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Stock Market Today Reacts to China and Gold

Disappointing news that China's economic growth slowed in the first quarter sent the stock market today (Monday) reeling.

Just before noon, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.61% to 14,773.75. The Standard and Poor's 500 Index slumped 0.75% to 1,576.87. The Nasdaq fell 0.80% to 3,268.45. Oil slipped 3.44% to $88 a barrel.

And the biggest loser of the day, gold plunged as much as 6.3%, hitting a low of $1,384.60.

Dragging stocks down was a report that China's economy grew at 7.7% in Q1, weaker than the 8% growth economists were expecting, and down from Q4's 7.9%. This rattled global markets, as fears spread that there would be continued lower demand for Chinese goods and services.

"The international situation continues to concern people, both in regard to Europe and China," John Carey, a fund manager for Pioneer Investment Management Inc., told Bloomberg News. "People are watching for some signs of improvement in both areas. Otherwise we're just in the early stages of earnings season, so people will have one eye on what's going on outside the U.S. and another close eye on what's happening with regard to earnings."

More than 75 members of the S&P 500 are scheduled to report earnings this week. Here are some to watch, along with the biggest headline makers in the stock market today.

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The Ugly Truth About Bail-ins, Magic Wands and Con Men

According to Shah Gilani, this is what we've come to: Liars leading liars, lying to the public that banks are safe institutions. Read more...

How to Beat Wall Street at Its Own Game

I'm a voracious reader. And I'm also a relentless networker. In this business, I have to be.
I need to see and hear as much as possible in order to form the opinions, forge the recommendations and assemble the market intelligence that enables us to help you pull down big profits.
Now I have direct, daily access to six of the most impressive investment gurus you're ever going to find.
Let me tell you a quick story that shows you how this works

Stock Market: Q1 Was One for the Record Books, So What's Next?

The U.S. stock market logged an impressive first quarter.

Shrugging off budget cuts, tax hikes, and more Eurozone misery, U.S. stocks climbed to record territory on several occasions.

On March 5, the Dow broke through its record close of 14,165, previously hit Oct. 9, 2007. Meanwhile, the S&P has been flirting with its 1,565 record high for weeks.

The most recent milestones came Thursday when the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at yet another record, and the Standard & Poor's 500 Index finally closed above its all-time high.

Thursday closed out Q1 with the Dow adding 52.38 points, or 0.36%, to close at 14,578.54. The S&P tacked on 6.34, or 0.41%, to close at 1,569.19.

Here's a look at the quarter's biggest gains and losses, as well as what investors should do now as we head into April.

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With Another Stock Market Record in Reach, Here's What to Do Now

It's time for some insight.

I'm constantly asked where I think the stock market is going next. Since the Dow recently reached new highs and the S&P 500 is pushing its old October 2007 highs, it's no wonder that's the question on everyone's mind and lips.

My answer is: I don't know where it's going.  But I do know what to do about it.

Here's the thing...

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Don't Ignore Meredith Whitney's Bullish Market Call

Bull & Bear Econonomic Trends Converge

Meredith Whitney, the prominent banking analyst known for making aggressive bearish calls, just made a strikingly bullish call on U.S. stocks.

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How the Stock Market Today Digested Cyprus News

Country Cyprus

Worries over the plan to force bank depositors in Cyprus to help fund a $13 billion international bailout rattled global equities and sent the U.S. stock market today (Monday) lower. 

Right after the open, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index and the Nasdaq were all sharply lower.

By mid-afternoon, all three indexes remained in negative territory with the Dow down 4.76, or .03% at 14,509.03; the S&P down 2.97, or 0.17%, at 1,557. 73, and the Nasdaq down 2.11, or 0.11%, at 3,247.

Sending global markets lower Monday was the unprecedented agreement reached this weekend over Cyprus' bailout plan.

The proposed plan - by representatives of the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank and Eurozone's finance ministers - includes taxing deposits over 100,000 euros ($128,950) at 9.9%, while those with less than that amount would be subject to a 6.75% levy.

The aim is to raise 5.8 billion euros ($7.52 billion) that would go toward the $13 billion international bailout of the country.

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Why this Ivy League Professor Sees Dow Hitting 18,000

Chart up exponential

The bears predicting a stock market crash have it all wrong.

So says Jeremy Siegel, finance professor at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School and author of "Stocks for the Long Run." He predicts the Dow - which closed yesterday (Wednesday) at a new record high 14,455.28 - will continue the bull market run, ending this year in the 16,000 to 17,000 range.

For 2014, he says, the "best bet goal" is the Dow will climb to 18,000.

And the well-known bull has nearly 150 years of data to back up his bold prediction.

Here's why Siegel is so bullish.  

