Top 10 News Items 3/12-3/16: Fed Stress Test Results Spur Banks to Boost Dividends, Buybacks; Disgruntled Goldman Veteran Makes Waves; Fed Sees Strains on Economy Easing

March 16, 2012 4:43 PM EDT
Here is a recap of the top news items from this week on Wall Street:

1. JPMorgan (NYSE: JPM) beat the Fed to the punch on Tuesday, announcing its dividend increase and new buyback program which should have came out after the Fed released the results of its banking stress tests. The JPMorgan announcement may or may not have pushed the Fed to release these results earlier than it had hoped. 15 of 19 banks passed the Fed's stress tests; Citi (NYSE: C), MetLife (NYSE: MET), SunTrust (NYSE: STI) and Ally Financial did not make the cut. Click here to see a comprehensive list of the litany of dividend raises/buybacks announced following the Fed's results.

2. An op-ed piece in the New York Times from a former Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) had the Street buzzing this week. Greg Smith, former executive director and head of the firm's United States equity derivatives business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said after nearly 12 years at the firm he can now say the environment at the firm "is as toxic and destructive as I have ever seen it." Click here to see our full write up. Goldman shares fell more than 3 percent amid the op-ed piece.

3. The FOMC issued its latest policy statement on Tuesday of this week, noting strains in the global economy which have eased and unemployment which has "declined notably." The Fed maintains a 0-0.25 percent target rate. Click here to see the full statement.

4. Shares of Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) just barely tapped $600 on Thursday, one day ahead of the release of the company's newest iPad. Trading in shares of Apple has been absolutely off the charts recently. On Wednesday, for example, dollar volume in Apple nearly eclipsed the entire NYSE. Initial interest in the new iPad seemed to be strong. Although lines at retail locations were shorter than during prior device debuts, internet orders were reportedly very strong.

5. The IPO for Demandware, Inc. (NYSE: DWRE) opened at $25 on Thursday after pricing 5,500,000 shares at $16 per share. Shares closed at $27 even on Friday.

6. Crude oil traded violently this week amid rumors the US and UK had agreed to release emergency stockpiles of the commodity. Shortly after, an Obama aide called the headlines "inaccurate." NYMEX crude oil closed this week's session around $107 per barrel.

7. Shares of Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO) were mostly unchanged this week amid news of a $5 billion deal for NDS Group. NDS is a provider of video software and content security solutions that enable service providers and media companies to securely deliver and monetize new video entertainment experiences.

8. Labor Department data Thursday showed the number of US citizens applying for first-time jobless benefits has continued to remain near four-year lows into mid March. The figures underscore recent indications from the Fed related to labor market conditions which continue to improve. Initial jobless claims for the week ended March 10th totaled 351,000, down nearly 4 percent from an upwardly-revised reading of 365,000 for the prior week. Economists were expecting a jobless claims reading at 357,000.

9. Shares of Tudou (Nasdaq: TODU) rallied 150 percent on Monday while shares of Youku (Nasdaq: YOKU) jumped 27 percent amid news of an all-stock merger. Under the terms of the agreement, each Class A ordinary share and Class B ordinary share of Tudou issued and outstanding immediately prior to the effective time of the merger will be cancelled in exchange for the right to receive 7.177 Class A ordinary shares of Youku, and each American depositary share of Tudou, each of which represents four Tudou Class B ordinary shares, will be cancelled in exchange for the right to receive 1.595 American depositary shares of Youku, each of which represents 18 Youku Class A ordinary shares resulting in Youku and Tudou shareholders and ADS holders owning approximately 71.5% and 28.5% of the combined entity, respectively.

10. PPI for the month of February rose 0.4% data from the Labor Department showed this week. CPI for the month was also up 0.4%. Economists were expecting a rise of 0.5% and 0.4%, respectively.

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Initial Jobless Claims, JPMorgan, Citi, Federal Open Market Committee, Dividend, Top 10 News Items for the Week, Crude Oil, Barack Obama

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