A decent jobs report number was offset by an anemic 0.10% GDP growth rate, but on balance all the major indexes were ahead by about 1% for the past week. The Dow Industrials hit a record high on Wednesday, before backing off on accelerating problems in the Ukraine. It appears that since mid-February, the markets have sold off on Fridays as investors protect against any negative weekend news coming out of Russia. Except for the utilities, all the other market sectors advanced with telecommunications making a comeback erasing much of last week’s losses gaining 3.3%, on average. Volume was relatively light and much of the attention was centered on earnings and merger & acquisition news. On the home front, Newmont Mining (NYSE: NEM – $24.72) ended its discussions with Barrick Gold amid a bitter exchange of words and the shares were off $1.73 on the week despite a modest rise in gold prices. DIRECTV Group (NASDAQ: DV – $79.87) is being courted by AT&T and its shares hit an all-time high of $82.75 on Thursday, before backing off on Friday. thebuttonwoodproject candidate’s earnings for the past week were respectable for the likes of CVS Caremark, Harris Corp., Total, SA, Teva Pharmaceutical and Hess Corp. Not so much for Manitowoc Co, and ABB.
This week we will hear from Janet Yellen when she speaks before Congress’ Joint Economic Committee on the state of the economy and the outlook for the remainder of the year and what the Federal Reserve has in mind for future bond buying reductions, which are down to $45 billion for May. DIRECTV will report results on Tuesday and expectations are for $1.50 per share vs. last year’s $1.20. But any volatility will rest on Russia and their ongoing threats to Eastern Ukraine. The trading ball is in their court.