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Weekly Market Wrap: 3/12/2010

U.S. markets edge higher from Monday's open amid choppy price action. Economic news was mixed for the week.

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( -- Hi. I'm SAYOKO MURASE. Welcome to the Weekly Market Wrap for Friday, March 12, 2009.

Major U.S. markets closed the week marginally higher, consolidating prior week's gains. Despite choppy markets, the S&P 500 closed at a 17-month closing high on Thursday, thanks to a late rally led by financial stocks.

The Dow edged up and the NASDAQ Composite Index also advanced.

Gold prices dropped this week, trading around the $1,100 an ounce level late on Friday afternoon.

Crude oil was flat for the week. April crude futures were trading just over $81 a barrel on Friday afternoon.

On the economic front, jobless claims came in at 463,000 for the week of March 6th. Economists were expecting a 460,000 new claims rate for the week.

U.S. retail sales increased 0.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted $355.5 billion in February, despite three major snow storms on the East coast. Economists were expecting retail sales to decline 0.2 percent.

Offsetting the positive news on sales, U.S. consumer sentiment dipped in early March, according to the Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index. The index declined to 72.5 in March from 73.6 in February. Economists had been expecting a 74 index level for March.

A court-appointed examiner released his report on Lehman Brothers' failure. The 2,200 page report concluded the firm's directors didn't breach a fiduciary duty buying up toxic mortgages. However, the firm's conduct was "subject to question" including misleading statements management. The report also cited JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and Citigroup (C) as helping facilitate the illiquidity leading to Lehman's 2008 collapse.

On the earnings front this week, H&R Block (HRB) reported earnings per share of 16 cents, beating analyst expectations by a penny.

TiVo (TIVO) came out with a 9 cent per share earnings loss, beating analyst expectations of a 12 cent loss.

Smithfield Foods (SFD) released profits of 22 cents per share, beating analyst expectations of 19 cents for the fourth quarter.

Gold producer Goldcorp (GG) reported a fourth quarter profit of 25 cents per share, in line with the consensus estimate.

Aeropostale (ARO) reported 99 cents per share in earnings for the fourth quarter, beating the street by 4 cents.

This is the Weekly Market Wrap for Friday, March 12. Please join us on Monday for the Week Ahead Market Report.

The preceeding is a transcript of the video published at:

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