Today's stock market, Aug. 19, 2014: U.S. stocks soared Monday on positive housing data and growing merger and acquisition activity. The Dow gained 175 points, while the S&P 500 Index is again taking aim at the historic 2,000 mark. The Nasdaq is back at a 14-year high.
Geopolitical issues in Iraq and Ukraine were tame yesterday, much to the relief of investors, but to the detriment of oil prices. Brent crude fell below $102 a barrel, and West Texas Intermediate, which is priced in New York, slipped below $97 per barrel.
Here's what you should know to make your Tuesday profitable:
- Price Wars: Shares of Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) were down in premarket hours after the company announced plans to slash its subscription charges and ignite "disruptive pricing" to the telecom world. According to reports, the company will allow customers access to 20 gigabytes of data and up to 10 lines for $100. As the stock hovers near its 52-week low, the company is seeking a boost just weeks after its pursuit of T-Mobile U.S. Inc. (NYSE: TMUS) fell through over regulatory concerns.
- Merger Mania: Shares of Skilled Healthcare Group Inc. (NYSE: SKH) were up more than 32% this morning on news that the company will merge with privately held Genesis Healthcare. The all-stock transaction will help form one of the largest providers of long-term medical care services in the United States. The announcement comes in a very busy transaction day that includes deal announcements for multiple companies, including BHP Billiton Ltd. (NYSE: BHP), Novartis AG (NYSE: NVS), and Samsung, among others.
- Strong Spring: Shares of The Home Depot Inc. (NYSE: HD) hit a new 52-week high and were up more than 3% in premarket hours on news that the company bested second-quarter earnings expectations. The company reported a 14% increase in second-quarter profits, as the firm saw strong growth thanks to a resurgent housing market and strong spring-time sales. Following a harsh winter-weather season, the company made up its sales, boosting expectations for the duration of 2014.
- Celebration: It has been 10 years since one of the world's most dynamic technology companies went public. Ten years ago today, Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOGL) released its initial public offering, raising $1.2 billion in the process. Since 2004, the stock has risen nearly 14 times its original $85 price and has split into two share classes. The company remains a favorite of our technology expert Michael A. Robinson and will likely push back against its all-time high at some point this year.
- Bad News: Shares of H.J. Heinz Co. (NYSE: HNZ) were unchanged in premarket hours, but the company's brand is taking a serious hit to its reputation on news that it has recalled four brands of infant cereal in China on concerns of high levels of lead. The company found that at least 1,400 boxes were affected by excessive lead counts. The announcement is the latest in a string of problems for western companies in the Chinese market, where brands are suffering from manufacturing or supplier mistakes. Earlier this year McDonald's Corp. (NYSE: MCD) and several other prominent western companies said their brands took a hit after a supplier failed to properly inspect meat shipments, which were allegedly expired and later sold to customers.
Earnings Reports: Stay tuned for earnings reports from Medtronic Inc. (NYSE:
MDT), La-Z-Boy Inc. (NYSE: LZB), John B Sanfilippo & Son Inc. (Nasdaq: JBSS), Dick's Sporting Goods Inc. (NYSE: DKS), Cheetah Mobile Inc. (Nasdaq: CMCM), and TJX Companies Inc. (NYSE: TJX).
- Today's Economic Calendar: Today's schedule features the weekly ICSC-Goldman retail store sales update, a report on July housing starts, and the Consumer Price Index.
Full U.S. Economic Calendar August 19, 2014
- ICSC-Goldman Store Sales at 7:45 a.m.
- Consumer Price Index at 8:30 a.m.
- Housing Starts at 8:30 a.m.
- Redbook at 8:55 a.m.
- 4-Week Bill Auction at 11:30 a.m.
- 52-Week Bill Auction at 11:30 a.m.
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