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Stock market today, July 21, 2014: U.S. stock markets slumped on Monday, as military action continues in the Gaza Strip and geopolitical tensions remain high in Ukraine. The United States and European allies have strengthened economic sanctions against Russian interests and are threatening further action against Vladimir Putin if he doesn't pull support from pro-Russian militants in Eastern Ukraine.
Here's the scorecard from today's trading session:
Dow: 17,051.73, -48.45 (-0.28%)
Nasdaq: 4,424.70, -7.44 (-0.17%)
S&P 500: 1,973.63, -4.59 (-0.23%)
And here are the top stories from U.S. stock markets today:
- The Death Blow: Shares of Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE: HLF) cratered more than 11% today on news that activist investor Bill Ackman announced plans on CNBC to deliver a "deathblow" to the health marketer. In what he calls the most important presentation of his career, Ackman plans to argue tomorrow morning that Herbalife will collapse due to its structure and marketing practices. In past statements, Ackman has accused the company of being a "Ponzi scheme." Be sure to check back on the presentation tomorrow morning.
- Earnings Slumps: Shares of BB&T Corp. (NYSE: BBT) fell more than 3.5% on news that the company missed analyst expectations for the second quarter, a downturn fueled by reduced mortgage business. Shares of Hasbro Inc. (NYSE: HAS) fell more than 2.5% after the company announced rising sales and declining profits. Hasbro continues to struggle due to major changes in the toy industry as young customers migrate to electronics. Finally, Six Flags Entertainment Corp. (NYSE: SIX) announced stronger profits, but weaker sales in the spring.
- Return of Oilfield Services: In a boost to the oilfield services company, the continent's largest provider Halliburton Co. (NYSE: HAL) announced plans to add new fracking equipment and employees to meet increasing demand across the country. Shares of Halliburton were up nearly 2% this morning after the company also announced an increase of its pending share buyback program from $5 billion to $6 billion. According to second-quarter figures, Halliburton's second-quarter margins in North America are handily beating competitors Baker Hughes Inc. (NYSE: BHI) and Schlumberger Ltd. (NYSE: SLB).
- Camera Crazy: Shares of GoPro Inc. (Nasdaq: GPRO) were up more than 2.5%, even though a number of Street analysts raised concerns about the trajectory of the company's stock surge. Consensus views like the company, but stated there is "limited upside" to current prices.
- Cut for Gains: Shares of Allergan Inc. (NYSE: AGN) rose more than 2% on news that the company beat Wall Street earnings estimates. The company also plans to slash 13% of its workforce, or 1,500 jobs, in a restructuring deal later this year.
Now our experts share some of the most important investment moves to make based on today's market trading – for Money Morning Members only: