Stocks near 2012 peaks; Apple hits a new high

Apple tops $648 and is up 60% on the year. The Dow, up 25, sees its sixth straight weekly gain. Facebook drops nearly to $19. Consumer confidence rises slightly, but rising gas prices are a worry. Lowe's, Dell and Hewlett-Packard report next week.

By Charley Blaine Aug 17, 2012 12:21PM
Charley BlaineUpdated: 6:59 p.m. ET

Despite modest gains today, stocks finished near their highest levels of the year, and Apple (AAPL) shares hit new intraday and closing highs.

The Dow Jones industrial Average ($INDU) finished about 4 points under its highest close of the year, 13,279.32, set on May 1. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index ($INX) was within 1 point of its 2012 closing high of 1,419.04, set on April 2. The indexes both ended higher for the sixth straight week.

Apple hit $648.19 before closing at $648.11, a gain of $11.77. The old intraday record of $644 had been set on April 10. Today's close beat the old record of $636.34, set just on Thursday. Apple shares are up 60% for the year, compared with 12.8% for the S&P 500 and 18.1% for the Nasdaq Composite Index ($COMPX). The catalyst was the growing excitement over the expected release of the iPhone 5 next month as well as a report today that the company has begun manufacturing the new iPad mini.

Next week, the market faces low volume because most of Wall Street will be on vacation. But there will be important earnings from Lowe's (LOW), Dell (DELL) and Hewlett-Packard (HPQ). In addition, the minutes from the Federal Reserve's July meeting will be parsed carefully to see if the central bank will try another stimulus program this fall.  

The Dow closed up 25 points to 13,275. The S&P 500 was up 3 points to 1,418, and the Nasdaq gained 14 points to 3,077. The Nasdaq-100 Index ($NDX), dominated by Apple, gained 12 points to 2,780.

Article continues below.
The market overall was higher because of a decent report on consumer confidence from the University of Michigan. The Conference Board's Index of Leading Economic Indicators was stronger than expected. In addition, German Chancellor Angela Merkel's Thursday statement of support for the euro also cheered investors.

The six-week gains for the Dow and S&P 500 are their longest weekly winning streaks since seven-week runs from November 2010 to January 2011. The Nasdaq was higher for the fifth week in a row, its best streak since early June to early July. Its close was 46 points below its 2012 closing high of 3,122.57, set on March 26.

The Dow finished up 0.5% for the week, with the S&P 500 up 0.9% and the Nasdaq up 1.8%. For the year, the Dow is up 8.7%, with the S&P 500 up 12.8% and the Nasdaq up 18.1%.

Technology, consumer discretionary and industrial stocks were the leading sectors for the week; utilities and health-care stocks were the laggards.

Markets for the week



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A big rally that no one loves
The market has jumped more than 10% since bottoming on June 4 and more than 5% since July 25 when Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank, promised to do whatever it takes to save the euro.

The rally has been accompanied by lots of skepticism, with critics warning stocks face big head winds from the November U.S. election, the domestic fiscal cliff and the continuing debt problems in Europe.

The stock market's performance suggests a number of investors don't buy the extreme worries. In addition, bond yields have been rising in the past few weeks, a signal that even bond investors see more economic growth.

There is disagreement on the strength of the recovery. Some of that disagreement will be visible Tuesday afternoon when the Federal Reserve releases the minutes of the July 31-Aug. 1 meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee, its rate-making body. A number of members of the committee are disturbed that the U.S. unemployment rate is 8.3% and want more efforts to promote job creation. Others believe more moves could reignite inflation.

The other important reports next week are existing-home sales on Wednesday and jobless claims and new-home sales on Thursday.

There may not be much resolution to the debate until after Labor Day when Wall Street comes back from the beach and Europeans end their summer holidays.

There are important meetings next week between French and German leaders and meetings with Greek leaders. A very important moment comes Sept. 12 when Germany's highest court rules on whether it's constitutional for the country to participate in some of the European plans to get its debt crisis under control.

