The Dow Jones today slipped 95 points. The cause? Concerns over Greek debt and the Chinese economy offset optimism about an improving energy sector.
China's export levels slipped 3.3% from a year ago, while its imports dropped a staggering 19.9%. The announcement was far worse than economists expected and raised new concerns about the world's second-largest economy.
Money Morning Chief Investment Strategist Keith Fitz-Gerald appeared on FOX Business' "Cavuto" Friday evening to discuss problems with the so-called "recovery" - notably a lack of jobs and wage growth for middle-class Americans...
Dow: 17,729.21, -95.08, -0.53%
S&P 500: 2,046.74, -8.73, -0.42%
Nasdaq: 4,726.01, -18.39, -0.39%
The S&P 500 Volatility Index (VIX), the market's fear gauge, soared 7.3% on the day.
What Moved the Markets Today: The standoff between Greece and the European Union is growing testier. This afternoon Greece's Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said his nation will not consider any extension of its bailout terms and he will maintain his campaign promises to reverse imposed terms on his country. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said today the European Union is unlikely to agree to any of Greece's latest demands.
Now, check out the other top market stories - plus get our new profit tip for investors:
- A Historic Leak: A Swiss bank leak of 30,000 accounts pin fraud and other illegal practices on HSBC Holdings Plc. (NYSE: HSBC), the world's second-largest bank. Leaked files reveal secret accounts and details of more than 100,000 clients from more than 200 countries around the world. Account holders include arms dealers, criminal blood diamond merchants, drug cartels, Hollywood elite, royalty, and "the heirs to some of Europe's biggest fortunes." Visit here for our full coverage of the leak, its history, and the consequences that could follow.
- All About Oil: Crude oil prices climbed this afternoon after OPEC raised its forecast. WTI jumped 2%, while Brent gained 0.7%. The standoff between Saudi Arabia and the United States is taking a toll on both nations; however, Money Morning Global Energy Strategist Dr. Kent Moors explains the Saudis may regret their decision to maintain energy production levels. In fact, problems for OPEC's leading producer are already underway. Standard & Poor's downgraded the nation's outlook this afternoon from "stable" to "negative" in the wake of falling crude oil prices.
- Biotech Breakout: Shares of Achillion Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Nasdaq: ACHN) soared more than 12% on news its experimental hepatitis C drug eradicated signs of the virus after six weeks of treatment when combined with Gilead Sciences Inc.'s (Nasdaq: GILD) drug Sovaldi. The announcement is a major breakthrough against the virus. In other Gilead news, the company announced plans to start paying a dividend in Q2 2015. The company will pay a quarterly dividend of $0.43 for a yield of 1.75%. For a breakdown of 30 dividend stocks that just hiked their payouts, be sure to check out our complete list here.
- Another Settlement: Shares of Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM) jumped more than 1.4% intraday on news the company will pay a $1 billion fine in China. The settlement will end a 14-month investigation into whether the company engaged in anti-competitive practices. The news comes the same day that UBS AG (OTCMKTS: OUBSF) announced that Mediatek Inc. was likely to gain market share in China at the expense of Qualcomm's stronghold.
- Stocks to Watch: Shares of McDonald's Corp. (NYSE: MCD) slipped 1.35% this afternoon on news the company's same-store sales slipped by 1.8% in January. The company's struggles in the Asia/Pacific region continue to weigh down its 2015 outlook. The company recently replaced its CEO and launched initiatives to improve the safety and security of its supply chains after a scandal involving spoiled meat rocked the iconic brand's global reputation. Money Morning Chief Investment Strategist Keith Fitz-Gerald recently discussed the changes he would need to see in order for MCD stock to be considered a "Buy" again...
- An Apple a Day: Shares of Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) were up 0.66% this afternoon. The company announced it plans to launch a refreshed lineup of its MacBook Air products at the end of February. The unveiling is supposed to occur at an Apple event slated for Feb. 24. Investors are still anticipating the announcement of a rumored 12-inch MacBook with Retina display at another event this quarter. Apple stock is hovering near its 52-week high.