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Increased M&A Activity Leads Today's Stock Market News

Stock market news today, April 28, 2014: U.S. stock futures are in the black this morning on anticipation of increased mergers and acquisitions activity.

Here's what you need to know to make today profitable.

Five Biggest Stories in Today's Stock Market, April 28, 2014

  • Watch Out, General Electric: According to Reuters, France plans to block any deal that it considers unfit for Alstom. Last week, details emerged that General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) planned to purchase the French engineering firm. However, German industrial conglomerate Siemens AG has stepped up and made an offer, valuing the company between $13.8 billion and $15.2 billion. This week, GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt plans to meet with French President François Hollande about the proposed deal.
  • Merger Mania Continues: This morning, Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) said it has again approached rival AstraZeneca plc (NYSE: AZN) about a possible $100 billion takeover, but that the U.K.-based firm declined a chance to speak. Pfizer originally began talks with the firm in January, but tried again on Saturday to reengage. The potential offer would have been a 30% premium to AstraZeneca's closing share price and value the firm at $98.68 billion.
  • Will the Fed Taper: Everyone is talking about Janet Yellen again. On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee will have its second meeting with Janet Yellen at the helm. The bank will likely announce plans to continue its tapering of the Quantitative Easing program. In addition, we'll hear additional chatter on how soon the bank will raise interest rates. Janet Yellen will speak at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday.
  • A Look Ahead: Markets are on high alert for the coming jobs report. On Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) will release the April unemployment rate. This is a crucial report given that last month's official rate increased from 6.6% to 6.7%. It's also the first report this year in which the Federal Reserve and U.S. government cannot use winter weather as an excuse if economic performance isn't tacking in the right direction.
  • The Russian Crisis Worsens: The U.S. is taking very bold steps in order to protect the petrodollar and its regional interests. As soon as today, the U.S. and European Union will set new sanctions against Russian companies and the inner circle of President Vladimir Putin. The new sanctions follow an escalating crisis that continues to have markets on high alert. Last week, Russia began conducting military exercises on Ukraine's border with as many as 40,000 troops.

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…

Full U.S. Economic Calendar April 28, 2014

  • Pending Home Sales Index at 10 a.m.
  • Dallas Fed Manufacturing Survey at 10:30 a.m.
  • 4-Week Bill Announcement at 11 a.m.
  • 3-Month Bill Auction at 11:30 a.m.
  • 6-Month Bill Auction at 11:30 a.m.

Key Companies Reporting Earnings April 28, 2014

  • Consensus earnings per share for National Oilwel Varcol Inc. (NYSE: NOV) is $1.39.
  • Consensus earnings per share for Franklin Resources Inc. (NYSE: BEN) is $0.90.
  • Consensus earnings per share for Ecolab Inc. (NYSE: ECL) is $0.74.
  • Consensus earnings per share for Corning Inc. (NYSE: GLW) is $0.30.
  • Consensus earnings per share for Loews Corp. (NYSE: L) is $0.75.
  • Consensus earnings per share for Charter Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: CHTR) is $0.15.
  • Consensus earnings per share for Roper Industries Inc. (NYSE: ROP) is $1.35.
  • Consensus earnings per share for CNA Financial Corp. (NYSE: CNA) is $0.83.
  • Consensus earnings per share for Cheniere Energy Inc. (NYSE: LNG) is $-0.27.
  • Consensus earnings per share for Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings (NYSE: LH) is $1.60
  • Consensus earnings per share for Carter's Inc. (NYSE: CRI) is $0.71.
  • Consensus earnings per share for Boardwalk Pipeline Partners L.P. (NYSE: BWP) is $0.32.
  • Consensus earnings per share for CNO Financial Group Inc. (NYSE: CNO) is $0.28.

If you've been counting on your pension, you may want to revise those plans, as most are way underfunded. Now is the time to act, because your pension funds are drying up…

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