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Today's stock market news, March 31, 2014: The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 58.8 points on Friday to finish at 16,323.0. The Nasdaq increased 4.5 points to finish at 4,155.7, while the S&P 500 rose 8.5 points to close at 1,857.6.
Monday kicks off a busy week of economic data on the global economy. Multiple central banks will hold April policy meetings while U.S. investors will find out whether or not the winter weather has hindered job growth across the nation.
Here are the other stories moving markets today:
Five Biggest Stories in Today's Stock Market, March 31, 2014
- The Game Is Rigged: Last night on "60 Minutes," renowned author Michael Lewis told Americans that the financial markets are rigged in favor of high-frequency traders and Wall Street banks. Lewis explained how computer-based algorithms allow HFTs to move in and out of positions in a fraction of a second, a significant advantage over the casual investor. Lewis was promoting his new book, "Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt."
- Are You Covered: Monday, March 31 is the official deadline to sign up for the Affordable Healthcare Act, a.k.a. Obamacare. Americans must sign up in order to be in compliance with the law, although it is not entirely clear which mandates the administration will be enforcing, and which fines it will aim to collect from Americans. The administration announced that six million Americans have signed up for healthcare since its implementation, short of its goal of seven million.
- Expanded Recall: Over the weekend, General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) expanded its recall of faulty vehicles to 2.6 million. Company CEO Mary Barra and U.S. regulators from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) will testify before Congress on Tuesday and Wednesday over the flawed safety approvals of GM's faulty ignition switches. Despite the fact that many of these ignition switches failed to meet company standards, they still received approval, according to Reuters. The ignition switches have been linked to at least 12 deaths, and could lead to the largest automotive settlement in U.S. history.
- Tech Wars: The summer battle between two tech giants is set to heat up again in court. On Monday, jury selection begins for the next court battle between Samsung and Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL). Apple accused Samsung of patent infringement on its Galaxy smartphones and tablets, among other devices. Samsung filed a counterclaim, alleging Apple stole two ideas now used in iPhones and iPads. But the battle gets even bigger, as Apple took a shot at Google Inc.'s (Nasdaq: GOOG) operating system, suggesting that Samsung's actions are part of a broader infringement by its larger rival. Should Apple win this $2 billion lawsuit, Google may be forced to overhaul its operating system, which is used in Samsung devices.
- More Stimulus for China: China's Premier Li Keqiang announced on Friday that the nation's government would likely boost infrastructure investment to accelerate growth in the country. Investors in China have been awaiting stimulus efforts from government leaders in order to boost the struggling economy. Asian markets rose on Monday, after the news, coupled with additional hopes that the Ukraine situation will continue to settle.
Note: The Fed's 2014 taper means volatility ahead. So we've outlined how to find profits in a volatile market – like triple-digit gains in just days – if you start with this strategy…
U.S. Economic Calendar March 31, 2014
- Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen speaks at 9:55 a.m. at a community reinvestment conference in Chicago.
- Dallas Fed Manufacturing Survey at 10:30 a.m.
- 4-Week Bill Announcement at 11:00 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 31, 2014
- Consensus earnings per share for InterOil Corp. (NYSE: IOC) is $-0.04.
- Consensus earnings per share for UTi Worldwide Inc. (Nasdaq: UTIW) is $-0.04.
- Consensus earnings per share for China Automotive Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CAAS) is $0.22.
- Consensus earnings per share for SORL Auto Parts Inc. (Nasdaq: SORL) is $0.19.
- Consensus earnings per share for World Energy Solutions Inc. (Nasdaq: XWES) is $-0.04.
- Consensus earnings per share for Clean Diesel Technologies Inc. (Nasdaq: CDTI) is $-0.04.
- Consensus earnings per share for Eagle Bulk Shipping Inc. (Nasdaq: EGLE) is $-1.40.
- Consensus earnings per share for GenCorp Inc. (NYSE: GY) is $0.09.
Other Companies Reporting
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About the Author
Garrett Baldwin is a globally recognized research economist, financial writer, and consultant with degrees from Northwestern, Johns Hopkins, Purdue, and Indiana University. He is a seasoned financial and political risk analyst, with a focus on stocks, hedge funds, private equity, blockchain, and housing policy. He has conducted risk assessment projects for clients in 27 countries, and consulted on policy and financial operations for some of the nation's largest financial institutions, including a $1.5 trillion credit fund, a $43 billion credit and auto loan giant, as well as two of the largest Wall Street banks by assets under management.
Garrett joined Money Map Press as an economist and researcher in 2011, specializing in alternative strategies with an emphasis on fundamental and technical analysis.