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Stock Market Today – Banks Behave Badly, U.S. Energy Boom

Top stock market news today, March 28, 2014: 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.

Friday's data will center on consumer income in February, an examination of February consumer spending, and a much anticipated look at March consumer sentiment.

Five Top Stock Market News Stories Today

  • New Competition: According to multiple reports, Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) announced plans to create a free, ad-supported streaming television and music-video service. The announcement is a complete departure from its lucrative $99-a-year Prime service and stands to alter a model the company has relied upon for revenue for several years. According to reports, this new service could launch in the summer and would include original programming from its in-house studios.
  • Banks Behaving Badly: On Thursday, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) decided to sue Visa (NYSE: V) over allegations that the credit card powerhouse engaged in price fixing and other antitrust violations between 2004 and 2012. According to a company complaint, Wal-Mart alleged that Visa "engaged in a conspiracy with some of the nation's largest banks to illegally fix the interchange fees and inflate the network fees that Wal-Mart and other merchants pay on Visa charge card transactions." Wal-Mart is asking for $5 billion in damages over the allegations.
  • A Disaster on Day One: In a speech on Thursday, Chicago Federal Reserve Bank President Charles Evans said that the central bank must keep interest rates down in order to help sustain the U.S. economic recovery. "I personally doubt that the funds rate is going to start to increase before the middle of 2015," Evans stated. That is good news for Preferred Shares that are susceptible to interest rate hikes.
  • U.S. Energy Boom:.Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) announced plans to upgrade an Ohio engine plant by creating 300 jobs and spending $500 million to develop a new 2.7-liter, six-cylinder EcoBoost engine for F-150 pickup trucks. The company is taking advantage of reduced energy costs in the U.S.
  • The Boom Continues: All Nippon Airways (ANA) announced plans to order 70 aircrafts at a list price of $17 billion from Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) and Airbus, marking the biggest order in the Japanese carrier's history. The company's order suggests its goal to boost Japanese tourism in advance of the 2020 Olympics and to increase annual tourism for the nation to more than 20 million visitors each year.

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U.S. Economic Calendar March 28, 2014 (all times EDT)

  • Personal Income and Outlays at 8:30 a.m.
  • Consumer Sentiment at 9:55 a.m.
  • Kansas City Federal Reserve President Esther George speaks at 1:15 p.m.
  • Farm Prices at 3 p.m.

Key Companies Reporting Earnings March 28, 2014

  • Consensus earnings per share for BlackBerry Limited (Nasdaq: BBRY) is $-0.56.
  • Consensus earnings per share for The Finish Line Inc. (Nasdaq: FINL) is $0.85.
  • Consensus earnings per share for GenVec Inc. (Nasdaq: GNVC) is $-0.10.

Others Reporting Earnings

Tat Technologies Ltd. (TATT), NTS Inc. (NTS).

NOW: Cash in big on Russia's tech market…

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