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The Dow Jones today rallied nearly 300 points in early trading hours before reversing and finishing down 27 points. The downturn was fueled by Brent crude prices falling another 1% on the day. Crude oil prices are down nearly 15% over the last two weeks.
The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX), the market's fear gauge, was up 4.9% on the day.
Dow: 17,613.55, -27.29, -0.15%
S&P 500: 2,023.04, -5.22, -0.26%
Nasdaq: 4,661.50, -3.21, -0.07%
What Moved the Markets Today: The S&P 500 energy index fell more than 2.6% this afternoon after the United Arab Emirates' oil minister said OPEC nations will not slash oil production. The announcement renewed concerns about a global supply glut. Today WTI-NYMEX 2015 crude hit $46.41 a barrel. Brent crude prices dipped 1% to hit $47.03 a barrel and nearly traded at parity with U.S. oil. On a macroeconomic note, U.S. job openings hit a 14-year high while business confidence hit an eight-year high.
Now, here's a look at the other top stories from the stock market today:
- Global Slowdown: The World Bank slashed its global growth outlook. The D.C.-based institution argues the U.S. economy's recovery and falling oil prices will not be able to offset concerns in Europe, China, and South America. The World Bank says that the global economy will grow 3% a year. That's down from the 3.4% the Bank forecasted in the fall.
- Stocks to Watch: Shares of Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) were flat today despite the company releasing a revolutionary automotive device and app. The new service will connect the digital grid to 200 million in-service vehicles manufactured after 1996.
- Mining Mishap: Shares of Freeport McMoran Inc. (NYSE: FCX) slipped 7.55% on the day. The mining giant was the largest drag on the S&P 500 today. Shares of Southern Copper Corp. (NYSE: SCCO) shed nearly 5%, while Yamana Gold Inc. (USA) (NYSE: AUY) fell more than 12.5%.
- Housing Fumble: Shares of Ocwen Financial Corp. (NYSE: OCN) plummeted more than 36% this afternoon on news the State of California may suspend the company's operating license in the market. California is Ocwen's largest market for the mortgage-serving firm. The company was penalized $150 million in December by the state of New York, and its CEO resigned in the face of multiple investigations.
- Reversal of Fortune: Shares of aluminum giant Alcoa Inc. (NYSE: AA) fell 2.29% today, erasing gains from yesterday's positive earnings report. Alcoa posted higher than expected fourth-quarter profits yesterday thanks to increasing automotive-sector demand, falling energy prices, and higher aluminum prices.
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 Investing Tactic Could Help You Beat the Market by 21.97% in 2015: This year will offer investors countless opportunities, perhaps more than ever before. But few of us are set up to take full advantage of them. That's because most people's portfolios are totally out of whack. But there's good news. Money Morning Chief Investment Strategist Keith Fitz-Gerald has a stunningly simple investing strategy that can help you achieve significantly higher returns – 21.97% higher annually on average, in fact. And it only takes 20 minutes a year! Here's how to do it…
- 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's 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 A. 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. Here's how to "follow the money" to find some great foundational plays…