The week started with fear that Cyprus wouldn't reach a bailout agreement, and it ended with no such agreement. But Mr. Market didn't blink an eye, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell just 2 points for the week and the S&P 500 fell a whopping 4 points, or 0.24% for the week. At least there were a few stocks moving significantly higher this week.
Hewlett-Packard was up 3.9%, driven by a 10% dividend bump. On Thursday, the company announced that it will pay investors $0.1452 per share quarterly, a 2.5% dividend yield. Shareholders also re-elected board members who were under fire since the Autonomy debacle came to light. It was a close vote, and shareholders have now put the board on notice. HP has a long way to go to reach a full recovery, but a higher dividend is a sign that management thinks it's on the right track.
Coca-Cola jumped 3.1% this week as investors took money out of bank stock and put it in safer consumer-goods stocks. Ironically, this week the American Heart Association released a study that says 180,000 deaths each year can be associated with sugary drinks and sodas. Coca-Cola is one of the main providers of those drinks worldwide, although I doubt Coke drinkers will read the study and put down their soda for heath reasons.
Wal-Mart rounds out the top three on the Dow this week, gaining 2.5%. The company announced the expansion of Scan & Go, a program for iPhone users that allows them to scan items and use self-checkout stations. The company will add 130 stores to the 70 that currently have the program, and they're also working on an Android app. Retailers are adapting to more tech-savvy consumers and this is one of the adaptations Wal-Mart is testing. So far, it looks as if customers are responding positively to Scan & Go.
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