Facebook's slump continues
(FB) shares were off 82 cents to $19.05 after falling to a new low of $19.01. The shares finished down 12.3% for the week and about 10% since the company saw its first lockup expire on Thursday. The loss since the $38 price its initial public offering fetched is and 49.8%.

The potential impact of the decline on employee morale and retention hasn't been lost on Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg, who reportedly acknowledged the issue at a company meeting this month.

According to SecondMarket's data, anyone who has bought Facebook after November 2010 is now underwater.

Zuckerberg's net worth, once as high as $21 billion, has fallen below $10 billion as the stock price has slumped.

Telecom and tech stocks lead the market
Telecommunications, technology and industrial stocks were the top-performing sectors today. Only 14 of the 30 Dow stocks, however, were higher, led by Caterpillar (CAT), United Technologies (UTX) and Traverlers Companies (TRV).

Meanwhile, 291 S&P 500 stocks were higher, led by Metro PCS (PCS), J.M. Smucker (SJM) and Ralph Lauren (RL).

And 50 Nasdaq-100 stocks were higher -- with 49 lower. Seagate Technology (STX), Flextronics (FLEX) and eBay (EBAY) were the percentage leaders.

Crude oil in New York and gold end higher
Crude oil (-CL) settled up 41 cents to $95.73 a barrel. Brent crude was off $1.39 to $113.88 a barrel. The national price of gasoline was up slightly to $3.716 a gallon from Thursday's $3.71, according to AAA's Daily Fuel Gauge Report. Gasoline is up 13.4% for the year.

The Obama administration said releasing crude oil is "an option" if profits rise or supply is disrupted. There are concerns Israel may launch a pre-emptive attack on Iranian nuclear facilities.

Gold (-GC) recovered from early declines, settling up 20 cents to $1,619.40 an ounce. Silver (-SI) slipped 21 cents to $28.002 an ounce.  Copper (-HG) was up 3.7 cents to $3.4195 a pound. For the week, gold and silver were off 0.2%; copper was up 0.8%.

Interest rates were lower, with the 10-year Treasury yield falling to 1.812% from 1.836% on Thursday. The dollar was higher against major currencies.

Consumer confidence is up a little
The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment survey for August rose to its highest level since May to 73.6, buoyed by sales at retailers and low mortgage rates. But worries about rising gasoline prices are a concern and is probably why inflation expectations are rising, according to a note from Chris Christopher, senior economist at IHS Global Insight.

American consumers are not in a particularly great mood, but they are confident enough that many expect to buy cars, televisions and cellphones in the next few months.

Separately, The Conference Board said its leading economic index climbed 0.4%, reversing a 0.4% decline in June. The report suggests slow growth through the end of 2012.

Energy prices -- New York close



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(per gallon)

Brent crude 




(per barrel)

Retail gasoline




(per gallon; AAA)

Leaders and laggards
(GPS) advanced $1.65 to $35.99 after the clothing retailer posted a higher quarterly profit and raised its full-year forecast.

Women's apparel retailer Ann (ANN) surged $5.75 to $33.89 after the parent of Ann Taylor and Loft stores reported a higher-than-expected quarterly profit for the eighth time in a row.

Foot Locker (FL) gained 60 cents to $35.09 after the athletic footwear retailer posted second-quarter earnings that topped Wall Street estimates.

Marvell Technology Group (MRVL) dropped  $1.74 to $10.54 after the chipmaker posted second-quarter earnings and said current-quarter results may miss expectations.

J.M. Smucker (SJM) climbed $3.99 to $82.96 after the maker of Folgers coffee and Jif peanut butter posted better-than-expected quarterly results as price cuts helped demand.

Short hits from the markets -- New York close



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€ 0.812

€ 0.809


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(per troy ounce)


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(per barrel)


Aug 17, 2012 2:50PM

Quoted text:

Consumer appear more confident, but rising gasoline prices are a worry.


