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Stock market today, May 28, 2014: The stock market today (Wednesday) ended its streak of four-straight session gains. U.S. Treasury prices surged, putting the benchmark 10-year Treasury note yield at its lowest level this year on a closing basis.
Here's the scorecard from this session:
DOW: 16,634.40, -0.25%
S&P 500: 1,909.77, -0.11%
NASDAQ: 4,225.08, -0.28%
And here are the top stories from the stock market today.
Top News in the Stock Market Today
- Raising the Stakes: In an effort to win over French regulators, General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) promised to create at least 1,000 jobs should it purchase the power division of Alstom. The current offer for the division sits at $16.9 billion, and the French government has been playing offers between GE and Siemens AG (OTCMKTS ADR: SIEGY) against each other for the best deal.
- Big Mac Buyback: In an effort to return $18 to $20 billion to shareholders, McDonald's Corp. (NYSE: MCD) announced plans to hike dividends or buyback stock from 2014 to 2016. That figure is a 10% to 20% increase over the amount of cash it returned to shareholders over the last three years.
- Banks Behaving Badly: Lawyers of former SAC Capital Advisers fund manager Mathew Martoma are expressing outrage after U.S. court officials suggested a 20-year prison sentence for insider trading. The sentence would set a new U.S. record for the offense. Martoma, 39, was convicted for providing insider tips about clinical trials for an Alzheimer's drug. Steven Cohen's hedge fund earned $275 million in July 2008 from trades in Elan Corp. (NYSE ADR: ELN) and Wyeth. Martona personally profited to the tune of $6.3 million on the trades, according to Reuters. He faces sentencing next month.
- The Critic Is Gone: The man who the New York Times called the U.S. Federal Reserve's strongest internal critic is officially out of the central bank. Jeremy Stein has returned to Harvard University, while former Bank of Israel head Stanley Fischer took an oath today to join the Fed board of governors as its vice chair. Stein was a very strong advocate of tapering the Fed's bond program and urged investigations into risks tied to future interest rate policy.
Note: The Fed's 2014 taper means volatility lies ahead. But there's still a way to find profits in a volatile market – just start with this strategy…
- Time for a Post-Petrodollar Profit Play: The recent mega-billion gas deal between Russia and China stands to threaten the dominance of the U.S. dollar. The lesson learned from this deal is to beware of unintended consequences. That's the advice Money Morning Resource Specialist Peter Krauth offers to Western leaders when imposing sanctions on Russia over the Ukraine crisis. But Krauth also tells investors how to play the petrodollar's decline over the long term…
- Retail Boom: The topsy-turvy retail sector continues to report diverse earnings. Michael Kors Holdings Ltd. (Nasdaq: KORS), a high-end retailer of handbags and watches, reported a surge in demand over the last six months. This morning, it announced it beat first-quarter estimates and saw a 59% increase in fourth-quarter profits.
- Stake Your Claim to $70 Billion of Global Growth: Political volatility across the globe is making some investors jittery about investing in emerging markets. But the truth is, for investors who know what they're holding, these emerging markets still hold outsize profit potential. And taking your share of this growth has never been easier, thanks to these special securities…
- You Can Make Money in Stocks (Especially These Three) No Matter What Rates Do: The three companies our Chief Investment Strategist highlighted this month can actually benefit from rising rates. So, let's take an "Econ 101" look at the impact interest rates can have on stocks, especially when rates start rising… and at how you can profit from this knowledge…