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Morning Market Roundup: Apple Hits Meteoric Heights, First Solar Earnings Flame Out


Here’s what’s important in the financial world this morning:

Greece: The small Mediterranean country moved a step closer toward receiving its bailout funds. After a 202-80 vote, the country’s parliament ratified a €3.2 billion package of spending cuts in a 202-80 vote. Today another vote will take place on fixed changes to pension funds and healthcare spending. This has been required by European Union and the International Monetary Fund in exchange for an infusion of fund at €130 billion.

(Related: What Will Banks Do With €530B in Cash? )

France: France’s data protection regulator, the Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertes (CNIL), plans to launch an investigation into Google’s new privacy policy. The agency said after an initial review, it believed the policy did not follow European laws with regard to the protection of an individuals’ privacy, according to Reuters.

In a February 27 letter to the Internet company, the regulator said the investigation encompasses European regulators and it will send questions to the company by the middle of March.

Tech: Apple Inc.’s closing stock price of $535.41 on Tuesday represented an all-time high. With a slight rise on Wednesday, it has joined the elite market capitalization club of $500 billion. Only five stock have hit this level including Microsoft, Cisco Systems, General Electric, Intel and Exxon Mobil. The Wall Street Journal noted that three of these stocks who hit this level, “popped” after the 2000 technology boom. Apple’s stock is poised to keep rising after the introduction of its iPad 3 in early March.

First Solar’s stock tanked in after-hours trading on Tuesday after reporting a disappointing fourth quarter earnings report. The company saw a net loss of $413.1 million from write-downs, charges and decreased sales prices. This compares to a $155.9 million profit in the previous year.

The company’s adjusted earnings per share declined to $1.26 from $1.88 while revenues increased 8 percent to $660 million; both of these numbers missed estimates. With a weaker than expected demand, First Solar lowered its 2012 revenue guidance.

[Editor’s note: the above is a cross post that originally appeared on Wall St. Cheat Sheet.]

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