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Today's Stock Market News and Earnings Calendar

Today's stock market news, Feb. 26, 2014: The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.17% on Tuesday, closing at 16,179.66. The Nasdaq lost 0.13% to finish at 4,287.59, while the S&P 500 also dropped by 0.13% to end at 1,845.12. U.S. stock futures were positive this morning, ahead of retailer earnings and new-home sales data.

Here are the events moving markets today.

Five Biggest Stories in Today's Stock Market, Feb. 26, 2014

  • The Bitcoin Subpoena: Federal prosecutors in New York issued a subpoena to failed Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox, ordering it to preserve "certain documents." Mt. Gox was once the world's largest bitcoin exchange, but it abruptly stopped trading on Tuesday. According to reports, hackers may have stolen more than $390 million from Mt. Gox investors, prompting immediate concerns about the future of the unregulated virtual currency. Bitcoin prices plunged 20%, below $500 for the first time since November.
  • Banks Behaving Badly (Again): On Tuesday evening, Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC) announced it faces investigations surrounding its activities in the Forex markets and its processing of government-backed mortgages. The bank is highly concerned about rising litigation costs in the coming months – it believes it could lose more than $6 billion in litigation and settlement costs, a 20% increase from previous estimates.
  • Rebuilding America: In a speech today at the historic railroad state in St. Paul, Minn., U.S. President Barack Obama will propose a four-year, $302-billion infrastructure program to rebuild and repair the U.S. highway system, including roads and bridges. President Obama plans to fund half of the program, or $150 billion, by overhauling the U.S. business tax code, which includes the closure of "unfair" loopholes and the lowering of tax rates.
  • Batteries Put a Surge in Electric Auto: The Japanese newspaper Nikkei reports that Tesla Motors Inc. (Nasdaq: TSLA) may invest $1 billion with Panasonic Corp. (OTC: PCRFY) in a U.S.-based electric-car battery factory. The deal would allow Tesla to produce finished batteries from raw materials rather than creating battery components. Such a deal would significantly lower costs for the company. The stock surged by nearly 14% yesterday after Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) more than doubled its projected price for the stock to $320.
  • First Solar Takes a Dive: Shares of First Solar Inc. (Nasdaq: FSLR) slumped by more than 12% in post-hours trading after the company announced fourth-quarter earnings down 58% on weaker sales and margins. Earnings remain volatile in the solar industry, although First Solar's outlook remains positive due to its recently setting a record for conversion efficiency of 20.4% from a glass panel made of cadmium telluride.

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U.S. Economic Calendar, Feb. 26, 2014

  • MBA Purchase Applications at 7:00 a.m.
  • New Home Sales at 10:00 a.m.
  • EIA Petroleum Status Report at 10:30 a.m.
  • 2-Yr FRN Auction at 11:30 a.m.
  • Boston Federal Reserve Bank President Eric Rosengren Speaks at 12:00 p.m.
  • 5-Yr Note Auction at 1:00 p.m.
  • Cleveland Federal Reserve Bank President Sandra Pianalto Speaks at 7:30 p.m.

Key Companies Reporting Earnings, Feb. 26, 2014

  • Consensus earnings per share for Royal Bank of Canada (NYSE: RY) is $1.43.
  • Consensus earnings per share for Lowe's Companies Inc. (NYSE: LOW) is $0.31.
  • Consensus earnings per share for Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT) is $0.79.
  • Consensus earnings per share for Anheuser-Busch Inbev SA (NYSE: BUD) is $1.29.
  • Consensus earnings per share for Dollar Tree Inc. (Nasdaq: DLTR) is $1.05.
  • Consensus earnings per share for Chesapeake Energy Corp. (NYSE: CHK) is $0.41.

Others Reporting Earnings

  • The AES Corp. (AES), CenterPoint Energy, Inc. (CNP), Ares Capital Corp. (ARCC), Senior Housing Properties Trust (SNH), TJX Companies Inc. (TJX), J C Penney Company Inc. (JCP), MarkWest Energy Partners LP (MWE), Martin Midstream Partners LP (MMLP), Nutrisystem Inc. (NTRI), Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen Inc. (PLKI)

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