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Today's stock market news, Feb. 4: The Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted more than 326 points on Monday, its worst day in seven months. A strong sell-off pushed the market down 2% on disappointing January auto sales from Ford (NYSE: F) and General Motors (NYSE: GM) and poor manufacturing data in the U.S. and China. Emerging-market health remains a steep concern for investors on Tuesday.
On the commodity side this morning, gold prices are down 0.5% to $1,253.70 per ounce. Silver prices are down 0.4% to $19.33. Natural gas is back above $5.00. WTI crude prices are up 0.2% to $96.61, while Brent crude is down to $105.68.
Five Biggest Stories in Today's Stock Market, Feb. 4
- Facebook Hits Double Digits: The social network that brought you the film The Social Network is officially 10 years old today. On Feb. 4, 2004, Facebook Inc. (Nasdaq: FB) was launched from a Harvard University dorm room by Mark Zuckerberg and friends. Since then, it has gone on to add 1.23 billion users, which is roughly the population of India. Despite a rocky IPO in May 2012, the company's stock has increased more than 100% in the last year.
- February Forecast Rocky: The S&P 500 is off to its worst start since 1933, which is concerning, since February has historically been a tough month for the markets. And data shows February market performances lag even worse when January returns are negative. Since 1971, the S&P 500 has declined 72% of the time when January returns were in the red. Meanwhile, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 65% of the time under the same conditions, while the Nasdaq is down 57%.
- Apple Quietly Plans Its Expansion: According to The Wall Street Journal, Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) is building an extensive Internet infrastructure network to meet growing demand for consumer content. The company plans to expand its network to gather more control over its content distribution and traffic if the company expands its television offerings. According to the report, Apple only provides 4.3% of peak Internet traffic compared to tech-giants Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) at 32% and Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG) at 22%.
- A Good Sign for the U.S. Economy: Despite concerns in the emerging markets, the U.S. received good news signaling improvements in the domestic economy. U.S. small business lending increased strongly in December to its highest level in seven years. The Thomson Reuters/PayNet Small Business Lending Index, which measures lending volumes to small businesses, jumped 121.6 in December from 114.6 in November. This could signal stronger growth, increased hiring, and greater production output in the first quarter of 2014.
- Michael Kors Holdings Ltd. (NYSE: KORS) shattered quarterly earnings this morning. The company saw revenue increase $1.11 per share compared to consensus estimates of $0.86. Total company revenue increased 59% in the quarter ending December 29, while comparable store sales rose just 27.8%. Shares of KORS are up more than 20% in premarket trading to a record high. The company is quickly taking market share from its primary competitor Coach Inc. (NYSE: COH), which is down more than 17% this year-to-date.
Key Companies Reporting Earnings Feb. 4
- Consensus earnings per share for AFLAC Corporation (NYSE: AFL) is $1.34.
- Consensus earnings per share for BP p.l.c. (NYSE: BP) is $0.91.
- Consensus earnings per share for Archer Daniels Midland (NYSE: ADM) is $0.85.
- Consensus earnings per share for Atwood Oceanics Inc. (NYSE: ATW) is $1.18.
- Consensus earnings per share for Clorox Company (NYSE: CLX) is $0.91.
- Consensus earnings per share Sirius XM Radio Inc. (Nasdaq: SIRI) is $0.02.
Others Reporting Earnings:
Buffalo Wild Wings Inc. (BWLD), CME Group Inc. (CME), Devry Education Group Inc (DV), McGraw Hill Financial Inc. (MHFI), Gannett Co Inc. (GCI), Dice Holdings Inc (DHX), AGCO Corp (AGCO)
U.S. Economic Calendar Feb. 4
- U.S. factory orders at 10 am.
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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.