All good things must come to an end, and it took a surprising hit to consumer confidence to finally end the Dow Jones Industrial Average's (DJINDICES:^DJI) fairy tale-esque 10-day run. Thankfully, the fall was mild, tempered by February industrial production numbers that exceeded expectations. The index ended only slightly lower, dropping 25 points, or about 0.2%, to close at 14,514.
Friday was a big day for financial stocks, with eagerly anticipated results from the annual Federal Reserve "stress tests" coming in. Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) emerged as fairly anxiety free, receiving permission to buy back over $10 billion worth of preferred and common stock, just as the company planned. Rising 3.8%, shares of the Charlotte-based bank traded at nearly two-year highs.
But, while Bank of America enjoyed the limelight atop the Dow, JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) had no such luck with the Fed, which told the bank to alter and resubmit its plans to return capital to shareholders. Clearly, JPMorgan and the Fed don't use the same accountant; the bank estimated it would only need $200 million to stay afloat in a worst-case scenario, while the Fed went with a higher estimate: $32.3 billion. With Senate hearings about the notorious "London whale" also happening today, the stock lost 1.9%.
Shares in online deals site Groupon (NASDAQ:GRPN) rallied 6.1% on some uncharacteristic praise from someone who knows a thing or two about stocks. Legendary investor Bill Miller, best known as the portfolio manager who beat the S&P 500 for 15 straight years, called the stock cheap, citing its lack of debt and the low expectations of the market. Best of all, Miller's putting his money where his mouth is: His group, Legg Mason Capital Management, is one of the largest institutional Groupon shareholders.
Last but not least, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) shares spiked 2.6% in counterintuitive fashion. The gains actually came following the release of a competitor's product: Samsung's Galaxy S4 was unveiled, and will launch globally late next month. Competing head-to-head with the iPhone, Samsung already sells more smartphones than Apple does. Analyst opinion on the new device was split, but that alone was enough to instill confidence in the Cupertino, CA giant's competitive future.
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