Updated from 7:40 a.m. EST
NEW YORK (
) -- The major market averages fell last week for the fourth straight time, but the
Dow Jones Industrial Average's
rally late Friday has put a lift under sentiment turning it bullish to kick off a new trading week.
As of 9:15 a.m., survey-takers who were bullish totaled 51.1%, or 992 of the 1,941 votes cast in TheStreet.com's RealMoney Barometer Poll. Those who were bearish tallied 34.9%, or 677 of the votes cast, while 14%, or 272 participants in the poll were neutral.
Poll-takers chose banks and precious metals to lead the charge for the bulls, with banks holding a slim lead as the sector viewed most likely to rise this week. As far as declining sectors go, metals came in first place, followed closely behind by banks.
With the fourth-quarter earnings season beginning to wind down -- reports are expected this week from the likes of
-- the focus again turns to job creation as President Obama is scheduled to meet Tuesday with leaders in Congress to discuss ways to increase employment and boost the economy. And in his weekly radio address on Saturday, Obama called on Congress to use $30 billion from the Troubled Asset Relief Program to begin a program that would provide loans to small businesses.
It was jobs, as well as European debt concerns, that played a part for a wacky day of trading on Friday. The Dow topped 10,000 at the close, after losing as much as 167 points during the session. For the week, the Dow lost 0.6%,
fell 0.3% and the
Earlier in the day Friday the government released mixed messages on the labor picture. The Labor Department said nonfarm payrolls declined by 20,000 in January, when analysts expected a rise of 15,000, but the unemployment rate fell to 9.7% vs. estimates the rate would hold steady at 10%.
In corporate news,
, the commercial lender, named
, former Merrill Lynch chief, as its new chairman and chief executive. Thain is the former chief of Merrill Lynch, which was acquired by
Bank of America
in late 2008.
> > Bull or Bear? Vote in Our Poll
The poll closed at 9:15 a.m.
On Monday in Asia, stocks in Tokyo fell 1.1%, while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong declined 0.6%.
As of 9:15 a.m., Britain's FTSE 100 was mostly unchanged. The DAX in Frankfurt was gaining 0.6%.
Here is a wrap-up of our other polls:
investors and kneel-at-the-feet-of-
devotees have not been happy about recent coverage of Berkshire Hathaway B shares as a tradeable investment. Indeed,
has received numerous reader comments describing the very notion of trading Berkshire Hathaway stock -- as opposed to holding it for all eternity -- as "pure drivel."
Still, since the Berkshire Hathaway B shares split in late January, bringing the shares down to a retail investor-friendly price range of $70, it has been a legitimate question for interested investors to consider if now is an opportune time to
bet on the Oracle of Omaha's "all-in wager" on the U.S. economy.
It all begged the question we asked in a poll last week: Buffett faithful not withstanding, are you a bull or bear on Buffett's Berkshire?
Long-time Berkshire Hathaway investors should be happy to hear at least one thing related to the recent trading focus on Berkshire Hathaway: The bulls, or maybe we should say the Omaha steer, have it!
More than 80% of survey-takers think that it is time to go long Berkshire Hathaway, and the stock is headed for $90. Go forth and go long on Warren Buffett, they say. Which should even make the buy-and-hold Buffett faithful a happy bunch, though in the end, we know it's all just "pure drivel."
Click here for full results and analysis of our Berkshire Hathaway poll
fans -- and that seems to be most of
readers these days -- are more than 84% certain that Ford has passed
in regards to trustworthiness and quality.
That, at least, is according to a
conducted this past by
Indeed, as Toyota scrambles to contain all the harm caused by its sudden acceleration troubles -- and subsequent recall -- one reader, commenting on
, predicts that "Ford will outsell Toyota easily in 2010." Meanwhile,
The Wall Street Journal
says that Toyota is currently assembling a D.C. crisis team consisting of lobbyists, lawyers and public relations experts to defuse a mounting political and regulatory firestorm.
This crisis team even consists of former Clinton aides (who presumably know a thing or two about attempting to contain a public relations nightmare) and those who helped
cope with its own corporate crisis, according to the paper.
Regardless, only some 16% of those who took our poll agreed with the notion that Toyota would quickly remedy its problems. One such Toyota-supporter wondered what suddenly made Ford so special, adding, "I also don't understand the logic of people that say we should buy Ford because it didn't take bailout money."
But, again, that was clearly the minority view, with the other 84% declaring that Ford has already claimed the high road from Toyota.
would be making the right decision if it were to cave to Macmillan publishers, according to readers of
In a poll conducted over the past week, 55.5% of voters said Amazon would be right to give in to Macmillan, while 44.5% said the e-retailer should hold its ground.
Last week, Amazon removed some of Macmillan's titles after the publisher said it planned on upping prices for e-books -- but a few days later, the company appeared to have a change of heart and announced it would accept the publisher's decision.
"We have expressed our strong disagreement and the seriousness of our disagreement by temporarily ceasing the sale of all Macmillan titles," Amazon said, in a statement. "We want you to know that ultimately, however, we will have to capitulate and accept Macmillan's terms because Macmillan has a monopoly over their own titles, and we will want to offer them to you even at prices we believe are needlessly high for e-books."
Starting in March, the publisher said it will set the consumer price for each book, and Amazon will take a 30% commission. Most new releases will cost between $12.99 and $14.99.
Amazon has traditionally set e-book prices at a default of $9.99 for new releases and best sellers.
And the winner of
The Tonight Show
debacle is ... Conan O'Brien -- at least, that's verdict of the readers of
Maybe it's the fact that O'Brien left
NBC with a severance package of $45 million for himself and his staff, even though he was only on the show for 11 months.
Or maybe it's the rumors that Fox, owned by
, is interested in hiring O'Brien and giving him a new talk show.
Regardless, readers of
consider O'Brien the ultimate winner of the
farce, affording him more than 37% of the votes in our
As for the others in this debacle, not all have fared as well. Indeed, in perhaps the most telling tally of all, more than 18% of voters declared that there were, in fact, no winners at all -- which seems about right, to us.
-- Written by Joseph Woelfel and Ty Wenger in New York.