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The DJIA today shed 106 points. The cause? A slew of mixed economic data stoked investor caution and a wait-and-see approach to the markets ahead of Friday's unemployment report.
Nine of 10 S&P 500 sectors were in the red today. Healthcare stocks were the lone bright spot.
Today Technical Trading Strategist D.R. Barton joined FOX Business' "Varney & Co." to discuss why the healthcare sector will remain strong in the event of a market pullback, plus one of the best stocks to invest in right now for short-term gains ahead of a key Obamacare ruling.
Dow Jones: 18,096.90, -106.47, -0.58%
S&P 500: 2,098.53, -9.25, -0.44%
Nasdaq: 4,967.14, -12.76, -0.26%
The S&P 500 Volatility Index (VIX), the market's fear gauge, jumped 2.67% on the day.
What Moved the DJIA Today: The markets are paying close attention to the jobs market in the wake of declining consumer spending. This morning, Automatic Data Processing (ADP) reported that the U.S. private sector created fewer jobs in February than the previous month – 212,000 versus a projected 220,000. The news has spurred concerns about economic growth in the first quarter, and investors are keeping a diligent eye on Friday's February U.S. jobs report.
Meanwhile, Chicago Federal Reserve Bank President Charles Evans said he does not want the central bank to increase interest rates until 2016. The member of the FOMC said raising rates could possibly undermine the economy's recovery.
Now, check out the other top market stories – plus get our new profit tip for investors:
- Keystone Cops: This afternoon, The U.S. Senate failed to override President Barack Obama's veto of a bill that would have authorized the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. The upper chamber of Congress failed to receive a two-thirds majority and registered just 62 votes. The president vetoed the original Keystone bill in late February. Shares of TransCanada Corp. (USA) (NYSE: TRP), the company that would be in charge of operating the pipeline, were still up nearly 0.8%.
- Eating Good: Shares of McDonald's Corp. (NYSE: MCD) were up 0.51% this afternoon on news that the fast-food giant is planning a menu overhaul. The company said its food will no longer be sourced from animals given antibiotics or hormones. The news prompted an upgrade by RBC Capital, which foresees a price target of $115, a 15% premium over today's share value.
- Retail Woes: Shares of Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (NYSE: ANF) fell more than 15% to hit a 52-week low. The company reported that quarterly profits fell by more than 30%. Although the retailer beat adjusted per-share earnings estimates, the company reported a 14% net sales decline year over year. In addition, brokerage Mizuho announced it has downgraded the stock and slashed its price forecast from $27 to $23 per share.
- Biotech Boom: Shares of Bristol Myers Squibb Co. (NYSE: BMY) jumped more than 6% on news the U.S. Food and Drug Administration formally approved its lung cancer treatment Opdivo. With lung cancer as the leading cause of cancer death in the country, the biotech giant hopes its new drug will create a significant profit opportunity. The company also announced today that it signed an exclusive agreement with a Danish drug company over prostate cancer drug Prostvac. The deal could yield upwards of $1 billion in profits if the drug shows positive results in drug trials.
- An Apple a Day: Shares of Apple Inc.(Nasdaq: AAPL) retreated 0.63% despite news that the company plans to introduce the new Retina MacBook Air during its company event on March 9. The firm began mass production of the personal computer in December. Apple continues to create innovations that are making the stock look extremely attractive these days. Our Chief Investment Strategist Keith Fitz-Gerald recently joined FOX Business' Neil Cavuto to discuss what these innovations mean for Apple investors in the future.
Money Morning Tip of the Day: Don't panic when markets are down. Look for profit opportunities instead using these strategies.
The Dow Jones fell 168 points Wednesday morning after losing 85 points Tuesday. This prompted a slew of panic-inducing headlines around the web today.
People get nervous when markets plunge, but stock market downturns are just a fact of investing. They're very rarely anything more than a short-term adjustment.
Rather than dwell on short-term losses, investors should be on the hunt for opportunities. Here are three of the best ways to profit when markets are down.
No. 1. Buy Stocks on Sale: This is the most obvious way to take advantage of a market downturn. Maintain a wish list of stocks you'd like to buy if they were just a little cheaper. A market downturn is the perfect chance to use such a list.
No. 2. Sell Stocks Short: In short selling, you borrow shares from your broker and sell them at the current market price. The idea is to profit by buying the shares back at a lower price once the stock drops. If all goes well, you return the shares to the broker and keep the difference as profit (minus a small margin fee). Learn more on how to short stocks here.
No. 3. Profit When an Index Falls: A reverse index fund rises when the market falls and falls when the market rises. It's essentially a hedge against any downturn. Options include the Rydex Inverse S&P 500 Strategy Fund (MUTF: RYURX), which tracks the S&P 500 and rises 1% for every 1% the index falls, and the ProShares Short Dow30 ETF (NYSE Arca: DOG), which tracks the Dow Jones.
Finally, prepare your portfolio ahead of any market downturns by using trailing stops. This tool limits losses, be they from a single lousy earnings report from a company or a stock market crash.
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