Last week the stock market performed like an overstuffed guest at the Thanksgiving table. Worn out from gorging on earlier gains (and feeling the effects of tryptophan), equities sat around and didn't move much from the previous week's closing levels.

Even a flurry of merger activity couldn't motivate buyers, and stocks ended down on Monday after lethargic trading and overseas declines. Stocks turned slightly positive in continued sleepy activity on Tuesday.

Despite soft consumer sentiment data, blue chips ended a bit higher on Wednesday, while techs put in a stronger showing. The market was closed on Thursday and ended Friday's shortened trading sessions down, with the Dow dropping more than 46 points.

Economic data scheduled for release includes durable goods, consumer confidence, and existing home sales tomorrow; third-quarter corporate profits, third-quarter preliminary gross domestic product, new home sales, and the Beige Book on Wednesday; jobless claims, personal income and outlays, and the Chicago manufacturing index on Thursday; followed by construction spending and the ISM Manufacturing Index on Friday.

Corporations scheduled to release earnings include Bayer and Schering AG today; Chico's and Restoration Hardware tomorrow; Aeropostale and Tiffany on Wednesday; Cheesecake Factory, H&R Block, H.J. Heinz, Omnivision, and Smithfield Foods on Thursday; and Warner Music on Friday.

Stay market-tuned and Foolish!

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Foolish Quiz
1. True or false: The Nasdaq hit a new 5 1/2-year intraday high on Friday.

2. True or false: The stock market is becoming more volatile.

3. Which industrial hit a new 52-week high last week: Alcoa (NYSE:AA) or Boeing (NYSE:BA)?

4. Earnings of which tech helped push the Nasdaq higher on Wednesday: Dell (NASDAQ:DELL) or Google (NASDAQ:GOOG)?

5. Pick your course: Did a soup manufacturer or a turkey processor turn in more appetizing earnings last week?

6. True or false: The latest financial exchange hook-up between the Nasdaq (NASDAQ:NDAQ) and the London Stock Exchange will create the world's largest exchange in terms of number of listings.

7. True or false: Freeport-McMoRan is mining for copper on Wall Street.

8. Which item has a better chance on someone's holiday gift list: silicone breast implants or O.J. Simpson's book?

9. True or false: Black Friday showed strong retail results.

10. True or false: The Wednesday and Friday surrounding Thanksgiving have been positive days for the market during recent years.

1. True. On Friday, the Nasdaq started its own holiday party early -- on hopes of strong electronic gadgetry sales -- by hitting a high of 2,468.42 and then ending lower by 8.16 points.

2. False. Despite some jolts you may be experiencing, an article in last week's The Wall Street Journal -- which quotes analysts from Standard & Poor's -- reported that the stock market is becoming less volatile. The analysts noted that the VIX index, a measurement of implied market volatility, is at its lowest level in 13 years.

3. Boeing. The airline manufacturer soared to new heights on Tuesday's news that Korean Air plans to buy 25 additional planes for $5.5 billion. Shares hit $92.05 before closing up 2.2% at $91.10.

Aluminum producer Alcoa hammered out a 4.2% gain on Wednesday, after it announced it would eliminate 6,700 jobs for an estimated annual pre-tax savings of $125 million.

4. Dell. After the closing bell on Tuesday, the computer maker announced that its third-quarter earnings had risen almost 12%. Shares of Dell gained 9.3% on Wednesday, the same day that Google hit a new high of $513 before closing at $508.01 on continued optimism over online advertising.

5. The turkey processor. Hormel Foods (NYSE:HRL), the manufacturer of Jennie-O Turkey, gobbled up a9.5% increase in fourth-quarter profits. Shares rose 3.2% on Wednesday, following the report. On Monday, shares of Campbell Soup (NYSE:CPB) dribbled down 0.4% after the company reported a 16% drop in profit per share, although net sales rose 8%.

6. False. On Monday, the LSE rejected Nasdaq's $5.1 billion offer to purchase the rest of the company, of which Nasdaq already owns 25%. Shares of Nasdaq closed 3.1% higher.

7. True. On Monday, the mining company agreed to purchase copper producer Phelps Dodge for $25.9 billion in cash and stock. The company's CEO cited the likelihood of continued global demand for copper as a reason for the transaction, which will create the world's largest publicly traded copper miner when completed in Q1 2007. While shareholders of Phelps Dodge immediately saw gold -- their shares shot up 27% -- those of Freeport panned out 3.1% underwater.

8. Breast implants. While News Corp. announced it had canceled Mr. Simpson's book, If I Did It, and the related TV special, your loved one can go ahead and "just do it" if they are longing for silicone breast implants. On Monday, the FDA approved the implants made by Mentor and Allergan, after more than 10 years of tight regulatory restrictions. Shares of Mentor got a lift of 10.9%, while those of Allergan perked up 7.8%. (Note that we're not endorsing either product. In fact, why not give Foolishly and check out our Foolanthropy site to think about making a donation to your favorite charity .)

9. False. While intrepid shoppers camped out overnight for flat panel TVs and fuzzy toys, the S&P Retail Index slipped 0.8% on Friday, as investors fretted about overly aggressive discounts.

10. False. Since 1987, performance on those days has been mixed, according to The Stock Trader's Almanac. Let's see what Cyber Monday brings today, the day Internet holiday shopping is said to kick off.


  • 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!

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