S&P 500

S&P 500 Soars Today to End Its Best Week of 2014

S&P 500U.S. stock markets jumped again Friday, bringing an end to one of the markets' best weeks in nearly two years. The S&P 500 was up roughly 3.7% on the week and logged its biggest weekly gain of 2014. The Dow Jones added 127 points on the day, while the Nasdaq added another 30 points.

Today's scorecard:
Dow: 16,805.41, +127.51 (+0.76%)
S&P 500: 1,964.58, +13.76 (+0.71%)
Nasdaq: 4,483.71, +30.92 (+0.69%)

What moved the markets: The markets were able to beat back concerns over Ebola after a 33-year-old doctor was diagnosed with the deadly virus in Manhattan. The Dow Jones and Nasdaq jumped after strong earnings reports from Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) and global conglomerate Procter & Gamble Co. (NYSE: PG). Shares of Microsoft jumped on news that the company continues to see sales growth in both cloud services and mobile, the two areas of expertise that led to the appointment of Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella. Meanwhile, Procter & Gamble jumped on positive earnings estimates and news that it plans to spin off its Duracell brand.

Most notable economic news: Sales of new U.S. single-family homes hit a six-year high in September. The U.S. Department of Commerce announced sales jumped 0.2% to hit an expected annual rate of 467,000 units. The news wasn't something to completely celebrate, however, after the federal agency announced that it has significantly revised the August new sales report downward.

Now, here's a breakdown of today's other top stories and stock performances:

  • Slumping Sales: Shares of com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) slipped by more than 8% today after the e-commerce giant slashed its holiday forecast and issued weaker than expected third-quarter revenue results. The company also reported lackluster sales from its newly released smartphone, Fire. But revenue and cellphone sales aren't the numbers investors should be glued to. In fact, AMZN's key earnings number may surprise you...
  • Inversion Aversion: Shares of Chiquita Brands International Inc. (NYSE: CQB) were up nearly 3% on news the firm terminated a deal with Irish food company Fyffes Plc. (OTCMKTS: FYFFF). This is the latest inversion deal to be taken off the table in recent weeks since the U.S. Treasury Department announced new rules designed to hinder such agreements. However, Chiquita executives said that Fyffes' takeover offer was too low. Chiquita is now in talks with Brazilian food company Cutrale-Safra, and it could relocate out of the United States if a takeover is announced.
  • Playing the Blues: Shares of Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) remain at an all-time post-split high. Apple stock hit a record high for the third consecutive day after the launch of its highly touted Apple Pay. But it wasn't all good news for Apple today. According to reports, digital music sales at its iTunes store have dipped more than 13% since the beginning of 2014.
  • Export Surge: According to FOX Business, a dozen energy companies have united to create a lobbying group dedicated to reversing the United States' 40-year ban on crude oil exports. The companies have formed Producers for American Crude Oil Exports, or PACE. The ban was enacted in the 1970s when the Arab oil embargo created concerns about domestic supply. Our energy expert Dr. Kent Moors, who has advised the U.S. government and many others around the world, said earlier this month that a surge in crude oil exports was coming. And you can profit from this monumental shift in U.S. policy if you start preparing right now.
  • Stressful Work: On Sunday, the European Central Bank will release an important report. In it, the ECB will state as many as 25 banks in the Eurozone have failed the central bank's stress tests, according to Bloomberg. Of course, our Shah Gilani began exposing problems in both the U.S. and European financial sector back in 2012.

Now for three of today's best profit opportunities from our investing experts - for Money Morning Members only (Not a Member? Sign up now - it's free):

  • How to Profit from a Stronger U.S. Dollar: The U.S. Federal Reserve plans to wind down its asset purchases this month, but Japan and the United Kingdom are still buying, full swing. Meanwhile, the European Union is just looking to get started with its stimulus efforts. That's sent the U.S. dollar into a major run-up, with the euro and yen on the losing side. This adds up to a global currency conflict. And our resource expert Peter Krauth, a 20-year commodity guru and portfolio advisor, has identified a very rare, very lucrative opportunity...
  • The Profit Opportunity in Hong Kong's Unrest: Most investors haven't got a clue about what Hong Kong's riots represent, let alone the investment potential that's being unleashed there. As a result, they're going to miss out on some really terrific profit opportunities. But before we get to the best way to play this, understanding what's driving the unrest is key...
  • How to Get a Piece of Wall Street Profits Without the Wall Street Corruption: There's simply no limit to how far Wall Street will go to make a buck. It's no wonder. With corporate offenses and "bad behavior" routinely going unpunished, perpetrators have developed a sense of impunity. But we can strike back against banks that are behaving badly. And here's how we're going to play a non-bank investment against a rigged services industry...