China Woes, Strong Dollar Push DJIA Index to 279-Point Loss Friday

For April 17, 2015, here's how the stock market did today, earnings reports, the top stock market news, and stocks to watch based on today's market moves...

How Did the Stock Market Do Today?

DJIA indexDow: 17.826.30, -279.47, -1.54%

S&P 500: 2,081.18, -23.81, -1.13%

Nasdaq: 4,931.81, -75.98, -1.52%

The DJIA Index fell 279 points today as currency challenges and economic concerns in China and Europe rattled investors. The S&P 500 Volatility Index (VIX), the market's fear gauge, soared 10.4% on the day.

Top Stock Market News Today

  • Chinese Troubles: China's slowdown that started in March is becoming more pronounced. Its GDP growth rate hit the lowest level in six years, and while imports continue to decline, China's trade surplus hit a 13-month low. Now, two additional pressures could hit the market. Today, Chinese authorities eliminated restrictions on short-selling and warned investors to avoid large borrowing efforts on margin.
  • Oil Prices Today: Oil prices declined today after Baker Hughes Inc. (NYSE: BHI) announced the U.S. rig count fell to the lowest level since 2010. Brent oil, priced in London, fell 0.52% to $63.65 per barrel. WTI crude, priced in New York City, slipped 1.23% on production concerns to hit $56.01 per barrel.
  • Dollar Drag: The U.S. dollar's surge is wreaking havoc on corporate earnings reports for the first quarter. Several big names today reported staggering impacts of currency swings. Among them, American Express Co. (NYSE: AXP) was the largest drag on the Dow today, falling 4.4% over currency woes. Since June 22, the dollar is up 22% against an international basket of currencies. Next week, a number of industrial companies will be in focus, including United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX), 3M Co. (NYSE: MMM), and Illinois Tool Works Inc. (NYSE: ITW).

Stocks to Watch: GE, HON, KO, CMCSA, ETSY

  • Stocks to Watch No. 1, GE: Shares of General Electric Co.(NYSE: GE) were down marginally today in the wake of the global giant's decision to sell off most of its financial arm, GE Capital. This morning, the firm reported adjusted quarterly per-share profits $0.31, beating estimates by a penny. However, revenue remained below forecasts due to the impact of a stronger U.S. dollar on foreign operations. The currency swing affected GE's revenue by roughly $950 million.[epom key="ddec3ef33420ef7c9964a4695c349764" redirect="" sourceid="" imported="false"]
  • Stocks to Watch No. 2, HON: GE wasn't the only company blaming the dollar's strength for weak revenue. Shares of Honeywell International Inc. (NYSE: HON) slipped 2% after the company reported weaker than expected quarterly figures. The company said it expects currency fluctuations to weigh down global sales by $1.7 billion in 2015.
  • Stocks to Watch No. 3, KO: The Coca-Cola Co. (NYSE: KO) doesn't appear worried about any concerns in the Chinese economy. Today, the global beverage company announced it has agreed to purchase China Culiangwang Beverages Holdings, a manufacturer of "multigrain beverages." This is Coca-Cola's first attempt to buy a mainland Chinese firm since the government rejected its bid for a juices and nectars firm nearly six years ago. KO stock was down nearly 0.7% on the day.
  • Stocks to Watch No. 4, CMCSA: Shares of Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA) were down more than 2.1% today on news that U.S. Justice Department attorneys are leaning toward blocking the company's $45.2 billion bid for Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWX). According to reports, the agency believes the merger could harm consumers and drive up prices. A recommendation against the deal could come in late April.
  • Stocks to Watch No. 5, ETSY: Shares of Etsy Inc. (Nasdaq: ETSY) fell 8% today on news that Wedbush Securities said the newly public company is "well beyond the high end" of its peers. ETSY shares surged a staggering 85% on Thursday after its debut on the New York Stock Exchange.

What Investors Must Know This Week

About the Author

Garrett Baldwin is a globally recognized research economist, financial writer, consultant, and political risk analyst with decades of trading experience and degrees in economics, cybersecurity, and business from Johns Hopkins, Purdue, Indiana University, and Northwestern.

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