stock market news
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.
Stock Market Today: Will a Bad Earnings Season Spoil This Year's Gains?
Coming off the worst week of the year, market participants have a cautious stance in the stock market today as earnings season kicks off - and will likely disappoint.
The Dow fell 13.29 points, or 0.09%, to 14,565.25 last week. The S&P shed 15.91, or 1.01%, to end the week at 1,553.28.
Monday, guarded investors kept a wary eye on developments in Eurozone, nuclear tensions in the Korean Peninsula, and Alcoa Inc.'s (NYSE: AA) earnings after the bell-the unofficial kick-off to Q1 earnings reports.
Red flags are waving that companies will report a slowdown in corporate profits. A number of companies have delivered lower guidance, with pre-earnings announcements sloped to the negative side. Companies in the S&P are expected to increase Q1 earnings a measly 1.5% over last year, according to Thomson Reuters.
Weak earnings could push any nervous investors to take gains and bail on markets for a while.
"Right now, projections for earnings in 2013 and the market are based on optimistic assumption," Howard Silverblatt, senior index analyst with S&P Dow Jones Indices told Barron's. "We can meet estimates if things move in the right direction. But the economy does not go straight up or down. There are bumps up or down. There are bumps in the road. And investors rarely get everything they need or want."
Here are some upcoming earnings reports to watch, as well as two of the biggest deals moving stocks this week.
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.
Stock Market Today is Up, But is a Pullback on the Way?
A handful of economic data helped the stock market today (Tuesday) resume a robust rally - but are we due for a pullback?
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 111.90 points, or 0.77%, at 14,559.65. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index jumped 12.08 points, or 0.78%, to 1,563.77 - just a couple points from its record high. The Nasdaq climbed 17.18 points, or 0.53%, to close at 3,252.48.
The broad-based stock market rally followed a sell-off Monday, which took the Dow down 64.28 points, or 0.4%, to close at 14,447.75. The S&P and Nasdaq both fell 0.3% as investors mulled a bailout deal for Cyprus.
But the old adage that investors have a very short memory rang true Tuesday. Shrugging off yesterday's woes, market participants instead focused on encouraging U.S. economic data.
Buoying stocks Tuesday was a Commerce Department report that showed durable goods orders surged 5.7% in February. That handily beat economists' expectations of a 0.5% rise and reversed January's 3.8% plunge.
A separate report Tuesday revealed single-family home prices began 2013 with the biggest annual increase in six-and-a-half years. The S&P/Case Shiller composite index report is a further sign of a recovery in the housing market.
But the big question is if the rally will last.
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...
It's Time to "Follow the Money" Into This Stock
Before moving into investment research, I spent two decades as a journalist - and once even interviewed former President Richard M. Nixon.
So it's no surprise that one of my favorite movies of all time is the Watergate docudrama "All the President's Men."
And my favorite scene in that flick is the famous "parking garage" meeting, where Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward (Robert Redford) squares off against confidential source "Deep Throat" (Hal Holbrook) in an effort to gauge the depth and breadth of the Nixon administration scandal the newspaper had uncovered.
Deep Throat's response: "Follow the money."
That's doggone good advice - for reporters tracking down a story and for investors seeking the very best profit plays.
With a beaten-down stock in particular, there's nothing more heartening than en masse insider buying - or seeing that substantive investments are being made by the handful of institutional players with a proven ability for finding big winners.
It's even better when you see that the Big Boys are making those investments in stocks the rest of Wall Street wouldn't even think of touching.
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.
Stock Market Today: Why Stocks Slipped After Seven-Day Rally
After a seven-day rally that produced consecutive record highs for the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the stock market today (Tuesday) took a breather.
In early afternoon trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 16.66 or .12% at 14,430.63. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was off 4.94, or .32% at 1,551.37. The Nasdaq was lower by 16.30, or .50% at 3,236.
"We've just been going up and up and up every day, and now a slight pullback. There is nothing surprising here, by any stretch of the imagination-it's natural to get a little pullback like this," Sean Kelly, managing director at Knight Capital told The Wall Street Journal.
Market participants continue to closely watch the S&P 500 Index. The broad-based market benchmark is close to its all-time closing high of 1,565.15 hit on Oct. 9, 2007.
But investors may be getting a bit concerned about the recent bull run. After falling to a six-year low on Monday, the VIX (the market's fear index), rose 7.8% Tuesday.
Also, the current bull market is aging. It turned 4 on Saturday. Only five of the past 11 bull markets have made it to their fifth birthday, according to data from S&P Capital. The average bull market since 1932 has endured for roughly four-and-a-half years.
Not helping stocks Tuesday was a read from the National Federation of Independent Business. While the report showed its small business optimism index rose in February, exceeding expectations, the federation's reading on expected business conditions remained in deep recession territory. Moreover, business owners reporting declining sales far surpassed those reporting increased sales.
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...