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Dow Jones today, July 22, 2014: U.S. markets were up today after positive housing data instilled confidence in the recovering market, and geopolitical concerns remained muted. In a surprise announcement this morning, Saudi Arabia, whose stock market has been off-limits to foreign investors, will allow foreign capital and the purchasing of shares next year. The nation is aggressively seeking to draw new capital to its economy, which is valued at nearly $750 billion.
Here's the scorecard from today's trading session:
Dow: 17,113.54, +61.81 (+0.36%)
Nasdaq: 4,456.02, +31.31 (+0.71%)
S&P 500: 1,983.53, +9.90 (+0.50)
And here are the top stories from today:
- Dodging Deathblows: Shares of Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE: HLF) were up more than 16.5%, despite activist investor Bill Ackman's presentation claiming the company will collapse. The company's chief financial officer announced that Ackman's charges, outlined in a lengthy presentation, were false. Shares had plummeted yesterday after Ackman's announced plan to prove the company is a Ponzi scheme. But according to multiple outlets and analysts, the "most important presentation" of Ackman's life (in his own words) completely bombed with investors. Ackman has shorted the company for years, a position that has pitted him against activist investor Carl Icahn. He has accused Herbalife of running a money transfer scheme out of Venezuela (among other claims). Here's a look at Ackman's case against Herbalife – and how this entire battle began.
- Daily Data Dump: The United States saw rises in important economic figures today. Existing home sales in June grew at the fastest level in eight months, which has many analysts believing the housing market is on its way to recovery. Meanwhile, consumer prices were up again last month. The Labor Department announced the Consumer Price Index increased 0.3% in June, with gasoline driving two-thirds of the spike.
- Fast Food Fizzles: Shares of McDonald's Corp. (NYSE: MCD) slipped 1.5% on news that the company missed quarterly earnings estimates. The company is also embroiled in a scandal in Asia over concerns that expired meat had been purchased by a reckless supplier. The health problem has also affected the company's competitors Starbucks Corp. (Nasdaq: SBUX), Burger King Worldwide Inc. (NYSE: BKW), and Yum! Brands Inc. (NYSE: YUM). Chipotle, meanwhile, beat the fast food giant in earnings and stock gains… full story here.
- Financial Surge: Shares of CIT Group Inc. (NYSE: CIT) surged more than 11.5% on news that the company beat earnings and plans to purchase the parent firm of OneWest Bank NA for $3.4 billion. The company believes this acquisition will drive a 20% increase to its earnings per share by 2016, according to a company statement.
- Streaming Stutter: Shares of Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) slumped more than 5% on news that the company maintained earnings in line with expectations and that it will be expanding operations in Europe, where business costs are on the rise. Concerns are mounting, however, as the company said third-quarter earnings per share are expected to be $0.89, far below consensus estimates of $1.06 per share. In an effort to capture new subscribers and revenue, the company also announced it will begin selling gift cards in retail outlets.