Stock Market Today: Data Breach Hits Second-Largest U.S. Health Insurer

Stock market today, February 5, 2015: Stock market futures for Thursday, Feb. 5, showed a 77-point increase from yesterday's close. On Wednesday, the Dow Jones erased a 100-point gain to end the day just 6 points higher than where it started. Investors turned cautious as oil prices fell once again.

This morning, Wall Street will keep an eye on a number of important earnings reports and weekly jobless claims.

But the biggest news will come from Europe. European equities were down this morning on news that new pressures are being placed on the Greek government. The European Central Bank abruptly canceled an agreement that would exchange Greek bonds for new funding. This will require the Greek Central Bank to pump money into its banking system with emergency liquidity over the next two months. The news sent the National Bank of Greece (NYSE ADR: NBG) down another 5% in pre-market trading.

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 Thursday:

  • Stock market todayHack Attack: This morning, the nation's second-largest health insurer, Anthem Inc. (Nasdaq: ANTM), announced hackers had infiltrated its patient record network and accessed a significant amount of current and former customer information. The breach included access to names, street addresses, Social Security numbers, and personal incomes, but not health procedure data. Hackers have boosted their attacks on healthcare companies due to the sector's widespread reliance on antiquated computer systems. Shares of Anthem were down as much as 3% in pre-market hours. In September, we called data breaches one of the three biggest scams threatening your money right now - see the other two here...
  • Bad Quarter: Shares of Keurig Green Mountain Inc. (Nasdaq: GMCR) is on track to open at a nine-month low this morning. Shares slipped more than 7% in pre-market hours Thursday on news the company's outlook and quarterly results fell short of consensus estimates. In its fiscal first quarter, Keurig reported earnings of $0.88 per share, down from analyst estimates of $1.08. The company said its recall of seven million single-serve machines over burning hazards propelled weak holiday sales. The firm also slashed its outlook for the second quarter.
  • Merger Mania: Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) announced plans to purchase Hospira Inc. (NYSE: HSP) in a deal worth $17 billion, or $90 per share. The acquisition will give Pfizer access to Hospira's bio-similars (officially approved subsequent versions of innovative drugs). The $90-per-share offer is a 39% premium to the target's stock at the close of Wednesday.
  • Earnings Slump: One of the biggest losers on Wednesday was Gilead Sciences (Nasdaq: GILD), which saw its stock fall by more than 8%. The company plans to offer steeper-than-expected discounts on its hepatitis C drugs. The news comes the same day Merck & Co. Inc. (NYSE: MRK) slipped 3% on news that regulators are expected to rescind the "breakthrough therapy" designation for its pending hepatitis C treatment due to other competitive drugs.
  • Oil Prices Today: Oil prices slumped yesterday on news that oil inventories rose to near 80-year highs on Wednesday. This morning, March 2015 WTI crude futures were up a little more than 1.6%, hovering near $49.23 per barrel. Meanwhile, Brent crude, priced in London, jumped more than 2.2% to hit $55.31 per barrel.
  • Earnings Reports today include Activision Blizzard Inc. (Nasdaq: ATVI), Cigna Corp. (NYSE: CI), Expedia Inc. (Nasdaq: EXPE), GoPro Inc. (Nasdaq: GPRO), GrubHub Inc. (Nasdaq: GRUB), LinkedIn Corp. (Nasdaq: LNKD), Michael Kors Holdings Ltd. (NYSE: KORS), Pandora Media Inc. (NYSE: P), Philip Morris International Inc. (NYSE: PM), Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S), and Twitter Inc. (NYSE: TWTR).
[epom key="ddec3ef33420ef7c9964a4695c349764" redirect="" sourceid="" imported="false"]

Full U.S. Economic Calendar February 5, 2015 (NYSE: all times EST)

  • Boston Federal Reserve Bank President Eric Rosengren speaks at 5 a.m.
  • Challenger Job-Cut Report at 7:30 a.m.
  • Gallup US Payroll to Population at 8:30 a.m.
  • International Trade at 8:30 a.m.
  • Jobless Claims at 8:30 a.m.
  • Productivity and Costs at 8:30 a.m.
  • Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index at 9:45 a.m.
  • EIA Natural Gas Report at 10:30 a.m.
  • 3-Month Bill Announcement at 11 a.m.
  • 6-Month Bill Announcement at 11 a.m.
  • Treasury STRIPS at 3 p.m.
  • Fed Balance Sheet at 4:30 p.m.
  • Money Supply at 4:30 p.m.

Money Morning Tip of the Day: The "haircut" Microsoft Inc. shares received last week set up a bargain-basement buying opportunity for investors...

For the past 18 months, investors loved Microsoft stock (Nasdaq: MSFT), pushing it up by 50%. Much of that enthusiasm arose from new CEO Satya Nadella. His "mobile-first, cloud-first" strategy seemed just the tonic for a decade of stagnant MSFT stock performance.

But on Monday, Jan. 26, Microsoft reported Q2 earnings after market close. Revenue missed expectations thanks to slumping PC sales and a strong U.S. dollar. Microsoft warned these problems would persist for much of 2015.

That sent Microsoft stock down 9.25% on Jan. 27. It kept falling for the rest of the week, shedding more than 13% by Friday.

But Money Morning Capital Wave Strategist Shah Gilani sees a rare buying opportunity. Microsoft stock has been a favorite of his for more than a year. "You've got a company that's making inroads into new business opportunities thanks to a creative new CEO. And the company is cash-rich and pays investors a very decent dividend of just over 3%."

Gilani believes Microsoft's long-term prospects haven't changed.

His advice: "Buy the stock here and add to it all the way down to $36 - if you are lucky enough to get more at lower prices."

To read more about what makes MSFT such a bargain right now, check out The Surprising Stock That's "an Absolute Steal"



About the Author

Garrett Baldwin is a globally recognized research economist, financial writer, consultant, and political risk analyst with decades of trading experience and degrees in economics, cybersecurity, and business from Johns Hopkins, Purdue, Indiana University, and Northwestern.

Read full bio