Coming off the worst week of the year, U.S. equities were mixed in the stock market today (Monday) at we kick off a big week for earnings.
In mid-afternoon trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 14.19, or 0.10%, at 14,533.32. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index gained 2.50, or 0.22%, to 1,558.93.
The Nasdaq was up 20.17, or 0.63%, to 3,226.23.
Gold, which lost 7%, or $105.70 a troy ounce last week, was down 20 cents, to $1,426.30.
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.
The Ugly Truth About Bail-ins, Magic Wands and Con Men
Last week, I was emailed a link to Barry Ritholtz's "The Big Picture" site.
That's where David R. Kotok, Chairman and Chief Investment Officer of Cumberland Advisors, posted a piece on the "bail-in" of Cypriot banks, versus the bailout fixes that we're used to seeing.
As it was an email, a lot of people were copied on it. And a lot of them hit "Reply All," and forwarded their reactions and comments.
I read everyone's responses.
No one had any clue about what's really going on, or how to fix the banking mess the world faces, or whether bailouts or bail-ins are the answer.
Myself? I got really angry.
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.
Creating Private Briefing made it even easier for me to do all that for you.
Now I have direct, daily access to six of the most impressive investment gurus you're ever going to find - folks like Keith Fitz-Gerald, a globe-trotting expert and best-selling author with decades of experience in international markets ... or Peter Krauth, the natural resources expert who's so serious about his work that he lives in Canada to be close to the companies he covers ... or Martin Hutchinson, who has actually been hired by countries to fix their economies.
Let me tell you a quick story that shows why this matters. And after that we'll take a look at some investing strategies we think you need to consider - especially right now, with the market in record territory.
These are strategies that will allow you to keep pursuing profits on your existing holdings, to add new positions at prices that will help you extract the maximum-possible returns, and to protect all of your holdings against a possible correction.
So let's start with my story.
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.
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...
Don't Ignore Meredith Whitney's Bullish Market Call
Meredith Whitney, the prominent banking analyst known for making aggressive bearish calls, just made a strikingly bullish call on U.S. stocks.
How the Stock Market Today Digested Cyprus News
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.
Why this Ivy League Professor Sees Dow Hitting 18,000
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.
The FBI and the SEC Are Cracking Down on People Just Like You
Some people will do anything to make money in the market.
Believe it or not, folks have even resorted to manipulating stocks to fatten their wallets.
And, crazy as this sounds, there are more people doing it than anyone imagined.
Now, I know you'd never do that. But the SEC isn't so sure. Neither is the FBI.
According to yesterday's Financial Times (the pink paper that some financial types read), the FBI is joining forces with the SEC in order to "tackle the potential threat of market manipulation... that [has] taken markets beyond the scope of traditional policing."
What's hilarious to me is that, before the FBI goes looking for market manipulators (like you) along with the SEC, it should be looking at the SEC!
But I digress...