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Stock market trends today, August 1, 2014: U.S. markets plummeted Thursday in a broad decline. The DJIA shed 317 points in a heavy sell-off. The S&P 500 fell below its 50-day moving average, erasing all of July's gains as concerns across global markets hammered stocks. The Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index (VIX) jumped more than 27% to an intraday high of 17.11, its highest level since April.
This morning (Friday), the dollar hit a 10-month high against other global currencies while stocks around the world slumped. However, the U.S. unemployment rate rose to 6.2% on news that the economy gained only 209,000 jobs – falling under economist estimates of 230,000 new jobs during July and an unemployment rate of 6.0%.
Here's a roundup of the top stories affecting stock market news today:
- Around the World: Concerns about bond defaults and access to capital dominated yesterday's trading session. In addition to Argentina's second bond default in 13 years, concerns in Europe reemerged after Portugal's largest bank, Banco Espirito Santo, saw its shares fall more than 40% due to investor fears that the firm will require government aid. New geopolitical tension with Russia emerged after the country banned soy and juice exports from Ukraine. Russia's government is also considering a ban on other European fruits and yogurts and U.S. poultry as the nation responds to increasing sanctions against its economy.
- Vroom: Shares of Tesla Motors Inc. (Nasdaq: TSLA) were up roughly 1% after the company reported second-quarter earnings per share (EPS) of $0.11 on revenue of $857.5 million. During its quarterly reveal, the firm announced plans to manufacture more than 60,000 cars next year. It also announced it will construct a large battery plant – a Gigafactory – in a partnership with Panasonic Corporation (OTC: PCRFY) to help meet expected demand for its electric cars. Shares of Panasonic were slightly down in premarket hours.
- Gaza Talks Collapse: Following yesterday's slew of geopolitical drama, Friday was supposed to offer a silver lining on the international front. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced that Hamas and Israel had agreed to cease fighting for three days in order for both sides to negotiate a lasting peace agreement in the Gaza region. However, the ceasefire collapsed within just three hours after Israeli forces and Hamas fighters began firing rockets into each other's territory.
- Whole Lot of Problems: Shares of Whole Foods Markets Inc. (Nasdaq: WFM) slipped more than 2% yesterday after the company slashed its 2014 revenue forecasts for the fourth time this year. Concerns about new competition and falling revenue has prompted the firm to engage in its first major marketing push this fall, which will include the expansion of home-delivery services to customers. The company plans to partner with third-party delivery firms to offer such services in 12 to 15 major U.S. markets.
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