The week started off on a rocky note, with China sending some shockwaves through the markets by lowering its growth target for 2012 from 8% to 7.5%. From there, though, the good news largely took over. Though I'm not quite as confident as Nic Sarkozy that the eurozone's troubles are in the rearview mirror, Greece did take another step forward in its bid to avoid chaos by securing a historic debt swap with private investors. Meanwhile, in the U.S. we got more good news on the jobs front.
While the late-week good news helped major indexes avoid significant losses for the week, the end-of-week numbers were a mixed bag. The Dow Jones Industrial Average
Top 3 Performing Sectors
Russell 3000 Sector
Weekly Price Change
Month-to-Date Price Change
Source: S&P Capital IQ. Weekly price change is March 2-March 9. Monthly price change is Feb. 29-March 9.
Over the past week, investors in Flagstar Bancorp
For Smith & Wesson
Top 3 Performing Russell 3000 Companies
Weekly Price Change
|Smith & Wesson||20.2%|
Source: S&P Capital IQ. Weekly price change is March 2-March 9. Includes only companies with a market cap of $250 million or higher.
Joining in on the big gains during the week were Molycorp
When a company announces an acquisition, if there's a major move in that acquirer's stock, it's usually down. If the deal packs a big premium for the buyout, it's even more likely that investors will knock the buyer's stock. But apparently when we're talking about a hot-to-trot industry like rare-earth minerals, all of that is out the window. Molycorp's 26% gain for the week came as the rare-earth miner announced that it's purchasing rare-earth processor Neo Material Technologies and paying a 42% premium for the company. The trading action seems crazy to me, but my fellow Fool Sean Williams sees definite promise in the integration of the miner and processor.
And as long as we're on the topic of mergers and acquisitions, we can turn to Monster Worldwide. Monster's shares tacked on a heady 23% this week after the company told investors that it's hired a financial advisor to perform a "review of strategic alternatives." The latter phrase is Wall Street-speak that typically translates to "we're going to see whether anybody wants to buy us." My fellow Fool Rick Munarriz was quick to chime in with his view that Monster needs to "sell -- and sell soon." But to whom? Rick thinks dot-com hotshot LinkedIn could make a very logical buyer.
That's it for this week's top-performers recap. If you're looking for some ideas for strong outperformers for the rest of year, The Motley Fool has created a brand new free report titled "The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2012." In it, my fellow Fools reveal a top pick that's poised for explosive growth ahead. Get instant access -- it's free.
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Fool contributor Matt Koppenheffer has no financial interest in any of the companies mentioned. You can check out what Matt is keeping an eye on by visiting his CAPS portfolio, or you can follow Matt on Twitter, @KoppTheFool, or on Facebook. The Fool's disclosure policy prefers dividends over a sharp stick in the eye.