Greek debt woes took a back seat this past week as testimony by Fed Chair Janet Yellen, second quarter earnings and Google’s 26% gain made most of the headlines. Yellen told lawmakers that interest rates would rise “at some point this year”, without pinpointing if it will be closer to September or December. The Federal Reserve is becoming more upbeat on the U.S. economy, despite troubles elsewhere in the world. Some financial bellwethers like JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Citigroup posted encouraging earnings for the latest reporting period; Goldman Sachs and Wells Fargo, not so much. Google’s ad revenue from mobile search and YouTube helped June quarter sales rise 11%, while earnings grew 17%. The stock rose $143.51 points for the week. Along with Netfilix’ – up 18% – the NASDAQ closed out the trading week at an all-time high of 5,210 or 4.25% above where it closed last Friday. The Dow Industrials managed a decent 1.84% advance and the S&P 500 moved higher by 2.4%. Oil prices were lower as was gold, thus energy stocks and basic materials were in the red by an average 1.4% and 0.6%, respectively. All other sectors showed up arrows, led by technology and financial stocks. Euro-zone leaders agreed to grant debt-plagued Greece a three-year bailout of up to $96 billion in return for tougher austerity measures. And elsewhere, the U.S. and five other world powers reached an agreement with Iran to limit that nation’s nuclear activities for 10 years in exchange for lifting sanctions and freeing up about $100 billion in frozen assets. In China, gross domestic product rose 7% in the second quarter, beating forecasts of 6.8%. So, on balance, there was more good news for the bulls than bad. Looking ahead, earnings season gets into full-swing. Verizon Communications will report on Tuesday and QUALCOMM will announce third quarter results on Wednesday. Later in the week we will hear from 3M Co., Danaher, Kimberly-Clark and Dow Chemical.
Here is the answer to last week’s trivia question: In addition to GEICO, Dairy Queen, Heinz, Fruit of the Loom and about fifty other companies, Berkshire Hathaway owns which American railroad? Genesee & Wyoming, BNSF (Burlington Northern Santa Fe), Kansas City Southern or Southern Pacific? Answer: BNSF. Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway acquired the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway (now BNSF) in February, 2010. Some of BNSF’s major predecessor railroads were Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe; Burlington Northern; Chicago, Burlington & Quincy; St. Louis-San Francisco; and Great Northern Railway.
Today’s Trivia Question: The Good Humor ice cream brand is owned by which company? Unilever, Campbell Soup Co., Kellogg or Hershey?