The Week Unpeeled
It was a week for Dow records (four in a row, to be precise) that was more of a strong creep than a big rally, with the blue chips closing Friday at 14,397 for a 2.2 percent gain over the last five days, while the S&P 500 is still reaching for its all-time high although showing a strong performance. Providing support was the US employment report, which showed that the economy added some 236,000 jobs, much higher than expected, in February, and the unemployment rate fell to a four-year low of 7.7 percent. (Coverage angle: Despite improvement in job picture, “economic clouds” (WSJ) persist, and by some estimates the “real” unemployment rate is closer to 15 percent.)
- Hugo Chavez, the president of Venezuela, died;
- The Cardinals (not St Louis) meet Tuesday to begin deliberations to elect the next Pope;
- Nearly all (17 out of 18) of the largest banks passed the Federal Reserve’s stress test, potentially meaning dividends for investors;
- Facebook gets a face lift by redesigning its news feed, or “front page,” which CEO Mark Zuckerberg called a move to create “the best personalized newspaper in the world” (translation: easier platform for advertising);
- Time Inc. said it would not merge some of its titles with Meredith Corp. and instead spin off its Time magazine group (a la Murdoch move?), and CEO Laura Lang will step down post transition; and
- Wal Mart has decided to shut down efforts to open stores in New York City, showing Big Apple unions are too tough for blue-light specials.