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The S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average rose Monday to close at record highs, with tech shares leading the surge. Shares of Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) jumped 2.3%, while International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM) gained 1.85%.
The S&P 500 Volatility Index (VIX), the market's fear gauge, plunged more than 7.5% on the day.
Dow: 17,959.44, +154.64, +0.87%
S&P 500: 2,078.54, +7.89, +0.38%
Nasdaq: 4,781.42, +16.04, +0.34%
What Moved the Markets Today: Energy stocks slumped again this afternoon on news that Saudi Arabian ministers refuse to slash production. Shares of Chesapeake Energy Corp. (NYSE: CHK) plunged more than 7.25% on falling oil prices. But the decline in energy prices is an ongoing boon for airline stocks. Shares of Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE: LUV) rose more than 2.7% this afternoon, while Virgin America Inc. (Nasdaq: VA) jumped more than 2.8%.
Now check out the biggest stories from the stock market today:
- Merger Mania: Shares of American Apparel Inc. (NYSE: APP) jumped 6.54% on news American Apparel has received a letter of interest from a company to acquire the firm for $1.30 to $1.40 per share. The news comes just a week after the firm relieved its former CEO Dov Charney of duty.
- Irrational Rise: Shares of Herzfeld Caribbean Basin Fund Inc. (Nasdaq: CUBA) jumped more than 5% in trading today on news the Obama administration is pressing for normalization of relations between the United States and Cuba. At one point, the fund was up more than 33% on the day. The closed-end fund holds a number of companies that its manager expects will succeed in the event the United States ever ends its embargo on the communist nation. The surge is reminiscent of the rise and fall in 2014 of stocks related to Ebola, marijuana, and police cameras.
- December Sale: Shares of Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) rose 2.2% this afternoon on news the company plans to slash prices of its digital products, including e-books, music, movies, and television shows. The e-commerce giant said the sale will continue through the end of the week.
On the Rise: Shares of Achillion Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Nasdaq: ACHN) surged 9% on news that two experimental hepatitis C drugs showed positive results in two studies.
- Frozen Out: Shares of Gilead Sciences Inc. (Nasdaq: GILD) slumped more than 14% on news that one of its competitors has frozen its hepatitis treatments out of the nation's largest pharmacy benefits manager. This morning, AbbVie Inc. (Nasdaq: ABBV) announced it has signed a deal with Express Scripts Holding Co. (Nasdaq: ESRX) to gain exclusive access to its 25 million customers and sell its newly approved hepatitis C medication at a discounted price. Express Scripts will no longer carry Gilead's treatments. (Here's a way to profit from biotech stocks like GILD - without the risk...)
- Russian Rout: Sliding oil prices and ongoing economic sanctions will have a profound impact on Russia in 2015. According to a recent poll of economists by Reuters, the Russian economy is expected to fall into recession next year and inflation will likely be in the double digits. The nation's currency, the ruble, has slid by 50% this year against the U.S. dollar. The 11 economists polled by Reuters said they expect the nation's GDP to decline by 3.6%. Despite this, Money Morning's Resource Specialist Peter Krauth says it's not time to count Putin (or Russia) out yet. The "nuclear" currency option in the Russian leader's pocket has major implications for the global economy...
Now our experts share some of the most important investment moves to make based on today's market trading - for Money Morning Members only:
- Three Tech ETFs That Will Double Your Money: Money Morning Tech Specialist Michael A. Robinson is forecasting a strong year for stocks - and especially tech stocks - in 2015. And folks who pick the "right" profit plays can do even better than the market. Here's how to grab those market-trouncing gains with three profit plays that appear tepid on their face, but are actually high-octane claims on the hottest slices of Silicon Valley growth...
- Three Scary Tech Stocks to Avoid in 2015: Just because 2015 will be a strong year for tech stocks doesn't mean every single one will be a winner in the New Year. With that in mind, let's take a look at 2015's three worst tech stocks. Tread carefully, though - their numbers may terrify you...
- 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...
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.