Wal-Mart's Scandal, Apple's Earnings and Student Loan News

Wal-Mart's Scandal, Apple's Earnings and Student Loan News

This week of the Market contains a closer look at Wal-Mart's past, as well as glimpses into students' uncertain futures.

But, first, a number of companies issued earnings reports on their results in the first three months of 2012, the biggest of them being Apple, whose better-than-expected performance caused the stock to jump nearly $50 the next day, and Exxon-Mobil, the world's largest company, whose profit slid 11%. Netflix, which used to be a stock market darling until missteps with its streaming service last fall, also reported its first loss since 2005, causing its stock to drop.

There wasn't such great news in the job market, either. After a few months of unemployment dropping, applications for unemployment benefits stayed nearly unchanged from last week, raising concerns that the recent improvement in the job outlook has stalled.

The future may not be much brighter. The Federal Reserve, which is in charge of the country's monetary policy, predicted that unemployment would remain high for the next couple of years and growth would be slow.

Meanwhile, Microsoft and Facebook cut a big patent deal that gives us a peek at how these technology giants may shape our future--and hopefully boost our economy. Facebook paid $550 million for about 650 patents, most likely for mobile, Web and instant messaging technologies.

This week, we bring you two stories: one showing how recent college grads are being squeezed by high student loan debt and low employment, and the other about a scandal at the world's largest retailer that involves years of bribes and coverups.

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The 20-Something Crunch: High Debt, Low Employment

Student loan debt is at its highest ever, the number of jobs for recent grads at its lowest in a decade--and student loan interest rates could soon double. Find out how this will affect you, and what you can do about it.

Wal-Mart Shares Drop After Bribery Scandal Revealed

Since 2005, Wal-Mart has been covering up a $24 million bribery scandal. Find out how it was revealed--and what this means for the company's future.

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