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Dow Jones Today, Jan. 7, 2015: The Dow Jones rallied triple digits Wednesday and the S&P 500 returned to the black after five straight losing sessions. The combination of rising oil prices and additional guidance from the Federal Reserve on its rate hike timing fueled a positive day for the markets.
Automatic Data Processing (ADP) reported this morning that private employers added 241,000 jobs in the United States in December, surpassing consensus expectations of 226,000. On Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics will release the December U.S. jobs report.
Dow: 17,584.52, +212.88, +1.23%
S&P 500: 2,025.90, +23.29, +1.16%
Nasdaq: 4,650.47, +57.73, +1.26%
What Moved the Markets Today: The central bank released minutes this afternoon from December's FOMC meeting. According to the report, most Fed officials agreed that their forward guidance on policy means the bank is unlikely to increase interest rates by late April. Many Fed members remain concerned that inflation is too low for a 2015 interest rate hike. U.S. stocks rallied the most in three weeks on improved optimism over the general economy and oil prices reversing course. This afternoon, West Texas Intermediate oil prices jumped 1.4% to hit $48.60 per barrel.
Here's a breakdown of the top stories from the stock market today:
- Stocks to Watch: Shares of C. Penney Co. (NYSE: JCP) surged more than 20% today on news the company's same-store holiday sales increased by 3.7% over the same period in 2013. That beat analysts' projected 2.7%. The stock remained resilient today despite Pershing Square boss Bill Ackman telling CNBC this morning that he sees JCP as a "dying company" up against sharp consumer trends in e-commerce and discounting.
- Biotech Boom: Shares of Arena Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Nasdaq: ARNA) jumped 76% this afternoon on surprise news that one of its autoimmune pipeline drugs surpassed expectations in a phase 1 trial. The company is best known for its diet drug Belviq, which recently registered $5.2 million in sales in the most recent quarter. That's more than double the sales the company earned in the year-ago period.
- Drink Deal: Shares of coffee-tech firm Keurig Green Mountain Inc. (Nasdaq: GMCR) jumped more than 5% this afternoon on news the company reached a product agreement with Pepper Snapple Group Inc. (NYSE: DPS). According to the term, DPS will provide product capsules to Keurig to create sodas in the tech company's in-home cold-drink machine.
- Merger and Acquisitions: Brazilian investment firm 3G Partners has boosted its finances and could soon target Campbell Soup Co. (NYSE: CPB) and Inc. (NYSE: PEP) as possible acquisitions, according to The Wall Street Journal. The news sent CPB stock up more than 4.4%, while Pepsi shares jumped nearly 3%.
- Seed Surge: Shares of seed giant Monsanto Co. (NYSE: MON) jumped more than 2% in afternoon trading after the company reported positive fiscal first-quarter earnings. The company reported adjusted earnings of $0.47 per share, beating per-share consensus estimates of $0.34. Despite the positive news, the company urged caution with its forward guidance. The firm said falling acres of global corn production could affect its numbers going forward.
- Private Planning: Shares of Dick's Sporting Goods Inc. (NYSE: DKS) jumped more than 11% this afternoon after Reuters reported the company is exploring the possibility of going private. The sports-retail company has struggled in recent quarters as its golf and hunting business has been hurt by weak sales across the sectors.
Now our experts share some of the most important investment moves to make based on today's market trading – for Money Morning Members only:
- The Perfect "Anti-Trend" Play: Between its crushing debt, aging population, lack of a workable immigration policy, and decades of abysmal fiscal policy, Japan is in trouble – thus Money Morning Chief Investment Strategist Keith Fitz-Gerald recommended shorting the currency via ProShares UltraShort Yen(NYSE Arca: YCS). It's returned more than 116% since the Japanese yen was at 76 to the dollar. But it's far from the only way to play Japan at the moment…
- How to Invest Like a CEO – and Beat the Market by 40%: After digging into a recent survey on CEOs, Money Morning Tech Specialist Michael Robinson figured out exactly where today's leaders will be spending their dollars in the next five years. And he wants to show you how to invest like a CEO to take advantage of those long-term spending trends in a way that beats the market by 40%…
- 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…