The Dow Jones today was even today, ending at 16,501.65, while the S&P 500 rose 3.22 points to finish at 1,878.61. The Nasdaq rose 21.37 points to finish at 4,148.34 this afternoon on Apple Inc.'s (Nasdaq: AAPL) strong quarterly earnings.
Although the three major U.S. stock indexes opened higher, the markets slid from their intraday highs. Most of the volatility stems from concerns over Russian military drills starting on the Ukrainian border.
Here's your recap of today's major market events...
- The Alibaba IPO Is Huge: Wall Street was in a frenzy on Thursday as Chinese Internet giant Alibaba prepares to file paperwork for the largest IPO of the year. The company is expected to raise nearly $15 billion when it hits the market sometime this spring. To put that into perspective, all 91 companies that have gone public thus far in 2014 have raised a combined $18.4 billion, according to Renaissance Capital. Here are the 10 things you need to know about the upcoming Alibaba IPO.
- The Zimmer Bid Hits Big: Although the company was recently hit by a credit downgrade, Zimmer Holdings Inc. (NYSE: ZMH) soared more than 11% to $101.84 and struck an intraday high of $108.33. Today, the company announced it would purchase its rival Biomet Inc. for $13.35 billion. Biomet, a manufacturer of orthopedic medical devices, was poised to set its own initial public offering in 2014. However, those plans have clearly expired. The deal is the latest in a string of healthcare deals that have hit the markets in recent weeks.
- Facebook Buying Again: On Thursday, Facebook Inc. (Nasdaq: FB) announced the purchase of ProtoGeo Oy, a mobile app company that created a mobile app called "Moves," which tracks how far consumers walk or run and the number of calories they've burned during the day. This is the company's first major jump into social apps in the fitness and health-monitoring sector. Facebook said that ProtoGeo has fewer than 10 employees and that the deal was far, far less expensive than WhatsApp, Oculus, or Instagram.
- Amazon's HBO Deal Isn't Cheap: According to tech bloc Re/code, Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) plans to pay more than $300 million over three years to provide Amazon Prime customers with shows, specials, and original movies from premium-cable channel HBO. Despite the wealth of new premium content, some Prime subscribers are already complaining that the deal doesn't include such current HBO hits as "Game of Thrones."
- Auto Sales on the Rise: According to industry research firms J.D. Power and LMC Automotive, U.S. auto sales will jump 8.5% in April over last year's sales. According to their survey, the research companies expect the warm spring weather to drive consumers into show rooms and onto auto sales websites. The firms set their full-year sales expectations at 16.1 million vehicles, up from 15.6 million in 2013.
Thursday's Top Three Profit Opportunities
- Gas Prices Are Heading Up (and the Sector That Will Benefit): The price of gasoline is on the rise again. In fact, gas is up 2.4% over the past week alone. Today, the average retail price is 4 cents higher per gallon than a year ago. And you can bet that as we move into the "official" start of the summer driving season, the worst is yet to come. So here's how you can profit if you prepare today...
- How to Get in the Game and Profit: Once you make a decision to start investing, the next step is to make a commitment to become successful. You can't make money watching from the sidelines. But you also can't be a deer in the headlights either. That's why Shah Gilani is going to show you how to make that next step... and become a confident trader for the future.
- The "Earnings Beat" That's Perfect for This Market: Last Wednesday, the Milpitas, Calif.-based SanDisk Corp. (Nasdaq: SNDK) reported first-quarter results that smashed analyst expectations, and the company's shares shot up 6% in after-hours trading. But our Chief Investment Strategist Keith Fitz-Gerald saw that beat coming and put readers out in front of it. This week, he talked to Bill Patalon about its recent stellar performance... and its future profit potential...
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.