, and the stock soared 9% in response, returning to within striking distance of an all-time high hit last year. Commentary by John Shinal: Salesforce and H-P show where software goes .

Watchmakers case wary eye on Asia

The Swiss watch industry, world leader in the production of luxury timepieces, is unlikely to continue enjoying the phenomenal growth it has witnessed over the past couple of years, say analysts and watchmakers. Demand will probably slow from China and Hong Kong, which now account for more than a quarter of all watch exports from the Alpine country. Some say it already has. See: Swiss watchmakers fear Asia slowdown.

The Qnexa big thing?

Vivus shares (VVUS) doubled after a federal advisory panel overwhelmingly backed the weight-loss drug Qnexa, clearing the way for U.S. approval of the first prescription diet drug in more than a decade. Vivus shares soar as diet drug gets FDA nod. See: Vivus shares double on FDA nod.

Don't bring your politics to work

You may have tremendously insightful views on the coming presidential election, or about politics in general, but share those opinions sparingly, if at all, at work, career experts advise. Election 2012: Don't bring it to work.

How to ruin a retirement

A slew of tax rules are waiting to trip you up when it comes time to move money or cash out your retirement savings — and getting it wrong will cost you. Tax mistakes that can wreck your retirement .

NYT Global Update: Nations Urge Halt to Attacks as Evacuations Start in Syria

The New York Times International Herald Tribune
February 24, 2012
Compiled 21:45 GMT

Global Update


Nations Urge Halt to Attacks as Evacuations Start in Syria

Leaders of more than 60 nations and organizations pressed Syria's government to pause its assaults on rebellious cities to allow in supplies, as the Red Cross began evacuations in Homs.

Atomic Agency Says Iran Is Making Fuel at Protected Site

A report by international nuclear inspectors also shows that despite Iran's repeated boasts it is still having trouble deploying next-generation equipment to make fuel.

Pakistan Presses Taliban to Enter Afghan Talks

The request lends fresh diplomatic momentum to an American-sponsored peace process that experts say is advancing at a perilously slow pace.

Video: Nollywood Heights

Behind the scenes of Nigeria's thriving film industry.

Op-Ed Contributor

How to Halt the Butchery in Syria

Establishing "no-kill zones," using drones to protect civilians, and encouraging defection could halt the killing in Syria.

In Break, Hamas Supports Syrian Opposition

Marking the first public rift with its longtime patron, a leader of Hamas spoke out against President Bashar al-Assad.

After a Year, Deep Divisions Hobble Syria's Opposition

Nearly a year into Syria's uprising, the opposition to President Bashar al-Assad is a fractious collection of divided political groups, longtime exiles, grass-roots organizers and militants.

Wounded Journalists Appeal for Evacuation From Homs

Edith Bouvier and Paul Conroy, two foreign journalists who were wounded during an attack in Homs, appealed for help in new video messages posted online by activists.

Ecuadorean Bank Finds a Niche With Emigrants in Spain

The Spanish unit of Ecuador's biggest privately owned bank, Banco Pichincha, has grown by selling familiarity to a loyal, nearly captive clientele far from home.

As Greek Restructuring Looms, Bondholders Think Twice About Other Sovereign Debt

The hard-line approach Athens has taken to force steep losses on creditors has prompted fears that other weak countries in Europe may do the same.

Japan Orders Pension Fund to Suspend Operations

The move comes after public investigators discovered that AIJ Investment Advisors may have lost the bulk of about $2.3 billion in funds it managed for its clients.

Selecting a Seatmate to Make Skies Friendlier

The Dutch carrier KLM and others are testing programs to allow ticket-holders to upload details from their online profiles and use that data to choose seatmates.

Trying to Find a Cry of Desperation Amid the Facebook Drama

Mental health experts say that dark postings by adolescents should not be hastily dismissed because they can serve as an early warning system for timely intervention.
Crime Scene

An iPhone That's Cheaper, and Fake

Counterfeiting of Apple products seems to be on the rise.

Spanish Climber, 73, Has Sights Set on World's Top Peaks

Carlos Soria plans to have climbed all 14 of the world's 8,000-meter mountains by next spring.

A.C. Milan Looks to Bury Juventus in Standings

Italy's stock has risen in Europe since the performances of A.C. Milan and Napoli against English opponents in the Champions League.

Two Teams Learn Power of Perseverance

Late goals from unlikely players lift Basel and Marseille to victory against two Champions League heavyweights.
The Long Run

Political Lessons, From a Mother's Losing Run

Mitt Romney often refers to his father, George Romney, in his campaign, but he also learned much in a close relationship with his mother, Lenore, who ran for a United States Senate seat.

Bill Would Put 2 Drinkers on Utah's Alcohol Commission

A proposal making its way through Utah's Legislature would require that at least two of the five members of the Alcohol Beverage Control Commission be drinkers themselves.
On Religion

In a New Ritual, Many Find Solace Online

A Milwaukee man who yearned for a spiritual connection after his mother died found it by posting photographs from her scrap book on Facebook, prompting replies from all over the world.
Op-Ed Contributor

Bringing Libya Under Control

To rein in the militias and restore security, the U.S. should help train and equip the Libyan military.
Patrick Chappatte

Obama and the Economy

On the connection between President Obama's fortunes and the condition of the U.S. economy.
Op-Ed Contributor

Denying the Right to Deny

A French law threatening deniers of the Armenian genocide with a fine or jail is politically inept and ethically objectionable.

Reuters - U.S. Top News: WikiLeaks suspect Manning defers plea, court-martial begins

Reuters Election 2012 Daily round-up of the day's top news from the campaign trail, the White House and all the politics in between
WikiLeaks suspect Manning defers plea, court-martial begins
FORT MEADE, Maryland (Reuters) - U.S. Army intelligence analyst Bradley Manning, accused of the largest leak of classified documents in U.S. history, deferred a plea in a military court arraignment on Thursday, marking the first step in a court-martial that could land him in prison for life.
Opening statements begin in Rutgers student suicide
NEW BRUNSWICK, New Jersey (Reuters) - Prosecutors kicked off opening statements on Friday in the trial of a former Rutgers University student who used a webcam to spy on his roommate's homosexual tryst, saying he violated the "dignity and privacy" of his roommate who later committed suicide.
Maine gets enough support for gay marriage referendum
(Reuters) - Proponents of same-sex marriage in Maine have gathered more than enough signatures to ask voters in a November referendum to approve gay nuptials just three years after they banned them.
Report: Federal authorities seek Penn State records on Sandusky
(Reuters) - Federal authorities have joined the investigation into the Penn State sex abuse scandal and have requested information involving former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky as well as other top school officials involved in the case, according to local media.
Maryland gay marriage bill passes, heads to governor
ANNAPOLIS, Maryland (Reuters) - The Maryland Senate approved on Thursday a same-sex marriage bill that will now be sent to Gov. Martin O'Malley, who has promised to sign the legislation and make the state the eighth in the nation to legalize gay and lesbian nuptials.
Deaths linked to tub paint stripper prompts warning
(Reuters) - Federal health officials on Friday warned of serious hazards for workers and consumers using a common paint-stripping agent for bathtub refinishing after linking the chemicals to 13 deaths over the last decade.
Seven Marines killed in copter training collision
PHOENIX (Reuters) - Two U.S. military helicopters collided during a training exercise over the desert along the Arizona-California border, killing all seven Marines aboard, the Marine Corps said on Thursday.
S&P faults New Jersey governor's proposed budget
(Reuters) - The $32 billion budget plan New Jersey Governor Chris Christie proposed this week fails to solve a structural imbalance and relies on rosy assumptions for revenue increases, Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said on Friday.
DC Cherry Blossom centennial fest unfazed by bloomin' warm
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Above-average temperatures have brought February blooms to Washington, but organizers of the centennial National Cherry Blossom Festival see the springlike winter as no threat to their celebration.