Market Minute: Waiting for Bernanke on Stimulus Wrap-Up

DailyFinance Staff
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Investors are on "Fed watch," and Smithfield is urged to consider the other options for its pork business. Those and more are what's in business news Monday.

Futures point to strong gains this morning following a rally in Japan overnight. There's also new hope that Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke will soothe investor jitters about when and how the central bank might begin to cut back on the stimulus program that's been a major factor in the market rally over the past year. Bernanke holds a news briefing Wednesday afternoon.

The Dow industrials fell 1.2 percent last week. That's the third loss in the past three week, but the Dow is still up 15 percent so far this year. The S&P 500 dropped 1 percent and the Nasdaq lost more than 1 percent.

A challenge to China's biggest-ever takeover of an American company: An investment fund has taken a big stake in Smithfield Foods and is pressuring the company to sell itself off in parts, rather than go ahead with a $4.7 billion all-in-one sale. Smithfield is the nation's largest pork producer.

The new Superman movie, "Man of Steel," had the kind of opening Time Warner was hoping for, putting it in position for summer blockbuster status. Reports say the company is already working on a sequel and expects this to become a major franchise series.

Dreamworks Animation has agreed to produce a number of original TV series for Netflix. The shows will focus on characters from past Dreamworks' movies, including "Shrek" and "The Croods."

Forest products giant Weyerhaeuser is paying $2.6 billion to buy a big plot of timberland in Washington State. It also plans to sell its homebuilding unit.

Lowe's has offered to buy the West Coast hardware store chain Orchard Supply, which filed for bankruptcy protection today.

And General Motors is recalling 231,000 SUVs from model years 2006 and 2007. The vehicles could catch fire because of an electrical shortage. There have been 58 reports of fire so far.

-Produced by Drew Trachtenberg

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