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Dow Jones today, Aug. 14, 2014: U.S. stocks shook off rising jobless claims and rose as concerns abated over geopolitical tensions in Ukraine. This morning, Russian President Vladimir Putin said before government ministers and the Crimean Congress that his country would help end the conflict in the region as soon as possible.
Here's the scorecard from today's trading session:
Dow: 16,713.58, +61.78 (+0.37%)
Nasdaq: 4,453.00, +18.88 (+0.43%)
S&P 500: 1,955.18, +8.46 (+0.43%)
Problems continue to persist in Europe, where Germany's economy is slowing down and Italy is now in a recession. The yield of the German 10-year bond plunged below 1% for the first time ever, as investors expect increased stimulus from the European Central Bank.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Labor Department announced that new unemployment benefit applications increased last week by 21,000 to a seasonally adjusted total of 311,000 for the week ending Aug. 9.
Now, here are more top stories from today:
- Saving the World: Shares of NewLink Genetics Corp. (Nasdaq: NLNK) soared more than 11% after one of the company's chief executives announced it has enough doses of a licensed Ebola vaccine to begin the first human safety trial of the drug. The deadly virus has killed more than 1,000 people in the wake of a West African outbreak. According to reports, the company will proceed with the trial on 100 healthy volunteers at a time still to be determined. In addition, New Link will donate 800 to 1,000 doses of the new drug to the World Health Organization. There is currently no known cure for the disease.
- Power Play: Shares of Plug Power Inc. (Nasdaq: PLUG) surged another 5% this morning on news that the alternative energy tech firm beat second-quarter earnings estimates. The company reported quarterly sales of $17.3 million, far outpacing the $7.5 million in sales from the same period last year. The company beat analyst expectations of $16.7 million. Plug Power reported strong demand from customers like shipping giant FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX), Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT), and auto titans Daimler AG (OTCMKTS: DDAIF), BMW AG, Honda Motor Co. Ltd. (NYSE ADR: HMC), and Volkswagen AG (OTCMKTS ADR: VLKAY).
- Billionaire Milestone: Shares of Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. class-A shares (NYSE: BRK.A) brimmed over the $200,000 mark for the first time ever on Thursday. The stock is now 60 times more expensive than the next most expensive stock on the New York Stock Exchange and has rallied more than 15% since it announced its annual report in February.
- Debt Nation: According to a report by the U.S. Federal Reserve, overall household debt dipped 0.2% in the second quarter, although auto loans surged at the highest quarterly rate since 2006. The report by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York said U.S. mortgage debt slipped $69 billion to $8.09 trillion, while home equity credit lines declined $5 billion to $521 billion. Debt increased in credit cards and auto loans. Americans added $10 billion in credit card debt in the second quarter to reach $669 billion and added $7 billion in new student loan debt to bring the outstanding total to $1.12 trillion.
- Trouble in Cheeseburger Paradise: U.S. chain restaurants continue to stumble thanks to changing consumer habits and a lackluster economy. This afternoon, Red Robin Gourmet Burgers Inc. (Nasdaq: RRGB) saw its shares plummet more than 20% on news that the company failed to meet quarterly earnings expectations. The stock hit a 52-week low after the company showed 7.5% revenue growth, but came in $7 million below analyst estimates. The company reported adjusted per-share earnings of $0.68, far below the $0.90 estimate from the Street.
Now our experts share some of the most important investment moves to make based on today's market trading – for Money Morning Members only: