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The Dow Jones today rose 39 points ahead of tomorrow's critical announcement by the European Central Bank on its stimulus plans. But the Dow's gains were capped by a decline in International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM) stock.
The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX), the market's fear gauge, slipped 5% on the day.
Dow: 17,554.47, +39.24, +0.22%
S&P 500: 2,032.27, +9.72, +0.48%
Nasdaq: 4,667.42, +12.57, +0.27%
What Moved the Markets Today: Investors are preparing for tomorrow's announcement from the ECB over whether its leaders will employ a massive bond-purchasing program to stimulate the struggling economic bloc. European investors dumped Eurozone bonds today ahead of the central bank's announcement and moved money into 10-year Treasury bonds. This afternoon, gold prices snapped a seven-day winning streak. The yellow metal was unable to defend its first increase above $1,300 per ounce since August. Meanwhile, the Canadian "Loonie" hit a six-year low against the U.S. dollar as falling oil prices continue to hit the commodity-rich nation.
Now check out the day's most important market notes:
- Earnings Beat: Shares of Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) soared 17% on news the online streaming giant's customer base surged faster than expected and the company reported stronger than expected earnings for the previous quarter. Despite the earnings surge, Money Morning Capital Wave Strategist Shah Gilani told FOX Business today that investors should look at the stock's volatile history if they're thinking about buying into the company today. Watch the interview here.
- Hollywood Hit: Netflix announced plans to begin streaming the controversial film "The Interview" this weekend. The film's financial success, despite fueling a massive cyberattack against its studio, has shareholders of Sony Corp. (NYSE ADR: SNE) smiling this afternoon. Shares of Sony were up more than 5% today on strong sales and streaming revenue for the movie.
- Software Swoon: Shares of Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) slipped 1% on news the company will "give away" its upcoming Windows 10 operating system. In an effort to defend its customer base as users transition from desktops to smartphones, the company will provide the software as an upgrade to existing users of Windows 8 and Windows Phone.
- Oil Fallout: The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis argued today against the proposed merger between energy companies Pepco Holdings Inc. (NYSE: POM) and Exelon Corp. (NYSE: EXC). Under the terms of the merger, Exelon, the nation's largest owner of nuclear power plants, would purchase Pepco for roughly $2.5 billion more than the net book value of the firm's assets. The think tank says this would justify increased rates on customers.
- State of the Union Address: Politicians, media pundits, and business leaders across America offered mixed reactions to President Barack Obama's 2015 State of the Union Address last night. The president called for tax hikes on the highest-earning Americans, revenue for universal community college programs, new regulations on energy and the environment, and other progressive agenda measures. Here are the seven topics from last night's speech that all investors should be paying attention to…
Now our experts share some of the most important investment moves to make based on today's market trading – for Money Morning Members only:
How the Terrorism "Trend" Is Moving Your Money Today: The recent terrorist attack in Paris has spurred the need for a difficult conversation. Here's the thing: The tragic irony in the financial world is that terrorism actually creates far more opportunity than it destroys. Money Morning Chief Financial Strategist Keith Fitz-Gerald explains what this means for your money in 2015 and beyond…
- CES 2015: How to Profit from the Hottest Tech Trends: According to the Consumer Electronics Association trade group, Americans will buy 1.43 million UHDTV sets, or roughly 5% of televisions sold nationally, in 2016. That's a 60-fold increase from 2013, when UHDTVs debuted. And of course, there's big profit potential in all those UHDTVs our fellow Americans will be buying. So hit the floor of the Consumer Electronics Show 2015 with Money Morning Tech Specialist Michael A. Robinson to start profiting today…
- Why the 'Big Money' Still Believes in Auto Stocks:S. auto sales were up big in 2014 and are expected to stay strong in 2015. Oil prices have collapsed and gasoline prices are at their lowest in years, fueling demand for pickup trucks, SUVs, and RVs… Indeed, signs of a boom time for the American auto industry appear aligned, but auto stocks are trading at depressed values compared to the rest of the market. Are auto stocks ripe to buy, or are they simply a value trap? Here's the real answer.