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The Dow Jones fell 141 points Friday as weak earnings and soft economic data offset confidence spurred by another pending global stimulus package.
Dow: 17,672.60, -141.38, -0.79%
S&P 500: 2,051.82, -11.33, -0.55%
Nasdaq: 4,757.88, +7.48, +0.16%
Crude oil prices continued to fall, pulling down energy and materials stocks in the process. West Texas Intermediate slipped nearly 2% on the day, with the price per barrel settling at $45.59. Materials stocks were the biggest losers on the day led by steep declines in shares of mining and resource companies.
What Moved the Markets Today: Investor optimism about the European Central Bank's plans to inject 60 billion euros a month into the markets was offset by weak economic data and disappointing earnings results from several major multinational firms. In the United States, the Markit manufacturing purchasing managers' index slipped again in January to 53.7 from 53.9 in December. This is the index's lowest level in a year and raises concerns about the American private sector as the year kicks off.
United Parcel Service Inc. (NYSE: UPS), Bank of New York Mellon Corp. (NYSE: BK), Kansas City Southern (NYSE: KSU), and McDonald's Corp. (NYSE: MCD) all reported disappointing earnings today, sending their stocks downward.
Here's a breakdown of today's other top stories and stock performances:
- IPO Boom: Shares of online-data-storage firm Box Inc. (NYSE: BOX) surged more than 70% in its first day of trading. Yesterday, the company announced its initial public offering had priced at $14 per share, a figure that valued the firm at roughly $1.67 billion. Today interest surged for the high-tech stock. Box Inc. is an innovator and competitor in the online storage space and is establishing itself as a player against tech giants Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN), and Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG, GOOGL),
- Crushed Again: Forex Broker FXCM Inc. (NYSE: FXCM) shares slumped another 30% in afternoon trading when Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C) set a $0.75 price target on the stock. The currency broker was trading above $16 just 10 days ago. FXCM was the third-largest currency brokerage in the world until the Swiss National Bank announced plans last week to remove the cap from its currency against the euro. The brokerage cratered after its customers were unable to come up with $250 million in unhedged positions. The event taught us two critical lessons about the global markets…
- An Apple a Day: Shares of Apple stock were up nearly 1% this afternoon. However, new concerns have emerged about Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) due to a surging dollar. Even though the company could report a record-breaking quarter next week, the firm is expected to book some foreign exchange losses as global currencies continue to retreat against the greenback.
- Jolting Java: Shares of Starbucks Corp. (Nasdaq: SBUX) hit a new record this afternoon. Shares were up more than 5% after the company reported stronger fourth-quarter earningsthan expected. The company also announced late Thursday that it promoted Kevin Johnson to president and chief operating officer at the beginning of March. Johnson has been a board member since 2009 and was CEO of Juniper Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: JNPR) from 2008 to 2013.
- Dividend Diva: Shares of Valero Energy Corp. (NYSE: VLO) were up 4.5% this afternoon on news the oil refinery will boost its quarterly dividend by 45%. With the European Central Bank poised to begin pumping free money into the global markets, it's a great time for dividend stocks. But Valero isn't the only one to boost its yield for investors. Here are 22 other companies that announced hikes to their dividends last week.
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 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.
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.