Stock Market Today: Dow Jones Industrial Average Falls on Fed Worries

In the stock market today, all three major U.S. indices closed lower as concerns that the U.S. Federal Reserve might raise rates sooner than expected continued to weigh on traders' minds.

At the closing bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 4.76 points to finish at 16,264.23. The Nasdaq dropped 22.35 points finish at 4,151.23, while the S&P 500 slid 3.52 to close at 1,849.04. Meanwhile, gold prices fell $8.70 to close at $1,294.70 - below the $1,300 threshold for the first time in six weeks.

Here's a recap of other major events today.

  • The Big Split: This morning, Baxter International Inc. (NYSE: BAX) stock soared nearly 10% on news that the healthcare firm would split into two separate companies. One of the two new firms will center on medical products and equipment; the other will focus on developing and marketing biopharmaceuticals. The split, expected to be completed by mid-2015, will be a tax-free distribution to Baxter shareholders. Baxter's biotech business had 2013 revenue of $6 billion, while its products and equipment business hit $9 billion, according to company reports.
  • A Stunning Victory: A U.S. federal appeals court ruled that silver investors did not prove that JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM) manipulated the metal's price downward between 2007 and 2010. The court ruled that the antitrust lawsuit alleging price-fixing on the bank's part should be dismissed. Reuters reports that the plaintiffs (silver investors who traded COMEX silver futures and options contracts) accused the bank of taking "short positions that market conditions did not justify" and that traders would engage in "fake" trades when late-day volumes were thin.
  • The Next Pandora: The popular music streaming company Spotify signaled it will likely have its IPO this fall, according to multiple reports. The company has begun speaking with several investment banks about underwriting, and plans could move forward as soon as late April. Quartz reports the firm acquired a $200 million credit line from several lenders, including Deutsche Bank (NYSE: DB), Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS), and Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) in early March.
  • The Showdown Continues: The U.S. Senate passed an aid package to Ukraine today and hardened sanctions against Russian officials over the annexation of Crimea. The Senate's bill grants $1 billion in loan guarantees to Ukraine and strengthens existing sanctions imposed by the Obama administration. Meanwhile, the House of Representatives passed its own version of a sanctions and aid package bill on a 399-19 vote. Sen. Bob Menendez, D-NJ, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said the Senate bill would "help stabilize Ukraine's economy and would authorize assistance for democracy, governance and civil society programs and enhanced security cooperation." Still, the Obama administration is greatly concerned that the Russian army may invade Eastern Ukraine very soon in an effort to amass greater control in the region.
  • The Big Reveal: In his first press event as Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) CEO, Satya Nadella unveiled the firm's Office program for the iPad suite. While Nadella's appearance centered on the intersection of mobile and cloud technologies, tech junkies were more interested in the drop date for the platform on Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) devices. The new Office for iPad is now free to download from the iTunes App Store as of 2 p.m. EDT today.

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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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