The stock market today (Friday) will try to continue its impressive rally after the Standard & Poor's 500 Index closed at a five-year high Thursday.
The S&P 500 closed at 1,472.12, about 93 points away from its all-time high of 1,565 hit in October 2007 and its highest close since December of that year.
By 1 p.m., the S&P 500 was down just over 2 points, and the Dow was up 4 points, or 0.04%.
While the stock market today fights for a continued climb, here are companies investors should be eyeing.
Big Movers in the Stock Market Today
The biggest Q4 earnings report Friday came from Wells Fargo & Co. (NYSE: WFC), which kicked off earnings for the financial sector.
The retail banking giant beat Wall Street profit and revenue expectations, reporting earnings of $5 billion, or 91 cents a share, up 24% from the same quarter a year ago. For all of 2012, WFC earned $18.9 billion, a 19% increase from 2011.
CEO John Stumpf said in a statement following the report, "2012 was an outstanding year for Wells Fargo. This time last year, I said we would benefit from many opportunities we saw for 2012, and we did just that."
But, the mortgage lender leader's shares slumped nearly 2% in morning trading Friday as rock-bottom low interest rates had some negative effects on the bank's net interest margin.
WFC's earnings report set the bar high for next week when Bank of America (NYSE: BAC), JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM), Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS) and Morgan Stanley (MS) report. All were in the red Friday morning.
Nutrition supplement company Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE: HLF) shares continued to be active, and rebounded by 1 p.m. from earlier losses to gain nearly 1%. The company is facing a financial showdown between two high profile hedge funds. William Ackerman's Pershing Square Capital Management LP firm has wagered more than $1 billion against the company by shorting stock. Meanwhile, Daniel Loeb's hedge fund revealed Wednesday it owns a healthy 8.2% stake in the company.
Allegations have swirled that Herbalife is nothing more than a pyramid scheme and numbers it has reported are inaccurate. Shares dipped to about $36 Wednesday but were close to $40 today.
Shares of aerospace behemoth The Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) were dragged down 2% as more bad news emerged regarding its 787 Dreamliner. The latest news came from All Nippon Airways, reporting an oil leak from the generator in the left engine of one its newly purchased Dreamliners.
Best Buy Co. Inc. (NYSE: BBY) shares were buoyed more than 11% after reporting holiday sales that managed to beat Wall Street's dismal expectations.
Sales at the struggling company's stores fell 1.4% in December, but online sales increased 10% from the previous year.
American Express Co. (NYSE: AXP) shares advanced 34 cents following news late Thursday the credit card company is shedding some 5,400 jobs, or 8.5% of its workforce, in a major cost-cutting move. The company hopes the cuts will lead to better earnings in 2013.
Shares of Molycorp Inc. (NYSE: MCP) rebounded more than 1% after tumbling $2.45 Thursday to $8.34 on its highest volume of the year. The
Colorado-based rare earth company announced Thursday it anticipates lower-than-expected revenue and cash flow for 2013, and is evaluating its capital needs so it can continue operations.
Our Private Briefing Editor William Patalon III has been closely following Molycorp's story for months. He's broken down exactly what these developments mean for investors interested in Molycorp's potential. To learn how you can receive his analysis on MCP - and other hot stocks in 2013 - click here.
Facebook Inc. (Nasdaq: FB) stock continued the upward momentum it has been enjoying of late, gaining 1.09% to $31.67. FB is slowly moving toward its initial public offering price of $38, a level not seen since the company went public May 18. FB will report earnings on Jan. 30 after the close. Forecasts are for the social networking giant to earn 15 cents for the latest quarter.
FB has also piqued interest saying it has a major announcement to be delivered Tuesday. Look for our story Monday on what that could mean for investors.
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