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The Dow Jones added 33 points Wednesday, fueled by strong showings in the energy sector and expectations of more stimulus action in the European bloc. Both the S&P 500 and Dow Jones hit new records, continuing their surge toward the end of 2014.
Dow: 17,912.62, +33.07, +0.18%
S&P 500: 2,074.33, +7.78, +0.38%
Nasdaq: 4,774.47, +18.66, +0.39%
What Moved the Markets Today: With energy assets undervalued, buyers dipped their toes back into the well, searching for profits and buoying the sector. The U.S. economy received a jolt of confidence after the services sector showed stronger than expected growth in November. Investors are also keeping a keen eye on the meeting of the European Central Bank tomorrow. Financial ministers across Europe are more likely to consider a large-scale bond-purchasing program to stimulate growth after a rash of bad economic reports across the bloc. The U.S. dollar continues to soar, with the USD Currency Index just below 90.
Now check out the day's most important market notes:
- OPEC Troubles: Oil prices remain volatile as Russia's economy tanks and OPEC has signaled no willingness to surrender market share through production cuts. That has many investors wondering at what support levels smaller producers and large multinationals are able to weather falling prices. Today, Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) CEO Rex Tillerson surprised many by telling CNBC the company could sustain at $40 per barrel. On Monday, Money Morning Chief Investment Strategist Keith Fitz-Gerald appeared on television to surprise viewers with his own update on energy prices. He shared three shale oil companies competing with monsters like Exxon that are poised to survive and grow stronger despite low oil prices.
- The Big Break: Shares of Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG, GOOGL) were in the red again today and are down more than 2% since the European Parliament voted Nov. 27 to "unbundle" the firm's search engine from its other commercial services. With GOOG stock now down more than 8% in three months, here's the important question: Is the tech giant poised to break up in 2015?
- Retailer Rout: Shares of Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (NYSE: ANF) were up nearly 3.5% despite news the company lowered its 2014 earnings forecast and missed third-quarter earnings. The stock slumped earlier in the trading day, but turned around in the afternoon. Meanwhile, shares of struggling specialty retailer Aeropostale Inc. (NYSE: ARO) slumped more than 7.8% in afterhours trading after the company reporting an adjusted $0.45 loss in the third quarter.
- No Reason to Toast: Shares of Brown-Forman Corp. (NYSE: BF.B) was the worst performer today on the S&P 500 after slipping more than 3.9%. The company said it missed fiscal second-quarter profit expectations despite strong sales of its Jack Daniel's whiskey brand. In addition, the firm slashed its earnings outlook on concerns about a strengthening U.S. dollar and weakness in international markets. Rivals Diageo Plc. (NYSE ADR: DEO) and Constellation Brands Inc. (NYSE: STZ) were also down on the day.
Now our experts share some of the most important investment moves to make based on today's market trading – for Money Morning Members only:
- This Country's Huge "Pricing Error" Will Send These Shares Soaring: The Saudis are very frustrated about losing control over pricing power they've held for decades. It's annoying them to no end, in fact. So, they're fighting back the only way they know how to shift the balance back in their favor – by starting a price war with the United States. But Money Morning Chief Investment Strategist Keith Fitz-Gerald says they've made the biggest strategic "pricing error" in the kingdom's history. And in doing so, they've actually cleared the way for America's shale energy boom and opened up a killer opportunity for one company in particular.
- One Stock That Will Profit from a New, Breakthrough Medical Direction: Modern medicine, for all of its sophisticated drugs, complex gadgets, and amazing surgical procedures, rarely cures anything. It treats. It manages. It postpones the inevitable. But return a patient to normal, optimal health? Rarely. So when an innovation comes along that can effect a complete and permanent remission of disease or restore damaged organs to a pristine state, it should cause your keenest investing instincts to perk up and pay attention…
- How We'll Play the 2014 Year-End Rally: Stocks are headed higher through year end for many reasons, but one in particular is telling. It's really simple, yet too many people have overlooked it. Indeed, most wouldn't even give it enough thought. And that would be a big mistake. As Money Morning's Shah Gilani explains, if you understand that one compelling reason, you can pick some winners – and pocket big profits – yourself.
About the Author
Garrett Baldwin is a globally recognized research economist, financial writer, and consultant with degrees from Northwestern, Johns Hopkins, Purdue, and Indiana University. He is a seasoned financial and political risk analyst, with a focus on stocks, hedge funds, private equity, blockchain, and housing policy. He has conducted risk assessment projects for clients in 27 countries, and consulted on policy and financial operations for some of the nation's largest financial institutions, including a $1.5 trillion credit fund, a $43 billion credit and auto loan giant, as well as two of the largest Wall Street banks by assets under management.
Garrett joined Money Map Press as an economist and researcher in 2011, specializing in alternative strategies with an emphasis on fundamental and technical analysis.