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Following are 10 of the most important market-moving events that made stock market news this week.
Top 10 Stories in Stock Market News, July 21 - July 25, 2014
Geopolitical Tensions: Flight 17 may have been an exclamation point in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, but it was by no means a period. On Wednesday, reports indicated that pro-Russian rebels shot down two Ukrainian fighter jets. The attacks came within miles of where Flight 17 had been taken down. The Obama administration announced plans to introduce another round of sanctions against Russia and its President Vladimir Putin if the Duma refuses to quell political and social unrest in Ukraine. Meanwhile, the European Union is preparing to ban its citizens from buying or selling bonds or stocks from Russia's largest banks. Shares of Market Vector Russia ETF Trust (NYSE: RSX) were down 2.65% on the week.
Meanwhile, the conflict between Israel and Gaza simmered this week. As of midday Friday, 3,209 targets in Gaza had been struck by Israel, 2,153 rockets were launched at Israel from Gaza, 800 Palestinians have died, and there have been 36 Israeli deaths, according to The New York Times. On Tuesday, the FAA banned flights to Israel after a rocket fell within a mile of the Tel Aviv airport. The FAA lifted its suspension on Thursday.
Herbalife Saga:On Monday, shares of Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE: HLF) cratered more than 11% after activist investor Bill Ackman announced plans on CNBC to deliver a "deathblow" to the health marketer. In what he called the most important presentation of his career, Ackman planned to argue on Tuesday that Herbalife will collapse due to its structure and marketing practices. In past statements, Ackman has accused the company of being a "Ponzi scheme.”
But in an epic twist, after Tuesday’s presentation, Herbalife stock shot up more than 25%. To understand how the activist investor battle over HLF got to this point, we took a look at this company's scandalous history…
- Puma’s Major Cancer Drug Breakthrough: Shares of Puma Biotechnology (NYSE: PBYI) surged 294% after the company announced that its breast-cancer drug yielded positive results in clinical trials on Wednesday. Some 4.41 million shares changed hands within the first hour of trading, compared to the stock's average daily volume of 411,453 shares. The company got another boost after Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C) analysts raised Puma's price target from $99 to $292 per share. Find out more on why this biotech is loaded with profit potential....
- Fast Food Scandal in China: Customer confidence in American fast food companies is eroding in China. This is troubling for brands, as China has been long considered one of the top growth markets. A number of U.S. companies including Yum! Brands Inc. (NYSE: YUM), McDonald's Corp. (NYSE: MCD), and Burger King Worldwide Inc. (NYSE: BKW) are embroiled in a scandal in which a foreign supplier, Shanghai Husi Food Co., sold the firms expired beef and chicken. The Shanghai Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) froze operations of Shanghai Husi. According to a Sina survey of 25,000 Chinese respondents, 69% said they would no longer dine at Western-run restaurant chains.
- Saudi Arabian Market Now Open for Business: In a surprise announcement on Tuesday morning, Saudi Arabia, whose stock market has been off-limits to foreign investors, will now 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.
- Amazon Earnings: Amazon stock (Nasdaq: AMZN) slipped by more than 11% and ultimately closed down 9.65% the day after it released second-quarter 2014 earnings. After the bell on Thursday, the world’s largest online retailer revealed its biggest profit loss since 2012. It also revealed that sales were up 23% year over year. An earnings report of a profit loss and revenue growth was not necessarily surprising coming from AMZN, but what was surprising was the company’s forward guidance for Q3 regarding operating loss…
Huge IPO News No. 1 – Alibaba:On Monday, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (NYSE: BABA) announced it would engage its initial public offering after the September 1st Labor Day holiday. MarketWatch reported that an insider said the company didn't want to rush its launch in August, a period when IPO activity and market news slows. The IPO is expected to reach $20 billion, making it the largest tech IPO deal ever.
Money Morning's Chief Investment Strategist Keith Fitz-Gerald joined FOX Business' "Varney & Co." on Monday to tell viewers how he would play BABA stock when it hits the market…
- Huge IPO News No. 2 – LOCO: On Friday, Mexican food-chain El Pollo Loco began trading after its initial public offering priced 7.1 million shares at $15 each. The company traded on the Nasdaq exchange under the ticker "LOCO," and it was a hit – shares soared more than 33% from its offer price. While most outlets were busy creating headlines about "crazy" IPO activity, we gave investors a closer look at the 2014 IPO market, and how LOCO fits in...
- Zillow Merger: Rumors swirled on Thursday that online property giant Zillow Inc. (Nasdaq: Z) is looking at purchasing its rival Trulia Inc. (NYSE: TRLA) and valuating the company for as much as $2 billion. A deal, which could be announced as soon as next week, would combine the two largest property websites in the U.S. Shares of Zillow rose more than 15% on the news late Thursday, while shares of Trulia were up more than 32%. Combined, the two sites entertained 85 million unique visitors in June, or 89% of all real estate traffic. But don't let this stock rise fool you – Z and TRLA have some scary numbers behind them...
Economic Data: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) slashed its 2014 growth forecast for the U.S. economy, cutting the expected growth rate from 2.0% to 1.7% for the year. It cited a slowdown in the first half of the year due to winter weather and decreased spending. The agency predicts the U.S. economy will grow by more than 3% for the balance of 2014.
Good news came in the employment market, as jobless claims fell to their lowest levels since February 2006. However, the housing market saw new home sales slump by 8.1% in June. This marked the biggest monthly drop in nearly 12 months.
- The New York Times: Huge Protests in West Bank Over Israeli Offensive in Gaza