Tuesday got off to a rousing start that showed itself in numerous places. Just by the numbers, the Dow Jones got a 1.5% boost that especially jump-started 2011’s losers, the financial sector. And one of the ugliest performers of them all — Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) — caught fire and finished the week up almost 11%.
Potentially more important, two major Dow indices hit new breakouts and the dollar met with some difficulty — early bullish signs as seen by technical analysts.
U.S. automakers continued the positivity through the week, with the Detroit Big 3 reporting their operations were all profitable for the first time in eight years. Chrylser’s sales gained a whopping 37% in December, mostly on the strength of its Jeep brand, while Ford (NYSE:F) sales were up 10% and General Motors’ (NYSE:GM) were up 4.6%.
However, not all was hunky-dory for the week. Iran’s threats to close off the Strait of Hormuz — which could send oil prices sky-high — had energy markets flustered all week. However, off-put investors still have numerous avenues through which they can navigate the energy sector. Not the least of these are exchange-traded funds — which can be used to profit off volatility, or just bought as part of a regular growth portfolio.
Here were some other headlines from the week:
(Mostly) Positive Jobs News
Friday capped a week of mostly positive jobs data with the Labor Department’s announcement that the U.S. created a better-than-expected 200,000 jobs in December, knocking the employment down to 8.5%. Also on Thursday, ADP said U.S. companies beat economists’ forecasts of net hires by increasing payrolls by 325,000 on the month, and weekly unemployment claims dropped 15,000 from the previous week’s 387,000 while the four-week average declined by 3,250.
Still, that news had a couple of unsightly gray hairs. PepsiCo (NYSE:PEP) said it was mulling eliminating about 4,000 jobs and reducing pension contributions to boost earnings figures, and Boeing (NYSE:BA) made a stir by announcing it would be leaving Wichita, Kan., after more about 90 years — a move that would affect 2,160 workers there. The plan would, however, create about 200 more jobs in Puget Sound, Wash.
Everything’s Going Up!
Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) rang in the new year by ringing its customers’ bells to the tune of a dime. The company said rising prices for milk and coffee was forcing its hand, and it would raise prices in stores throughout the Northeast and Southwest. For anyone wanting a 12-ounce cup of coffee, that’ll be another 10 cents.
And starting in a little more than a week, everyone’s favorite high-risk retirement plan is about to get more expensive, too. The national lottery Powerball said this week that tickets would double in price, from $1 to $2.
However, there was one doubling this week that went over well — at least with investors. Macy’s (NYSE:M) announced its next quarterly dividend would be raised from 10 cents to 20 cents, the second time in as many years the retailer has upped its payout.
The 2012 Republican primary got off to an undecided start this week with the Iowa Caucus. Mitt Romney was the voters’ choice, but it was hardly a runaway. Rick Santorum lost by just eight votes, and Ron Paul finished in a not-too-distant third.
In fact, very little was decided in Iowa, though we do know a couple of things: Romney likely will get the backing of the GOP elite because of his relative national appeal, and at least for now, we probably can stop talking about Michele Bachmann, who dropped out of the race.
Three Up Friday
- Dendreon (NASDAQ:DNDN): Up 16.3% ($1.73) to $12.35. (Read more about Dendreon here.)
- Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX): Up 8.8% ($6.99) to $86.29.
- Marvell Technology (NASDAQ:MRVL): Up 3.2% (49 cents) to $15.72.
Three Down Friday
- RF Micro Devices (NASDAQ:RFMD): Down 19.5% ($1.10) to $4.54.
- Kodiak Oil (NYSE:KOG): Down 4.16% (43 cents) to $9.91.
- Banco Santander (NYSE:STD): Down 3.22% (23 cents) to $6.91.
As of this writing, Kyle Woodley did not own a position in any of the aforementioned stocks.