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The FBI and the SEC Are Cracking Down on People Just Like You

Police light

If you happen to do something that you probably do, and have been doing - only, you didn't know it was "abusive manipulation" of the markets - they're already after you.

Dow Hits Record High – What Does That Say About the U.S. Economy?

Equity market cheerleaders got very excited about the Dow Jones Industrial Average hitting a new record high yesterday (Tuesday).

The Dow closed at 14,253.77, topping its previous record close of 14,164.53 on Oct. 9, 2007.

While it is nice to see a sign that equities are improving following the devastating shock of the financial crisis of 2008, today's Dow Jones Industrial Average is not the same index as it was in 2007.

In fact, if we look back at when the Dow Jones Industrial Average last exceeded 14,000, we'll see that the Dow seems to have less of a connection now to what is really happening in the economy than it did in 2007.

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What Bankrupt Athletes Wish They Knew About Financial Windfalls

Game football

Few among us haven't dreamed of sudden riches - the financial windfall of a big legal settlement, an unexpected inheritance, a winning lottery ticket, or, for the young and athletically gifted, a lucrative contract with a major professional sports franchise.

But it turns out that few are prepared for a financial windfall when it comes their way.

Nowhere is this more obvious than with big sports stars.

Despite the proliferation of multimillion-dollar contracts, an astonishing number of professional athletes are forced to declare bankruptcy within a few years of hanging up their jerseys.

In the National Football League, for example, where the average salary is $1.9 million, 78% of former players are in bankruptcy within five years of retirement. That figure is 60% for former National Basketball Association players, who earn an average of $5.5 million a year as players.

How can people so generously compensated go broke so quickly?

Part of it has to do with youth, but many of the mistakes athletes make with the financial windfall of a professional sports salary also are made by regular people who suddenly come into large sums of money.

There's a lot we all can learn from their mistakes. When it comes to financial windfalls, it's best to know what to expect ahead of time so you can put the money to work for you instead of squandering it.

"Every single day, people come into large sums of money, whether it's a thousand dollars or a million, and without proper planning, funds quickly disappear," writes Jim Wang in U.S. News and World Report. "Just look at the horrible stories you often hear of lottery winners, and you'll have enough evidence that everyone needs a little preparation, even if you don't expect to get a windfall."

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Stock Market Today: With Dow at Record High, Will the Climb Last?

Chart up exponential

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was at a record high after nearly six years, as the stock market today (Tuesday) rallied enough to push the index up nearly 70 points at the open.

Just minutes after the opening bell, the Dow sailed passed its all-time high of 14,165 hit on Oct. 9, 2007. Less than a half-hour into the trading session the Dow roared higher by triple digits propelling benchmark to yet another record.

By 1 p.m. the Dow was up 146.99, or 1.04%, at 14,274.81. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index added 17.32 or 1.14%, to 1,542.52, leaving it in striking distance if its record close of 1,565 hit in 2007. The Nasdaq climbed 43.39 or 1.37% to 3,225.42.

Money has poured into stocks over the last several months as individuals have begun to feel more comfortable about the health of the economy - but can it last?

"The question is, can the Dow maintain these levels? The market is interested in risk-that's why the Dow is higher, why the riskier currencies are higher," Matthew Lifson, currency trader at Cambridge Mercantile Group in Princeton told Reuters.

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Does the Heinz Deal Mean Warren Buffett Has Become a Doomsday Prepper?

At $28 billion, the famed ketchup maker is valued at a rich 23x earnings. And Buffett won't even control management. Given Warren's long and storied history of value investing and a hands-on style, this purchase is bizarre. Unless...

As Volatility Hits New Lows, It Could Be Time to Sell

Since January 1st, the average daily price volatility of stocks has fallen more than 60%. It's the biggest straight-line drop in 82 years.
A lot of investors are rejoicing. After all, stocks have risen an average of 17% a year when volatility is this low, Bloomberg reports.

[rwc_chart_single name="VIX"]

There is, however, a dark side. Periods of abnormally low volatility are a warning bell. Namely, they tend to precede powerful reversals that can wipe out investors, as was the case in 2000 and early 2008, and at other key turning points in the past 100 years.
So today let's talk about what low volatility means for you - both in terms of upside and how to protect yourself in a downslide.
If nothing else, <a href="http://moneymorning.com/2013/02/22/as-volatility-hits-new-lows-it-could-be-time-to-sell/"you've got to see this chart...

Will the Year of the Snake Bring Another Stock Market Crash?

False Water Cobra

The Chinese New Year officially began Feb. 10, starting what some investors consider a very bad zodiac year. Not only does the year of the snake havethe worst stock market returns, but some of the darkest moments in U.S. history. Take a look.