This eighth trading week of 2012 comes to a close with investors digesting the latest deal to restructure Greece's sovereign debt, and pondering what effect higher oil prices will have on global economic growth.
Hi. I'm Tracy Fitzpatrick. Welcome to the 'Weekly Market Wrap' for Friday February 24, 2012.
The S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average were both trading in positive territory for the week late on Friday afternoon, while the NASDAQ was little changed.
Crude oil futures are rallying this week, trading around $109.87 per barrel on Friday afternoon.
Gold futures are higher this week, to around $1770.96 an ounce in afternoon trading.
In notable economic news this week, the Labor Department said the number of people applying for jobless benefits was unchanged last week at 351,000, the lowest level since March 2008. The four-week average of initial claims also dropped for the sixth straight week to 359,000, the lowest level in four years.
In corporate news this week, Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) announced that profits dropped by 44 percent during its first fiscal quarter to $1.5 billion versus the same period last year. Revenue fell by seven percent to $30 billion. The company expects to earn between 88 to 91 cents per share for the quarter ending in April, below analyst estimates.
Toll Brothers (NYSE:TOL) announced that it lost $2.8 million, or 2 cents per share, for the quarter ended Jan. 31, versus a profit of $3.4 million, or 2 cents per share, in the same period last year. Revenue dropped by four percent to $322 million from $334.1 million, missing estimates of $359.6 million.
Strong holiday sales helped Target (NYSE:TGT) beat expectations with its earnings report, and Sears (NASDAQ:SHLD) posted weaker than expected fourth quarter earnings, and announced plans to sell 11 stores to General Growth Properties (NYSE:GGP) in an effort to boost liquidity.
Insurance giant AIG (NYSE:AIG) reported that it earned $19.8 billion in the quarter, or 82 cents per share, ahead of analyst estimates of 63 cents. The profit included a $17.7 billion gain that was related to the release of the allowance of a deferred tax asset valuation.
This is the 'Weekly Market Wrap' for Friday February 24th. Please join us on Monday for the 'Week Ahead Market Report."
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