Stock market today, November 14, 2014: Good morning! U.S. stock futures for Friday, Nov. 14, forecasted a 2-point increase from yesterday's close after a slew of positive economic data from Europe. On Thursday, the Dow Jones added 40 points, marking the 25th time this year that the index struck a record high. Positive numbers from Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) earnings and the U.S. jobless claims report supported the gain.
Today, keep an eye on the market's reaction to further data from Europe. This morning, France beat analysts' expectations, reporting stronger-than-expected GDP growth in the third quarter. France reported quarterly growth of 0.3%, besting expectations of 0.2%. Meanwhile, Germany narrowly missed falling into a recession by reporting 0.1% growth for the quarter. In addition, Greece officially exited a recession by reporting growth of 0.7%. The positive reports in Europe could buy some time for the continent's central bank and its president Mario Draghi, who has been under pressure to introduce stimulus measures to fuel the bloc's economy.
Here's what else you should know about the stock market today – including your "Money Morning Tip of the Day" – to make it a profitable Friday:
- IPO Rollout: Sir Richard Branson is hoping his airline company's stock takes flight. This morning, Virgin America Inc. will begin trading on the Nasdaq stock exchange under the ticker (Nasdaq: VA). The company priced 13.3 million shares at $23 per share. VA said it raised roughly $306 million in the process.
- Merger Mania: Shares of Baker Hughes Inc. (NYSE: BHI) surged more than 15% on news that it may be acquired by oil field services giant Halliburton Co. (NYSE: HAL). The deal would combine two of the largest energy companies in their sector, creating a firm worth more than $65 billion in market capitalization. Shares of Halliburton were up more than 2% before opening bell this morning on rumors. The deal could also signal the beginning of significant consolidation with oil prices on the decline.
- Trouble Brewing: European regulators are investigating the legality of a tax deal between Starbucks Corp. (Nasdaq: SBUX) and the government of the Netherlands. The commission believes that a deal provided to Starbucks offers the company an unfair advantage against its competitors. Similar charges have been brought against Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN), Italian car manufacturer Fiat S.p.A. (OTCMKTS ADR: FIATY), and Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL).
- Retail Rise: Shares of Nordstrom Inc. (NYSE: JWN) jumped more than 2.8% in post-market hours on news that the company bested third-quarter earnings expectations. Nordstrom said that per-share earnings hit $0.73, outpacing last year's earnings of $0.69 per share. Consensus expectations called for per-share earnings of $0.72. Shares were up 3.21% ahead of opening bell today.
- Oil Prices Today: Crude oil prices fell again Friday due to concerns about a global supply glut. This morning, Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi dismissed the possibility of a production cut ahead of OPEC's Nov. 27 meeting in Vienna. Brent crude, the global benchmark priced in London, briefly fell below $80 for the first time since 2010. Meanwhile, WTI crude, priced in New York City, fell to $77 per share. Falling prices continue to drag down energy stocks around the globe. Meanwhile, U.S. energy production continues to surge. According to the Energy Information Administration, U.S. oil production hit 9.06 million barrels per day last week. This is the highest level of production since the 1980s.
- Earnings Reports: Stay tuned for earnings reports from Chase Corp. (NYSE: CCF), Century Casinos Inc. (Nasdaq: CNTY), and InterOil Corp. (NYSE: IOC).
Full U.S. Economic Calendar November 14, 2014 (NYSE: all times EST)
- Retail Sales at 8:30 a.m.
- Import and Export Prices at 8:30 a.m.
- St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank President James Bullard Speaks at 9 a.m.
- Consumer Sentiment at 9:55 a.m.
- Business Inventories at 10 a.m.
- EIA Natural Gas Report at 10:30 a.m.
- Federal Reserve Vice Chair Stanley Fischer speaks at 4 p.m.