Top financial news today, May 21, 2014: The Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted more than 100 points on Tuesday after a sharp sell-off in retail stocks rattled the markets.
Here are the top financial news stories you should know to make your Wednesday profitable:
- Today's Big Announcement: The Federal Reserve will release minutes from its April FOMC meeting at 2 p.m. today. The report will highlight the U.S. central bank's reaction to the nation's lackluster growth rate in the first quarter and its plans to both raise interest rates and cut back on its bond-purchasing program.
- Time to Rebuild: The comeback starts now. J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) announced plans to invest $100 million into the city of Detroit through 2019. The Motor City continues to struggle to gain access to credit following the country's largest municipal bankruptcy of all time. The money will help rehabilitate vacant and destroyed housing in the city's downtown area.
- Cold Rain and Snow: Tricky winter weather forced Lowe's Companies Inc. (NYSE: LOW) to report weaker than expected quarterly results. The company did, however, announce that sales in May accelerated, and that it would maintain its 5% sales growth forecast for the year. Shares of Lowe's were up marginally in today's pre-market trading.
- Still Recovering: It wasn't just the snow that hindered Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT) this quarter. The company reported earnings fell 16%. The company saw fewer shoppers after its massive data breach and steep losses from its misguided expansion into Canada. Target removed its CEO Gregg Steinhafel earlier this month and will look to get back on track in the months ahead.
- Cable Expansion: This morning, Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) announced plans to expand into Germany, France, and four other European countries in 2014, surpassing the 50 threshold of international markets for the streaming service. The company expects to face a multitude of regulatory challenges in its new markets, where copyright laws make dissemination of content online more challenging. Netflix's first jaunt into Europe began in 2012 when it expanded into Ireland and the United Kingdom.
- Boomtown Bankruptcy: The Wall Street Journal reports that the "numbers didn't add up" for Twitter Inc. (Nasdaq: TWTR) in its pursuit of SoundCloud, a German-based audio sharing company. SoundCloud was recently valued at $700 million, which would have more than doubled the social media site's largest deal ever. Following Apple Inc.'s (Nasdaq: AAPL) recent purchase of music streaming company Beats Audio, Twitter is rumored to be seeking its own streaming acquisition.
- Today's Economic Calendar: In addition to the Fed's April minutes, the U.S. economic calendar features speeches from two Federal Reserve Bank presidents, and the release of the EIA Petroleum Status Report.
- Banks Behaving Badly: Following Credit Suisse's (NYSE: CS) guilty plea and $2.5 billion settlement on Monday, U.S. regulators are now turning their attention to BNP Paribas SA (OTC: BNPQY). The company violated U.S. sanctions by conducting business with Iran and Sudan. Bloomberg reports that the French financial institution is looking at a guilty plea and a fine valued at more than $5 billion. A settlement is likely to occur within the next three weeks.
- What's the Deal: Reuters reports that online retailer eBay Inc. (Nasdaq: EBAY) has asked all of its users to change their passwords both on the company's main site and its online payment division PayPal. The company offered no explanation as to why it was necessary.
- Earnings Reports: In other top financial news today, be sure to stay tuned for earnings reports from Hormel Foods Corp. (NYSE: HRL), Tiffany & Co. (NYSE: TIF), PetSmart Inc. (Nasdaq: PETM), Eaton Vance Corp. (NYSE: EV), American Eagle Outfitters Inc. (NYSE: AEO), Navios Maritime Holdings Inc. (NYSE: NM), and Trina Solar Limited (NYSE: TSL).
Full U.S. Economic Calendar May 21, 2014 (NYSE: all times EDT)
- MBA Purchase Applications at 7 a.m.
- EIA Petroleum Status Report at 10:30 a.m.
- Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen delivers the NYU commencement address at 11:30 a.m. at Yankee Stadium.
- Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank Esther George speaks at 12:50 p.m.
- Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank President Narayana Kocherlakota speaks at 1:30 p.m.
- Fed Open Market Committee Minutes at 2 p.m.
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