Toyota and Honda Hurting in China, Microsoft Has Apple Envy: Weekly Market Recap

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

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Monday

Markets closed down today on Wall Street: S&P: -0.35%, Nasdaq: -0.76%, Dow: -0.19%, Oil: -0.22%, Gold: -0.24%.

On the commodities front, Oil (NYSE:USO) dropped to $89.67 per barrel. Precious metals were down, with Gold (NYSE:GLD) falling to $1,779.50 per ounce, and Silver (NYSE:SLV) dropping 1.48% to $34.06.

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

Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) will be joining the ranks of tech companies such as Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) that offer credit services. After running a successful pilot program in the United States, Google will be extending AdWords Business Credit invitations to companies in the United Kingdom, and extending services in the U.S. to more businesses.

With the advent of the third-quarter earnings season at hand, Alcoa (NYSE:AA), the longtime barometer for the health of global manufacturing, will release its earnings report shortly after 4 p.m. EST on Monday. However recent data, analyzed by research firm FactSet, shows that the company may not be such a good indicator after all. Read our article explaining why.

Foxconn Technology Group had to halt production of Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhones for the second time in two weeks as factory-line workers protested against increased pressure. The company, which employs over 1 million workers in China, has in recent years suffered suicides, riots, and strikes, prompting global outcry for it to improve working conditions. On Friday, a dispute occurred between the production and quality teams at the factory, and subsequently, some 3,000 to 4,000 workers walked off the job.

Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) and American Express (NYSE:AXP) announced Monday that they are partnering to provide customers a new way to make purchases: a re-loadable prepaid card. Begun last year as a pilot program, Bluebird will have no minimum balance and no monthly, annual, or overdraft fees. The two companies say the only fees attached to the card will be within the user’s control, like out-of-network ATM withdrawals by customers who do not have direct deposit.

Don’t Miss: The Week Ahead: Fed Weighs In With Beige Book, Alcoa Kicks Off Earnings.

Tuesday

Markets closed down on Wall Street today: S&P: -0.99%, Nasdaq: -1.52%, Dow: -0.81%, Oil: +3.31%, Gold: -0.56%.

On the commodities front, Oil (NYSE:USO) climbed to $92.29 per barrel. Precious metals were down, with Gold (NYSE:GLD) falling to $1,765.80 per ounce, and Silver (NYSE:SLV) dropping 0.31% to $33.91.

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

Alcoa (NYSE:AA), widely viewed as an economic barometer, beat earnings estimates today. Fiscal quarter three EPS landed at $0.03 over break-even expectations, and revenue came in at $5.83 billion, beating $5.56 billion expected.

The International Monetary Fund has cut its global economic growth forecasts and warned that U.S. and European policymakers need to address continuing challenges quickly. The slowdown in the global economy will persist unless several short-term economic challenges were addressed, the IMF said in its World Economic Outlook report.

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In his first deal since replacing Bob Diamond, Barclays’ (NYSE:BCS) new chief executive set the bank’s strategy firmly towards retail banking with its ING (NYSE:ING) Direct deal. Anthony Jenkins, previously head of Barclays retail banking operations, became the company’s chief executive at the end of August, after the Libor interest rate rigging scandal forced Diamond to resign. Tuesday’s takeover of ING’s British savings and loan business and its 1.5 million customers was the Jenkins’s first deal since assuming the position.

Japanese automakers Toyota (NYSE:TM) and Honda (NYSE:HMC) continue to suffer production and sales cuts in China due to a territory dispute between the two countries. Toyota has reported sales losses of 48.9 percent, while Honda sales have dropped 40.5 percent. Meanwhile, BMW sales surged 55 percent in the country. American manufacturers Ford (NYSE:F) and General Motors (NYSE:GM) could be eyeing the country for growth as Japanese brands lose value.

In the middle of September, markets in the United States got smacked with quantitative easing round 3. Now it looks like the People’s Bank of China is taking a page out of Ben Bernanke’s playbook by blasting liquidity into the money market. The PBoC is using a type of short-term loan called a reverse repurchase agreement — a financial instrument aimed at lowering domestic borrowing costs and helping businesses cope with the slowing economy. The latest infusion was $42.14 billion, following a $46.12 billion injection on September 25.

Investing Insights: 3 Top Stocks Kicking Off Earnings Season Today.

Wednesday

Markets closed down today on Wall Street:

S&P: -0.68%Nasdaq: -0.43%Dow: -0.95%Oil: -1.23%Gold: -0.01%.

On the commodities front, Oil (NYSE:USO) is down at $91.25 per barrel. Precious metals are mixed, with Gold (NYSE:GLD) ticking to $1,764.90, and Silver (NYSE:SLV) rising 0.28% to $34.08.

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

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries has released its October 2012 Oil Market Report. Demand forOPEC crude in 2012 has been revised up by 0.2 million barrels per day, to a total of 30.1 mb/d. This is down 0.1 mb/d from last year. In 2013, demand for OPEC crude is forecast to average 29.8 mb/d, a 0.3 md/d decline from this year.

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Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) wants to be the next Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), according to CEO Steve Ballmer, who signaled in his annual letter to shareholders a new direction for the software company: hardware and online services. Apple’s tight integration of software and hardware has proven successful. Meanwhile, Microsoft has had to rely on companies like Dell (NASDAQ:DELL) and Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) to design desktops and laptops running on Windows software, and has had difficulty finding partners to build Windows Phone smartphones.

Toyota (NYSE:TM) announced on October 10 that it will be recalling 2.5 million vehicles in the United States. This round could pull as many as 7.43 million units globally, making it one of the largest recalls ever. Toyota suggests that it would take about one hour to repair the issue.

Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) has made the decision to delay the release of BlackBerry 10 once already. A product that is late to market is probably better than a failed product, but at this rate the company may have both on its hands. According to Forbes, Jefferies analyst Peter Misek is not expecting to see BlackBerry 10 until March.

And the fiscal cliff marches closer. If the United States Congress fails to address the expiration of $600 billion worth of tax breaks and jobless benefits by the end of this year, the economy could shrink as much as 4 percentage points in the first half of 2013, according to Goldman Sachs. Here are the companies who should fear that cliff the most.

Don’t Miss: OPEC: The Future of Oil is Uncertain.

Thursday

Markets were mixed today on Wall Street:

S&P: +0.06%Nasdaq: -0.08%Dow: -0.14%Oil: +0.90%Gold: +0.24%.

On the commodities front, Oil (NYSE:USO) climbed to $92.07 per barrel. Precious metals were mixed, with Gold (NYSE:GLD) rising to $1,769.3, and Silver (NYSE:SLV) dropping 0.29% to $34.01.

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

Americans received a bit of good news Thursday morning when the U.S. Labor Department released new data that showed a sharp decrease in the number of jobless claims filed in the last week. The report highlights a drop of 30,000 initial claims for state unemployment benefits, bringing the seasonally adjusted total to 339,000. The news may have been sweetest for the nation’s Commander-in-Chief Barack Obama, who could certainly use this positive labor market data to boost his bid for reelection. Obama has not seen new claims numbers so low since he has been in office, these being the lowest since February 2008.

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Foreclosure filings in the U.S. last month fell to a five-year low, according to a RealtyTrac report, but some states are still seeing their foreclosures rise. The overall decrease put the combined number of reported default notices, scheduled auctions, and bank repossessions in September at 180,427, the lowest total since July 2007, and 7 percent less than August’s foreclosure rate.

British Petroleum (NYSE:BP) and the United States Justice Department are closing in on a settlement deal related to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster, reports The Wall Street Journal. BP pledged to raise $38 billion by the end of 2013 in order to cover an estimated maximum cost of $37.2 billion related to the spill. If found guilty of gross negligence — as the U.S. Justice Department has accused — BP would be liable for as much as $21 billion in civil penalties under the Clean Water Act alone.

A further consolidation of the telecommunications market is approaching; Japanese mobile carrier, Softbank (SFTBF.PK), is preparing to purchase Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) for 1 trillion yen, or $13 billion, reported The Wall Street Journal Thursday. The offer from Softbank comes a week after Deutsche Telekom (DTEGY.PK) agreed to merge its U.S. wireless carrier, T-Mobile, with MetroPCS (NYSE:PCS) for $39 billion.

One question on the forefront of many analysts’ minds is this: can the impending launch of Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows 8, and the hardware built for it, resurrect personal-computer sales? Research firms IDC and Gartner reported that PC shipments fell by more than 8 percent, from a year earlier, in the third quarter. This is the steepest drop since 2001. Another report from IHS iSuppli supported their claim; their data showed shipments for the full year would contract for the first time in 11 years.

Don’t Miss: Can Windows 8 Prevent a PC Nosedive?

Friday

Markets were mixed today on Wall Street:

S&P: -0.30%Nasdaq: -0.17%Dow: +0.02%Oil: -0.23%Gold: -0.78%.

On the commodities front, Oil (NYSE:USO) dropped to $91.86 per barrel. Precious metals were down, with Gold (NYSE:GLD) dropping to $1,756.80 per ounce, and Silver (NYSE:SLV) falling 1.43% to $33.59 per ounce.

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

JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) announced early on October 12 that it pulled in revenue of $25.9 billion in the latest
quarter. This is up 34 percent from a year ago, yielding a third-quarter net income of $5.71 billion, or $1.40 per share. Analysts were expecting $1.24 per share on average.

While Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) saw its third-quarter profit jump 22 percent and beat Wall Street expectations, revenue was below projections. The bank reported a profit of $4.94 billion, an increase from last year’s third-quarter profit of $4.06 billion. Earnings per share were 88 cents, up from 72 cents last year, and revenue increased 8.1 percent to $21.21 billion. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected earnings per share of 87 cents on revenue of $21.47 billion.

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Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) CEO Jeff Bezos has confirmed that the online retailer does in fact sell its Kindle e-reader “at cost” instead relying on sales of online content for profit. The aggressive pricing of the Kindle is meant to get them into the hands of as many people as possible, thus drawing them into the Amazon ecosystem.

In its October 2012 Oil Market Report, the International Energy Agency cut its projections for global oil demand to 87.9 million barrels per day for the year. OPEC also issued an October oil report, which pointed to a sluggish global economy placing uncertainty on the energy market. “Right now, we’re just getting battered around by headlines,” said Tradition Energy broker Gene McGillian. “We’ve got support from signs that the U.S. economy is recovering, but the market is looking for signs whether a European stimulus will take hold.”

According to a report issued by the U.S. Labor Department, the seasonally adjusted Producer Price Index increased 1.1 percent last month. While U.S. producer prices rose more than analysts expected in September due to rising energy costs, inflation remained muted. In response to the report, stocks rose Friday morning, even as most markets around the world posted declines. However, stocks will still show their biggest weekly loss since June due to mixed third-quarter results from U.S. companies like Alcoa (NYSE:AA), Safeway (NYSE:SWY), and Yum Brands (NYSE:YUM).

Don’t Miss: Growing Pains: Coal Stocks Shift With Natural Gas Prices.

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