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Mar 2, 2012

MarketWatch | Weekly Roundup: Top 10 stories Feb. 27 - March 2


Weekly Roundup
MARCH 02, 2012

MarketWatch top 10 stories Feb. 27 - March 2

By MarketWatch

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) — U.S. stocks ended the week lower on Friday, only the third time that's happened so far this year.

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 best are bullish, the worst are not

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 hastening demise of unlimited data plans

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

Apple shares may soon be worth shorting

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

U.S. grew a revised 3% in fourth quarter

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

7 stocks hedge funds are getting bullish about

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

Why dividend stocks top TIPS for income investing

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 selloff risks halting investors' buying spree

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

Europe signs fiscal pact, hails Greek progress

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

Yelp IPO surges despite valuation worries

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

More misery for America's most miserable city

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

NYT Global Update: Obama Says Military Option on Iran Is Not a 'Bluff'

The New York Times International Herald Tribune
March 2, 2012
Compiled 21:52 GMT

Global Update


Syria Bars Red Cross Convoy From Fallen Rebel Bastion

Aid workers were waiting to enter the neighborhood of Baba Amr, the epicenter of a four-week government effort to dislodge rebels in the central city of Homs.

Obama Says Military Option on Iran Is Not a 'Bluff'

President Obama rejected suggestions that the West could contain a nuclear- armed Iran, and said the United States could take military action to prevent it from acquiring a bomb.

Pakistan Battles Militants, in Worst Fighting in Months

A gun battle at a remote security post near the Afghan border left 10 Pakistani soldiers dead, as well as 23 militants.

Video: TimesCast

A soccer panel is to rule on a hijab ban, and more.


Don't Crimp My Ride

The Kenyan government's push to phase out private minibuses could destroy a service that's essential to poor people and a beloved showcase for local culture.

U.N. Report Faults NATO Over Civilian Deaths in Libya

NATO has not sufficiently investigated the air raids it conducted on Libya that killed at least 60 civilians and injured 55 more during the conflict there, according to a new report.

Syrian Forces Overwhelm Stronghold of Rebels in Homs

The defeat of insurgents in an embattled city set the stage for elite soldiers to turn to other redoubts of Syria's uprising, as international demands for a cease-fire intensify.

U.S. Defendants Leave Egypt Amid Growing Backlash

Two United States-financed nonprofit groups paid about $4 million in bail to fly 11 employees out of reach of Egyptian courts.

Spain Unable to Meet Goal for Deficit Cuts This Year

Just as 25 European leaders signed a new fiscal pact to bolster budgetary discipline, the surprise announcement from Spain showed the challenges that many European economies face.

Wall Street Closes Lower

Markets lost steam on Friday, closing with small losses. For the Dow Jones industrial average, it was the third losing week of 2012.

Pakistan Builds Web Wall Out in the Open

The government has published a public tender for the "development, deployment and operation of a national-level URL filtering and blocking system."

For Robot Maker, the Future Is Getting Closer

iRobot has sold millions of Roomba vacuum cleaners, and its bomb disposal robots protect soldiers. Now, it is using video and computing advances to create robots that can handle more duties.

F.C.C. Reviews Need for Rules to Interrupt Wireless Service

The issue came to the Federal Communications Commission's attention last August, when Bay Area Rapid Transit in San Francisco shut off cellphone service for three hours to hinder protests.

Yelp Shares Surge on Debut

Shares of the reviews site for local businesses jumped as much as 73 percent on Friday morning, after pricing above their expected range.

Two Dutch Stars Back on Field as Rivals

Robin van Persie and Dirk Kuyt square off in Premier League match between Liverpool and Arsenal.
Global Soccer

When Given the Chance, Some Just Take the Shot

Lionel Messi, Arjen Robben and Roberto Soldado scored a combined eight goals as they led their teams to victories in international play.

Bullfighter's Return Stuns a Hardened Sport

Five months after surviving a horrifying goring, Juan José Padilla is returning to the bullring amid an intense debate in Spain over bullfighting.

Illinois Town All Too Versed in Taking a Hit

Even before a tornado tore through this small southern Illinois city, killing six people, Harrisburg had seen trouble. And they have had to rebuild, over and over.

Powerful Storms Cause Damage Across Several States

Apparent tornadoes destroyed houses, sent people to hospitals and tore up the roof of a maximum security prison in northern Alabama as bad weather threatened more twisters across the region.

