Miners Strike in South Africa, Best Buy Warns Investors: Weekly Market Recap

Here’s your Cheat Sheet to the top market moving headlines of the week:

Catalysts are critical to discovering winning stocks. Check out our newest CHEAT SHEET stock picks now.

Monday

Markets closed up today on Wall Street:

S&P 500: +0.04%Nasdaq: 0.38%Dow: 0.02%Oil: -1.47%Gold: +0.31%.

On the commodities front, Oil (NYSE:USO) dropped to $88.73 per barrel. Precious metals were up, with Gold (NYSE:GLD) climbing to $1,729.50 per ounce, and Silver (NYSE:SLV) climbing to $32.42 per ounce at the bell.

Here’s your Cheat Sheet to today’s top stock stories:

The family of a teenage Maryland girl, who died of a cardiac arrest last December, is suing Monster Beverage Corp. (NASDAQ:MNST) after alleging that her death was caused by “caffeine toxicity” brought on by the consumption of the company’s energy drink. Each 24-oz. can of the drink contains 240 milligrams of caffeine, the equivalent of seven 12-oz. cans of Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO), according to the filing.

Apple has been a huge winning stock pick for Wall St. Cheat Sheet Newsletter subscribers. Don’t waste another minute — click here and get more of our CHEAT SHEET stock picks now.

In South Africa, approximately 100,000 workers, mostly miners, have been on strike for better pay since August. The strikes have led to credit downgrades of Africa’s top economy and marred the nation’s image overseas. But the mining companies operating in that theater have not stepped down. On Monday, AngloGold Ashanti (NYSE:AU), the third largest gold producer in the world, issued an ultimatum to the illegally striking miners to return to work by Wednesday or be fired.

In the wake of expected losses up to $1 billion in Europe, American auto manufacturer Ford (NYSE:F) could be gearing up to close a factory in Genk, Belgium. An emergency meeting with unions at the Genk factory, announced on Monday, has sparked concerns that a long-speculated closure could be imminent. Shuttering the plant, which employs 4,300 people, would cost about $1.1 billion for an annual savings of $730 million.

The familiar joys and stresses of holiday shopping are rapidly approaching once again, and when consumers begin buying all those gifts for the loved ones on their lists, it’s expected more will opt to skip the stores and order their presents online than ever before. FedEx (NYSE:FDX), which will ship so many of those online purchases, released a report Monday stating that the world’s second-largest shipping company expects to have its busiest holiday season on record.  FedEx estimates it will deliver around 280 million packages between Thanksgiving and Christmas, 13 percent more than last year.

It appears that the expansion by Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) into four Scandinavian countries last week was only the tip of the iceberg, as job postings found on the company’s website Monday signal even larger moves are on the horizon. The online video streaming service posted a call for “experienced linguists” to presumably help facilitate the service’s translation into seven new languages.

Posters matching the event invite have started going up at San Jose’s California Theater as Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) prepares for its big event on Tuesday. While the company’s secrecy policy has meant that no one is absolutely certain of what the company has in store for unveiling, most bets are on first glimpse of the iPad Mini, perhaps alongside updated iMacs and a new MacBook.

Don’t Miss: Is FedEx Hinting at the Busiest Holiday Season Ever?

Tuesday

Markets closed down today on Wall Street:

S&P 500: -1.44%Nasdaq: -0.88%Dow: -1.82%Gold: -1.11%Oil: -2.61%.

On the commodities front, Oil (NYSE:USO) fell to $86.34 per barrel. Precious metals were down, with Gold (NYSE:GLD) falling to $1,707.30 per ounce, and Silver (NYSE:SLV) dropping to $31.65.

Here’s your Cheat Sheet to today’s top stock stories:

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) pulled the covers off its smaller tablet on Tuesday, calling it the iPad mini and taking the market share fight right to its Google(NASDAQ:GOOG) Android rivals.

The iPad mini sports a 7.9-inch screen and is priced between $329 and $659 for various storage and connectivity specifications. The 1024X768 pixel display resolution of the new tablet is the same as that on the second generation of the company’s full-fledged iPad. The LTE-equipped mini tablet features the A5 processor of the iPhone 4S, the new Lightening dock connector, a 5MP iSight back camera, a high-definition FaceTime camera, and at 0.68 pounds, is 53 percent lighter than the 9.7-inch iPad.

Catalysts are critical to discovering winning stocks. Check out our newest CHEAT SHEET stock picks now.

Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) released its earnings after the bell. Results are positive and investors seem happy, with shares up as much as 8.4 percent in after-hours trading.

Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) Chief Executive Brian T. Moynihan had one clearly established, oft-repeated goal since the day he took over the bank in January 2010 – to achieve what he termed a “fortress balance sheet.” Last week, in a staff meeting broadcast company-wide, Moynihan proudly announced that Bank of America had realized that goal, and was now equipped with the “top capital” of all the big banks.

If Santa has been keeping up with his Newsfeed, he’s bound to notice the recent influx of holiday shoppers and wish-list-makers that are now following Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) on Facebook. As a result of its push to increase the retailer’s digital presence, Wal-Mart now has a staggering 23.5 million Facebook fans, the largest fan base in the United States, and wants to leverage that social popularity into higher holiday sales.

With drastically less fanfare than Apple, Nokia (NYSE:NOK) introduced its new Lumia 510, a budget smartphone with a 4-inch screen that will be sold in emerging markets. The Lumia 510 will roll out in markets like India, China, South America, and Asia in November, and will hope to compete with similar low-priced Android phones that have enjoyed considerable recent success, particularly in Asia.

Don’t Miss: Nokia Unveiled This New Phone, in Case You Didn’t Notice.

Wednesday

Markets closed down today on Wall Street:

S&P 500: -0.31%Nasdaq: -0.29%, Dow: -0.19%Oil: -1.11%Gold: -0.44%.

On the commodities front, Oil (NYSE:USO) dropped to $85.71 per barrel. Precious metals were down, with Gold (NYSE:GLD) falling to $1,701.60 per ounce, and Silver (NYSE:SLV) falling to $31.73 per ounce at the bell.

Here’s your Cheat Sheet to today’s top stock stories:

S&P 500 (NYSE:SPY) component The Boeing Company (NYSE:BA) reported its results for the third quarter, flying past estimates on double-digit revenue growth. Read our Boeing earnings report.

Catalysts are critical to discovering winning stocks. Check out our newest CHEAT SHEET stock picks now.

Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) closes up 19.13 percent after releasing solid earnings. Notably, the company shows strength in mobile advertising.

Visa Inc. (NYSE:V) announced Wednesday that its Board of Directors has elected the company’s next chief executive officer. Charles W. Scharf, who is currently the Managing Director of One Equity Partners, which manages $10 billion of investments for JP Morgan Chase (NYSE:JPM), will assume the role of Visa’s new CEO on November 1, 2012.

The European Commission charged Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) with an antitrust violation after the company failed to comply with its commitment to allow users of its Windows operating system a choice of Internet browsers as per a 2009 settlement.

More reason to believe the housing market is finally on the mend came when the U.S. Commerce Department released the numbers on new single-family home sales for the month of September. Sales of new homes jumped 5.7 percent in September to a seasonally adjusted 389,000-unit annual rate, the highest level in nearly two-and-a-half years. Compared to last September, new home sales are up 27.1 percent.

The Securities and Exchange Commission has begun an informal probe to determine if Citigroup (NYSE:C) failed to provide material information surrounding the exit of former Chief Executive Vikram Pandit earlier this month. Both Pandit and Citigroup Chairman Michael O’Neill told investors in conference calls and interviews that the decision to step down was Pandit’s alone. However, reports later surfaced that after the markets closed the day before, the board served warning to Pandit that they were no longer confident in his abilities and advised he resign immediately.

Rajat Gupta, a former director at Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), is scheduled to be sentenced on Wednesday afternoon for his role in an insider trading fiasco. Gupta has been convicted by a jury on three counts of securities fraud and one count of conspiracy. The jury found that he passed confidential information from Goldman Sachs to his friend and former business associate Raj Rajaratnam, a founder of the Galleon Group hedge fund. (Spoiler: $5 million penalty and two years in federal prison.)

Investing Insights: Facebook Earnings: Fuels Profits, Stock Pops 15%.

Thursday

Markets closed up today on Wall Street:

S&P 500: +0.30%Nasdaq: +0.15%Dow: +0.20%Oil: +0.54%Gold: +0.69%.

On the commodities front, Oil (NYSE:USO) broke a 5-day streak and rose to $86.19 per barrel. Precious metals are up, with Gold (NYSE:GLD) rising to $1,713.50 per ounce, and Silver (NYSE:SLV) climbing to $32.14 per ounce after the bell.

Here’s your Cheat Sheet to today’s top stock stories:

S&P 500 (NYSE:SPY) component Sprint Nextel Corporation (NYSE:S) reported its results for the third quarter. Sprint Nextel offers a range of wireless and wireline communications products and services. Read our Sprint earnings report.

