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Today's Primer Post

U.S. stocks enter the new week on quite the positive roll: the S&P 500 has gained for eight straight sessions, its best winning streak since November 2004, and the Dow has advanced in 11 of the past 12 trading days. The Dow is on track for its best January gain since 1989, the S&P 500 since 1997.


The week will be marked by a busy economic calendar, including a two-day meeting of Federal Reserve policymakers Tuesday and Wednesday. We get off to a slow start today, however, with only the December pending home sales report from the National Association of Realtors on today's schedule at 10 a.m. New York time.


Dow component Caterpillar (CAT) leads this morning's list of corporate earnings, with Biogen Idec (BIIB) and Roper Industries (ROP) also on the schedule. Yahoo (YHOO) is among the companies set to release quarterly numbers after the closing bell, along with Seagate Technology (STX), and BMC Software (BMCS).


Boeing (BA) remains atop our stocks to watch list, as the ongoing probe into the 787 Dreamliner's recent problems continues. The investigation has now shifted to the maker of the jet's maintenance systems.


JPMorgan Chase (JPM) Chief Risk Officer John Hogan is taking a leave of absence, though he plans to return to the bank in early summer. Deputy chief risk officer Ashley Bacon will serve as interim head of that unit.


Transocean (RIG) is in the news once again, courtesy of investor Carl Icahn. He's raised his stake in the company to 5.61 percent from 1.56 percent, saying in an SEC filling that the oilfield services company should declare a dividend of at least $4/share. If it doesn't, he will propose it at the company's next annual meeting.


Salesforce.com (CRM) is planning a four-for-one stock split. The business software provider's board approved the split last month, and it will be submitted to shareholders for an approval vote on March 20.


Apple (AAPL) is coming off a multi-year low for its stock price on Friday, and sentiment probably won't be helped by a Wall Street Journal article pondering the question of whether Apple has lost its "cool factor" to rival Samsung and its best-selling Galaxy S smartphone line.


Barnes & Noble (BKS) plans to shut down as many as a third of its stores over the next decade. That's according to Mitchell Klipper, the CEO of the company's retail group, who told the Wall Street Journal that the company still has a good business model even with fewer stores.


Apollo Global Management (APO) is expected to be named the preferred bidder for Twinkies and other Hostess snack brands, according to the New York Post. The paper says an announcement could come as soon as today.