There WILL Be a Quiz: Weekly Markets Recap

The market showed off its summer spirit by behaving like a roller coaster last week.

The week began with intraday volatility marking Monday's trading session. After being up more than 100 points, concerns over subprime mortgages dragged the Dow and the other major indices into negative territory in the afternoon. Another stomach-churning session ensued on Tuesday, amid housing and interest rate concerns. Following a three-digit point swing in the Dow, the indices ended modestly lower.

The up-and-down ride continued on Wednesday, but produced a different outcome. Despite a surprisingly weak durable-goods report and higher energy prices, stocks ended with gains after a strong afternoon rally led by techs and financials. Action slowed on Thursday. Prices closed little changed following the Fed's expected decision to keep its benchmark rate unchanged at 5.25%. On Friday, stocks continued to bounce about, driven by mixed economic news, a terrorist scare in the U.K., quarter-end purchasing, and higher oil prices. Trading finally rolled to a stop with prices showing in the red.

This week will be extremely quiet due to an early 1 p.m. close for the stock exchanges tomorrow ahead of Wednesday's Independence Day holiday. The most significant economic figures will be the employment report on Friday. Other data scheduled for release include the ISM national manufacturing index today and auto sales tomorrow. Corporations posting earnings include UAP Holdings today and Healthways on Thursday.

Stay market-tuned and Foolish!

Capital Markets Summary

U.S. Equities

6/29/07 Close

Weekly Change (%)

YTD Change (%)

Dow

13,408.62

    0.4

   7.6

Nasdaq

 2,603.23

    0.6

   7.8

S&P 500

 1,503.35

    0.1

   6.0

Commodities

Price ($)

Weekly Change (%)

Crude oil

  70.68

     2.23

Gold

 650.90

    (0.93)

Foolish Quiz
1. True or false: The Dow enjoyed its best quarter in more than three years.

2. True or false: The iPhone rang up a rally for Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) .

3. Which company posted tastier earnings: ConAgra (NYSE: CAG  ) or General Mills (NYSE: GIS  ) ?

4. True or false: Bear Stearns (NYSE: BSC  ) clawed its way to gains last week.

5. True or false: Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL  ) led the market higher on Wednesday.

6. True or false: Walgreen rallied after announcing healthy earnings.

7. True or false: Constellation Brand shareholders could use a drink.

8. Which homebuilder reported solidly constructed earnings?

(a) KB Home

(b) Lennar

(c) neither

9. True or false: Earnings at Nike raced ahead.

10. How many shares of Berkshire Hathaway would you have to sell to dine with Warren Buffett?

(a) one

(b) three

(c) six

Answers
1. True. The Dow rose 8.5% in the second quarter, its best performance since the fourth quarter of 2003.

2. True. While scores of customers waited in line for Apple's much-hyped iPhone, which went on sale Friday evening, investors bid up shares 1.2% during the day.

3. ConAgra. Proving that its Peter Pan peanut butter recall in February couldn't stick to poor results, fourth-quarter profit reported on Wednesday soared above expectations. The company earned $192 million, compared with $59.2 million a year ago. In contrast, General Mills posted a flat profit on Thursday, as both sales and marketing costs rose. So what's next for the cereal company? For starters, it shrunk its cereal boxes last Monday to try to keep pace with commodity inflation.

4. False. Bear Stearns remained the focus of subprime concerns, compounded by news that the SEC is investigating why it restated results for one of its troubled hedge funds. For the week, shares fell 2.6%.

5. True. After Oracle announced late Tuesday a 23% jump in its fourth-quarter profit and raised its long-term earnings targets, shares rallied 2.8% on Wednesday and contributed to a 1.2% rise in the Nasdaq.

6. False. Although Walgreen posted a 20% better than expected increase in third-quarter earnings on Monday, shares still declined 1.6% as growth lagged behind the prior three quarters.

7. True. Constellation shareholders may have pondered whether their glass was half-full or half-empty. On Thursday, Constellation knocked back a 64% drop in first-quarter earnings because of a decline in wine shipments to U.S. wholesalers and continued weakness in Britain. Earnings still exceeded expectations and shares rose 3.7%. The company separately announced that Robert Sands will take over from his brother as CEO later this month.

8. (c). Both companies reported second-quarter losses. Shares of Lennar fell 3.1% on Tuesday after the company swung to an unexpected loss due to the continued housing slump and warned of continued market weakness in the current quarter. Shares posted continually fresh 52-week closing lows during the week, with Friday's low of $36.37 setting the new low-level mark.

Shares of KB Home fell 1.3% on Thursday after it, too, swung to a loss and booked a significant charge to write down inventory. Management declined to provide an earnings estimate for the year, citing market conditions.

9. True. Shares of Nike ran up 8.3% on Wednesday following the prior day's release of its earnings, which showed a 32% jump in its fourth-quarter profit. The company's nimble performance was powered by strength in its subsidiary brands and international growth.

10. (c). A bidder on eBay agreed to pay $650,100 to have lunch with Buffett, with proceeds to benefit a charity. At Friday's closing price of $109,475 per share, the lunch date could be financed by selling off about six shares of Berkshire Hathaway. Maybe the winner should bring some pocket change just in case taxes and tip weren't included. Bon appetit, but remember that you can spend lunch reading the Fool for free!

Scoring
8-10 correct: Foolishly impressive.

6-7 correct: Almost Foolish.

1-5 correct: OK, but just barely.

0 correct: Really?! Keep reading the Fool, and watch your scores improve!

Both a and b shares of Berkshire Hathaway are Motley Fool Inside Value picks. Healthways, eBay, and Berkshire Hathaway (a and b shares) are Motley Fool Stock Advisor selections. Whatever your investing style, the Fool has a newsletter for you.

Fool contributor S.J. Caplan is a former vice president and assistant general counsel of Goldman Sachs and former vice president and derivative finance specialist at Lehman Brothers. She serves as an arbitrator for the New York Stock Exchange and the NASD. The Fool has a disclosure policy.


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