MarketWatch top 10 stories June 11 - 15
NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- U.S. stocks ended the week with gains as investor sentiment turned bullish on belief that the European debt crisis, and particularly the Greek electorate's decision at the polls this weekend, would trigger more intervention and stimulus from the world's central bankers.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) ended the week up 1.7%, supported by solid gains in some of the country's best known corporate names.
The Nasdaq Composite (COMP) , home to most of the nation's largest tech firms, held on to modest gains this week to end up 0.5%.
The Nasdaq struggled as
The S&P 500 Index (SPX) rose 1.3% this week.
Investors have begun preparing for a dramatic new stage in the European debt crisis ahead of a weekend Greek vote that could help determine the future of the euro zone.
In a sign of the heightened tension, global markets were boosted late in the week on reports that central bankers stand ready to act in the case of a credit crunch following the Greek elections. See more about Greek elections this weekend
Market experts got a glimpse of some of the actions central bankers and others may take when on Friday The Wall Street Journal reported that international regulators are on the verge of easing new banking rules that are meant to help the safety of the financial system.
Some of the regulators apparently worry that forging ahead with the new requirements could actually make the European financial meltdown worse, the newspaper reported. So, the new plan is to make it easier for the industry to comply with requirements that lenders keep on hand enough liquid assets to weather market plunges or other disasters.
On another regulatory note, prosecutors won two rounds in their latest aggressive pursuit of financial fraudsters. On Thursday, a federal court in Houston sentenced R. Allen Stanford to 110 years in prison for his involvement in a $7 billion Ponzi scheme.
And early Friday afternoon a federal jury in Manhattan convicted Rajat Gupta, a former Goldman Sachs director, of conspiracy and three counts of securities fraud. See Gupta convicted of conspiracy, securities fraud
He was acquitted on two counts of securities fraud.
Greg Morcroft, assistant managing editor
No pain, investors miss out on gains
If you want to see how twisted the investment world is right now, consider that many investors -- both individuals and institutions -- are accepting reward-free risk. Normally, the search is for risk-free reward -- return investors can get without putting their money in harm's way. The difference: People are willing to settle for nothing on their cash, so long as they can be confident they will get their money back. No-pain investors miss out on gains
Recession crushed middle-class wealth
The recession crushed the net worth of middle-class families as real estate values tumbled, according to a survey released by the Federal Reserve on Monday. The Fed's survey of consumer finances between 2007 and 2010, which is adjusted for inflation, showed median income fell 7.7% from $49,600 in 2007 to $45,800 in 2010 and that median net worth fell 38.8% from $126,400 in 2007 to $77,300 in 2010, approximately the level recorded in 1992. Recession crushed middle-class wealth: Fed survey
Four ways to avoid your own retirement crisis
Some Americans may be better prepared for retirement than they realize. About 56% of baby boomers and Generation X (people between about age 38 and 65 now) are saving enough to cover their basic retirement costs, including uninsured medical expenses, according to a recent projection by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, a Washington-based nonprofit think tank. The bad news is that 44% aren't saving enough. Here are four ideas to improve your retirement readiness. 4 ways to avoid your own retirement crisis
Myth of Perpetual Growth is killing America
Everything you know about economics is wrong. Dead wrong. Everything. The conclusions of economists are based on a fiction that distorts everything else. As a result economics is as real as one of the summer blockbusters like "Battleship," "The Avenger" or "Prometheus." The difference is that the economic profession is a genuine threat, not entertainment. Economics dogma is on track to destroy the world with a misleading ideology. Myth of Perpetual Growth is killing America
How tiny Finland could bring euro crisis to end
Here's one way the euro crisis might end: A "Spanic," followed by a "Quitaly," followed by a "Fixit." A fresh panic in Spain might be followed by rising demands for Italy to quit if it doesn't get the same terms its fellow Mediterranean country has been offered, followed by a Finnish departure from the euro that might finally bring the whole saga to a climax. It would be a rough ride -- and you wouldn't want to be holding many assets other than dollars or gold or possibly Swiss francs while it was playing itself out. But at least it might bring a resolution to the crisis. How tiny Finland could bring euro crisis to end
Lance Armstrong formally charged with doping
Former cyclist Lance Armstrong said Wednesday that he has been formally charged with doping by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. Armstrong said in a statement on his website that he had been notified by USADA of the charges, and the agency separately confirmed its action.The charges mean Armstrong is banned from competing in triathlons, an event he took up after he retired from cycling in 2011. Lance Armstrong formally charged with doping
Why bondholders are scared about Spain
One of the big questions making investors more nervous about the bank-bailout deal Spain announced over the weekend boils down to who will pay for it.This is always the key issue, to some degree. But it merits repeating that in a debt crisis, what matters more is what holders of debt think and do, rather than what investors in other assets think. Why bondholders are scared about Spain
Apple shows off iOS6, new MacBooks
In a presentation heavy on upgrades to software and its laptops, Apple Inc. on Monday showed off new mapping functions and more integration with Facebook for iPhones and iPads. The main event of interest at the conference was the newest version of iOS, the operating system that powers the iPhone and iPad. Apple gave a preview several new features, including tighter integration with Facebook Inc. and a new mapping tool that will include turn-by-turn navigation. Previous iOS versions have used a mapping developed by Google Inc.. Apple shows off iOS6, new MacBooks
Uncertain times, again, for U.S. economy
If the American economy falters again, the most likely culprit will be that classic enemy of growth: uncertainty. Businesses are mainly worried now about two things. They are uncertain whether the financial crisis in Europe will spill over into the U.S. And they are uncertain whether a divided Congress can forestall big tax increases and sharp spending cuts scheduled to take place in 2013 -- the so-called fiscal cliff. And the effects of uncertainty are real. Uncertain times, again, for U.S. economy
Housing market rebounding, but slowly
Promising statistics signal a housing market on the rebound, but economic headwinds are keeping markets from improving quickly, according to Harvard University's annual State of the Nation's Housing report, released on Thursday. "With new home inventories at record lows, unless the broader economy goes into a tailspin, stronger sales should further stabilize prices and pave the way for a pickup in single-family housing construction over the course of 2012," said Eric S. Belsky, managing director of Harvard's Joint Center for Housing Studies. Housing market rebounding, but slowly