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The Dow Jones Industrial Average today hit a record high for the first time in 2014, closing at 16,580.84 (0.3% higher than the previous close). The S&P 500 closed up 0.3% to 1,883.95, and the Nasdaq also gained 0.3% to end at 4,114.56.
The two-day Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting finished today and the committee announced it will continue to trim the Fed's bond-buying stimulus plan. The Federal Reserve plans to trim its quantitative easing program by $10 billion to $45 billion in purchases per month.
Here's your recap of today's major market events.
Five Major Events Moving the Dow Jones Today
- Spring Recovery on Tap: It looks like the job markets are warming up just in time for spring. Automatic Data Processing said that private sector jobs increased by 220,000 in April. This beat economist estimates of 210,000. In addition to this update, the ADP revised its March estimates to 209,000 from 191,000 last month. The federal government will announce the official unemployment rate for April on Friday, May 2.
- Russian Growth Forecast Slashed: The International Monetary Fund slashed its growth forecast for Russia to 0.2% for 2014. This was revised downward from its 1.3% forecast from earlier this year. The IMF says that sanctions against Russia over the Crimea region are set to impede growth, and that Russian investment is under increased threats. Capital continues to exit on news that the West has increased sanctions on Russian executives and companies. The announcement sets up a contrarian investment opportunity for those who are long Russia and willing to wait out this crisis.
- Oil Slumps: Brent crude oil prices slid beneath $108 a barrel, as the United States announced record-high stocks and Libya announced plans to increase its exports. Brent crude for June delivery slipped by $1.03 to hit $107.95 a barrel. Meanwhile, West Texas Intermediate fell in the United States by $1.73 to hit $99.55 a barrel. As our Dr. Kent Moors explained this morning, the spread between both contracts is narrowing, and he expects that the Brent premium will continue to erode in the months ahead.
- A Super Dividend Hike: Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) announced plans to hike its dividend to $0.69 per share from $0.63 this quarter. The company has now hiked its annual dividend for 32 consecutive years. Exxon will announce its earnings on Thursday.
- Bitcoin Updates: Access to bitcoin prices is easier than ever. Today, Bloomberg announced it would provide up-to-date pricing of the crypto-currency to its 320,000 terminal subscribers. The terminals will use pricing the Kraken bitcoin exchange. The news is another positive update for the crypto-currency. Just yesterday, Money Morning's David Zeiler reported that the failed Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox may rise from the ashes.
Wednesday's Top Three Profit Opportunities
- Profit Like a Real Estate Mogul (Without Buying Property): Today we're going to combine the two concepts of real estate and inflation and employ a very simple formula we believe will add to your profits. The formula: Inflation + Real Estate = Cash in Your Pocket. And Bill Patalon is going to recommend two stocks we expect will benefit from what we're seeing...
- These Basics Will Make You Big Money in the Markets: By the time you're done reading this, you'll understand everything about investing and marvel at how simple it all is. You'll know more than your friends - even more than most brokers. And you'll start "seeing" the money in the markets. So, let's get started. Here are the absolute basics, the things you need to know about stocks...
- These Long-Term Profit Machines Just Went On Sale: As impressive as biotech stocks have been in recent years, there are three great opportunities in the sector with just as much, if not more, potential that just got cheap. They're all 2014 IPOs... and the market hasn't figured out just how profitable they'll be. These shares are in the discount bin right now, but they won't stay there long...
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.