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Stock market news today, July 9, 2014: The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped more than 70 points on Wednesday following the release of minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee's June meeting and a strong second quarter report from aluminum giant Alcoa Inc. (NYSE: AA) to kick off earnings season.
According to S&P Capital IQ, analysts expect Q2 earnings from S&P 500 companies to grow by more than 6%. That's a strong gain from Q1's 3.4% in growth earnings.
Here's the scorecard from today's trading session:
DOW: 16,985.61 (+0.47%)
S&P 500: 1,972.83 (+0.46%)
NASDAQ: 4,419.03 (+0.63%)
And here are the top stories in stock market news today:
- Taper Talk: FOMC minutes released today from the Federal Reserve's June 17-18 meeting revealed that the central bank is aiming to end its economic stimulus efforts this October. The minutes indicate that the Fed is confident about the U.S. labor market and the general economy, and it will continue to cut monthly bond-purchasing efforts over the duration of the summer. The bank will purchase $35 billion per month, and slash purchases down to $15 billion in Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities by the FOMC's October meeting. The minutes didn't provide a clear timeline for when the central bank will raise interest rates.
- Life Goes On: Despite losing in the worst blowout in World Cup semi-final history yesterday afternoon, the markets in Brazil jumped today more than 2%. The largest Brazilian ETF – the iShares MSCI Brazil Fund (NYSE Arca: EWZ) – was up more than 1.5%. Not only is life returning to back to normal for South America's largest economy, but the nation's loss could provide election disaster for socialist Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff in her bid to remain in office this fall. Many Brazilians are irate about the government's decision to spend billions of dollars on soccer stadiums for the World Cup instead of making true on previous election promises to hike spending on schools, hospitals, and general infrastructure.
- Smoking Deal: Shares of Reynolds American Inc. (NYSE: RAI) jumped 3% this morning after reports broke that British American Tobacco Plc. (NYSE ADR: BTI) will purchase the remaining 58% stake of Reynolds that it doesn't already own. According to a report in The Daily Mail, the buyout would kill a proposed merger of Reynolds and Lorillard Inc. (NYSE: LO).
- Flying Friendly Skies: Shares of American Airlines Group Inc. (Nasdaq: AAL) and Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE: LUV) jumped 4% and nearly 2% respectively on positive forecasts for the second quarter. The companies reported increased demand for air travel in the coming summer months and abated concerns about the health of the sector's profit margins.
- Garmin Grumbling: Shares of GPS-tech manufacturer Garmin Ltd. (Nasdaq: GRMN) slumped by more than 6% on news that the company had been downgraded by analysts at Pacific Crest Securities. The Portland-based research group cited increased competition by Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) and its wearable tech iWatch as a primary concern to the company's roster of products.
- Russian Blues: Wall Street bank JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) announced plans to slash its equity market staff in Russia. The company has stated that its business is struggling in the region due to the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.
Following our top stock market news stories, get the latest investment moves based on today's market trading from our experts – for Money Morning Members only: