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The DJIA hit yet a new record closing high Thursday – its 25th this year – to finish a day of up-and-down trading. The S&P 500 rose one point, just short of another record close.
The VIX, the market's volatility gauge, jumped 5% on the day.
Dow: 17,652.79, +40.59, +0.23%
S&P 500: 2,039.33, +1.08, +0.05%
Nasdaq: 4,680.14, +5.01, +0.11%
What Moved the Markets Today: The markets were on the rise despite the continued onslaught against oil prices on the international front. Crude oil prices fell again after OPEC announced it expects weaker demand in 2015 and Saudi Arabia remained quiet about production cuts. Brent crude, the global benchmark priced in London, fell below $78 per barrel. Meanwhile, West Texas Intermediate crude, priced in New York City, fell below $75 per share, its lowest level since September 2010. Falling prices continue to drag down energy stocks around the globe.
Now check out the day's most important market notes:
- Retail Surge: Shares of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) jumped more than 4.5% on news the company's third-quarter earnings and revenue beat analyst expectations. Optimism for the world's largest retailer is high – this is the first time in nearly two years it's reported positive same-store sales year over year.
- Merger Mania: Warren Buffett just bought enough batteries to last the rest of his lifetime. This afternoon, Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE: BRK.A) announced plans to purchase Procter & Gamble Co.'s (NYSE: PG) Duracell battery unit. The deal is a complex stock, cash, and tax agreement that will likely confuse and enrage different segments of the American population in coming weeks. Here's how to invest like the legend himself…
- Keystone Showdown: The fate of the Keystone Pipeline could be decided within the next few weeks. Despite optimism that Democratic Senators may vote to approve the infrastructure project, the White House has hinted a veto is possible. Here's what finally pushed the Keystone Pipeline to the top of Washington's "to-do" list – and why President Obama is almost certain to sign the bill in spite of this "hint."
- Winning: Shares of Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) jumped another 1.7% this afternoon, but that's not the only reason shareholders are smiling. The company just replaced Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) as the second-largest publicly traded U.S. company. (Now, if Microsoft makes this one key change to Windows 10, it would move MSFT stock even higher…)
- Merger Mania: Toymaker Hasbro Inc. (Nasdaq: HAS) will likely buy DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. (Nasdaq: DWA). DreamWorks Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Katzenberg seeks a price of more than $30 per share, a roughly 30% premium from Wednesday's close, according to Bloomberg. The deal would be a blockbuster for Hasbro, signaling its transition into film and entertainment as a growth strategy.
Now our experts share some of the most important investment moves to make based on today's market trading – for Money Morning Members only:
- Profit from China's Currency Move: As China continues to position itself for economic dominance, its currency will take center stage in the global financial arena. There are clear and visible signs the yuan is on the march, but the financial press has seriously underreported its surge. It's an unstoppable trend, and you can profit by taking these critical steps…
- How Google Will Dominate the Future: Today Money Morning Tech Specialist Michael A. Robinson explains why Google is such an intriguing tech investment with enormous upside. This industry leader has somehow combined Warren Buffett's business genius and Google Director of Engineering Ray Kurzweil's futurist brain – and there's nothing but profit for investors ahead…
- The China Bears Are Wrong: Many talking heads in the financial news are shouting that China is a trap for investors. And every time they say the sky is going to fall on the world's second-largest economy, the Asian nation beats back the naysayers. Of course, the critics never go away, and they've been out in abundance recently. But as our Executive Editor Bill Patalon explains today, anyone who is bearish on China is wrong. And worse, they're leaving a lot of money on the table…