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Good morning! Futures indicate the stock market today (Wednesday) will open up slightly on the final day of trading in 2014.
What to Watch Today: The markets are reacting to weekly jobless gains, which came in higher than expected at 298,000. Futures pared on a day that many investors are likely to take gains off the table or sell in order to balance losses for tax purposes. European markets remained balanced this morning despite ongoing drama from Greece, where its political future remains uncertain. Investors should also keep an eye on the year's best sector overall: utilities. Despite the remarkable year the sector experienced, it fell by its largest amount of 2014 yesterday. Pay attention to the sector's direction this afternoon.
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:
- Apple News: Shares of Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) slipped 1.22% on news the company's annual iPad sales will fall for the first time. According to a report by ABI Research, iPad sales will hit 68 million in 2014, down from the 74 million units in 2013. Despite the news, Apple stock remains one of the best stocks to own heading into 2015.
- Merger Mania: Drug store giant The Walgreen Co. (NYSE: WAG) has officially completed its merger with Alliance Boots. The firms will now trade under the NYSE ticker "WBA" ticker and the name Walgreen Boots Alliance. Shares of Walgreen are up more than 32% on the year.
- Oil Prices Today: Oil prices continue to slide to fresh five-and-a-half year lows. This morning, February 2015 futures for WTI oil fell 2.6% to hit $52.71 per barrel. Meanwhile, Brent oil slumped more than 3% to $56.12 per barrel. Oil prices continue to slide as OPEC refuses to slash production.
- Energy Fallout: Shares of Civeo Corp. (NYSE: CVEO) are recovering slightly this morning. The stock is up 3.7% in premarket hours after plunging more than 52% yesterday. The firm announced on Tuesday that it plans to slash its workforce and cut its 2015 revenue outlook by more than one-third. The firm provides temporary housing to oilfield workers and miners. It has seen service demand plummet due to falling oil prices. With oil companies slashing capital expenditures for 2015 and beyond in western Canada and Australia, Civeo will look for a rebound in prices to boost demand.
- Euro Party: Lithuania is crashing the Euro party today. The Baltic nation will officially join the Eurozone in an effort to boost economic development. The Baltic region has suffered due to economic sanctions against Russia in 2014. However, the nation stands to benefit from significant changes in Eurozone agricultural policy in 2015.
- Economic Calendar: Today's economic calendar features weekly jobless claims, the EIA Petroleum Status report, the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index, the Pending Home Sales Index.
- Earnings Reports: Stay tuned for earnings reports from Exceed Company Ltd. (Nasdaq: EDS) and Shanda Games Ltd. (Nasdaq: GAME).
Full U.S. Economic Calendar Dec. 31, 2014
- MBA Purchase Applications at 7 a.m.
- Jobless Claims at 8:30 a.m.
- Chicago PMI at 9:45 a.m.
- Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index at 9:45 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.
- 52-Week Bill Announcement at 11 a.m.