The Week's Top Stories is a guided tour through the biggest market stories of the week, from winning stocks to brutal dips to the facts and forecasts generating buzz on Wall Street.
RATE HIKE ROLLERCOASTER
The latest Federal Reserve rate hike arrived on Wednesday, and markets weren't quite sure what to think about it. Stocks rallied following an FOMC statement hinting at possible moderation in the near-term, but then dipped following comments from Chair Jerome Powell that the Fed's job was not yet done. Overall, the economy remained stuck in its recent status quo, even as hints were dropped of changes on the horizon. The October job report offered similarly mixed signals. While more jobs were added than expected (261,000), the unemployment rate ticked upward to 3.7 percent, which investors seemed to interpret as a sign of softening. In investors' eyes, softening equals possible moderation from the Fed, but that's hardly a foregone conclusion. Coming up next week is the consumer price index for October, so we'll see how that sits with the market.
OIL PROFITS SURGE
It was a banner week for American oil companies. Last Friday Exxon Mobil reported its strongest-ever quarterly profit in its entire 152-year history, as earnings surged 181 percent in the third quarter. Chevron, meanwhile, reported a 88 percent jump in profits. Both companies' shares rallied following the earnings releases, in the midst of an already good month, but so did the political backlash. On Monday President Joe Biden floated the possibility of a windfall tax on the sector and took it to task for "profiteering" from the war in Ukraine. "Oil companies' record profits today are not because of doing something new or innovative," he said in a statement. "Their profits are a windfall of war, a windfall for the brutal conflict that's ravaging Ukraine and hurting tens of millions of people around the globe."
UBER SHARES ACCELERATE
Uber's stock rallied 11 percent earlier this week after releasing quarterly earnings that beat Wall Street estimates. The ride-sharing company saw a sizable revenue bump in the third quarter, though it was mostly the result of a one-off acquisition. In addition, the company reported significantly larger net losses than expected. Taking all this into account, some analysts were bullish about the report, saying it was a sign that Uber was bouncing back from pandemic era challenges such as labor shortages — while others remain skeptical. As one transportation industry expert told Cheddar News, Uber's higher revenues are also the result of price increases. Meanwhile, a whistleblower said Uber's business model is "absolutely" unsustainable
J&J PUMPS HEART PUMP STOCK
In a bid to deepen its bench of high-tech medical devices, Johnson & Johnson this week announced plans to acquire heart pump maker Abiomed for $380 per share. The news sent shares of Abiomed soaring more than 45 percent. The bigger picture here is that J&J is planning to spin off its consumer health business into a standalone company and focus on devices and pharmaceuticals. The hope is that Abiomed's Impella device, which is widely seen as the smallest heart pump on the market, will be a strong addition to its heart division and offer new opportunities to expand.