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The DJIA today surged another 155 points, hitting a new record. The S&P 500 also hit a new record, while the Nasdaq crossed the 5,000 level for the first time since March 2000.
What caused the surge? Tech stocks led the way, fueling increased optimism in the sector. China also made a surprise announcement with its monetary policy. The news offset concerns about domestic data.
Dow: 18,288.63, +155.93, +0.86%
S&P 500: 2,117.39, +12.89, +0.61%
Nasdaq: 5,008.10, +44.57, +0.90%
What Moved the DJIA Today: Poor economic data trickled in from U.S. sources, but it couldn't slow the DJIA today. Consumer spending levels among Americans slipped for the second straight month, as households pull back on purchases despite a large decline in gasoline prices. Construction spending also slipped in February, and factory figures slowed in January. The messy data signals that the U.S. economy may not be growing at a fast enough rate in the first quarter.
Markets also reacted this morning to China's surprise decision over the weekend to slash its benchmark one-year loan rate to 5.35% and one-year deposit rate to 2.5%. This was the second rate cut by the nation's central bank in three months as the nation attempts to stave off inflation.
Now, check out the other top market stories – plus get our new profit tip for investors:
- Going Wireless: Tech giant Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG, GOOGL) saw shares jump 2.29% this afternoon after a company executive announced plans to launch a small-scale wireless service in the United States. Although the head of the company's mobile operating system said more details will follow in the future, he noted the service would not be large enough to compete against any of the nation's largest wireless carriers. It's a start for the innovative company. But if you want to know why Google stock is a buy this year, here's the latest signal that makes the company a must-own for the years ahead.
- Half-Price Hero: Shares of GoPro Inc. (Nasdaq: GPRO) slipped more than 4.8% on news that a Chinese smartphone company has introduced a cheaper version of GoPro's Hero camera at half the cost. The firm, Xiaomi, launched a wearable action camera with many of the same features as the Hero, raising concerns about GoPro's market position abroad. The news comes on the same day analysts project the company is planning to release its sequel to the Hero 4 camera line.
- Lumber Plunge: Shares of Lumber Liquidators Holdings Inc. (NYSE: LL) fell more than 25% in premarket hours and were ultimately suspended from trading after the opening bell. Last night, 60 Minutes broadcast a story that accused the firm of selling hardwood flooring linked to toxic, cancer-causing chemicals in five states. The company is likely to issue a statement about the report. However, Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) already downgraded the company in the wake of the report.
- Merger Mania:Deals in the semiconductor sector continue to grow larger in 2015. Today NXP Semiconductors NV (Nasdaq: NXPI) announced it will purchase Austin, Texas-based Freescale Semiconductor Ltd. (NYSE: FSL) for $11.8 billion. NXPI shares jumped more than 17% on the news, while FSL shares gained more than 11%. The deal will create a combined company worth more than $40 billion. This is the largest merger in the semiconductor industry this year.
- An Apple a Day: Shares of Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) were in the black this afternoon as reports emerge that the company could soon be releasing an Apple virtual reality According to reports, the tech giant has posted several job listings in recent months seeking engineers with knowledge of virtual reality. A patent that surfaced last month described a piece of virtual reality headgear. So what does it mean for AAPL stock? Our Chief Investment Strategist Keith Fitz-Gerald joined FOX Business' Neil Cavuto to give his take. Watch the interview here.
Money Morning Tip of the Day: Healthcare M&A is soaring, and there's an ETF to buy that lets you collect the profits.
Today's tip comes from Money Morning Tech Expert Michael A. Robinson:
This year has been the best start for global healthcare mergers and acquisitions (M&A) since 2009. Total deal value has soared 124% so far this year, to $35.1 billion.
M&A deals will remain a big driver for the whole healthcare industry. The pickup in M&A will accelerate biotech and pharma stocks way past the overall market.
Since the start of 2014, the S&P 500 Health Care Index has soared 29.2%. The Nasdaq Biotech Index has advanced 48.4%. But the wider Standard & Poor's 500 Index has risen only 14.1%.
The best way to profit from healthcare M&A is by buying shares of the SPDR S&P Pharmaceuticals (NYSE Arca: XPH) exchange-traded fund (ETF).
XPH is composed of some of biopharma's leading firms and a smattering of aggressive small caps. Many companies in the fund's portfolio will likely end up growing through mergers. Or they could become targets themselves.
For instance, XPH holds both Pfizer and Hospira. So, XPH profits from the sale of Hospira stock and, over the long haul, from Pfizer's lower-cost, higher-growth business model.
XPH holds 36 stocks, with an average market cap of $36 billion. It's returned roughly 95% to investors over the last two years. That's more than double the S&P's return of 38% during the period.