Of course consumers are worried about high energy/OIL prices.  There is no reason for the $20 jump per barrel within a month as we still have not seen the gas prices at the pump adjusted for $77 a barrell OIL.  It took weeks for the price to fall about .30 cents at the pump & it took less than 2 weeks to jack it back up .40 cents.  What's worse is we are told it takes 4 weeks to see the savings at the pumps because the Speculators are bidding on "Futures" yet when it it rises the prices at the pumps "parallel" Wall Street's raping of the general public.  With no Government monitoring the only people getting hurt are the everyday men & women while Big OIL & the politicians are lining their pockets with money.  They have every excuse in the book to jack up prices (Middle East, weather, Refinery shutdown, corn, fire in Guam, etc.) yet there is a surplus & no shortage anywhere.


"Consumer appear more confident, but rising gasoline prices are a worry."

Folks, there is no gasoline shortage to cause gas to go up. Every time the market rallies, speculators drive up the prices.This has happened every time I have looked since 2008 when the hurricane hit in LA and Texas refineries..(May have been happening all along but I wasn't watching.) Seems that this was a time speculators really found out that we are all over a barrel(of oil) when it comes to gas. No substitute and a complete monopoly.OPEC is a monopoly. Try to get some companies together in the US to set prices on products and see what you get. Jail!

Anyway as the price rises it will knock the market back down. Watch what I tell you..

Aug 17, 2012 2:41PM
If you want to get gas down, you need to push natural gas as a bridge to new tech. It burns way cleaner and we have more than you can imagine.

Some trucking companies have switched. You can't run shipping on electric yet. You need a path.

FED EX has changed some over, however as with everything - the trucks that do a lot of stop and go have more failures with nat-gas vs. the current traditional configuration. 

They also have some smaller electric routs, note: the electricity to charge these still comes from fuel. We have a long way to go.... ...

Aug 17, 2012 4:12PM

Colorado's unemployment rate up from 8.2% to 8.3% in July.


Facts is facts ............ like them or not.

Aug 17, 2012 3:32PM
I am awaiting the big market burst. It is going up as the big boys like it and then they sell out from under us. They make a killing and we lose our donkeys. The oil market is the biggest one that they play on. Speculators and wall streeters love to take our money from this. I guess we are stupid enough to let them take it. I wonder if Cramer is one of them?
Aug 17, 2012 1:29PM
Did anyone read this...Executive poll: Obama better for world economy this was on msm this is garbage the economy is bad with Obama Barry must have approved this lie/message

We would not be worried about $100 a barrel oil right now if we had won the Iraqi War.

We would have like 3 to 5 million barrels of oil a day for free had we won the war.


What happened to Iraqi oil was suppose to pay for the war and give us extra profit???


And as far as getting oil from the Strategic Oil Reserve that is suppose to happen like when we defend Israel against an Arab attack and they turn off the oil exports to us.


 Not because gas is at $3.70 at the pump and Obama wants it below $3 a gallon in order to get re-elected.


Obama should have secured the Iraqi oil for us before he left Iraq. This oil above $3 a gallon is all his fault for not securing Iraqi oil for the USA.


We need to get rid of the 1 percenters and the politicians as they are ruining everything.



Word that the Obama administration is considering a release of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to stem the rising cost of crude appeared to have more impact on Brent crude, which is used to price international varieties of oil.

Brent fell $1.56 to close at $113.71 on the ICE Futures exchange in London. Before Friday, Brent had climbed more than $10 per barrel this month on concerns about production outages in the North Sea. It's also more influenced by developments in the Middle East.

A senior administration official, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly, told The Associated Press Friday that the U.S. is monitoring gas prices to see whether they fall before making a decision to tap strategic reserves.


