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Today's stock market news, Jan. 31: U.S. markets rose on Thursday, Facebook Inc. (Nasdaq: FB) reported strong earnings, and fourth-quarter GDP increased 3.2%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.7% to 15,848, and the Standard & Poor's 500 Index jumped 1.1% to 1,794. U.S. stock futures were down Friday before the bell after Eurozone inflation levels unexpectedly fell by 0.7%.
Five Biggest Stories in Today's Stock Market, Jan. 31:
- A Board Shakeup on the Way: Microsoft Corp.'s (Nasdaq: MSFT) board may appoint Satya Nadella, the company's enterprise and cloud chief, as its next CEO, according to Bloomberg. Company leaders may also replace Bill Gates as Chairman with their lead independent director John Thompson, according to reports. Gates would take a more indirect role with the organization as it transitions to only its third CEO in its history.
- Government Expands Its Role in Retirement: In an effort to spur retirement savings among Americans, U.S. President Barack Obama has authorized the Treasury Department to develop a starter retirement account called "myRA." According to a White House conference call on Thursday, the retirement savings plan would have many similar characteristics of a Roth IRA and have the security of federal bonds. Due to the nature of the investment, the account would provide a guaranteed return and be indexed to inflation.
- Google Reports Strong Earnings: One day after Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG) reported the sale of its Motorola Mobility franchise to Lenovo Group (OTC: LNVGY), the internet giant announced strong fourth quarter earnings. After the bell, GOOG reported revenue of $16.86 billion, representing a 17% increase over the fourth quarter of last year. In addition, Google CFO Patrick Pichette announced a scheduled stock split on April 3. Shares of Google are up 3.5% before the bell and have now reached an all-time high. Get the full earnings story here.
- Not Ready for Prime Time: Amazon Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) stock plummeted by as much as 10% in after-hours trading on Thursday. The company reported another solid sales quarter but missed Wall Street earnings projections of $0.71 per share. Despite profits growing by $239 million, or $.51 per share, the company showed slower-than-expected sales for the holiday shopping season. In an effort to stave off the possibility that it could run at an operating loss this quarter, the company may soon hike its popular $79 yearly Prime membership by $20 to $40, a move that would affect millions of existing members. Here's what AMZN investors need to know about where Amazon stock is headed.
- Sign of the Times: U.S. GDP grew at an annual rate of 3.2% in the fourth quarter, down from the third-quarter rate of 4.1%. When combined, the final two quarters of 2013 represent the nation's strongest growth level since 2003. But for many Americans, that growth isn't being reflected in wages. According to a report released Thursday by the Corporation for Enterprise Development, 44% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. The CFED says nearly half of Americas have less than $5,887 in savings for a family of four.
U.S. Economic Calendar Jan. 31:
- December personal income and personal spending at 8:30 am
- Chicago PMI for January at 9:45 am
- University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index for January at 9:55 am
Key Companies Reporting Earnings Jan. 31:
- Baidu Inc. (Nasdaq: BIDU) has consensus earnings per share of $8.21.
- MasterCard Inc. (NYSE: MA) has consensus earnings per share of $0.60.
- Dominion Resources (D) has consensus earnings per share of $0.88.
- Mattel Inc. (Nasdaq: MAT) has consensus earnings per share of $1.20.
- Legg Mason Inc. (NYSE: LM) has consensus earnings per share of $0.66.
- Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) has consensus earnings per share of $2.58.
Other Companies Reporting:
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About the Author
Garrett Baldwin is a globally recognized research economist, financial writer, and consultant with degrees from Northwestern, Johns Hopkins, Purdue, and Indiana University. He is a seasoned financial and political risk analyst, with a focus on stocks, hedge funds, private equity, blockchain, and housing policy. He has conducted risk assessment projects for clients in 27 countries, and consulted on policy and financial operations for some of the nation's largest financial institutions, including a $1.5 trillion credit fund, a $43 billion credit and auto loan giant, as well as two of the largest Wall Street banks by assets under management.
Garrett joined Money Map Press as an economist and researcher in 2011, specializing in alternative strategies with an emphasis on fundamental and technical analysis.