Summary of business headlines: Surprise defeat for Mattel in Bratz case; GE earnings jump; Morgan Stanley profits fall; Gold and silver continue to surge, Crude oil up again.
A major surprise defeat for Mattel in the seven-year Bratz dolls ownership dispute. A jury awarded $88 million dollars to MGA Entertainment - saying Mattel misappropriated trade secrets from MGA. This came after a decision that MGA is the rightful owner of the once-billion dollar line of pouty-lipped Bratz dolls. In 2004 Mattel accused MGA of stealing its designs by hiring away a key employee.General Electric reported an 80 percent jump in quarterly profits, and raised its dividend for the third time since July.
Morgan Stanley profits fell nearly 50 percent, though they still beat forecasts.
Gold hit a new record high for the fifth session in a row as the dollar slid to a three-year low. It remains above $1500 an ounce and could go much higher according to David Mann of Standard Chartered:
DAVID MANN, REGIONAL HEAD OF RESEARCH, AMERICAS, STANDARD CHARTERED SAYING:
"Over the longer term we actually have a projection we could go well beyond $2,000. We have a target of around $2400 for the gold price and a lot of it does come down to these sorts of dynamics in the market and there will be issues of just how much supply will be able to meet the demand that we can see in the coming years."
Not to be forgotten - silver is at levels not seen in 31 years- at more than $45 an ounce.
Also tied to inflation - McDonald's food prices. The company forecast higher prices for beef, dairy and other items and said it would cautiously raise prices.
Crude oil rose once again, closing above $112 dollars a barrel. White House officials are assembling a team to look into the root causes of oil market fraud and manipulation, which may be contributing to higher U.S. gas prices.
Taking a look at the closing numbers...
U.S. stocks posted gains across the board ahead of the Easter weekend.
In Europe, the major indexes were mixed despite strength in earnings news.
Bobbi Rebell, Reuters