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Cash in on This "Invisible" $33 Billion Business

U.S. defense contractors don’t make a habit of sending “thank you” letters to America’s enemies.

But if they did, the corporate leaders at The Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) might want to look up Vladimir Putin‘s address – before running to the Hallmark store.

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    Draghi Dampens Rally in the Stock Market Today

    After a nice three-day run going back to last Friday's session, the stock market today is down following dreary statements from Mario Draghi, President of the European Central Bank.

    Speaking at a press conference Thursday morning, Draghi commented that the Eurozone would recover gradually and offered little optimism for the region.

    "The risks surrounding the economic outlook for the euro area continue to be on the downside,"Draghi said at the news conference. "We see now weakening spots of growth in the whole of euro area including countries that had not experienced that before."

    The ECB lowered its key interest rate by 0.25 percentage point to 0.75% and lowered its deposit rate to zero. The People's Bank of China also cut several key interest rates for the second time in less than a month, bringing its lending rate down by 0.31 percentage point to 6%.

    The Bank of England decided to enact stimulus measures through quantitative easing, increasing asset purchases by 50 billion euros ($78.1 billion).

    Domestically better-than-expected job reports were released, showing the fewest layoffs in 13 months and fewer initial unemployment claims filed than in the previous week.

    For the week ended June 30, about 374,000 initial jobless claims were filed, down 14,000 from the previous week. ADP employment numbers showed that 176,000 private jobs were added last week.

    This number is a preview to unemployment numbers to be released tomorrow by the Labor Department. Economists expect jobs to be added in the range of 80,000 - 100,000, factoring in government layoffs.

    These positive labor numbers follow very weak manufacturing reports issued earlier this week and a poor reading from the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) on U.S. non-manufacturing businesses. The ISM services index fell to 52.1 in June from the prior month's 53.7.

    These numbers keep the volatile trend of the markets going as investors go back and forth from hope to worry over European and domestic concerns.

    Some notable headline-makers in the stock market today include Boeing (NYSE: BA) and Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL).

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  • Stock Market Today: This 85% Gainer is Leading the Rebound The stock market today is rebounding from yesterday's dismal session, the second worst day of the year. The Dow Jones Thursday sunk more than 250 points, or 1.96%, to 12,573.57 and the S&P 500 fell 2.23% to 1,325.51.

    Stocks are fighting back today, trying to ignore Moody's rating downgrades of five of the six largest U.S. banks.

    The downgrades included Citigroup (NYSE: C), Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS), Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS), Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) and JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM). Each of these stocks were up Friday as the markets already discounted the downgrades.

    The markets, led by financials, opened Friday's trading with a jolt upwards before settling back to modest gains. Investors remained focused on Europe as leaders from Germany, France, Spain and Italy met in Rome. Little is expected to amount from this meeting, but it could establish a framework for what is to come in the European Union summit next week.

    Besides the financial stocks there are three other companies to keep your eye on today: First Solar Inc. (Nasdaq: FSLR), Darden Restaurants Inc. (NYSE: DRI) and Harvest Natural Resources Inc. (NYSE: HNR).

    First Solar (Nasdaq: FSLR), the largest maker of thin film solar panels, jumped in early trading after receiving permission to continue construction on a $1.36 billion power project in Los Angeles County.

    First Solar stock has been beaten down this year amid steep losses and criticism over its involvement with the U.S. government. The Antelope Valley Solar Ranch One plant, which had been suspended until today, is partially funded by a $646 million loan from the U.S. Energy Department.

    Shares of First Solar have slipped over 85% over the past twelve months from a 52-week high of $142.22.

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