Aetna (NYSE:AET) closed up 1.09 percent after releasing earnings of $1.55 per share, beating expectations by $0.21. Proctor & Gamble (NYSE:PG) closed up 2.92 percent on strong earnings that were in line with estimates. ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) released earnings of $1.44 per share, beating estimates by $0.31. Read more about Thursday’s earnings.

Catalysts are critical to discovering winning stocks. Check out our newest CHEAT SHEET stock picks now.

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) releases fourth quarter 2012 results. Earnings per share of $8.67 miss by $0.08. Revenue grew 27 percent year over year to $36 billion, beating by 200 million. Some sales highlights are 26.9 million iPhones and 14 million iPads sold. Shares were temporarily halted, and down as much as 1.18 percent after hours.

Pandora (NYSE:P) gets no love from investors, crashing over 10 percent and triggering a halt as rumors of an Apple Internet radio surface. The company is reportedly in “serious talks” with major music labels.

Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) releases third quarter earnings per share of -$0.60, below estimates. Revenue grew 27 percent year over year to $13.8 billion, missing by $90 million. Shares dropped as much as 2.4 percent after hours.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) announced its Pending Home Sales Index gained 0.3 percent to 99.5 in the month of September, a less-than-expected, albeit still positive, improvement for the housing market. The number of contracts signed to purchase existing homes rose much more modestly than economists had expected, but any sort of gain is still a step in the right direction after a decline of 2.6 percent in August. Experts surveyed by Reuters had forecast a rise of some 2.1 percent in signed contracts.

Oil fell for five days straight to close on October 24 at $85.73 per barrel, its lowest since July. U.S. commercial crude oil inventories are pushing against the upper limit for the average this time of year. At 375.1 million barrels, inventories are at their highest level since 1982. Supplies are 11.1 percent above last year’s level. Prices dropped about 7 percent in a week since last Thursday.

Don’t Miss: Can Microsoft Boss Over Apple in China?

Friday

Markets were mixed today on Wall Street:

S&P 500: -0.07%, Nasdaq: +0.06%, Dow: +0.03%, Oil: +0.03%, Gold: -0.09.

On the commodities front, Oil (NYSE:USO) dropped to $86.08 per barrel. Precious metals were mixed, with Gold (NYSE:GLD) dropping to $1,711.40 per ounce and Silver (NYSE:SLV) climbing to $32.08 per ounce about 10 minutes after the bell.

Here’s your Cheat Sheet to today’s top stock stories:

After a mixed earnings release on Thursday, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) closed down 0.91 percent on Friday after posting modest gains in the pre-market. The company pulled in earnings per share of $8.67, missing Wall Street expectations of $8.84, but beating on revenue growth.

Catalysts are critical to discovering winning stocks. Check out our newest CHEAT SHEET stock picks now.

Online retail giant Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) released its quarterly report Thursday afternoon and the numbers were disappointing, to say the least.  The Seattle, Washington-based company reported its first quarterly net losses since 2003 and revenues failed to meet expectations. However, despite the blow, the stock closed up 6.87 percent.

Deckers Outdoor (NASDAQ:DECK) got slaughtered, closing down 16.93 percent despite earnings per share of $1.18 that beat estimates by $0.13. The bad news is that revenue dropped 9 percent year over year and the outlook for the future looks pretty bleak.

Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) closed slightly down on a mixed earnings report. Net income rose while revenue fell. Read our Merck earnings Cheat Sheet for more.

Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) sounded a warning Thursday for investors to brace themselves for the company’s third-quarter earnings results, which the electronics retailer cautioned would show profits falling ‘significantly’ below last year’s mark.

Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) announced Friday that its quarterly profits have more than doubled thanks to a combination of positive forces, the most notable being improved performance by NBC Universal. Net income for the fiscal third quarter rose to $2.1 billion, or 78 cents per share, a boost shareholders are sure to relish after last year’s same quarter saw profits of $908 million, or 33 cents per share.  Sales also beat analysts’ expectations, rising 15 percent to $16.5 billion.

Vibrant consumer activity and improvements in the housing sector helped the economy expand at a better-than-expected annualized rate of 2 percent in the third quarter, the U.S. Commerce Department said. Friday’s report is the final GDP reading ahead of the elections on November 6 and will come as a positive for the Obama campaign.

Most of the third-quarter’s increase could be attributed to consumer spending, with real personal-consumption expenditures growing 2 percent from the 1.5 percent of the second quarter. Purchases of long-lasting goods gained 8.5 percent. Government spending also contributed to economic growth — for the first time in more than two years — by growing 9.6 percent after a 0.2 percent drop in the second quarter. Residential fixed investment grew by 14.4 percent.

Don’t Miss: Apple’s Huge Cash Hoard Continues to Grow.