Today's Pre-Market Trading Report

Pre-market trading report, Feb. 25, 2014: The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped more than 100 points on Monday, inching closer to its intra-day record high of 16,588.20. The S&P 500 struck a new intra-day record of 1,858.71, while the Nasdaq ticked up 0.69% to 4,292.97. Gold prices retreated from a four-month high.

Now a pre-market look at what's in store for today...

Five Biggest Stories in Pre-market Trading Today, Feb. 25, 2014

  • An Economic Crisis Brews: The Ukraine may have settled on a peace agreement, but the geopolitical soap opera in Eastern Europe is heating up. The country is likely to default on its debt obligations later this year, particularly as Russian influence wanes in the region. Russia had offered Ukraine a $15 billion bailout package in December, but it has only provided $3 billion thus far. As concerns over default arise, Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said Sunday that Ukraine should pursue a loan from the International Monetary Fund, though doing so would require significant economic concessions. Russia has frozen any future bailout payments as the Kremlin waits to see the outcome the current political unrest. Should anti-Russian leaders take the helm, it is unlikely that Russia will provide any relief, thus increasing tensions in the region.
  • No More Shopping Anytime Soon: On Monday, Facebook Inc. (Nasdaq: FB) CEO Mark Zuckerberg told an audience at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona that the company is likely done making purchases for a while. With the acquisition of Instagram and WhatsApp, Facebook has cornered the market on time spent by consumers on mobile devices. Zuckerberg also confirmed that the company would not try again to purchase Snapchat after the target turned down a $3 billion offer last year. Said Zuckerberg: "After buying a company for $16 billion, you're probably done for a while."
  • Time to Go Green: General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) has announced plans to spend $10 billion by 2020 on its "ecomagination" initiative, a program centered on research and development in clean energy technologies. The company will develop energy projects in three disciplines: power plants, renewable energy, and natural gas. Launched in 2005, the "ecomagination" initiative was set to expire next year after the company spent $15 billion. However, GE executives elected to extend the program another six years and increase funding. The project has generated $160 billion in revenues on new products and saved $300 million on emissions and water costs, according to a company press release.
  • Another Shot Over eBay's Bow: Activist investor Carl Icahn took shots at eBay Inc. (Nasdaq: EBAY) executives in an investor letter on Monday, demanding the company spin off its successful PayPal business. Icahn targeted eBay board members Marc Andreessen and billionaire Scott Cook, accusing both of placing personal interest above those of shareholders. The debate over a possible spinoff of PayPal's business has raged for months, particularly as rivals continue to gain market share in the digital payment industry. Icahn, who is currently pressing for two board seats, owns nearly 2% of eBay shares and remains an extremely vocal critic of eBay's business strategy.
  • The Aftermath of Mortgage Settlements: According to multiple reports, JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM) announced another round of job cuts across its struggling mortgage business. The announced 2,000 cuts are on top of the 13,000 jobs set to be slashed later this year. The bank recently settled for $13 billion with the federal government over faulty resident mortgage bonds. Since then, it has experienced a steep drop in demand for mortgage refinancing services.

Note: The Fed's 2014 taper means volatility ahead. So we've outlined how to find profits in a volatile market - like triple-digit gains in just days - if you start with this strategy...

U.S. Economic Calendar, Feb. 25, 2014

  • ICSC-Goldman Store Sales at 7:45 a.m.
  • Redbook at 8:55 a.m.
  • FHFA House Price Index at 9:00 a.m.
  • S&P Case-Shiller HPI at 9:00 a.m.
  • Consumer Confidence at 10:00 a.m.
  • Richmond Fed Manufacturing Index at 10:00 a.m.
  • State Street Investor Confidence Index at 10:00 a.m.
  • Federal Reserve Gov. Daniel Tarullo Speaks at 10:10 a.m.
  • 4-Week Bill Auction at 11:30 a.m.
  • 2-Yr Note Auction at 1:00 p.m.

Key Companies Reporting Earnings, Feb. 25, 2014

  • Consensus earnings per share for Home Depot Inc. (NYSE: HD) is $0.71.
  • Consensus earnings per share for EOG Resources Inc. (NYSE: EOG) is $1.96.
  • Consensus earnings per share for Macy's Inc. (NYSE: M) is $2.17.
  • Consensus earnings per share for Seadrill Ltd. (NYSE: SDRL) is $0.78.
  • Consensus earnings per share for FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE) is $0.68.
  • Consensus earnings per share for HollyFrontier Corp. (NYSE: HFC) is $0.20.
  • Consensus earnings per share for T-Mobile US Inc. (NYSE: TMUS) is -$0.13.

Others Reporting Earnings

    OGE Energy Corp. (NYSE: OGE), Toll Brothers Inc. (NYSE: TOL), Alliant Energy Corp. (NYSE: LNT), Bank Of Montreal (NYSE: BMO), American Tower Corp. REIT (NYSE: AMT), Boston Beer Company Inc. (NYSE: SAM), Chicago Bridge & Iron Company NV (NYSE: CBI), Domino's Pizza Inc. (NYSE: DPZ), Molycorp Inc. (NYSE: MCP), Carrizo Oil & Gas Inc. (Nasdaq: CRZO)

Today's must-read investor story: Stay Ahead of This (Massive) Currency Shift

About the Author

Garrett Baldwin is a globally recognized research economist, financial writer, consultant, and political risk analyst with decades of trading experience and degrees in economics, cybersecurity, and business from Johns Hopkins, Purdue, Indiana University, and Northwestern.

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