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Alibaba's Soaring Profits Top Today's Stock Market News

Stock market news today, April 16, 2014: U.S. stock futures were back in the green this morning, on news that China's economy growth will hit 7.4% this year. Despite the fact that its first quarter growth slipped to a 24-year low, the figure still beat analyst expectations.

Here are the five stories you need to know to make your day profitable.

Five Biggest Stories in Today's Stock Market, April 16, 2014

  • Time to Panic: The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index reported a 47 for April, which was lower than analysts' expectations of 50. This is the third consecutive month that the number was below the 50 threshold, which suggests that more U.S. builders see market conditions as negative than favorable. The data is problematic because it suggests the traditional home buying season in the spring isn't going to be as busy as hoped or expected. For several months, U.S. officials and builders blamed the poor buying stretch on winter weather. However, investors and officials had hoped that weather would simply delay purchasing into the spring months. Now, it appears everyone is starting to get nervous.
  • The Next Big IPO: Growth in China may have slowed a bit, but that didn't stop consumers from buying big from e-commerce giant Alibaba. The company announced it had more than doubled profits in the fourth quarter to more than $1.3 billion. Rising profits and margins are good news for the company ahead of its much anticipated U.S. initial public offering. The company may file prospectus for the share sale as soon as Monday, according to Reuters. Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO) owns 24% of the Chinese e-commerce giant.
  • Customized World: On Tuesday, Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG) executives announced Project Ara. Through this new project, Google aims to release a "modular" smartphone, which is a basic exoskeleton. Users can then customize it with apps and other hardware functionalities while configuring its advanced features. The company aims to create a number of hardware applications, including cameras, blood-pressure monitors, and screens, which can be downloaded through Google Play and installed by the user, according to The Wall Street Journal and The Verge.
  • Let the Good Times Roll: As it celebrates the 50th anniversary of its most iconic car, Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) plans to build 1,964 limited-edition Mustang GTs. The exclusive cars, in a limited quantity to celebrate the year it was first sold, will be featured in either blue or white, and provide buyers with the option of a manual or automatic transmission. According to TIME magazine, the limited edition ponies will be among the first cars off Ford's assembly line when the company begins manufacturing 2015 models this year.
  • Throwing in the Towel: Rather than allow another company to take it over or rebuild from scratch, failed bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox will instead be liquidated. Company lawyers have requested permission from a Japanese court to dismantle the exchange. According to reports, the company believes it would take too long to rebuild its brand and that the length of time and amount of resources needed to rehabilitate its image would be massive. Bitcoin prices have been on the rise in recent days, after concerns about Chinese regulatory efforts have begun to subside.

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U.S. Economic Calendar April 16, 2014

  • MBA Purchase Applications at 7 a.m.
  • Housing Starts at 8:30 a.m.
  • Federal Reserve Governor Jeremy Stein speaks at 8:30 a.m.
  • Industrial Production at 9:15 a.m.
  • Atlanta Fed Business Inflation Expectations at 10 a.m.
  • EIA Petroleum Status Report at 10:30 a.m.
  • Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen speaks at 12:15 p.m.
  • Dallas Federal Reserve Bank President Richard Fisher speaks at 1:25 p.m.
  • Federal Reserve's Beige Book at 2 p.m.

Key Companies Reporting Earnings April 16, 2014

  • Consensus earnings per share for Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOGL) is $6.40.
  • Consensus earnings per share for Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC) is $0.05.
  • Consensus earnings per share for U.S. Bancorp (NYSE: USB) is $0.73.
  • Consensus earnings per share for Abbott Laboratories (NYSE: ABT) is $0.35.
  • Consensus earnings per share for PNC Financial Services Group Inc. (NYSE: PNC) is $1.66.
  • Consensus earnings per share for ASML Holding N.V. (Nasdaq: ASML) is $0.81.
  • Consensus earnings per share for St. Jude Medical Inc. (NYSE: STJ) is $0.95.
  • Consensus earnings per share for W.W. Grainger Inc. (NYSE: GWW) is $2.97.
  • Consensus earnings per share for Huntington Bancshares Inc. (Nasdaq: HBAN) is $0.17.
  • Consensus earnings per share for FIRST REPUBLIC BANK (NYSE: FRC) is $0.64.
  • Consensus earnings per share for ADTRAN Inc. (Nasdaq: ADTN) is $0.16.

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