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Stock Market Today: Top Five News Stories and Earnings Calendar

Stock market today, March 13, 2014: The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.07% on Wednesday to close at 16,340.08. The Nasdaq increased 0.37% to finish at 4,323.33, while the S&P 500 gained 0.03% to end the day at 1,868.20.

Here are the top five stories affecting the markets today…

Five Biggest Stories in the Stock Market Today, March 13, 2014

  • Bonus Wars, a New Hope: According to New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, the average Wall Street banker earned a bonus of $164,530 in 2013, a leap of 15% compared to last year. Wall Street's bonus pool hit $26.7 billion, distributed to the industry's 165,200 employees. This is the highest bonus level since the onset of the 2008 financial crisis. Meanwhile, Fabrice Tourre, the poster child trader from Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) during the crisis, has been ordered to pay his full $175,000 bonus plus a $650,000 to settle a case for "defrauding investors," according to BBC.
  • Ackman Strikes Back: Vowing to fight "until the end of the earth," hedge fund manager Bill Ackman prompted the Federal Trade Commission to investigate Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE: HLF). Pershing Capital Management's Ackman accused the company of violating Chinese regulations and having marketing operations comparable to a "pyramid scheme." Officials at Herbalife say they "welcome the inquiry given the tremendous amount of misinformation in the marketplace." Shares of Herbalife slid 7.4% after the announcement.
  • Return of the Gold Bugs: Gold prices (NYSE: GLD) hit a six-month high this morning. Gold for April delivery increased to $1,372.90 per ounce. Meanwhile, silver prices advanced to hit $21.41 an ounce. The Russian occupation of Ukraine, concerns over Chinese economic data, and emerging market uncertainty are driving commodity prices.
  • The Billion-Dollar Mobile Game: King Digital Entertainment Plc, the firm behind the hit mobile game "Candy Crush Saga," is planning to launch its IPO on March 26. The company announced plans Wednesday to set a price range of $21 to $24 per share, at 22.2 million shares, for a company valuation of $7.6 billion.
  • The Breach of all Breaches: Apparently, it's bad when a company loses its customers' credit card information to hackers. Target Inc. (NYSE: TGT) announced that its sales have slumped significantly after the December data breach. Retail traffic hit a three-year low, according to various reports. Following the breach, just 33% of U.S. households shopped at Target in January, a decrease of 22% compared to January 2013.

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U.S. Economic Calendar March 13, 2014 (all times EST)

  • Jobless Claims at 8:30 a.m.
  • Retail Sales at 8:30 a.m.
  • Import and Export Prices at 8:30 a.m.
  • Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index at 9:45 a.m.
  • Business Inventories at 10 a.m.
  • EIA Natural Gas Report at 10:30 a.m.
  • 3-Month Bill Announcement at 11 a.m.
  • 6-Month Bill Announcement at 11 a.m.
  • 10-Yr TIPS Announcement at 11 a.m.
  • 30-Yr Bond Auction at 1 p.m.
  • Treasury Budget at 2 p.m.
  • Fed Balance Sheet at 4:30 p.m.
  • Money Supply at 4:30 p.m.

Key Companies Reporting Earnings March 13, 2014

  • Consensus earnings per share for Dollar General Corp. (NYSE: DG) is $1.01.
  • Consensus earnings per share for Methode Electronics, Inc. (NYSE: MEI) is $0.39.
  • Consensus earnings per share for Natural Gas Services Group, Inc. (NYSE: NGS) is $0.30.
  • Consensus earnings per share for Baytex Energy Corp. (NYSE: BTE) is $0.39.
  • Consensus earnings per share for Genesco Inc. (GCO) is $2.18.
  • Consensus earnings per share for Plug Power, Inc. (Nasdaq: PLUG) is $-0.08.

Others Reporting Earnings

  • Antares Pharma, Inc. (ATRS), Senomyx, Inc. (SNMX), ORBCOMM Inc. (ORBC), Idera Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (IDRA), Kirkland's, Inc. (KIRK), SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. (SEAS), Lifetime Brands Inc. (LCUT), Gogo Inc. (GOGO), Aeropostale Inc. (ARO)

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