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Stock market today, March 17, 2014: The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 43.22 points on Friday to hit 16,065.67. The Nasdaq was flat, ending the day at 4,245.40. The S&P 500 slid 5.21 points to close at 1,841.13.
Now here's the news moving markets today:
Five Biggest Stories in Today's Stock Market, March 17, 2014
- Independence: Voters in the Crimean region of Ukraine decided through a referendum to declare independence from their country on Sunday. The event raises the stakes in the ongoing political event. Western nations have said they do not accept the vote, and are poised to unleash economic sanctions against Russia, which has threatened to cut its ties to the U.S. dollar and even increase its military presence in the region. Gold prices have surged to a near six-month high as tensions increase.
- Troubles Ahead for Alibaba: As Alibaba prepares to launch a U.S. IPO that could value the firm at more than $140 billion, the company hit a rare blip in business operations. According to Euromonitor, the online behemoth lost market share in 2013 to its rivals. The market research firm foresees a future decline in market share, even though it is expected to triple its revenues and earn more than $300 billion by 2018.
- All About Yellen: Investors are heavily anticipating the kick off to the FOMC meeting tomorrow and Wednesday. The event will be the first with Janet Yellen as the Chair of the Federal Reserve. Despite weak economic data, fueled by claims of weather affecting everything from jobs to consumer spending, Yellen is expected to announce that the Fed will continue to taper its quantitative easing program by another $10 billion.
- The Big Buy: On Sunday, Vodafone Group (Nasdaq: VOD) agreed to purchase Spanish cable operator Ono for approximately €7.2 billion ($10 billion). The company will look to regulators for approval before taking over Ono's operation. Vodaphone's goal is to continue providing fixed-line services in cable in booming Spanish markets. Consolidation across Europe is expected to continue, given that the continent has more than 150 providers compared to four primary companies in the United States.
- Shipping Rates Rise: The United Parcel Service Inc. (NYSE: UPS) announced plans to increase shipping rates by 4.4% later this month. The decision follows its rival FedEx Corp.'s (NYSE: FDX) plans to hike fees as well.
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U.S. Economic Calendar March 17, 2014
- Empire State Manufacturing Survey at 8:30 a.m.
- Treasury International Capital at 9 a.m.
- Industrial Production at 9:15 a.m.
- Housing Market Index at 10 a.m.
- 4-Week Bill Announcement at 11 a.m.
- 3-Month Bill Auction at 11:30 a.m.
- 6-Month Bill Auction at 11:30 a.m.
Key Companies Reporting Earnings March 17, 2014
- Consensus earnings per share for Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NYSE: INO) is $-0.02
- Consensus earnings per share for JA Solar Holdings Co. Ltd. (Nasdaq: JASO) is $-0.03.
- Consensus earnings per share for Ares Commercial Real Estate Corp. (NYSE: ACRE) is $0.20.
Others Reporting Earnings:
- Tsakos Energy Navigation Ltd (TNP). LMI Aerospace Inc. (LMIA), Harvest Natural Resources Inc. (HNR), Sterling Construction Company Inc.(STRL), BioLineRx Ltd. (BLRX), Gulf Resources Inc. (GURE), FutureFuel Corp. (FF), Lan Chile S.A. (LFL)
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