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The Dow Jones Industrial Average roared on Wednesday following an announcement that the U.S. Federal Reserve unanimously decided to ditch the thresholds it had set on dealing with unemployment and raising interest rates.
At the closing bell, the Dow Jones rose 181 points to finish at 16,437. The Nasdaq gained 70 points to finish at 4,183, while the S&P 500 added 20 points to end the day at 1,872.
Here's a recap of other major events moving markets today:
- Banks Behaving Badly: Another day, another bank settlement. On Wednesday, Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) agreed to an $800 million settlement on grounds that it used unfair and deceptive marketing practices in promoting its credit cards. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency will force the bank to pay $727 million in relief to consumers and $45 million in fines. U.S. regulators say that the company deceptively overcharged for add-on products linked to their cards like identity theft protection and payment protection services. Bank of America is the fifth financial services firm to settle over the CFPB crackdown on marketing practices.
- Is May 6 a Day of Reckoning? Yahoo! Finance today featured an extensive profile of Twitter Inc. (Nasdaq: TWTR) insiders who are prepared to cash in when they can finally sell stock. That day will be May 6. Given the sharp downturn of the company's stock since it hit record highs of $74 in December, investors should approach the sales date with caution. Shares of Twitter were up more than 2% today as tech stocks surged. We recently profiled a few of the best tech stocks to buy today – get those picks here.
- Feeding Fido: Let's just hope that the buyer doesn't sell candy bars to our pets. On Wednesday, Procter & Gamble Co. (NYSE: PG) cashed in, selling the majority of its pet food business to Mars Inc. for $2.9 billion. P&G announced that it would like to focus more on its bread-and-butter personal care and cleaning brands. Mars will purchase the Iams brand, Eukanuba, and Natura in the all-cash deal.
- The Return of Greece: Despite nearly sinking the euro zone in 2011, Greece will return to the international bond markets tomorrow. The nation will issue its first sovereign bond in nearly four years. According to Reuters, Greece initially priced its bond yield at between 5% and 5.25%. The rate has already drawn more than €11 billion ($15.21 billion) in investor interest this month. The grey market has already shown significant investor interest at 4.85% to 4.9% for an annual return.
- A Secret Meeting: According to multiple reports, in early March Federal Reserve officials had a secret video conference call. During the meeting, they reached a consensus that said the goal of 6.5% unemployment was an outdated target before the bank would issue a rate hike. According to Barclays, the Fed's median forecast for the fed funds rate increased a quarter of one percentage point to 1% for 2015. It increased by a half a percentage point to 2.25% by December 2016.
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Wednesday's Top Three Profit Opportunities
- Double-Digit (or More) Profits in This Market Are About to Rocket: Change can be disrupting… but it can also – in this case – be hugely profitable. The new commodity kid on the block is very controversial. But it's also going to be very profitable, and you'd be foolish not to take part in an industry that will go from a black market to a legal, $100 billion industry in the coming years…
- Our Man in Japan Shares a Soros-Beating Move: Bill Patalon can't think of any Westerner with a better handle on Japan-related investment opportunities than our Chief Investment Strategist Keith Fitz-Gerald. And Keith just shared a big, big opportunity for investors looking to exploit a recent decision by the Japanese government. You could make a nice little profit when the country's currency declines…
- Natural Gas Stocks 2014: Money Morning Energy Expert Dr. Kent Moors says, "LNG is one of the best investments of the decade." Strangely, some investors think it's too late to get in on the massive profits fueled by America's booming resource. But it's not too late. In fact, natural gas exporters will be among the top energy stocks of the decade, and here is your opportunity to join the income plays of a lifetime.
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.