Senate Rejects Step Targeting Coverage of Contraception

The Senate killed an effort to let employers and health insurance companies deny coverage for services they object to on religious or moral grounds.
Op-Ed Contributor

Running With Perseverance

In the Tokyo Marathon, the most common hand-held signs and cheers called out, "Gambare" or "Keep Working Hard."
Op-Ed Contributors

Revisiting Sri Lanka's Bloody War

The U.N. Human Rights Council should create an investigative body to get at the truth of the conflict's final stages.
Op-Ed Contributors

Russia's Retrograde Stand on Drug Abuse

H.I.V. rates are spiraling, but the Kremlin persists in ignoring proven methods for preventing its spread among drug addicts.

DealBook | DealB%K Afternoon Edition: Yelp Shares Surge on Debut

Friday, March 2, 2012
Yelp Shares Surge on Debut
Yelp Shares Surge on Debut Shares of the reviews site for local businesses jumped as much as 73 percent on Friday morning, after pricing above their expected range.
    Breaking Up Bank of America, in Song The consumer advocacy group Public Citizen again calls for the bank to break itself up into smaller, less systematically important pieces. But this time, the message has a beat and you can dance to it.
    A.I.G. Sheds Stake in Blackstone The American International Group has sold its $500 million stake in the Blackstone Group, severing a longtime direct investment in the private equity giant.
    In Debt: Bankruptcy's Odd Twist With Union Contracts Stephen J. Lubben asks why the pilots' lawsuit against AMR, the parent company of American Airlines, contends that a section of the bankruptcy code does not apply to them?
    Morgan Stanley Banker Charged With Assault William Bryan Jennings, 47, was charged with second-degree assault, theft of services, and intimidation by bias or bigotry for allegedly stabbing a Middle Eastern cab driver in December and making racially charged statements
    British Banks Take Advantage of Cheap Loans On Friday, Barclays announced that it had borrowed $10.9 billion from the European Central Bank, as Lloyds, HSBC and the Royal Bank of Scotland made similar moves.
    Carlyle Buys 85% Stake in Brazil's Largest Toy Retailer The private equity firm says it plans to invest $116.8 million in the toy retailer over the next three years as it increases its presence in Brazil.
    Economic Reports The Institute for Supply Management releases its service sector index for February on Monday. The Commerce Department releases factory orders for January.


Reuters - Daily Investor Update: Morgan Stanley banker charged with hate crime

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
Wall St slips but S&P up for 3rd straight week
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The S&P and Nasdaq notched their eighth week of gains out of the last nine, but momentum ran out on Friday as stocks ended the day lower in a thinly traded session.
Facebook adding more banks for IPO: sources
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Facebook Inc will add more banks in coming weeks to help underwrite the company's initial public offering, two sources familiar with its plans said on Friday.
Insight: Wall Street, Fed face off over physical commodities
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wall Street's biggest banks are locked in an increasingly frantic struggle with the Federal Reserve over the right to retain the jewels of their commodity trading empires: warehouses, storage tanks and other hard assets worth billions of dollars.
Yelp shares soar on market debut
(Reuters) - Consumer review website Yelp Inc's shares traded more than 60 percent above their initial public offering price in their market debut on Friday, as investors rushed to buy a piece of the growing local advertising market.
Citigroup Chairman Parsons stepping aside: report
(Reuters) - Richard Parsons is stepping down as chairman of Citigroup Inc and is expected to be replaced by Michael O'Neill, the former chief executive of Bank of Hawaii Corp, the Wall Street Journal's website reported late on Friday afternoon.
U.S. risks persist, China in good stead so far: IMF
PUNTA DEL ESTE, Uruguay (Reuters) - A renewed drop in housing prices could thwart the U.S. economic recovery in the short term while Washington's lack of a "credible, comprehensive" fiscal plan poses a major medium-term risk, a top IMF official said.
Merkin close to settling with NY for $400 million: source
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Financier J. Ezra Merkin, accused of secretly steering $2.4 billion in client funds to Ponzi schemer Bernard Madoff, is close to settling a lawsuit brought by the New York attorney general for about $400 million, according to a person close to the matter.
Pact for budget discipline signed by 25 EU states
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - All but two European Union countries signed a treaty on tighter budget discipline for the euro zone on Friday, marking a coup for Germany which pushed for the accord to try to prevent a repeat of the loose spending that led to a debt crisis.
Morgan Stanley banker charged with hate crime
(Reuters) - A senior Morgan Stanley investment banker was placed on leave after police accused him of hurling racial slurs at a taxi driver of Middle Eastern descent and stabbing him in the hand with a pen knife over a fare dispute.
Neiman profit nearly doubles on luxury sales spike
(Reuters) - Neiman Marcus Group Inc reported a higher quarterly profit on Friday as high-end shoppers snapped up more of the luxury department store operator's expensive designer dresses, shoes and handbags during the holiday period.