- Chart of the Week: How birth order affects you (and your siblings)
- WaPo: Five economic trends to be thankful for
- Wall Street Oasis: Five key lessons from a venture capital internship
- Business Insider: 16 best gifts for investors
- Businessweek: How Black Friday bargains are a magical hoax
- Fast Company: The secrets of Google's design and marketing strategies
- CNNMoney: How Bitcoin is almost worth as much as gold
- The Atlantic: Why college kids are drinking less
Even though the stock market closed early at 1:00 p.m. ET Friday and the amount of shares traded was half its monthly average, retail stocks gained as Americans fought each other over Black Friday Barbie doll deals. Wal-Mart rose 0.1% and J.C. Penney popped more than 1% Friday with both stores open on Thanksgiving, while Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN ) gained nearly 2% on Cyber Monday anticipation. Black Friday retail sales were up 2.3%, according to a report, but overall expectations for this holiday shopping season are lower, since it's a week shorter than last year and the economy is still in recovery mode, but that didn't prevent one death and 15 injuries on Black Friday.
Tiffany's earnings had bling-worthy sparkle after sales in China jumped 22% last quarter. No one may be buying PCs any more, but Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ ) beat expectations with $1.4 billion in earnings (compared with last year's $6 billion loss) as CEO Meg Whitman fired some execs and unveiled new ideas for turning things around at HP. And although seemingly ancient cable recording service TiVo added some subscribers last quarter, the lower-than-expected earnings knocked the stock down after the report.
3. Plenty of corporate drama
While you were mid face-stuff, corporations were makin' moves. Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL ) jumped after extending hours at its 300,000-worker Foxconn factory in China to spark iPhone 5s production before the Christmas rush. Charter Communications was on an early holiday spending spree, taking on $25 billion in debt for a potential acquisition of Time Warner Cable. And Men's Wearhouse (NYSE: TLRD ) made a bid to snag Joseph A. Bank (UNKNOWN: JOSB.DL ) for $1.2 billion -- just months after Jos. A. Bank offered to buy up Men's Wearhouse. Now that's a suit deal.
4. Iran deal hits oil, helps airlines
Six Western countries had a "kumbaya moment" last week, reaching a deal to stop Iran from enriching weapons-grade uranium -- an agreement that ended sweeping economic sanctions on the Middle East nation. The immediate result? Oil prices quickly dropped 2% on investor worries that Iran will now flood the market with its oil. But the plunge helped airline stocks take off, since lower fuel prices mean lower costs (though there will be no impact on your 8 inches of legroom).
5. A whole lotta housing data
There was a hearty enough serving of housing data this past week to earn a spot on your Thanksgiving table. Although pending home sales dipped for the fifth straight month, the S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index showed that prices for single-family residences rose 14% from this time last year, led by cities in the West. The housing market has been steadily improving over 2013, and more valuable homes get consumers spending on more economy-boosting home-improvement projects.
What MarketSnacks is checking out this week:
- Monday: ISM Manufacturing Index
- Tuesday: Motor Vehicle Sales
- Wednesday: ADP Employment Report
- Thursday: Weekly Jobless Claims
- Friday: The big November Non-Farm Payrolls Job Report