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Good morning! The stock market today (Wednesday) follows a near-record session from the Dow and the S&P 500 yesterday. The indices finished at 17,814.94 (-0.02%) and 2,067.03 (-0.12%) respectively. U.S. stock futures for Wednesday forecast a 3-point decrease from yesterday's close.
This morning, the U.S. Department of Labor reported that jobless claims reached the highest level in 11 weeks. The number of people applying for new unemployment benefits spiked above 300,000 for the first time since early September. Also this morning, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis reported consumer spending climbed 0.2% in October after being flat in September. The rise is a good sign for the economy in Q4.
Remember, the markets will be closed on Thursday for the Thanksgiving holiday and will have a short session on Friday, with the Dow closing at 1 p.m. ET.
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 Wednesday:
- Key Earnings: Deere & Co. (NYSE: DE) reported fiscal fourth quarter and full-year 2014 results this morning. Deere is an important Dow component and indicator of manufacturing and agricultural growth. It beat earnings estimates by $0.26 per share with quarterly per-share earnings of $1.83. But the good was overshadowed by Deere's report of a weak outlook for Q1 2015. The company forecasted a 15% equipment sales decline, citing a pullback in the global agricultural markets. DE shares slipped more than 2.5% this morning on the news.
- Activist Action: Shares of Hertz Global Holdings Inc. (NYSE: HTZ) were up more than 1.5% this morning on news that activist investor Carl Icahn increased his stake in the auto rental company to 10.77%. Icahn upped his share from 8.48%. He continues to apply pressure on the company, calling for structural changes to back its recent appointment of new CEO John Tague. We recently reported on another activist investor, Bill Ackman – whose stocks absolutely crushed in 2014…
- Disruptive Technology: Bloomberg reports that Uber Technologies, the taxi company that has disrupted global transportation industries, is in discussions for a round of financing that would value it at $40 billion. Reports indicated Maryland-based investment firm T. Rowe Price Group Inc. (Nasdaq: TROW) and Fidelity Investments were looking at investing in the next round. Only six months ago, we reported that Uber was valued at $18.2 billion. Click here for more on the multi-billion dollar Uber IPO revolution…
- Joining Forces: A contract between Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG, GOOGL) and Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) has competitors lining up. (Google's search engine will be the default service in Apple's Safari browsers set to expire in 2015.) Both Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) and Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO) have contacted executives at Apple about replacing Google as the default engine in all Apple products and services. This is becoming a new trend in the war against Google – the fourth most valuable U.S. company. Money Morning Special Contributor Michael E. Lewitt – a Wall Street and Hedge Fund veteran – just told readers about these key threats to GOOG stock…
- Oil Prices Today: Oil prices were flat on Wednesday morning shortly after a Saudi Arabian oil minister predicted the price of crude would "stabilize itself eventually." December futures for U.S. crude, priced at the NYMEX in New York City, dipped 0.2% to fall below $74 per barrel. Meanwhile, Brent crude, priced in London, were marginally up to settle near $78.35. Prices are down ahead of an important OPEC meeting on Thursday, when the global oil cartel will decide whether it plans to slash production to support higher prices. According to a Reuters report, some Saudi officials have privately stated the nation is prepared to withstand lower prices – down to $70 per barrel – for a significant time.
- Earnings Reports: Stay tuned for earnings reports from Golar LNG Ltd (Nasdaq: GLNG), Seadrill Ltd (Nasdaq: SDRL), and Seadrill Partners LLC (Nasdaq: SDLP).
Full U.S. Economic Calendar November 26, 2014 (NYSE: all times EST):
- MBA Purchase Applications at 7 a.m.
- Durable Goods Orders at 8:30 a.m.
- Jobless Claims at 8:30 a.m.
- Personal Income and Outlays at 8:30 a.m.
- Chicago PMI at 9:45 a.m.
- Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index at 9:45 a.m.
- Consumer Sentiment at 9:55 a.m.
- New Home Sales at 10 a.m.
- Pending Home Sales Index at 10 a.m.
- EIA Petroleum Status Report at 10:30 a.m.
- 3-Month Bill Announcement at 11 a.m.
- 6-Month Bill Announcement at 11 a.m.
- EIA Natural Gas Report at12 p.m.
- 7-Yr Note Auction at 1:00 PM ET
- Farm Prices at 3 p.m.