Adrift earlier in the week, stocks ended up down on concerns from several ports, including inflation and housing.

Despite much merger news, stocks did little but meander aimlessly on Monday. The cruise to nowhere continued on Tuesday with mixed earnings and a lack of economic news.

On Wednesday, the Dow hit a new intraday high above 12,700 before reversing course to end only fractionally higher. Techs, however, had a nice ride, sending the Nasdaq higher by 19 points as the chip sector and strong corporate earnings boosted the index.

Stocks hit an iceberg in the form of housing worries on Thursday. The Dow went back below the 12,600 mark before closing down by more than 29 points. On Friday, stocks ended up negative again, after an initially strong start sputtered because of Fed chatter concerning inflation and higher oil prices.

Fed Chief Ben Bernanke will go to Capitol Hill to give his semiannual testimony on Wednesday and Thursday. Economic data scheduled for release include the international trade balance Tuesday, retail sales and business inventories on Wednesday, industrial production on Thursday, and housing starts and the producer price index on Friday.

Corporations releasing earnings include Charles River Labs, Loews, and Yum! Brands on Monday; MetLife, Nasdaq, and Whole Foods on Tuesday; Coca-Cola, Office Depot, and Tootsie Roll on Wednesday; Bob Evans, Chipotle Mexican Grill, EnCana, and Lab Corp. on Thursday; and Campbell Soup and Hormel on Friday.

Stay market-tuned and Foolish!

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Foolish Quiz
1. True or false: Stocks stumbled during their worst week of 2007.

2. True or false: The IPO of Fortress Investment Group (NYSE:FIG) drew a lot of investor interest.

3. Which company forecast a stronger than expected outlook for the coming quarter: Cigna (NYSE:CI) or Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO)?

4. As a shareholder, whose kingdom would you prefer: the one built by Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) or the one constructed by Toll Brothers (NYSE:TOL)?

5. Whom did Apple square off against: the music industry or New York City?

6. Who won the fight for Equity Office Properties Trust: Blackstone or Vornado?

7. News from Wal-Mart included the following:
(a) posting a decline in same-store sales;
(b) launching a beta version of its video download service;
(c) becoming the defendant in the largest sex discrimination lawsuit in history;
(d) all of the above

8. Which did retail sales figures for January portray: a mixed bag or a full cart?

9. True or false: February usually brings a chill to the market.

10. True or false: Royal Caribbean Cruises looks poised to give shareholders an enjoyable voyage.

1. True. Stocks just seemed to want to sink by the end of the week, with the semiconductor and financial sectors leading the way down.

2. True. The debut of the U.S. hedge fund operator on Friday showed strength, closing up 67.6% from its offering price. Don't count on it to be impervious to market downturns or trading bets gone awry.

3. Cisco. Both companies reported strong earnings and their shares rose on Wednesday. Cisco reported after the bell on Tuesday, saying second-quarter profit was up 40% and raising its outlook for the third quarter. Shares gained 3.6% the next day. Before Wednesday's opening bell, Cigna reported 10% profit growth for the fourth quarter and its shares rose 2.2% that day.

4. Walt Disney. The house that Mickey built reported stronger-than-expected first-quarter earnings after the close Wednesday. Although profit more than doubled thanks to home video and network income, shares slipped a whisker -- 0.5% -- the next day. Look for Toll to sell fewer homes in the coming months. The developer forecast a 19% drop in first-quarter revenue Thursday and escalating writedowns, contributing to a 3% drop in its share price and a 2.1% decline in the Philadelphia Housing Sector index.

5. The music industry. Late Tuesday, Apple CEO Steve Jobs called for the major record companies to abolish digital rights management in favor of broader transferability of digital music. More music downloads means more iPod sales, but less love from recording industry executives, who then called on the company to share its anti-piracy technology with its rivals. Meanwhile, the Big Apple took aim at corporate Apple, among others, by introducing legislation that would ban the use of portable electronic devices in New York City crosswalks. Apparently, there are too many distracted pedestrians tuning out while tuning in their gizmos. Shares of Apple were down 1.7% by the end of the week.

6. Blackstone. On Wednesday, Equity Office Properties approved the $23 billion buyout offer from Blackstone. The deal reflects a $55.50 per-share price, a 14.4% increase from the original bid in November. Rival suitor Vornado dropped out of the race when it declined to top Blackstone's offer. Shares of Vornado closed 6.9% higher and those of Equity Office fell 1.1%.

7. (b), (c). For Wal-Mart, the good news almost triumphed over the bad, despite shares slipping 0.2% for the week. On Monday, the discount retailer posted a better than expected same-store sales gain of 2.2% for January. However, the growth rate indicates the lowest potential annual same-store sales growth since the company began keeping such data 27 years ago. On Tuesday, it said it had a website test program for downloading movies and television programming, but news also broke about class certification for a group of 1.5 million women claiming discriminatory pay and promotions practices at Wal-Mart.

8. A full cart. January same-store sales growth was more than expected, by 3.9%. Luxury stores such as Nordstrom and Saks, midprice department stores, and teen retailers rang up sales, while discounters revealed a mixed bag.

9. True. According to the Stock Trader's Almanac, the S&P 500 has declined an average of 0.02% in the month since 1950.

10. False. Although the world's second-largest holiday cruise group reported a swing to a fourth-quarter profit on Monday, it also issued first-quarter guidance below expectations. Shares of Royal Caribbean fell 5.1% for the day and 10.5% for the week.

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!

Whole Foods, Disney, and Lab Corp. are Motley Fool Stock Advisor selections. Coca-Cola and Wal-Mart are Inside Value picks. 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 a former vice president and derivatives 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.