Weekly Market Wrap: Markets SHAKE, Microsoft’s NEW Product, Bank Ratings SLASHED

Monday

Markets closed mixed on Wall Street today: 

Dow -0.20%, S&P +0.14%, Nasdaq +0.78%, Oil -1.10%, Gold -0.02%.

On the commodities front, Oil (NYSE:USO) declined to $83.11 a barrel. Precious metals also declined, with Gold (NYSE:GLD) falling to $1629 an ounce while Silver (NYSE:SLV) fell 0.02% to settle at $28.72.

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

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) had been expected to unveil a new tablet device at an event in Los Angeles on Monday. Citing sources familiar with the matter, TechCrunch earlier reported that the tablet will be an e-reader developed under Microsoft’s recent partnership with Barnes & Noble (NYSE:BKS), while All Things D and The Wrap reported that Microsoft will unveil its own branded tablet. The tablet will likely run Windows RT, a version of Windows 8 approved for ARM-based processors.

Don’t Miss: Will Microsoft’s NEW Tablet Give Apple a Run for its Money?

Groupon Inc.(NASDAQ:GRPN) saw its shares rally up to 13 percent during the trading day after Morgan Stanley raised its rating on the company to “Overweight” from “Equal weight” before the market opened on Monday. Analysts said throughout the year, the company had made numerous moves to raise its market position.

Facebook’s (NASDAQ:FB) shares closed up 4.65% percent just one month after its much-publicized IPO. The company announced on Monday that it acquired Face.com. The companies had been in talks since last month about the deal; the amount of the transaction was undisclosed. This marked Facebook’s fourth acquisition this year.

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Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) added some senior talent to its ranks by hiring Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Michael Barrett to help with its challenged core advertising business; he is a former colleague of Yahoo’s interim chief executive, reported The Wall Street Journal. The company said Barrett will be Yahoo’s executive vice president and chief revenue officer, who will manage global advertising sales and operations.

Intel Corp. (NASDAQ:INTC) agreed to buy about 1,700 “patents and patent applications” related to key technologies from intellectual property developer InterDigital Communications Corp. (NASDAQ:IDCC). The company will spend about $375 million for the patents and in a joint statement said they are “related to 3G, LTE and 802.11 technologies.”

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Tuesday

Markets closed up on Wall Street today: 

Dow +0.75%, S&P +0.98%, Nasdaq +1.19%, Oil +0.85%, Gold -0.51%.

On the commodities front, Oil (NYSE:USO) rose to $0.85 a barrel. Precious metals declined, with Gold (NYSE:GLD) falling to $1,619 an ounce while Silver (NYSE:SLV) fell 0.36% to settle at $28.31.

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

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) unveiled a line of tablet computers on Monday that included a consumer device aimed directly at the Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad, and another, larger machine designed to compete directly with lightweight laptops like Apple’s MacBook Air and the Ultrabooks it inspired. Both will be powered by versions of the new Windows 8 operating system, and each has a keyboard that doubles as a cover.

Featured Reading: Is Microsoft’s New Tablet an iPad CRUSHER?

A former AT&T (NYSE:T) executive pleaded guilty on Monday to having leaked information about Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone and Research in Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) BlackBerry sales numbers to hedge fund operators who made illegal trades using the information. Alnoor Ebrahim, who the Wall Street Journal described as the former director of channel marketing and sales operations for AT&T Mobility’s wireless group, admitted to having worked as a consultant for “expert-network” group Primary Global Research LLC, sharing private corporate information with the firm between 2008 and 2010.

Bank of America Corp.’s (NYSE:BAC) shares increased 4.5 percent after Julius Baer Holding announced it was conducting talks to buy the company’s Merrill Lynch international wealth management business. In a statement today, Baer said, “Given the early stage of these discussions, the outcome is entirely open.” Meanwhile, Bank of America’s spokesman Jan Vonder Muehll would not elaborate on the news.

Bon-Ton Stores Inc. (NASDAQ:BONT) shares increased 10 percent on the news that company plans to sell its $475 million private label credit-card business to Alliance Data (NYSE:ADS). The deal’s terms weren’t disclosed but it is “consistent with industry norms.”

Nvidia Corp.’s (NASDAQ:NVDA) shares rose 6.7 percent after Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT) said it will sell in its new tablet, the Spark, the company’s ARM-based processor. Nomura analyst Romit Shah wrote in a research note to investors about the tablet’s features and said, “Those are interesting features, in our opinion, that should drive incremental revenue for Nvidia.” The analyst placed a “Buy” rating on Nvidia’s stock with a $18 price target.

Wednesday

Markets closed down on Wall Street today:

Dow -0.10%, S&P -0.17%, Nasdaq +0.02%, Oil -3.53%, Gold -0.96%.

On the commodities front, Oil (NYSE:USO) declined to $81.06 a barrel. Precious metals also declined, with Gold (NYSE:GLD) falling to $1,608 an ounce while Silver (NYSE:SLV) fell 0.25 to settle at $28.12.

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

Financial stocks were riding on a high on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve extended the Operation Twist program until the end of the year. Shares of JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) rose almost 4 percent to $36.71 also after a report that the bank had dumped a substantial part of a derivatives trade that cost it between $2 billion to $3 billion in losses. Shares of Citigroup (NYSE:C) rose almost 1 percent, American Express (NYSE:AXP) was up .72 percent, Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) ticked lower .82% and Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) gained .12% in the afternoon.

Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) shares rose $0.23 cents a share to close at $30.93 after the company held its annual Windows Phone Summit in San Francisco on Wednesday. It provided details about the features in its to-be released mobile-phone operating system. Previously known as “Apollo”, it will include support for multi-core chips, built-in mapping technology and improved technology for the processing of digital payments, reported MarketWatch.

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Applied Materials (AMAT) shares increased by more than 3 percent to close at $11.55. The company named its new president, Gary Dickerson. He was previously Varian Semiconductor’s chief executive; last year the company had been acquired by Applied. From the news, Barclays Research analyst C.J. Muse raised his rating on Applied’s stock to “Overweight” from “Equal Weight.”

Jabil Circuit Inc.(NYSE:JBL) shares rose almost 7 percent after the company announced on Tuesday its third quarter revenues came in better-than-expected. It also said it will stick with its prior forecast for fiscal 2013 sales. According to Bloomberg, analysts believe Jabils’ current quarter could be a turning point for the company. Investor optimism also spurred Wednesday’s rally.

AspenBio Pharma Inc.’s (NASDAQ:APPY) shares tanked more than 36 percent after the company said it would sell 6.1 million shares at $2 per share. That represents a 36 percent discount to Tuesday’s closing share price.

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Thursday

Markets closed down on Wall Street today:

Dow -1.96%,S&P -2.23%, Nasdaq -2.44%, Oil -4.09%, Gold -3.09%.

On the commodities front, Oil (NYSE:USO) declined to $78.08 a barrel. Precious metals also declined, with Gold (NYSE:GLD) falling to $1,566 an ounce while Silver (NYSE:SLV) fell 1.57% to settle at $26.82.

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

U.S. banks — including JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE:JPM) and Citigroup Inc. (NYSE:C) — will dole out up to $125,000 plus equity to individual clients negatively affected by poorly handled foreclosures in 2009 and 2010, in compliance with a remediation plan announced by bank regulators. Thomas Curry, U.S. comptroller of the currency, released a statement reading: “While we’ve made great strides since we took enforcement action against large mortgage servicers last year, much work is still ahead.”

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We’ve heard it before, but now there seems to be new evidence corroborating an earlier report that Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is planning to shrink its 30-pin dock connector to a 19-pin port in the next iPhone.  TechCrunch on Wednesday offered the most confident claim yet about Apple’s plans for an upcoming “mini dock” connector for Apple’s next-generation iOS devices, rumors of which have been swirling for months.

Sun Healthcare (NASDAQ:SUNH) shares rose almost 37 percent after Genesis HealthCare LLC said it will acquire the company for $8.50 a share; this represents a 38 percent premium over Sun’s Wednesday closing price. The deal is valued at approximately $275 million.

Bed, Bath & Beyond (NASDAQ:BBBY) shares dropped 17 percent after the company said on Wednesday that it had exceeded expectations with a first quarter profit that 15 percent  higher. It did report a downbeat outlook, noting average same-store-sales growth and gross-margin contraction.

Celgene (NASDAQ:CELG) shares fell 11.5 percent after the company said it was withdrawing its submission to European regulators for its Revlimid medicine for multiple myeloma; this is a cancer that affects certain white blood cells. Also on Thursday, Celgene said pomalidomide, a thalidomide derivative, would receive a normal review–not a priority one–from the Food and Drug Administration.

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Friday

Markets closed up on Wall Street today: 

Dow +0.53%, S&P +0.72%, Nasdaq $1.17%, Oil +2.49%, Gold +0.49%.

On the commodities front, Oil (NYSE:USO) rose to $80.15 a barrel. Precious metals also rose, with Gold (NYSE:GLD) increasing to $1,573 an ounce while Silver (NYSE:SLV) increased 0.01% to settle at $26.85.

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

Moody’s cut its ratings on 15 of the world’s biggest banks Thursday, downgrading them one to three notches to reflect their exposure to volatile capital market activities, which could result in heavy losses. Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) had its long-term debt rating lowered by just two notches, one level less than had been expected, sending its shares higher in after-hours trading. The downgrade left Morgan Stanley more highly rated than Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) and Citigroup (NYSE:C), but a notch below Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS).

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) wants to rush its New York antitrust lawsuit over e-book pricing by finishing evidence gathering by year’s end, according to the U.S. government. Apple acknowledges it has a “special urgency” in ending the case, but on Thursday, the government said in a letter filed in federal court in Manhattan that it wants until March 2013 to finish gathering facts in a lawsuit it brought this year.

Featured Reading: Are We All Apple’s Lab Rats?

First Solar’s (NASDAQ:FSLR) shares increased 9 percent after it announced the resumption of work on its 230-megawatt Los Angeles solar power plant. This came after it resolved certification issues that had resulted in suspending the project.

Alexza Pharmaceuticals‘ (NASDAQ:ALXA) shares increased 45 percent. The stock rallied on news that the company resubmitted a new drug application for its agitation drug, Adasuve with the Food and Drug Administration. According to Bloomberg, in May the agency told Alexza it needed to fix some problems in its manufacturing facility before it would approve its application.

Ryder System Inc. (NYSE:R) shares dropped 13 percent. On Thursday, the company said it had a lowered outlook for its fiscal second quarter and 2012 earnings.

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