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Dow Jones Today, Oct. 8, 2014: The Dow Jones Industrial Average soared 274 points Wednesday following the Federal Open Market Committee's release of its September meeting minutes. The release marked the last of the Quantitative Easing 3 (QE3) era. According to the minutes, many Fed officials are seeking a new way to convince others that they are not prepared to raise interest rates according to the previous timeline.
The S&P Volatility Index (VIX) slumped nearly 10% on the day.
Today also marks the unofficial start to the September-quarter earnings season. After the bell, global aluminum giant Alcoa Inc. (NYSE: AA) will announce its quarterly results. Ahead of its earnings report, shares of Alcoa were up slightly.
Here's the scorecard from today's trading session:
Dow: 16,994.22, +274.83 (1.64%)
S&P 500: 1,968.89, +33.79 (+1.75%)
Nasdaq: 4,468.59, +83.39 (+1.90%)
Now, here's a breakdown of today's other top stories and stock performances:
- The Slump Continues: Oil prices continued to slide today, with Brent crude oil falling to a two-year low. Meanwhile, futures contracts for U.S. November crude slipped to their lowest level since April 2013. The continued downturn in energy prices is particularly hammering the stocks of oil-field service providers. Oilfield giants Halliburton Co. (NYSE: HAL), Baker Hughes Inc. (NYSE: BHI), and Schlumberger Ltd. (NYSE: SLB) all slipped on the day. (The good news for investors is that making money in the energy sector is no longer tied to higher oil prices – find out here why.)
- The Death of Retail: Shares of retailer J.C. Penney Co Inc. (NYSE: JCP) slumped by more than 11% intraday on news that it slashed its current-quarter same-store sales outlook. The company blamed a "difficult retail environment" in September. This afternoon, shares of Sears Holding Corp. (Nasdaq: SHLD) also fell more than 12% intraday after news broke that several of its suppliers have been halting shipments to stores, citing unpaid or delayed expenses. It's been a very bad year for SHLD stock, which is down a punishing 41% year to date…