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Dow Jones Today, Sept. 29, 2014: U.S. markets slipped again Monday as investors raised new concerns about civil unrest in Hong Kong, where the Chinese government fired tear gas at pro-democracy protesters in one of the largest political crackdowns in China since the Tiananmen Square protests 25 years ago.
Hong Kong and China have had two different political and economic systems since the United Kingdom ceded control in 1997. However, China is now intensifying efforts to stifle pro-democracy advocacy in the region. The iShares FTSE/Xinhua China 25 Index (ETF) (NYSE Arca: FXI) slipped 2.5% on the day.
Here's the scorecard from today's trading session:
Dow: 17,071.22, -41.93 (-0.25%)
Nasdaq: 4,505.85, -6.34 (-0.14%)
S&P 500: 1,977.80, -5.05 (-0.25%)
The S&P Volatility Index (VIX) soared more than 10% this morning. Market uncertainty spiked on news of the ongoing China protests and concerns that Pacific Investment Management Company LLC (Pimco) will likely unwind a number of low-volatility positions with the departure of its co-founder Bill Gross.
Now, here's a breakdown of today's other top stories and stock performances:
- China's Slump: Protests in China dragged down U.S. markets, with Chinese ADRs among today's largest losers. Shares of PetroChina Co. Ltd. (NYSE ADR: PTR) and China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. (NYSE ADR: SNP) both slipped by more than 3%. Shares of ReneSola Ltd. (NYSE ADR: SOL) were down more than 1.5% on the day.
- Speculators Prepare: Alibaba stock options began trading Monday morning, allowing investors who missed out on the IPO of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (NYSE: BABA) another way to play the security. Options contracts are usually a great way for experienced investors to make additional profits on a stock. However, Alibaba stock options will not come cheap. Shares of Alibaba were down more than 2% on the day.
- Merger Mania: Shares of Texas-based Athlon Energy Inc. (NYSE: ATHL) were up nearly 25% on news it would be purchased from Canadian energy producer Encana Corp. (NYSE: ECA) for nearly $7.1 billion. The strategic acquisition gives Encana access to a large range of assets totaling roughly 140,000 acres in Texas's oil-rich Permian Basin. Here's the full story on Encana's biggest deal to date…