MarketWatch top 10 stories Feb. 27 - March 2
The losses were small though and the major indexes consolidated near recent multiyear highs. Stock investors in the U.S. and Europe reacted with relief this week to the latest political and economic machinations in Europe.Watch for upcoming Russian elections to grab the headlines for a day or two in Europe.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) lost 2.73 points, or 0.02%, to 12,977.57. It lost 0.04% for the week, only its third weekly loss this year. Midweek, the blue-chip index closed above 13,000 for its first time since 2008.
The S&P 500(SPX) ended down 4.46 points, or 0.3%, to 1,369.63, up 0.3% for the week. On Wednesday, the index wrapped up its best two-month start to the year since 1987.
The Nasdaq Composite (COMP) ended down 12.78 points, or 0.4%, to 2,976.19, up 0.4% for the week. The index this week passed the 3,000 mark, a first since 2000.
Also please watch our Week Ahead videos.
Asia Week Ahead: Investors eye Aussie Data, NPC
Europe Week Ahead: ECB Meeting, U.S. Payrolls
U.S. Week Ahead: Apple Event, Oil Price in Spotlight
Greg Morcroft, assistant managing editor
The stock market timers with the best long-term record are, on balance, bullish. The consensus of those on the Hulbert Financial Digest's monitored list with the worst records, in contrast, is far more bearish.That is perhaps one of the best arguments right now in favor of a higher stock market in March — especially when coupled with the news that there is no particular reason to expect the market's major trend to shift during the month. Read Mark Hulbert market commentary, on MarketWatch
AT&T Inc. (T) is taking a step closer to doing away with unlimited-mobile data-plans.Under a new policy, AT&T will slow download speeds for unlimited 3G and 4G smartphone customers who exceed 3 gigabytes and 4G LTE users who exceed 5 gigabytes of data in a given month. AT&T had previously been slowing speeds, or throttling, customers who were in the top 5% of data users in their respective market.AT&T has been trying to manage capacity on its network in the face of heavy data consumption by Apple Inc. (AAPL) iPhone users and a limited supply of wireless airwaves, or spectrum. Read MarketWatch coverage of ATT data plan policy
Not so long ago I wrote an article suggesting Apple was almost a sell, based on the competitive environment and the ‘new customer' that exists for the company today. Not only do I continue to believe that the competitive environment is far less favorable for Apple today than it has been for years, but after the recent aggressive and eye-opening surge in the stock, I also believe Apple may almost be a short. Read Trading Deck item about shorting Apple, on MarketWatch
The U.S. economy grew 3% in the fourth quarter, faster than originally reported, mainly because of increased commercial construction, higher consumer spending and lower imports.The Commerce Department initially estimated the U.S. expanded at a 2.8% pace in the final three months of 2011. It's still the fastest rate of growth in a year and a half. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had predicted GDP growth would be revised down to 2.7% from an initial reading of 2.8%. Read MarketWatch coverage of U.S. GDP
You probably know by now that Apple is the most popular stock among hedge funds What you didn't know is that 13 of the 375 hedge funds we are tracking sold their Apple holdings, and only 15 hedge funds initiated new positions. Overall, the increase in the number of hedge funds with bullish Apple bets was only 2. Hedge funds' sentiment towards Apple didn't change much during the fourth quarter. However, they've gotten bullish about several other stocks, and in this article we are going to take a look at the ones more hedge funds are warming up to. In order to be included in this list, each stock has to have a minimum of 50 hedge funds with bullish bets. Read about 7 stocks catching the eye of hedge funds, on MarketWatch
Dividend-paying stocks aren't for widows and orphans anymore, and, for that matter, neither are Treasury bonds. As income-seeking investors know all too well, generating meaningful yield nowadays means accepting greater market risk and volatility.Investing for income has become so challenging, it may be creating more widows and orphans than it saves. Buyers nowadays face a Hobson's Choice that forces them to hold their noses and plunge.Yet one income strategy is capturing the attention of investors and investment advisers alike: Swapping inflation-protected Treasurys, or TIPS, for dividend stocks yielding 3% or more. Read MarketWatch story on stocks for the income investor
Gold's steep loss may slow investor interest in the largest exchange-traded fund backed by the metal, but they are unlikely to halt strong flows that have led holdings in the ETF very close to a record.New dollars had flocked to SPDR Gold Trust this year, lending support to gold's recent rally. On Wednesday, SPDR Gold sank 5.3%, its biggest one-day loss since late September. Volume was triple the average. The plunge for the exchange-traded fund, or ETF, came alongside a dive in gold futures following remarks from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, which threw cold water on hopes for more quantitative easing -- a monetary policy that has lured investors into precious metals as a hedge against the dollar. Read MarketWatch coverage of this week's gold slide
European leaders on Friday signed a new fiscal pact aimed at strengthening budget rules across the euro zone, hailed progress by Greece toward finally receiving its second bailout and signaled a willingness to speed up the funding of the euro zone's permanent bailout fund.As expected, the leaders made no commitment to boosting the size of the euro zone's firewall, but did agree to speed payments of capital into the region's permanent rescue fund, the 500 billion euro European Stability Mechanism. The ESM will replace the temporary European Financial Stability Facility at midyear. Read latest news on Greek debt crisis, on MarketWatch
The excitement that greeted Yelp Inc. in its public-market debut on Friday may be tempered in the coming weeks as investors better digest the company's financial performance, analysts said Friday. Yelp completed its initial public offering, with its shares jumping more than 60% by midday Friday to $24.32 from its IPO price of $15, above the previously expected range of $12 to $14 per share. The company priced 7.15 million shares late Thursday, giving the deal a total market value of about $107 million.The San Francisco-based company, which specializes in online reviews of local businesses, intends to use the proceeds for general corporate purposes that may include marketing, capital expenditures and possibly acquisitions. Read MarketWatch report on Yelp IPO
Stockton, Calif., has ranked among the U.S.'s least literate cities, most obese cities, most crime-ridden and dangerous cities, and now it ranks among the nation's most insolvent cities. The Los Angeles Times called this town of 290,000 in California's Central Valley "Foreclosureville, USA." Last year, Forbes magazine said Stockton had been "ravaged by the housing bust" and placed it No. 1 on its list of "America's Most Miserable Cities." If you want to read about the U.S.'s economic recovery, pick up almost any newspaper. But if you want to see a truly bewildered people, a community that is still reeling from what the economy and their government has done to them, there's a six-hour video of Stockton's city hall proceedings on the city's website. Read commentary on Stockton's sad fate, on Marketwatch