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Today's stock market news, April 4, 2014: The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.45 points on Thursday to finish at 16,572.55. The Nasdaq dropped 38.72 points finish at 4,237.74 yesterday, while the S&P 500 was down 2.13 points to end the day at 1,888.77.
Here is what is on tap for this morning.
Five Biggest Stories in Today's Stock Market News, April 4, 2014
- March Jobs Report: This morning, the U.S. government announced that the economy barely missed expectations of 200,000 new jobs in March 2014, adding 192,000 jobs. The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 6.7%. The lukewarm announcement was cheered mainly for its revisions for previous months – revisions from the January and February jobs reports added 37,000 positions. However, there isn't much reason to cheer because the economy is still stuck in the mud. These figures suggest a growth rate of 2.5% for the year. While marginal, the unemployment rate ticked up, and labor force participation slightly increased. Moving forward, CAPEX and exports will need to be driving forces for this economy's growth, not consumer spending or unemployment figures.
- Why Gas Prices Are Rising: According to Bloomberg, ethanol prices have surged to a seven-year high, and pushed gas prices to a six-month high of $3.57 per gallon. The additive makes up about 10% of the gasoline that drivers put in their cars, and prices surged 22% in March after bad weather and a rail car shortage slowed distribution and slashed inventories. However, relief is in sight. Volatility in the market has been very high, and ethanol futures plunged 8% on Thursday at the Chicago Board of Trade, just a day after they fell by another 10%. The news comes in the wake of the United Nations telling countries that biofuels are not a positive influence on global climate.
- So Long, Letterman: Late night funnyman David Letterman announced he will retire from his CBS (NYSE: CBS) comedy show after 22 years with the network. Letterman debuted on late night television in 1982, beginning his run after the finish of comedy legend Johnny Carson's long-running show. According to Letterman's announcement during a Thursday taping, he and his band members will "take a hike" sometime in 2015 when his contract expires. The timing could not be better for CBS, as a number of other late-night comedians will also see their contracts expire in 2015, including satirists John Stewart ("The Daily Show") and Stephen Colbert ("Colbert Report"), Jimmy Kimmel, Neil Patrick Harris, Chelsea Handler, and Conan O'Brien.
- IPO Debuts on Tap: On Friday, four companies begin trading after their initial public offerings. First, restaurant takeout website GrubHub Inc. (NYSE: GRUB) will begin trading after a successful initial public offering of its shares. The company priced its IPO at $26, beating expectations of a $23 to $25 range. The Chicago-based tech company sold 7.4 million shares. Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) and Citigroup (NYSE: C) were responsible for the underwriting. Second, prescription-data provider IMS Health Holdings Inc. (NYSE: IMS) lifts off as the second-largest IPO of 2014. The company raised $1.3 billion, pricing its shares at $20 each. Opower (NYSE: OPWR), a cloud software company in the energy sector, and Five9 (Nasdaq: FIVN), a cloud company for contact centers, will also make their debuts.
- A Brewing Scandal: Problems are brewing at popular beer producer and distributor
MillerCoors. According to reports, the joint venture between SABMiller (OTC: SBMRY) and Molson Coors Brewing (NYSE: TAP) announced it has uncovered a multiyear embezzling scheme in which two former employees allegedly stole several million dollars. Beer Business Daily was first to report the existence of a memo by MillerCoors' explaining the charges, which allege the two men were involved in the falsification of vendor invoices.
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U.S. Economic Calendar April 4, 2014 (all times EDT)
- Dallas Federal Reserve Bank President Richard Fisher spoke this morning in Hong Kong. During his talk, he questioned calendar-based commitments and their ability to foster market instability.
- United States Unemployment Rate at 8:30 a.m.
- Treasury STRIPS at 3:00 p.m.
Key Companies Reporting Earnings April 4, 2014
- Consensus earnings per share for Synergy Resources Corp. (Nasdaq: SYRG) is $0.09.
- Consensus earnings per share for AZZ Inc. (NYSE: AZZ) is $0.42.
- Consensus earnings per share for Carmax Inc. (NYSE: KMX) is $0.53.
Other Companies Reporting
Tat Technologies Ltd. (TATT)