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Stock Market Close, Aug. 19, 2014: U.S. stocks roared again Tuesday, buoyed by strong earnings reports and a slew of positive economic data. The surge was led today by The Home Depot Inc. (NYSE: HD), which saw shares rise nearly 6% after the company beat Wall Street estimates for its second quarter. A strong July report on housing starts showed that the industry saw its strongest rebound in eight months. The positive data and strong earnings reports overshadowed any concerns about ongoing geopolitical tensions in Ukraine, Israel/Gaza, and Iraq.
Here are the final numbers at today's stock market close:
Dow: 16.919.59, +80.85 (+0.48%)
Nasdaq: 4,527.51, +19.20 (+0.43%)
S&P 500: 1,981.61, +9.87 (+0.50%)
Now, here are the top stories from today:
- Apple Ascending: Shares of Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) gained nearly 1.5% and tore above the $100 mark for the first time since its seven-for-one stock split. Apple stock is now at a two-year high. The company has received high praise from analysts at RBC Wealth Management and Morgan Stanley(NYSE: MS), who both see very strong potential for its coming release of the iWatch and the iPhone 6.
- Merger Mania: In a shocking turn of events, The Wall Street Journal reports that Botox manufacturer Allergan Inc. (NYSE: AGN) has approached Salix Pharmaceuticals Ltd. (Nasdaq: SLXP) and another firm about a possible takeover bid. The proposed deals are being pitched as a way for the company to avoid a $53 billion hostile takeover from hedge fund manager Bill Ackman and Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. (NYSE: VRX). Shares of Allergan were up more than 3.5% on the day, while Salix shares popped more than 11%.
- Stepping Down: Following his recent purchase of the Los Angeles Clippers, Steve Ballmer has announced he has stepped down from the board of directors at Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT). Ballmer told Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella, who replaced him as CEO earlier this year, that he has too many other commitments that would distract him from being able to commit significant time to the future of the company. Ballmer began his career with Microsoft in 1980, joining the firm as its 30th employee.
- The Craziest IPO: Weeks ago, El Pollo LoCo Holdings Inc. (Nasdaq: LOCO) launched one of the most successful IPOs of the year, seeing its stock price triple in less than a week. But now the company's stock price has steadily been coming back to earth. Today, shares slipped another 10% after a Morgan Stanley analyst slashed his outlook and placed a 2015 price target for the stock at roughly $22. Wall Street analysts are raising concerns that the chicken-themed restaurant isn't going to be able to maintain the type of growth and steam witnessed by Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. (NYSE: CMG).
- Welcome Home: Apparel-maker Aeropostale Inc. (NYSE: ARO) saw its shares gain more than 19% on news that its former chief executive Julian Geiger will return to the company as its next CEO. Geiger will replace Thomas Johnson, who will step down from both his CEO position and as a member of the company's board of directors. The company is bouncing back from a 52-week low. The teen apparel manufacturer has struggled this year, with shares down more than 70% from their yearly high.
Now our experts share some of the most important investment moves to make based on today's market trading – for Money Morning Members only: