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The Dow Jones Industrial Average today eked out a 15-point gain to close at yet another record high. The Nasdaq and S&P 500 retreated marginally.
Two things made for a choppy trading session today. First, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen gave no new information on when the central bank will raise rates. Second, data on new home sales were mixed.
Greece's bailout extension doesn't eliminate the risk the nation poses to the Eurozone and global markets, but from chaos comes opportunity. Our Keith Fitz-Gerald joined CNBC Asia's "Street Signs" yesterday to reveal which companies investors can be long on now to profit…
Dow Jones: 18,224.57, +15.38, +0.08%
S&P 500: 2,113.86, -1.62, -0.08%
Nasdaq: 4,967.14, -0.98, -0.02%
What Moved the Dow Jones Industrial Average Today: Yellen's second day of testimony before Congress provided few updates or clues about the central bank's plans to raise interest rates. Yesterday, Yellen said the Fed would take a "meeting-by-meeting" approach in making its decision.
Other areas of focus today included merger activity and economic data in the housing sector. An update on new home sales this morning indicated single-family home sales in January fell less than expected. In addition, supply rose to its highest level since 2010.
Now, check out the other top stories that moved the Dow Jones Industrial Average today – plus get our new profit tip for investors:
- Merger Mania: Shares of Aruba Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: ARUN) surged more than 22% on reports that Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) may purchase the company for its Wi-Fi infrastructure. The deal, which would be HPQ's largest acquisition in years, could be announced as soon as next week. It also comes soon after Hewlett-Packard announced weaker than expected quarterly earnings due to declining desktop computer sales and a stronger U.S. dollar. Shares of HPQ stock were down nearly 10% on the day.
- Biotech Boom: Shares of Pharmacyclics Inc. (Nasdaq: PCYC) surged more than 18% today on news the U.S. drug maker is exploring options to sell itself for more than $15 billion. According to reports, the company has received significant interest from Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) and Novartis AG (NYSE ADR: NVS). This has the potential to win the title of 2015's largest biotech deal if it tops Pfizer Inc.'s (NYSE: PFE) buy of injectable-medicine maker Hospira Inc. (NYSE: HSP).
- Greek Tragedy: Greece may have reached an extension on its debt obligations, but making payment is a very different story. This afternoon, Greek ministers said the nation will struggle to meet its obligations this year to the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Meanwhile, Germany's finance minister raised new doubts about Greece's trustworthiness over its international bailout plan. While Europe has kicked this debt can down the road, it's clear it will reemerge in greater force after the four-month extension.
- Oil Price Surge: Crude oil prices surged again today, continuing a volatile two-month period for the energy sector. Despite rising inventory levels in the United States, oil prices swung into the black on news that Saudi Arabia's finance minister said global demand is growing. April 2015 futures for U.S. crude, priced at the NYMEX in New York City, jumped 3% to hit $50.77 per barrel. Meanwhile, Brent crude, priced in London, surged 5.1% to hit $61.63 per barrel.
- An Apple a Day: Shares of Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) retreated from record high levels this afternoon, falling more than 2.5%. Today a federal jury ordered Apple to pay $532.9 million over three patent cases. The jury decided the company's iTunes software infringed on patents owned by licensing firm Smartflash. The case dates back to May 2013. Get all our Apple stock news and analysis here…
Money Morning Tip of the Day: Don't listen to analysts making bearish cases against Boeing Co. Its stock is still a "Buy" with plenty of upside ahead.
A number of analysts just made bearish cases for Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) because oil prices have skidded about 50% since their peak in June. On Monday, Goldman Sachs downgraded BA from "Neutral" to "Sell" and slashed its price target from $147 to $132. The news sent BA down 2.26% to $154.68.
But don't be fooled…
"Boeing remains a favorite of ours – it's the beneficiary of a boom in commercial aviation that's going to last for a decade or more," Money Morning Executive Editor Bill Patalon told his "Private Briefing" investment service readers Monday.
Thanks to growing income levels in the world's emerging economies, global air traffic is projected to grow at an average 5% annual growth rate over the next two decades. The worldwide airliner fleet will need to double to 42,000 airplanes by 2033. And that doesn't even account for replacement jetliners.
Patalon dismissed concerns about low oil prices. "Oil prices will rebound, and air carriers will buy new jets based on a multi-decade lifespan."
Patalon first recommended BA stock to his readers in September 2011. It was trading at just $61.92 at the time. Now he sees BA heading to $200.
Patalon's bottom line: "Boeing is a company that's going to deliver strong revenue and profit growth in the years to come. It's also going to look for ways to continue rewarding shareholders via additional buybacks and dividend increases."
Get this full Boeing stock outlook – plus access to all of Bill Patalon's "Private Briefing" stock picks – here: Why Boeing Is Still Growing – Next Stop: $200 a Share