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For April 2, 2015, here's how the stock market did today, the top stock market news, and stocks to watch based on today's market moves…
How Did the Stock Market Do Today?
Dow: 17,763.24, +65.06, +0.37%
S&P 500: 2,066.96, +7.27, +0.35%
Nasdaq: 4,886.94, +6.71, +0.14%
The DJIA today added 65 points, fueled by increased optimism over the U.S. employment situation. First-time claims for state unemployment benefits totaled 268,000, better than the 285,000 analysts had expected.
Top Stock Market News Today
- The markets reacted positively to a slew of data reported today. Aside from the positive jobless claims figure, factory orders jumped 0.2% in February, outpacing analyst expectations of a second-straight monthly decline. In addition, February's trade deficit was narrower than expected, but still a rather lofty $35.4 billion.
- Oil markets were again impacted by the deal between the United States and Iran over the latter's nuclear program. Oil prices slid as much as 5% today on news that the United States and Iran had established a framework for further discussions. A final agreement is expected by June. The member of OPEC currently produces about 2.8 million barrels of oil each day, but only 1 million is brought to market due to economic sanctions by the West. The nation has roughly 30 million barrels in tankers ready to be shipped. Brent oil, priced in London, fell more than 3.4% this morning to $55.19 per barrel. WTI crude, priced in New York City, declined more than 1.1% to hit $49.54 per barrel.
- Tomorrow, the markets will be closed for Good Friday, but the Bureau of Labor Statistics will release the jobs report for March. This morning, European stocks were flat despite news that Eurozone monetary policymakers prepared to meet to set rates. Markets in Europe, Hong Kong, and Sydney are all closed Friday and Monday for the Easter break.
Stocks to Watch: LO, RAI, KMX, RAD, AAPL
- Stocks to Watch No. 1, LO, RAI: Shares of Lorillard Inc. (NYSE: LO) jumped roughly 3.2% this afternoon on news that the Federal Trade Commission could permit the tobacco giant's merger with rival Reynolds American Inc. (NYSE: RAI) as soon as next week. RAI shares rose 4.35% on the day.
- Stocks to Watch No. 2, KMX: Shares of CarMax Inc. (NYSE: KMX) surged 9.27% on news that the company reported stronger than expected fourth-quarter profits. The firm said its quarterly profits jumped more than 44% on strong auto sales.
- Stocks to Watch No. 3, KRNT: Shares of Kornit Digital Ltd. (Nasdaq: KRNT) surged 40% during its first day on the market. The digital printing equipment company announced sales of 7.1 million shares at $10 each during its IPO. Shares of GoDaddy Inc. (NYSE: GDDY) fell 1.34% on the day. The stock soared as high as 34% in its public debut on Wednesday, valuing the web hosting and domain registration company at nearly $5.5 billion. Here's a breakdown on whether GoDaddy is the right stock for your portfolio.
- Stocks to Watch No. 4, AAPL: Shares of Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) gained 0.86% today as the tech market recovered. Apple received a patent this afternoon for its super resolution, photo capture method. This new technology will allow users to snap ultra-high resolution pictures. Thanks to all of its gadgets around the world, Apple is technically the world's second-largest camera company. Go here for all the latest news and analysis on Apple stock…
- Stocks to Watch No. 5, RAD: Shares of Rite-Aid Corp. (NYSE: RAD) jumped 2.5% after the company reported that its same-store sales rose 4.3% in March. The pharmaceutical retailer said its total store sales for the four-week period ending March 28 hit $2.026 billion, a solid increase over the $1.947 billion for the same period last year.
- Stocks to Watch No. 6, GOOG: Shares of Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG, GOOGL) slid this afternoon on news that the company may soon face antitrust charges by the European Commission. The agency has been investigating Google for more than five years, and its statements have ignited political backlash. The commission suspects Google of "scraping" content from rivals' sites and possibly restricting advertising practices and software development of companies who use their search services.
How to Make Money in the Stock Market Today
Every day we give investors a "tip of the day" to find their best profits. Today's tip comes from Money Morning Executive Editor Bill Patalon:
One of the best (and lowest-risk) ways to profit from China's burgeoning Internet sector is with this ETF…
China's Internet sector has a big long-term upside. And so does the KraneShares CSI China Internet Fund (Nasdaq: KWEB), an exchange-traded fund (ETF) that's focused on the sector.
We first recommended the KraneShares Fund last summer as a "backdoor" way to profit from the massive Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (NYSE: BABA) IPO in September. The KraneShares Fund has devoted 7.75% of its holdings to Alibaba – or nearly 95,000 shares.
BABA shares have fallen about 33% from their peak at $120 last November on the back of worries the company is spending a lot on acquisitions. And with such a large stake in Alibaba, KWEB has been hit by that sell-off.
But that stake in Alibaba also serves as a long-term opportunity. Alibaba's growth numbers are rock-solid. Earnings increased 80% last quarter. Gross merchandise volume (GMV) was up 49%.
The company's mobile base is growing, too. It hit 265 million monthly active users last quarter. That's a yearly increase of 95% and a quarterly increase of 22%.
In sum: Alibaba is a great long-term play. And so is the KraneShares Fund.
Because KWEB is not a "pure play" on Alibaba, it won't rise as much as BABA stock itself when it rebounds (all else being equal).
But it will benefit, nonetheless. And it also poses less risk in the interim. For instance, while BABA shares are down by a third from their highs, KWEB has actually posted a gain.
The KraneShares Fund is the kind of investment folks should look to incrementally add to when they have extra cash or when the price is down – and look to hold for a number of years to maximize profits.
Bill Patalon is a 30-year veteran analyst of business and financial markets. He shares his exclusive stock picks and investing insights every single day in his Private Briefing newsletter. Find out how to subscribe here…