5 News Stories to Watch in the Stock Market Today

Stock market today, April 7, 2014: The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 159.84 points to finish at 16,412.71 on Friday. The Nasdaq fell 110.01 points to finish at 4,127.73, while the S&P 500 lost 23.67 points to end the day at 1,865.10.

This morning, global stocks dipped from last week's six-year high due to concerns over frothy technology stocks. Meanwhile, the European Central bank is likely to ease monetary policy across the region this week. Expectations are driving down continental bond yields even further.

Here is what is on tap for this morning:

Five Biggest Stories in Today's Stock Market, April 7, 2014

  • Keeping the Lights On: Just days after Russia elected to hike gas prices on its neighbor Ukraine by 80%, the nation's state energy monopoly Gazprom (OTC: OGZPY) told Germany it will maintain price levels as promised in its current contracts. Given that Europe relies on Russia for 30% of its natural gas needs, officials from energy-starved countries haven't been overly critical of President Vladimir Putin. That said, Germany has supported Western sanctions against Putin and a number of his allies. The United States is expected to begin picking up the slack by exporting liquefied natural gas to Europe for the first time in 2015. Several Members of Congress have sponsored a law aimed at boosting the number of natural gas export terminals in order to expedite the process and break Russia's energy dominance in the region.
  • Banks Behaving Badly... Again: According to Reuters, New York's financial services superintendent is seeking new evidence to determine whether employees at Credit Suisse Group (NYSE: CS) lied to regulators and authorities over its role in developing tax shelters. Following the financial crisis, U.S. regulators have increased probes into tax evasion. Recently, federal officials discovered that Credit Suisse had created an airport branch at Zurich International Airport that allowed wealthy Americans to stop in and check on their accounts before quickly flying out of the country. The new probe threatens to pull Credit Suisse back into the mud at a time it was planning to settle a similar probe. A new investigation would suspend its current negotiations and planned settlements and compound likely fines and concessions the bank will need to offer U.S. regulators.
  • The Fleet of the Future: Leave it to Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) to strike back against its rival and create the real supply chain of the future. The discount retailer released details about a futuristic trucking fleet over the weekend. The trucks feature a central driver's seat that resembles Captain Kirk's chair on Star Trek and a body built solely from lightweight carbon fiber. The trucks are two tons lighter than members of its current fleet. With an emphasis on safety and performance, the trucks made a very big splash, perhaps bigger than Amazon.com Inc.'s (Nasdaq: AMZN) announcement of drone technology. But that's not all that's exciting and new. Rumors have emerged that the heavy trucks may one day be able to drive themselves thanks to smart computing.
  • A New Titan in Africa: In a surprise announcement, Nigeria has surpassed South Africa as Africa's largest economy. Following the adjustment of GDP figures, Nigeria's statistics office announced the nation had the continent's leading economy with $510 billion in annual GDP. The oil-rich nation still has 70% of its population living in poverty, although Nigeria is on pace to surpass the population of the United States by 2050. The adjustment to GDP came after it added a number of technology components that it lacked back in 1990. To put the nation's growth into perspective, back in 1990, Nigeria had 300,000 landline telephones. Today, it has more than 100 million cellphones.
  • Rebels to Boost Libyan Oil: Oil prices slipped this morning on news that Libya may soon reopen two key oil ports and boost export capacity. Following last week's test of $101 per barrel for West Texas Intermediate and $106 for Brent crude prices, Libyan officials announced they are on the verge of an agreement to reopen two ports within days and double the nation's current capacity. For eight months, Libyan rebels have controlled four key ports with a capacity of 700,000 barrels of crude each day. Despite plans to open all four ports slowly over the next few months, it's not expected to reduce global oil prices. While oil production has been hampered by protests in its western regions, the flow of oil remains severely suppressed across the nation.

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U.S. Economic Calendar April 7, 2014 (all times EDT)

  • Gallup US Consumer Spending Measure at 8:30 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.
  • St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank President James Bullard speaks at 11:45 a.m.
  • TD Ameritrade IMX at 12:30 p.m.
  • Consumer Credit at 3 p.m.

Key Companies Reporting Earnings April 7, 2014

  • Consensus earnings per share for TravelCenters of America (NYSE: TA) is $-0.22.
  • Consensus earnings per share for Zep Inc. (NYSE: ZEP) is $0.08.
  • Consensus earnings per share for Tech Data Corp. (Nasdaq: TECD) is $1.93.
  • Consensus earnings per share for Team Inc. (NYSE: TISI) is $0.00.
  • Consensus earnings per share for Schulman A Inc. (Nasdaq: SHLM) is $0.33.
  • Consensus earnings per share for Accretive Health Inc. (OTC: ACHI) is $0.08.

Other Companies Reporting

Kayne Anderson MLP Investment Co. (KYN), Healthcare Services Group Inc. (HCSG), Griffin Land & Nurseries Inc. (GRIF), CAMAC Energy Inc. (CAK), Crumbs Bake Shop Inc. (CRMB)

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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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