The chip maker's guidance suggests that a bottom is forming in the semiconductor market.

By Charley Blaine Jun 8, 2009 7:59PM

Charley BlaineAfter today's close, Texas Instruments (TXN) raised its second-quarter guidance as customers slowed the rate at which they are reducing chip inventories, the latest sign that the market for semiconductors may be stabilizing.


The mid-quarter update sent TI shares up 4.7% to $20.70 in after-hours trading from a regular close of $19.77.

 

The stock, up nearly 30% on the year, is up more than 43% since bottoming on March 2.

 

Goldman Sachs, American Express and Morgan Stanley may be the first to repay government aid.

By Charley Blaine Jun 8, 2009 7:42PM

Banks and financial institutions that took TARP funds during the worst of last fall's financial crisis have been itching to pay them back.

 

Nine big banks hope that federal regulators approve their capital-raising plans.

 

The approvals may come on Tuesday. Goldman Sachs (GS), American Express (AXP) and JPMorgan Chase (JPM) are three that will likely be approved.

 

But shares fall, however, because U.S. sales aren't as strong as expected.

By Charley Blaine Jun 8, 2009 7:16PM

McDonald's (MCD) said this morning said May sales at stores open at least one year rose 5.1%, thanks to strong international sales.


But shares were off 1.9% to $58.72 because investors were disappointed that growth at U.S. stores was not higher.

 

The Commerce Department's retail sales report may show a gain in May. The Fed's Beige Book also may show if the worst is over.

By Charley Blaine Jun 8, 2009 6:57PM

Consumer spending makes up about 70% of the U.S. economy, so it's no wonder that retail sales are closely watched.


On Thursday, the Commerce Department will release its May retail sales report, and economists expect a 0.5% gain last month, which would be the first increase in three months.

 

But many experts believe the rise in sales wasn't due to a burst of consumer spending.

 

Rising automobile sales and an increase in the price of gasoline are likely the main factors; retail sales excluding automobiles are expected to have risen 0.2% in May.

 

The Dow ends up 13 points despite highest unemployment since 1983. Interest rates move higher. Oil briefly tops $70.

By Charley Blaine Jun 5, 2009 4:33PM

Charley BlaineThe highest national unemployment rate since 1983 didn't clobber stocks on Friday.

 

But the news wasn't good enough to let the Dow Jones Industrial Average ($INDU) finish in the black for the first time since Jan. 6.

 

The blue-chip index closed up 13 points to 8,763. That was about 13 points below its 2008 close of 8,776.39. For the week, the Dow was up 3.1%.

 

The Standard & Poor's 500 Index ($INX), down 2 points to 940 on the day, first moved into the black in early May and has been above its 2008 close of 903.25 pretty steadily since May 26. It was up 2.3% for the week and is up 4.1% on the year.

 

The Nasdaq Composite Index ($COMPX) moved into the black for the year in early April. It finished Friday down nearly 1 point to 1849, up 4.2% for the week and 17% for the year.

 

Crude oil briefly topped $70 a barrel early in the day but fell back as the dollar moved higher. Crude finished at $68.44, down 37 cents. Crude was up 3.2% for the week and is up 53.4% for the year.

 

Energy stocks were generally lower on the day. Only 12 of the 30 Dow stocks were higher today, led by General Motors (GMGMQ), up 27% to 95 cents on news that it is selling its Saturn business.

 

GM's close was its last as a Dow stock. It will be replaced Monday by Cisco Systems (CSCO).

 

A total of 213 S&P 500 stocks were nhigher on the day, along with 39 stocks in the Nasdaq-100 Index ($NDX.X), which was up a half point to 1,493.

 

The market's performance came as the Labor Department reported that the economy lost 345,000 jobs in May. That was the smallest loss of jobs since September's loss of 320,000. The unemployment rate hit 9.4%, the highest rate since August 2003.

 

But the report also pushed interest rates higher, and there was even talk that the Federal Reserve Board may be forced to raise interest rates later this year. The 10-year  Treasury yield jumped to 3.862% from 3.716% today.

 

The WSJ says CEO Vikram Pandit could be ousted. One analyst sees the infighting destabilizing.

By Charley Blaine Jun 5, 2009 2:45PM

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. is pushing for a shake-up of top Citigroup (C) management, The Wall Street Journal reported this morning.


The changes could mean a replacement of Vikram Pandit as the bank's chief executive.

 

Reports say Apple's boss has recovered from his health problems and may unveil a new iPhone next week.

By Charley Blaine Jun 5, 2009 2:39PM

Applephiles will be happy to hear this news: CEO Steve Jobs is coming back to work at Apple (AAPL), The Wall Street Journal said today.

 

Jobs, who took a leave of absence in January for health reasons, could stage his return at Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco next week, the report said.

 

Energy shares rise as oil nearly hits $69. Tech and bank stocks are strong. Inflation fears push interest rates higher.

By Charley Blaine Jun 4, 2009 6:48PM

Charley BlaineThe stock market managed a decent rally ahead of Friday's big jobs and unemployment report as investors continued to bet on a recovery in financial, energy and technology stocks.

 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ($INDU) closed up 75 points, or 0.9%, to 8,750, recovering all of Wednesday's loss and finishing at its highest level since Jan. 7. The blue-chip index ended the day within 30 points of its 2008 close of 8,776.39.

 

The Standard & Poor's 500 Index ($INX) was up 11 points, or 1.2%, to 942, and the Nasdaq Composite Index ($COMPX) was up 24 points, or 1.3%, to 1,850. The Nasdaq-100 Index ($NDX.X), which tracks the largest Nasdaq stocks, closed up 17 points, or 1.2%, to 1,493.

 

The Labor Department will report on May payroll employment and unemployment before Friday's market open. The consensus estimate is for a loss of 525,000 jobs in May, although there was speculation that the number will be lower.

The Liscio Report, a newsletter that tracks state and local tax trends and the economy and tends to be close to the mark, expects job losses to total 540,000 and a 9.4% unemployment rate.

 

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