Aug 17, 2012 5:29PM

Racism is a powerful Emotion, makes you Devoid of Commonsense, Decency, and Reality....
Aug 17, 2012 4:24PM
What is scary to me is Biden is a heartbeat away from the office. He seems to have poor judgement. If something happened to Obama he would be president. 
Aug 17, 2012 5:30PM

Oh, the sleaze bags on Wall Street make millions while the rest of us watch our 401K's dwindle.  What's new?

Poor Zuckerburg, he's only worth 10 billion now.  Get me the Kleenex.

Aug 17, 2012 5:39PM
The markets are a BIG Balloon ready to POP...!
Aug 17, 2012 3:38PM

sorry to hear bout your boyfriend, but suck it up and go on, that's your baby you can rock it.

No need to post it here.

Aug 17, 2012 5:38PM
I could sleep better at night, if they hide the big red button from Biden. LOL 
Aug 17, 2012 5:34PM

"When there is NO activity on the Dow for the first 5 of 8 minutes leading into the bell, and then it finishes UP an additional 10 points in nanoseconds... the authors of those purchases needs to be arrested and jailed for life. We have to start somewhere. You will ALL be there soon enough, Wall Street.

Close the banks. End the Fed. Get rid of Wall Street. If you aren't 100% invested in job recovery you won't be here by the New Year"


V.L. for once I couldn't agree with you more on being full invested in job growth. However, you can't just throw away our entire finacial structure, so lets not leave reality and look at how we can make capitalism work. This is not a true capitalistic society with the deception and manipulation that is present in markets and our government. Just like there should be a seperation of church and state, the ability for the government to.manipulate markets needs to be put to an end. Once the government was permitted to start deficit spending we sealed our fate and gave them the keys to the candy store. Our economy has been perpetuated on a failed model and now we are learning the hard way that the piper is now at our door step and we want to let him keep knocking. Eventually we have to open that door and deal with him or he's gonna break it down. Either way it's gonna be painfull for us as a country and as history shows we are not good at sacrificing.

Aug 17, 2012 3:35PM
The stock market has done better under O because he won't do anything to stop the speculators and the wall streeters from ripping th people off by running the market up and then they sell out and leave us low and dry, and broke.
Aug 17, 2012 5:14PM



like a football game between

ALABAMA (Ryan) vs. Grambling State University (Biden)

Aug 17, 2012 5:11PM
When there is NO activity on the Dow for the first 5 of 8 minutes leading into the bell, and then it finishes UP an additional 10 points in nanoseconds... the authors of those purchases needs to be arrested and jailed for life. We have to start somewhere. You will ALL be there soon enough, Wall Street.

Close the banks. End the Fed. Get rid of Wall Street. If you aren't 100% invested in job recovery you won't be here by the New Year.

Aug 17, 2012 4:26PM
The market is up slightly because the parasites have been screwing with the bond market instead. The leeches will be back next week to go after stocks again now that they have brought the bond market down to where they want it.
Aug 17, 2012 5:17PM
Biden might be a "nice guy", but I really wish we would consider replacing him with Hillary for this election.

Or if you want to fuel up some progressives, maybe Dennis Kucinich.
Aug 17, 2012 6:29PM

No doubt there is an inside trak of info on the algortthims and parameteres used for buy-sell criteria available to the inside crowd. 


it's not "insider trading" per sey, just awareness that when certain conditions are occuring the big boys will likely sell or buy en mass.


>>>Today stock are up a little.....tomorrow they will be down.  Only the "Inside Trader" knows for sure.<<<

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[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market finished an upbeat week on a mixed note. The S&P 500 shed less than a point, ending the week higher by 1.3%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (+0.1%) cemented a 1.7% advance for the week. High-beta names underperformed, which weighed on the Nasdaq Composite (-0.3%) and the Russell 2000 (-1.3%).

Equity indices displayed strength in the early going with the S&P 500 tagging the 2,019 level during the opening 30 minutes of the action. However, ... More


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