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Stock market news, October 10, 2014: This morning (Friday), U.S. stock market futures were down as global stocks continued their sell-off. The same forces fueled yesterday's 334-point loss for the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Global stocks slipped to a six-month low, causing volatility to surge, and the S&P Volatility Index (VIX) – the market's fear gauge – soared 25%.
Crude oil prices are also down this morning. Brent crude – the global benchmark set in London – slipped to its lowest level since 2010. Oil prices continue to slide as growth indicators in major economies suggest lackluster growth and falling demand. The slide was aided this morning by a report in Italy, Europe's third-largest economy, that the nation's industrial production slipped 0.7% in August, compared to the same period in 2013.
Here are the top stories affecting the stock market today:
- The Activist Acts: In an open letter to Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook, billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn said he believes the company's stock should be valued at $203, more than 100% its current value. Icahn said the company has the opportunity to boost its share value by returning a large share of its "excessive liquidity" to shareholders through a stock buyback. He encouraged the company to make a tender offer with its roughly $133 billion net cash. Apple shares were down 0.5% in pre-market hours.
- Go Go Gadget: Tech giant Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG, GOOGL) announced plans to release its newest smartphone, called Shamu, later this month, according to The Wall Street Journal. The device will be the company's largest smartphone to date, signaling Google's commitment to target Samsung and Apple in the "phablet," or super-sized mobile device, market. According to reports, the device will have a 5.9-inch screen, justifying its name after the famous killer whale. The phone's manufacturer is Motorola Mobility, which Google is selling to Lenovo Group Ltd. (OTCMKTS ADR: LNVGY) – a company our defense & tech specialist called "the new king of the computer industry" earlier this year…