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Stock market today, July 17, 2014: The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up yesterday (Wednesday) for its 15th record-breaking close in 2014. U.S. Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen testified before Congress, reiterating that the economy remains vulnerable to a struggling job market and stagnating wages – two reasons why the central bank will continue its loose monetary policy in 2014.
Here are the top headlines in the stock market today you should know to make your Thursday profitable:
- Soak the Rich: The Obama administration has ramped up a new push to stop U.S. companies from engaging in cross border mergers to reduce their corporate tax burden. These tax-driven mergers, known as inversions, have aggressively increased since 2012, with at least 44 companies engaging in this practice. U.S. Secretary Jack Lew called for a "new sense of economic patriotism" and demanded that Congress should pass tax laws that would be retroactive to May, before the latest round of deals. The U.S. corporate tax rate is the highest in the world.
- Merger Mania: In an effort that would directly take aim at The Walt Disney Co.'s (NYSE: DIS) ESPN, Rupert Murdoch and Twenty-First Century Fox Inc. (Nasdaq: FOX) are attempting to boost its media holdings through an acquisition of Time Warner Inc. (NYSE: TWX). Recently, Murdoch's empire made a bid of $75 billion for Time Warner, which would include its holdings of HBO and TNT. Shares of Time Warner were up more than 17% yesterday.
- Today's Economic Calendar: Today's schedule features a speech by St. Louis Federal Reserve President Richard Fisher, weekly jobless claims, housing starts, and an update in the U.S. money supply.
- Nickel and Dime: Global airline companies generated revenues of $31.5 billion in 2013 from add-on and non-ticket fees, according to a recent survey. Discount airline Spirit Airlines Inc. (Nasdaq: SAVE) relied on fees for 38% of its revenues, the highest percentage of any company. Meanwhile, three U.S. carriers, United Continental Holdings Inc. (NYSE: UAL), Delta Air Lines Inc. (NYSE: DAL) and American Airlines Group Inc. (Nasdaq: AAL), topped the list.