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Five Biggest Stories in Today's Stock Market

Today's stock market news, Feb. 19, 2014 The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell nearly 24 points to close at 16,130 on Tuesday. The Nasdaq increased 0.7% to hit 4,272.78. The S&P was flat, up two points to reach 1,840.76.

Here's what's ahead for today.

Today's Stock Market News, Feb. 19, 2014:

  • The Minimum Wage Problem: The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) announced that U.S. President Barack Obama's plan to increase the federal minimum wage could help lift 900,000 Americans out of poverty. However, the report indicates that the plan to increase the wage level to $10.10 could cost the economy as many as 500,000 jobs. The White House and several labor unions disputed the findings. Concerns over increased unemployment come just a week after the CBO announced that the Affordable Healthcare Act could displace the labor equivalent of 2.5 million jobs by 2024.
  • Ukraine Protests Rage On: The European Union has called an emergency meeting to discuss possible sanctions and other responses to widespread protests in Ukraine. More than two dozen have died, and more than 200 have been injured, as protests continue. Reports suggest that a region of the country has declared independence from the current regime.
  • The Breach Hits the Banks: The massive security breach that hammered Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT) in December has topped $200 million in costs for banks and financial institutions to replace credit and debit cards, according to the Consumer Bankers Association and the Credit Union National Association. However, the estimate does not include costs associated with fraud, a factor that is likely to drive up costs of the breach in the coming months. The breach affected the accounts of 40 million Target shoppers.
  • House of Cards Spoilers: With the second-season release of House of Cards over Valentine's Day weekend, the show's production house, Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX), is reporting a big win. The combination of wintry weather, a Monday holiday, and in-home streaming led to a massive viewing audience over the last five days. According to reports, 16% of Netflix subscribers viewed at least one episode of House of Cards on Friday.
  • Could Apple Buy Tesla: Tesla Motors Inc. (Nasdaq: TSLA) will report earnings on Wednesday, a day after the stock hit an all-time high. Shares soared again Tuesday over rumors that the car producer's CEO met with acquisitions chief of Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL). The meeting between Elon Musk, Tesla's CEO and co-founder, and Apple's Adrian Perica, who heads Apple's mergers-and-acquisitions team, allegedly happened in early 2013; however, the San Francisco Chronicle didn't report the story until this week.

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U.S. Economic Calendar, Feb. 19, 2014

  • MBA Purchase Applications at 7:00 a.m.
  • ICSC-Goldman Store Sales at 7:45 a.m.
  • Housing Starts at 8:30 a.m.
  • PPI-FD at 8:30 a.m.
  • Redbook at 8:55 a.m.
  • 4-Week Bill Auction at 11:30 a.m.
  • James Bullard Speaks at 1:00 p.m.
  • FOMC Minutes at 2:00 p.m.
  • San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank President John Williams Speaks at 6:15 p.m.

Key Companies Reporting Earnings, Feb. 19, 2014

  • Consensus earnings per share for Tesla Motors (Nasdaq: TSLA) is $0.21.
  • Consensus earnings per share for Devon Energy Corp. (NYSE: DVN) is $1.09.
  • Consensus earnings per share for Health Care REIT Inc. (NYSE: HCN) is $0.97.
  • Consensus earnings per share for MGM Resorts International (NYSE: MGM) is $0.00.
  • Consensus earnings per share for The Carlyle Group L.P. (NYSE: CG) is $0.91.
  • Consensus earnings per share for Garmin Ltd. (Nasdaq: GRMN) is $0.61.
  • Consensus earnings per share for Eaton Vance Corp. (NYSE: EV) is $0.61.
  • Consensus earnings per share for Marriott International Inc. (NYSE: MAR) is $0.49.

Others Reporting Earnings

  • Six Flags Entertainment Corporation New (NYSE: SIX), Cinemark Holdings Inc. (NYSE: CNK), Host Hotels & Resorts, Inc. (NYSE: HST), Cimarex Energy Co. (NYSE: XEC)

Today's Top Investment Story: Convert These Costs into Profits

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