Top 10 News Items 2/21-2/24: Dow Breaches 13,000 Level; Crude Oil Now Over $109/Barrel; Euro Area Approves Greece's Bailout

February 24, 2012 4:33 PM EST Send to a Friend
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Here is a recap of the top news items from this week on Wall Street:

1. The Dow Jones Industrial Average briefly pushed over the 13,000 level for the first time since 2008, erasing most of the losses seen from the fallout of the housing bubble and ensuing financial crisis. The Dow is now up a very sharp 21 percent since the lows of 2011 and about 6 percent since the beginning of 2012.

2. Crude oil on the NYMEX closed higher for the ninth session in a row Friday, pushing over $109.50 per barrel. Crude oil has not been trading above this level since May of 2011. While recent tension in the Middle East (specifically with Iran) has certainly added to crude's month-long move higher, pit traders are pointing at a slowly-but-surely-type improvements in economic indicators around the globe. The US Oil ETF (NYSE: USO) was up 5.5 percent this week.

3. On Tuesday, after more than 12 hours of talks, Eurozone finance ministers agreed on the new 130 billion euros ($173 billion) bailout of Greece. The much-needed funding will thwart a potential default of the debt-laden country which was expected as early as next month.

4. Shares of VIVUS (Nasdaq: VVUS) rocketed more than 77 percent higher on Thursday and another 17 percent on Friday following news late Wednesday an FDA advisory panel backed the company's previously-rejected Qnexa diet pill. Elsewhere in the sector, shares of Orexigen (Nasdaq: OREX) closed the week about 25 percent higher.

5. To the dismay of patient investors around the planet, Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) CEO Tim Cook said the company is currently considering what to do with the massive horde of cash sitting on its balance sheet. The exec poo-pooed the idea of a dividend, and also said stock splits "do nothing." Apple shares were very volatile on Thursday as the company's Annual Shareholder Meeting played out; the stock closed this week's session around $521.50, up nearly 4 percent from last Friday's close.

6. Target (NYSE: TGT) shares rallied nearly 3 percent on Thursday following Q4 results and guidance that morning. The retailer reported quarterly earnings of $1.49 per share on sales of $21.29 billion. The Street was looking for EPS of $1.40 on sales of $21.2 billion. Target management is expecting Q1 EPS of $0.97-$1.07, vs. the consensus of $0.96. FY12 EPS are expected to be $4.55-$4.75, which compares to the Street estimate of $4.24.

7. Elsewhere on the earnings front: HP (NYSE: HPQ), Home Depot (NYSE: HD), Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT), Macy's (NYSE: M), Saks (NYSE: SKS), Limited (NYSE: LTD), Gap (NYSE: GPS), Deckers (Nasdaq: DECK), Crocs (Nasdaq: CROX), Salesforce.com (NYSE: CRM) and JCPenney (NYSE: JCP).

8. Wynn Macau, Limited, a subsidiary of Wynn Resorts, Limited (Nasdaq: WYNN) today announced that its Board of Directors met today to review Mr. Kazuo Okada's status as a Director of the Company. All of the other Directors voted unanimously to remove Mr. Okada from the Board and the removal is effective immediately. The Board is looking to buyback Okada's stake in the company.

9. The University of Michigan's consumer confidence index for the month of February rose from an initial reading of 72.5 to 75.3. Economists had been expecting a reading of 73.0.

10. Existing home sales for the month of January rose 4.3 percent to an annually adjusted 4.57 million this week. New home sales for the month fell 0.9 percent to 321,000, and the home price index for December rose 0.7 percent. The XHB ETF (NYSE: XHB) closed this week about 2.3 percent lower.


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