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At the closing bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 146 points to finish at 16,173.24. The Nasdaq increased by 22 points to finish at 4,022.69, while the S&P 500 added 14 points to end the day at 1,830.61.
The U.S. markets jumped on Monday, after stronger than expected retail data overshadowed concerns about geopolitical problems in Ukraine. U.S. retail sales ticked up 1.1% in March to a seasonally adjusted $433.9 billion, according to the Commerce Department. This was the largest monthly gain in retail sales since September 2012.
Here's a recap of today's major stories.
- Citi Shines: Despite intensifying regulatory concerns, Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C) reported a jump in net income for the first quarter of 4%, roughly $3.9 billion, or $1.23 a share. Analysts expected $1.14 per share. Citigroup said that its international businesses helped contribute to its earnings report, although its Mexico affiliate is now under an intensive fraud investigation. Today's announcement is the start of a very busy reporting week that includes notable companies like The Coca-Cola Co. (NYSE: KO), General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE), Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS), Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG), International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM), and Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO).
- The Verdict Is In: Shares of Edwards Lifesciences Corp. (NYSE: EW) zoomed 14% today after a court ruling stopped its competitor Medtronic Inc. (NYSE: MDT) from selling its CoreValve System in the United States. The court found that the CoreValve System, which was approved by the Food and Drug Administration earlier this year, infringed on Edwards Lifesciences' patents. Both companies are rivals in a $3 billion per year market for heart valves that can be installed without open-heart surgery.
- Deficit Disorder: What's a half a trillion in deficits? This morning, theCongressional Budget Office trimmed its deficit estimate for the fiscal year by $23 billion. Despite the minor haircut, the United States will still run a deficit of $492 billion. The CBO also said that public debt held by the U.S. public will increase to 78% of gross domestic product by 2024, up from 72% in 2013. In 2013, the U.S. yearly deficit hit $680 billion.
- Scandal... What Scandal: Bill Ackman's quest to take down Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE: HLF) hit another snag this afternoon. Herbalife shares bounced back by 5.54% today after Friday's selloff. The company is allegedly being investigated by the FBI and the Department of Justice over allegations that it is running a pyramid scheme, Ackman's primary complaint. However, the company said today that it has not received any requests for information or documents from either government agency. Shares of Herbalife are now down 33% in 2014.
- Funny Money: According to the Financial Times, Facebook Inc. (NYSE: FB) will announce the launch of its own financial services division. The new services would allow users to store cash in the social network. It all comes down to regulatory approval of the Irish government. The Financial Times reports that Facebook's digital money would "be a claim" against the company and could be used across Europe through a system known as "passporting." The company hopes to create new partnerships and expand beyond Ireland in the near future. Find out more about Facebook's e-money venture here.
Monday's Top Three Profit Opportunities
- Get Your Share of an Extra Trillion Euros: The U.S. Fed began winding down its latest QE program (for now), and the baton's been passed to Japan with its own massive easing campaign. But lack of inflation and concerns about outright deflation are again gripping Europe. So the latest "noise" from the IMF and European Central Bank (ECB) is signaling that Europe is about to crank up its own printing press. While the implications may be serious, the profit opportunities are even bigger...
- This Great Profit Play Has Another Catalyst Coming: Over the summer, Michael Robinson told readers a great way to get two stocks for the price of one through corporate spin-offs. The great thing for investors is that by owning stock in the parent company, they generally get shares in the spin-off automatically as special dividends, often tax-free. And now, Michael wants to tell you about one spin-off that is poised to make investors a huge payday in 2014. You don't want to miss this profit wave...
- Finding the True Winners in the IPO Market: It's been a very busy year for IPOs, with billions of dollars flowing into new public companies. But you should step back before you jump into that next social media or gaming stock that's all over the television. Instead, you should take Sid Riggs' advice and use this secret strategy to cash in on huge IPO profits for the years ahead...
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.