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Stock market news today, April 17, 2014: Good morning. Further developments out of Ukraine could weigh heavily on the markets today.
That said, it's a busy day for earnings, so let's get to the five stories you need to know to make your day profitable.
The Five Biggest Stock Market News Stories, April 17, 2014
- A Buyback Looms: Should Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) wish to boost its buyback plan, next week could be perfect timing. According to Bernstein Research, the company's shareholders "are looking for Apple to provide a framework and commitment for capital return." A Bernstein analyst said he anticipates Apple to increase its buyback plans by as much as $30 billion through the end of 2015. According to estimates, Apple has already bought back $45-$50 billion so far. Activist investor Carl Icahn has long called for the tech company to ramp up its buyback spending. With Bernstein's announcement, it's possible that Icahn ramps up the pressure in the coming week.
- A Big Slump: Wednesday was an unfortunate milestone for IBM Corporation (NYSE: IBM). The company reported its lowest quarterly revenue in five years. According to reports, revenues fell as IBM struggles to cope with falling demand in storage and server products. Consumers have transitioned from desktops and laptops to mobile devices, including cellphones and tablets. The stock slipped nearly 4% after hours.
- Wealthy Spenders: American Express (NYSE: AXP) reported that its cardholders' spending increased by 6% in the first quarter, despite bad weather across the country during that period. The global credit card company said its net income jumped 12% to $1.43 billion, or $1.33 a share. Despite the gain, the company still missed analyst expectations and dropped marginally in after-hours trading.
- This Won't End Well: The U.S. recall saga isn't getting any better for automaker General Motors (NYSE: GM). According to reports, U.S safety regulators released documents revealing that test drivers complained about ignition switch problems in 2006. The problem, which has been tied to more than a dozen deaths, were recognized in a new Cadillac model, but the problem wasn't fully addressed. GM is expected to investigate whether its engineering team knew of the problem.
- It's On: According to Bloomberg, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has subpoenaed six high-frequency trading firms in an effort to better understand the firms' special arrangements with exchanges and dark pools and their trading strategies. Controversy over high-frequency trading has erupted since prominent author Michael Lewis released a book that explores potential advantages that these traders have over retail investors. Lewis accused high-frequency traders of "rigging" the markets.
Note: The Fed's 2014 taper means volatility ahead. So we've outlined how to find profits in a volatile market – like triple-digit gains in just days – if you start with this strategy…
U.S. Economic Calendar April 17, 2014 (NYSE: all times EDT)
- Jobless Claims at 8:30 a.m.
- Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index at 9:45 a.m.
- Philadelphia Fed Survey at 10 a.m.
- EIA Natural Gas Report at 10:30 a.m.
- 3-Month Bill Announcement at 11 a.m.
- 6-Month Bill Announcement at 11 a.m.
- 2-Yr Note Announcement at 11 a.m.
- 5-Yr Note Announcement at 11 a.m.
- 7-Yr Note Announcement at 11 a.m.
- 5-Yr TIPS Auction at 11:30 a.m.
- SIFMA Rec. Early Close 2:00 p.m.
- Fed Balance Sheet at 4:30 p.m.
- Money Supply at 4:30 p.m.
Key Companies Reporting Earnings April 17, 2014
- Consensus earnings per share for General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) is $0.32.
- Consensus earnings per share for Philip Morris International Inc. (NYSE: PM) is $1.17.
- Consensus earnings per share for Schlumberger N.V. (NYSE: SLB) is $1.20.
- Consensus earnings per share for Pepsico, Inc. (NYSE: PEP) is $0.75.
- Consensus earnings per share for Union Pacific Corp. (NYSE: UNP) is $2.38.
- Consensus earnings per share for UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE: UNH) is $1.09.
- Consensus earnings per share for Honeywell International Inc. (NYSE: HON) is $1.26.
- Consensus earnings per share for Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS) is $3.43.
- Consensus earnings per share for E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. (NYSE: DD) is $1.60.
- Consensus earnings per share for Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) is $0.60.
- Consensus earnings per share for Danaher Corp. (NYSE: DHR) is $0.80.
- Consensus earnings per share for BlackRock Inc. (NYSE: BLK) is $4.11.